This one is rambling.
In Osaka Station the other day, commuter traffic was slowed by a roadblock of a human. Staring intently at an object in his chubby hand, exiting passengers began to collect behind him. As I passed I looked to see what was so important as to disrupt the daily trek. A porn DVD.
I didn't realize Bon Jovi had such a strong fan base in Japan. Each day I see tens of hip Bon Jovi fans wearing tight jeans and wife beaters sporting fake tanned, junkie physiques. But the key element is the teased out, bleached up, pseudo mullet. The only way to get away with this fashion statement in the US is to drive a van with a warrior painted on the side.
I have found you can tell a lot about a culture by its shopping. For example, Japanese convenience stores carry an odd array of merchandise. The usual items like magazines, basic toiletries, drinks and snacks. But it doesn't stop there. Oh no, if you need it, you can also buy ties, underwear, and dress shirts. People are in fact, so short on time, that they never know when they may need to make a quick run to 7-11...FOR A DRESS SHIRT!
On the elevated walkways, it is common to find street vendors and musicians. But like most things here, they take it to the next level. Never simply a guy with an acoustic guitar. These are full blown stage rigs. Typically the set up and sound check is far longer than the two song sets. However, these guys are usually VERY good and very professional. I saw Ronny James Dio's doppelganger complete with squeals and mic spins on Sunday.
On Monday I had my first design crit with Hiraokasan, Masako, and some other guy who's name I can never remember. I still haven't figured out to what capacity my work is being considered. They seemed to like it, although most of the crit was in Japanese and giggles. I'm glad I didn't try anything to “crazy” though because they asked me to simplify what I had done. Basically...all I did was use terracotta tile instead of Japanese white or grey, metal balcony railing and added some louvers. They told me to remove the louvers because they cost too much.
Today at work was pretty hilarious. At 10 am, Masako and I went to the future site of this apartment building. It quickly became apparent that she just didn't want to be in the office anymore. We walked around a parking lot for about 45 minutes. Next to the site is an art museum by Caesar Pelli. “Do you want to go?” So we spent 45 minutes in there laughing at the sleeping guards. We finished in there around 11:30. Mind you, Takenaka lunch starts with the NASCAR beeps at exactly 12:00. She says “I'm hungry, let's eat.” So we found this cool little restaurant that had really good food for around Â¥800 (current exchange rate $1.00 = Â¥114.89, I might have to get an iPod using my credit card if this keeps up). After that, we headed back to Takenaka...very slowly. We got back at 12:30 so we still had 30 minutes to pass out at our desks like half of the other employees.
I've pretty much gotten used to the communal bathing. I still prefer my good ”˜ole ”˜Merican shower, but you do what you have to do. The part that is most awkward though, is that it is nothing like American communal showers where all eyes are straight ahead, in silence, towels around the waist. Here the communal bath is PARTY TIME! These dudes are laughing, and yelling, and just standing around nekked. So awkward because you're sitting there scrubbing and some guy walks over and wants to talk bare assed with crotch at face height. Dude, I'll talk to you later! Like after you put on some pants.
I will spend this weekend in Fukuchiyama with the Takeshitas.
We had coffee flavored Jello at dinner. Odd but good.
I hate tofu.