One Startling Trip to America

There’s only one word to describe my recent vacation to the U.S.:  Oh . . . my . . . God.  Ohmygod.

I went back for two weeks, or as we say in Japan, a fortnight.  That’s a long time when every waking moment is filled with The Horror.  By which I mean that between jet lag and culture shock, I feel lucky to have made it back to Japan at all.  When I finally stepped off the plane at Narita I teared up so much that I just hugged the first flight attendant I saw.  She happened to be from Korean Air, but I figured, eh, close enough.  They’re very soft too, those Koreans.

Now don’t get me wrong, I like the U.S.  It’s just that it’s so . . . how to put this . . . American.  You know what I mean?  For one thing, there’s a lot of gaijin everywhere, and everybody’s huge and they all speak English.  Very unsettling.  And suddenly, the whole nation has tattoos.  Since when did everyone start looking like carnies on break from running the Tilt-a-Whirl?  I felt like the only Japanese guy in the whole airport.  Which is weird, since I’m about as white as Vanilla Ice.  Anyway, since I had half an hour until my connection, I stopped off at the Sky Lounge for a calming tonic.  I ordered a nice, familiar Asahi beer, and instantly things got a bit better.  Funny though, it tasted a bit off, so I figured I’d better have another one just to make sure.  Four beers later, I finally read the fine print on the bottle:  Brewed in Canada.  Well, there you go.  Thus ensued a spiral of reverse culture shock.

#1  Americans Smell Funny

Now, I don’t mean sweaty, which would be one thing, but more like a fruit cocktail.  Every shampoo and soap and hair spray has some scent.  There’s a variety of odors even for deodorants.  Riding the shuttle bus at the airport was like hanging out with the Fruit of the Loom guys.  At least in Japan, everybody just smells like grilled fish.  Man, I get hungry just thinking about all those delicious people on the train.

#2  Gum, Gum Everywhere

I stepped out of the airport, and boom, onto a piece of gum—did you ever notice how much old gum there is on the sidewalk?  It’s a sea of black polka-dots.  Who even chews that much gum?  And why spit it out on the sidewalk?  Makes no sense.  When I showed people my pictures of Japan they were like, Wow, it’s so clean.  Why isn’t there any litter?  Now there’s a strange question.  Like why would there be litter?  You mean people actually throw trash on the ground?  That’s nuts.  Folks in Japan understand common courtesy.  The proper thing to do is to wait until no one’s looking and then stuff it into someone else’s bicycle basket.  That’s just civic responsibility.

#3  The American Restaurant Experience

Now, you probably don’t know this, but I eat out every meal.  I mean, if you looked in my  tiny Japanese fridge, you’d be like, Yo, where’s all the food?  I don’t even use the little lightbulb anymore since there’s nothing to see.  Saves on electricity.  It’s not that I don’t enjoy cooking, but hey, all that slicing and dicing, jeez.  What a lot of work.  Me wash potatoes?  Please.  I calculated that in my life I’ve eaten at 25,962 restaurants.  Although I’m not real good with math, so maybe I forgot to carry a 1 or something, but anyway, a freaking lot of restaurants, is what I’m saying.

The thing about restaurants in the U.S. is that they look fabulous, but the food’s straight out of Doctor Seuss.  I went to this Pan Asian place first.  The walls were cast in oblique lighting with bamboo plants in every corner and tables set with cloth napkins and extra forks and knives just in case you dropped one or two.  By the way, where the hell is Pan Asia anyway?  Judging from the cooks, I’m guessing somewhere near Mexico.  Anyway it took about fifteen minutes to get my first beer.  That’s about fourteen and a half minutes longer than I’m accustomed to.  In Japan, you just shout “nama!” and Sha-Zam, beer appears.  It’s freaking magical.

But apparently in Pan Asia, unlike real Asia, a beer takes forever and the food comes all at once.  I’d forgotten that Americans don’t order little by little and share.  You just get one giant plate of stuff and chow down until your stomach’s the size of a Thanksgiving turkey.  Maybe that’s more efficient, I don’t know.  I got some scallop and arugula dish.  According to the menu, it was “pan-crusted and seared, in an uni cream reduction with a red pepper emulsion and drizzled with raspberry coulis.”  I was like, Can’t I just get some food?  Oh, right.  I’ll shut up now and eat my emulsion.

The thing is, I eat scallops on a weekly basis in Japan.  Some people go to church; I eat scallops.  When the rapture comes, don’t go crying to me because you didn’t eat enough bivalve mollusks, is all I’m saying.  But where was I?  Oh yeah.  What those big white fatty things floating in the uni reduction were, I have no idea.  But those were not freaking scallops.  The whole dish was uber-rich and mega-oily and super-sweet, and now I’m out of adjectives but anyway there sure was a whole lot of it.  That set the tone for my entire visit.  And now I’m fat.  Your fault, America, not mine.  Not mine.

Then the bill came and it was about fifty dollars a person, on top of which we had to leave a tip.  It’s no wonder Americans don’t do much karaoke.  They’ve got no money left after dinner.  America is berry, berry expensive country.

#4  The American Restroom Experience

And then I went to the men’s room.  Hey, half a dozen Sky Lounge cocktails and a few more in Pan Asia and I was ready to explode.  Anyway, I don’t know if you know this, but Americans can’t construct a toilet stall that comes all the way to the ground.  Like you can actually see people’s legs while they’re doing Number 2.  Jeezus, who wants to watch that?  It’s gross.  In Japan, you may not always get a commode, but what you get is almost always clean and plus you have your own private little room.  In the U.S., if you really gotta take a poo—seriously, my advice is just go out to the park and find a tall bush.  Trust me on this.  Take some toilet paper or use a rabbit or something.  They’re gentle and fluffy anyway.  I mean, Americans have the potty cleanliness of infants.  Like, they say it’s the greatest country on earth, but if your citizens can’t lift the lid before making pee pee, you may want to reconsider your standard of measurement.

#5  What’s up with These People?

And then walking from the restaurant, I met a couple of nice ladies.  They were dressed well and said they were from out of town, and I was like, Oh me too.  The one lady had this Gucci-looking purse and said she only needed a dollar in order to get somewhere.  There was something wrong with her car that I was unable fathom and for some reason she couldn’t just go to the ATM.  I was like, Uh, sorry, I have to cross the street now.  And then that nice lady called me all sorts of horrible names.  Like we were in high school or something.  I was like, Well at least I don’t have some godawful butterfly tattooed on my thigh.  Bitch.  Only I didn’t actually say that because I’m too polite.  Plus there’s a lot of guns in the U.S.  You never know when some fruit salad-smelling broad’s packing heat and gonna blast your ass.   Ken Seeroi takes no chances on vacation.

But it’s All Good

Okay, well, maybe not all.  So no country’s perfect.  It helps to have perspective.  Although a few things gave me The Fear, I also found a lot of good.  Like America has a ton of nature.  It’s got trees and grass and space.  There’s actually room, and people hang out in parks and skateboard and play catch instead of spending all day shopping for seasonally-appropriate chopsticks that match their place mats.  Best of all, Americans talk.  They talk a lot, to each other, to strangers, to everyone.  Man, it’s gotta be easy to learn English with everyone being so chatty.  And in many ways, they’re more polite than the Japanese.  It’s like the opposite of the restaurants.  Japanese people look fabulously polite, but a lot is just outward appearance.  If the U.S. doesn’t seem especially well-mannered, at least most people are polite enough not to swoon over foreigners who can use their cutlery, eat their food, and speak their language.  Americans may be rough around the edges, but way down deep inside of those marshmallow exteriors, there’s a lot of genuinely nice people.  I’d definitely go back.  Say in about a year.


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46 Replies to “One Startling Trip to America”

  1. Oddly, living in Canada, I’ve never seen Asahi that was brewed here… it’s usually imported from Japan. Same with Sapporo, which is really odd seeing how I live 20 mins from their North American brewery O_o

    1. Really? That’s weird. All of the Asahi and Sapporo that I saw in the States was made in Canada. When I asked at the Japanese Market, I was told that Orion is the only beer actually imported from Japan. Can you double-check the label and report back? Not that it’s a huge deal, but the taste is a little different.

        1. Hmmm, interesting. Actually, since your last comment, I’d done a bit of looking around the net, and came up with this photo , which shows a label stuck on the can saying that it’s a “Product of Canada.” So that’s kind of crazy. Who sticks a paper label on a can? Not that it really matters. I mean, if it’s cold and tastes good, I guess that’s all that counts. Still, it is a bit fushigi.

          1. That’s bizarre! Though actually, the can in that photo is slightly different than the one I was describing – you can see “…ted” on the front in red (I assume it says “Imported”?), whereas the ones I see around here say “Premium Beer”… Next time I go for some Sapporo, I’ll be sure to take a photo of my own so we can know once and for all if it’s from Japan or not 😛

  2. A classic case of missing Japan. I’d always look forward to my trips home to Australia, but as soon as I hit those shores it was always when are we back in Japan as I miss it already 🙂

  3. Yeah, someone once asked me about Americans’ strengths and weaknesses, and I commented that after having lived abroad for a while (mostly in Korea) I can confirm that Americans are very friendly and very fat.

    Speaking of Korea, I’m heading back in a few days. I look forward to the squishyness.

  4. Apparently chewing gum has stuff like, rubber, latex, or wax in it which is probably why it doesn’t biodegrade very quickly. Imagine if you glued a condom to the sidewalk. It’d probably stay their forever if the glue was strong enough!

    1. I still have nightmares about the breezeways at my middle school in Mill-Town, Washington. There was more gum visible than concrete out there– a veritable sea of desaturated dots of color, which killed my ankles as I carefully placed my feet around the gum. Probably a contributing factor as to why I never, ever chew gum. I try my best, but I can’t stop myself from scowling whenever somebody is kind enough to offer me a piece.

      1. Somehow I never really noticed the gum until I lived in Japan. I guess it was just part of American life for me. Of course, lots of people chew gum in Japan; they just tend to dispose of it a bit more responsibly. The same goes for cigarette butts, which I hate more than gum. There are some pretty startling statistics related to them (see ). Although Japanese people do litter cigarette butts somewhat, it’s far from the pathological level visible in the U.S.

          1. See? Now you’re looking on the bright side . . .

            It’s not about how horrible the world is; it’s about how much more horrible it could be.

            More comforting words were never written.

  5. I’ve never been to America in my life, so I can’t really say anything about that, but about Japan and culture shock when visiting back home (in my case it’s Germany).

    I always thought that Japanese don’t use perfume or deodorants because that’s what people told me, but it’s not true. Maybe that how it used to be like, but now it’s definitely not true anymore. Whenever I have young women around me in the train they stink of perfume (they tend to use too much, too).

    No litter on the streets in Japan???!!!
    Well, if you mean compared to America, then I really don’t wanna see how dirty America is, but there IS a lot of garbage all around – not having garbage bins in parks and stuff, doesn’t really help, right?

    I agree with what you said about Japanese politeness.
    At first Japanese seem to be super polite, especially when you are a customer, but after living here for a long time, you’ll see what’s behind all that.
    Just like in any other country there are super nice, polite and helpful people, but also those who have no common sense at all and are rude to no end.

    1. I’ve visited a fair number of countries, but the U.S. and Japan are the only ones I’ve ever lived in, so I’ll try to constrain my over-generalizations to those two. That being said, I think in terms of smelliness and cleanliness, there’s no comparison.

      From my (formerly) American point of view, Japanese people are, on the whole, scent-free. Maybe one girl on a train car of a hundred is wearing perfume, and she stinks up the whole place, but that’s a low percentage. Of course, that percentage will increase with the hour of evening and one’s proximity to Roppongi, but still. Americans wear cologne to work! Probably fifty percent put some on every day. Plus, all of the toiletries and laundry detergents are heavily scented, so the population is de-facto perfumed. When I first got to Japan, a number of people commented on the hair conditioner I used. I had no idea anyone else could smell it.

      I guess the German perspective is different, but compared to America, Japanese people indeed could be said not to use perfume or scented products.

      As for litter, you’re right, you really don’t want to see how dirty America is. Given the size and population density of Japanese cities, the cleanliness is truly remarkable. Of course, if you’re hanging out in Shibuya and Shinjuku all the time, things may look a little different. That’s more on par with the U.S. Otherwise, it’s a given that a Japanese shop-keeper will sweep and hose down the area in front of his or her business every day. You won’t see that much in the U.S.

    1. Yeah, to me everybody smells like a mix of Polo cologne and Juicy Fruit gum. But on the plus side, Americans tend to have better breath. A routine diet of natto, kimchee, and grilled fish isn’t doing the Japanese any favors.

  6. Just spent one week in LA (angry fat people in flip-flops) and two weeks in New York (angry fat people with fashion). good to be back

  7. The few times I’ve visited Japan, I felt weirded out by the way everyone was so serious and hardly ever smiling despite the cleanliness of most places I went to. This one time I was walking around myself sighseeing and this Japanese chick sensed I was an asian gaijin and just smiled at me wildly trying to get me to say something to her to which I just ignored because it’s weird. She should’ve been more normal and asked me if I was a tourist or lost and would’ve gotten a better response. Same thing happened in SF on market st. when I was 17 and a 20 something J. woman dressed in a greenish suit said “Haro” to which I also ignored not that I couldn’t have answered in Japanese as I was already learning it in high school because I didn’t know at that time she was trying to say “Hello”. Looking back I missed some good cultural opportunities. lol

    1. Yeah, sometimes it’s hard to get past that feeling of “Well, this is weird.” I also miss a number of good opportunities to meet people, simply because I get creeped out by their initial greeting. I’m trying to work on that though. I think I need a 12-step program, or at least a 7-step one.

  8. So, I come from Europe, my plan was to move to Australia where I got residency for. I always loved Japan, visited it many times, but never saw myself working here successfully, since I never managed to learn the language sufficiently. However, I got a nice, stress-less job in Tokyo. The plan was to stay here for a year before I move down-under. However, they love me at my current job and want me to stay longer. At the same time I got a job in Australia where they are saving the position for me for more than a year already.

    After living in Tokyo for a year, when traveling to Europe, North America or Australia, I feel like … I do not know how to describe it, but maybe a very ‘wet chicken’ in the middle of wolves could be close enough. And I am very familiar with the feeling of landing back in Narita/Haneda after coming back. Just feels so… happy.

    I am not sure if I should sign the contract with Australians or not anymore…and the deadline is close. 🙁

    Just wanted to share.

    1. Hi Simon,

      So a very wet chicken in the middle of wolves. Yeah, that’s pretty much exactly how I would have described it.

      Your stress-less job sounds fantastic. So here’s a plan—why don’t you move to Australia and I’ll take over your job? It’s like a win-win. See? Everybody’s happy.

      But on the real, I guess I’d just try to look long-term. I mean, if I were you. Me personally, I’d probably make the worst possible choice and then end up bitching—I mean, writing—about it for the next few years. But since I’m really good at giving other people advice, I’d suggest you consider that Australia has ranked #1 for 3 years in a row as the “world’s happiest country.” Japan, uh, well, it’s in there somewhere around #21. But everyone’s situation is different. At least, that’s what they say. Anyway, check this out:

  9. Jeez, leave the bunnies out of your business…!!!

    Isn’t a fortnight what they say in the U.K.? It took me 7 years to understand it’s the way old people say two weeks, and I got it like the week I left (I know, such a shame), so i’m pretty sure it’s British (unless I was living on another island for all that time and didn’t realise? Damnnnnn?).
    Do the Japanese actually say this?

    1. Nah, I was just kidding. The only ones who speak like that have mistakenly learned English from British people, so they have crazy pronunciation and use fake words like “lift,” “lorry,” and “cider.” Crikey, you need an English-English dictionary just to understand them.

      1. I can help you. Don’t bother with the English-English dictionary.
        For a matcha latte per hour, I do translation and interpretation to and from British English, with the necessary distance and objectivity inherited from their worse ennemies (the Frenchies, my people), the generosity that naturally goes with being of the feminine sex, and the vitality of youth ( I am still young, I am still young, I am still very young, don’t you dare questioning this).
        So? What have we got? A thesaurus on weather-commenting terms? Something about steam trains? Maybe an encyclopedia about tea time? A local guide about fish and chips?

      2. “For the avoidance of doubt, there is no such thing as ‘American English’. There is the English language and there are mistakes.” 😉

        1. Micro$oft wrote the software, and it says English spelling is wrong. Bill Gates has a net worth of about 150x that of Queen Elizabeth, so apparently the English can’t spell English.

  10. As I am sitting here awake at 6:15 am (in SoCal) after flying in from Haneda last night day…whatever, I am reading this, thinking I have never read anything more true! Especially the bathrooms, I know I am back in the US the minute I use a restroom here…I miss my nice clean Japanese toilets. I also pissed off my friends at dinner when I kept calling out my order or sumimasen!

  11. I hear you, my bf and i holidayed in Japan and fell in love with it in an instant. So much so that after 2 weeks we decided we’d scrape and save to move there as soon as possible.
    The worst part was getting off of the plane back in Australia. People spitting and cussing, walking around unshaved in thongs and singlets. The women flaunting cleavage and barely managing to speak English properly. It was a weird moment, it was as if we instantly knew we didn’t belong here anymore. We sat on the coach home, both tearing up wondering why we’d bought the return tickets. It’s hard to go back to something when you know its not really home anymore, when you’ve found somewhere so much better. Its been a year since then and due to a family tragedy we weren’t able to move as soon as we’d have hoped. But we’re still determined to get there and leave Australia and its rude and crass ways behind us forever.
    I’m just glad someone can relate 😉

    1. After five years in Japan I can’t wait getting back to walking around unshaved in thongs (Shes talking about beach sandles for those of you non-aussies freaking out) and singlets. As for spitting, it’s far more common here in my part of Tokyo than in West Australia.

      Seriously though, it is one thing to visit a place like Japan as a guest. Another to try and live here as a human being. It is a very tough place. That might be hard to read at first if you are not used to the wave-length everybody is operating on here, or you are on the outside, but social relations here are… not so great?

      I’d recommend that you try living here for a few years if you need a change. Just don’t plan on staying too long.

      1. Focusing on the matter of “rudeness”… You might be more likely to be randomly shouted at by a drunk in Australia than you are in Japan. But if you are working in Japan you are much more likely to be abused/treated rudely by your boss or customers/clients. Especially if you are Chinese. The drunk guy you can forget about. The boss or client you have in your face all the time.

        Japan is actually an extremely rude and violent place. It’s just that it is very contained and compartmentalized.

        In Australia you are free from a lot of social constraints, which allow you to dress like a slob and behave poorly. But we also have legalistic constraints against a lot of forms of discrimination. A landlord might get in trouble if they openly refuse to rent to you because you are foreign. Not in Japan. Discriminating against others is one of the weapons in your arsenal that you have to protect yourself in a society where more legalistic means of asserting your rights are often not available.

        1. You speak truth, Danchan. Discrimination is simply built-in to Japan. Whenever I try to discuss treating people equally, I’m met with glazed stares. It’s more like, Of course you’d treat that guy differently—after all, he’s black. Or white, or from China, whatever, take your pick. I guess it’s kind of cool though, since the discrimination is customized for each “race,” so that you’re not going to discriminate against an Indian guy the same way you’d discriminate against a Korean woman.

          When people talk about levels of politeness in Japanese, somehow this gets glossed over. To speak Japanese correctly, it’s important to first make a wild guess about the age, gender, and ethnicity of the other party. Sure is complicated being Japanese.

  12. I get a bit of that culture shock whenever I visit my family in Idaho. I would say more of it is that it feels like time stopped while you were away. It’s very unsettling.

  13. #1 My wife and I use only unscented products, but everybody else does smell like fake strawberries.
    #2 I’ve never seen gum on the sidewalk here in the PNW.
    #3 If it says drizzled anywhere in the menu, it’s going to cost an arm + a leg.
    #4 It’s the kids you have to look out for. Hundreds of children are shot to death by other kids here, LITTLE kids, like 3 to 8 years old. The Republicans sponsored a bill about a month ago to make it possible for people with mental illness to buy guns. This is really true.

  14. Oh Ken san,

    I’ve always been so curious about your experiences with food in the US. Namely, finding out what went so terribly wrong.

    Though I agree with probably 96.2% of things you say about Japan and America, the gap between us on the food issue is vast like the grand canyon. I’ve spent 21 years in the US and 4 in Japan. Oddly, those numbers don’t actually add up to my age. Anyway, I’m a skinny dude with a beastly metabolism, and nothing makes me gain weight. But I started losing weight at a dangerous rate when I started working as a salaryman in Japan.

    First off, in Japan, you pay more for less. I can go to an izakaya with friends here and drop 3,000+ yen and still walk out hungry and NOT drunk. Unacceptable to me, but normal in Japan. Portion sizes may be “too large” in the US, but in my opinion, they’re just too darn small here. I avoid half the restaurants in the city as it is because I know their portions are not going to satisfy me or my wallet. Again, I’m no fatty!

    In both Japan and America, you can pay top dollar and get some of the best quality food in the world. But for everyday affordable price points ($10-15), I find my options to be much less varied in Japan. Granted, this depends on the city you live in, but in America there are plenty of delicious bites to be had at budget restaurants. Furthermore, there’s lots of innovation being done in trendy neighborhoods and college towns where chefs are making names for themselves. No one’s trying to innovate in Japan at that price point, so you end up stuck with the same options literally anywhere you go… restaurants fit into certain genres which are very clearly defined and must fill the expectations of the very predictable Japanese customer. Like you once said, everyone in Japan knows that a ramen bowl gets only 2 slices of pork. Don’t ever mess with that perfect formula, because… reasons. Japan takes not reinventing the wheel very seriously. (in all aspects of life, but I’ll leave those other rants to you!)

    And then, the worst part… the supermarkets. Help me Jesus. I’m not religious, but that’s what I end up saying every time I find myself orbiting the aisles for half an hour trying to find even ONE thing that I genuinely want for dinner. Of course, it’s my fault that I’m disappointed when I walk into a Japanese supermarket with a hankering for real bread, or non-processed cheese, or even spaghetti sauce that doesn’t come in a pouch. Sure, America may not offer the most authentic options in those departments, but at least they try! Meanwhile, Japan dedicates an entire aisle to soy sauce and vinegar. One more aisle for rice crackers and sealed packs of peanuts and fried kaki seeds. Throw in another aisle for instant noodle packs, and now you’re running out of aisles.

    I could go on, but I’m sure you know where I’m going with this. I’m on my way back to the US soon, and I’m already dreaming about steaks, affordable produce, pizza, and deli subs (I’ve missed proper sandwiches the most). There may be lots of guns in the US, but at least I’ll likely go down happy with whatever my last meal was. Maybe if I gain enough weight, I can acquire sufficient amounts of blubber to repel bullets. That seems to be the prevailing logic in my state, anyway 😛

    1. Wow, we’re really going to be far apart on this one. I mean, I respect what you say, but I think you and I are approaching this from different ends of the spectrum.

      So, I literally just came home from dinner for two. A platter of sushi, scallops sauteed in butter, edamame, clam soup, grilled eggplant with miso sauce, and four beers. 4,100 yen (about $41.00). I’m a big eater too, and I’m full.

      So let’s do some simple math. A beer in the U.S. is about 6 bucks as I recall. Times 4 is $24.00. Plus a very conservative 6 percent tax = $25.44. Add 15% tax and we’re already at $29.25. So that leaves maybe $8 for food, for two, once you include tax and tip.

      I’ll also add that’s actually living the high life. Here’s a regular teishoku restaurant: Yoyoiken. See the salt-grilled mackerel? My favorite—it comes with rice and soup for $6.30. No tax, no tip.

      In the U.S., I regularly dined out at nice restaurants, which set me back close to $100 for two people. I’ve easily eaten at such restaurants over a thousand times, which is, uh, why I’m poor. But that’s another story. Anyway, the thing about the U.S. is that everything looks nice. Tablecloths, water glasses, an array of forks and knives. But the food is crud. I worked in a few restaurants in college, which gave me a fairly good idea of what goes on in the kitchen. On day one, I was making fettucine with carbonara sauce and peach cobbler. I’d never even tasted those dishes before. Were they right? Eh, who cares. Innovation? That just sound like making up some shit that nobody knows what it’s supposed to taste like.

      But maybe the difference is that I really like Japanese food. I’ve no interest in bread, cheese, or their unholy combination, pizza. I had the exact same experience as you the last time I went to the U.S.—there was nothing to eat in the supermarket. Just aisles and aisles of boxes. Food shouldn’t come in a box. Don’t get me started on the quality of fish there either.

      Well, I suspect that’s enough ranting for two people for one night. But thanks for the comment; I do appreciate it.

      1. Ken san,

        Wow. That’s too bad. Maybe it’s a regional thing. I come from the South, and usually when I make that statement, what follows is something shitty. But when I talk about food, it’s actually a good thing. Food is good and cheap, because everyone’s poor over there.

        I should mention that my family has owned a few restaurants over the years, and I grew up in the restaurant industry. I’ve been to food fairs with people gathering from all over the state to win the title for best chili recipe, best mac n’ cheese, best home-made fried chicken seasoning, etc. I guess life has been pretty good to me.

        I’ve been around in Asia too, and I’ve preferred every other countries’ cuisines over Japan. Idk, I just can’t get with their obsession of eating as many raw things as possible, and haphazardly throwing things onto rice or into noodles. Blanket statement? Sure. Maybe I just needed someone like you to show me the right places.

        Anyway, I’m just glad you give these comments the time of day. To each their own. But I miss breakfast foods. Since happiness with food translates so much into happiness with day to day life, we all just gotta follow our hear- … err, our stomachs.

        1. Wow Jeremy, you really need to explore Japan food scene better. Japan is a heaven for foodies. The only 2 things I would complain about are chocolate and cheese (overpriced when found). Just exploring ramen’s broth diversity is an amazing journey…

          1. Hi Furia,

            Though I’ve spent 4 years in Japan, the majority of that time was spent either 1) as a poor college student, or 2) working hard and living alone most of the time. It’s possible that I just haven’t found the right places, and couldn’t afford them most of the time.

            I had a ramen phase for about a year and a half, then I got bored with it because I got sick of how I felt after eating ramen. Most of it is really oily and just not very stomach-friendly.

            Japan may be a foodie paradise, but what if your favorite meal of the day is breakfast? You’re pretty much screwed in Japan. Crack a raw egg into a bowl of rice? Nothing wrong with that, but I wouldn’t call it “breakfast.”

    2. Jeremy,

      Mmm, I love good Southern food, but yeah I gotta say I find the opposite in terms of eating and value…Japan beats the US in terms of quality and value, depending on what part of the US you’re talking about. So compared to the South and Southwest, I’d probably agree with you, and that’s one thing that Japan really can’t get right, good Mexican food. But for anything else, it blows the US out of the water, especially if you talk about eating out. Take 15% off the top first for not having to tip, throw in FX, and trying not to go to Michelin starred places…you should end up a lot better off. I’m also comparing all of this to San Francisco…every trip back to Japan by comparison looks like a bargain!

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