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13 October 2008 @ 11:34 pm
Sake Matsuri ga tanoshii!  
So, I just got back from a trip over to Saijō to go to the Sake Matsuri. Some people went both Saturday and Sunday, but we decided to just go Sunday, which meant we missed some of the neat stuff (parades, musical performances, etc.). We did get a brief tour of a sake brewery and went to the sake tasting tent--1500円 to go inside. They give you a cup, and you go around to taste different brands of sake from all around Japan. We managed to get in early, which was good since a few hours before it closed they ran out of all the other sake and ended up giving out Saijō sake. It's not like it tasted bad...but it wasn't what we came for.

We did manage to get some excellent falafel from an Egyptian couple running a food stand, though, which made my day. And I do feel a little bad that we didn't at least check out the food stand that put in the extra effect to do their barking at us in English.

We later ended up going to a kaitenzushi place where they went a little heavy on the wasabi for my taste but it was otherwise good. Somewhat surprisingly, it was essentially the same as an American kaitenzushi place would be--lots of weird rolls, things with mayonnaise, fruit, etc. I'm glad they had pineapple, but there wasn't as much of the standard nigiri as I might have liked.

After that, we tried to find a bar somewhere (and accidentally ended up wandering into Saijō's red light district...oops), but all the ones we did find had a minimum 40 minute wait for 8 people, so we just went back to a house and chatted for a bit. Those of us who had to catch the last train did so, and softlykarou and I crashed a a friend's place in Fuchu, just inside Hiroshima's city limits.

Then we came back here. :) I'm sad I missed all the neat stuff, but next year (if we're still in Japan), we'll know to go on Saturday.

As a side note, it's interesting how little we cared about wandering around dimly lit dark alleys in the city. Japan is safe, but it still has a crime rate. I guess it's because we're the ones who are supposed to be committing all the crimes. At least, I assume that's why when, on our way to the train station, the four taxis we hailed just blew past us without even slowing down. It's possible that they were full (even though we didn't see anyone in them) or that they weren't in service (even though the lights were on), but...well, it's also possible that we're gaijin.

One of the people at the party who knows conversational Japanese was mentioning how most people he talks to are fine, but he sometimes runs into someone who has massive cognitive dissonance with a foreigner speaking understandable Japanese and just...shuts down. Pretends not to understand even if he speaks slowly, etc. Has anyone seen something similar in America? I'm sure it happens, but I'm curious if anyone's ever seen it.
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q99q99 on October 15th, 2008 01:30 am (UTC)
It's mostly a Japanese phenomena outside of people using it as an excuse not to talk to an individual; Speaking Japanese is sort of a Japanese *thing*. It's one of the things that makes them Japanese and others not-Japanese. So... yea, minor short circuit in realizing other speak Japanese even when the evidence is right in front of them.

I read a similar story about a guy who broke up with his Japanese girlfriend because three months into the relationship she still refused to admit he could read Japanese even though he had passed the highest level fluency tests. A lot of people probably can get past it easily once they meet exceptions, but some people just won't accept what's in front of them. After all, everyone knows Gaijin can't understand Japanese.
dorchadasdorchadas on October 16th, 2008 07:38 am (UTC)
I've heard stories about descendants of Japanese immigrants who come back to Japan for whatever reason and cause all kinds of problems because they don't know Japanese. As you say--Nihonjin = Nihongo, and vice versa.
q99q99 on October 16th, 2008 08:30 am (UTC)
That's got to be annoying after awhile :) Especially if paired with hanging around people who do speak Japanese but get assumed not to.