{Shaun in Japan}

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Posted by Shaun

Mom: I would like to hear about all topics of interest to you. I am interested in your photo tour as well when you have a chance. By the way, how often do you have international dance practice? 
Okay, I'll work my way through them. And I'll keep trying on the "photo tour." I feel like a creeper taking pictures in my city and neighborhood, because it's not touristy and everyone's going about their normal lives, but I'll try. And I'll definitely get more pictures around Waseda, maybe even tomorrow. Oh, and as far as the international dance club, I ended up joining the Bollywood dance group, and we have practice Mondays and Wednesdays from 6:15pm to around 8pm.

I have also seen texting on a bike
American B movies and like 80s movies seem to be really popular on TV here. It's interesting.

I'm so glad you've settled in more! It sounds like you're having fun!
Man, now I really want unadon. Unagi is like the one thing I haven't had here yet.Talk about whatever you want but CONBINI

And never saying anything! No "on your left!" or even "OI!!!" Bikers just silently nearly run you over.
I've seen the texting too. It's worrisome.

Yes, dear readers, everything in this song is true (bad quality original music video). Or, if anime and video games are more up your alley, just search "convenience store song" on Youtube and you'll get animated versions for every series you can think of. I can't find one with subtitles, but here's a Pokemon version.

I'll explain some of the less obvious parts of the lyrics. (translation from here, slightly different from the video)
"Shall I warm this up for you?" - If you buy a meal at the convenience store, they will ask you if you want it heated and they'll microwave it for you so you can eat it right then. (I'm not sure where, though. They don't have an eating area... and it's hard to find like, streetside benches in Japan. But if you're at school you can take it back to your classroom or if you live close, back to where you live, and you don't need to own a microwave!)
Gathering place for delinquents (They gather at the entrance~) I haven't seen this yet, but Shannon told me she has.
I browse at the magazine stand, standing next to an old man reading porn They sell erotic magazines right out in the open. So you'll be wanting to look at fashion magazines or manga or something and all of a sudden there's these breasts in a skimpy bikini staring at you. Actually, that happens a lot in Japan. They don't really hide their porn like we do in the US.
Though I’m not here to buy anything at all
Public utility bills (Convenience store) You can pay your bills by convenience store. They send you a bill that has a barcode, and you take it to the store. The cashier scans it, and you pay there instead of sending your money somewhere else. Apparently you can also order tickets for events and pick them up at the store.
Hurry up with the photocopies (Convenience store) They have copiers you can pay to use, and 7 Eleven has ATMs, which are free with my bank, 24-7. Hahaha.
The silent part-timer (And expressionless too) They really do usually talk as little as possible. The ones at the Waseda campus Family Mart seem a little more enthusiastic.
Red bean paste bun please (We’ve just run out)
I’ll have a meat bun then (Coming right up!)
These hot buns are sold at the cash register, and the cashier gets them out with a pair of tongs and wraps them up for you. They also have curry buns and pizza buns (kare-man and pizza-man)!
Hold on there, the way you hand me change
onto the palm of my hand any way you please
Don’t give me the receipt using the coins as paperweight!
It’s difficult to put into my wallet
It really annoys me.

They do this consistently, every time you buy anything. I don't think it's just at convenience stores, either, but it's starting to bug me. It really is very hard to sort it out and put it away properly.
Oden, please. (What would you like in it?) Oden is a type of soup where you can choose what you want to put in it, and you pay by the piece. I think usually the oden is at the counter and the cashier ladles in your soup and your chosen toppings, like in this song, but at the Waseda campus Family Mart, probably because it's so busy, you get a bowl and fill it up yourself and then pay for it, I think... I've never actually eaten oden.
I want to use your restroom. (We don’t have one) This is a bad situation to find yourself in if you're traveling around Japan. Been there. Several times.

Andrea: Wow that's really interesting! Are these earthquake simulation centers common? That would probably be a really enlightening experience for a lot of people in the US. 
Shannon mentioned it too, but there are some natural history museums that have earthquake simulation platforms. I just can't remember if it was St. Louis or Chicago. There's probably others too. I'm not sure how common they are, but yeah, it's definitely something worth learning about.

Shaun, just seeing that map of all the earthquakes in the hours following the big quake was enough to throw me into a mild panic. God, I can't even imagine.

I've seen the news clips, too, of people in Fukushima in their temporary housing and schools, talking about where to take their children to school and even if they /can/ go back home whether they ever should. I can't imagine that kind of life. It hurts my heart just to think about it. 

That link was on a website I was supposed to look at for one of my classes, and it was too frightening and moving not to share. I don't really want my blog to upset people, but at the same time, yeah. It's a painful situation in Fukushima, and it's not going to go away soon.

Shannon: I haven't actually been to a grocery store yet since I mostly buy my lunch at conbini or the dining hall. But I should definitely scout one out. I have a weird paranoia of being spotted spending too much time in a place and being called out for being lost and confused, haha. Like today when I wandered in and out and up and down the computer building twice looking for a free computer lab before finally giving up. Or like spending twenty minutes staring at different bottles of shampoo, and then getting worried about being judged by the sales people. ahaha. It's stupid I know.
The Pikachu fish cake link didn't take me anywhere. Too bad, I want to see them! 

I don't really have a paranoia about it, but I'm weirdly aware of how conspicuous I am in a way that I've never been in the US. Sometimes I forget I stand out, but sometimes I'm standing on the train and all of a sudden I think "I wish I looked like everyone else!!" If I'm standing on the train smashed between two strangers and sweating like a pig because I didn't have time to take my coat off, while trying not to lose my balance, while trying to finish my homework by reading PDFs on my phone, or if I trip twice because my flip flops got caught on the lip of the stairs in the train station, then I think "man, I wish I didn't look so different!" It's not like I'm doing things that are culturally weird, but I feel like they're extra-embarrassing or awkward because I'm different.

For anyone who wanted to see the Pikachu fish cakes but the link didn't work, here's two more pictures (close up) (in ramen). They really do sell these at the grocery store by my house.

One Response so far.

  1. Shannon says:

    This is Shannon btw if this stupid thing glitches and doesn't show my account. I'm logged in I swear. >_<
    I'm not sure where, though. They don't have an eating area... and it's hard to find like, streetside benches in Japan.

    I think the worry I have is similar to what you`re talking about. But worse because even in the US I don`t like asking for help with things, like finding things, and I just wander around until I find it.
    But yeah when I trip, or am awkward, or clumsy, or make a stupid mistake, or when I'm hyper or fidgety or loud or hum to myself... It makes me wish I didn't stick out too much. Because I'm sure Japanese people do all these things too but I don't want anyone to look at me being stupid and think "this is what all Americans are like!"

    Oh man the worst was one day when we were in the dining hall and someone told me a funny story and I burst out laughing and EVERYONE turned and stared at me and started whispering to the people next to them. ._.;

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