The Witless Clunkery of a Third-Rate Mind

Sunday, September 06, 2009

In Japan ... Again

Hello and thanks to everyone I was able to meet up with while I was home. My visit was far too brief, but everybody really did their best to make me comfortable and happy while I was there.

My flight back to Japan was good. I changed my seat and got an excellent spot behind the bulkhead (so, about 10 feet of legroom in front of me!) and nobody to my left. On my right side was the aisle, so I got brushed, bumped, and jostled by every single person who went by, but otherwise, it was a great seat, and I actually managed to get a couple hours of sleep. The crappy part was that the entertainment system wasn't working again (it didn't work on the flight to Canada at all). Or at least, I thought it wasn't working because mine wasn't, and nobody I could see could get theirs to work either. Well, at some point while I was listening to my iPod, I guess they made an announcement that some seats didn't have a working system, but you could move to a vacant seat (the flight was only half full) with a working entertainment system if you wanted. I didn't notice anybody moving seats, either, so this whole thing was lost on me. Point being, I complained towards the end of the flight, and the attendant looked at me like I was an idiot and told me I could have changed my seat. Whoops. So, no movies and no 5% discount by way of an apology (which is what we all got on our Tokyo-Toronto flight). Oh well.

My new apartment is okay, but a bit far from the Tokyo office. It takes the better part of 1hr45 to get to work, but at least I only have to do that for the next few weeks. School starts on the 25th, so after that, my commute will be much shorter. 10 minutes walk to the station, 30 minutes on 2 trains, and a 15 minute bus ride. About an hour in total, which doesn't sound great, but is fairly manageable.

Topic change:
When I go back to Canada, I spend a lot of time defending Japan and talking about why I like living here. But let me tell you about something I absolutely despise: bosozoku. We don't have an English word for these people because we wouldn't tolerate their existence in Canada. They are usually young men, who buy crappy motorcycles and remove the mufflers so that they are ear-splittingly loud. They like to ride slowly through residential neighbourhoods revving their motors, waking people up and generally creating as much noise as they can. I am sure that there are anti-noise laws in Japan, but for whatever reason, the police tend to ignore these jerks. Maybe they feel that they are just rebellious youngsters who are getting out their anti-social feelings in a (relatively) harmless way. But they make me see red - the thought that somebody is deliberately going out of their way to cause as much random irritation to as many people as they possibly can is incredibly annoying to me.

In Canada, I think neighbours would tend to put a stop to this sort of thing. If you lived next door to a kid who fancied himself a bosozoku, the kid would find his tires slashed, or a brick thrown through his window. But Japan being the (otherwise) incredibly polite society that it is, somehow these people continue to operate. When I hear one go by (and one has gone by 3 or 4 times since I started writing this) it makes me want to climb up onto the roof with a sniper rifle. As those tend to be pretty hard to get your hands on in this country, the next best thing would be to wait patiently on the sidewalk with my sword, and decapitate him the next time he rolls by. But then I'd be the one getting arrested, right? I tell ya, life just ain't fair.


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