Thursday, July 07, 2005

Things that are annoying/amusing/pleasing in Japan...


- When Japanese people drag their feet and scuff their shoes (especially high school kids).

- When the teacher that sits next to me chews his food for at least 2 minutes more than he needs to, and loudly and UNNECESSARILY slurps his coffee. And he unconsciously shakes his legs whilst he is at the computer, and he overreacts to blatantly unfunny stories and jokes (I do like him, honestly, it's just he has some annoying habits).

- The fact that ALL of my male colleagues wear short sleeved shirts and a t-shirt underneath in Summer (not the idea of it, just the fact that they all blindly do it like so many sheep).

- The incessant "machine-gun" Japanese speaking of one of my students... unbelievably annoying!

- The moronic bureaucracy that manifests itself in a Japanese school.

- The idiotic "talents" on Japanese TV who talk like idiots and overreact to everything.

- The fact that the various train queues that I see everyday always have the same people in them.

- The fact that you can't get a decent sandwich easily in Japan - chances are it's made from oversweet bread with the crusts cut off, filled with egg and spaghetti and had all the flavour processed out of it.

- The fact that bread only comes in loaves of 6 slices, which are ridiculously overpriced.

- The godawful travesties that are Japanese, Korean, Taiwanese and Canto pop.

- The fact that you can't buy envelopes or packaging in a Japanese post office.

- The way that Japanese shop staff, instead of admitting that they don't know or are not sure, blindly claim that something either doesn't exist or is unavailable (example: multi-region DVD players apparently don't exist in Japan or the rest of the world, even though I have seen and used numerous ones in numerous countries).


- The preference of a great deal of Japanese men for very pink shirts.

- The fact that Japanese hairdressers and barbers have a "menu" outside, listing the prices of haircuts and treatments.

- The fact that there is a hairdressers called Ball Hair in Kurume, named completely straight-faced.

- The way that some Japanese shops have giant moving props outside their premises, like something from The Simpsons.

- Japanese pro wrestling, with it's costumed grapplers, such as Dragon Kid and the blatantly-a-may-queen Anthony "W" Mori, with his sailor garb and a rose in his jauntily-set hat.

- The way that Japanese girls often wear a skirt and trousers together, with no penchant for colour coordination or fashion ( I have been told differing reasons for this trend - it's either that the girls want to wear skirts but fear that lecherous men will peer up them, or that they are following a very 1980s fashion movement).

- The fact that all Japanese mobile phones make a very deliberate and loud noise when taking a photo, due to the alarming increase of upskirt candid photography.

- The blinkered assumption of most Japanese that the eating of whales is somehow rooted in their historic past (the eating of whales only began after the mid 1940s as a cheaper and more practical alternative to beef and other meats), and that the government only hunt and kill whales now in the interests of scientific research (as opposed to exploiting a legal loophole which allows them to keep the supermarket shelves stocked).

- The fact that most Japanese sweets and chocolates are individually wrapped.

- The Japanese overreaction to getting a cold (nutrition drips, hospital visits, bag fulls of medication).

- When I worked at a large English conversation school and walked into the "teaching cubicle" to find my student with a large white patch over her eye, and said "what did you do to your eye?", and she said, completely deadpan, "which one.


- Japanese drip-coffee, which is generally delicious.

- Some of the quirky adverts on Japanese TV (such as Beat "psycho teacher from Battle Royale" Takeshi hugging a large egg at the bottom of the sea, Lucy Liu riding a bicycle up the side of an office block, a man choosing his lottery numbers by playing musical chairs with numerous beauties in numbered negliges, and so on).

- The fact that my fiancee, seemingly overnight, has developed a flair for cake and pastry making.

- The ridiculously cheap and high-end technology available everywhere.

- The fact that you can send umpteen phone emails every single day for a pittance.

- Being able to go to a large, well-maintained bowling alley and play 10 games for about £7, as opposed to about £5 a game back in England at a dim, poorly-maintained alley.

- The way that Japanese girls say "nng" instead of "yes".

- The delights of a Japanese bath and futon.

- Green tea ice cream.

- When arrogant, jutting salarymen fall asleep on the train and miss their station.

- The incredibly cheap, lightning fast internet access that's available even in a little city like Kurume.


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