to see the real Japan?
But most visitors overlook what I consider to be the ultimate modern symbol of this country - the schoolgirls.
Exotic, mysterious, and occasionally bizarre - Japanese Schoolgirls are
one of the most compelling symbols of Japan.
To me, though, they're "Japans' Noisy Natural Wonder".
|They laugh and talk loud. They smoke in public. They apply
makeup while riding the train.
Plus, they have those really cool socks that they hold up with glue.
But, while no one claims to understand them, everyone wants to know
what they're thinking.
Of course, everyone wonders where these girls acquire their disposable
income. No less an authority than Time Magazine attributes it to prostitution.
However, our contact with schoolgirls (and boys) has always been of the 'can we have
our picture taken with you?' variety. Japanese schools reward the students for getting
pictures with hairy foreigners, because the photo proves that the students communicated in
a non-Japanese mode.
After a day of riding trains with gray-faced, black-suited salary men, I always look forward to eating in a restaurant full of boisterous schoolgirls. Fortunately, they're never hard to find. McDonalds is their preferred habitat, which is convenient, since there's one on every corner.
So if you find yourself in Japan, and you want to see the 'real heart of
this country', forget geisha and cherry blossoms. Just pop over to