Summer’s here

We’re sleeping with open windows.

I had my first ice cream of the season a few days ago.

Summer festivals have started. Here in our neighbourhood the streets are lined with cheerful paper lanterns in preparation for a major festival two weeks from now.

You can see face cloths everywhere, and business-suited men have started wiping their faces. This morning, although it’s coolish, I felt myself perspiring as I walked due to the increasing humidity. Time to pack my own face cloth.

It’s summer.


Monochrome Tokyo

As I was walking in a street in Marunouchi, early in the morning, I saw a group waiting at a red light. Even from a distance I knew they weren’t Japanese, and this was confirmed as I got closer, heard them speaking a different language and noticed their flag-bearing guide in front.

How did I know? I knew because they weren’t dressed in dull monochromes, but were flamboyantly attired in neon pink, bright green, migraine orange. That is not Tokyo. The Tokyo dress code, at least as far as business is concerned, is black, grey, off-white, beige, tan, camel, brown. Men dress in black or grey suits and white or light blue shirts; women look as if they were cloned in a factory: black shoes, black tights, black pencil skirt, camel-coloured trench coat.

It was fun to see tourists with no sense of decorum.

Take off that backpack!

You. You with the backpack. If you want to travel on a crowded rush-hour commuter train, take the damn thing off before you get on; and if you stand in the passage in the middle of the carriage, blocking it for everybody who has to pass, do NOT … I repeat DO NOT! … give me a dirty look when I knock your backpack sideways as I brush past.

Why are you wearing a backpack with a business suit anyway? Please note that backpacks are only acceptable in the following situations:

1) You spend half your life in Akihabara, most of it at the AKB48 theater.

2) You commute by motorbike. (So what are you doing in the train, then?)

3) You’re a hiker or photographer.

4) You’re a dumb tourist.

Of the above, only (2) and (3) can be readily admitted in semi-polite conversation, and even (2) is suspect.

If you’re a salaryman, get a briefcase already.

Repent, Japan! You worship trees!

This morning I had the misfortune of clicking on a link entitled “Japanese tree worshippers”. That’s what I am: I love trees, and I believe any human being who fells a centuries-old tree should suffer at the very least the amputation of an arm.

Japan has been hyper-aware of trees in the last few days, because it’s the tail-end of the cherry blossom season. Tokyo was covered in popcorn trees until a few days ago.

So I clicked. Would that I’d never done that. It’s a lunatic who thunders that the Japenese are sinners who worship trees instead of the one true god, that Japan should repent, that the one true god is a vengeful god yadda yadda yadda.

My message to the one true disciple of the one true god: while you indulge in hatred, condemnation and ignorance, I’ll go sit underneath a cherry tree and thank Japan’s 8 million gods for the beauty they’ve given us.

Perhaps I should send a tweet to @TheTweetOfGod and ask him if he’d like to join me. I suspect he might appreciate the invitation, especially if I tell him there will be champagne.