Japan Wierdness


Been busy with work. I will update y’all this weekend.

I apologize for updating this blog only once a week. Believe it or not, I’m actually doing things here that involve me “going outside”, I think is the correct term. I was berated recently for not providing you, the eager readers, with more cool stuff from Japan. So, without further ado, here are a bunch of random cell phone pictures. My favorites: “Madeline Ave.” and “Hey, you, isn’t it tasty? Don’t you dare say that.”

         

…and didn’t ask.

Corn is literally everywhere, from salads to sushi to pizza. Why? We’ll never know. Rebecca found a single kernel of corn in the women’s restroom. It was next to the sink.

Packaging is excessive. Everything you order is wrapped in at least 2 bags, and at least one of those bags is taped shut, thus making removing the contents of said bag extremely difficult.

Napkins and paper towels are non-existent. Most restaurants just don’t have them, or they’re hidden behind the counter and you have to ask for them, and when you do, you are invariably given 1 or 2, at most. Most Japanese people carry around a handkerchief with them for this purpose. But, to my enthnocentric mind, that’s even MORE disgusting. So I use this handkerchief as a tissue, napkin, and towel??? Ewww! Although I’m sure it’s environmentally better, it grosses me out.

You know Japanese people love seafood. Well, they also love hot dogs with the same fervor. Yes, hot dogs. They turn up everywhere, much like the above-mentioned corn. I’ve seen hot dogs in the middle of buns (like pigs in a blanket), little hot dogs on their own in the grocery store (like cocktail weenies), and hot dogs on a stick, like corn dogs. However, for some reason there are no street vendors selling hot dogs in buns. I have a feeling that a NYC hot dog vendor would make a killing here!

Okay, here are some random pix from my cell phone that I’ve been accumulating for a few weeks. Enjoy the “zi cock” and check out the “nice day card.” In Japanese it says “DICK” in huge letters. Also, “there’s ‘cold’ in them thar hills” made me laugh and it was clever. And the Mets drink…

          

So Marty and Randy have left to go explore the rest of Kansai before heading back to Texas. And I’m left here, trying to get some sleep for a change, but I can’t seem to do it!

Tomorrow I have a party to welcome a new teacher and say farewell to one of our existing teachers. Izumi is leaving to go to France, which is just about the coolest thing ever. She will probably study English, and may do more teaching. Also, she’s going to learn about wine on a vineyard, which is incredible.

Heard this on NPR this morning: Hipster Handbook released in NYC.

By the way, here’s the song: Back To Life

Oh, my friend Kim made this fantastic anti-war poster:

Contest Update: Pictures have been taken by the competitors. They will be posted within the next two days for you, the eager judges, to pronounce once and for all who the superior photographer is. “And yea, it shall be written on web parchment and given to the people so that they shall know the victor.”

Actual entry: Japan is truly a country of paradoxes. For example, the incredible convenience of bill paying compared to the agaonizing process of going to the bank. I have just found out that I can pay all my bills at any local convenience store. They come with a bar code that the register-guy just scans in, and then I pay him. That’s it, bills paid! Terrific, right? But let’s say I want to go to the bank for some reason. Not the ATM, but the actual BANK.

“Banker’s hours” are apparently global, which isn’t that much of a surprise, but it’s annoying. But the REAL problem with the banks here is their ridiculous inefficiency. Here’s an anecdote which happened to me about a year ago, when I went to visit Ben in Tokyo. I wanted to get some change for a 10,000Yen (about $100) bill, so I went to the bank. I went to the main counter, and the polite woman indicated that I should take a number from the machine. Normally, I would have found this acceptable, but I was the only one in the bank!

So, I kind of made a questioning face, and she gestured once again to the number-dispenser. I took the number quizzically, and sat down. Sure enough, right after I sit down, there’s a little “ding”, and my number is called. So I go to the counter and try to explain what I need in my poor Japanese. The teller pushes a form across the counter. I’m trying to understand why I would need a form for this simple procedure, and I think maybe she’s misunderstood me, but NO, I do in fact need a FORM to get CHANGE FOR A BILL. So I fill out the form, and she gestures for me to sit down again. I’m starting to look for the hidden camera at this point. After about 30 seconds, there’s another “ding”, and she hands me my change. This entire procedure took between 5 and 10 minutes, what with the sitting and the form, so I’m just in shock. I leave the bank with my change in hand feeling like I’ve just left beauracratic hell.

And that kind of situation is common in every big institution in Japan; bank, government, post office, etc. It strange that they are so ahead of us in technology and convenience, and yet so behind in efficiency. I don’t think I’ll ever understand it, I’ll just try to get used to it.

Here’s some pictures of me and Akemi. We went out to dinner, and hung out in a cool area of the city called Namba. The rest of the pictures will have to wait for the contest to begin tomorrow.

 

For those who haven’t seen this, I made this movie last year when I returned from Tokyo. This is hopefully a taste of more movies to come… Stay tuned.

I’m up late and these are funny. Real ads from real places in Osaka.
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Dio was on a little Honda scooter. Dio has rocked for a long, long time…

While posting, I was rocking out to Dio from the album “Tenacious D” by Tenacious D.

Japan is just full of wierd random english everywhere. Like this box of cereal for example:

And this store: black and white and…

And finally, “Let’s ?????” Uhh…yeah, let’s.

While posting, I was rocking out to Underground from the album “Naked Baby Photos” by Ben Folds Five

Training pictures. The last picture has our 3 managers crouching beneath us. No jokes, please.
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More to come soon…