Time Machine.

I have been reading some of what I have written during my first months in Japan, published here or elsewhere, and it felt weirder than I thought it would. For reasons we all know, I seem to have lost the ability to humorously blog about Japan, and  also lost the ability to jokingly list comparisons between Egypt and Japan. 


Ssptember 11, 2010 :  From Hirakata, With Love

"Kinki" Osaka is the name of the main bank branch here... Says it all

Japan is strange. In its own sweet way.

George Carlin once said that when you’re born, yet get a ticket to the freak show. I say that when you’re born in Egypt, you get a front row seat.

Which means?

It means that having lived in Egypt for 20 years, my perception of what’s strange and what’s not strange is completely distorted:

It is strange to get paper work done without having to bribe some people. It is strange to have people bowing to you while repeating ‘thank you’ for 4878070897 times just because you bought a bottle of water. It is strange to walk around the street with a Hello Kitty towel in your hand. It is strange to stop walking when the lights are red even though the street is empty. It is strange to see a 90 year old man, riding a bike, holding an umbrella with his right hand, texting with his cellphone with his left, avoiding pedestrians on the 90 cm sidewalk and still maintaining his balance all the way. It is strange that when the bus schedule says that arrival is on 7:34, the bus does arrive on 7:34 – not 7:33, not 7:35, but 7:34. It is strange that one kg of tomatos costs you 20 dollars, while spending a night in a karaoke club with ‘all you can drink’ can cost you just about the same.

It is strange to find porn magazines being sold in supermarkets, one shelf away from children’s coloring books.

It is strange that you’re not allowed to use your cellphone on a train or a bus, or else people will start giving you looks as dirty as Egyptian trash.

Which reminds me: It is strange that you have to clean trash before throwing it away… Or else the trash company won’t take away your stuff, thus leaving your trash bags infront of your door for the whole neighborhood to see…

It is strange that last night I walked for an hour. Bare foot. In the street. And my feet didn’t become black as hell.

Even spetic tank covers have some kind of art... Remember the ones in Egypt? Wait! We don't have septic tank covers in Egypt, so people fall and DIE!

It is strange that an old man can stop you on the street, greet you and talk to you about Egypt, Tutankhamun and the pyramids, then give you candy… and he’s not a pedophile…

My point is, everything here is the complete opposite to what I have been learning, experiencing and living for the past 20 years. But the thing is, I like it. I like it so much and I can’t imagine giving it up anytime soon.

And it would be a lie to say that I don’t miss some aspects of my sweet Egyptian life (eg. mom’s kushari, friends, arabic curses and utter randomness).

But when you live in Japan, you’re not only in the front row seat of an excellent freak show, you’re actually the freak on the stage.

And everyone knows I love freaks.

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May 2011
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