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Everdred's "All About Japan" Living Report

Post your trip reports, travel experiences, and updates abroad. Or your expat story if you already live overseas. Note: To post photos and images, insert the image URL between the tags [img]and[/img] after uploading them to a third party site.

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Re: Everdred's "All About Japan" Living Report

Postby Everdred » Fri Apr 08, 2016 3:05 pm

Thanks for sticking up for me, zboy1. Please understand guys that I'm totally aware of America's many pitfalls, and yes, I'm very aware of the American superiority complex. I do not deny any of these things. But I'd prefer not derail my thread and make this another one of the many "let's shit on America" threads that seem to be so common on this forum. Also understand that I haven't lived in America for years - almost seven to be exact. And finally, I'm not saying the Japanese or any other of the world's people ought to speak English. If a country's people can speak my mother tongue well, I consider that a bonus, not a right. I never push or initiate English on anybody when traveling abroad. But I think speaking more than just one's mother language is a noble, respectable, useful, and self-improving pursuit. It's hard to respect the monolingual Japanese (or the Americans for that matter) when you travel to countries like Malaysia, Mongolia, Singapore, the Philippines, Belgium, Luxembourg, etc. where so many of the locals can speak multiple languages. Anyways...

I asked my Chinese wife to simply make a list of the things she likes and dislikes about Japan. She's a totally unbiased third party, so I figured her thoughts on Japan might prove interesting to us here at Happier Abroad. A little bit about my wife: she's from Heilongjiang province, but she spent most of her post-university life in Dalian (Liaoning), which is where I met her. She lived all three years with me in Bangkok, and she's traveled to every single Asian country I've traveled to (China, Taiwan, South Korea, Japan, Mongolia, the Philippines, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Malaysia, and Singapore). She's also been to the United States with me. So in many ways, she's not your typical Chinese woman, as she has lots of travel and living abroad experience. Anyways, here's what she had to say (I only made simple grammatical corrections):

Likes

1. Cutesy things - designs, decorations, and even the people.
2. Japanese kids, especially their school backpacks and yellow hats. (Note: Japanese schoolchildren are required to wear bright yellow hats on their way to and from school. They also carry special GPS-equipped backpacks.)
3. Houses and their yards, especially the old houses with black roofs. I like all the greenery in their yards, the orange trees, and the way family names are engraved on the outside gates.
4. The compact and nerdy-looking cars.
5. Anpanman (Japanese: アンパンマン).
6. The way everything looks during the cherry blossom season.
7. Trains that pass through communities. This is very impressive.
8. The way different shopping baskets are used for different purposes at the supermarket. (i.e. when checking out, one basket is set aside for the goods that have been rung up, while another basket is set aside for the goods waiting to be rung up).
9. Machines that automatically dispense customers' change at stores. They're very efficient.
10. The way several tables are provided for customers to bag up their groceries after checking out at the supermarket. Also, the way clerks neatly organize your groceries in your shopping basket after ringing up each item.
11. Toilets, especially their washing functions!
12. I never have to worry about locking my bike or having things stolen from my bike's basket.
13. Vending machines.
14. Crafty lunch boxes, containers, utensils, etc. available at stores in Japan. This might be my favorite thing about Japan.
15. All the used appliances available at secondhand shops (vacuums, blow dryers, hair stylers, etc).
16. Buses that are punctual and run on time.
17. The shiny black taxis. (Note: most taxis here in Kamisu have somewhat of a vintage look, and yes, they are shiny and black, haha.)
18. An efficient postal system.
19. The overhead metro systems found in cities like Chiba. (Note: in some cities in Japan, the metro system runs above the road, with the carts hanging above the road like people's feet hanging above the ground during a roller coaster ride.)
20. The buzzer button you press at restaurants when you're ready to order or need service.
21. The way customers are always number one - i.e. you're not at fault when ordering the wrong dish at a restaurant by mistake, the way some store clerks will carry your basket to the cash register, etc.

Dislikes

1. Cashiers, store clerks, and other shop employees "over greet" the customers. Also, the way cashiers say the price of each item when ringing up your things is a bit too much.
2. Some of the fashion styles here are ridiculous - i.e. the triangle-shaped winter wool hats worn here look ridiculous (Note: I don't know what she's referring to here, haha.)
3. There are far too few street lights late at night.
4. The recycling and organizing rules for disposing of trash are far too strict.
5. I always have to be careful with whether or not I'm being rude here, even when I think I'm behaving normally - i.e. I feel like people think I'm rude if I open my car door while they're parking in the space next to me.
6. Natto, especially any soup noodles that contain natto.
7. I always have to wear socks in public. On my very first day in Japan, I wasn't wearing socks to some of the places I went into which require slippers, and I felt very awkward as a result, because people were staring at my feet.
8. Apparently I'm not supposed to wear perfume in Japanese offices. At least this is what a young Japanese woman told me.
9. Trying to take the metro in the city feels scary, because I can't find which line I'm supposed to take or figure out where I'm supposed to go. (Note: the metro systems in cities like Tokyo have a massive learning curve for beginners.)
10. The people are often so polite that I feel dealing with them is a chore.
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Re: Everdred's "All About Japan" Living Report

Postby Yohan » Fri Apr 08, 2016 6:17 pm

Everdred wrote:I asked my Chinese wife to simply make a list of the things she likes and dislikes about Japan. She's a totally unbiased third party, so I figured her thoughts on Japan might prove interesting


Interesting summery.

I noticed, this list does not contain anything about missing English language. It is because a Chinese can read a lot of Japanese, not exactly the same language, but can guess about Japanese writing up to 70 percent correctly what it might mean, and 70 percent is a lot.

Some 'likes' are nice to read about, but I can only advice to be careful, times are changing - also here in Japan.
12. I never have to worry about locking my bike or having things stolen from my bike's basket.
-----
Bicycles are often stolen, for 'one-time use' - you might find them again and abandoned next to a nearby railway/subway station.
Please lock your bicycle especially during late evening.
-----
Some 'dislikes' I do not understand,
3. There are far too few street lights late at night.
???
Maybe talking about a rural area, but here in Tokyo this is nowhere the case.

7. I always have to wear socks in public. .....I wasn't wearing socks to some of the places I went into which require slippers

There are rules while working in a company of course, but otherwise?
About which places are you talking? A Buddhist temple maybe, or a medical clinic?
I never heard something like that, and especially during the hot summer time you will see many women without socks, just with sandals etc. going shopping to a supermarket etc.

-----
This is not unusual...
9. Trying to take the metro in the city feels scary, because I can't find which line I'm supposed to take

All people, regardless if foreigner or Japanese, have some orientation problem in this big Tokyo area if they are not familiar with this city. It takes a while - several months for sure - to memorize the names of places, stations etc. Many streets are not straight. Still much easier for Chinese people to find their way around compared to other foreigners, as names for places and stations are usually written in Chinese characters, much larger than the Roman writing below it.

-----

What I read here - Well, that's a bit exaggerated...but such rules do exist in some schools, public offices, department stores etc. for some good reason.
8. Apparently I'm not supposed to wear perfume in Japanese offices.

If you want to know why, enter one time a 'women only car' during rush hour in Tokyo, where people have to be pushed into the cars and sometimes have to be pulled out because of extensive overcrowding beyond 300 percent of their capacity. The smell of cosmetics coming out from such a 'women only car' when the doors are open will make you dizzy. There are women who avoid to use 'women only cars' for that reason.
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Re: Everdred's "All About Japan" Living Report

Postby Traveler » Sat Apr 09, 2016 3:01 am

This guy looks like he's having a lot of success with the women in Japan:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GuDBvcwwxVo[/youtube]
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GuDBvcwwxVo

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EXBCP6gMgRc[/youtube]
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EXBCP6gMgRc
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Re: Everdred's "All About Japan" Living Report

Postby The_Adventurer » Sat Apr 09, 2016 4:12 am

Guys can do what they like out there, but it is foolish to make videos like this about it and post them on Youtube. Another PUA type, Julien Blanc, who supposedly copied this guy, did something similar, and while he was considered humorous in Japan, AMERICAN women caught wind of his stuff and got him in trouble.

"Blanc's video was noticed by an Asian-American woman, Jennifer Li, who reported Blanc's video to the Japanese embassy and initiated a hashtag campaign "#takedownjulienblanc" in early November 2014 to protest Blanc's video. She also initiated a petition on Change.org calling upon hotels and other venues to cancel his bookings and for webhosts to stop hosting Blanc's and Real Social Dynamics' websites. In an article in the London Independent, Li asserted that Blanc's video and other content he had posted online taught men how to assault women and that his video taught that "Asian women are a 'free for all' for predatory men," thereby encouraging men to abuse Asian women.""

He has since been banned from entering certain countries. People are already trying to get the guy from the video above banned from entering Japan. He has had death threats from Koreans and been told never to go there.
“b***y is so strong that there are dudes willing to blow themselves up for the highly unlikely possibility of b***y in another dimension." -- Joe Rogan
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Re: Everdred's "All About Japan" Living Report

Postby Yohan » Sat Apr 09, 2016 5:35 am

Taking Japanese Girls To Bedroom By Acting Like A Retard

The title of this video says it all. It is easy to act as a retard if you are a retard like this guy.
To create such videos and to post them online is plainly stupid.

However it is true that such behavior - acting like an idiot, or a braggart etc. - is helpful to pick up women everywhere, not only in Japan. - Don't ask me what kind of women this might be.

Such videos as said already by 'the adventurer' can bring you in troubles - in most cases it's not the concerned Asian woman herself, but some Asian-American jealous bigot, religious do-gooder or Western feminist who cries 'rape' or similar BS.

Be careful!
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Re: Everdred's "All About Japan" Living Report

Postby chanta76 » Wed Apr 13, 2016 9:48 pm

The_Adventurer,

From what I hear Japan is much easier to pick up compared to South korea and possible China but it depends . In many expats forums they already talk about "how to pick up or how to get laid," not to different from sex tour guides in places like Thailand or the Philippines. It;s only foolish to post this because eventually it will changes the landscape in Japan. In other words once words get out that Japan has easy girls and that;s the reputation there will be back lash and will make it harder.

David Bond wants to make money off of it but the issues is that just like Julien Blanc it's going to bite you. What I don't get is if Japan is so easy to pick up girls . Why would anyone want to listen someone else stories or how to pick up girls UNLESS it's not as easy as it seems. At the same time this just proves the stereotypes of the ugly over sex American that goes to Asia for one reason only.
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Re: Everdred's "All About Japan" Living Report

Postby Yohan » Thu Apr 14, 2016 8:10 am

chanta76 wrote:From what I hear Japan is much easier to pick up compared to South Korea and possible China

In many expats forums they already talk about "how to pick up or how to get laid," not to different from sex tour guides in places like Thailand or the Philippines.

It;s only foolish to post this because eventually it will changes the landscape in Japan. In other words once words get out that Japan has easy girls and that;s the reputation there will be back lash and will make it harder.


To compare Japan/South Korea with Thailand/Philippines does not make any sense.

In Japan most of these foreign guys who come only to 'pick up girls' are all gone within a few days, as most of them are not known to me for swimming in money. They run quickly into financial troubles and move on to somewhere else in Asia. Japan is not a place for a 'long-stay foreign tourist'.

-----

In Japan you can find girls of course for fun with Westerners, but only in the major cities where they are the majority.

No way in smaller cities, and impossible somewhere in rural areas, there are no young women and there is very limited nightlife for a foreigner outside the large cities.

As newcomer to Japan expect language problems especially in rural areas. Contacts are not so easy, and nightlife is often based on membership and unknown people are refused to enter. For sightseeing expect entrance fees, travel in Japan is costly, as a fact domestic travel in Japan is more expensive than to get on an airplane for international flights to abroad.

in Japan, especially in larger cities you will face a hefty room rate, hotel accommodation is anything but cheap - about the same level as London or Paris - and there is a shortage of cheap hostels etc. as they are all occupied by these many Japanese student groups traveling around by chartered bus.

To give you an idea about expenses for travel within Japan:
Next week I will be with my Japanese wife in Southern Japan to visit some family members, if you want to use a nice average hotel room for 2 persons, expect everywhere to pay about yen 15000,- per night, plus restaurant bills, train tickets, airplane tickets and rent-a-car etc.

About us, we expect to spend totally around yen 300.000,- (= USD 2.700,-) for 1 week.
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Re: Everdred's "All About Japan" Living Report

Postby The_Adventurer » Thu Apr 14, 2016 8:38 am

Yohan wrote:To give you an idea about expenses for travel within Japan:
Next week I will be with my Japanese wife in Southern Japan to visit some family members, if you want to use a nice average hotel room for 2 persons, expect everywhere to pay about yen 15000,- per night, plus restaurant bills, train tickets, airplane tickets and rent-a-car etc.

About us, we expect to spend totally around yen 300.000,- (= USD 2.700,-) for 1 week.


I have a Korean friend, from America, who spends about 3 months out of every year in Japan, because he loves the place. He speaks the language and knows the culture, and has a lot of friends there. He prepares and spends about $25,000 USD (twenty five thousand dollars) for each of these short trips.
“b***y is so strong that there are dudes willing to blow themselves up for the highly unlikely possibility of b***y in another dimension." -- Joe Rogan
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Re: Everdred's "All About Japan" Living Report

Postby Yohan » Thu Apr 14, 2016 5:50 pm

If he is a foreigner and really lives like a upper class Japanese, he will easily spend this amount - for example for Japanese style accommodation.

My wife and me - we prefer Western style rooms and avoid Japanese traditional hotels which include expensive Japanese dinner and do not charge you per room, but per person.

You can also spend a fortune in golf clubs if you stay there overnight - and also hire a car with driver can be very expensive. Not to talk about visiting certain temples and other sightseeing spots, which will always charge you entrance fees.

Japanese nightlife can end in bills remarkably high if a man joins so-called 'health care services', and also domestic travel to islands, especially with ships if you pay for a good cabin can cost you a lot...

Typical Japanese families however have different problems - Most expensive is if they want to buy or rent good accommodation within the large cities, and another headache is higher education for their children. -

Luckily we do not have such expenses anymore.

If your Korean friend from USA is coming so frequently into Japan, he might consider to buy his own small condominium.
Many large condominium buildings are legally open to foreign ownership and their sale office offers some units to foreigners, no requirement of 'permanent resident status' unlike buying a house with land.
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Re: Everdred's "All About Japan" Living Report

Postby Traveler » Fri Apr 15, 2016 2:50 am

The truth is women in Japan are completely sexually frustrated, and so desperate for male attention that they’re willing to PAY FOR IT.
Don’t believe me? I DARE you to google “Herbivore men japan” or “Japan Host Club”
The truth is women in Japan would love to meet you, but the problem is if you lack a basic understanding of the culture you’re DEAD.
In this guide we cover EVERYTHING you need to know when visiting Japan as a single guy!

http://www.japanbydavidbond.com/

He makes Japan sound like a paradise for single guys. He does quite a bit of travelling in other Asian countries too, and it doesn't sound like he is well liked in those places.

What kind of idiot uploads a video of himself in bed with a high school student?
http://koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/world/2015/07/501_183168.html
http://news.chosun.com/site/data/html_dir/2016/04/14/2016041400156.html

He caused a lot of outrage in Hong Kong after he posted a video of his blonde friend stealing a Chinese guy's girlfriend.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eJLGpOBV764
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Re: Everdred's "All About Japan" Living Report

Postby Yohan » Fri Apr 15, 2016 3:58 am

He makes Japan sound like a paradise for single guys. He does quite a bit of travelling in other Asian countries too, and it doesn't sound like he is well liked in those places.

These are nonsense-reports.

To blame is not this idiot-guy alone, to blame are these stupid girls who are going with him.
And yes, we have garbage girls - just into parties, sex and also money of course and unwilling to do any productive work.

There are always crazy videos out about boys are asking girls for sex, or girls are asking boys for sex, social experiments and similar BS.

It's a difference if you look out only for sex or for a long-term relationship in Japan. This is not so easy.
To make it clear, Japan is NOT a paradise for single Western men. It is not a paradise for Japanese single men either - many Japanese young men are single and willing to accept a foreign wife, similar situation in South Korea and also in Taiwan.

As mentioned already, Japan is not a cheap place if you want to stay for a while as a foreigner. Without regular income expect yourself to be soon out of money, and see you in the next bus direction to the airport.
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Re: Everdred's "All About Japan" Living Report

Postby chanta76 » Fri Apr 15, 2016 5:41 am

the_adventurer,

What does your Korean friend do to take 3 months off and spend a good amount of money?


traveler,

Personally if Japan was that super easy to pick up girls than why would you pay membership to learn how to pick up girls? It doesn't make sense. Granted he just looking to fund his trip..and suckers will pay for that.

Japan like South Korea is expensive. Looks matters in those countries. Being young helps allot (under 30 prefer)...yes if your white you have some advantage but it's doesn't discount the fact that black guys or other asian guys with game can do really well. Speaking the native language give you a leg up..being decently tall and good looking helps too. Having something going for you or having game helps. In other words in Japan or South Korea it's not that EASY...easier than USA granted but it;s not like you land there and women line up to be with you. If you can pick up girls in USA you can pick up girls in South Korea or Japan..if you struggle in USA...it maybe little easier Japan or Korea but it depends .
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Re: Everdred's "All About Japan" Living Report

Postby The_Adventurer » Fri Apr 15, 2016 9:36 am

chanta76 wrote:the_adventurer,

What does your Korean friend do to take 3 months off and spend a good amount of money?


He's a mechanical designer and 3D modeller as far as I know... mostly for next gen games.
“b***y is so strong that there are dudes willing to blow themselves up for the highly unlikely possibility of b***y in another dimension." -- Joe Rogan
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Re: Everdred's "All About Japan" Living Report

Postby cdnFA » Fri Apr 15, 2016 2:44 pm

The truth is women in Japan are completely sexually frustrated, and so desperate for male attention that they’re willing to PAY FOR IT.
Don’t believe me? I DARE you to google “Herbivore men japan” or “Japan Host Club”
The truth is women in Japan would love to meet you, but the problem is if you lack a basic understanding of the culture you’re DEAD.
In this guide we cover EVERYTHING you need to know when visiting Japan as a single guy!


After googleing herbivore men and Japan Host Club, maybe google how 1/4 quarter of men are not interested or disgusted with sex and 1/2 of Japanese woman feel the same way. Then look up sexless marriage. What a mook. But hey you can trust a guy trying to sell stuff to present the complete story. Like all those threads on this forum of "wow look at all these hot X just waiting to meet you" with random pictures of half naked 10/10s models. Yeah because that is exactly how it works <laugh>
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Re: Everdred's "All About Japan" Living Report

Postby Everdred » Sat Apr 16, 2016 12:41 pm

Thanks for the input so far guys, but I'm hoping this thread doesn't devolve into another one of the hundreds of "are [insert country here] girls easy?" kind of threads that are so prevalent around here. I'm gonna get this thread back on track by posting a photo essay of what it's like to walk (and drive) through my city, Kamisu. Bear in mind that these photos were taken over the span of nine months, not one single day, haha.

Kamisu: A Photo Essay

Image

It's summer 2015, and I've decided to drive to Kamisu's Nikkawa Beach. During the drive to the beach along the coast, there are many giant wind turbines that generate electricity for the surrounding area.

Image

Now I'm at the beach. It's mostly just families and their children going to the very edge of the water. Not too many people are going all the way in. Apparently there was a shark scare a few weeks back. I spot a handful of babes in bikinis, but not very many. Also notice that there are more wind turbines along the shore.

Image

Autumn has just rolled in, and I've made my way to Minato Park (港公園), which is located along the coast and faces the Kashima-nada Sea and the Pacific Ocean. There's an observation tower at the park, and I can go to the top for only 200 yen. I'm a sucker for good photo opportunities, so it's well worth the 200 yen in my book.

Image

There are many people fishing with very long fishing rods at the park. Most of the people fishing are middle-aged and older men. I wonder what kind of fish they're trying to catch.

Image

Now I'm at the top of the observation tower, and I'm facing east towards the ocean. There are countless factories located along the coast, many of which have some kind of affiliation with other countries, especially China.

Image

It's lunch time. The restaurant scene in Kamisu is pretty bleak, as the city is mostly dominated by mediocre national franchises - very few mom-and-pop type restaurants exist here. I ultimately decide on Kura Sushi (くら寿司), one of the countless franchises of "conveyor belt sushi" (回転寿司) restaurants in Japan. You grab plates of sushi as they rotate past your table. Most plates are only 100 yen. Overall, not too bad. One of the better franchises available in Kamisu. A decent-looking mom eats at the table next to me. Kamisu has thousands of moms just like the one pictured here.

Image

As I drive through some of Kamisu's backroads, I see countless farm fields like the one pictured here. They seem to always look muddy, and I almost never see anything growing. I'm curious as to what crops they grow.

Image

If I cross this bridge that goes over the Tone River, I'll leave Kamisu and enter Katori, which officially takes me out of Ibaraki prefecture and into Chiba prefecture.

Image

A flock of mynas perch in a tree full of berries. One thing I appreciate about Kamisu is seeing all the different birds, as I grew up in Arkansas with a father who was big into bird watching, so the hobby kind of rubbed off on me.

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It's now December, and tens of thousands of pintail ducks have migrated to Kamisu and Ibaraki prefecture. Pintail ducks are not native to only Japan, so it's very possible these ducks have migrated here from another country. These ducks are now in seemingly every body of water in the surrounding area. Pictured here they are in a man-made lake behind Kamisu City Hall.

Image

Next to the man-made lake and city hall is my gym, where I usually go four or five times a week. The gym is located in the local "cultural center," and admission is only 50 yen per hour - one of the few true bargains in my city. But because the gym, or rather the "weight room," is so small, it can get crowded quick. Any more than five people in here at once, and things are gonna get real uncomfortable. I mostly use the squat rack and bench press rack at the back left, which is also what everyone else wants to use, so sometimes I have to be prepared to wait a while.

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It's now late afternoon, and the sun is starting to go down. The sun sets pretty early in the winter, usually around 4 PM. I'm standing on top of a hill at Chuo Park (中央公園) in central Kamisu. In front of me is a sewer plate looking-thing that tells me which direction different Japanese cities are from the park. For example, Tokyo is to the west.

Image

A small pack of kids have also climbed to the top of the park's hill. They seem to be very interested in me, presumably because I'm an obvious foreigner. They fire off any English words they have ever learned, hoping I'll understand them. It's kind of flattering and amusing being noticed by them, as adults in the city practically never say anything to me. I don't expect special treatment or anything, but it's nice to be noticed every once in a while, especially in such a socially isolating place like Kamisu.

Image

Now near my apartment, the sun is setting fast. It's almost night time.

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When the weather is actually clear, which isn't often, Kamisu has some pretty colorful and vibrant sunsets. But they only last about 15 minutes or so, so you have to pay attention, or they'll pass you right by.

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It's now night time, and I'm on Highway 124, Kamisu's main drag, facing southeast towards Choshi, a nearby seaside town.

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As I walk along the main drag on a Saturday night, I can see lots of people and families going out to eat at restaurants. Looking through the window of one restaurant, I see a pack of school girls, who look like they just left school, chatting and having a good time. Yes, having school on Saturdays is normal here in Japan and most of the rest of Asia. I feel sorry for these kids, as going to school on Saturday was pretty much unheard of in my youth. Well, not unless you had Saturday school, which was reserved for the worst troublemakers.

Image

A chef prepares a bowl of noodles for a customer at a noodle franchise restaurant called Marugame Noodles (丸亀製麺). This is one of the few restaurants in the city that has big open windows around its kitchen, which is kind of cool, as you can see chefs preparing food from outside.

Image

As I continue walking along the main drag, I pass Jonathan's, one of Japan's many franchises of family restaurants, which are called "famiresu" (ファミレス) in Japanese. These places dominate the Kamisu food scene, but I find most of them quite boring. They do have a few decent dishes, though, and they tend to be more affordable than other restaurants.

Image

Now I've made my way into Jam Jam Amusement, one of Kamisu's few arcades. I've learned if the word "amusement" is in a place's name in Japan, that most likely means you can gamble there. When I'm inside, I go the second floor (the gambling floor) and see a woman wearing a surgical face mask (very common in Japan) playing one of those "coin push" games. She looks like she's a professional at the game, but she also looks like an emotionless zombie, which is what so many people gambling at the casinos here seem to look like.

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A young man plays one of the arcade games on Jam Jam's ground floor. One thing I like about Jam Jam is their selection of retro arcade games. For example, they have Metal Slug, Final Fight, and Street Fighter II, all classic games from my childhood. I'm not much of a gamer these days, but it's hard to resist the hit of nostalgia I get when playing the same games I grew up with. For this reason, Jam Jam is one of my favorite places in Kamisu.

Image

Now we're back on Kamisu's main drag. On the left is a Chinese restaurant, and on the right is a karaoke bar. Of all the foreign cuisine available in this part of Japan, Chinese is by far the most ubiquitous. Karaoke bars are also extremely common in Asia, especially northeast Asia. Too bad I almost never hear anyone with a decent singing voice at these places, rather usually the complete opposite.

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7-Eleven may have been founded back in Texas, but now the franchise is owned by a Japanese parent company, hence making the franchise more Japanese than American (and also why 7-Eleven is so abundant in Thailand, because the Japanese have heavy business influence in Thailand). Pictured is a couple of guys checking out the magazines, maybe even the porno mags. Often whenever I enter convenience stores around here, there's nearly always a man or two checking out the mags, but never does a woman check out the mags... ever. Strange.

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Looking at one of the few taxi hubs in Kamisu. These are the same "shiny black taxis" that my wife likes. But taking a taxi in Japan is exorbitantly expensive, so the thought to take one never even enters my mind. I also drive a company-provided car, so I never really need one anyways.

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Just off the main drag, Kamisu has several bars and "clubs." But it should be understood that these are not the kinds of bars or clubs you would go to as an outsider. They feel very exclusive and discretionary. Most of them are hostess bars which cater to lonely Japanese men. Many of them hire Filipino and Thai hostesses. Walking in as a white foreigner might create some awkward tension in the air, and some of these nightlife venues flat out won't let you in if you're not Japanese. These places are also extremely expensive. The line between entertainment and prostitution is very blurry at these kind of places.

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Back in my neighborhood there are many houses just like this one - very traditional Japanese style. These are the same houses my wife likes. I've noticed every house like this has a large stone wall surrounding it, and the curtains are always closed. It's as if people live there, but you never see any sign of life.

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This is my apartment building, and this what most apartment buildings look like here in Kamisu. There are several rows of narrow, but deep apartments, and once again, there's rarely any sign of life. Every time I walk around my neighborhood, I see so many cars parked outside apartment buildings like this one, but I almost never see anyone. This strongly reminds me of Tokyo and its eerily isolated residential streets. That said, there's pretty much zero community spirit in Kamisu. Similar to America, everyone locks themselves away in their homes, and the second they step out of their door, they're already in their car on their way to the nearest franchise to shop or eat. In Thailand and China, whenever I am standing outside a random apartment building or walking down a random soi, there's a strong sense of community - people milling about, chatting about the latest happenings, standing around rubbernecking, being nosy, eating snacks, playing mahjong, etc. None of that happens here in Kamisu. There's a very strong "mind your own business" vibe here. Even though so many people live in cramped quarters near one another, they really don't want anything to do with one another. They might exchange pleasantries and be polite on the surface, but that's it. I find all this very un-Asia-like.

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Even though it has a population of nearly 100,000 people, Kamisu is more like a town than a city. Japan has a national population density of 339 people per square mile, and the United States' is 84 people per square mile. That means Japan is roughly four times more crowded than the US, so Kamisu is roughly equal to an American town of 25,000 people. That feels about right. So due to Kamisu's small-town dynamics, the streets are naturally rather quiet at night. Driving around at night, the main lights I see are those from vending machines. Vending machines are everywhere in this country, and even semi-rural Kamisu is no exception. Some houses even have their very own vending machine sitting outside their home, which I find quite odd.

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Spring has come, which means the cherry blossom season has also arrived. Hordes of tourists descend upon Japan during these short two weeks to see and photograph all the cherry blossoms blooming around the country. Kamisu looks quite nice for a change, but too bad all the pink flowers will be gone as soon as they came. They really gave the city some flair, and it seemed like there was actually a small hint of some culture during this time, something dreadfully lacking in Kamisu. I even spotted a handful of foreigners during the season, which is quite unusual for Kamisu.

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Now we're back in the present time, and the warm season is slowly but surely rolling in. It's gonna be a really short spring. Anyways, that's it for now. I hope you enjoyed this photo essay. Plenty more Japan stuff to come later.
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Everdred
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Location: Ibaraki, Japan

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