Sunday, December 9, 2007

Call me Tania

Since arriving in Japan I have developed Stockholm syndrome.
Japan kidnapped me and I have begun to grow loyal to Japan, despite its strange ways and customs.
Like an abducted Patty Hearst, I was initially frightened yet intrigued by my kidnappers. But, after four months, I am beginning to understand why Japan acts the way it does. And this lifestyle might even occasionally suit me.

Like why Japanese girls stand pigeon toed.

When I first arrived I wondered if this pigeon toed problem had something to do with the lack of calcium in the Japanese diet and maybe this somehow affected how young women stand.
When inquiring on this feminine stance I learned that Japanese girls do this to look cute.

Four months later, I think it is cute. When I am feeling real Japanese I stand like this.

And the peace sign.

I got sick of people throwing the peace sign and talking about peace about 5 minutes after I got off the plane. Back in August I was saying, "F*ck peace signs and peace."

It did not take too long for me to get over this. Next thing I knew I was throwing double peace signs all over the place.

Also, extreme politeness.


About four months ago, when waiting in a line I would take really long, deep sighs. And I would wish I was in a country where people could understand me when I mumbled, "Jesus, how hard is it to work at a Lawsons? How goddamn long can it take you to ring a person up."

Now, I fear returning to the States because I know the first time a person gives me attitude I am going to burst into tears. I will tell them I am sorry and I do not understand why they felt the need to raise their voice to me. Then I will bow as I wipe the tears and snot from my face.

Then there is how much Japanese people love uniforms.

I have never enjoyed taking advice on what to put on in the morning. I thought Japanese youth were completely crazy when they showed up to school, for a Saturday festival, all in uniform.
I smiled at the girls who had small studs in their ears, hidden behind their hair. I wanted to hand out dark purple nail polish and teach the joy of rebellion through fashion.

But this last weekend, I met a Naruto Jr. High School girl in her Saturday attire, complete with a nose ring, short shorts, knee high boots, and a cigarette.
I did not know what to think. If I had a small child with me I certainly would have covered the babies eyes.
I commented on the length of the girl's eyelashes, walked away and spent the next twenty minutes shaking my head in disbelief.

I could go on, but I will leave my list there as I gradually denounce the name Caitlin -as it comes out as a stuttered 'Cait o ren' with a Japanese accent- and I will tell you that I am adopting the name 'Caity.'
Perhaps in the same vein as a young woman who once stood in a bank lobby, clutching a machine gun and yelling, "I'm Tania."

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