Japan was a riot. A land of ironies and contradictions. I f*ing loved it. I'm homesick for Japan.
For instance, I've never seen such excellent yarn stores (Yuzawaya, Okadaya), yet I never saw anyone knitting. Ever. Not once. And when C. and I would pull our knitting out in public, folks would stare at us like we were insane. Granted, as gaijin,* we got stared at anyway, but apparently only obasan** knit in Japan. So we started rebelling, knitting in the strangest places we could think of. On the train, for example. You're not supposed to do anything on the train except whisper and send text messages.
Another thing--sex and sexuality erupt publicly in entirely different ways there. Here's a sign I often saw on the train--advertising porn. Like it's no big thing:
And here's a sign indicating that this train car is designated for women only during rush hour because of the problem of men who a**-grab on crowded trains. (Read more about that on C.'s Japan blog here.):
And everyone obeys signs. There's a sign for everything. People even line up to board the trains, following these painted stripes on the ground:
When I came back, everything seemed loud and large. Large (cars, furniture, houses) and loud (people's voices, mostly). I'm in a permanent state of annoyance. I don't leave the house.
For some FOs from Japan, go to this earlier post.