Thursday, August 14, 2008

brave new world

OK. I am sitting here totally in awe and a little scared of google. I never thought it was a big deal before. But it feels different when it hits so close to home. For awhile they have had a "street view" option in their software that lets you get panoramic photo-realistic views of American streets. Some people were saying it was creepy, and I thought they were over reacting. And I still do. But. Yeah. But. I just found out google launched this function in Japan. And that I can sit here on my computer and get a 360 panoramic view of my neighborhood with photo realism. Heck, I even recognize some of my neighbors walking around near my house and... and I can even see the Ethiopian flag hanging in my own fricking window. (Why do I have that flag? Long story for a different day.) In any case, it's a bit weird. But from a more positive side of things, I started thinking how this has the potential to pull us all together as humans. If you can roll on down the streets in any country of the world, the "mystery" of our differences will began to evaporate and maybe we'll begin to see eachother as just people no matter where we live. It's pretty amazing actually, in a way that I think I'm not able to express in words at the moment.

Saturday, August 02, 2008


I always think I have seen most of Japanese culture and then I always get a glimpse from another point of view. Tonight I met my cute friend (lets call her Ms.I) and she was with another friend who was the stereotype of cute (hanging cleavage, long legs, all that, lets call her Ms.H) I went to a kind of stylish bar with the two of them in Imotesando. The conversation (in Japanese of course) was rapid and right down my alley, fun, bubbly conversation. We decided to have a "bar hopping" night, but by the time we left the first stylish bar the cash in my wallet was almost burned up. So I told them to go to the next bar (they pointed it out) and I would run to the ATM and be back in no time. When I got back, Ms. H was in the restroom and my friend Ms.I was talking with two old (late 60s) businessmen. They see me and one of them says, "Whos this fine young man?" and my friend says, "Yeah, he is a fine young man, he's a friend from college." and I am puzzled so I say "Do you guys know each other?" And the vocal old man laughs with a little bit of rust in his voice and says, "well, we are becoming to know each other right now." Ms. H comes back and after a brief exchange about how hot her legs are, the two old men leave. I am thinking 'dang! what creepy old men!' when Ms. I my friend says "yeah, I met some old guys like that last year, and just because we let them talk to us girls they bought all our drinks, it was so cool." Ms.H laughs and turns to me and advises me, "Be sure to turn into an old guy like that, ok?" The conversation twirls in the warm summer evening and the memory of those two old men begins to fade. But suddenly the vocal old man is back, this time with two young college boys. The old man says, "I know this nice wine bar near here, do you guys wanna go?" and I somehow expect them to react with shock, but instead they are smiling and laughing and agreeing whole-heartily. We move over to the wine bar, where he buys us a lot of wine. The conversation hovers on me for awhile, in an odd way, trying to figure out how much I could communicate I guess. The college boy next to me asks me if we have olives in america too, and I almost thought he was joking until I saw his ernest face. The old man says to me, "You speak this language quite well, so I suppose you know the word pervert?" Ms. H laughs and says "Already with that?" But I ignore the fact that he must be talking about himself and just say frankly, "There are a lot of perverts in Japan, so I am sure I know that word!" but he doesn't seem to be offended, he just laughs. "I am a pervert." he proclaims loudly and the girls smile and laugh. The conversation twirls into the evening air, my friend and her friend talking about how they have always wanted to eat dinner up in a skyscraper but couldnt afford it and other such hints. He pulls out his name card and recommends Ms.I and MS.H email him, with which they say they will for sure. Suddenly we all become aware of final train times, and it's a flurry of feet as we run towards the station. I run towards my train platform, opposite my friend's platform, shout a goodnight as I hop into my train and I am whisked away into another evening leading to the next day.
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