Culture Shock

For my first entry, I’d like to sum up some of the highlights (and lowlights) I have discovered about the land of the rising sun:

dscn30320006.JPGHeated toilet seats rock

Asses clean up much nicer with a stream of warm water than they do with toilet paper

I am the only foreigner in Miyazaki (like a zebra in a giraffe house)

dscn28740002.JPGFood is great here (octopus sushi and nato aka stinky sticky beans) thanks to Mayumis cooking; I’m being fed like an emporer. Maguro cheese maki ($1.10/roll) is the best sushi I have ever tasted

Dressing up in a mens kimono (for Hanas ceremony) is really fun (imagine that zebra wearing a formal giraffe suit)

dscn29740004.JPGKaraoke rooms are even more fun ($20 for unlimited drinking and singing for about 5 hours)

Nirvana  is much more difficult to sing than it would seem…Soundgarden is near impossible. Even the Beatles pose quite a challenge

Japanese is a really #%$*& difficult language to learn

I’ve found a soft spot for cycling Japans country roads, running in the park, and Hanas mom (don’t worry mom, you’re still #1)

Alcohol is really really cheap here…and the larger the bottle, the better the deal. For instance, 13 oz bottle of whiskey (375 ml mickey) is $5, whilst a 140 oz bottle (4.0 litres) is $35! 4 LITRES OF WHISKEY FOR $35!!! The mixer is almost more expensive than the liquer!

dscn30290005.JPGJapan has a real thing for packaging (buy a bag of cookies, they’ll be individually wrapped…even apples are wrapped in plastic, then placed in a bag with cardboard dividers)

You can find vending machines in the weirdest places (and they have beer in them)…ie the corner of a field with no traceable source of power, but you still have hot or cold drinks readily available with the proper coinage

Theft is very low here…doors are left unlocked and stores keep small expensive merchandise on tables out front with no security

Hana, as sweet as she is in Canada, is perfectly happy to watch me fumble and choke in awkward cultural situations, ie family dinners and Japanese bathrooms, with no more than a chuckle in my general direction, leaving me to sink or swim. Luckily, I’ve managed to float on most of said occasions, thanks in large to Mayumi (Hanas mom) and Toshihiro (moms boyfriend)

And last but not least, the sunsets here are great…

dscn29920003.JPG

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~ by The Running Emu on January 9, 2007.

7 Responses to “Culture Shock”

  1. Hey Mike-san,
    I’m sure you’re very kawai with Hana’s friends and let’s hope you don’t become kuwai any time soon. Ganbatte-ne with that Japanese stuff. It’s actually a lot more logical than English and the trick is to figure out how to conjugate the verbs and just concentrate on the polite forms. Miyazaki-bin (and/or less formal speech) or whatever it’s called will just make people think that you’re a weirdo if you try to be language-cool. I wasn’t a huge Nato lover myself but if you are then more power to you but please don’t bring me any. Is Pocari Sweat still a popular drink or are you concentrating on the vending machine beer? Talk to you soon Mike and have fun!

    Hey Marcus, thanks for the advice. I’m slowly starting to understand the language, but actually speaking it is a lot harder. Hana laughed about the Pokari Sweat, I don’t think it is still the rage, considering I haven’t heard of it.

  2. Mikel!!!!

    It sounds like you are loving it out there. I am so excited for you! I can’t wait to hear about more of your humorous awkward instances out there lol. I miss you lots and tell hana i said hi as well. Keep these blogs comin!

    love calfy

    Calfy, I didn’t realize those text messages were going to you email, I thought they were going to your phone. Mooooooooo moo moo moo moooooo.

  3. Hey there Buddy!!!

    Awesome to see that you are having a blast. Last I had Heard…..TOM CRUISE was the LAST SAMURAI…but I guess you proved him wrong. LONG LIVE THE MCKENNA CLAN in JAPAN!!!!!

    HAve a great time…see you soon!!
    Cheers
    Isaac and Paula

  4. Where are the photos with the KNIGHT OF THE HAND CLAN?????

    Did you forget him in CANADA???Did you leave FOOT at home too???

    HAVE A BLAST!!!!

    The McKenna clan is thriving in Japan, unfortunately the hand clan couldn’t join us, due to an unfortunate lack of memory. The foot clan is doing fine, but hasn’t been feeling very photogenic recently; lets hope it’s just a phase.

  5. Hello Mikey…
    So nice to see you having such a wonderful time and immersing yourself into the japanese culture.I’ve heard that you only unsheath a samurai sword if you plan to draw blood !!!..better be careful ! Now the most important question…HOW’S THE BEER ??? lighter??darker??stronger??weaker??..and have you had any REAL saki yet.
    Looking forward to seeing some pics of Miyasaki.
    Talk again soon…pops
    ps.Luongo got you 5 points last night !

    The beer here is the same strength and all light (coloured) beer. I had plenty of “real” saki the night I arrived and some since then too. The most absurd was kingfish saki, which had a fin from a kingfish in the bottle (kind of like the worm in tequila)…had a very odd taste. I’ve been following the Canucks quite closely (little taste of home). They’ve been on quite a tear, I should leave the country more often…

  6. Raw chicken? Is it pickled or anything? We can”t visit you in the hospital from here. Love, Ma

    Not pickled, not salted, not smoked, just plain raw chicken, straight from the henhouse.

  7. Mikey, you’re playin’ with fire trying raw poultry. Raw fish, raw beef, raw seafood…good, raw birdies….bad.

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