Monday, September 6, 2010

The Most Japanese Thing I Have Ever Done, Pt. 3 - Super Delayed Edition

I previously began writing about a trip with my coworkers and boss to a resort in Hiroshima under the theme of the most Japanese thing I every did. Which in fact it is. Now one month delayed, I think it is best to just hit the highlights.

Starting with dinner (this was only an overnight trip)

This area was known for one thing - Red Snapper and Homeishu (保命酒) - lit. life perserving liquor

Two things - this area was known for two things - Red Snapper and Homeishu (保命酒) - lit. life perserving liquor, and Sakamoto Ryoma, a famous guy who did something important I can't remember but you can read about here

Three thing - this area was known for three thing - Red Snapper and Homeishu (保命酒) - lit. life perserving liquor, and Sakamoto Ryoma, a famous guy who did something important I can't remember but you can read about here, and being the setting for the Miyazaki film Ponyo

Four things! But back to red snapper - dinner was definitely not for people who dislike fish:

Aside from the usual assortment of cooked and raw seafood, there was another aspect to the meal which was a first to me: eating a living shrimp. Pull the head off, and down the hatch - surprisingly delicious.

All this was followed by a lion dance!

To be continued...

How to skew your average life span upward and make bank!

Japan is semi-legendary for the long-livedness of its inhabitants. While people stateside are dropping dead(1) of coronaries at 32 after essentially main-lining saturated fats and nacho cheese at a Herculean rate, the Japanese regularly live to 284 on a diet of fish, rice, seaweed and cigarettes.

BUT perhaps a look behind the curtain will reveal that the number of centurions living on this fair isle are not as high as once supposed.

The latest scandal to rock the very foundations of Japanese society is the discovery that hundreds of families have simply buried grandma and promptly failed to inform the government allowing them to continue to collect on her pension. Now every town and city is hustling to verify that the woman born back during the Tokugawa shogunate is in fact living at the address where the government checks are being sent each month. Apparently in one actual case, there was a resident who was supposedly 150 on the books, but no one thought to check this out, or call the Guinness Book for that matter. Not surprisingly, no one was able to locate this Oriental Methuselah.

Nevertheless, they are still outliving us western-types so perhaps it is time to unplug the pork rind IV.

(1) I suppose at 342 pounds you are more "tipping over" dead than dropping.

It's Back On!

One of the beautiful parts of an English teaching job in Japan - if you are lucky - is some serious vacation time at full pay. I distinctly remember swearing up and down that the month of August would not be spent in idle pursuits but rather would be focused and dedicated to a long laundry list of activities and endeavors all aimed at improving myself as a human being. But then I got a good book.

And another.

And rediscovered Mystery Science Theater 3000.

And then realized that my complete lack of productivity was in no way interfering with the impending bank transfer that is my monthly salary.

So I did nada aside from finally taking care of some medical and dental business (yay health insurance) and finally getting my Japanese drivers license (as of today).

But now reality and work have returned and my screwing around genes have started to go regressive so back to letting the world know about Japan one questionable factoid at at time!