Wednesday, September 13, 2006
Memoirs of a Gaijin
So after three weeks of insanity I have parted ways with Japan. Before i left I took the shinkansen to Hiroshima. I no hostel booked but luckily I had some charming british friends that went above and beyond and let me stay on the pull-out in their posh hotel room. I realized soon after getting there that my Visa was not working. I think the phrase Up shit creek without a paddle can be bettered by being changed to being In hiroshima with no money and no visa. Like all problems in Japan though, this seemed to clear itself up within 12 hrs.
I visited the Hiroshima peace museum featuring everything one could want to know about the A-bomb dropping there. It was by far the quietest place in Japan. Many people choose not to enter for fear of the emotional hell it will bring upon them. It is my firm belief that all world leaders should spend a day in the museum before they are allowed to take office.
There is much to see and do in Hiroshima aside from history lessons in the asanine ability to burn, blast and radiate an entire unsuspecting city that 12-15 countries in the world are capable of within 15 minutes notice.
Back in Tokyo I spent more time taking in the sights with my friend sarah including a free concert by The Fray, Shopping, watching a sumo tournament and of course, imbibing in the drink.
I dont know how many times I will visit Japan but i know I will never understand it. It appears that cartoon characters, vending machines and uniforms are the glue that holds the society together. Near as I can tell Tokyo was mostly destroyed during WWII. Some time in the 1950s An insane asylum was used to recruit all the federal, prefectural and municipal governments. These people, completely divorced from logic and rationality then hired the most skilled engineers in the world to rebuild the concrete landscape with unimaginable towers of glass, neon and steel. Somehow, I think by accident, they produced the most logical and convenient subway system in the world.
Japan is expensive. As soon as you get of the plane, they grab you by the tit and squeeze. They squeeze and squeeze until you are purple sore and dry then they send you on your way. After 3 weeks the sheer randomness of things there begins to no longer phase you. When you start to understand things or stop being curious as to why, it is time to go. I recommend that you do not dig to find the answer why to the many oddities. You will go insane before you make any real headway. Just accept them and do your best not to piss anyone off.
I recommend everyone experience this at least once before you die, or at least turn 25 because it takes a very maliable mind to enjoy yourself.
I got into Seoul last night and was immediatly overwhelmed by the friendliness of the people here. Things are more laid back than Tokyo and the City is bordered by snow capped mountains. I still need to find a place to stay for the night and tomorrow i will take a bus to Jeon-Ju to visit one of my Korean ESL families.
I am pretty hard up for contact from home so drop me a line and let me know what you've been up to; no matter how routine or seemingly uninteresting. I will love to hear it.