This post is very late.. I shall explain why later…
1. I don’t think I will ever really like Japanese milk.
I drank this milk every day (well every working day) I was in Japan. It’s just too creamy, too thick. And this is how it is with most Japanese milk. Mister says that it’s best like this, that that’s how milk should taste. Nonsense. It tastes gross.
2. Engrish will never cease to amuse me.
3. Japanese food is awesome.
I’ll do a separate post on things I ate, I think.
4. Japan is awesome at taking things we know so well and making it original.
This is a Starbucks coffeehouse in Kobe. But the same can be said of Kitkats, Fanta drink, sandwiches… so many things.
5. Food in Kobe chinatown is yummy-tastic but most is from frozen and not made by the people selling it.
I watched the girl pour packets of frozen things into the steamer…
While these guys were making them before our very eyes. I bought from this shop, of course.
6. Women’s sections on trains.
In Nagoya they have these, but only during rush hours – in Osaka there were cars of the train restricted to women only at any time of the day or night. I used these cars when I saw them. Are they necessary? I have no idea. I know that a lot of women get molested on trains in Japan. I have never had that experience, luckily.
It’s funny to watch men who walk into the train and don’t realise that it’s the women’s carriage until it’s too late, though. Hehehe.
And so much bigger than I had expected. And not nearly as yellow as I’d hoped…
8. Cat cafes are the place to be.
I visited one called Gurguru Dou ぐるぐる堂 in Osaka – a minute’s walk from Namba station. It was one of the best cat cafes I had been to. The cats were very well looked after, and given decent food (I’ve been to places that only give them the cheapest stuff on the market). The owner really cares about the cats, and they are all fit and healthy. The only bad point was that the cats were not really interested in interacting with humans – either slept in high places or fought with each other.
9. Japanese people are lazy and rude sometimes too, you know.
People think that Japanese people are all hard working angels. This is not the case, of course. There are silly people, ignorant people, lazy people in all countries and cultures.
I was flabbergasted by the laziness and cheek of the owners of the above suitcases. In Japan, trains know exactly where they will stop, so you always know where the doors will open, and queue there. These ladies had tickets for the non-reserved seat section, but could not be bothered to wait and form a line, so places their suitcases down there instead and walked off to the waiting room. I was in an easy going mood, but I felt like tapping the station man on the shoulder and reporting the unattended baggage. Of course, no one else complained.
10. It’s good to be home again, though.
People keep asking me how Japan was. I reply “yeah it was ok”. I sound like I didn’t have a good time. I did, I really did. It was great seeing my old friends, my students, my “Japanese family”. But I didn’t feel the excitement for Japan that I once had. I was really looking forward to going to a convenience store and eating onigiri rice balls, or other instant food. But I got there and thought that nothing looked good to eat at all. Everything was expensive now I’m not paid in yen anymore. And I had a couple of episodes where Japanese people were rude to me or looked down on me because I am not Japanese. In particular, the JR lady who sold me my express ticket to the airport was so intent on dealing with me as quickly as possible and by communicating with me as little as possible, that she got my ticket wrong and overcharged me by quite a bit.
I really felt like I got closure on Japan. Don’t get me wrong, I love being in my “home town”. I want to see my Japanese friends again soon. I have some very special people there. But I wouldn’t like to live in Japan again so soon. Not only because of the reasons above, but also because of the aftermath of the tsunami (again, I guess this is a story for another post) and I’d just forgotten what it feels like to be a second class citizen, to stand out like a sore thumb, to be watched in everything I do. It made me appreciate my life in Germany a lot more. I said those exact words in Japanese on my blog at Lang-8 and Japanese people got uppity about it, saying they’d like me to focus on the good things in Japan. There are good things, of course. But it all feels either completely normal to me now, or is something I’d rather not have in my life.
I flew with Finnair (don’t, they weren’t worth the cheap tickets.. pay more and go with someone better..) and my flight home was during the day (11am Japanese time, to 6pm German time). This was such a bad choice and made me have terrible, terrible jetlag. I’ve never been so ill with it – even had stomach aches from lack of sleep. That is my excuse for not having blogged yet… I think I’ll write a few more on my Japan trip (like the food one, and the tsunami one) when I can, hopefully this week.