Thu 30 Oct 2003
No, I am not going crazy. Don’t worry, I’m still enjoying my experience here. I just wanted people to know part of the real, day-to-day experience of living here. Also, according to “Culture shock: Japan”, the second wave of culture shock occurs 10-12 MONTHS after arrival. So that’s probably it.
Rant #2: NOISE POLLUTION. There is no escaping the constant aural assault once leaving my apartment, and honestly the walls are so thin in my apartment, it isn’t a safe haven either. During the bike ride to the train station, I am blasted by trucks with giant loudspeakers mounted on top chanting political slogans and random other city information. Even if the information is valuable, having it blared at 100dB doesn’t help my brain processes. Once I arrive at the station, there’s no break.
Let me digress here for a special annoyance: the escalator. There is an automated announcement constantly playing at the bottom of the escalator which says (in Japanese, of course), “Be careful, there’s an escalator in front of you which is moving so get ready to step on the escalataor which is right here. Oh no, look out, here comes the escalator! It’s RIGHT HERE! MY GOD, GET AWAY, THIS WILL KILL YOU!” And that’s the just at the BOTTOM. This plays until you get about halfway up the escalator, at which point the NEXT announcement starts playing, to the tune of “Okay, so the escalator is going to stop soon. Get ready to get off the escalator. Okay, here it comes… GOOD LORD! THE END OF THE ECSALATOR! WE’RE ALL GOING TO DIE!” There is NO time on the escalator when you can just BE ON THE ESCALATOR.
So I’ve made it up and/or down the escalator into the train station…where, once again, there is a barrage of automated announcements saying helpful things like, “Be careful of the train that may come at any time. There is no smoking on the train but there is a special smoking corner on the platform. Get ready, becuase a train will come here at the train platform.” This is a female voice. Then there is a MALE voice to actually announce the ARRIVAL of the train. These two announcements play AT THE SAME TIME. No, I’m not joking.