Back in the USA

A quick follow-up to my previous post on Japan.  Leaving the sleek, attractive, courteous, efficient Narita Airport and arriving into messy, rude, chaotic, disorganized LAX is a real slap in the face.  My favorite part is when the airlines give you a customs form to fill out while still on the airplane.  After landing, you never show the customs form to anyone.  I guess they view it as a way for passengers to pass the time, sort of like doing Suduko.  On the other hand, south Orange County seems like paradise after visiting Japanese cities full of small houses, concrete buildings and power lines.  It’s really hard to compare America and Japan, as they have such different strengths and weaknesses.

I don’t have a lot of travel tips, as most people have different interests from me.  For instance, on the train to Narita airport I saw people staring at their cell phones.  I spent the time looking out the window, and enjoyed the view as much if not more than 90% of the films that I have seen.  I enjoy seeing the amazing variety of architecture in Tokyo, especially the stuff that reminds me of the 1960s.

During the final part of our trip we visited some less urban areas.  Two places stood out.  We spent 3 days on the Izu peninsula at a onsen (hot springs hotel)  near Kawazu, but I could see spending another month exploring the region.  (Of course I’ll never go back, just as I’ll never go back to all the other places I told myself I’d return to someday and see in more depth.)

Another highlight was the onsen at Takaragawa (in Gunma).  The hotel is rated 4 stars, but in reality is pretty delapidated.  Nonetheless, it’s well worth visiting due to the spectacular outdoor hot spring baths.  In the past, hotel customers could bathe with a black bear.  That’s no longer allowed, but they still do serve bear soup.

I do plan to go back to Japan someday, as it remains my favorite country.

PS. One of my favorite sights was the vending machines selling cigarettes and alcohol:

Screen Shot 2018-04-27 at 11.59.46 AM

The machines also sell some 9% alcohol drinks. Indeed Japan has a huge vending machine industry, with an amazing variety of products.

PPS.  I also appreciate that Japan doesn’t accept the “cultural appropriation” insanity of the SJWs.  The Japanese view it as a compliment when Kay Perry dresses up in a kimono.  What is wrong with this country?

They also have lack America’s bizarre obsession with the safety of children.  I don’t have the article, but I recall reading a North Ridgeville, Ohio newspaper that reported an 8th grade school trip to DC was recently cancelled because school officials were worried about “terrorism”.  Not any specific terrorist threat, but just terrorism in general.  Tyler Cowen recently reported that Penn State was cancelling a student group that did outings to wilderness areas.

What’s happened to this country?  When I was young a whacky TV personality named Pat Paulson ran for President as a joke.  Back then, Americans were smart enough to realize that you don’t actually elect someone President who is running as a prank.

Reality is increasingly resembling the Onion newspaper.



13 Responses to “Back in the USA”

  1. Gravatar of Philo Philo
    1. May 2018 at 12:13

    “Reality is increasingly resembling the Onion newspaper.” Not so bad — the Onion is pretty funny.

  2. Gravatar of H_WASSHOI H_WASSHOI
    1. May 2018 at 14:55

    Welcome back!

  3. Gravatar of honeyoak honeyoak
    1. May 2018 at 17:15

    “Reality is increasingly resembling the Onion newspaper” – this is one of the saddest and truest things i have heard in a long time.

  4. Gravatar of Kgaard Kgaard
    1. May 2018 at 17:20

    Scott … I’ve enjoyed your Japan pieces. Though I think one has to admit that one reason it works is that they believe in their own cultural superiority. They are anti-other-Asians for a reason. They think the Japanese are better people with a better civilization and they don’t want to see it messed up. Japan is awesome because it IS awesome — objectively. One could study the reasons for that, and probably nail them down pretty accurately. My first trip to Japan five years ago was life-changing in the sense that I saw what was possible for an advanced civilization. And it made me mad to see what we in the US have forfeited for failing to believe in the superiority of our ways.

  5. Gravatar of Matthias Görgens Matthias Görgens
    1. May 2018 at 17:39

    About kids:

    Japan has this insanely cute program ‘My first errand’. It’s about really young kids (eg a four your old boy and his two year old sister) going on their first errand for their parents on their own followed by candid camera.


    The Germany have Kitafahrten:

    Here in Singapore kids are regularly out on their own, too.

  6. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    1. May 2018 at 17:59

    Kgaard? What has the US forfeited? The high crimes rates of the 1970s and 1980s?

    Matthias, Utah just passed a law making it legal for kids to play outside without adult supervision. So there is one American state that still has not lost its mind.

  7. Gravatar of Benjamin Cole Benjamin Cole
    1. May 2018 at 18:27

    My lone trip to Japan was a quickie, business trip not paid for me by me, ergo no sight-seeing. I saw a few blocks in Tokyo, very nice.

    In Japan, is push-cart vending, sidewalk-vending, truck-vending, motorcycle-sidecar vending common?

    Some countries seems to have it and some don’t. Seems like a great idea to me.

  8. Gravatar of doug M doug M
    2. May 2018 at 08:51

    ” Utah just passed a law making it legal for kids to play outside without adult supervision. So there is one American state that still has not lost its mind.”

    Someone has lost their mind if such a law is necessary.

  9. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    2. May 2018 at 10:38

    Doug, This sort of free play is viewed as child abuse in the other 49 states.

  10. Gravatar of Mike Rulle Mike Rulle
    2. May 2018 at 11:23

    I used to travel to Japan on business quite often, usually Tokyo, but I always enjoyed it and definitely liked the people. I always felt very comfortable there. The trip to and from the airport always made you realize that despite its relative population density, there was an enormous amount of open space. I was offered a pretty decent job there once and would have taken it had it been available 5 years earlier. There is much one can critique Japan about, but their relationship with America makes Americans feel good about it.

    Have not read the site much since you took your trip, but I am pleased you could work in a Trump troll—would not have felt right without it!

  11. Gravatar of Matthias Görgens Matthias Görgens
    2. May 2018 at 16:54

    Scott, good on Utah! But it’s telling that they need a law for that.. I hope your country gets better some time.

  12. Gravatar of E. Harding E. Harding
    3. May 2018 at 12:42

    “What is wrong with this country?”

    Victimhood politics. Every new immigrant group looks at the extra status the Jews have given to themselves and the Blacks by hurting the Whites and think “I want to be a part of that!”. The thing, though, is the Jews selectively deny their existence. Asians can’t really do that, so many resort to Blacktivist style oppression Olympics. Still is dumb tho, since they’re obviously not poor.

  13. Gravatar of Jeff Jeff
    4. May 2018 at 07:09

    I used to live in North Ridgeville. My neighbors didn’t seem that nuts to me, but that was 28 years ago.

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