Don’t have the time or inclination to write a huge blog post now, but I leave you with these three experiences, which I think are indicative of my time in Singapore:
- Today I got lost inside a shopping mall. Which, it turned out, was actually three shopping malls, interconnected by underground tunnels, and all located right next to each other. Topping this off was the fact that I had been there for several hours yesterday AND DID NOT REALIZE IT.
- The most interesting thing I saw today was a gang of monkeys ripping apart a garbage bag. I have pictures!
- I saw a Japanese person today, posing for a photo with the “V” sign, and thought, for an extremely brief moment, “Whew, someone from someplace familiar. They know what’s going on.” Weird.
So, I mentioned awhile back that my travel plans for the winter break got screwed over by my credit card company flagging me for fraud. Well, unbeknownst to me (until Christmas morning), the plans un-screwed themselves, so, in a couple hours, I’m boarding a flight to Singapore. Been a crazy couple days, and it’s likely to be a crazy couple more in the immediate future.
In the meantime, I leave you with two higher-res videos of me dancing like a madman in Yoyogi Park. The other guy I was dancing with was so self-conscious about it he asked me to blur out his face — which I haven’t, yet. When I get back, I plan on actually tracking a “laughing man” icon onto his head, all Ghost In The Shell-style. In the meantime, enjoy the uncensored ones of us being total raving loons:
My friends just sent me the first couple episodes of “Heroes,” a new American TV show about… well, superheroes. From what I gather, one of the fan favorites is the nerdy Japanese salaryman character, Hiro. I watched the first episode, and while I thought it was decent television (not great — seriously, a multiple personality disorder stripper mom with superpowers?), a couple things about Hiro’s portrayal and the portrayal of Japan jumped out at me. It’s nitpicky stuff, but I thought it might be interesting to point out how peoples’ opinions of Japan/Japanese people and the reality are different. So here we go!
My streak of “getting caught up in the midst of weird shit” continues. In this edition: grab-ass with drunken yakuza on the way to see the Emperor of Japan; techno dance parties; insane Japanese Republicans and the street riots who love them; self-inflicted foot bullets.
Ah, now concludes one of the stranger days I’ve had in some time. I’ve mentioned it before, but Amy and I have found that we have a knack for finding or attracting weird shit. I described my life as me being fairly normal and well-adjusted (all things considered), and most everything around me being a swirling tornado of crazy. “You see,” I said, “I live in the house in the hurricane.”
Let’s walk through a not-untypical day at the house, shall we? Continue reading
So, two things. One that`s kind of a funny look on Japanese culture, the other that`s more introspective, personal stuff (which I`ll put behind a cut, so you can be spared 😉 ).
Recently I`ve been trying to learn a bit more about Japanese comedy. My attempts to find out about Japanese culture through the television have been completely useless — every time I turn it on, it`s another goddamn food show. Seriously, almost every show on (regular broadcast) Japanese television involves people traveling around, eating things, and saying how delicious they are, with D-list celebrities superimposed in a box in the lower corner, nodding their heads in agreement. Every other word is `oishii` or `umai`. It`s frustrating.
So I set off to youtube to find some comedy bits. Most of the comedy I saw fell into two categories — bizarro hidden camera/reality skits (a la Hard Gay, the Don`t Laugh guys, and other increasingly cruel, game show-esque comedies), and owarai genin (comedians). The camera/reality skits were actually pretty funny, but the owarai genin were just baffling. Let me talk about the three popular ones I found:
- The Touch (aka Za Tacchi). These are two short, kind of ugly, weird looking twins. Their trademark is putting their hand out like a karate chop, and saying a word three times, in a specific rhythm. Usually, it`s `chotto, chotto chotto,` or `doumo, doumo doumo.` I CANNOT figure out why these guys are funny. Everyone knows who they are. They`re just short and weird and extremely lame. I have asked around a dozen Japanese people, ranging from 8 years old to 80 years old, and the only answer I`ve gotten is, `culture.` Apparently the rhythm and their manner are just hysterical to Japanese people. I don`t know.
- Yasua. This guy used to be a lawyer. He`s got this incredibly weird overgrown bowl cut that extends about a half a foot to the left and right of his head. His thing is to give the thumbs up and sort of cycle his hands up and down, grinning like a maniac. He looks like a complete doof. I guess that, in and of itself, is funny, but… Japanese people seem to find it hilarious. No idea.
- Taka and Toshi. These two will get up and perform this incredibly fast skit, which basically has one of them chiding the other for doing anything vaguely western. Basically, they`ll pretend to go eat, and one guy will order `cherri pai` (cherry pie), and the other guy will yell `Oubeika!` (westerner) and hit him. He`ll pretend to cut his pie with a knife — oubeika! Say `hello`– oubeika! This was kind of funny, but I don`t think for the same reasons Japanese people thought it was funny.
Alright, onto the other stuff.
I went hiking near a waterfall, which was terrific fun. Pictures here. One video here.
I’ll have more eventually. I rarely take pictures of people, especially of myself, so I should be getting some copies of group photos, me doing tea ceremony, and whatnot eventually. I’ll post again when I’ve uploaded them.