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  • Writer's pictureNigel

😬 Culture Shock カルチャーショック

Updated: Dec 5, 2023

2023 年 11 月 29 日


"....Hello this is your captain speaking. Welcome to Frankfurt Airport. The weather this Monday evening is cold, 5°c, but not raining......"

Monday? My brain doesn't connect.

A couple of minutes later :".....This is your captain again. I have made a mistake. I apologize. We have crossed the International Date Line, so we are a day younger. It is Sunday, not Monday..." (* being slightly dazed, I might have missheard this message. Perhaps he said "crossing and re-crossing the Date Line")

Of course flying from Japan we still had to avoid Russia on the way. It was much quicker when we used to fly directly over Siberia......Here we are slipping over the Bering Straits.....waving left at Putin, right at Biden.....👋....why do we need these wars? why can't people just grow up?


「....こんにちは、機長です。フランクフルト空港へようこそ。今週月曜日の夜の天気は寒く、気温は 5°C ですが、雨は降っていません....」

「……また船長です。間違えました。申し訳ありません。日付変更線を越えてしまったので、一日若くなっています。月曜日ではなく日曜日です……」


もちろん日本から飛行機で向かう場合も、途中でロシアを避けなければなりませんでした。 シベリア上空を飛んでいた頃はもっと早かった……ここでベーリング海峡をすり抜けていく……プーチンに向かって左に手を振り、バイデンに右に手を振っている……👋……なぜだろう。 私たちはこれらの戦争が必要ですか? なぜ人は大人になれないのか?


So pilots are also human beings. As long as they can fly a plane I don't mind what they do....

Omg. Germany on a Sunday. Aldi will be shut.....☹️


つまりパイロットも人間です。 飛行機を操縦できる限り……。

ああ、神様。 日曜日のドイツ。 アルディは閉店してしまう……。


At Frankfurt airport I buy a €49 Deutchland ticket online but it is restricted to Calendar months - which means it isn't valid until December. What dim-witted IT programmer thought that one up? Why can't you just have a transport card like Oyster or Suica and top it up when you need to? I have to buy a single ticket (after accessing my account first of course). And all this while sitting at a grubby bar at Arrivals. Sad staff who don't even greet you when you approach their cold sandwich selection. All takes time when you are travelling.

I wait for a bus 🚍. There is no queue, just a random group of travellers calculating where the entrance door of the bus might land (so they can get on first). There is an impolite battle to board. I manage to lug my suitcases into a corner and am grateful for the Daimler-built smooth security of the vehicle. But you can barely hear the announcements, and the bus driver doesn't say a word. Germany.

バス🚍を待ちます。 行列はなく、ランダムな旅行者のグループがバスの入口ドアがどこに着くかを計算しているだけです (そうすれば最初に乗車できます)。 乗り込むには無礼な戦いがあります。 スーツケースをなんとか隅に押し込むことができましたが、ダイムラーが構築した車両のスムーズなセキュリティに感謝しています。 しかし、アナウンスはほとんど聞こえず、バスの運転手は何も言いません。

I am nearly home. But first I have to catch a train to Langen.

On the platform at Buchschlag Bahnhof a man is smoking 🚬. Always makes me feel nauseous. Then he spits on the platform. How disgusting! You can tell I have just spent a month in a country where people actually try and respect each other in public. I walk down the platform to get away from him.

Don't worry. I am not a grumpy old man. Just observing. And celebrating.....Here are three highlights from my last week in Japan which I would like to share with you ☺️


心配しないで。 私は不機嫌な老人ではありません。 ただ観察するだけです。 そしてお祝いをしています.... ここでは、日本での先週のハイライトを 3 つ紹介したいと思います。

 

At the beginning of the week I met up with Scott, who is a keen hiker like myself, but unlike me, is a proper photographer. We managed to find each other at Tokyo Ikebukuro Station and board a super express train to take us out west of Tokyo. Big wide windows and yellow seats. A real luxury. This dropped us off at a small town called Hanno, in the foothills of the Saitama hills. There we got a local train to Agano.

Now the fun started.

First a look at the shrine, which was getting ready for Shichi-go-san 7-5-3, the three lucky numbers in Japan.

When a birthday boy or girl is three, a boy is five, and a girl is seven years old, they are taken to the local shrine in November. All dolled up in traditional garb, boys wear special outfits called hakama or haori, and girls wear kimono. It is a Japanese tradition for seven-year-old girls to wear an obi, a kimono sash, for the first time. Pity we missed it.

But we hikers would have been out of place with all those family photos taking place. We left the shrine and headed up the mountainside. Now and then we came across old houses - most of them being restored, which was an encouraging sign.

Finally we reached this nice little tea place - a Chaya.........ちゃや 茶屋

There was a warm stove crackling in the corner, and I smelt old wood and tempting Udon-like aromas.....Yes! served in a huge bamboo........Scott inspects his noodles...

スコットさんは麺を見る

Just the sort of place I like......lots of character and still going strong.....

こういう古い場所が好きです


Your author.....👍

Darumas up on the shelf.......... https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daruma_doll

Outside.....

After a further steep climb we were rewarded with a view of the hills.....

良い眺め

Lots of photo-ops of course......Here Scott is actually using a roll of film....(for specialists only...!)

仕事中の本物の写真家

It was that lovely weather you so often get in November in Japan. Clear skies, autumn colours.....

日本の秋

But the woods can be dark and mysterious......

しかし、森の中は暗くて神秘的です……。

Then a temple emerges in a clearing...always a good spot to take a breather.....Takedera Buddhist temple 竹寺


 

And now, gentle reader, we jump from the quiet Saitama hills to the bright lights of Ginza - Tokyo's fashionable shopping quarter........

ぎんざ 銀座

....and home to the famous Kabukiza Theatre......Kabuki-za

歌舞伎座

I had never been to Kabuki before, so when Tomoko さん suggested it I leapt at the chance. It's an old traditional style of Japanese theatre, and the plays often relate to real life events from the Edo period. We went to see Matsuura no Taiko "Lord Matsura and the drum....". O.k. There was no way I was going to understand this without an English Audio guide. This turned out to be just a synopsis, not a word by word translation.

On entering the auditorium I was struck by the size of the stage. It was enormous, as wide as the theatre itself. And the seating was either parallel or at right angles to it. The huge curtain was dragged back to reveal a snowy scene in 17thc. Edo (Tokyo). The actors used historical accents, and a sort of "Shakespearian" Japanese, which for a foreigner like myself, was pretty difficult if not impossible to understand. A hiddden shamisen player accompanied the drama, as well as a threatening Taiko drum. At intervals you would hear a sharp click, as a stage hand hit two sticks together to denote a change of scene. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hy%C5%8Dshigi

Then suddenly somebody in the auditorium would shout out the name of one of the actors, and everybody would clap.....👏👏

It was great fun and a totally new experience.......😉

とても興味深くて楽しかったです

Ginza at night - a real locomotive with Christmas decoration outside Shimbashi station.....And a culture of eating which I have never seen like anywhere else in the world.........hundreds of restaurants and cafés.....making Frankfurt looking like a cold, bureaucratic place......新橋駅

A Ginza café....mmmmm.....


 

From the theatre to the cemetery. Sounds like some sort of quote. But by cemetery I am referring to Yanaka Cemetery near Ueno Park in Tokyo. And as Aki さん and myself discovered, Google maps is not very good there.

劇場から墓地まで。

Venturing from the main path in search of some Shogun's grave we got lost. A blind cat pricked up her ears........盲目の猫

..and old cherry trees leant over the pathway....

古い桜の木

But we eventually found the exit, and stumbled through the maze of Yanaka's streets to find a decent cup of coffee......success👍!

おいしいコーヒー

A few streets away we found this funny little museum - part of an old Sake brewery.

下町近くの古い醸造所

old beer bottles........古いビールのラベル

This only a stone's throw from Ueno Park in the middle of Tokyo....

上野

A final picture in front of Ueno Toshogu Shrine

上野東照宮



 

Before I go I'll leave you with a couple of random fun pictures.....

An essential element of any Japan trip is a train ride (I have never driven in Japan and hope I never have to...).........

行く前に、ランダムな楽しい写真をいくつか残しておきます....


....sometimes with surprisingly playful fixtures.......

At Nissan HQ in Yokohama.....

A car made for ladies, complete with flower vase and umbrella stand....

花瓶や傘立ても付いた女性向けのクルマ…。



Goodbye....Sayonara....さようなら.......😔



🌲Thank you for reading "..Culture Shock.."

 "..カルチャーショック.."を読んでんでくれてありがとう



 🌲 Feel free to share the blog with friends.

よろしければ、リンクを友達と共有してください



    🌲 And it would be nice to hear from you...!

そしてコメントしてください...



photo : Scott Shaw


THE END

✈️

終わり


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