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Adventures in Asia, Part 10: Osaka, Japan

The last part of my trip was a few days in Osaka with the charming and lovely Tyler and Carla (yes, charming and lovely, both of them). It was great to see them, and it was also great to be in a country that takes toilet cleanliness and comfort with the appropriate gravitas. Though oddly, Japan is the one country I visited where everybody learns English in school, but the only country where communicating in English was a problem. In SEA, it seems like everybody you need to interact with knows enough basic English that you can get your point across, if nothing else, but in Osaka, even at Kansai Airport, my mime skills were getting a workout.

Japan has embraced the consumerist lifestyle with a fervor that we in North America can only hope to aspire to. Everyone is attired in the most conspicuously expensive brand names at hand, leading to oddities like the greasy middle-aged security guard in the Burberry tee-shirt, and groups of women in completely identical outfits, like Ugg-and-Chanel shock troops. Even sex is a matter of conspicuous consumption, with porn megastores advertising $70 DVDs and clubs decorated with pictures of sexy girls and coy lists of prices that never quite tell you what they’re for. But whatever it is, it ain’t cheap.

Though there are definite plusses — the vending machines are amazing in their quantity and comprehensiveness.

vending machines to infinity
vending machines to infinity

However, why bore you with my own dull writing, when you can read all about my visit on Tyler and Carla’s blog? As an extra enticement: there’s an anecdote about a monkey. A sad, sad monkey.