Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Japanese people

Every trip to Japan calls for a trip to Kamakura. Currently in Japan, there seems to be a big boom in miniature poodles of this brown color, I think because they look like teddy bears. My mom wants one (I'm not sure to what degree she's being ironic-funny because Oji is so huge [friendly, but huge]) so she coos at them when she sees them. This woman seemed kind of social, like she wanted people to notice her teddy bear dog, so my mom asked if it was okay to take a picture (so this is not a "stolen image.") I wanted it to be a shot of the two of them but the woman held herself back a bit. I loved the woman's look--compared to other people, she had the aura of a "celeb." When we took the picture, she said to dog, "Aren't you lucky, they wanted your picture!" Somehow this strikes me as classic Kamakura. People are naturally cool about everything, including their wealth and dogs and the city's rich and long history. Just a giant Buddha statue and tons of old shrines and temples people love to visit, no big deal.
Halfway through our trip, my mom and I remembered we needed to visit the family grave. We spoke with the temple's aging priest, wandered around my mom's childhood neighborhood, and stopped by this lovely little coffee shop, "Coffee Yama," right around the corner from the Koganecho train station. They love their cigarettes--a sign at the entrance almost boasts that there are no non-smoking seats. (Non-smoking areas are increasingly more common these days; GyuKaku was all non-smoking!) They sell them at the register, too, including some Che Guevara variety. When we walked in, we were greeted by Kraftwerk's "Pocket Calculator." The interior is very Showa--1970's-80's, dark, kind of comfortably cramped. I thought it provided the perfect scene for strange characters to meet in a Murakami Haruki novel. Most customers were by themselves, but these ladies were chatting away. They had apparently ordered Coke floats and were delighted by their arrival. 
This lady, even in her train-nap, is not pleased. This was on the Keihin Kyuko (KeiKyu) line, which is *so cheap*! How could this woman still be mad? She even has an end seat and no one next to her! Just an obnoxious weirdo across from her, taking pictures of her and posting them on the Internet.
While waiting for Naomi at Sakuragicho, I noticed a kid on a payphone. That means he doesn't have a cell phone. I loved the expression on his face while he waited for someone to pick up on the other line. He seems serious and earnest. Also, the Japanese always carry extra bags in addition to their main one (like purses, or in this case, a "randoseru," or the bulky, square backpack elementary school kids carry). I imagine in this kid's case, at least one of the bags is for "juku," or cram school. But that doesn't fit in the giant box-bookbag thing he's shouldering? The other thing is that people always carry "omiyage" or gifts to their destinations, especially if they are seeing or visiting someone. I can see that giving gifts as often as the Japanese do might require extra bags. But what's in the TEPRA bag? 
More stolen images to come.


Jade said...

ooo...i love the sleeping woman! she looks cute/angry. and the kid is hilarious!! somehow older than he is. i want a coke float...dammit!

Phoebe said...

Must take Bisou to Japan. OK, that's never going to happen, but I'm fascinated by the idea of this array of miniature poodles.

Neda B. said...

I so enjoyed this post!!! Totally love that little kid- he's like a grumpy old man!