Tuesday, August 22, 2006




I did a quick mental calculation in my head on the subway today. For so far 9 months out of the whole year in the year 2006, I've spent 10 days in Europe, 6 months in Boston, 2 months in Japan, 2 weeks in China and 3 weeks in Taiwan. 3-4 major locations in 9 months - that's an average of about one major transition in every 3 months.

And these are not city to city transitions, these are country to country transitions.

Granted that I'm able to speak different languages that allow me to have at least one good venue of communication in each location, there's no doubt that a transition is a transition.

I still don't know why a plate of plain, dull salad would cost more than a sandwich at Au Bon Pain. And I also don't know why they keep calling all sesame dressing "Asian sesame dressing" when there's no such a thing in China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, or South East Asia. Maybe Japan.

I still don't know why Americans regard potato chips, chocolat chip coockies, and a can of soda part of a healthy and well-balanced lunch meal.

And I can't figure out why each time when someone gets robbed around campus, the security alert mass-email from the Harvard Police Dept reads - "since the incident did not occur on Harvard University Campus, it is currently under investigation by the Cambridge police department."

Even though we never get a second email from the Cambridge polic dept.

I still don't understand why Japanese girls these days wear 3-4 pieces of tank tops on them, one layer on top of another. (the other day when I was doing my regular round of observation on the subway in Tokyo, I thought about naming this the latest "套裝" fashion in Japan and writing a huge entry on it).

I still don't understand why Japanese men smoke like crazy (probably 2 packs a day) but on average can live till the age of 81.

I'm still dumbfounded by how many Japanese couples who got married b/c of wetlock pregnancy (I can already name 6 couples that I've met or known of as acquintances who fall into this category; I don't even think I know more than 10 couples in my little social circle in Japan).

I still wonder how many more decades it's going to take for Chinese people to realize that one should smile and nod and say "sorry" or "thank you" if he/she is approached by a customer AT WORK. Also, I wonder if they would ever realize that a obento lunch box should not be taken out in public and devoured in public AT WORK.

I also still wonder how many more new schools in the countryside the Chinese gov't may be able to build, how many people may be benefited from a better health care system, or if the entire forbidden palace can be fully restored to its original beauty for preservation purposes had the gov't decided not to host the 2008 Olympics in the first place.

Nor can I ever image anybody reaching to the Olympics stadium in Beijing on time given its current traffic condition.

Although I can imagine the gov't convincing the Beijing citizens to stay home for a month straight in order to allow for the foreign visitors to roam freely on the streets under the name of "loving the nation."

And tonight while walking home, I was wondering - dude, with all the night markets in Taiwan and explosive amount of yummy food supplies on the streets 24-7, will Taiwan one day become a country of obesity?

Also, are the majority of Taiwanese people night owls? I for sure saw more high school kids, obasan's and ojisan's on the subway tonight on my way home than those on the last night train home in Tokyo.

I thought I've understood these societies well enough.

Or maybe it's only me who's the weird one, always looking at things from a outsider's point of view.

梅ちゃん at 3:28:00 AM



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