Friday, March 29, 2013

You know you've been in Japan too long when...

You have inexplicably negative reactions to weirdness from other foreigners.

Case in point. This Wednesday it rained during the day and stopped at night. One coworker took off his waterproof jacket, and as he had no way to carry it on his bike, he folded it into the front of the jacket he was wearing. So it looked a bit goofy. Another coworker commented, "You know it's hard enough being a foreigner in Japan without people doing goofy things like that."

And the weird part is I knew exactly how he felt when he said this! Gradually I've gotten to dread being associated with the people who stand out and do things in an off-kilter way.

Why do I care if someone wears goofy clothes? Sometimes I just want a sign that says, "I am not affiliated with this character."

Wednesday, March 20, 2013


I think one difficult thing about being in a different country is different views on medicine. Last nigh for example I started running a fever and this led to something of a discussion about the best way to treat a fever. In America people usually just want to zap it with some fever-lowering medication. But in Japan the feeling is if the fever's lose enough you shouldn't screw up your body's natural germ-zapping reaction, and you should just ride it out. Eventually I did take half of a bufferin tablet, but for a headache, not for the fever. And I had to make a case for it before my friends could approve the measure.

So overall I have " bad news" for couples and friends out there who bridge any kind of cultural gap. When you're feeling lousy is probably the last time you want to discuss different opinions, but it's probably one of the most likely times when people are going to have different approaches to a problem.

Walks off muttering "Just because you're a pharmacy student doesn't mean you can get ideas about the effectiveness of medicine..."

Thursday, March 7, 2013

The kind of book I'd like to see

Someone please tell me where I can buy fiction book written in diary form from the point of view of an American high school student doing a semester abroad in Japan and living with a host family. The book would start with very simple sentences and no kanji but progress in difficulty as the main character learned (in the manner of Flowers for Algernon). The plot would mainly focus on daily life but also have enough drama to keep up the pacing.

If this book doesn't exist, I will write it. When I learn more kanji.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Finally, Vacation Photos!

 So here are the pictures...We took the Shinkansen at 8:10, and it was only my second time to ride one, so I was a little excited.

 There's us at Kyoto Station. In the morning it was snowing in Kyoto.

 At the entrance to Kinkakuji.

 This picture looks like a postcard to me. Or a Christmas/New Year's card. Kinkakuji is a bit like Stonehenge where you just walk around and you're done. But still really cool to look at.

 Then we got the idea to take pictures of Ijiwaruo in famous places. Here he is at Kiyomizudera. Souichirou says he looks very proud in these pictures.
 Again, Kiyomizudera, this time all three of us.

 The postcard angle, with the addition of Ijiwaruo.

 Then later we found a store with all Gibli merchandise. I didn't buy anything, but we took a picture by giant totoro.

 Day two now, at the gardens outside Osakajo.

 Ijiwaruo steals the limelight.

 Sadly this was breakfast. The lady working the stand spoke to us in Osaka-ben.

 Some shots of us outside Osakajo.

 This set is from a movie called "Osaka Yasumi." I've only seen the posters, but it looks like a parody of Roman Holiday, but centered around Osaka.

 Last day, at Universal Studios. We never had to wait longer than 30 minutes for a ride, which seemed like a Miracle. We also saw Waterworld, all in Japanese of course. It was funny to watch after seeing the English version. (The two main characters were still American, which was a bit weird, and their microphones had voice overs in Japanese so they just lip-synched.)
 Reading a map in the line for Space Fantasy.

 Outside Back to the Future. After the ride, Souichirou had to sit down. I thought it was a bit tame.

 Matching Snoopy charms.

And then we found Fisherman's Warf in "San Francisco!" It was like taking a trip back home!

 Ijiwaruo gets eaten by a dinosaur at Jurassic park.

Souichirou is a fan of Snoopy.

This is our last picture. The park closed at 5:00, and after that we had dinner in the Hard Rock cafe. We look a little tired here, but really the last day was the most fun.