And out of the deepest, darkest depths – crept the mysterious and rarely observed creature: the Findlayblogger! *monster noises*
For real though, it’s been way too long, let me tell you about my trips to Japan now =D
On the real, that photo was taken in the parking lot of a 7-11, while Yasushi smoked a cigarette and I drank the BACCHUS D “Famouso Japanese Vitamin Drink!” that he bought for me – while we listened to a world renowned Japanese pianist play Beethoven. Some languages – like music – are universal.
What do I wanna tell you about Japan? It’s my favorite place to be a foreigner/tourist? I think that actually says a lot, so let’s roll with it!
In Japan, it’s 100% OK to not speak Japanese, they aren’t gonna speak English necessarily, but you’re gonna figure it out together, and you’ll get your ramen or your beers or whatever you’re looking for, and the whole time they will be giving you the most genuine enormous smile you’ve ever seen. Yeah, I think that’s the biggest take away I could give you, there’s no better place I’ve been to be a tourist.
Let’s do this. The FOOD.
SO! the first thing, and maybe this is because I stuck to the touristy areas, but they will have a display window, with like, plastic replicas of their dishes in the windows. This is super common in the touristy areas I went, which is great, but it never stops being kinda weird… See if you can spot the fake foods in the gallery =D
Takoyaki are the squid balls that are delicious from Osaka, you’ll see one picture above of how they are made, and one of the final product – they are god damned delicious.
7-11 is on a whole new level over there. You can walk in with 5 bux and walk out with Japanese white claw (STRONG ZERO) and some delicious crustless sandwiches and rice triangles to boot. Without a doubt, my favorite stores in Japan are the convenience markets (7-11, Lawsons, Family Mart)
One more note on food before we move on. In Osaka, you are met with a BARRAGE of smells. Walking down one city block you will get hit with: fish sauce, yeast, foods, burnt meat, sweat, perfume, cologne, boom bang boom all at once, all of the above. It’s like sensory overload in the best way.
The other thing I saw in Osaka, was this awesome mix of EVERYone. Locals, drunks, rich / fashionistas, homelessish people, tourists, straight up badasses (think people straight outta Kill Bill, motorcycle and all), the works. Guys and girls barking at you from storefronts, chicks in maid costumes rolling around like a sex-selling wolfpack (no I didn’t ask, I just observed, after you’ve been downtown Osaka for a week, you know what they’re peddling). It’s just sensory overload in the best crazy awesome fun way, for sure.
SO, I was working in Osaka, but near Osaka is a town called Nara, and Nara is one of the most magical places on the planet. In Nara, there are sacred deer, that are protected and respected by the local people. As a result, the deer are docile, and don’t run away from you at all. As a matter of fact, they’re kinda just all over the place and in your way all the damn time.
Nara is like, top 5 my favorite places in the world. It’s a town literally overrun by super tame deers that tourists feed crackers the locals sell. Trust me, they know you have those crackers and you better just give em up before an older deer comes charging at you. It happens. Did I tell you every Sunday a traditional dude plays Beethoven’s 6th to summon the frickin deer from the forest(for food)???
Also some epic Japanese shrines, just massive wooden, ancient, awesome buildings devoted to gods. Ya I burned some incense for their deities, what are you gonna do about it?
Alright so, while I was in Osaka I met up with one of my coworkers who was in town – Hendrick – MUCH LOVE HENDRICK – I can’t wait to visit you in your home Taiwan 🙂 ❤
Also I met some CRAZY australians, and I’m glad we had mediocre parties not like their mad stories they were telling me. They had some scary sketch goings in the sketch parts of the city for sure O_O
So, that stupid stuffed shrimp cost me at least 25 bux worth of crane game style attempts to capture, but it also cost this awesome Australian lady probably close to the same. Needless to say when I finally swooped this dumb plush crustacean, she came sprinting across the arcade to congratulate me, and we got a selfie. Top 5 biggest regrets in life – I didn’t help her win the next one. I’m pretty sure the arcade worker bee felt bad for us and would have rigged it, but I was purdyyyyyyy drunk and 1000% tired by the time I won this thing, so I began the wander-home to my hotel march instead O_O
All good things must come to an end.
I’ll give you the quick low down on Japanese culture before I sign off.
They love their printed matter: expect two stamped neatly pritned receipts for any purchase, and 3-5 boarding cards/passes/tickets/vouchers when u fly in Japan.
Everything is a Super Nintendo. When I went through immigration – cute little yoshi looking characters guided me through the visa process. When I was waiting for the train, like 3 different video game style noises chime and ping pong away for while the train is waiting, when the doors are closing, and when the train is in motion.
People use parasols, and avoid the sun at all reasonable cost.
The soda pop is under WAY higher pressure. The bottles make a pop / bang when you open them.
They are CHAMPIONS of hospitality.
Everywhere is under surveillance.
It’s a regular occurence to see someone/something that just blows your mind: Example – hot summer day, I saw a dude wearing a jacket that had like 8 fans built into it. He looked like Marty McFly or some shit, I couldn’t even reconcile it.
I’d like to close with my trip to the Umeda Sky Tower, because although it was one of the most touristy things I did, I did it with eyes wide open, or as I like to quote “with eyes unclouded by hate”. At the base of the Umeda Sky Tower, before your ascent to the heavens, there are some legendary literary quotes at the bottom, from a number of cultures. From Cervantes to Dante and everything outside and inbetween. But my favorite, was the local quote from Night on the Galactic Railroad by Kenji Miyazawa, because I quickly realized – THAT was the Japanese thing I discovered that no one else knows about, that everyone in Japan knows about. Kind of like, a Japanese To Kill a Mockingbird, but a much shorter read. Of course the first thing I did was order the collection of short stories and devour them on the airplane, and it solidified my tiny window of insight into Japanese culture. Japanese people are genuine, caring, humble, honest, moral people. Campanella and Giovanni represent a cornerstone of Japanese upbringing. If you want to know what I mean – buy the book, you can read it inside of half an hour. And you won’t regret it. So, here are some photos I’ll end with, with the hopes you find time to spend a week in Japan. I’M GONNA WRITE MORE. I just need to get back into the swing of this, it’s been wayyyyyyyyytoo long.