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Apes Abroad

Traveling Jam e-mails Ape Culture
about Pop Culture in Japan.

The Big Bosomed Superstar Gaijin's
Top 13 Likes and Top 8 Dislikes about Japan

From: Traveling Jam
To: apemail@apeculture.com
Subject: Top 13 Likes and Top 8 Dislikes About Japan
Date: Friday, March 9, 2001 10:13 PM

Three years have passed since I took that first wobbly step off the plane and onto the island called Japan. Many beers and more than several bowls of rice later I have returned to the homeland. Life in Japan had been good, but my contract was up and I had to go. What have I learned from Japan? Will I ever experience live fish on my dinner table again? Will I ever be coerced into singing the American national anthem in front of everyone attending the town festival? Will I ever impose the same amount of fear by stepping into a room simply because of my gaijin'ness?

I'm sure it's a case of blocking out the negative, but before I left I was on a Japan high. My social life was good, as I had become friends with a lot of people in the community. I was speaking the language with some degree of proficiency. Work was finally tolerable.

Despite my wistful feelings, there are a few things that I knew I wouldn't miss. Here are my top 8 dislikes.

1. Gaijin collectors. These are people who try to be friends with you and other foreigners because of the perceived status that knowing a gaijin affords them. Many gaijin collectors want to learn English or practice the English they know...without PAYING for lessons.

2. Photos with strangers, or "Get out the camera! There's a gaijin in the house." There are more people than I care to think about with pictures of me in their photo albums.

3. Being mistaken for a boy - happened to a friend as well! One time a woman was about to go into the women's bathroom and had to double check the sign when she saw me. I heard her telling her friend that she thought she had made a mistake and gone into the men's room. This is only one instance of many.

4. Thrilled by the 3-D-ness of it all... students and middle aged men pointing out how well-endowed I am or better yet, taking a feel for themselves.

5. "Are you normal in America?" My height/foot size/bra size were a topic of many conversations. Many Japanese thought I was freakishly large and questioned me about it regularly.

6. The neighbor lady trying to convert me to buddhism

7. Very high pitched, squealing female-voiced annoucements on the bus, train, television, and radio. You have to hear it to believe it.

8. JPop - Japanese pop music. So difficult to listen to, so unoriginal, so 80's sounding and bad 80's at that.

The following are the top 13 things I'll miss about Japan.

1. Easy location of my gaijin friends. In most cases because of height and skin color, you can find gaijin in any Japanese crowd.

2. Drink and forget. Drink all you like at the office party, make a big fool of yourself and not have to answer to anyone the next day. Only in Japan can there be a picture of you on the front page of the town newsletter, large Asahi beer in hand and students and parents alike will find it amusing.

3. Having the largest tits in a 50 mile radius

4. Fertility Shrines

5. Sushi at the convenience stores

6. My very cush job that required almost nothing of me except to BE NICE!

7. My great students who could barely get out any English in class, but demonstrated their priorities in English study with comments like "Jamila...nice body" and "when is your first sex?"

8. 80 year old women on cell phones

9. Being able to get out of any responsibility by claiming to not speak the language and by claiming to be 100 percent illiterate (came in very handy when the Jehovah Witnesses dropped by)

10. Meeting random people with their pinkies cut off (a sign of the Japanese mob - Yakuza)

11. Watching the Bad Ass students in English class rock out to the Carpenters and write with their Hello Kitty pencils.

12. Japanese television. I have never seen programming like it elsewhere. I mean hell, look at Iron Chef! It's all like that! Most amusing t.v. shows ever.

13. Jpop - Japanese pop music. After being back and hearing the crap that's on the radio here in the US, JPop is sounding pretty good. Lots of innocent love songs, shiny happy people kind of music with very little angst. Listening to American radio is like tuning into porn on t.v. while simultaneously playing Doom.

Over and Out...
Your Japan Correspondant,
Traveling Jam

.Read Traveling Jam's Other chronicles of life in Japan:
Ape's Abroad 1: Japanese TV, Karaoke, and Taiko
Ape's Abroad 2: Loose Sock Girls, Trip to the Big City, and Doraemon

Ape's Abroad 3: Penis Shrines and Roadkill

More Ape's Abroad articles?

Leave your comments about living in Japan.


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