Yeah! Weekend Fluff!

PM Update

: Japan :
How thee frustrates me, let me count the ways

Okay, enough of this lovey dovy stuff. How about stuff that just plays with my mind…

  1. I love Japan because it of its appreciation for nature, but then why–as Capstew pointed out before I had the chance–does Japan continue to gouge out mountains for new golf courses or shopping centers?
  2. I love Japan for its sense of social honesty/responsibility, but then why do you just totally mess up places where you feel anonymous? Go to any tourist site in Japan: Mt. Fuji, Hakone, the trash is incredible. And the cigarette butts… ok, ok, the crummy ashtrays they have are usually overflowing…
  3. I love Japan for their inclusive attitude, but y’know what? They obviously exclude me, cuz I’m not “Japanese.” I mean, the firswt apartment I rented, I had to convince the real estate agent that I was a “responsible” foreigner, a “trustworthy” American… no, I’m not a gaijin, thank gawd; that would make my task 10 times harder; as you all know, the term gaijin is reserved for non-East Asians only.
  4. The Japanese are service oriented? Yeah right, give me a break. Why are the ATMs closed at night? (Or has that changed?) Are they afraid someone will steal it? We’re talking about a country where vending machines can be found on a country road between two rice paddies… Really, my uncle owns two of ’em…
  5. How many more????
: Japan : How I love thee, let me count the ways
I have read a number of Xangas of people who will soon be going to Japan. Some are excited, but surprisingly, some are going unwillingly… Well, as one who wants to go but can’t afford it, let me express some reasons why I would be more than happy to take your place…
  1. I love Japan…’cuz its generally the safest place in the world. Low crime rate, especially low violent crime rate. If you get lost in LA or NY you have to fear for you life, but in Japan, even Tokyo, you might lose your money, you will definitely lose time, but you will never lose you life.
  2. I love Japan for its retail philosophy. Okay, I know that it’s a pretty expensive place, but their’s a reason–now don’t hold me to this, you may want to argue, but realize that I may have a Ph.D. but I am a Economics idiot… Anyway, Japanese retailers manage to provide exactly what you want. Don’t have it? They’ll order it. Not in stock? They’ll make it. If you’ve been to places like Tokyu Hands or any major bunbouguya (stationary store), you’ll know what I’m talking about. Sizes, colors, material. The US philosophy is “affordable (read: cheap) is best.” To accomplish this, they do market research, create one item that the largest group–maybe 40%–will buy and make the other 60% live with it. Mass producing one item is always cheaper than producing fewer of a lot of different items, so stuff in Japan is more expensive. But I don’t mind paying the extra 25% to get EXACTLY what I want. Anyway, this is simply how it seems to me. I’m no economist, so please don’t beat me over the head with factoids.
  3. I love Japan for its “inclusive” attitude. Okay, there are those who will argue with this statement–and I will join you in a heartbeat–but you have to admit that there are elements that boggle the mind. Take religion: In the West, or anywhere else probably, one religious belief automatically excludes all others. But not in Japan. Where else can one be taken to a Shinto shrine after birth for hatsumode (first shrine visit), be married in a Christian church, and have a Buddhist funeral upon death, all in one lifetime AND NOT have anyone think it odd? Take sexual orientation: Gays are making primetime in the US, but where are you going to find transexuals except on Jerry Springer? Japan? Well, they have had the equivalent of the transsexual Olympics on primetime. They were also a regular segment–Mr. Lady–on Tamori’s Waratte iitomo, a popular noontime variety show. Can you imagine transexuals as a regular segment on Letterman or Leno? I don’t even think Fox has the cajones to do it–although they do have Banzai….
  4. I love ramen, any ramen, in Japan (with no MSG; I’ll have an allergic reaction.)
  5. I love the way trains are so punctual, you could set your watch to them. People here freak when they hear they can get a “note” from the train master to take to work if the train is delayed over 15 minutes… yeah, freakin’ amazing.
  6. I love the Japanese appreciation for nature that is often absent in most Americans. A typical Japanese will know more names of birds, fish, plants, flowers, etc, than a typical American. They will knowuguisu, sanma, susuki, and ajisai, but who among us knows how a nightengale sings, how to recogninize a pike fish, how tall is a eulalia plant, and wtf is a hydrangea?
  7. I love the Japanese appreciation for monochromaticism. I’m not talking only about the black and white of sumie–charcoal painting. The next time you go to the countryside and see all the greenery, look at the different shades of green… Only a Japanese could ever point out to me the subtleties of its monochromatic elegance.
  8. I love the Japanese sense of social honesty/responsibility… This might have changed as Japan evolves, I suppose, but it seems to me that Japan is still basically an upstanding society.
    • When I first went to Japan (1974), I left a folder with cash and plane ticket and passport on top of a public phone booth. When I realized I had lost it, I ran back to get it but it was gone. My cousin’s wife came to pick me up, but as we were driving home, we saw my cousin driving in the oppostie direction and he tolod us that someone had found the folder and turned it in to the koban! And, of course, everything was still in it.
    • A friend of mine left his camera on the rack in the Chuo line train when he got off at Mitaka (1980s). He frantically called and checked every station from Tokyo to Hachioji, but no luck. He remembered that he had not checked his own station, Mitaka. No way it would be there, right? Wrong! Whoever turned it in, realized it belonged to someone who got aff at Mitaka, so s/he made sure to turn it in at that station… Only in Japan!
    • I just read a Xanga post (2003) by KutieAngel04 and she said she left her cell on a wall by the beach. She called her number, some guy answered it and she was able to get it back…
  9. I love Japan… More as I update this list over the weekend

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s