Illusions of Japan dispelled

Most people who become interested in Japan, and even many who aren’t have a certain number of assumptions and illusions about this country.  I don’t want to sound overly critical or jaded, but many of these are just plain false, or misrepresented.  When people think of Japan they invision polite intelligent people in a very technologically advanced society.  And they probably imagine all these people watching lots of cartoons, bloody movies with sad endings, and reading manga a lot.

From what I can tell, most Japanese are no more polite than any given American.  Really I mean Oklahoman when I say this as they are what I’ve had the greatest amount of experience with and I’ve heard it said that Oklahomans are quite friendly, but that is beside the point.  They will talk to you if you ask questions, they will offer directions on occassion, and generally helpful if you seem to have problems.  One exception to this is when you are on bike.  While biking you are at best invisible and at worst down right dispised.  People often don’t move for you to get by, and have often moved directly infront of me while looking straight at me.

The technology part is what amazed me.  Aside from making many things much smaller, there really is not a great rift between Japanese technology and the states’.  But then there are cellphones.  The Japanese have us in a headlock when it comes to cellphones.  Most of the features our phones in the states are just now implementing, they have had here in Japan for years.  Nice cameras, mp3s, video, tv, internet, etc.  And the Japanese use these phones constantly.  I would guess that the average Japanese sends 5-10 times as many messages via their mobile than an American.  Perhaps more.  Sadly, their failing in my eyes is their quality of internet connectivity.  Most of the locations that I have tried accessing the internet from have had poor connections, and lousy download speeds.  Not what I would have expected from such a “technologically advanced” country.

From what I can tell, Japanese do not watch many Japanese movies, nor do they listen to much Japanese music.  They too have been inundated with American culture.  I’ve not met a great deal of Japanese that still watch anime either.  Perhaps this is more of a subculture.  Perhaps this is something left to the ‘otaku.’  Although there does seem to be quite a few animated movies coming out.  On the other hand, manga are still extremely popular and you can see people reading them all over, especially on trains.

I still like Japan, its a wonderful country to live in most of the time.  My advice to any of you interested in living in Japan for a stint is this, assume anything you read/saw in a manga/anime is wrong, people are generally nice but don’t want anything to do with you, and get an awesome cellphone.

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Penthouse Views and Broken Fingers

I seem to have the worst luck with injuries. Anytime I have one, I never do it the easy way. We were playing catch and I catch a ball wrong and stub my finger. Not so serious I figured, I’ve done it dozens of times. We tried pulling on it and messing with it and eventually iced it and left it alone. But eventually I went to the hospital cuz it looked a little funny, and I could only move the tip in one direction.

So yeah, its broken. And as I said, I never do anything the easy way. Turns out the area of the bone where the tendons connect broke off. The tendon is fine, the bone is just screwed. Well, actually its about to get screwed. Or more acurately pinned. Two pins to be precise. I go in on monday for the surgery. Really I should count myself lucky; I’m getting to see a rare side of Japan (the inside of a hospital) and its considerably more cheap than getting it done at home. Socialized health care is awesome. I’m definitely a fan now. Six X-Rays and all my lab work cost me LESS than $90, and the surgery is only going to cost about ¥15000, which is around $135. A small fraction of what it would most likely cost in the states.

As for Penthouse Views, some friends and I went down to Osaka to party at the top of the Hilton. A nice buffet of gormet cakes and other various desserts accompanied by one of the best views in Osaka. Some of the best cake I have ever had; they even had Sakura Cheesecake. Once I gather the pictures I will post them.

“When a man cries, he cries alone, but when he laughs, the world laughs with him.” – Oldboy

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Shinto Genital Worship

Penis StatueI was wondering around one of the less travel corners of Kyoto a few days ago and I noticed the top of a peculiar statue peaking over the top of some bushes. “Well, that looks just like a -“, I said to myself. After a little investigation I realized that I had stumbled upon an entire shrine dedicated to worship of both the penis and the vagina. I’m not to sure about the specifics, but I’ve heard that this used to be a large part of the Shinto traditions. Regardless of their origin, I took a few pictures to share with the good denizens of the intarweb. Please enjoy.

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Some help

日本語の練習をしなければならないよ。 僕の日本語方はまだ上手じゃないけど、もう勉強してる。 もし英語を習いたくたら、何かをよんでもいいよ。 FirstSecondがめっちゃ正しい英語だ。 本当に。 笑! 授業があるから、またね~!

I’m not gonna give an English translation this time! Bwahahaha. You should still check the two links though, as they will provide enlightenment, education, and… and… Well just do it or your mother will love you less!

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