Saturday, August 26, 2006

sore feet

Well yes, we spent another Saturday walking our already-skinny butts off. And it was well worth it. We fell in love with a neighbourhood called Ueno, which is more old-Tokyo (ie. down-to-earth) than where we live, which is about 11 metro stops away.

Ueno not only features a bustling market area full of great food (and everything else under the sun) but we also explored the huge park full of temples and statues and fountains and lanterns AND we went to the Tokyo National Museum.

Needless to say I'm gonna sleep like a baby tonight.


Hi Carol, sounds cool. I've been reading your blog and you never mention how the people are in Tokyo (just the friggin bugs!), unless you did and I missed it, friendly, not friendly, do a lot speak English, etc ???
You monkey! I was dreading that someone would ask me that. It's just that I can't really say quite yet. We had heard from several people that the Japanese were extremely friendly and warm to foreigners. However, outside of the A's Japanese colleagues, several of whom he's getting to know on a daily basis and who are completely open and extremely helpful (he tends to pepper the hell outta people with questions, questions, questions), that has not been our experience so far.

One theory is that this is a big city and people are very hip, so maybe it's just not cool to act interested in a couple of gaijin! However, someone (Japanese themself, I think) told A that it could be that people are afraid to be friendly for fear that we'll speak to them/ask them something and they won't be able to answer, which will embarrass them and the Japanese very much dislike being embarrassed.

See the thing is, to answer your second question, no, not many people in the street speak English. We've encountered a merchant or two that might be able to say a few words but, again, outside of Alain's colleagues, we've yet to meet anyone fluent in English. So, were someone to smile at us or something, and were we to take that as an invitation to talk to them, they'd likely not know what we were asking or how to respond, hence their embarrassment. Makes a little sense, I guess.

Whoa, that was a long response! Sorry Ede!
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