Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Sugoi, indeed

This is one facet of what life in Japan is like:

I spent the day studying kanji, followed by learning to wrap gifts in traditional Japanese style (I wasn't very good). I came back and ate a stir fry of vegetables, peanuts, and the (inadequate for a meal) leftover soba and ham from yesterday. Right now, I'm washing it down with a small tin of rather decent Suntory beer and a small tub of green tea ice cream, while watching a travel documentary comedy educational celebrity show about foodstuffs.

It was 35C and ferocious sunshine all afternoon. As I came home, the heavens were opening, and we had a violent thunderstorm for about half an hour while I cooked. Right now at 7.30pm it's a mere 30C, the sun has long set, the lights of dozens of apartment blocks glitters like stars in my window, and a man on the telly is eating noodles with chopsticks while simultaneously imitating an angry pig.

Before bed in a couple of hours (in order to get a bit of kip before the sun wakes me at 5am) I have a few emails from friends and family to consider replying to, homework to do, and need to consider an invitation to join a judo club. I am also, with a little part of my brain, mulling over the convenience of a TV genre whose entire script consists of the words "sugoi!", "tabetai!" and "ikimashou!" repeated in chorus at deafening volume, apparently designed for grown adults. I am not sure I can finish the green tea ice cream all at once, as it's very astringent. The amount of tea that must be concentrated in it to get it this grass-green is somewhat horrifying.

On the telly, a gaggle of people are applauding the sea from a balcony and shouting "sugoi". I'm happy for them. So few people really appreciate the existence of the sea.


  1. Hello John,
    And I thought TV was terrible in la Perfide Albion! It seems even worse in Japan! Well, if you can pick up a bit of vocabulary, that way, anything goes! Did you try listening to the radio.Bye. V.

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  3. Coincidentally, I just wrote to you, telling you how much I appreciate the sea and asking you what TV programmes you are watching...Great minds think alike! I can’t bear this 'sugoi' business anymore. Surely, there should be alternative words to express how much you like something in in English 'amazing, wonderful, splendid, superb, extraordinary, fabulous etc.' oh, maybe, just maybe, Japanese people are too inhibited to give compliments and hence ‘sugoi’ is enough for this purpose. I reckon, 'Let's go eat' is a form of social interaction, meaning 'Let's hang out..'