METROPOLIS | CLASSIFIEDS | PERSONALS | JOBS

Issue Index

Features
  Mini Features
  Cultural Features
  Life in Japan
  Big in Japan
  Rant & Rave
  Cars & Bikes
  Health & Beauty
  Interiors
  Jobfinder
  Money Talks
  Tokyo Tech
Web Watch
   
  Food & Drink
  Restaurant Reviews
  Bar Reviews
Word of Mouth
  Travel Features
  Japan Travel
  International Travel
  Travelogue
  Art
  Artifacts
  Fashion
  Tokyo Talk
  In Store
  Buyline
  Japan Beat
  CD Reviews
  In Person
  Concerts
  Clubbing
RANT 'N' RAVE
Strike Three - You're Enlightened

Illustration by Marie
Email: spacetako@hotmail.com

Gaijin beware: if you’re not fully acclimated to this ineradicable Japanese custom, the art of omiyage (gift giving), then you may be in for a big surprise. Here’s how the customary, age old tradition frittered away mine and my Japanese wife’s dream vacation to Hawaii.

At first, I thought buying omiyage for all of our family members and friends, from kindergarten to present, bosses and co-workers would be easy. Strike one.

Since it is prosaic in Japan for the housewife to do the shopping, as the bread winner, all I had to do was nod my head yes or no when she found that perfect gift, dish out the cash and carry the bags. No problem, besides, since we had seven days, I was quite confident we could easily balance our time between omiyage shopping and frolicking at Waikiki Beach. Strike two.

While I dreamed of paradise during our flight to Honolulu my wife must have dreamed of shopping because when we landed at the airport, instead of napping off our jet lag, we headed straight to the Ala Moana mall. I had an out of body experience then, impelled by centuries of some inherent Japanese formidable force to shop, and shop and shop for omiyage.

Still numb from a couple of time zone changes, I trailed behind my wife like Kingyo-no-fun, totting bags of omiyage as we weaved through travelling bands of Japanese tourists who zigzagged like schools of hungry tuna fish from one sale to the next.

This whirlwind of weaving, head nodding, dishing out cash and bag totting went on for six days, from dusk till dawn, without a break. My dreams of the beach had long since vanished, so I bought myself a post card. With my priorities readjusted, I abandoned all selfish desires and obtained what I believed to have been enlightenment into the inherent formidable truth of the Japanese way. I was at one with omiyage.

On the eve of the sixth day, shopping complete, we rested. The call of the enticing ocean waves - or was it room service? - beckoned me awake on the seventh day from my abysmal slumber. We had a few hours to spare so I quickly donned my swim trunks, snorkel, mask and fins right there in the room and proceeded to rouse my wife who opened her eyes long enough to tell me she needed to go back to the mall first - to buy a new swim suit. Strike three.

Upon our return to Japan, our grateful family members and friends, bosses, co-workers, all bowing and smiling from ear to ear, graciously thanked us for the omiyage and then proceeded to ask question about our miyage-banashi (experiences of our vacation to paradise). Particularly about how we could spend seven days in Hawaii and not even get a tan? Enlightenment once again overcame me. “Hmmmm,” I said as I repeatedly sucked wind through my teeth. “So desu ne.

Many thanks to reader Glen Steward for this Rant.

Got something positive to say? We know that there are aspects of Tokyo that you love, and we'd like to hear about them from you. Send your 500-word rave (or rant, if you must) by fax to 03-3423-6931, or email to rant@tokyoclassified.com  

Metropolis Online
RANTS AND RAVES:
349: Life in the cycle lane
Playing chicken with a ladybike
348: Daisuki na Tokyo
Tokyo's my favorite!
347: Nihongo dake!
Why am I not fluent in Japanese yet?
346: People make the city
The beauty of Tokyo's people
345: Cross Training
Commuting by train in Tokyo
344: Yellow Line Fever
A guide for the blind... and a pain in the neck
343: Welcome to Tokyo
What did you bring me?
342: Positive thinking
Three reasons why we love Japan
341: I'm a rounder...
Veterans of Japan vs. Japan rookies
340: Discard your bank cards
The labour of replacing lost bank cards
339: Shoganai...
It can't be helped
338: Respect your environment
Poluution problem in Tokyo
337: Strike Three - You're Enlightened
How omiyage ruins a vacation
336: Missing manners
No manners outside of Japan
335: Goodbye jitensha
Is stealing bikes a popular pastime in Japan?
334: War of the Words
English borrows from other languages too!
333: ENGLISH ONLY, please
Don't bother writing your name in Japanese
332: A menu carved in stone
No special requests for lunch!
331: The Zen of Looking Busy
The art behind faking work
330: Lyrical Phlegm
Japan's spitting dilemma
329: Rock harder, Japan
Big, bad and ugly concerts
328: Noise Deficiency
The unrelenting quiet that is not Japan
327: Chopstick Diplomat
Constant questioning = constant answering
326: Game over
Cutting off the game for regular scheduled program
325: Grown pains
The hooligan behavior of middle-aged salarymen
324: The Price of Fame
Young teen actors light up on-screen
323: A Customary Affair
The universal language of consumerism
322: Robber barons
JR steals from the rich.. and the poor
321: Tegami Or Not Tegami
Deny the letter to save money
320: The Garbage Men
Variations of the "salaryman"
319: Holidaze
Japan - Home of the lamest holidays in the world
318: Box your ears
Be the karaoke star you've always dreamed of
317: The winter of my discontent
No oden if it's spring please!
316: The Bells
Going insane from bells and voices
315: The Big Tokyo Trash Mystery
No garbage cans + too much garbage= a clean city?
314: The Kamikaze Spirit
The war may be over but the spirit lives on
313: Movie Mania
Laughing alone in the corner
312: Geek parade
What's going on with gaijin men?
311: Gleaming gomi
Rinse it out before you throw it out
310: Lower Mathematics
Teaching practical mathematical equations
309: Escalator clots
Blocking the flow of escalator traffic
308: Sky's the limit
Favorite channel on the hit list
307: Bring on the studmuffins
Thanks to the "Men looking for women"
306: Burning Rubber
Narrowly averting bicycle collisions
305: Fishy Business
The sushi wasn't dead
304: The Invisible Gaijin
When gaijins collide
303: Talk work only
The Japanese perception of idleness
302: From kotatsu, with love
A blanket covered electric coffee table
300: Why 2K?
The millennium bug ain't no big deal

ISSUES 350-381
ISSUES 250-299

ISSUES 233-249