The truth about living in Japan

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

Monday, September 12, 2005

Where to vent frustrations

We went to the "karibean riso-to" in Expoland, Osaka yesterday. It's a big pool area, I wouldn't say a "water park" because there aren't any real water slides, except for some small slides in the "rainforest" area. The main pool consists mainly of the "Cari River" current pool, a donut of flowing water that circles a small inner pool and sunbaking area. This river is great for floating around on your back, and you could float all day if it weren't for those pesky floating tubes that fill every available square-inch of space.

Unfortunately, the Caribbean Resort is now closed. Even though the heat of the day still soars up in the high 30s, apparently the end of the summer holidays for children means that all beaches and pools in Japan must immediately close, and not even open on weekends.

There's a lot of things in Japan that make little or no sense to me, this closing of all water-related sports while summer is still bearing down is just one of them. My stress in Japan is unreasonably high, which ironically makes the closing of the water park even worse. It was at the park that I experienced the highest frustration of 2 years and found the best means for dealing with my anger and venting on ... anyone within easy reach.

The park has 10 minutes of downtime, every hour or so. 10 minutes where everyone has to leave the pools and stand around, while absolutely nothing happens. No one cleans the pools, no one fixes anything. Every one, including all the staff, just stand around and wait. Why? I don't know, seems the Japanese just have to do stuff like that, probably some ritual dating back to the Samurai.

So, every hour my frustrations would boil, but then the bell would ring and I had the chance to vent. The Rainforest area is a mechanised and interactive construction of small slides and spouting, spraying water, some of which can be controlled. Jeremy and I discovered the joy of the well placed hoses, which could be fine-tuned into a far-reaching jet. We occupied the rainforest like it was our fort, and no one was safe.

Of course, it was all in good fun and part of the purpose of the rainforest area is this ability to declare war on someone climbing up from a lower level. However, it could be said that we abused the chance to get some retribution. It was most satisfying and well worth the $2000 entry fee we had to cough up for the privellage.


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