Funny Thing About Japan (3)

You know those white pebbles/rocks that some people put on the ground in front of their houses to decorate the property slightly? Well as I walked past some that happened to have 2 pebbles that had left the pack and were a few cm onto the sidewalk, my eyes automatically zeroed in on them like a fighter jet’s radar locking in on enemy aircraft and I gently kicked the two outsiders back into homogeneosity… My 2 weeks on this planet (Japan IS on another planet) have trained me well… Everything and everyone have their specific place here… Everyone dresses in dark or neutral colors so as to fit in – there are umbrella racks at every doorway, sometimes with cylindrical plastic bags to put your wet umbrella in – there are extra rolls of toilet paper on racks in most public toilets, which are found in all subway stations and small malls and cafes and restaurants, even the tiny little restaurants the size of a North American closet – When a teacher utters 1 syllable the whole class quiets down and listens carefully – nobody runs into anybody even at five-road intersections where 1000 pedestrians can cross the same sidewalk at a traffic light change – I have yet to find a rotten fruit or veggie in a store or a dirty corner of either Tokyo, Kyoto, Hiroshima or Osaka – stores are constantly cleaned and clothes folded without delay – NOBODY walks across a red light even if there is no car in sight – finding a scratched car is almost mission impossible – almost all cars are black, white or grey – every character’s stroke from their 3 alphabets (of hundreds of characters each) has a specific way of being written and for calligraphy to be considered perfect it can take a skilled artist many years of practice until a single letter is written properly…

What I don’t understand is the absolutely mind boggling crazyness that Japanese tv puts on the air or the small completely ridiculous details that people here have learned to live with: women with baby carriages are NEVER helped in public places, not even to go up or down stairs – the red light district has clubs specifically for prostitutes to drink away their sorrows – quitting your job is unacceptable no matter what your boss does to you – everyone has the same mobile phone design no matter what the make or network you are with (considering this is a high tech country… this is surprising)… – it is normal for a store’s salesgirls to be dressed in maids uniforms (i.e. the jeans store I bought my Japanese jeans in) – you won’t be given anything other than chopsticks in a restaurant even if you need to cut something and a knife would have been handy…and finally: it is accepted that men like their women to look like 12 year old school girls… Did I mention that kids eat dried squid as a snack (you’ll find them next to the nuts and candies in the supermarket)…? Or the donut box I bought that contained hard-to-open individually wrapped donuts?…

Anyway, just had 2 write this down… back to Montreal I go!


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