Thursday, October 05, 2006

Ode to Japan

Last week we visited the city of Fukuoka on the southern island of Japan, and it was.... fabulous. In honor of our trip to Fukuoka, I have composed the following. It's a little corny, I'm afraid, but - I'm in love....

Ode to Japan

They ride bicycles. They walk.
There are birds in the park.

(If Korean is your first language, that rhymes. Unfortunately in Korea it is rare to find so many real birds in the park. Instead, they build bird boxes and put speakers inside that play a recording of birds singing rather monotonously. I'm pretty sure this would scare away any real birds that might land nearby.)

Three cheers for Japan!

Cars and trucks - all are clean
Even the air - is this a dream?

The drivers are patient, they don't honk their horn
To do so, it seems, would not be good form.

Three cheers for Japan!

There is no garbage in the street
Everything is tidy and neat.

Three cheers for Japan!

I crossed the road many times.
All was well, nearly sublime

(I have life-threatening experiences on a daily basis here. The day before we left I was nearly run over no less than three times by motorists who seem to think the law does not apply to them.)

Three cheers for Japan!

They drive small cars.
And no one looked at us
like we were from Mars!

Children do not point, stare, and yell
Not even on the metro.

(Adults don't either.)

Three cheers for Japan!

They have plain yogurt.
Plain, with no sugar.
Truly, this is my favorite dessert.

(In fact, there was a small packet of sugar under the lid of the first one we bought, so you could add as much as you wanted - if you wanted.)

They have spices, beyond hot pepper flakes.
Maybe they even have fruitcakes?

(We brought some basil and nutmeg home.)

They have olives and cheese.
And really big trees.

(We scientifically ascertained that it would take three and a quarter Susans or three Gordons or Susan and Gordon plus two small children to give this tree a proper hug. Maybe we'll come back in a few years!)

They speak Japanese.

Duh. Yes, but.... even to us. They are proud of their language and culture - as opposed to seeking to become as American as possible. Gordon signed up for Japanese classes the day after we returned home. :)

Three cheers for Japan!


gaynor said...

Hi! Just found your website and it is interesting reading. My husband & I have been in Germany (from Australia) for 7 months and we feel God has called us here to plant an English speaking Church, but for people outside the Church. It's very exciting, as is what you are doing. If you want to see more check my blog, but it is mainly about our recreational activities! God Bless, Gaynor

pil said...

Another comment from Korean-born Canadian... well immigrant, shall we say.
I agree with most points about Japan (I assume vs. Korea). They are as different as Jamaicans are from Brits or Germans from Spaniards. My only defense towards my "people" is that at least they are very outwardly warm people (although mostly to white people...)
But the last point that Japanese people are not trying to be as American as possible, I'd beg to differ in opinion as someone who lived here for a year. You have only to live here for a few months to realize Americanism is as startling here in Japan as in Korea.