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An Afternoon in Okayama, Japan
Saturday. 7.14.07 1:46 am
I emerge from Okayama station on a late afternoon in the Japanese rainy season, accompanied by a couple of fellow Americans. We munch on some snacks purchased from the train station vendors, and talk loudly in English. Being an American in Okayama is a kind of celebrity status. As opposed to Tokyo, where foreigners just melt into the other crowds of tourists, Okayama is a much less popular destination for non-Japanese. Thus, we attract the usual covert stares, and... to be honest, probably make a point of talking a little louder just for the hell of it.

As we cross the open area in front of the station, we pass a few schoolgirls... crisply uniformed in their manditory skirt and white shirt school clothes... sitting on a bench and chatting. I barely notice them, but a few steps later one of my comrades breaks from our conversation regarding the curiously high popularity of Red Hot Chilly Peppers cell phone ringtones among the Japanese middle-aged, turns to me, and says 'I think that girl was just checking out your ass.'

'Really?' I ask in surprise.

'It definetely looked like it. She was staring after you when we walked past.'

So I turn around, and sure enough... the girl on the end of the bench is still staring at us. Suddenly filled with that classic American bravado that only really exists in the imaginations of Hollywood script-writers and the foreigners who watch their movies, I turn fully to her, grin, wave, and then turn around again without another look back. My friends chuckle, and we move on without another thought.

Half an hour later, I return to catch my train back to my host family's house. Before I know it, I'm passing by the same bench, this time with more highschoolers around it. Among the throng, I recognize the girls from before, just as they recognize me. A sudden burst of brave-in-an-nervous-sort-of-Japanese-accented-way 'Herro!' calls burst from the crowd, and I jump back in surprise. Suddenly, the American bravado rushes back, and before I know it, I'm grinning arrogantly again, feeling like a jewish Tom Cruise (he's very popular here).

'Herro, nihonjin!' I call back, in the same Japanese-accented style. Wondering what else to do, I finally decide to grace them all with a stereotypically cocky American salute, and then march off with stereotypical American pride to my train.

'I love Japan,' I think to myself, as I listen to the nervously excited giggles that I've left in my wake and observe the puzzled looks of those around me as I break out into a loudly-hummed rendition of 'Yankee Doodle'.
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7 Comments.


It must be fun to get so much attention from the opposite sex. :P Don't let it get to your head. :)
» randomjunk on 2007-07-14 02:39:41

Oh, you handsome dog you. How many broken hearts will you leave in your wake as you make your way around Japan? Remember your soul, remember it!
» theZEBRA on 2007-07-14 02:42:13

"Suddenly filled with that classic American bravado that only really exists in the imaginations of Hollywood script-writers and the foreigners who watch their movies..."
I love it :) Perfectly captures the scene right before you sweep her off her feet and swoon her with that devilish grin. Although if you hope to compete with Tom Cruise, you're probably going to have to step up your game. He might go scientologist on you, attack your Thetan. Or something.

Haha I also enjoyed reading the "herros," because it always amuses me when stereotypes are reinforced. Asians really can't say L's I guess ;-) I got nothing against them of course, I'm half Chinese, and lord knows us Americans have got our own quirks...like obesity and large egos.
» The-Muffin-Man on 2007-07-14 02:55:57

Haha, lucky bastard!

I went to Japan before, and I didn't like much of Japan's stuff except their foods and games. I stayed home, my cousin's home, playing PS2 every single day and I never got tired of it!
» Bullet on 2007-07-14 05:08:22

Japan is one of the places I've always wanted to go.. You're just so lucky.. Don't go around breaking hearts while you're there.
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