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The Wanderers' Guide to Japan

We've lived in Japan for about five years, and if I do a favor for every Japanese person I meet in the rest of my life, it will not repay all the favors that the Japanese have done for me during those five years. Domo Arrigato!

Here are some views of the Japan I live in (which, admittedly, is NOT the Japan that the Japanese live in).

Read the latest Dispatches From Japan

The Big Buddha, Kamakura

A Legendary 'Dancing Elvis'

Other Reasons to love Japan
  • Japanese Food
    I get serious cravings for Okonomiyaki, Takoyaki, Sushi, Sashimi, Katsuo-no-tataki, Basashi (raw horsemeat), Lemon Chu-hi, Sake, and Miso Shiru.
    Garlic Jo's, in Yokohama, is one of my favorite restaurants in the world (pina coladas, spicy squid, and garlic pizza). Also, any Izakaya (a Japanese version of a pub, in that you're there as much to drink, as to eat).
    And Plastic Food Displays, Beer Machines, and Hot or Cold Towels.
  • Those hard to describe daily sights
    Automatic Taxi Doors (don't, I repeat, don't try to shut the taxi door, unless you like pissed-off drivers).
    Elevator Girls, The Dancing Elvises, and Bodi-con Girls.
    Public Urination, Yakuza guys who are really nice to Americans, and Heated toilet seats that cater to your every wish (or fear).
  • Interesting Problems
    Earthquakes - Yes, we were in the Kobe earthquake. And yes, it was bad (far worse than the S.F. earthquake).
    Sarin Attacks - Seemed like a bad X-files episode.
    The Rollercoaster Yen Rate - Going up or down?
    Dodging Sidewalk Pizzas - After seeing these, you realize that public urination is just a method of street cleaning.
    Kanji characters - Is that white tube at the store  toothpaste or tile grouting?

jp_pee_01.tif (203530 bytes)
Angie reminds us that this website is a no-peeing zone

  • Trains
    Train Stations, Shinkansens, Eki-ben (train food), Reading on the Train, Deciphering the Advertisements, Physically bonding with hundreds of strangers. What more can I say?
  • Plus...
    There's an entire geographical region named Kinki.
  • A Haiku Farewell
    When we left Tokyo, I attempted to compose a Haiku (a common Japanese poem form having three unrhymed lines of five, seven, and five syllables), that expressed my feelings about leaving friends that we had just made. 
    Then, just to mess with their heads, we came back....
    Anyway, here's the attempt.