Monday, December 22, 2008


Can I just stay here? I want to just stay here. I love being in Tokyo! No, actually, I’ve been to a couple other cities, which I’ve also liked, so it’s more accurate to say that I love being in Japan. It’s totally beyond words.

Got here Thursday night, local time, and I’m totally in love. Have been downing Japanese candy (strawberry chocolates in particular) like it’s my job and I’m so happy to see my mom again!

And because I just got here from France, I can’t help but compare. Like Europe, the women here put a lot of care into their appearance, except the Japanese aesthetic is more detailed – and more deliberate, if you will. They are perfectly coiffed and made up, and their outfits are stylishly elaborate. Tokyo is so chic, and I love to people-watch here. I’m not even just talking about the eccentrically attired gyaru and Gothic Lolitas in Harajuku – the street fashion is mind-blowing. So creative and full of character! How much time does it take to look like that every day? A lazy person like me wouldn’t know. Plus in the evenings there are occasionally women who walk around in their beautiful kimonos, no doubt on their way to some special event or other.
The people here seem to love dogs as much as the French do, particularly of the compact variety. All the outrageous makeup and subculture apparel in Japan can’t bring as much attention as a couple dogs. We were taking my “cousins” (my aunt and uncle’s two pugs) out for a stroll, and people would be totally enraptured by them, walking by us, stopping to play with them, squealing, “Kawaii! Oh, kawaiiiiiiiii!!!” A lot of people have little canine friends here, but Tokyo is way cleaner than Nice because pet owners actually pick up after their dogs, and there are signs every so often both in English and Japanese asking that they do so. My aunt and uncle even bring a bottle of water when they walk their dogs to dilute their pee after they’ve gone.

Am also a huge fan of the subway system – it’s so developed and you can literally get anywhere you want in the city. I wish the TTC were like that. It sort of seems confusing at first both because of the language barrier and because there are like, a million lines, but it’s not hard to get the hang of it. The seats are cushioned and warm, and the hanging handles are way easier for me to reach than their North American counterparts – hee. Plus there are LCD screens that clearly illustrate the line, where your next stop is, how long it’s going to take to get there, which side the doors will open on and which lines connect to the one you’re currently on. And the announcer that recites all this information speaks both Japanese and English. Everything is really precise. The subway cars also stop in exactly the same spot every time, and there are markers on the platforms for where each individual subway car stops, so you can line up to get into the car that will be closer to whichever exit you will get off on later.

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