The No Face

Ive been in Tokyo for 4 nights now and am completely head over heels for this place.  After visiting the fish market and crazy computer center, I found my way over to a sushi boat restaurant.  Where different color plates of sushi are carted along to you on boats floating on a moat around the sushi chefs.  This was the only cheap sushi place in town.  For about ten bucks I could get 16 high quality pieces of sushi, beat that America!

In adition, the 4 New Zealanders and I went to a hot springs that turned out to be practically a nudist colony. 

I cant tell you how nice these people are.  If they catch you staring at a map for more than a few minutes, they will make it their personal business to see that you get to where you are going.  One guy even ditched his girlfriend for about ten minutes to walk us 2 blocks and negotiate a cab for us.  They literally drop everything for you.  And whats in it for them? Is it because they need the tourist dollars?  Surely not.  This country probably has much more domestic travel than foreign.  But what about girls?

The boys and I were out on the town one night and tried to pick up on some girls for sport.  The cute Asian school girl isn’t really my bag personally, but we wanted to push our luck.  We literally couldn’t get the time of day from all the girls that we stopped on the street.  They had absolutely no interest in us.  The only thing that made them perk up was saying we were American.  But it was funny, in other poorer countries, you get a bunch of girls who want to Mary a foreigner for the promise of a better life.  But here, they have great lives.  Hence no attraction to foreigners.  That is, until you hit the red light district and every girl is very interested in giving you a sexy massage.  Then there are the African immigrants working as club promoters.  Most bars and clubs here want to charge 30-40 bucks an hour for an all you can drink offer.  I got so sick of getting promoted on that I said that I was only interested in one of three things: a live tiger, trampoline, or rodeo.  They would usually laugh when they realized that they had been beaten at their own game.  The Japanese men who tried to promote would ask me what I was looking for and when I said I was only having a walk, they would apologise.  We sat in front of a restaurant because it had benches and the waiter came out and instead of telling us to take a hike, he just started chatting with us for about a half hour.  We were on the metro last night and one of the New Zealanders was trying to speak to a business man.  The man painfully walked us through some conversation because he didn’t speak English and our Japanese was very limited.  After about 10-15 minutes, he started laughing and admitted that he knew English all along.  It was an amazing moment.

Back to the title.  In my travels, I keep seeing tourists who put on the no face.  The no face is the default answer of NO and the paranoia that follows.  I understand and respect that you don’t want to be duped, but there is a point where it kills your experience and is down right rude.  Seeing this happen in Japan is particularly painful.  Maybe it was their first day, but if not, then they have been missing the best part about this place. 

In fact, I want to make sure that everyone at home is extra nice to Japanese tourists when they see them.  If you were just here for 48 hours, you would be saying the same thing.  I come to this country with no understanding of the language and there isn’t a single moment where someone has even been irritated at that fact and my complete helplessness.  On the other side of the coin, I cant count how many times someone in America or another western country has practically yelled at a Japanese tourist saying, don’t come to a country if you don’t know the language.  What are you some sort of idiot? 

Quite the contrary, these people seem to have figured it out. 

This is, by far, my favorite spot Ive been to date!