Things I noticed during my stay in Japan

Intended to be read tongue in cheek. I’ll keep updating this post, please revisit if this post amuses you.

  • Outside the cities the yellow light has no meaning when driving a car and it is perfectly okay to drive through the red light and get annoyed with pedestrians and cyclist when they get the green light and start walking.
  • Japanese idols,  I’ll let you in on a secret: A song that needs a few words in English thrown into the lyrics randomly does suck big time and you better ask your record company to make an effort for a change and come up with some better lyrics, BABY!
  • On the topic of music: Japan has some great musicians in every genre of music where they win international acclaim. Jazz, classical music, rock, etc. You just don’t see them on TV where cute and androgynous idols rule ad nauseam. Check out Mr Children, Dragon Ash, The Blue Hearts, and my current favourites SCRAP.
  • It is perfectly okay to sit on the Priority/Courtesy seats in trains as long as you pretend to be asleep so you don’t need to get up when somebody boards the train for whom these seats are intended. Or wait, that cannot be right!
  • A lot of TV programs are about food and include a lot of outcries of surprise and invariably ends with tasting the food and then declaring it to be UMAI!!
  • All TV programs are presented to a panel of celebrities whose faces are shown as inserts to show their reactions so the viewing public at home knows when to be amused, interested, sad or surprised.
  • Murder makes for at least a week of repeats on the news where the same details of the police investigation are repeated ad nauseam. Japan must be terribly unsafe when cute girls can be murdered in their apartments by a neighbour! (No it is isn’t)
  • The fact that the same police almost let the Aum suspect Takahashi escape twice and the manga cafe owner had to urge the detectives to check his identity after first deciding it wasn’t the guy, never made much of a splash in the media. This was a few days after the police had already missed a big chance to arrest him. Clumsiness like this does make me question how well protected we are.
  • Is there a TV program imaginable that doesn’t include Katori Shingo?
  • An umbrella is a bad idea in a typhoon, but a raincoat does keep you dry very nicely as I found out during the passing of typhoon #4 last week. So why does everybody use an umbrella, gets drenched and blown all over the place in the strong winds? A mountain of broken umbrellas was left the next day which makes for cool photography and TV, I guess.
  • It is very likely cheaper to buy a new camera in your home country than in Japan by a considerable amount. This includes the shops in Akihabara I visited. As sales tax is still at only at 5%, ‘tax free for tourists’ is hardly worth the bother.
  • The local yakitori place doesn’t think twice to leave a bucket of uncooked chicken skewers out in the sun for hours at temperatures around 30°C (or rain for that matter) without any cooling. I haven’t heard about a local surge in food poisoning related deaths in the neighbourhood, so I guess he knows what he’s doing.
  • Large protests and demonstrations are not newsworthy on TV. I guess a celebrity visited some shop that day which took priority of course (This in context with the demonstrations of thousands I witnessed in Yoyogi over the weekend and the protests related to the hurried restart of the Oi nuclear reactor, neither was mentioned on the news, and the incredible amount of time the TV spends on celebrity related “news”)
  • A silly hat and/or silly glasses is reason enough to be on TV! Hot smile
  • Bread comes in many flavours: white, white, white and white, sweet and very, very sweet. Could kill for some whole wheat bread…

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