Yeah, Yeah. You there. Yes, that’s you, I am calling out. I know what you’re thinking…
“I had seen this blog a zillion years ago, in the quadrajurassico (??) era, when it was called something like “caniwrite.blogspot.com” . Sounding all humble and nice with the title, while still refreshing the page every 2 minutes to check for comments, this guy had last written about going to Japan, a Sumo wrestler, Joey Tribbiani and some mindless drivel (as always). And he now thinks that he can make a dramatic entry again with just a snazzy looking theme (which is not his, by the way, thank you very much!!) and a rather stupid title – ‘Do you know what it ees?’ Do I know what it is – Hell, does he know what it ees!!? I mean – where in that Sumo’s name had he gone and what makes him think I would again start reading this mish-mash of a blog that is! Oh, by the way, it has become http://whatitees.com – My, my, what some extra money, Japanese food, and a rather empty head can do! “
Well. Talk about being self-demeaning – this feels like I just bent my foot backwards and kicked myself in the ass over and over again.
Anyways, without sounding overtly apologetic and dramatic about it , I would like to express my sincerest apologies to the few dedicated readers I was privileged to have who, fortunately for me, enjoyed reading my posts before. And even their exhortations to get me back at writing did not do much. Well, the reason for being MIB (Missing In Blog – Thanks, I just made it up) was owing to, amongst a host of other things, a rather busy head and some serious lack of writing spirit.
Anyways, since the time I mentioned about my trip to Japan (and of course, my Sumi), a lot of water has passed under the bridge – yes, incessant and rather unpredictable rains even here in Japan. Thanks to the spirit of “Documentation” which my work here has imbibed in me, I am rather inclined to use the “ordered list” which WordPress has provided. So, here goes:
1. I know how the remote for the AC and all things having Japanese inscriptions on it work. Talk about the effects of smsing – Back home in India if you haven’t sent 10 smses in a span of 10 minutes, chances are you’d never be able to operate the AC in your Japanese room when it is freezing at -6C outside.
2. I now know the importance of hands, especially in places such as Japan. Oh ho, you perverts, do not get me wrong there. When you want to know where you can find washing powder in the large grocery mall near your apartments, and the mixed “JapEng” dialect you’re speaking (washing powdero, washingo, and so ono, so fortho) does not seem to make any headway, it pays to point your shirt to him (ahem..without getting him suspicious of your intentions, i.e) and then show him how the internals of the washing machine works – and finally ending the encore with that beam on your face symbolizing the whitening effects of the powder, you so desperately want now. Well, 8 out of 10 times, you get the powdero even while you are rotating the blades of your imaginary machine. Alternately, you could also twirl around, like the girl in the Nirma ad and maybe sing the ad jingle too – however, one would need to do some research on the Japanese version of the Ad.
3. MoonMoonSen, RimaSen or SushmitaSen will not be a working alternative for “Sumi masen” if you need to say “excuse me” or “sorry”.
4. Similar to how “andi” and “lu” is so important to people such as moi from the Gult-land (cheppandi, cheyandi, antylu, tiffinlu, so forthulu), “Masu” is pretty significant on similar lines to the Japanese – Arigato Gozaimasu, Ohayo Gozaimasu, Owarimasu, etc.
5. I have realized that eating a pizza here can itself be such a big reason for celebration – that is because, when you’ve had a marathon of a conversation on your cell phone for well over 30 minutes, where all the information you provided in broken English and insignificant Japanese, and which would normally be asked during a routine call to Pizza Hut have been encountered by long pauses, a lot of other questions, some which you would have felt was a repetition of the old ones and a lot of “Sumi masens” being transacted over the NTT Do Co Mo network, you finally see and smell the Yasai (Vegan) Pizza being delivered by the smiling delivery guy in less than 30 minutes, you know it is more than just that – it is a piping hot, pan-crusted, refreshingly delicious symbol of the work you put in to order one!!
6. E-books.com, Stumbleupon.com, isohunt.com, downloadable movie sites, idesitv.com, and so on – in a place where having access to English/Hindi and other regional channels on TV is a sign of you either settling here for good or having been here for some years now and had the requisite moolah for it, these sites and a few others gradually become your close friends. You suddenly realize the importance of the “call” feature on G talk, how justvoip.com is less expensive than the calling card you just used, and how excitinglives.com was the perfect way to shower somebody with gifts while you were still miles apart.
7. Walking and cycling is an integral part of your daily life here – and god knows, I am thankful for that. But just for kicks, a “Kya Aap Paanchvi Paas se Tez” ho question for you – what would you do if you were caught parking your car or 2-wheeler under the No Parking sign in any of the metros in India? A typical answer would be – slip in a 50 bucks, and you’d live to park it for another day, in more favorable conditions.
But here, and that too for your cycle – No sir. You get a pink slip – not once, but thrice – No, it is not the proverbial metaphor for getting fired – but it is actually a piece of paper, pink in color, with the day and date written in pen, and harmlessly stapled on the handle of your beloved cycle. It also has a map printed on it, but that’s a matter we shall conveniently avoid. Now, you might have parked it on the pavement and gone in to a store for a couple of minutes, but when you come out, chances are you would end up scratching your head over the rather innocuous presence of that slip. If the scratching did any help, you would not repeat that mistake of parking your cycle anywhere you wish, and probably look for a line of cycles to park it in, even if it meant pedaling for a couple of blocks away. But if all that you did was scratch, then chances are that with the third slip, you would not even know when your beloved 2-wheeler got picked up from right under your nose.
8. Travelling and a newly found hobby – Photography. Hiroshima, Kyoto, Osaka, Tokyo – with some money, a nice camera, a good group and most importantly, with some holidays to spare, these would no longer be names to remember off your history books. These and many more – Beautiful places. A must visit, if you ever set foot in this land.
9. “When the going gets tough, the tough get going start cooking.” You might say that I have taken this adage to another level, but it would not be wrong to say so. Give me the basic ingredients, get your own plate and fork, and I shall whip you up a dinner, befitting a bachelor’s status and his abilities in wielding a spatula.
10. Last, but most importantly – some new relationships formed. One of them – I am an Uncle. Of course, I became an uncle way back in Pune, when some kids in the apartments called me that, and all I did was frown at them, and look in the mirror for the receding line that was. Well, I would not mind that now…:-)..
An aside: If you noticed, I put down 10 points – I have been here for 10 months now. Pretty Da Vinci-ian isn’t it? Anyways, I would soon be heading back for India, hopefully with the kind graces of my managers. Till then, I hope to be back here as often as I possibly can, and I’d sure hope to see you as well.
Psst! I am coming back in 2 minutes – refresh, refresh!!