Cultural Differences

One of the things you learn from living abroad is just how many things you assume are natural that actually aren’t.
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Void Metabolism

I don’t quite even get what that title means but it was all over an exhibit I saw at the Tokyo Opera City Art Gallery.

I’m not 100% sure what the exhibit’s point was but there were several parts. The first was a very large screen with video projected showing some part of Tokyo as seen from above very similar to Google Maps satellite view. The difference where was it as supposed to be a time lapsed video showing the city changing over time, buildings demolished and new ones built etc. I can’t imagine it was real but I suppose it could have been.
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Robot Restaurant

When I visited Japan in November 2012 the first things one of my friends asked me was “Hey Gman, are you going to visit the Robot Restaurant?” I was like “Wat? What’s that?” They just said go check it out so … I did
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What's up with the small backpacks?

Remember in the mid to late 90s when small backpacks were all the rage for women? Well, now they are all the rage for men in Japan apparently.

Honestly I don’t know how popular they are but shopping around Tokyo in 2012 every men’s store seemed to have tons of them. The crazy thing to me is they seemed too small to be all that useful. I suppose you could put a Nexus 7, Kindle or iPad Mini inside but you can’t carry much else. What do they put in them? Point and Shoot camera? A single novel? I’m sure some Japanese men’s magazine would spell this all out for me but I didn’t have time to check.
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Men's Coin Purses? Yes Please!

I have no idea why but for some reason there are no men’s coin purses in the USA or at least on San Francisco. Go to Macy’s or Nordstrom’s or Bloomingdale’s and you won’t find a single one. This is despite the fact that they carry many of the same brands of clothing and accessories (Paul Smith, Burberry, etc..)

At some point, partly due to the humidity in Japan, I got tired of having a pocket full of lose change that I had to rummage through to find coins so I picked up a coin purse. I’m not going back.

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Where's the Shoes?

Where are the shoes? I should have taken more pictures but when I visit Japan my consumerism is on full impulse power and I’m especially jealous of all the cool shoes available to Japanese men.

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Gyuudon in America: A little bit of heaven

If it’s not clear from the title I LOVE GYUUDON. Gyuudon (牛丼), where “gyuu” rhymes with “zoo” and “don” rhymes with “zone”, is a beef bowl. Specifically beef over rice. The most famous brand is Yoshinoya which is originally from Japan but found all over the world.
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The Myth of the Lack of Japanese Creativity

There’s this meme that’s been going on since at least the 80s that the Japanese are not very creative. I’ll be honest, I used to believe this myself. For example as an outsider, it seemed like all the anime characters have big eyes and blue hair and there are so many characters that look like clones of characters from other anime. The 3 to 5 “sailor girl” super hero troupes, Sailormoon being the most famous but there are plenty of clones. The multiple Mecha characters from Gundam to Mazinger-Z or Patlabor. I’m sure there are other examples of things that seem copied from other cultures as well.

The truth is the Japanese are massively creative. Whether they are more or less creative than other cultures I have no data but there is no valid reason I know of for the myth that the Japanese are not that creative.
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My Tea Addiction

Around 1994 I weighed 210lbs (95kg). I used to eat pretty poorly. A typical meal might have been some kind of sandwich like a burger or main course plus say fries or other sides and possibly before then an appetizer shared with whoever I was eating dinner with. I might have a soda as my drink or sometimes if I was at the right place an ice cream sunday or malt.

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Bio Ojiyan Cafe

I’ve been meaning to post this for a while but the last couple of months before I left Japan the Bio Ojiyan Cafe became one of my favorite cafes.
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