Wednesday, September 23, 2009

One of my most awkward moments in Japan

Fact Number 1: Most people don't directly stare at foreigners here. But there are 2 exceptions: old people and little kids.

Fact Number 2: Onsens can be unisex or gender-specific. However, it's generally accepted that in gender-specific onsen, little kids can go with their parents, regardless of gender. So, there are sometimes little boys with their moms and little girls with their dads.

Fact 1 + Fact 2 = My most awkward moment in Japan

I was at an onsen a few days ago when Fact 1 and Fact 2 collided. I had just stepped out of the water when in walks a man and his 2 daughters. They had been playing with one another but after catching me in their peripheral vision, they turned my way and start staring.

Now, I'm pretty sure the fixation was due solely to my being black. That happens a lot and doesn't really bother me.

But this time, it was different. This time, it was incredibly awkward. Because this time, I was naked.

I hopped back in the water and then headed out once their dad interrupted their gazing. The whole ordeal lasted for under a minute, but I can definitely say that to date, this has been one the most awkward things to happen to me here.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Westernization of Japan

So maybe Japan is getting just a little westernized. We came across this monstrosity at a festival last night:

Yes, those are Lamborghini doors and 30 inch rims on an imported Buick. And who was driving this westernized western car? This young fella here:

Yes, that is a grill in his mouth. And if memory serves correct, he was also wearing Jordans.

I read the news today, oh boy

And where I live, foreigners partaking in chaji, a a traditional Japanese tea ceremony, constitutes news:

The pictures were taken at English Night, a cross-cultural event for English speakers and practitioners of all ages. It's just interesting that the pictures that ended up in the paper all contain foreigners.