Best Lucky Neon Sleep Deprivation Alcohol Squidburger Multi-Platform Happy Fun Time: Tokyo Game Show 2009
Posted on Friday, September 25 @ 11:18:49 PST by Chris_Hudak
1 - When crossing the street, do NOT look in the direction you're used to looking at home—this is as good a way as any to die before you even clear the vicinity of your hotel.
2 - When entering a department store and being greeted by the lovely, smiling lady politely bowing to you, DO NOT BOW BACK. I learned this way back on my first trip; you may mean well, but you may as well have 'HAYSEED' printed across your forehead in searing white neon.
3 - Protip: In conversation, you may want to bear in mind the difference in pronunciation between the similar-sounding words “kawaii” (cute, pretty) and “kowai” (scary, frightening)
4- When on a subway, in a bar/restaurant, or in pretty much any other public place: If you must answer or talk on your cell phone, be quiet, discreet and quick about it. In the States, we are used to people obnoxiously yammering into their cell phones like they're trying to be heard over static on the other side of the Horsehead nebula, but over here you'll only look, and sound, like a putz.
5 - Many, many Japanese honestly like it when you at least try to speak their language, even if it's only a few words, and even if you mess it up, badly. They either appreciate the sincere effort, or they get a few yucks out of it—you'll never know for sure anyway, so just roll with it.
6 - Very rarely—maybe one or two times out of fifty, unless you're really unlucky, or your mom just plain dresses you funny—you may ask a passerby a completely polite, innocent question, in Japanese...and be totally ignored, like the ghost that nobody at the table wants to acknowledge has just knocked over a wine glass. It's very rare, but it happens. Don't take it personally. Some of them figure they won't be able to cope with your—or perhaps their—hobbled foreign-language skills; others may be, frankly, a little freaked out by foreigners.
7 - Try a squid-burger, if only once, even if it's on a dare. Trust me on this one.
8 - All that comforting, common-'knowledge' stuff about Japanese police officers never having guns is, in a word, horseshit. (trust me on this one, too).
9 - Last but by no means least: If you've got even a cheap electronic language-translator (pocket-sized, maybe $30 value, a few hundred common words, crappy little LCD display, the damned thing will probably break before you fly home), a positive attitude, the ability to communicate concepts not available via said cheap translator in pantomime, AND the willingness to do so in public without minding how silly you may look... then you have the makings of GREAT drinking night/informal meeting/first date or what have you, even with people who can't speak five words in your own language. Tokyo is just the city for this kind of thing. Heed these words, reader: Print out hard copy, keep it folded in your wallet/purse for future use—and say it with me: Squid-burger.
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