I shall miss you, Japan

It’s 9:30 a.m. Thursday here, and I catch my airport bus at noon. When I finish traveling, it will be…9:05 a.m. Thursday. If Einstein had known about United Airline’s time-bending shenanigans, he’d have had a conniption fit.

I was actually dreading coming to Japan for TGS, having already spent so much time in the country this year, but I’ve rather enjoyed my stay. As ever, I have no illusions about being genuinely welcome here, but it’s nevertheless a comfortable place for someone like me — i.e., someone who prefers solitude. You are never more alone than in a country full of people whose cultural mores are founded upon the concept of not being a nuisance to others, a fundamental belief that anyone not of your own race is inherently defective, and punctuality. Of course, most of the genuine good in the way these things are expressed here is illusory and breaks down under close examination, but when I’m breezing through over the course of a week I can certainly pretend.

I also admire the nation’s curious determination to make things work, even if it’s a bad idea. As such:

Want to play soccer even though you live in one of the world’s most densely-populated urban centers? No problem!

Just build your soccer field hundreds of feet in the air on top of a skyscraper! Genius. But wait, what was that?

Two dogs…one cup? Oh, Japan, you even win at being deviant.

Well, until next time I make it this way, at least we’ll have our memories (in the form of a janky-sounding podcast recorded on a compact mike in a hotel room).

13 thoughts on “I shall miss you, Japan

  1. Two Dogs is an Australian beverage named after an old joke…. it goes something like this:

    A Red Indian child asks his father, the Chieftan, “Why is my sister named Flowing Creek?” “Well, when she was born I wandered outside and the first thing I noticed is that after the long summer, the creek over there was flowing again.” The child pondered this and asks “Well why is my elder brother called Running Buffalo?” “Well, when he was born I wandered outside and saw the Buffalo running along the plains in the distance.” The child pauses for a moment, and the Chieftan asks the child “Why do you ask these questions, two dogs f***ing?”

    Something like that anyway… you get the idea.

  2. I’ve heard the joke, but why does Australia use it? We don’t have any aborigine jokes in the U.S.

  3. “but why does Australia use it?”

    Because most of the time our humour is tragically unfunny, so we prefer to steal it from other places. Usually the U.K or U.S.

  4. Oh man, Two Dogs! When I was a wee lad, it was the only alcoholic beverage that I’d drink – it’s basically boozy Mountain Dew. I was very sad when they stopped offering it at my local pub, but at least it served its purpose as gateway drug.

  5. Damn, I think that’s the view from the same room we stayed in a few months ago! Shibuya Excel, right?

  6. Ah, OnimaruXLR, ignorance is bliss, my friend. Yeah, thanks for the ‘memories’, Parish. Two dogs one cup. Memories of watching my friend lose his lunch while I became nauseous for a day.

    And we don’t have many Native jokes in the US, as the general consciousness wants to wipe them out from memory. But go up to Canada, where the populous is relatively more sympathetic towards Aboriginals, and naturally, you’ll find more jokes along those lines.

  7. Loved the paragraph about being in Japan, I couldn’t agree more, particularly about being (not) genuinely welcome and about qualities of Japan breaking down upon closer inspection. I still love Japan, despite (because of?) all its flaws.

  8. I get the feeling that that joke was built around the punchline and it works best using American Indians, more than needing to have a joke about them and that turning out to be the punchline. Besides, if they named it after a joke about our Aborigines, they’d probably receive a pile of complaints about it…

  9. Make Kohler stop interrupting! You were going to explain “Lock-On” technology, and then he interrupts, and the thing was never even explained!!
    “Lock on technology was..”
    “bla bla bla”
    “Lock on technology was..”
    “It wasn’t even technology guys!!!”

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