Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Japanese blog, please.

Welcome to Andrea and Greg's blog, Japan, Please. I had debated whether or not to do the blog thing for our time living in Japan but then I remembered the formula: young+white+middle class+living in a country where English is not the primary language=blog. Please enjoy and comment. If you're bothering to read this I probably know and miss you.

When I tell people I'm moving to Japan to teach English the first thing they usually ask is why I picked Japan. I think my desire to live in the country can be summed up by a story about when I visited Japan a year ago. Greg and I went to an indoor arcade/amusement park in Tokyo called Sega Joypolis. We eventually decided to go on something called "The Room of Living Dolls." We entered a dark room with our young Japanese ride operator. He pointed to some chairs and said, "please." He gestured toward a doll sitting at the head of the table. He was probably supposed to give an elegant speech about the significance of the doll, but the best he could muster was, "Japanese doll, please." He repeated this a few times, directing us to various other dolls scattered about the room. He then pointed to the headphones on the table and said, "headphones, please." We put on our headphones and our host bowed, said, "please," and left us alone in the now pitch black room. For the next seven minutes we listened through our headphones to the sounds of a woman telling what was likely a ghost story with increasing intensity. We couldn't understand a word of it. Sometimes she would scream. Sometimes it sounded like she was eating something. Once or twice our seats dropped down an inch or so. At a seemingly random point the lights came back on and our host returned. He pointed to the door. "Please."

Simply reading this, it probably sounds rather mundane, but it was really one of the strangest things I had experienced for quite some time. And that's what I liked about it. I'm so accustomed to how everything works in my home country that it was starting to feel a bit dull. I want to go to Japan because even something as dumb as going to an arcade becomes a thrilling experience due to the fact that I have absolutely no idea what's going on.


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