Wednesday, August 18, 2010
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
News from Japan. A couple of ideas are setting in. I am homesick. I miss riding a motorcycle. I miss being greasy at the end of most days. I miss looking forward to the next ride and camp with my friends. I miss being literate. All of that being said, here is the flip side of the coin. The food in Japan is great. The beer too. And their are endless opportunities to learn something you didn't know. Of course, having to learn something you didn't know several times a day, and being hopelessly dependent on the help of others for communication is a bit tiring at times. All a part of being an immigrant I suppose.
The main writing system, Kanji. It is one out of about 5 writing systems they use. The others are less complicated, but Kanji is around 2500 characters. Weigh that against our 26 letter alphabet. It takes 12 years of school for every person in the country to learn it, but they all do, along with two other writing systems specific to Japan and, of course, the 26 letter roman alphabet. Signs use Kanji, Maps are in Kanji, packaging is mostly in Kanji.
On the subject of motorcycles in Japan, two wheeled transport is definitely king here. It has more to do with necessity than any other motivation. Honda actually is still selling some of the same scooter models that they have produced since the sixties. On the other hand, inspired chopper art is not pouring out of every alleyway in Okayama, where I live. Like in the states, these types of citizens seem to be a passionate minority. Long story short, I don't speak or read the language, and have not found my way into an unsuspecting shop, which would be put away in some dark alley, but I still may. More later.