Wednesday, March 22, 2006

oh, be quiet.

I'm back from a month of silence for this breaking news:

1) wedding's in four months. Are you coming?
If so, it's time to get your plane tickets and make hotel reservations! Please check the wedding blog for more information.

2) I can READ!!
... my job at NEC is pretty dull. I just run tests on a buggy system all day, and most of what I do is enter stuff in excel. Its really boring, so to pass the time, I look up all the japanese words I can. Sounds dumb, but it's been really beneficial. Just the other day, I was reading a magazine article on the train, and I excitedly noticed.. I could read a good 75% of it!! A lot of the boring words I've been learning at work are used all the time! It was very exciting. ^^ I don't know what trying on glasses for the first time feels like, but my friend said there was this moment of extreme excitement as she said "the TREES... they have LEAVES!!!" Haha. That's exactly the feeling. ^_^

3) No time for judo, first time for volleyball!
Judo was fun, but its on Tuesdays and Fridays from 6-9. I usually get home from work about 9 (because of the really long commute on my favorite favorite train ride), so i's just not possible to go these days (sniff). However my coworker has taken me to his volleyball club the last couple of saturdays, it's been really fun! and dude. did you know you're allowed to kick the ball? like with your feet?! This was definitely an unknown fact to me. Another unknown fact: very very painful forearms!! ow. But its a first cooperative sport for me, very fun. I like hearing the "english" expressions my teammates say too, like 'kaba!' (cover) "naishoo!" (nice shoot) etc. ^_^

4) This place (japan) seems to love noisy machines. Everything TALKS to you, I just hate it. The elevators tell you the doors are opening and closing, what floor you're on. They even tell you when the load is getting too heavy. They could probably even tell your fat percentage if they really wanted too. "passenger #4 is over weight limitations alloted per customer!" It would merrily chirp, to their morbid embarrasment.

here are some things that talk when they really shouldn't: *ticket machines: They only talk when you do something wrong, and very loudly. If you're too slow at putting in the right coins, they shout: "THIS IS NOT ENOUGH MONEY!"

*ATMS: yeah. They're horrible. They shout: "Don't forget to take your cash!" Great, now everyone in the bank knows I'm going to be carrying a wad of cash. Good thing there are so few mugging incidents here.

*busses: they play advertisements nonstop. I tried the busses once, and I couldn't even understand the ads and I wanted to get off. It's trains for me forever, I'm afraid.

The only elevators I like are the ones at NEC. They con't talk, they chime, and all of the chimes are in a pleasant major triad. There are tons of elevators and they all have glass windows. They're so pretty, and when they're all running, it sounds like windchimes. *^_^*

Monday, March 06, 2006

The Eyes!

Hello, this will be a short entry mostly to let you know I am alive, and to make sure everyone keeps checking in on me from time to time and not abandon me as 'that japan girl' ^_~

Here in Tokyo, where you are constantly being shoved against people at much tighter quarters than one would deem reasonable, people have developed a sort of self-preservation technique of non-confrontation. It is very rare to see someone tapping another person on the shoulder, and saying, "would you mind turning that racket down? I can hear your music through your headphones from across the bus!" After that, just make some quip about their poor taste in music, add some swearing, and that would be the typical american solution to an annoying person in your immediate vicinity.

Not so here. Some people will go on and on about 'japanese self-restraint' or whatever, but when you live here, you know that the average person is just as short tempered and ready to bust out the bad words as a new yorker. They just don't because they're on the train... squished like sardines!

Honestly, the trains in the morning are terrible. I suddenly understand the train perverts. I personally have been squeezed against other men and women tight enough to make you think it was Saturnalia. It is a very unplesent feeling when your hands are stuck, quite firmly, between two peoples butts. I know, because I an an accidental chikan = (translation: train pervert)! *weeps in shame*.
This makes me think chikans had their first few gropes entirely by accident, and became.. addicted. (They should have a billboard by the train station reading:, "the first grope's always free on Tokyo metro!" )

Anyways, think sardines.
If someone's headphones are playing really loud in your ear, you CANT use your hands to tap them on the shoulder. You can't talk to them because they can't hear you. Besides, you don't want to attract the attention of the 50 million people in your car. So what you use are your EYES!!!

Tokyoites have become master of the GLARE. The evil glare of death that makes you shudder. Old ladies are the best, but anyone can do it. Da stinkeye has become the weapon of choice in this crowded urban jungle, and it is nothing to scoff at.

Japan has a lot of 'manners' billboards, trying to convince people to be polite to each other, not to smoke while walking, not to run onto the train, not to throw garbage out your window... they are always really cute cartoony slogans, and they are EVERYWHERE. But anyways, this particular one caught my attention, because it captured the EYES so well. about 40 people are all surrounding at a jerky looking guy, poking some guy with his backpack. And they all have: the GLARE.
It isn't cute or cartoony, but it sure sells its message:
"Wearing your backpack on the train is punishable by the LOOK OF DEATH. You have been warned".

Luckily for the guy in the poster, he seems to be wearing sunglasses and headphones, so he is immune to the ill affects. I reccommend this technique to anyone riding the trains in rushhour. The backpack may even be worth the risk because of the buffer zone it makes between you and possible perverts. me...*sob*

Happy riding! ^_~