July 28, 2004

The Tao Of Bow

Q:
Have you become familiar with the subtle nuances of bowing? And is it any different for a guy as tall as you?

A:
Ah yes, bowing is indeed a funny thing. However, thanks to a certain movie, starring a certain large, yellow bird, given to me by a certain sister, I have learned some helpful hints when it comes to the art of bowing.

So far, our time in Japan has yet to lead us into a situation where bowing is expected, so I am still unsure as to the accuracy of my knowledge in these circumstances. Nevertheless, I do use bowing as a means of saying 'thank you' when the words just don't seem to be enough. It can be very difficult to sound appreciative when you can't speak the language, so I tend to bow... not too far, but far enough... to really get the point across. In Big Bird In Japan, we learned that the further you bow, the more respectful it is. So, if you are meeting someone at their home, a really deep bow is in order (not so far that you flip over like Big Bird), but if you're just saying "thanks for the soda" to a convenience store clerk, a minor tip of the head works just fine. Surprisingly, the height issue is not really a concern with bowing in these minor sutuations, but if the time ever comes and I really have to bend over, it might very well hurt my back resulting in a grunt or a hesitation, which is more than likely something very offensive and will ultimately backfire.

Speaking of saying thank you, there are three different ways which are also labelled by their formality.

Domo meaning 'thanks'

Domo Arigato meaning thanks a lot

Domo Arrigato Gozaimasu meaning thank you very much

These phrases may be a little less than exact, but it's how I was told the basic structures for thank you work. Typically, I say 'arigato' which is somewhere in the middle of domo and domo arigato, while giving a slight head nod. So far, it seems to work just fine.

So then,

Domo Arigato Big Bird! Mapputatsuni hiki sakuwayo!

Till next time,

Godspeed!

Posted by jed at 03:07 PM | Comments (3)

July 25, 2004

Japa-snack Food

It has been a few days since my sister asked her last question. So, in order to keep her from giving up, I figure it's time I get my act together and answer:

"What is your favorite snack food? Mine is Pocky."

I also enjoy pocky, it is most certainly the Japanese snack food of snack foods, but, I don't really indulge in it as much as I should. Instead, I would say that "choco crunch" and "nuts crunch" are my favorite snack food so far. They are tiny cookies, maybe ten to a bag, in chocolate and peanut flavors. They are really cheap, at only 105 yen, and are found at the local convenience store which is very... convenient.

However, Mondays and Tuesdays are special days in the world of snack foods, or perhaps the catagory of food itself. Not only are Monday and Tuesday our 'Friday and Saturday,' but we also make a stop at one of many local bakeries on our walk to work, Die Gute, and grab lunch and breakfast for the next day. Inside Die Gute you can find all sorts of fresh baked bread, pastries, pizza type things, bread stuffed with some kind of stuff, and many other wonderfully tasty foods. I look forward to these days, because it gives me a break from rice.

I know what you're thinking,

"If it's so good, why don't you go there everyday?"

Well, the answer is simple. (Though, as usual, I will proceed to make it sound very complicated.) Monday is our one late day, we work 3:00p.m. - 10:40p.m. On our other days, we work from 7:30a.m. - 3:00p.m., making our commute via the underground mall, filled with resturants, bakeries, and hundreds of other businesses at around 6:45a.m. The problem? Well, these shops don't open until 10:00a.m., and like a well planned bowel movement, we have already passed through. Instead, we are subjected to smelling them prepare their glorious baked goods early in the morning, dangling the forbidden apple in front of our faces, while we settle for pre-packaged rolls at the convenience store... every single morning.

"Well, if it's that good, why don't you go after work?"

Well you see, my freinds, the reason Die Gute is so wonderful is because it makes for the perfect breakfast or lunch. As I already stated, it's not yet open for breakfast when we walk by.

"But if you eat lunch there on Monday's at 3, why can't you go after work on the other days for lunuch?"

Well, simply because it is too crowded after work on those days, so I never think of it.

"But don't you understand that it's the same time you go on Monday's, 3:00p.m.? The time is the same, why torture yourself and complain about it?"

Because I said so.

"That's not a very good reason."

You're not a very good reason.

"Look, I'm just trying to say that you can always..."

Shush

"But I..."

SHH!

"B..."

SO ANYWAY, as I was saying, I would have to go with the little cookies as my favorite snack food so far, but when it comes to my own personal delicacy, I enjoy stuffing my face with fresh baked breads and pastries.

Till next time...

..."I was only trying to..."

Cheers!

Posted by jed at 08:53 PM | Comments (5)

July 23, 2004

America In Japan

One thing that I have been unable to avoid noticing since we've been here is the fact that, despite my previous beliefs, I am by far not the only thing that has "AMERICAN" written all over me. (For you sarcastic types, that is not to be taken literally.)

Along with English teachers, America has invaded with it's fast food, high priced, slurpy peddling corporations to this tiny island. Thus, I felt it was my duty to photograph any and all resturants, convenient stores, and clothing outlets... along with whatever else I find.

This collection will likely grow as time goes on, as I have become quite accustomed to taking out the camera- tourist style- and snapping shots of what our country has to offer. For now, here is the beginning of what will now be known as....


AMERICA: IN JAPAN!! (AN) (an) (an)

Cheers!

Posted by jed at 11:35 PM | Comments (2)

July 15, 2004

New Post- Now With Pictures

The day has come... internet is ours! Looking through my pictures, I realized I hadn't taken nearly as many as I had thought, but I think it pretty much sums up what we know about the city so far.

Next week we have plans to visit either Kobe or Kyoto, which will hold some non-city pictures- shrines, temples, and trees. But for now, I hope you enjoy a first look at our new home here in Japan, and look forward to many more pics now that we have internet at home.

Osaka, Month One: Join us in mass confusion, and take a quick tour around the parts of the city we see most. I'd love to explain in greater detail, but I have no idea what's going on, either.

Posted by jed at 05:06 PM | Comments (1)

Questions Answered

The questions I am referring to are that of my own and Karen`s, along with Carrie`s question of the day. First and foremost, the question of internet has been answered... we hope.

After missed calls, miscommunication, and misinterpretations, we finally have an install date for internet. This coming Tuesday afternoon, July 20th, at 3 p.m. Osaka time, we have a scheduled installation date for the beauty that is permanent internet access from home.

Pictures, updates, instant messanging... all at the palm of our hands.

Secondly, I`d like to make note of my sister Carrie`s plan to ask one question with each post... or one question whenever she feels like it... or one question a day... (I`ll have to ask her more specifics on that one) Anywho, her first question is as follows:

`rice?!? is that all you're eating? do you cook at home or eat out?`

Good question, Carrie.

Yes, I do eat a lot of rice. A whole lot of rice. In fact, I`d be willing to say that I eat much more rice than I ever intended to eat. A day without rice is like a day without sunshine... something feels wrong. Do I miss the sun when it doesn`t come out? Yes, sometimes... but sometimes it`s nice to have a change.

To put it very simply, if rice were the sun, it`s been shining brightly since the day we landed in Japan a month ago. But I will admit that I don`t have any sympathy for those `poor` Survivor folks. Oh no, because rice is tasty. Rice fills you up. I have yet to get really sick of rice, and if the sunshine of rice ever ended, I would not only be sad to see it go, but I`d probably die as a result of it.

Don`t get me wrong, though. Indeed it`s true, there is a lot of good food out here. A lot! But the problem is figuring out which is what, and where to get it. The fact remains that rice is rice, it`s always a guaruntee. Mystery meat is tatsy, sure, but it`s still a mystery.

Think I`m crazy? You wouldn`t think so after you picked up a nice, sugar coated donut, expecting a sweet treat after lunch, only to take one huge bite to discover the mystery center, usually frosting or creme, and instead find a huge lump of bean paste.

They`re food is good... but man, they are really strange with it sometimes.

Anyway I completely lost track of what I was talking about. Oh, right... I usually buy the rice as we have not yet purchased a rice cooker, or gohan cooker as we now call it. (gohan means rice, and that`s all I know.) We do eat other food, but a lot of it centralized around rice. Like I said, I really like it because it fills me up; food portions here are not typically created to satisfy those of us who are 6`5, 200 lbs.

Well my hour is up here, at what could be... hopefully will be... our last visit to the beautiful Star Cafe. It really is nice, and it will be missed...

Till next time,

Cheers!

Posted by jed at 05:06 PM | Comments (4)

July 11, 2004

Aaargh!

So much to say, but never a time to say it. I feel some of my stories will be lost during the period in which we are without permanent internet access. The times we do make it here, the glorious and welcoming star cafe, I haven`t the time nor the memory to put together worthwhile stories, so I`m left with this babbling display of... overwhelmth. (if that`s not a word it really should be)

But alas, calls have been made, people have been informed. With any luck internet will be installed for us in the next couple of weeks, maybe even less.

I am losing track of pictures, losing track of stories... but certainly not losing track of the times I`ve whacked my head.

Anyway, keep checking back... someday... soon... Ye ship will dock fer good.

Yaaaaar!

Posted by jed at 05:51 PM | Comments (6)

July 01, 2004

New Counter

Back in the internet cafe. Part of me kind of likes it; it`s very comfortable ;with it`s big comfy chairs, private booths, free soda. However, it smells horribly like cigarette smoke (smoking is allowed everywhere here... literally, everywhere), it costs money per hour, it`s not available from my home 24/7, and the keyboard transforms into Japanese way too easily. But, it get`s the job done and the word out for now, so I guess that`s all that matters.

This time, though, I`m going to keep it short. The last entry took me nearly the full hour here, and it left only a few minutes to send out email to my family. So, more stories will come soon, but just know that it`s still going extremely well here.

I did want to point out a new feature Ye Olde Poopdeck, though. Now that I have migrated out of Seattle for the time being, and away from Mad Cow Disease, a new threat has shown it`s face. It`s something I knew would have my number from the start, and it seems to have taken full advantage.

That`s right folks, the newest threat I have to face is none other than....

Low doorways!

It is true, since I`ve been here I have whacked my head a countless amount of times.

Actually, I have counted... so far it`s been 3. But those 3 times have been horrible.

Now, I won`t be counting the times I rub my head, come close to hitting my head, or lightly bumping. I will only be counting the times that I actually shout out in pain (or bite my tongue as if nothing has happened) and keeping track on the sidebar of the Poopdeck. It`s been 2 weeks, and it`s already at 3. It may not seem like a lot, but trust me... it`s 3 times too many.

Before the babble continues I must depart. Internet research is beginning, so hopefully.... soon, we will have permanent access.

Till next time,

Cheers!

Posted by jed at 04:58 PM | Comments (2)