Thursday, July 10, 2003

Notes on Japan

Semester at Sea, Port 4: Osaka, Japan

Ok... so enough about what I did... here are some things i noticed about Japan

(1) Food: Japanese food is amazing. I am obsessed with it! Believe it or not, the best part was their convenience store food! I'm so serious. Every little store or kiosk had sushi and little rice rolls and noodles, it was AMAZING food. Its actually funny because there are a lot of 7-11 stores in Japan, but originally, they were doing really poor in the market because the food they had was crap. (like the food in our convenient stores in the states) So they actually had to put better food in their stores to stay in business in Japan because their “fast food” standard is so much higher than ours. Probably out of everything I ate, I could recognize about 1% of it, but I did not try one thing that I didn't like. (This picture is of my last meal that I got at a convenient store, it was freeking awesome)

(2) People: The people in Japan are so quiet, and very polite and welcoming. We were by far the loudest people there and we were trying to be quiet. I would have never thought a crowded subway could be that quiet. They are extremely respectful people.

(3) Beggars... o yeah they didn't have any! Japan is all about saving face, its about respect, honor, unity... they will never do anything to disgrace themselves or their families.

(4) Litter.... o yea they didn't have any of that either! Their city streets have about 1/4 the amounts of garbage cans in their cities and still NO LITTER, at all! It was amazing, we were always looking for garbage cans but no one ever saw any litter. In Japan they are totally all about loyalty to their emperor and their country, that is above all else and then family is RIGHT behind that, so they don't litter because they love and respect their country… what a novel idea.

(5) Models: First of all, there are NO fat people in Japan. But for how little the people are there, I mean TINY people, their swim suit models are bigger than ours.. now don't get me wrong, they still have perfect bodies, but they have bigger boobs and more curves than American ones... go figure.

(6) Japanese people separate themselves from the rest of Asia. There are Asians, and there are Japanese... Japanese people are not Asians. Interesting.

(7) Temples and Technology: One of the craziest things about Japan is seeing one of the most technologically advanced countries in the world and then everywhere you go you see traces of their ancient civilization. Right in between two sky scrapers, you can see temples and shrines built centuries ago. It hard to believe that it all coexists in the year 2003. It’s just amazing.

Finally two other fun things of note:

their main toilet design is basically a porcelain hold in the ground that you squat over. It is very weird to see a middle-aged (or older) woman come out of a stall and realize that she was just squatting over a hole... bizarre.

Also, you can buy beer out of vending machines!

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