I'm awake!

I just got back from a visit to the old country. As usual, it was good to see my loved ones and the people were friendly enough, but it failed to strike me as a viable place to live. I'm glad to be back in Japan now, where the portions of food are sensible and the coins don't distend my wallet with their gross, malformed bulk.

When you arrive at Narita airport, you are greeted by a bilingual sign. The English half says "Welcome to Japan", and the Japanese half says おかえりなさい: "Welcome back (home)". Some people consider this a sinister manifestation of Japanese (racio-)nationalism, but I disagree. The bar is set extremely low, after all -- if you can read Japanese, you get welcomed back.

That isn't to say that nationalism and racism don't lurk beyond the sign, of course, making it bitterly ironic for some people. You can find that in any country and Japan is no different. But when you're out in no-man's land, the text in the sky says what it says.

Popularity factor: 8


And, with your resident card, you get to stand in the line for Japanese nationals. Invariably, someone would try to point me to the visitors' line, and instead of getting annoyed I'd say, "No, I live here," and flash my card. Always a warm feeling--"Tada ima~~"


Didn't get fingerprinted, either. I guess that system is still delayed?

Peter Maydell:

I thought the fingerprinting wasn't going to apply to the Japanese nationals queue anyway?


The way I heard it, it was supposed to apply to everyone except citizens, ZN Koreans, and diplomats. That was why business orgs cared-- privacy issues etc. aside, their longterm/permanent resident (but non-citizen) constituents objected to being treated identically with tourists.


I never noticed that sign in my travels there, but only in Israel did I ever get told "Welcome Home", before.


In Taiwan I just get told I'll be executed if I smuggle drugs in :(


how is it not suitable to live?!?!


For one thing, it's choked up with cars. I hate cars. But what else are you going to do? Ride the crappy, infrequent, dirty public transport? (Very center of Melbourne, with frequent, lovely trams, excepted.)

The food and service both need to get a lot better to tempt me, too. Jury's still out on the literary scene but I didn't really see anything encouraging.

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