Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Tokyo - Lost in Translation

Gertrud and I have been in staying in the Tokyo Ginza for the past week. For a short introduction to this area you can check out the following clip based on the movie "Lost in Translation" which was filmed here, 
We too have certainly gotten lost in the Japanese language and culture but have had a wonderful time nevertheless.  Gertrud has enjoyed browsing in the high-end stores during the week and we were able to visit the ancient capital of Kamakura on the weekend (http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2166.html).  The famous Japanese cherry blossoms are currently out in full glory as shown below:

Gertrud with Japanese acquaintances
The Internet contains a great deal information on Japan so we will not bore you with a travelogue.  But you may be interested in knowing that the famous Japanese toilets are for real.  We have one in our hotel room and it is just like the one in the following clip. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QSj-XQLrdDc
Here is another unique Tokyo institution -- the hanging gas station

And here are a few news clips from what appears to be the Japanese equivalent of "The Onion":

From Metropolis.com.jp - The Negi "Reporting the News Before it Happens"

Toyota executives faced hostile questioning from a US congressional subcommittee on Wednesday, as Senators investigate reports of numerous, often deadly accidents involving highly intoxicated drivers who lost control of their vehicles. It is believed that Toyota cars and trucks are prone to accelerate without warning and difficult to bring under control when operated by inebriated drivers.

In graphic, sometimes horrifying testimony, Toyota owner Dale Hicks recounted losing control of his Corolla on March 12, 2006.

“I was coming back from a night with my friends at Pete’s Tavern when I reached for the fifth of whiskey in the passenger seat,” Hicks said, in a sometimes wavering voice. “Suddenly, the car swerved. I tried to correct it, but the wheel spun out of my hands. I tried desperately to regain control, but the car wouldn’t respond. The more I tried, the more erratic it became. Fortunately, I was able to stop with the help of law enforcement officials.”

“These high-speed death traps must be taken off the road, before more of our nation’s innocent drunks are senselessly killed,” thundered Senator Christopher J. Dodd (D-Conn.).  Toyota executives responded by announcing a new drunk-driving-friendly auto made entirely from Nerf and Styrofoam.


Oscar-winning documentary The Cove continues to stir up controversy in Japan, where critics argue that the film paints a one-sided picture of the dolphin slaughters in Taiji, Wakayama Prefecture.

“The concept that it is unlawful or immoral for the Japanese people to continue a centuries-old tradition is absurd,” said Fisheries Minister Sakana Ippai. “Because Americans think these animals are cute, they expect us to forget our own culture. For us Japanese, a 17-year-old idol eating a dolphin donburi is cute. But at no point in the movie did [the filmmakers] allow an adorable teen to remark how ‘Oishii’ this sea creature truly is. Without this, the film is biased and seems to suggest dolphins are smarter than our pop stars, which we know to be false. They are clearly equally intelligent.”

No comments: