October 17, 2004

National Obsessions

In America, (most) everyone is praised for their individuality. In Japan, a country whose sole existense is based on a unifed front, a country whose population is roughly 97% native, trends are developed with tsunami force (and not the 4cm tsunami we had last month).

While I generally like it here, I wanted to share some of my irritations on these obsessions because I feel like venting and not studying my Japanese...

-Louis Vuitton. I am severely irritated by the amount of women who spend their husband's paycheck on a stupid bag. When my friend Bec asked why they would spend hundreds of dollars (or tens of thousands of yen) on something so trivial, they say that image is incredibly important. Yet, no one appears to go to the dentist. I'm sorry, but no Louis Vuitton or Juicy Couture is going to make me like you if you have teeth the color somewhere between corn and crap. I honestly think that if the noose were fashionable the Japanese would be the first to sport it.
*Interesting note, I recently heard that top designers do about 80% of their business in Japan.

-The Mullet. The men and women who seem to care most about image are the ones sporting mullets. The mullets here make Billy Ray Cyrus ' look tame. These mullets are teased and sprayed and adorned with extensions that enhance the overall heinousness.

-High Heels. I am the first one to admit that I cannot walk in high heels. I vividly remeber being embarrassed at my 6th grade graduation when I tried to pull off a half inch pair of heels and wobbled like a drunken sailor through our pitchless rendition of the Greatest American Hero theme song. I also think they CAN be attractive. However, here, these little tiny girls who already are wobbly enough with their natural bobble-head appearance attempt to wear massive shoes I now call Whore-heels. These are monstrosities that make my 6th grade footwear appear stillettoish. These girls are clearly pained by these shoes and walk as if they are robots with poo in their pants. Again, Louis Vuitton cannot help you out of this.

-Faux Pas. Everyday, loogie hockers line the streets and subway lines. snarfing up "the big one" to plop on the track while I hide behind Jed sniffling quietly as to avoid the utter shame and embarrassment of blowing my nose in public. Perhaps my cousin Robbie would like it here as he seems to suffer from the irrational fear/severe dislike of blowing his nose anywhere, ever.

-Smoking. My whole life I have been waiting with eager anticipation to leave the smoky prison my father liked to call home. (no pun intended with the prison comment) I now find myself in Japan surrounded by gajillions of people who smoke approximately 900 ciggarettes a day. Smoking is allowed EVERYWHERE, and I hate it. Ciggarette vending machines are on every corner and pathetic lumps of people stand with one foot in the door of the subway while they hang out on the platform sucking their last puff of carcinogenics. Like my father, they wait till the subway door has closed (or in his case he rolled up the car window) to exhale the marathon puff they just sucked to get them through the agonizing 3 minutes until they can light up again.

General Attitude
-If they are not first they will die. Being second is NOT an option here. As far as business or games the people are incredibly friendly. When it comes to subways or restaurants, be prepared to fight for your life. Take, for example, McDonald's. At 7:00am, that god-awful hour that Jed and I have to trudge into work the golden arches open their gates. Nose to the glass doors (literally) are always people who just MUST be first into the empty restaurant. Likewise, the subway is just as dangerous. You will be pushed by nasty old ladies who NEED that seat. I have taken to pushing back, swearing and condemning them to hell delighted in the fact that they cannot understand me. They probably can, but in my mind I win cause they are mean and so I deserve some sort of retribution.

There are so many more things that I could write but I am already worried that I have taken up too much space and this won't fit on my page.

Now a comment on the comments....I hope you enjoyed this but if you didn't, don't write some sort of nasty comment. It will just make me write about how much you irritate me.


Posted by karen at 06:05 AM | Comments (2)