Dear Japanese women,
A few things I’d like to understand. Okay, mainly one thing. How the hell do you walk around in heels all day long? And not just in the city, but hiking up temples in Kamakura and getting onto boats to scuba dive in Okinawa. I really really really want to understand so can someone please explain it to me? Okay, and while we’re on the topic, reapplying makeup mid-day everyday at work? Seriously? A girl could get a complex. I mean, I am pretty into the whole “doing my makeup” thing, but you just take it to a new level. When I’m on my way home from work every night, having switched my heels for more sensible (i.e. less attractive) footwear and with makeup that was applied a full 10 hours earlier, well, I just can’t compete. No wonder there are so many gaijin men married to Japanese women. So, really, I don’t so much care about the why or the how. I’d just like it to stop so I don’t feel like a total slouch.
A girl who used to feel pretty put together…until she moved to Japan
Dear Don Quijote,
I’m so conflicted. You have so many great things and such great prices, and yet the assault on the eyes and ears upon entering your premises… Well, it makes it hard for me to be a consistent patron. I want to love you, but seriously…does every display have to talk or play music and flash lights? I mean, don’t you think it’s just a bit much? Even for you?
A girl who’s just trying to help you out (and not go deaf from trying to save a few yen)
You have been a fun place to live for these two months. Super entertaining. Always a lot going on. But I will definitely be ready to leave you when these first six months are up. With all of your bars and strip clubs and the men standing outside of them inviting men in. I will not miss that. Now, the view of Tokyo Tower, I may miss. So thank you for that. Oh, and the proximity of the subway. But I’m pretty sure I can find both of those elsewhere. Your saving grace is that there is a gym in my building that I’m just not willing to give up.
A girl who tries her best to not be disappointed with humanity while walking your streets every day
Dear Japanese food (in all your varieties),
I had this crazy notion that I might be able to lose weight in Japan. That’s when my definition of Japanese food was sushi. What an ignorant fool I was. If I had only known. And could you explain to me why it is that my Japanese coworkers can eat you every meal as if it were their last and still look the way they do? Oh, and could you also apologize to my Instagram followers who wish that I posted more than just food. It’s totally your fault. If you weren’t so delicious and so attractive, it would be so much easier to not post pictures of you. But you are both and so, I just can’t help myself. I have no control.
With conflicted feelings,
Dear Japanese men,
I apologize for not following your rules of hierarchy, but I’m a woman and where I come from, that means I get on and off the elevator first and I get the seat on the subway before you do. So, you can keep giving me your disgusted looks when I don’t do things the right way because this is one cultural difference I’m not willing to give up.
Dear Diet Coke,
I miss you dearly. I made a new friend this week who will be bringing you to me thanks to the U.S. Commissary her Air Force engineer husband. God bless America!!!
With great anticipation,
Dear gym on the first floor,
Thank you for being so convenient and helping me keep my weight gain to a meager 5 lbs as opposed to the 25 I’m sure I would have gained without you. And thank you for having two treadmills. I’d hoped for an elliptical machine, but life can’t be perfect all the time.
With intentions of seeing you even more in the months to come,
Thank you for being such a fun way to get around town on the weekends. I’m sorry I’ve left you sitting in the bike room these past two weeks. Hopefully the other bikes are being nice to you. Unfortunately, I’m headed out of town yet again tomorrow morning, but I promise I will make it up to you next Saturday.
Dear Union Supermarket (or supa maketto in Japanese),
Thank you for being open 24/7 and a block from my apartment. You are small and super expensive, but living in NYC has taught me that I value convenience over almost anything when it comes to grocery shopping. And thank you for having really good produce. Now, if you could just carry Parm Bars (think a Dove ice cream bar but with a chocolate coating that’s just a little more fudgy so it doesn’t crack or fall off), I would love/hate you just a little more. As it were, the convenience store just a few blocks away has them, so I suppose that’s all right. Actually, it’s probably better that we limit our relationship to produce, rice, and meat. I frequent you too often and the temptation would be too great.
A girl who’s rediscovered her love of cooking in a country that has much better ingredients than she’s used to
Dear restaurants with vending machines,
It took me a bit (and a Japanese friend showing me how to do it) to be willing to frequent you, but now that I have…man are you convenient. I don’t have to struggle through trying to order my food in Japanese because I just make my selection, pay, and hand my little ticket over to the guy/girl behind the counter. Talk about a perfect set up for a girl who’s very tired after her long days at work and the last thing she wants to think about is how to order her darn tonkatsu.
A girl who hates that she can’t speak Japanese
Dear little damp washcloths and towelettes provided at every eating establishment, be it cafe, fast food, or gourmet restaurant,
You are the best thing ever!!! I do not understand why the U.S. has not adopted this tradition. Seriously.
The girl who might have to start carrying wet wipes even though she doesn’t have a kid
Dear Japanese toilets,
It’s a love/hate thing. More love than hate though. Especially because you’ve provided hours of entertainment in the conversation form on Facebook, at dinner parties, and with my family/friends back home. I can unequivocally state that you will be missed someday when I leave this place. Even with your gross, germ breeding, heated seats.
With sincere gratitude,
You make my life hard.