Friday, January 23, 2009

Japan Made Terrifying

Shortly after we found out we were moving to Japan, Brian bought a book called Japan Made Easy. I started reading it last week, a little at a time, and I have to say, it scared the crap out of me. The things I was reading made me less and less excited to even GO to Japan, let alone LIVE there. I can't drive because I won't be able to read the street signs, and if somebody cuts me off and I hit them, it's my fault because "they were there first". I can't use public transportation because I'll get groped by a dirty old man on the train and trampled on the platform. I can't go anywhere, really, because it's impossible to find anything, because the streets have no names. Really.

Then I got to the section on "things you should do in Japan" and it started seeming somewhat more appealing. Cherry blossom viewing, snow festivals, tea ceremonies. I suddenly realized, however, that there was absolutely no mention of the Olympic venues in Nagano. And then I started thinking, and realized that there was also no mention of Avian flu, cell phone rentals, or using GPS to find your way around. And that's when I checked the information at the front of the book.

It was published in 1995. Only slightly out of date.

I'm sure that the street signs will still be unintelligible to me ("At least on Sesame Street I knew the alphabet!" - Big Bird in Japan) and the rules of the road are undoubtedly the same, but suddenly all of the information about the "current state of the culture" in this book is thrown into doubt. I mean, it was written 14 years ago! Sheesh. How can a book filled with information for tourists still be on shelves 13 years after it was written?

I guess I'll be looking for some more recent books!


Mother Hoodwink said...

Josh said that when his family lived there, they would turn the Japanese characters into a picture saying something. Like, "Turn at the sign where the skinny man is talking to the fat man while they're watching TV and cooking dinner on the stove." That was the sign for Yokosuka.

横 須 賀

(Hope that works.)

So don't worry; you'll adapt!

Kerry said...

OMG, that's awesome! I can totally see that! Thank you. :)

Dianne said...

Holy crackers! I just learned how to read Japanese!!

Mother Hoodwink rocks :)