Saturday, May 30, 2009

Too embarrassing to call a 'date'.

So...

I had a 'date' with a Japanese person who expressed interest in me on mixi, this Japanese social networking site. He didn't look too bad in his profile picture...from the little bit of back-and-forth messaging we did, it seemed like there wasn't much we had in common. But instead of blowing him off I decided to give it a try and meet with him.

Ugh. At the station I immediately figured out who he was and from that moment was reluctant to let him find me. We met up, and he didn't even have any concrete plans..."What should we do" was said more than three times. Seriously...you want to meet with someone (i.e. go on a date) and tell them you want to show them around West Shinjuku, and then when you get there you don't know what you want to do??

So we went up to this observatory on the 45th floor of one of the skyscrapers in the Skyscraper District. It was nice, could've been better if it wasn't so foggy. As I looked out the window, he didn't even stay next to me for long before shying away and moving to another window. Hey, I wasn't disappointed...but still, the point of meeting someone is to get to know them, not to run away from them.

I don't even want to talk about the rest. In the end, we ended up meeting with Kenisha and her friends and went to the Game Center. Almost immediately, he just disappeared. I messaged him asking where he went, and he said he was on the 3rd floor. By that time Kenisha was ready to go to Shibuya, and I had already made up my mind that I had no desire to see this guy again. I told him about my plans to go to Shibuya and he gave me a "See ya," from which I could sense that he really wanted to avoid hanging out for any longer.

He goes to Toudai (Tokyo University, the top school in Japan) and studies medicine. Not to generalize, but that should've given me a clue that this guy was surely not going to be the most exciting. All the questions I planned to ask him went out the window, because frankly, nothing that I was going to find out about him would convince me to hang out with him again.

Thank goodness Kenisha was in the area though. If I ever try something like this again, I will always make sure I have a friend to call for backup.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Japanese Girls and Heels.

I should say "Japanese girls and shoes in general."

Of course I'm not talking about all Japanese girls when I say this, but...

...why is it that the vast majority of Japanese girls don't know how to walk in heels?

Yesterday I saw think girl dressed up in an elegant goth outfit leaving campus. I happened to be following behind her because I was also done with class. She wasn't fat, just a little bit on the thick side. I couldn't see her from the front, but I didn't really need to.

She could have rocked the look if it wasn't for the fact that she was walking like a duck in her platform Mary Jane shoes. Her steps were widespread, like a baby just learning to walk.

That's not the only problem I've seen with Japanese girls and the way they walk. There's the 'wobbly ankle' when any heels over 2" are worn; toes pointed in any direction but straight ahead when taking steps; and the loud scraping of heels on the ground.

HEELS AND SCRAPING DO NOT GO TOGETHER. It's like an oxymoron!

We don't have this problem in the U.S.! So why in Japan? Why are there so many girls who don't know how to walk like ladies?

The closest I could find to an answer is this article about Japanese women and bowleggedness. Then there's another page that shows pictures of women's feet while walking pigeon-toed.

I think there should be a required seminar for girls entering heel-wearing age learning how to walk properly. Bowleggedness is not an excuse for not being able to walk without scraping your heels, nor is it a valid argument for wobbly ankles. Wobbly ankles means your heels are too high. And walking in heels is only going to make things worse for your legs and feet.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

I'm still alive.

I've been swamped with work. I'll update when there's time, I assure you.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Remembering my Role

I was on my way to the 100 yen shop after class today. It was the one on the East side of Ikebukuro, the one I most frequently visit. So of course I've walked down that way many times.

But this time, something happened.

I was almost to the shop when suddenly a man approached me from the side and said in a polite tone, "Excuse me."

When I turned to look, I was a little nervous and curious about why a young police officer was trying to get my attention. Then I realized what was going on.

He asked if I was a college student. I said yes, and then he asked to see my Alien Registration Card. As I pulled it out of my wallet, I was stuck between feeling offended and wondering how he was going to react when he realized that I wasn't some suspicious gaijin trying to blow up a shopping center.

He looked at the card, to which he replied, "Oh, an American! Thank you," and handed me my card, but not before glancing at the back to make sure the city's seal was on it. I replied 'hai,' and went on my way, feeling extremely somewhat embarrassed and annoyed. I wonder if anyone else was watching, waiting to see if the little gaijin would be dragged off to the nearby police box for questioning.

But I thought about it again, trying to see it from the officer's perspective. Perhaps it was a case of non-verbal miscommunication. Today I was wearing my hat, because I didn't have time to do my hair. I was trying not to wear it too low, because I knew people might be suspicious.

I was also carrying a black file, which has my schoolwork in it. Normally I keep it in my school bag, but since I was only attending one class today, I decided to hold it in my arms. How many people walk around with a black file in their arms rather than in a bag? I had my (bright) Hello Kitty purse, which was too small for the file.

However, I think another difference between being stopped by a police officer and not being stopped lies within one other detail: My race. In other words, a woman wearing the same hat, grey jacket, pink top and white pants, and carrying the same purse and the same black file, but happened to be noticeably Japanese would probably have been able to walk by without question.

It made me think about racial minorities that are Japanese citizens. As citizens they should be treated as such, but misunderstandings still occur simple because of their appearance. It's a shame, but I wonder what can be done about it; not just in Japan, but worldwide. It's no less of a problem back in the United States, either. I can't blame the officer either; he was just doing his job.