Sunday, April 2, 2000

Japan weird stuff

Students on the trains, one scowling little girl kicks another, boys picking their nose, reading comics and eating, passing a school one boy does up his fly at the open window of a washroom and smirks back at us....
The weirdest thing was sex... the cable in the hotel had videos of schoolgirls being raped, office women being raped, girls being molested in public toilets......

Girl in Pikachu drag handing out Kleenexs with Phone Club numbers
The girl in a dirty Pikachu costume with a jacket over it is handing out these kleenexs in Kyoto that have numbers for 'telephone clubs' where guys sit at tables with phones and wait for girls, often school or college students, to call and arrange dates - these can be for money or for things like high-priced handbags.......
This is what you get ... the cutesy cartoons are really creepy when you know what it's for......

In 2001 a twelve year old Osaka schoolgirl was murdered by an older man on a date she had made over her cell phone. She had been dating on the phone club since Grade 5.

Next weirdest were the things about your backside.... toilet seats often have a built in water spray and dryer.... one commercial on TV that had this giant peach being attacked by a starship toilet seat spraying a buttock-like fold in the fruit... another with three women simultaneously kissing three babies' butts (Diapers) and another with a girl sitting on a giant toilet seat floating in a lagoon (Wet toilet tissue).........

Saturday, April 1, 2000

Japan 2000

Me as seen by Japanese 6 year old - note big eyes!

Kana Sakemi, my girlfriend. Kodak put this sticker on - I think the technician was looking at the highlight in her hair rather than making a racist comment! The highlights in her hair were dyed brown, so they probably thought it was yellow from a light bulb. Kana's favorite things were Kakigouri (flavoured shaved ice), chocolate, Hello Kitty and Disneyland. Her favorite place was a toy store in Hirakata City. She made her own teddy bear, which she named Jason after the Friday the 13th monster because it was kind of lopsided.
Jason. She had lived in Africa for a while too.
foot remedy - she had broken her foot earlier and this was a therapy... it was a high voltage current and the wand her mother is holding would light up. She also took these blueberry pills that Japanese believe give better eyesight.

This is at the famous Kinkakuji or Golden Temple in Kyoto. You can see it on live cam here:

Kinkakuji live web cam - the trees haven't grown at all - I guess the gardeners keep them trimmed like giant bonsais!

Kana was Zen, like this temple, but Soto rather than Rinzai. She taught me the meaning of the koan "What is the sound of one hand clapping?". It's just a metaphor meaning you need more than one person to do some things, like the saying "It takes two to tango". Soto doesn't use Koans for meditation, as Rinzai does, just as aphorisms, so Koans have meaning in this tradition.

Hardworking lads. Note the artificial tans, very popular with Japanese youth in 2000.
On a lighter note...... this is Osaka Castle....

'Spider' rocks - several metres wide but only about 10 cm thick.

Me in front of Gate in Kyoto - Nijō Castle (二条城, Nijō-jō) 

Itty Bitty Dolls.... popular in Japan really.. there is even a Doll Day.....

Sushi a gogo - you pick what you want off the conveyor belt that goes round and you pay for the number of plates you have left on the table.....

Celine Dion hawking a course for English, something she'd never do here....also saw Meg Ryan on a TV commercial.....

Yes, I love Japlish... get a nice claup??? They also like using other languages - I saw a whole sign in German -- even cafes in small towns have 'Good Morning' written in hand on the sidewalk menu.. also there's this TV commercial for a cell phone that has a camera inside that lets you send pics to another phone..... guy's trying to pick up a girl in a bar.... she gives him the cold shoulder and he sends her his pic with 'Sorry' written on it....

Temple or Shrine in Kyoto with elephant head on pillar - only time I saw an elephant in sacred art in Japan, which surprised me as they are common in Buddhist and Hindu art elsewhere . The complicated wood structure at the top of the pillar is supposed to act as a shock absorber during earthquakes. Update: It's Kangiten, the Japanese Buddhist equivalent to Ganesh. 

With Kana's sister in law and father

Katano's love hotel! The local kids try to get in since they think it's an amusement park. 
There is one near the Doshisha Women's College of Liberal Arts (同志社女子大学) in Kyoto (it has a much more modest exterior, as it's close to the Imperial Palace). My friend gave me the impression that that one was used for 'compensated dates' by students.

Kana had broken her foot. I carried her around some places - she barely weighed anything.

Kana's niece.

I liked the green tea ice cream. Gave you a green tongue.

Little boat by the Golden Pavilion

Pikachu Jet

Mt. Fuji as seen from the plane back to Tokyo. Passenger nice enough to point it out. Only time I've ever seen it in person.