Turning Japanese? I really think so. Most of what I disliked about Japan, doesn’t faze me anymore. I no longer mention how anorexic I feel due to my typically Japanese diet. And these days, sea-urchin uterus and dried fish-heads, seem less like nauseating abominations, and more like nutritious snacks.
Things that used to blow my mind, I now usually take for granted. I hardly notice that it takes five minutes to be served at Japanese restaurants. However, I sure as hell notice, that back home in Australia, I might have as much chance of getting served quickly, as I would of haling a taxi on New Years Eve, whilst lathered in molten bitumen and juggling chain-saws.
I try really hard not to notice, that I’m still noticing, the peak-hour train-sardine crushes, and getting my Gaijin butt, grabbed by randy, middle-aged office women.
And no missing the salary-man, karaoke-bar refugees, with rancid sake-spinach mouth stench, gassing me at point blank range. Or, am I just inhaling my own post breakfast, seaweed-death-breath? It couldn’t be me, could it? I mouth-washed and brushed extensively, as I sat watching the morning news, train-suicide delay report. Should I nervously scour my molars for wedged vegetable matter again? Yes, and there – the culprit. Out! Out, dammed Wakame-fiend! I cry. But it won’t budge for love or money. Mental note: visit Akihabara gadget store. Buy pocket dental jackhammer. You may laugh, but in the land of MP3 playing toilets and fiber-optic-guided, ear cleaners, anything is possible.
I sometimes remember to take a hand towel with me, so I can avoid wiping my freshly-washed hands on the back of my pants, every time I use a public toilet, which has no hand-drier or paper towels.
I’ve even stopped wanting to form an anti-smoking lobby, every-time I go into a café, which doesn’t properly partition its smoking and non-smoking areas. In very Japanese fashion, I simply smile extra politely, and just deal with it. Then, in very non-Japanese fashion, I go off and scream at thoughtless bus-stop smokers one at a time, instead.
Most importantly of all, I no longer consider Japanese Kanji written characters, as enigmatic as the hieroglyphics, which are said to appear on pieces of wreckage from crashed alien spacecraft. For as an official card-carrying “Alien,” in Japan, I should have no trouble reading them, now should I?