My trip to Tokyo showed my something interesting about Japanese culture: the intimacy between boss and employees. The trip to Tokyo was a business trip, and as we stayed in a hotel I was surprised to find out about the four of us sharing one room and then the bathing ritual. It’s customary to take baths together in the evening and you’re supposed to first sit down and wash yourself with a hand shower, after which you can slip into the hot bath. Very nice and pleasant - and so very different from N-Am. This culture is so much more intimate !

I’ve been noticing lots of young kids, just graduating from school (girls in their kimonos), and other people so well dressed - it’s a nice contrast with N.-Am. with the usual badly colored sports clothes or shoes and jeans. It almost makes me want to go out and buy a proper suit. This kinda bourgeois attitude also shows in the incredible amount of gift-junk that is around. On the other hand I went into one of these stores that are stacked chockfull with all kinds of little things like the seals I sent you, wrapping paper in thousand forms, ties, etc. also dried (flat) flowers to make your own little dried flower bouquette in a frame to hang on the wall (pretty neat really). All that choice made me think how I would go about decorating my (future) house. The nice thing is that in Japan there seems to be more of a tendency to leave creation and composition to the customer, while in N.-Am. one is confronted with a bunch of “formulas” to choose from. If you know what I mean. When I just came here I spent lots of time on shopping (actually I was just looking …) but now I am getting more used to all the different and rather weird kinds of products in stores. There is a subculture around seals, little stamplike stickers that you can stick onto letters, notes, presents etc.. Another subculture of young kids is obsessed with the foto machines that make small stickers with your face printed on a background of your choice. I have seen many kids look at each others collections and exchange their picture-stickers.

There’s a subculture of minidisc fans within ATR and they have succesfully converted me. After initial opposition against another recording medium I finally bought a MiniDisc recorder - it’s very cool, only about $390 CDN. I’ve already started to build this huge collection of copied CDs. It’s the perfect copy medium (each disc now about $3.50), forget about cassettes forever. Then it’s very cool for recording jam sessions cause it’s such a super small device (with 5 hours battery time or something). And, monaural recording lasts 150 minutes so that’s nice too for capturing environmental sounds etc, which I plan to do, cause there’s lots of weird noises here. Too bad for my DAT recorder, but it lost that competition (but then mine’s a rather broken device too).

… I’ve been puzzled by this car. Is it really possible that one buys such a car ? Is it conceivable ? That format and also that color ? …

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