Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Things I've learned in Japan, Part One

I have finally mastered ironing shirts. I gave up on it years ago, thinking it was a useless activity that only suckers partook in. I was incredibly wrong. I can now iron a shirt in under 30 minutes, which is impressive compared to my original time of 90 minutes with only minor burns. Added bonus; I don't look like a homeless person as much.

There are more kinds of tea then you could ever possibly imagine. Don't even bother trying to learn them.

Kanji is a language that was designed to separate the weak minded from the intelligent. And by weak minded, I mean white people. There are no actual rules for this alphabet. Just 30,000 characters of pure memorization pain that only stephen hawking could learn at a reasonably satisfying pace. And the joke's on us, because the Japanese share this language with the Chinese! So when the Asians rule the world (predicted for 2025), the inferior races will be recognized as illiterate.

Bicycles are awesome. When I was a teenager, I decided that bikes were no longer cool. It was around the same time that running also became uncool, and smoking became interesting (there's some correlation there, I just know it). But bikes and I have become friends again. You have shown me the way, bicycle, and I'm sorry I doubted you. I'll even forgive you for the bruised shins you have been giving me every time I use you.

Never underestimate the power of a shiny sticker to a 6 year old. I have found the cryptonite for children, and it comes with a mild adhesive.

Japanese names follow no particular gender/vowel rules. Most English girls names contain a lot of e's and a's. This is not the case here. Never ever assume it's a girl or a boy unless your told specifically. There are a lot of androgynous people here, with a lot of androgynous names. Yuki is a name for both boys and girls, and both in abundance. I have 3 in one class (classes of 8).

The game "hang man" is really taboo here. Hanging is still used as a form of capitol punishment, so it's really not okay to joke about it. To make matters worse, that's the number one way people commit suicide here. And japan has the highest suicide rate in the world... So yeah. Not a game for kids, apparently.

Electric cars are creepy. I know they're super awesome for the environment, but not so much for pedestrians. When an electric car comes to a stop at a light, it makes NO sound. Engineers are already installing an "idling" noise because of how many accidents are piling up. Also, I'm pretty sure that most of them are self-aware.

Where the hell are all the tampons? Oh that's right; not in Japan. Japanese women think tampons are unhealthy, so they're really difficult to find. You know what's unhealthy? Wearing a diaper to work. Nough said.

Music here is terrible. Now, there are some notable exceptions, but 99% of it is total garbage. This is why the standard conversation starter "what kind of music do you like?" is usually met with the response "I don't like music." If I had to listen to Jpop all day, I'd hate music too. Side note; this explains why karaoke with western music is so popular.

1 comment: