lols in translation
A young drunk Japanese man sat beside be and started baffling threads of words like as if we’ve known each other before. I don’t want to embarrass him so I just played along.
Guy: Hokrshamzxchmgame dshuwaka me desh, chishaganxzwqb desu ne?
Me: So desu ne!
Me: Hahahahahaha WHAT?!
And that’s pretty much how my first night in Japan went like.
Japanese culture is deemed weird, only because it is our human nature to reject anything we do not fully understand.
Coming from a culture with 1-hour rule of acceptable tardiness, I find the Japanese’s anal compliance to time accuracy so uncomfortable (LOL). For train drivers who operate the mass transit railways, when it says the train leaves the platform at 12:09, it will leave at 12:09. Not 12:08, not 12:10. That’s why when you get in the train stations at bad timings of the rush hour, prepare to witness the great migration of Serengeti.
<Cue Circle of Life> Naaaants een-vwen-yaaaaaaa ma-ba-gee-chi-ba-va. See-tee-hoummmm gwen-ya-maaaaa
I enrolled in a cooking class and I arrived in my teacher’s house at 1:12 PM. I can see her from the gate sitting in the backyard in her bright fluorescent green kimono reading a magazine, so I pressed the doorbell. I pressed the doorbell couple of times but she appeared to be selectively deaf…
Then it hit me: Oh yeah, she set the call time at 1:30, maybe her auditory recognition for doorbells will only be switched-on at
The walking part of the trip is what I enjoyed the most, that’s when you see all sorts of unusual subjects with varying degrees of weirdness on a scale of 1 to James Franco.
The busy skyline is like a patchwork of vividly rendered graphic colors, a collage of advertisements that usually involves a pretty girl on the frame. Be it a commercial of an ink printer, power drill or dog food, there will be a an image of a cute girl neck up/suspicious neck down, accompanied with quite a handful of Katakana letters printed all over it, and because I do not understand the syllabary, it looked to me like the billboards were printed with the product manual or something.
Another thing that I don’t understand is their culture of fetishism in broad day light. Under the busy billboards you will see a wide selection of things to fuel some dirty men’s fantasies: From nooks where you can cuddle with barely legal french maids, a cafe where you can have high tea with cats (real or otherwise), to vending machines dispensing used underwear and other curios that will surely give the Pope and Dalai Lama sudden aneurisms.
Walking around Japan is entertainment in itself, the shock factor and dirty humor is best appreciated with certain degree of ignorance and optimum respect.
Maybe insane is an understatement, maybe insane is not even the right word for it. It could be some other existential concept in an alternate universe where we the foreigners are the bizarre creatures, not them.
The Japanese culture is weird, at least for outsiders like us who do not understand the ropes of Japanese socio-anthrophologic-ultra-electro-magnetic-top (or whatever they call it).
Whatever it is, the good thing about the Japanese culture is that it is not begging for acceptance, because conformity to western or popular norm is an option not widely encouraged. Yes, they welcome visitors with utmost respect and warmest hospitality, but no matter how immersed we are in the culture and how deeply familiar we are with theoretical Japanese, we will never truly be part of Japan and we will remain a Gaijin, an outsider.
In an attempt to blend in, I gave a shot on using elementary conversational words. But somehow I always interchange the words Kawaii (Cute) and Oishii (Delicious). I was walking on the street in Kyoto when I passed by a plump baby in a trolley with cheeks like ripe peaches…
I uttered “Awww Oishii!” The mother’s expression transformed from a sweet Sakura princess to an angry Kamikaze pilot.
I better shut my mouth!