Monday, August 2, 2010


Today's quote: A city is not a city without sleaze. (a favourite line from my textile production teacher in --where else?--New York City)

TOKYO--Before I leave for the sleaze, heat and discord of Hong Kong this week, I would like to mention a few observations I have on the civility of Japanese government and society.

Only in Japan---

1)...are emergency services polite. Ambulance sirens produce a 'tune' (similar to that of France) instead of a jarring noise. Everyone in cars, being polite, gives way. No exceptions. But the Japanese win the grand prize for politeness using a louspeaker, ". (I guess the Japanese for move over)..kudasai....Arrigato gozaimas..." In other countries which shall remain nameless, that would be translated as, "Get da fuck ow dof da way!"
Of course, the ambulance was probably rushing over to save someone who couldn't take politeness anymore and decided to kill himself. That or he was too polite to bother the postman...

2)...speaking of Japan Post, where else do they offer you free candy when you enter the post office, ATM service and pick-up service for oversized parcels. (I think this is why they are broke)

3)....does City Hall have a toy repair service every month. So THAT'S where our tax money goes!!

4) ...did someone ask me, "Do your Toto toilets at home have a 'tune?" What tune did you pick?""
Let me explain this exciting loo concept to those inexperienced in the ways of Japanese elimination. Japan is a country populated by Larry Davids in complete denial of toilet habits; therefore not only do they not touch each other (they bow), they do not touch anything remotely connected to using the toilet --a) they pioneered the no-touch flush (no news there) and b) when they use the loo, they get so embarrassed that you can press a musical button and it plays a tune or produces a flushing sound. That's so the person in the next stall will not know if you're having a pee (which he can hear) or a poo (which will either be silent or a Nagasaki bomb).
There are also washlets and dryers but that's another story.

To answer that question, it is, unfortunately 'No" because you will be 100% alone in that toilet behind a soundproof door with sandalwood scented toilet paper within easy reach. Of course, if I had a choice of a tune, perhaps I would choose, "When the going gets tough...." Ugh!!