Obesity in Japan...

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Sep 27th, 2006, 07:54 PM
  #21
 
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ooop sorry. should be good fun sat. nite.
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Oct 5th, 2006, 02:03 PM
  #22
aj
 
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If you don't like to be stared at it might be uncomfortable. My daughter, a beautiful 25 year old blond, has lived in Japan(Tokyo) for two years. She said it is hard to be stared at but when we visited her my feeling was that the Japanese are just curious of other cultures. Any way, they seemes very polite to us and even if they were saying "rude or mean" things you will not understand and they say it in such a way you will think they are saying something nice! Really!! They smile and bow all the time in conversations...By the way I can't wait for my second trip there this November.
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Oct 5th, 2006, 05:10 PM
  #23
 
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As far as being noticed for physical differences, I can tell about being noticed for: broken wrist, broad shoulders (twice), being tall (at least twice), extra pounds around the middle, my nephew's big nose.

Ten days before my first trip to Japan I cracked the wrist end of one of my arm bones. Very painful. I traveled with a wrist brace, basically a medical version of a bowling glove (I have another Japan story about that resemblance).

Elainee, perhaps people didn't notice your broken arm, but they did notice and comment on my wrist. Including one woman who asked (in sign language) how it happened and I mimed how I fell. At that point she basically scolded me to be more careful (I am very familiar with women scolding me for one thing or another so I am sure that is what she was doing). Anyway, the wrist thing generated sympathy and attention from women and I will take what I can get. I joked that I would wear that wrist guard the next time I went to Japan. So yes, people do notice, indiscreetly, and comment on, physical "problems".


My second trip to Japan was during the World Cup. I stepped into an onsen bath at a small place in Nyuto Onsen up in Tohoku. Two old guys were in there and were very surprised to see me. One guy stretched out his arms, hands separated wide to measure my shoulders, and then they talked about me a bit. The one guy asked if I was one of the gaijin World Cup soccer players. This was not a big deal to me, because this was way the heck out there where few foreigners go. The fact that they left soon after I arrived had me wondering. I know how to do the Japanese onsen thing, so I am certain that I didn't mess up.

At Gero Onsen, I stayed at a hotel with hot springs bath. The place was only average but to my surprise they actually had a "big size" yukata which was a bit short but better than the usual, and "big size" suripa which I was actually able to walk around in (usually I can't get my foot into a suripa and the end of it doesn't event reach the middle of my heel).

Two old ladies get on the elevator with me and talk and giggle. One of them reaches her hand up to measure how tall I was, exclaiming to me what an amazing creature I was. I think that her hand, with arm stretched straight, barely cleared my shoulders. Ok maybe it reached as high as my chin. Of course, I put my hand out to measure how short she was, and explained, and they got the point and it was fun.
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Oct 5th, 2006, 05:32 PM
  #24
 
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mrwunrfl, I'm wondering...your use of the word "suripa"...is that written phonetically from what you hear? I think maybe you're actually referring to "slipper" (but, spoken like a Japanese).

Reminds me of when my grandmother gave us a pet and we asked what it's name was. She told us "Toro", so that's what we called it for years and years. It wasn't until MUCH later that we discovered that our pet turtle didn't really have a name, per se. She was just telling us that it was a turtle (toro) and we thought that was its name.
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Oct 5th, 2006, 05:39 PM
  #25
 
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hai, suripa for your fito.
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Oct 5th, 2006, 05:52 PM
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My son is currently teaching English in Korea, he has only been there for about 3 weeks and still adjusting. He is 6'2" dark blond really curly hair and blue eyes. He said he now knows how celebrities must feel because the Koreans openly stare, point and laugh. He spent a summer in Japan and said that the Japanese were much more covert in their scrutiny. Apparently the town he is living in does not get much tourist traffic and the Koreans are not as bashful about looking. He said he is watched the entire time he is eating a meal and he wishes he could be invisible after awhile. I can't wait to visit him!
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Oct 6th, 2006, 10:14 AM
  #27
 
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Sorry to hijack the thread, but Jlaughs:

Reminds me of my visits to my favorite Korean restaurant. I generally request 'Bali Tea' as a drink. It was years before I found out it was really BARLEY tea!!
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Oct 6th, 2006, 10:34 AM
  #28
 
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A little closer to the topic at hand; I had been travelling on the Road To Mandalay in Myanmar. We had been travelling a little over a week when we caught sight of non-Burmese faces for the first time since starting the cruise.

Immediately we resorted to the clutching, nudging, staring and whispering we had seen in the Burmese!

One of our group explained to the other tourists that we simply had not seen any foreigners (other than one another) for so long.

At home, those tourists would not even have garnered a second look.

I think the hardest thing about the staring and pointing is not being able to understand what is being said. Once the comments were translated I didn't mind nearly as much.

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Oct 6th, 2006, 06:12 PM
  #29
 
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ilove to travel...
If you end up in Tokyo, just be sure to check the size of your hotel room and bathroom befoer you book. I was there last June and have never seen such small bathrooms. The "business" class of hotels tend to have very limited space. I'm average weight and could hardly turn around in some. Showers were tiny too. We did not stay in high end places however. Just be forewarned. And, enjoy!
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Oct 6th, 2006, 08:11 PM
  #30
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Thank you so much, everybody. I am going to go to NYC because it is more affordable....but I a thinking that my next international trip should definately be Tokyo...I definately need to learn and practise more japanese before I travel there.

Can anyone recommend Japanese-themed outtings or stores in NYC?
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Oct 6th, 2006, 09:08 PM
  #31
 
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41st Street between Madison and Fifth Avenues has a Japanese grocery, Japanese bookstore which also sells CDs and DVDs and two places to get a quick Japanese meal or take away ....
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Oct 7th, 2006, 04:11 AM
  #32
emd
 
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If you pick up a CD at the place Mara recommends, see if they have any "koto" (also called okoto) music. It is a stringed instrument and is just beautiful and magical. I have picked up a CD on each trip to Japan.

I know you already saw my other suggestions re JNTO and Japan Rail offices at Rockefeller Plaza and the Ronin Gallery for woodblocks, as I saw those on your list on the US board...
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