Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Tokyo’s Narrow Streets, Short People and My Lunch

Did you ever wonder what it would be like to wake up in a land full of little people who put octopus and squid in your lunch? No? Neither did I, but that pretty much sums up my life at this point. There was definitely a lot of squid and octopus in my lunch yesterday, I wasn’t expecting that but it wasn’t all that bad either.

As for the short people, my family and friends know I’m pretty tall and as anyone who’s been to Japan knows a lot of the people here are not all that tall. So my view when I walk down the street tends to be something like the photo below, notice the photo looks like it was taken above the crowd, that’s my normal view on the street:

One of the charming things about walking around Tokyo is that it’s got tons of side streets and alleys, and often if you walk down the alley you’ll discover that there are even more alleys and side streets jutting off the first alley. Often there’s little restaurants and shops hidden in the maze of side streets, here’s what a couple of the side streets look like:


Anonymous said...

Wow, awesome stuff Ryan. Some quick stream of consciousness notes as I perused your postings. I'm sure I'll babble a bit about Shanghai when I was working abroad there since it seems to parallel a lot of your experiences.

1) Business class is the bomb.

2) The humanoid traffic robot is both a testament to the ingeniusness of the japanese as well as their freakish, constant attempt to mechanize everything.

3) I wouldn't feel too guilty about ordering room service. Of course, by all means, eat out at different places whenever possible and soak up as much of the local culture even with the associated difficulties. But when you're tired after a day at the office, another round of "culture headbutt" can be taxing.

4) Nice looking phones. Also, squid is delicious.

5) In re: the fancy payment system at the color coded plate restaurant, places out east seem to be quite different in terms of how you actually pay for your meal. I once stumbled into a mall looking for some quick cheap eats and went up to a stall. Little did I know that you can't actually pay for your meal at the stall itself, but you had to purchase a pre-paid card at some central terminal in the mall before you can buy anything. After about 5 mins of wild gesticulating, the lady actually just took my money and went to the terminal herself and did it for me. Embarrasing, but worth it for the very tasty food.

Be glad that at least you're very obviously a "gaijin" so that when you have difficulties communicating, people instantly know why. Being a chinese person in china and not being fluent in mandarin just makes you look retarded. Lots of furrowed brows and awkward situations. Keep up the good blogging.

rrbhs99 said...

Hey John,

I can understand your comment about it being good that I am obviously a gaijin, I have two co-workers who are originally from Hong Kong and Japanese people everywhere assume they speak Japanese because they are Asian. Its frustrating for them to have everyone assume that they speak the language and then be treated like they are idiots when they don’t speak Japanese.

I agree business class is definitely the bomb, especially on Asian airlines because the standard of service is so much higher. Flying JAL is amazing.