Well, I made the bad decision of taking a nap in the middle of the day. For anyone planning a trip where jet lag comes into play, learn from this and know that it is a trap!
I was willing to power through the day but Lucas needed it I guess because he isn’t used to being out late so I decided to take a nap as well. It was raining out so a nap was appealing. I thought he had set an alarm since he was the one planning to take a the nap but apparently he hadn’t. I woke up at 9 P.M. to find he was dressed for bed. I definitely find that to be a little suspicious. Now we aren’t going out and it totally messed up my sleep schedule because I am an insomniac and am lucky to get five hours of sleep after a day with a full sleep period. We are going to Osaka tomorrow but it means we could have gone today because we only stayed in Tokyo another night to go to a bigger club than last night for another Halloween party. I also now have the beginnings of a sore throat that I suspect happened from having the window open until Lucas decided to close it. This brings me to the realization that I have to be worried more about my personal well-being and agenda because I am not being taken into account for. I’m hoping my sore throat is just from sleeping with my mouth open or something strange like that. This could turn out to be a serious bummer. Since we didn’t go out anywhere new I’ll make this post about things I’ve learned about Japan in the last couple of days. I’ll probably be adding to and perhaps redacting pieces of this post as the trip continues.
While Japanese women primarily look to Europeans for fashion inspiration, young men who are fashion conscious either dress a cross between current N.Y. and L.A. hip-hop with a punk twist or dress in what looks to be a variant of classic goth crossed with 80’s punk styles. Many of the men who take more to hip-hop fashion would be considered hypebeasts by L.A. standards. Blue-collar men, “salary-men,” typically dress in suits and not uncommonly tailored three piece suits. This is one of my favorite things in men’s fashion happening in Japan.
Piercings and tattoos are still not very popular among men or women in Japan although it isn’t completely uncommon to see a woman with pierced ears. I’ve gotten some weird looks from people because of the fact I have three stretched piercings in each ear. I’ve even caught several young women sitting next to me on the subway lean in to check them out when they thought I wasn’t looking.
In terms of the current trend in hair in Tokyo, men’s hair is primarily long enough to part but is straightened with a flatiron and sometimes curled outward at the ends. Having a heavily layered look with sweeping bangs is very popular. It also appeared common to apply matte texture products. The styles that are popular are what would be considered to be emo or scene in the U.S. There really isn’t much variation in men’s hair ages 18-30. Older men just typically part their hair, not unlike blue-collar men in the west. Women’s hair is usually worn long and very similar to current western looks. I did chat with several girls last night that had pixie cuts but they seemed to be a part of the underground crowd as they had a variety of piercings and one had some stars tattooed on her neck.
- Smoking is still very much alive and well in Japan although there are designated areas to smoke both indoors and out.
- Clubs in Japan open around 10 P.M. and close by 12 A.M.
- Sexually speaking, Japan is very liberal. While shopping in Akihabara we went to at least half a dozen DVD/bookstores and all of them had several floors dedicated to erotic comics and or half-censored hardcore porn. It looked as though many weren’t censored well either.
- The most popular food here in Shinjuku is western food such as hamburgers or Italian foods like pasta and pizza.
- Small dogs are popular here, particularly Dachshunds. This is probably because living quarters are commonly much smaller than a typical western household. Japanese houses are probably a quarter the size of a typical American household.
- Many of the people in urban Japan speak a little bit of English. Signs in Tokyo, particularly but not limited to street signs, are both in Japanese and English. This fact alone makes it almost unnecessary to speak Japanese at all if staying here for a short period of time.
- Street art here is common but not overwhelmingly so. What I’ve seen so far I have found to be a little disappointing. The hand styles are blatant copies of N.Y. writers and I only see N.Y. style throw-ups.
- Food portions in Japan are much smaller than in the U.S. and as a result there doesn’t appear to be a problem with obesity.
- The police in Japan don’t seem to carry guns and therefore I do not find them to be particularly intimidating. Public servants in Japan look as though they are honestly interested in the wellness of the public which is a very refreshing notion. There are many horror stories I’ve heard about police in Japan that say otherwise but from what I’ve experienced you don’t really need to worry unless you plan to be a complete jackass.
- People in Japan don’t appear to litter and recycling is taken seriously. Recycling receptacles are commonly further dived into plastic type and combustible recyclables are taken separately
- On escalators, people wanting to just stand still stay to the left to allow those in a hurry to pass by on the right.
- In general, people are very courteous to each other publicly. If a person can be of help to someone in need it seems they will immediately offer it, which is completely contrary to western culture.
- Since space in Japan is limited, vertical space is almost always taken advantage of. All of the commercial and residential buildings in urban areas have multiple stories.