Saturday, January 3, 2009

It's been awhile

It’s been awhile since we’ve last blogged and sad to say that not much has really happened since then. Kim and I are bogged down with our studies. We’ve explored a few areas in passing, but really haven’t gotten into anything touristy. Culture shock builds more and more, as a lot of the little conveniences that I once took for granted, seem to leave me longing for them to reappear. Speaking of conveniences one thing that Tokyo has that is remarkably convenient is the vending machines. All 1.75 million of these bundles of joy will quench your thirst at any given point. You walk out of your apartment, “Hey, ho! There’s a vending machine!” If soda isn’t your thing, it’s cool, you can have tea, milk tea, vegetable & fruit juice, and seven different kinds of coffee. Oh what? You don’t like your coffee cold, don’t worry you can get it hot as well. No matter where you are in the city, you can always count on a vending machine to be within a half a block. You may be thinking, “gee whiz Dave, that’s really swell, but wouldn’t it be wonderful if you could get a beer from a vending machine?” Hmm, what a great concept, and the Japanese have done it! If you look below you can see a pic of Kim displaying this marvelous invention. If you don’t fancy beer you can just order a bottle of wine or sake from it as well.

As for fun, Kim and I have embraced karaoke. For those of you who are unfamiliar with karaoke in the States, it is often perceived as getting up on stage at a bar and making a complete ass out of yourself while you howl into the microphone such classics as “sweet child of mine.” This leads to being ridiculed by your friends for destroying a song that they once loved. Now maybe some of you have had more positive experiences, but mine seem to be on the verge of dodging a bottle or two, and being booed off stage. In Japan it is a tad bit different. They have karaoke clubs that offer private rooms for you and your friends. The list of songs is incredible. Not only do they have all the classics, but new songs from this year as well. For my first karaoke debut, Kim and I went our with a few of her Japanese coworkers. I thought “this is my chance to really make it big in Japan.” They all sat around waiting in anticipation, “what will he sing? Will he bring the rock & roll, or maybe lay down the mic with some Beastie Boys?” Not this Gai Jin, I brought the George Michael “Faith” action, and by God I tore that song up! I had it down, from the tight jeans, to moving the hips and “do do do do, do do do dooo.” So now I’m pretty famous around here. People know me. It is one thing that I truly love about this place, is that no matter how terrible your voice is, anyone can be a rockstar.

I feel I cannot leave this blog without saying something about the electronics. It seems that for every electronic product that we have in the US, Japan has about 10 other designs. For example you walk into an electronic store and want to buy an MP3 player. You basically have about 5 different brands/types, whereas in Japan they have about 15 different MP3 players in every color known to man. The apartment itself is all jazzed up with souped up technological advances. If I’m taking a shower and Kim is in the kitchen, I can click the intercom button and say “Kimi! Cook me some pancakes!” Then there is the toilet or to be specific the T9100 Shower Toilet. Who needs teepee when you can shoot a river of water right up your ......., um you get the idea.

Tokyo is quite the bargain. This tree only costs $500 USD!

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