Wednesday, April 13, 2005


ok, i'll break it down for you, finally. it was a great trip. i'm glad i got to stay there as long as i did. a week wasn't enough, but it was a lot better than four nights.

the truth is, i didn't really see all that much of the city, despite being out and about quite a bit. it's just so huge. what makes it seem bigger than cairo, which contains approximately the same number of persons, is that every part of it is interesting. in cairo, there was a lot of stuff, but much of it looked the same. get out of a metro stop in tokyo and you'll see or hear something unique. so, it's really not possible to get any comprehensive snapshot in such a short time.

otherwise, i'll leave you with a few short over-all observations and let the photos do the story-telling. these are not necessarily differences - just observations. here goes:
  1. people are more polite than you'd expect a stranger to be (although usually not absurdly so).
  2. few japanese people speak intelligible english.
  3. most foreigners in japan spend a lot of time considering how different the japanese culture is from their home cultures.
  4. darts is a popular pub game.
  5. cars drive on the left, and pedestrians pass each other on the left when walking on the sidewalk.
  6. self-expression with clothing is zealous in either its conformity or its eccentricity. other forms of self-expression were difficult for me to identify.
  7. driving is a luxury for the very-wealthy.
  8. many people drink heavily.

photos from my trip (the descriptions will become more descriptive soon...) are available here: japan photos.


Anonymous greg said...

i understand your reticence to comment on japan... not only is the city (tokyo) large, but the culture is impenetrable. hence the tendency to spend so much time comparing home to home. it was great having you here, though, and i'm anxious for your next visit. i almost feel comfortable in tokyo - i'm to the point where difference is irrelevant, people are acceptably label-oriented, and the life around me is tolerably strange. think of many worlds. every gaijin is a Gulliver on a travel, innocently wondering why he's being tied down by the lilliputians.

i bow ten times a day... and it makes sense.

nate is the greatest guest.


8:59 AM  
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