Sunday, February 26, 2012

Things I've Learned in Japan, Part 4

                                        DON'T RUIN A GOOD THING

I think I've reached that special point in my life. I'm almost 25.

I'm at the point where I start taking stock of all the good things I have, and consequentially, appreciating them more. For example, in high school I used to have unrealistically nice nails. If I clipped and cleaned them properly, they looked like acrylics. Then I had to get f*cking creative one day and put fake ones on- this somehow ruined the natural order of things. It now looks like I have a daily habit of allowing dogs to chew on them. Fake nails are a pain in the ass to maintain, especially if you're like me and just a tad afraid of someone else doing them for you and totally screwing them up.

As a result, I am terrified of any semi-permanent make-up, especially fake eyelashes, also known as the crack cocaine for teenage girls in Japan.
= crack.
Also, I have started using skin cream on a regular basis. I've been a smoker for (ew) over ten years now and I'm terrified that I'm going to wake up to a million wrinkles any day now. The drinking and irregular sleeping patterns also don't help.

Japanese people seem to have impeccable skin- right up until they hit 65- and then they all seem to suddenly turn into a great-grandfather. I realize how generalized that sounds, but there is a reason the stereotype exists! This statement mostly stems from jealousy on my part.

                                               GOOD FRIENDS ARE PRECIOUS

A really good friend should not be wasted, through neglect or otherwise. Another thing that shouldn't be wasted- really good cheese. You are committing a moderate grievance against nature if you let any expensive food spoil in the back of your fridge. African babies could be eating that Camembert- how could you???

                                          MOTION SENSORS ARE THE FUTURE
Japan has this sh*t DOWN. Lights in public bathrooms? Motion sensored. Most people don't actually even notice this fact because
 a: there is always someone else in a public restroom  in Japan, and
 b: the sensors are set outside the entrance so


Also most doors, train turnstiles, escalators, and (I swear to jebus) toilets. MOTION SENSORED. Pretty much everything in the bathroom is motion sensored. I've been told (although I don't actually believe this) that some entire train lines are entirely automatic and run BY SENSORS. I openly invite anyone to point out something motion sensored in Japan that I've missed.* In fact, I will award gold stars to anyone that can find something interesting that's run on motion sensors.

                                      ALL DENTISTS ARE NOT CREATED EQUAL

Now, I kind of knew this before coming here, but some of the dental work I've seen makes me... Nauseous. I've seen so many kids with unkept smiles that it's starting to haunt my nightmares.  I've also heard horror stories of the terrible things that can happen at the dentist here. I never realized how lucky I was to have a good dentist growing up. That being said, I really don't like the concept. I mean, what kind of person wants to root around in someone else's mouth for a living? Dentists are a necessary evil, I know. But all I can think about is THIS
Thank you, Steve Martin for personifying my nightmares.

Moving along... THINGS have been happening in my life lately. And if they're not currently happening, they're up-and-coming. I finally nailed down an apartment (more on that later). I'm enrolling in a masters program to get my teaching degree- starting in April. And the closer I get to leaving this town, the more I seem to discover...
 I found an awesome restaurant near the station with awesome service and an unbelievably cheap menu. Despite the fact that I'll only be able to enjoy it for another 3 weeks, I intend to make the best of it.
 I walked by this sign every day for almost an entire year and I never noticed the advertisement for "Canadian" mountain water. And even if I had noticed it, I never would have understood the stupid sign until recently... My Japanese is getting...優れた  (better)
 Possibly the creepiest cardboard cutout I've ever encountered. A friend of mine had a black and white party recently in Shinjuku, and I took the opportunity to buy long princess-like gloves. The inserts were somewhat unsettling for some reason...

More on that black and white party- I took the rare opportunity to actually dress up for the occasion. I also met some pretty nifty people.


 Another piece of Utsunomiya I walk past every day and didn't notice until recently. There is a hand-painted mural in the middle of a super ugly parking lot just next to my house. It's gorgeous. More pictures of this later.
 For Valentines Day, one of my 5 year old students gave me this amazing chocolate. He giggled the whole time and did a little dance- as only a 5 year old can do... If I ever forget why I love my job; this is a damn good reminder.
 Last week my computer contracted 15 viruses and a trojan. THIS GUY (who is super awesome) fixed it. I captured his awesomeness (against his will) on my camera. You may recognize him from other pictures in this blog. Among other *cough* talents, he just so happens to be a computer wizard.
 If you took your morning cup of tea, an apple, and your breakfast yoghurt, you would something close to what this drink tastes like. The fact that it's only 35 calories makes it more delicious. Only in Japan.
 It's hard to see, but it looks like Canada in this picture. I got a little homesick.
 Have you seen Tigger lately? No? That's because he's dead. This guy killed him. He's now an accessory in Utsunomiya. Sorry, kids. Fashion waits for no one.
 Baileys is really not popular here. This is what the advertisers came up with to improve sales. The guy in the background is staring at me laughing my ass off at this display.
 Sunset from the train.
 Sesame seed pudding. oishii.
 It may LOOK like there are rubber bands in your salad, but it's actually thinly sliced tofu. It's also 健康 (healthy). And awesome :)
Giant beer.

 I swear I'm not creeping this girl... I just really like her shoes...
 Shinjuku Higashi
 The plastic nail selection in the ドン
I finally found one. A breakfast restaurant in Tokyo. They serve toast. This is a new favourite place.


*pointing out that "sensored" is not a word will get you a score of zero.