Friday, August 2, 2013

Paul's Country Review: Japan

They're Asian, they're loony they love their sex cartoony. 

They watch it while boozing, it's hilarious to see!

That's the extent of my Tiny Toons Japan remix song, I couldn't get anything else to fit the tune.

Anyhoo, we visited japan after a 5 week break in Taiwan and the first thing I noticed was that we got out of travel mode. All of the routines and tricks forgotten, we felt a little lost. Fortunately, Okinawa was pretty laid back and moved at a little slower pace than the rest of Asia so we were able to ease back into it. 

Mainland Japan, was a fairly aggravating place, but I really liked it all the same. On the one hand you see and appreciate how clean it is, how incredibly efficient the public transportation system is - allowing you to get just about anywhere in a relatively short amount of time (makes the US look like we're in the Stone Age), universal health care and education all make it a great place to live. On the other hand, visiting as a tourist is pretty hard as no one really speaks English, and signage is kind of in English (I'll explain later). I guess I thought, given the relationship between the US and Japan, that communicating would be easier but it wasn't. While doing the research on Japan many comments and reviews from tourists all over the globe, all complained about the lack of English but I refused to believe it. 

For example, we take the subway to go see something like Hello Kitty Wrestling (which they didn't have - boo!) This is the easy part because the station stops are in English and it's color coded. When we get off the train we look at the local map - this shows the station, all of its exits (4-12 exits possible depending on the size of the station), and the surrounding streets. When we looked up going to see HKW or guys dressed as Power Rangers fighting to the death (didn't have that either; I don't know what I expected to see here obviously), it said leave the station (doesn't give the exit number - you have a dozen possible exits and you can't give me a hint? C'mon!), and make a right on Hello Kitty street. We check the station map and find Hello Kitty street - ok, this is easy. We get outside and head in the direction the map told us to go and when we get to the street that should be Hello Kitty street it says Voltron the Defender of the Universe street. Ok maybe it's the next one, or the next and so on and so on until we are so far removed from where we want to be and pissed off (ok, I'm pissed off, Christine is quietly and patiently following about 400 yards behind me). We ask someone (Christine asks because most Asians refuse to talk to me, either they assume I can't speak whatever language it is and Christine can, or they think I'm a wizard who wants to hurt them with magic). She asks for Hello Kitty street and this person has never heard of it. It turns out that Voltron street was the correct street, but Hello Kitty is the formal name and Voltron is what the locals in that area call it. What you didn't know? That's what you get for not being Japanese, if you were then you would know that - idiot.

So we didn't see everything we wanted to because we kept getting lost. The things we did see (after getting unlost) are only through sheer determination (see Christine's post on Tokyo tower, we went everywhere to find that thing). Sumo, geishas, baseball and Suntory Highballs (canned scotch and soda - dont judge us!), all made for a great time. 

Absolutely disgusting yet surprisingly delicious

Despite my constant grumbling we had a lot of fun and Japan is a country I would definitely go back to, after I have become fluent in Japanese. 

Bow wow wow yippieyo yippieyay

Oh, Hello Kitty, you don't stand a chance against Jimmy Super Fly Snuka in tonight's steel cage match!

What's pre-teen Asian Paul Loria doing at the Shibuya Station?

Where the @#!$ are we?

Using my inner monologue, how do I tell Christine that we're lost?

Hey Mets fans, remember this bum?

Refuses to take the first pitch

Goes down swinging to end the inning...again

Sato got out of the construction and bullying business and got into pharmaceuticals - not really a big change

Sato's nephew used this to zipline and break up the Bone Dance

The years have not been kind to Chozen (Sato's nephew)

I refuse to comment on the creepy factor of Japan in my country review

I forgot to mention the food challenges I had during our stay in Japan. The Japanese marinate soy sauce in soy sauce so I basically could eat nothing here. Which meant I (we) spent a lot of time at McDonald's.

What? No pork rinds?

Ugh - third time today


  1. Japan is an interesting country: very clean, very polite, and very unassuming--until something horrible happens. And when the next door neighbors are interviewed, they'll say, "I'm so shocked; they were very clean, very polite, and very unassuming".

    - Anonymous.."Oh, but you can't expect to wield supreme executive power just because some watery tart threw a sword at you"

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