‘Shabu’ alone is slang for heroin.
So be careful out there, kids.
18. Japanese read vertically and left to right. Oh yeah, and it’s all in kanji. Which looks like this:
P.S. For those aware of mine & Oakie’s & Katie’s & Ben’s 2015 Book Challenge (53 books in a year in categories like A Book Over 100 yrs. old and A Book Your Mom Loves), I’ve completed 40 and have COMPLETE CONFIDENCE that I will finish by the end of the year.
HEADS UP: I AM NOT “GOOD” AT BLOGGING SO PLEASE FORGIVE THE INEVITABLE FORMAT CHANGES FROM POST TO POST AS I FIGURE OUT HOW TO DO THIS THING…
As we venture into the beginning of our second full week in Japan, I’ve reflected on the feelings/opinions/expectations I’ve realised (yes, I just spelled it like I live in Britain; leave me alone) in my time here.
But first it’s time for a little game called NAME THAT JAPANESE STEREOTYPE in which I address stereotypes that I’ve encountered and attempt to prove them one way or the other. Please see my previous post if this doesn’t seem PC enough for you…
Stereotype #6: Japanese people are technologically advanced and have crazy tech inventions for everyday things. Truth. We’ve eaten at two sushi places so far and they have both had conveyor belts for sushi that just travel around the restaurant offering plates of sushi for you to grab. Then they keep track of your tab by the colour-coded (seriously, just shut up about the way I spell things…) plates (blue is 108¥; red is 230¥; etc.). It’s efficient and way cool. We also dined at a restaurant where you order from a vending machine, get a ticket which you give to the server who then brings you the food. Cool part is you’ve already paid at the vending machine so when you’re done, you just leave! And then there was THIS magic:
We arrived in the Tokyo Airport almost two days ago.
So far, I’ve seen:
Mountains every time I look to the west and I. Love. Mountains.
Groups of small children in matching school uniforms (heart in a puddle due to the cuteness level).
Cherry trees with the promise of explosive blooming come spring.
Sushi restaurants with conveyor belts of sushi (wut.)
And pine trees trained as bonsai trees that grow in crazy shapes (which if you’ve ever seen a pine tree, you know this is a huge improvement).
But I’m getting ahead of myself.
As soon as we got off the plane I was bombarded with the reality of Japanese stereotypes.
So to start things off today, I will address a few of these.
Welcome to today’s Episode of NAME THAT JAPANESE STEREOTYPE where I will attempt to debunk 5 stereotypes I have encountered recently. (*disclaimer: If this sounds like something that will offend you, may I refer you to my OTHER blog www.iswearilovejesus.com) (*disclaimer’s disclaimer: that is not a real blog)
Stereotype #1: Japanese people wear masks all the time. Truth. I guess THIS is how they maintain their “Rabies-Free” status.
Stereotype #2: Japanese people tend to be stylish. Truth. Several outfits made me want to ask “where’d you get that, girl?! I mean…kon’ichiwa.”
Stereotype #3: Japanese people like cats. Truth. On the bus to Camp Zama I saw a building whose logo was a yellow oval with a black cartoon cat carrying another smaller black cartoon cat in its mouth. I can’t even START to imagine what that company does… #cats #japan #taylorswift (whaaa? How’d that one get in there?) Also, maybe they’re just partial, but this animal hospital looks a little discriminatory…
Stereotype #4: Japanese people have been into bangs WAY longer than Americans. Yesssssss. And they’re still incredibly popular. I’ll fit in just fine here.
Stereotype #5: Japanese people are very polite/nice. HA. Boy is THAT a load of………………………………….truth.
Oakie and I landed in Tokyo at 3:30pm local time knowing that we had one shot at making the 4pm bus to Camp Zama or we would be stuck there till the 7pm bus rolled through. By the time we got through customs we had 10 minutes to make the bus. We asked the officer at customs and he pointed us in the right direction which was just outside, but Step One nonetheless. Oakie then leaves to ask around and 5 minutes later I see him pass me without a glance, laughing and chatting with a lovely Asian lady he seems to have just FOUND inside. He follows her across the street and they disappear into the crowd.
By this point, I’ve been bumped into and apologized to no less than half a dozen times, we have 4 minutes to catch the bus and still no sign of Oakie. And then, just how you’d imagine it’d happen he comes sprinting through the crowd, tells me he found the bus, we’re late, but they’ll wait.
Insert a word problem math equation (looking at you Lindsay Lage):
Oakie & Caroline need to catch a bus in 3 minutes, but have 8 bags between them, 3 of which weigh over 65lbs. Considering time constraints and travel stress, what are the odds that they will catch the bus without murdering one another?
That’s right! You got it! If you add 3 kind Japanese men to the equation, each rolling one 65lb. bag; 1000 thank you’s and 1 patient bus driver, Oakie & Caroline make the bus alive, with no time to spare and a remainder of 1 good story.
Confession Time: There we were, Oakie, myself and three full-grown Japanese men, caravanning (defined in the dictionary as: through the Great Unknown of Tokyo’s bus system and I was just
giggling smiling to myself at the sheer enormity of the ridiculous kindness they were showing us.
Welcome to Japan.