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Sam, Katy, and Noggs in Africa

Japanuary Episode VI: General Greatness. Or, Random Stuff That Didn’t Fit Into The Other Blog Posts.

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Japan had lots of cool shit to do, and we only had time to try out the tip of the greatness iceberg. In no particular order, here’s some of it.

We got around.

I’m not a big fan of karaoke in England. The only thing worse than listening to tuneless pikeys wailing on stage is being peer pressured to go up there to inflict my shitness upon a room full of people. But even karaoke is better in Japan. Rather than pub-wide karaoke crapness, Japan limits the damage to single private room. You can fit about 10 people in. Ten people you know. Which is reason 1 why it sucks less arse. Reason two is that they deliver jugs of beer. Which makes everything better. And people do karaoke different there. Apparently if you want to impress a girl you take her out for karaoke. And people seem to do karaoke all the time, not just once every 10 years when people make them, ahem. And as a result they all sing like pros. Making you sound all the more shit. Never mind. Legally, they can’t let you leave Japan until you have embarassed yourself in a karaoke booth. Fact.

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OK. I’ve talked about high tech japan. But what about old school? We saw a few sumo wrestlers in Japan and it always made me smile. If I saw a super fat bloke in Blighty it wouldn’t necessarily fill me with joy, but if he is in a kimono it rocks. I don’t make the rules. I don’t know how sumo wrestlers talk but here is what I imagine they sound like:

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Gangsta sumo taking up 3 seats at the train station: “Checkin’ ma sumo phone waiting fo’ ma train to ma sumo home. Oi! Are you looking up my skirt?

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Socialite sumo sumoin’ round town: “Oh my god, my kimono is, like, so in right now

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Northern sumo having dinner at Maccy D’s: “I fucking love Happy Meals, me

Kyoto. We arrived on the bullet train and wandered round looking for temples, bamboo and geishas. Hint: temples are a lot easier to photograph than geishas.

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Bullet train!

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Not geishas. Just old ladies dressed up all fancy.

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It’s so…shiny!

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We may not have found that many geishas but we did find this cool hat.

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Saw Mount Fuji; was nice.

Reason #6725 why Japan is ace. Everyone reads manga. Even grown ups. Even old people. Even hobos.

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“It’s not a cartoon, it’s anime”

We went to the museum of Studio Ghibli, and anime studio. They don’t let you take pictures but we snuck a few.

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Obey the robots. In South Africa we call traffic lights robots. Don’t ask me why, other than cos its cool. Who can say no to “Turn left at the robots”? No one. I always imagine an army of giant robots instead of boring traffic lights when someone says that to me. Anyway. In Blighty there are robots [traffic lights] to help you cross the road. But even if you’ve got red man, people still cross if it’s safe. Not so japstylee. Even if there are no cars in sight those mofos wait for the green man. Our friends in Tokyo told us that they warn foreigners about crossing on a red man, as Japanese people may see you crossing and assume it’s a green man, so just absent-mindedly wander out into the road and get mown down. Its a tiny detail but it’s something that strikes you when you are in a hurry and there are no cars but everyone is just stood there like japanese lemons waiting for the oficial go-ahead to cross the street.

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We tried our damndest to see some Japanese cosplay. Apparenltly it was too cold for cosplay when we visited the cosplay hotspots. This would never happen in Newcastle. Maybe Japan just isn’t quite northern enough? Anyway, we did spot some interesting fashions:

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Everything was cute. Even buses. Can you imagine this rocking up to take you to work in the morning? “Sorry im late, I was too embarrassed to get on the bus cos it was made of a giant cute panda.”

And instead of chavs that pimp out their novas, in Japan they go one step further and slap on pictures of cute manga girls. Im not sure that would go down too well on the estate.

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OK, I think that about wraps it up. Thanks so much to our friends and family who contributed to our honeymoon, and to our friends Greg, Steve, Sheila, Chica, DJ and Taka for showing us a good time in Tokyo and trying to explain what the hell was going on.

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May the world have more bowing.




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