Long Time No See
I can't think of any specific stories to throw out today (I'm sorry, think I'm staying here to long as things are starting to appear normal to me and not worth writing about), but instead will leave you with a selection of comments and quirks I've noticed lately.
-- America is a Technological God Compared to You
As I said before, my sister visited me for a week. I must say she is the most gullible person on the face of the planet when it comes to anything that deals outside of her daily routine.
As we are riding the bus back from the airport, and surrounded by skyscrapers and all the other signs of a modern city... we happen across this conversation.
Sister: "I just want to get a bath and go to bed, I'm tired after the plane ride."
Me: "You know their bath is outside right?"
Me: "Ya, its out back in front of where we park the car. It's a little embarrassing when someone parks while your taking a bath at night and you get the headlights on you."
Sister: "They can SEE you???"
Me: "Well there's a couple boards, planks really, that you can kinda position around to try to block off the view as best as you can."
Sister: "Are you lying?"
Me: "'Fraid not, just one of the things with living in such a culture like this. Also, watch out for the neighbors dog, he likes to try to jump in sometimes while your in there."
When she finally arrived at the house and saw how they have such amazing marvals as running water and electricity, I kindly reminded her to watch out for the dog as she entered the bathroom.
-- Japanese Haven't Developed Language Skills Yet
Again with my sister. She doesn't know a word of Japanese (besides Kancho, and that's one for you to google if you don't know what it is). This leads me to translating everything for her... and also leaves her to be the victim of all my opinions. Okaasan wanted to know a bit more about us growing up, so I went off onto a tangent about how she is incredibly spoiled and gets everything she wants.... you know, what every girl that is the baby of a family gets but will eternally deny. Of course I told my sister what I said when she asked, since she was wondering why I was pointing and referring to her alot.
The next day she expressed to me her opinion on how she didn't like me talking bad about her to my host family. I had to chuckle and just tell her that I was being sarcastic and that she doesn't need to worry at all about it. That's when she struck me with this one,
"They don't have sarcasm!"
Ok, if she tried to say understand sarcasm, I would have taken the meaning to be more of they don't understand my sarcasm... but after just blankly staring at her for second, I could tell she flat out believed that Japanese did not understand sarcasm at all.
So I'm guessing America invented sarcasm now, I'm taking credit for the home team with this one.
-- Mystery of the Toilet Seat
Japan is cold. And I'm talking like, I've thought bout skinning the neighbors cat to make mittens kinda cold. Reasoning behind this isn't necessarily the temperature. Kansai area, where I'm at, ain't that much worse then southern United States. It's the fact that almost no one here has central heating nor insulates there house. There have been times where I've been shivering so bad I could barely use my keyboard to type.
Japanese families usually crank on a space heater in one or two rooms of the house though to try to prevent themselves from dying or something. In a way, it creates the whole "family bonding" kinda atmosphere because if your not in that one room with the heater then your off getting frostbite.
So, combining the fact that your freezing unless in that one room, and the normal stereotype (and there is some truth behind this stereotype) that Japanese generally hate wasting time, I quite perplexed on one little detail.
You go into the bathroom, which usually has the window cracked resulting in what little insulation the drywall walls provide being replaced with frigid night air, and instantly dread the thought of dropping any kind of clothes to take care of your business. But their is one savior in the night, the self-heated toilet seat (also named the ShowerMaster 2000, no joke). I don't know how it knows to heat itself, or why its always ready at the time of use, but sure enough, its always there to keep your cheeks nice and warm even if you can't feel the rest of your body cause of the cold numbing it.
The reason I'm so complexed with this toilet seat is that it just seems totally contrary to what one would think follows the other norms in Japan. The angelic warmth of the seat only seems to prompt you to stay longer, wasting time in the bathroom which, as I imagine, would be disliked by others for various reasons. If your not rush rush with everything you do, then you just obviously need to work on doing things better.
The only conclusion I can come out with this topic is that when Japanese people gotta go, they like to go in style. I've seen many things to support my hypothesis... toilets with remotes with dozens of buttons I'll never understand (nor am brave enough to test), singing toilets, and pretty much every other disturbingly creepy thing you can think of strapping onto a crapper and selling it for money. But in all actuality though, I think this is one of those quirky details that will permanently be lost to the other cultures of the world.