I heard the strangest noise this evening as I cycled back from the station. It was a kind of cross between a bell and a high pitched 'pan pan' noise. I had no idea what it was until I saw the the teeniest, strangest, old fashioned looking fire engine flashing to a halt. Who'd have guessed? In the UK we have big, mean sirens that make a statement. No 'Pan Pan' in the UK. And of course, it made me think of Bambi, which was the first film I ever saw.
(In French 'Thumper' the rabbit is called 'Panpan', as that's the noise he makes.... Oh never mind!)
Things you'd never see in the UK:
One: a portable stereo in the street plugged into the outer wall of a shop, playing music. In the UK it'd be swiped in minutes...
Two: at the station this morning I saw a girl wearing, er trouser legs. With a skirt. Skirt and trousers I hear you think? What's wrong with that? It's a common site. Except.... these 'trousers' kind of lacked the main essence of trouserness. They started at the ankle and ended just above the knee..... (trouser material, trouser design, etc - just no bit joining them together.) But I also find the detached sleeve look quite odd.
Three: very strange skin colours: some permatan manufacturer is out there who should be sued to buggery. There's a certain group of Japanese who are turning orange. Think of your worst imaginable fake tan error.... And it's worse. Much worse. Orange. Orange I tell you. This 'certain' group tend to be young. Females do it, but it's mainly male. And it's normally accompanied with blond streaked hair. And that is normally a mullet. Oh Oh and these people are normally wearing pimp coats.
Maybe I'm just getting old and losing touch with reality, and I understand the desire some people have to make their skin darker with a bottle - but PLEASE. Orange does not suit anyone. Find out who the manufacturer is and SUE THEM!
Four: free cigarettes being handed out in the streets. One of my students today has a second job - she hands out cigarettes for four hours every Friday night to promote some cigarette manufacturer in Japan. Maybe it does happen elsewhere, but I've never seen it and cannot imagine it happening somewhere like the UK or US where the current drive is to try and stop people smoking.
Oh and I do love the look on Japanese faces when I tell them cigarettes in the UK cost 1000 yen. (here they cost about 150 yen).
Five: oh, actually I donno if you can get this in the UK, but tonight I bought a tube of something called 'Sweetened Condensed Milk'. Think glue with lots of sugar. Bizarre stuff. Well.... I treated myself to a punnet of strawberries finally (at about three times the cost of the same in the UK) and the tubes of gunk were on the same stand. It felt wrong not to really. (Sucker for ergonomically placed products? Me?)
On the subject of clothes:
One: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/4379851.stm - fat people. cycling pants. WRONG. This is all about the idea of putting Sumo wrestlers into cycling pants.
Two: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/4397849.stm - wear less clothes at work and don't consume so much energy from the air conditioning.
Three: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/4328439.stm - nice Kyoto is letting people do lots of free things if they wear kimono. Sweet. Maybe I should go and hire one.