The truth about living in Japan

Beyond the picturesque mountainscapes and vibrant red Tori gates lies a world of concrete skyscrapers and fashion victims.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Japan is eating our whales

The Japanese government wants to increase its whale consumption, hidden under the thin and pathetic guise of "research" (does counting whales need to involve killing and eating them?) to include endangered species of whales, and now seals, living in Australian territorities in Antarctica. What's next, Dolphins???

The Japanese believe it is their right to eat everything that moves. They won't stop until they're all fucking sumo-size.

How can anyone even contemplate eating endangered animals? How dare they use science as an excuse to rape Australian territories and our beautiful creatures.

In Sydney we celebrate the joyous return of wildlife to our harbour, we are thrilled to see whales dancing with ferries and dolphins entertaining guests in Darling Harbour, populated almost entirely by (you guessed it) Japanese tourists who come to Australia to take wedding photos in big frilly white pavlova-cake dresses infront our our beautiful waters because they're too lazy and dirty to clean up their own waterways.

The countdown is on to the day I leave. I'd leave right now if I didn't have my fiance and impending marriage to consider. I shouldn't be here when I so adamantly disagree with what they're doing.

Maybe I should start wearing my shoes in temples and doing everything I know to be culturally rude, after all I find their attitude towards Australia's protected whales to be outragiously offensive.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

The gaining of fat

I haven't really been gaining huge amounts of weight, as such, but my girth has expanded somewhat or at least become quite floppy. I decided to journal my eating habits for this week and I've found that my diet can't really be blamed, as I'm eating the same as usual.

As Jeremy pointed out, the problem may be that we're forced, by our strange working hours, to eat dinner really late at night, around 10:30pm or sometimes later. Of course, this being Japan, dinner consists of rice or pasta (which is cheaper than rice). After eating these heavy doses of carbohydrates late at night, we might watch a little TV and then go to bed, so that we're completely dormant for the 12 hours or so following dinner. More dormant than is normal after dinner, which is probably doing hell with our metabolisms.

So what can we do? If I was in Australia I'd eat a big juicy steak for dinner with vegetables and little carbohyrdate, but a big, juicy steak in Japan costs a month's wages. I can buy a little bit of very thinly sliced steak, but this form of steak is designed to be eaten with, you guessed it, a big bowl of rice.

I don't eat chicken, which is cheaper. Jeremy doesn't eat fish, which is also cheaper. Both turkey and lamb are largely out of the question due to their inavailability in this country.

So what can we do?

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Ask me about my hometown ...

I found this photo from my hometown newspaper, the Sydney Morning Herald, showing the beauty of our industrial working Harbour and the diversity of Marine life that lives there. After living in Japan I was surprised by this photo, it looks to me like a tropical holiday destination. I guess I took it for granted when I lived there, but I'll see it in a whole new light when I move back in October.

See for yourself:

Friday, June 10, 2005

The whole truth

The truth about Japan is that the best time to be here is in summer when the veil is lifted and the face of Japan is revealed.

When the cicadas rise up from the soil and scream for the survival of their species during their 3-day mating ritual that is their life on the surface. The noise invades your eardrums as it makes the relentless soundtrack to summer.

Then there is the heat, the all-pervading beat of summer trapped below a layer of pollution that rests between mountain ranges and caps every city. Even the coastal cities like Osaka can't escape the dripping, toxic humidity of summer, there are no ocean breezes blowing on Japan.

The sun beats through a permanent shield of haze and dries up the rivers, exposing the layer of sunken rubbish that accumulates continuously and is never cleaned. Nature, it seems, is exempt from Japan's obsession with cleanliness.

With the heat comes the stench. The odour of raw sewage flowing just below the street seeps up through vents and open drains that in winter serve only as an obstacle for bicycles. Now as summer reers its honest head, we can smell Japan for what it really is.

This is an Asian country. Bicycles rule the streets and old men urinate by the side of road. Spitting is common and toothless mouths drown cheap alcohol in small, local drinking-holes on every street. Women are second-rate citizens and the edlerly rely on the contributions of their grandchildren for their daily needs.

When winter's cool chill is lifted and the faux christmas scenes come down, Japan emerges and screams with the cicadas "hello honey, I'm home."

It may not match your image of Japan, it may not be the most pleasant time to visit, but if you want to know what's real in this country of contradictions, if you want to seperate the myth from the reality and get below the Geisha's kimono, come to Japan in summer and you can't miss it.