Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Memoirs of a Gaijin

Oh that's nice.

So I went to Japan. And here are six observations:

1. It’s ridiculously clean. No, really. And the funny thing is that there are no public garbage cans, so you’d think there would be a lot of littering, but, no, it’s immaculate everywhere. And they’re big into recycling, so that’s a plus.

2. Those medical masks … a lot of people wear them everywhere. I would put the number at two out of ten people, so 20% of people are wearing them in public at any one time. From what I’ve been told, many people wear them when they feel they are getting sick or feel they are susceptible to getting sick. I wouldn’t be surprise to find out that U.S. insurance companies require them in the workplace soon.

3. The train stations play “I’ve been working on the railroad” when a train is coming. I kid you not. And the trains are incredibly on time and no business men groped me*.

4. You only need to know three phrases: 1. Sumi-ma-sen: excuse me, 2. Konichiwa: hello and 3. Arigato go-zi-mas: thank you.

Real nice.
5. Restaurant menus have pictures of each dish and prices are displayed in roman numerals. It’s pretty much the easiest country in the world to be a foreigner (or gaijin). And the food is delicious, especially if you like seafood. One of the best places was this little dive restaurant that served yakisoba noodles at 900-degrees C.

6. Sumo matches are awesome, giant robots** are real and samurai swords are amazingly intricate. All of these things are true and more. If you’re thinking of going, go now. You won’t regret it. Unless you do. Then it’s your own fault.

*Domo arigato gozimas.
**Specifically: Gigantor