If Japan=Tokyo does Tokyo=Japan?

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

It wasn't until about half way through this video before I was able to pin point how my experiences here in Japan have been different than what I was seeing.

My first thought was children.

For years Japan has had huge issues with their baby population. No one is having any kids.

What I didn't know until recently is that Kochi is booming with children. There having a hard time finding daycares for all of them!

But when I go to big cities like Tokyo, I'm hard pressed to find children anywhere...maybe it's because I always go to touristy areas...but then again, maybe not.

Anyway, this video shows a very popular restaurant style known as "kaiten zushi" or conveyor belt sushi. Here in Kochi, you won't find any Kaiten Zushi places that aren't equipped with at least a handful of family sized booths. No matter what time of day, you'll find families with children at places like this. I guess not so much in Tokyo.

Also, I hear, and have seen first hand, how impersonal people are in Tokyo. No one will look at you straight in the eye. No one will acknowledge your presence. If you make a mistake on a super crowded train, no worries, no one was watching you anyway...or rather, they've just gotten really good at hiding that they were actually staring at you the whole time ;)

Welp, not so much in Kochi! There's no way that camera would have made it all the way around the store without someone staring right into the camera, someone commenting and pointing as it goes along, someone picking it up and then quickly putting it back or some child picking it up just to have his mother tell him to "give it back to the sushi chief" (since clearly it was a mistake to put it on a plate on the conveyor belt in the first place)

So there HA! I live in the real world Japan. Everyone else lives in a bubble in Tokyo!

2 shared their love:

Anonymous said...

I don't know if it was the music or the atmosphere or that you never saw a whole face until the video was nearly over, but that whole thing gave me the creeps. I was glad I wasn't there. In fact, even though I WASN'T there, I felt very out of place. Don't those people talk to each other? Does anyone eat lunch with someone they KNOW?

And for what it's worth, as much as I LOVE NY, no one looks at you there either (except your friend). You could be walking down the street completely naked and no one would even glance your way (or as you said, maybe they just wouldn't let you see that they were looking your way).

love, mom

NinaSama said...

I would say that about half the people there were with someone else ;) In fact, it was kind of refreshing, at the end of the film two younger guys totally look into the camera and start commenting about it! THAT was normal to me. haha

Still, it was a neat idea and I'm sure when the guys asked the chief if it was cool to put the camera on the belt, everyone around them must have heard and been in on it, everyone except those two dudes at the end ;)

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