Japan, I love you.

May 30, 2016

Konnichiwa!

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It’s been a minute. I forgot how to write. But, alas, I am writing… (Step in the right direction). Take it.

It’s 5:23am on Monday. 

GOOD MORNING, BITCHES. THE DUBES IS BACK!

I’ve been wide the fuck awake since the ripe young hour of 3:30 in the morning. Oh yeah…the jet lag struggle is real. My circadian rhythm is way off,  and I am out in full force on mission: Get it BACK ON TRACK, A$AP Rocky.

I thought, “no problem, I’ll get up, make some tea, and see if I can get into the earlier yoga class (7am),”…only to find out that I, in reality, signed up for a class tomorrow, not today, tomorrow…and the studio (and all surrounding studios) is closed for Memorial Day. I should have known. I’m not working either, in light of the holiday. (dum dum, Laura).

So, all roads are leading to me kicking my own ass. Never have I ever wanted to feel sweat beads rolling off my body more than now.

***

I am home. I AM HOME. I AM HOME!!!

ALWAYS. WITHOUT FAIL (and I am talking really loud!), I look forward to going back home after vacation. Our trip was spectacular on every level (relax, I’ll get there in a minute), but home, oh baby, HOME IS WHERE IT IS AT, my friends. Nothing makes me happier.

We won’t keep it brief at all, today. Strap the fuck in, and get ready to inhale some legit and lengthy ganja.

ON TRAVELING

Whenever I travel, I come out of it a new woman. I’m a shiny, new Dubie. 

I feel like pre-Japan, I was an old, browning, stale onion layer, only to be peeled off and replaced by a blemish-free, juicy, translucent layer.

Sexy. 

My point is, temporarily changing the way I live my life (i.e.: going on vacation), gives me newfound inspiration and motivation to make my life better.

You bet your sweet ass I made a couple 1-2 sticky notes, ranging from my observations in Japan, to zen Buddhist philosophy I’m on board with, to new teaching ideas, to adding shit like matcha tea to my grocery list -just made a bowl of it now, actually – I give it a 5 on a scale of 10. Just ordered one of those wooden tea whisks, so I can matcha like a professional. 

ON JAPAN

There is too much to tell, but here goes nothing…
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Japan is a beautiful country, filled with some of the nicest, most adorable humans on the planet. They have a great respect for each other, and for foreigners. They genuinely want to help you to the best of their ability – think receiving a drawn-out map indicating directions from a perfect stranger. You can’t make it up. It is immaculately clean and functions at the highest level of organization and order. EVERYONE takes great pride in what they do. Taxi drivers wear white gloves. Cleanliness is a priority. I witnessed subway station stairs being scoured with bleech at 4pm on a Saturday. I would confidently sit on toilet seats in public. Quality food is available to people of all socio-economic backgrounds. I could count the number of overweight people I saw on one hand. It’s safe to say life is pretty good for most people living in Japan. The experience of being there was a great privilege.

Japan, I love you.

OBSERVATIONS CONTINUED

  • They love socks. Women wear socks or stockings with EVERYTHING. Sandals included – which teeters on the edge of a fashion statement –> fashion nightmare. 
  • Women hate the sun. This is where I didn’t fit in. I live for the sun, and enjoy walking around half-naked. Japanese women are covered from head-to-toe in 80 degree weather, complete with a fashionable umbrella (when it’s SUNNY). There were also advertisements for skin-lightening treatments. Tan is definitely NOT in. 
  • This should now go without saying, but HATS are big, too. Women are always in hats or visors.
  • Nice handbags are a must. They definitely splurge here, and not just the women. Only a Japanese man can pull-off carrying a Goyard tote. 
  • Toto Toilets are THE SHIZZ, and they’re everywhere. I want one. Heated seat? Hell yeah. The water features? A dream come true. Automatic flush? Yessir. 
  • Ice cream runs rampant. Never, have I ever seen, more ice cream per square block. They love it, and so do I. Threw down a couple cones.

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  • Vending machine central. There are thousands filled with water, green tea, and canned Boss coffee with Tommy Lee Jones as the face. It’s a beautiful thing that you can count on every street you walk down.

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  • They love their bread and pastries, I think more than the French. Don’t quote me on this, but I was told the Japanese consume the most bread – yet they still somehow manage to be the healthiest, longest-living population of humans. Go figure.

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  • Kit Kats are on another level. Like gourmet shit. Raspberry were my favorite.

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  • Next to their native cuisine, Italian food is a favorite. We did actually have some bomb-ass pizza one night. It was oishii! I am now fluent in Japanese, in case you didn’t notice.
  • They still allow smoking inside restaurants. Only thing I wasn’t a fan of. Delete.
  • You would have more luck finding an obscure Ramen shop, than you would a trash can. It is a great challenge to find one, yet somehow, there isn’t a trace of litter on the streets. It’s magic.
  • Shoes off! When entering homes, some restaurants, bathrooms, and dressing rooms – it’s shoes off people. The idea is that they cherish their “inside world,” and want to preserve, not only the cleanliness of it, but they also don’t want to mix the outside world with the inside world. The inside world is sacred to them. I AM ON BOARD.

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  • Napkins are wet. Dry napkins are almost non-existent. Instead, you get a wet washcloth or napkin to wipe your hands throughout your meal. 
  • Everything makes sense and is well thought-out. During our traditional tea ceremony, we learned that there are several serving pieces specific to the season. Not only do they have different patterns indicating the season, (i.e.: falling leaves for autumn and running water for summer) the bowls are all shaped different to either keep the tea hot (narrow-rimmed for winter), or enable it to cool more easily (wide-rimmed for summer). I mean, the attention to detail is truly mind-blowing.

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  • We ate noodles. LOTS of noodles. Polished off 4 bowls of ramen + 1 bowl of udon + 1 bowl of soba while there. It’s safe to say I’m not feeling skinny, but it was worth every, salty bite and 45 minute line.

Ramen Bowl #1

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Ramen Bowl #2

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Ramen Bowl #3

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Ramen Bowl #4

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Soba

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Udon:

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  • The coffee is LEGIT. We went to Bear Pond, and experienced coffee on another level. The Dirty BP is where it’s at. 

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  • The food is exceptional. Period. 
  • And I’ll say it again, the people are something special. 

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Japan, I love you.

SAYONARA

That means goodbye in Japanese, because, well <pause> we’re done here, Homies. 

Now, puff on this ZEN blunt:

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I love you. Feels good to be back.

peace-hands,

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