Monday, December 04, 2006

Back to the future

Hey... so I'm back in Japan, after a well-deserved thanksgiving break.

You know, I was getting really used to Japan and started losing my 'gaijin eyes'.. ie, seeing everything rendered through a foreign lens, where everything is either mysterious, awesome, quirky, or all three. I like to equate looking at a foreign country from the outside something akin to looking at an aquarium.

"look at those pretty rocks!" you say, or "my goodness, look at the weird fish with 17 arms, isn't that a hoot?!"

Whereas, living in the foreign country is like being a new fish in that aquarium. You think about it that way for maybe two, three weeks before you start realizing that the pretty rock is a pain in the butt to swim around, and the weird fish with 17 arms is trying to eat you.
You no longer think of things in terms of aesthetic or quirky values, but how they help or inconvenience you in everyday life.

This practical vision is, in a word, boring.

But! Now I have refreshed my vision from being back in the US, and I can say with confidence: Japan IS weird! It is marvelous in its own quirky way, and before my gaijin vision fades again I think it's time to post some pictures i took on my phone. Tee hee.

Imagine going to your local Toyota dealer to try to test-drive a car, and you see THIS! It's a one-seater, basically a futuristic glowing wheelchair. Unfortunately, they wouldn't let me give it a test-drive. This summer when we went to the beach, Takeshi caught an octopus. "Look what I caught!" he said proudly. "It's still alive and squirming! Let's take it home and eat it!" Normally those sentences do not go together. EeeWww!! ... but we did end up eating it, and it was.. actually pretty tasty, when chopped up into bits and cooked with rice and soy-sauce and cooking sake in the rice-cooker.
Man, you think you're having a bad day, and you come home and BAM! There's a giant praying mantis waiting for you on your doorstep like a little butler. I wonder if I gave it my hat, would it hang it up neatly on one of its many protruding limbs?This little gremlin is the mascot of a glasses store. I don't know what her name is, but she's kind of creepy. Although nowhere near as creepy as the plastic colonel sanders near our station... that thing is in the middle of the street with hands in a grope-ready position and a leer in its eyes. It's my very own "Kentucky Fried Chikan"!
I was innocently making miso soup one day while Mr. T was slicing up some sea-bass he caught to make sashimi.. and plunked the head in my nice soup.
"What are you doing?! There's a monster in my soup!!"
I said, half mortified, half giggling. I just had to take a picture.
On the quest to find my dad an *authentic* manekineko, we stopped at a different shrine first by mistake. This shrine's theme: snakes. Snakes! (does anyone but me think of the *badger badger mushroom mushroom oh here comes a snaaake* song? anyone? no? ^^)
This one wrapped around the torii looks like it's about to strike. >_<;
There is a shrine dedicated to "Manekineko" or lucky-cats about three stations away from my house.. dad sent us to get him one. Here's where they were all lined up by people who bought them for the express purpose of making a wish and leaving them at the shrine. (oops, hope it wasn't bad luck to take it home!)
But yeah. Kinda creepy, huh?
Don't ask. This moving truck has a large sign reading "Duck!" on the front. Perhaps its to warn for the times when they throw furniture out the window to plow through particularly congested rush-hour traffic

Here's to gajin eyes forever! *clinks glasses*


Blogger CyberLaura said...

Two things:
1) I can't believe you ate that octopus. EEEEWWWW
2) I *love* the cartoon.

3:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kentucky Fried Chikan, indeed....
Glad we refreshed your gaijin eyes, awesome girl. Next summer we'll have to bring ours to you. --baka-chichi

6:29 PM  
Blogger Kyra said...

Hey phil!
Haha I know, isn't it *gross*?!
(we told you the just eating the leg story, right?)
aww thanks! I thought nobody liked my cartoon. *warm fuzzies* ^^

I love having visitors. Come over any time!!

7:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kyra, your blog is awesome, it makes me miss Japan everytime I read it. Say hi to Takeshi for me.


2:41 PM  

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