Sunday, January 28, 2007

Top 10 Rants

Don't know why, but lately I've been feeling really annoyed by some of the things I experience here in Tokyo. Usually I can just brush it off, but suddenly I feel like I'm drowning in it. Everywhere I turn, I'm ready to go postal and I've got to get over this!

Rant 1
Why can't people divide the street or sidewalk in half--one half going one direction and the other half going the other direction? I mean, cars move that way, right? Why not people?!!! This rant also includes the stairs in train stations which are clearly posted with "up" and "down" arrows, yet no one pays any attention to them.

Rant 2
And, why can't people walk in a sraight line insead of meandering all over the place like they've taken up residence on an ant hill?

Rant 3
And speaking of walking, why in Hell do people have to walk while reading their keitai (cell phone)? Picture a million people walking along at a quick pace, and then suddenly the person in front of you stops with no warning as they decide at that very moment to read something of interest on their cellphone! I can't tell you the number of times this has nearly caused a chain reaction freeway-like pileup!

Rant 4
Has anyone over here ever heard of holding a door open for the person behind them? How many more times am I going to get a door released in my face? Do I need to start wearing a face guard? Now I've taken to shouting, "Thank you!" every time someone does that. The really strange thing is that no one apologizes!

Rant 5
Picture me getting to my train platform early. I get there early so I can stand at the front of the line which you would think would ensure me of a better chance of getting a seat on the train. At the last second, just as the door opens and before anyone can even get off the train, some obachan (old woman) dashes in from the side and pushes her way past everyone else to grab the only seat left on the train! Don't let those old gals fool you! They're as spry as chickens and as determined as hungry wolves!

Rant 6
Men, outside of a social situation or face-to-face meeting, are rude, rude, rude! For all that bowing and humility they show on the TV news when they've been caught falsifying their company's financial reports, their manners fly out the window once they leave the office. Men here feel it's their inalienable right to go first or be first, and what's worse is that the women here accept that! Men do not hold doors open for women, pull chairs out, help with coats, carry packages, or do anything else that sets gentlemen apart from. . .from. . .whatever is the opposite of gentlemen!

Rant 7
Bicycles are a menace and anyone riding one should be exiled to some country where there are only mountains and rocks! Bicyclists and pedestrians are two opposing forces that should never come together in a crowded city of 30 million people. I'm fed up with dodging bicycles and if I hear one more chirp from those ridiculous bicycle warning bells, I'm going to jam my umbrella into their spokes!

Rant 8
Speaking of bicycles, what size brain do you think it takes to not realize that you shouldn't park directly in front of doors to shops, banks, grocery stores, etc.? This seems so obvious, yet everywhere I go, there are those damned bicycles to climb over!

Rant 8
Double and triple bagging. Is it really necessary to put my newly purchased undies inside a small bag, seal it with tape, and then place that bag inside another larger bag which is also sealed with tape? If I buy a bottle of dish soap when I'm at the supermarket, does that need to go inside a separate bag before it goes into a larger bag? When I buy a bag of pickeled vegetables that's already factory sealed and isn't leaking on grocery shelves, why is it necessary to put them inside separate little bags before they go inside my shopping bag?

Rant 10
Do mothers here not realize that they should hold the hands of their very young children while on escalators? I nearly had a heart attack one day when I saw a little girl, about 4 years old, race up ahead of her mother and FALL TWO STEPS AWAY FROM THE TOP OF THE ESCALATOR WITH HER HANDS SPREAD OUT IN FRONT OF HER! I was too far away to quickly yank her up, but somehow she stood up at the last split second before her hands could go into the disappearing step! The mother looked oblivious to the danger. I almost never see mothers holding their children's hands, even when they're getting on and off trains. I've heard stories here enough times about small children falling between the trains and the platforms to think people would be a little more careful with their children. While infant mortality rates are among the lowest in the world at birth, the statistics shoot up frighteningly high between 2 and 4 years old.

So those are my rants. I just needed to get them off my chest. I'm really not an angry, miserable person. Really. . .

Saturday, January 13, 2007

A traditional Japanese wedding

One of our staff got married over the Christmas holidays. She had a traditional Japanese wedding ceremony where she wore a white kimono.

Here's a picture of her and her mother.

The bride changed outfits several times, and each change included a change of flowers as well! This wedding had to have cost a fortune! Here she is in her western-style wedding dress.

And then there was the mile-high cake, although you can't see the fourth layer in this shot!

And this gorgeous red gown!

An amazing wedding!

Time out to reflect & do more wishful thinking

Well, I ALMOST made it a full year without getting sick. It would have been a year in February. Right now, I'm sitting in bed with my laptop, eyes and nose running, chest hurting, coughing, sneezing. . . Blech! Maybe this is just an opportunity to take a time out and reflect on the new year.

What do I want in 2007? What are my dreams and goals? How can I wish them into existence? Did that sentence sound strange? Maybe, but I've come to believe in the power of wishful thinking! Last year I wished for a nicer apartment that wouldn't cost me any extra money, that wouldn't require a lease or key money, and that would be close to my work and closer to the station. As impossible as it all seemed, it happened! My former landladies even found the apartment for me and paid for my move!

Then I wished for a new cooktop (stove) that wouldn't cost too much. A brand new one showed up at my door for free, a gift from my new landlady!

Next, I wished for a washing machine of my own (rather than one shared by me and the four male tenants in my small apartment building). Without even asking my landlady for it, one "appeared" on my small patio.

I think that each one of those things was part of a grander plan to convince me about how manifestation works. It's supposed to be EASY! All of our lives we're told to quit wishing and start doing. Well, maybe we've been misled. Maybe life isn't meant to be filled with beating our heads against a wall. Maybe all we need to do is make a sincere wish. Great Avatars have told us this, and it appears in all the holy books of the world. So why do we doubt it? Why in the world would we want to work hard and limit our dreams?

For 2007 I encourage you to WISH, and it shall be yours!