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Clueless in Tokyo

There's something about Tokyo that can reduce the most confident--heck, even the most arrogant--visitor to a shaking pile of uncertain jelly. Ever since I arrived yesterday, I've been having the strangest cognitive dissonance. On the one hand, this isn't anything new for me: I've lived in Japan before, and while my language skills have declined somewhat, I can still make my way around town, and generally make myself known. But all the small details that I used to have mastered are gone.

For instance, take the art of the introduction. It took me a very long time during my first visit to get the whole Japanese introduction system down pat: who bows, how low, what you say, and most importantly, when you stop bowing, since I have a tendency to just keep going. Over the last few days I've probably been through thirty introductions, and I'm back to the gawky-kid stage. The problem is, I can almost be the gawky kid right now, and I've stumbled no few of them.

On the other hand, I spent the morning away from the office (most of which I can't really talk about), waiting for my luggage to arrive from the airport delivery service, and ran into a pleasant surprise. Although I'm sure the Clerk will disagree in his normal curmudgeonly fashion, the lower tendency for Japanese to sue means that the coffee that I purchased at McDonalds this morning was the proper temperature: hot. And while it might seem strange to have eaten my first breakfast in a foreign land in a McDonalds, let me remind you of two major differences between McDonalds in Tokyo and New York: the former are both clean and capable of serving food hot.

Anyway, I've settled into an apartment in Ikebukuro, and if I can find some free wireless access points and have time over the weekend, I'll be putting up a photoblog, which with any luck will fill with my pictures of my summer here. In the meantime, I'll have to go: my time at this internet cafe is almost...


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The NY Times Magazine had an article about how Japanese culture is becoming popular in the states. So be on the look out for the next big thing
The NY Times Magazine had an article about how Japanese culture is becoming popular in the states. So be on the look out for the next big thing

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