Live in Japan – Your missing guide
I have just received a postcard from my friend Carl T Slater. I met him around 2007 through the website ‘Le japon c’est fusigi’ he was operating at that time. It is a very interesting site that allows us to discover the hidden faces of Japan, with funny smart articles and some photos that were of great interest! After losing contact, he became strongly involved with the website http://www.happycurrysuperspeciallunch.com. He married a Japanese woman and has since become an expatriate of Japan. Hence – he has now become our Japanese expert!
Don’t forget to follow his blog . . . . Here is his first article . . .
The voice of the operator announced the upcoming arrival at Funabashi Station. I had been through much worse travelling conditions, but I still could not avoid suffering the inevitable overcrowding problems. The modus operandi is now to always save on energy, but, thank you God, they let the air-conditioning on the main routes during peak hours. Phew!
When the doors opened, the sea of people surged toward the exits. I followed the pace, trying to respect the flow that took the multiple branches of the tide, which was separated into several threads. At the exit gates, I slipped my SUICA Pass on the magnetic reader and a tiny sound gave me a confirmation that I could pass. From the opening of its booth, an employee of the train company repeated ‘Arigato gozaimasu’ at regular intervals to users who passed the barrier.
Funabashi is the perfect model of typical Japanese ‘suburban’ city. Not too big, and highly functional. You won’t find many bilingual signs, hence not too many infested “gaijin” with little manners. Every day, masses of workers are in transit to Tokyo. Friday night it’s the obligatory stop in bars, restaurants and karaoke.
I had to transit the Keisei Line to JR line to go home. I took a route down a narrow alley. It presented in a view of a typical Friday night in a Tokyo suburb. A man inserted a few pieces of 100Y in the vending machine, which offered a wide range of cigarette brands such as Marlboro, Lucky Strike, Mild Seven, and Peace. He pressed the danger button of ‘Hope’. Hope as in: I hope I get cancer. These cigarettes are smaller than the other brands, but their concentration of tar is high as a piece of asphalt! For a country with record suicide rate, May be these killer cigarettes could be their main selling point!
I continued my progression down the alley. Whenever the automatic doors of the Pachinko parlor opened, the mess of machines had broken the soundscape of traffic, conversations, and restaurant employees yelling ‘their specials deals’ of the evening.
When you arrive in the main street, you will see small shops and yakitori stands with their dimly room lights. On your left are restaurant chains leading to depâto, and multiple storey shopping centers. In the Koban there was a young office lady talking to the policeman behind the reception counter. She seemed to have a list of allegations and complaints of sekuhara1 (sexual harassment), that she was probably a victim of as a passenger in the train. The officer took notes of what she was saying. Then she and his colleague escorted the young lady to the station, in-case she spotted the perpetrator with wandering hands.
An unconscious business man laid face-down on the ground near to the train platform stairs, and a clerk, a security guard, and a city worker were trying in vain to bring him round. At least the Japanese drunks – those that are still conscious of course . . . are a thousand times nicer. Not only do they smile, but they laugh as well!
After the nuclear crisis, japan now save energy
Japan has continued to hunker down for the past two decades. The economy is going down the pan, and the probability of another earthquake occurring is imminent. The crime rate is also soaring. So what can one really do – other than to buy a pack of ‘Hope’, and just keep on returning to its suburbs?
This post is also available in: French