–*In Japan, it is thought that one day robots will do all our menial labor, take care of our children, take care of the elderly and keep us from having to invite foreign guest workers into our countries.
–*The love of anime in Japan has reached almost grotesque proportions, with women using special contact lenses to make their eyes look like those of anime characters, and with one man even petitioning the government to marry a large-breasted manga character. Westerners may scoff, but the character is only 40% more fake than former Miss California USA Carrie Prejean.
–*Given the stringent immigration policies and the current negative birth rate of actual people, Japan will likely achieve its ambitious agenda for a majority of its citizens to become anime characters by 2056.
–*Japan is one of the most ethnically homogenous countries in the world but does have a small minority of Chinese and Koreans just to have somebody to blame the crimes on.
–*The Harajuku area of Tokyo is a fashion Mecca where many fashion subcultures can be found, including “Lolita” fashions, anime character fashions, glam rock, and the perennial favorite, “Ruined Catholic schoolgirl.”
–*Among the rampant “Lolita” subgenres on display in Harajuku are “Gothic Lolita,” “Punk Lolita,” “Wa Lolita,” “Sweet Lolita,” and “Injured Lolita.” Though the name has sexual connotations, the look is mostly a conscious throwback to chastity, and it is done mostly to promote the aesthetics of irretrievable cuteness.
–*Japanese religious beliefs tend to mix a variety of traditions, including Shinto, Taoist, Buddhist and Metrosexual
–*Young Japanese men are very fussy about their appearance and like to keep their hair somewhere in the aesthetic range between Michael Jackson and Florence Henderson.
–*If the subway posters, fashion statements and literature are any indication, the age of consent in Japan must be 10.
–*The Japanese love of space age, kitschy architecture, reflects what is either a sunny optimism about the future—about the possibility that science and technology can lead us to better lives—or an unhealthy love of the 1970s camp classic “Logan’s Run.”
–*Japan has been suffering from heavy economic deflation due to a number of factors, including decline in aggregate demand and undercapitalization of banks. But fuck that. Did you know the sex industry’s contribution to GDP there equals the entire defense budget! Isn’t that wicked?
–*There is a growing problem of work related stress in Japan that causes adverse health effects. One excellent way to deal with stress is to go to an arcade and play a totally fucked up game called Pachinko that has lots of little balls flying around and that makes absolutely no sense whatsoever.
–*You must try not to sound racist when you are an American in a Japanese hospital and asking for “peneshirin.” If you are worried that that sounds racist then be very afraid of the phrase “peneshirin arerugi,” for “penicillin allergy.” Hopefully, the doctor will understand that you are not mocking him and will not deny you care. Good luck.
–*Crime rates are very low in Japan, because of a stronger economy but also because of extensive social groups that instill a deep sense of shame. In an economic stimulus move, Japan hopes to export some of its shame to the United States, where it is in woefully short supply.
I hope this little exercise did not sound too catty. In truth, I very much loved Japan and if I were to write a regular travel blog, I’d recommend the delights of Tokyo and Kyoto to everyone. Stephanie and I have pictures up elsewhere on my Facebook page for those of you who would like a peek at our adventures.