Friday, May 28, 2010

Open Letters: Japan

I've barely written anything about my life in Japan. Before I came, I was so excited about all the new experiences I would be able to write about, but that hasn't really been the case. I feel like my time here is rushing by and all of these fresh experiences are becoming mundane details of daily life. I want to hang on to the novelty! Or at least have some way of remembering it. :) Since I can't seem to articulate in normal blog fashion, I am going to adopt the "open letter" method, instead. I don't know where this originated, but I'd like to thank Michelle for introducing it to me and this blog for reminding me.

Dear Mister Landlord Man,
You.are.awesome. If I could speak more Japanese, I would tell you that you are the best landlord a 20-something-and-alone-in-a-foreign-country-for-the-first-time girl could ask for. What kind of landlord collects the power and water bills and makes one easy bill for me? And who in the world would round the bill /down/ $5 to $10?!? That's just madness, Mister Landlord Man. Please can I pay you the full bill, especially when I am two days late? No? Okay, well if you insist...
-Your Thankful Gaijin Tenant

Dear Rain,
I don't know what to say to you. I knew you would be here, and I thought I had gotten to know you pretty well in Seattle, but boy was I wrong. How is there so much of you?! Where do you come from?? Try to take a rest now and then so I can do laundry, okay? If you do that, I think we can get along pretty well. I do have some pretty rocking rain boots, after all, and you give me a great excuse to curl up with a book.
Keep up the good work, just control yourself a bit, alright?
-Pink Rainbooted Lady

p.s. If you break one more umbrella, I'm gonna come after you. Consider yourself warned.

Dear Dinner,
Thank you for making living alone a little less lonely. I know you are only a turtle, but your presence is comforting somehow. When I walk in the door and you start swimming around frantically, pressing your nose against the glass, I like to pretend you are excited to see me and not just looking for your... well... dinner. Sorry I haven't bought you a waterfilter yet. There are too many options and they are all confusing. This weekend. I promise.
-The Lady with the Food.

p.s. I am going to change your water tonight. I swear.

Dear Salsa Dancing,
Why can't I enjoy one night of you without being creeped out by weirdos? I am starting to really appreciate your sexy style, but can't I keep some boundaries without having to stiff arm every guy on the dance floor? What I am really saying is, why can't you be more like swing dancing? I miss being able to trust the people I dance with... can't you attract more people like that? You should really re-think your PR people. Just sayin'.
-The Dancer Wanna-Be

Dear Cafe KaGeFu,
You are exactly what I needed. Thank you, thank you, thank you for existing. You are convenient, cozy, cost-effective, and many other positive c-words that I am too coffee-deprived to think of, and if were with you right now, that wouldn't be the case. Thank you for providing me with delicious caffeine-fixes, ambient music, and delicious food. If it weren't for you, I would still be studying Japanese at the Thai restaurant down the street. That's just weird. And wrong.
Also, you should give your waitress a raise. She is incredibly sweet, speaks perfect English, and is sympathetic toward my meager attempts at Japanese. Kazuno-san makes coming to you completely worth it, even if you weren't already everything I need in a local hang-out.
I look forward to seeing you every week, if not more often.
-Hot Cafe Latte, Single Sugar, Extra Foam

Dear Hamabe no Chiya,
Don't be jealous. You are still the most beautiful cafe I have ever met, but your prices are set for tourists, not a local English teacher. I am not ready for your level of financial commitment, I just want a place to be not-at-home with a cup of joe. I promise I will still visit monthly, if my budget allows, and definitely when I have guests.
Can we still be friends?
Dear Apartment,
I love you.
But do you have to be so BIG? I mean, it is nice to have space and all, but how can I possibly keep you clean?! Take that into consideration. Maybe you can develop some sort of self-cleaning function. That'd be great. Thanks.
-Your Cleaning Slave, ReBekha

Dear Japanese,
Must you be so SCARY?? I have one of your alphabets down, but I can't even be happy about that because your all, "Oh whoop-dee-doo! You can read Hiragana? BABIES can do that! I have two more alphabets, and one is so fricking complicated that some native speakers can't even conquer it. Try learning those before you get all stinking cocky, you meager-minded fool!"
It's not very nice, Japanese. Not nice at all.
~ レベッカ

Dear eMobile Internet,
You are so flipping cool. Everyone should be jealous of your awesomeness. Bow down, wireless connections. Bow low.
I never thought I would just be able to plug in a little USB stick and have fast, flawless, wireless internet everywhere I go. Is there no limit to your service area?? If there is, I haven't found it.
I will sing your praises to the masses, eMobile Internet, for you are truly great.
-Your Biggest Fan

Dear Megavideo,
I have not watched 72 minutes!! You lie! You LIE!!
-Glee, Chuck, Grey's, 30 Rock, House, & The Office Watcher

Dear Japanese Girls, Ladies, Women,
How are you always so sweet and adorable?? Teach me your ways.
~The Awkward American

Dear Seattle (and surrounding areas),
Why are you so great? You make this whole "being away" thing a lot more difficult. I wish you would give up some of those awesome people you are hogging... there are enough to go around, you know.
-A Former Resident

Dear Family,
I miss you most.
Love, love, love,


  1. My fish trevor is just like dinner. Trvor is from the harvest party from when we were RAs (I know, he's still alive!) He always swims around all happy anytime I get near him. I laughed so hard at your megavideo comment. I have the same problem! It seems as if it just does one continueous "watch" even if you take a three day break. Grrr for cutting out in the middle of a show. We're trying desperately to leave Seattle and come to you (or at least a bit closer) This note was fabulous! Thanks for sharing a bit about your life.

  2. Those are some good letters. :) And one super awesome landlord!!!

  3. I love your letters! It's a cool way to write about life. I too am slacking on the blogging :/

  4. Marf! I can't believe that fish is ALIVE! You are one lucky girl. :D I am glad you are desperately trying to bring some of that awesome away from Seattle. ;) Beware, though, you might miss it a little.

    Kortney- right?! I feel so spoiled... :)

    Kate- It really helps to get out of the narrative-blog box when you are in a rut. I am trying to think of other ways to get inspired! I hope you do, too. I want to read about your Ishigaki trip. It had to've been better than mine... food poisoning... erg.

  5. I love this post SOOO much!
    I want to use your idea and do something similar on my blog!! ;)

  6. :) Please do! I want to read it.