Sunday, May 31, 2009


"No matter the man, we all wear masks. Whether it be over our faces or over our hearts.", Godot, "Phoenix Wright Ace Attorney - Trials and Tribulations"

So we visited the Nissan plant in Oppama on Monday (which meant we had to leave Echo Base at an ungodly hour). It was quite interesting. First we got to see a presentation which brainwashed us into believing in the fabulous wonders of 同期生産 ("douki seisan", simultaneous production, a production system that initiates when a customer orders a car). Actually, I don't know if it is written like that, because they never ever explained what it meant (because you don't ask questions when you're being brainwashed), but I'd like to think I am right.

Afterwards, we were shown a gigantic cargo ship bound for somewhere abroad and we actually entered the manufacturing factory, where the ugliest car ever was being produced at grand scale. Even the magnificence of douki seisan can't save Nissan if they really intend to sell this. It was interesting to see how the cars were being manufactured though with robots and stuff.

Memories of the rest of the week are kinda vague, but I remember karaoke. Karaoke and crucifixions.

On Saturday, Benjamin 2 号, Jimmy and I went to the Edo Tokyo Museum to visit the special Tezuka Osamu exhibition. In the West, people reading manga (Japanese comic books) usually know the name of Tezuka, but have almost never read any works by him and even then, it's usually stuff like Astro Boy. Which is not a bad manga, far from it, but people just don't know he has drawn everything. There would be no manga without him. In Japan though, he is still very popular, as many people were visiting the exhibition. What was interesting was the public. Like with my visit to the movie Detective Conan: The Raven Chaser, the public was so diverse, ranging from very young children with their parents, to elderly people who probably read the manga as they were released years ago to young couples on a date. Just to visit an exhibition of a cartoonist. Pretty sure it would attract a different public abroad. Another common point with the Conan experience was the sale of merchandise, which is pretty evil. I wisely decided to not buy the Black Jack toilet paper in the end.

This whole week, Benjamin 2 号 and I were planning to eat crab (because we are so easily influenced by television programs), but Yanagizawa-san told us it was not the season for it, which resulted in a sad duo. Instead though, she took us (and Els) to a sushi-ya in Ginza, which served a huge (I mean huuuuuuuge) plate of sushi for a very neat price. I'll be back. Many times. Ginza is not as expensive as one might think.

Right before coming to Japan, I realized two things: I would be in Japan when the Detective Conan movie would be released. I would be in Japan when the DS game Gyakuten Kenji ("Turnabout Prosecutor") would be released (yes, it's a detective game. Yes, it's awesome). And I was very happy.

So after the sushi, we went to Akihabara, where I finally picked up Gyakuten Kenji (seeing the commercials EVERY DAY in the train certainly made me excited). And I was very happy. I have a tradition of finishing the games in the Gyakuten series in just a few days and at the current rate, the prospects of upholding that tradition are looking just fine. And I claim it's all in the sake of studying Japanese.

(Writing that last sentence made me realize I study Japanese to read Japanese detectives and that I read Japanese detectives to study Japanese. )

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