Sunday, October 30, 2016

Opposites Attract (Pt.1)

"And we back
And we back
And we back"

That's the opening to the song "All We Got" Chance The Rapper off his latest project Coloring Book. Overseas With A Carry On is indeed back with another brief look into the day-to-day life of playing hoops across the waters!

Sticking with the music theme, if you don't know who these guys are you're:
A) Too young to have heard their music growing up. 
B) Not a huge fan of old school rap
C) Too old to recall 

Whichever sad excuse you chose (oh yes, I do mean sad), allow me to introduce you to Kris Kross. As a late 80s baby who grew up in the 90s, Kris Kross to me was what Kylie Jenner is to the teenage population today....... Okay maybe not to the same extent, but you see where I'm going with this.

They were young, they were hip, they had their own swag (that typically means style of dress for you Generation X folks) and simply put: you wanted to be like them. The baseball caps & jerseys along with the baggy jeans. Everything worn backwards or inside out - inverted.

Let's take a good look at that word right there, inverted...

past tense: inverted; past participle: inverted
put upside down or in the opposite position, order, or arrangement.

It seems "Kris Kross" was the perfect name for this dynamic duo and if there was any one word in the english dictionary to describe the Japanese way of life, it would without a shadow of a doubt, be inverted.


Let's start with our home and away game uniforms; by looking at this picture, can you identify in which frame my team was 'home' and in which my team was 'away'?

If you guessed left was home and right was away..congratulations. You played yourself. 

In just about every other country, the home team is the lighter coloured jersey (usually white) and the visiting team is the darker coloured jersey. Well, not here in Japan! On the left of the photo above, my teammate #20 Richard Roby is donning our white uniforms but we are the visiting team. Conversely, on the right #47 Tasuku Namizato in our red unis is the on the home team. I still have yet to get a clear cut reason as to why this is, but it is what it is.

Each player on this team is in charge of his own jersey; that means washing, packing for home/road games, etc. My biggest fear is that after all these years of white jerseys meaning home and coloured jerseys meaning away, one day I'm going to lazily pack for a road game and bring my red jersey and be SOL.

Editors Note: I'm currently typing this post as I pack for a road game. No need to worry, I packed my whites.

Driving Ms.Daisy

This is what driving looks like over here. Everything is flip-flopped. 
  • We drive on the left side of the road and the steering wheel is on the right side of the car. 
  • The "slow lane" is the left and the passing lane is on the right. 
  • Left turns are short turns and right ones go against traffic.

This is my 3rd year in Japan and just earlier this week I found myself nonchalantly making a right turn out of a parking lot into the right lane. Luckily I caught myself before any on-coming traffic could sense that it was I, a gaijin (Japanese for 'foreigner') behind the wheel.

I couldn't imagine trying to drive a stick-shift over here. Hitting the clutch with one foot, while manning the gears with the opposite hand. All that "left-brain, right-brain" stuff would cause an accident for someone not able to process the changes quick enough. Not to mention, your blinker is on the right of the steering wheel and your windshield wiper is on your left. On the bright side, at least the brake is still the left pedal and the accelerator is the right one.

I hope I've shed a bit of light into the quirky daily experiences that often fall on deaf ears. No one speaks about these minute details, we all tend to focus on the obvious cultural disconnects. I've got a few more things that I find backwards that I'll reveal in the next update! Stay tuned!

As always, please drop a comment if you have any questions or topics you'd like me to discuss. Feedback is always welcome.  If you're enjoying the journey Overseas With A Carry On, tell a friend to tell a friend. Until the next time my fellow followers, wherever you are in the world, keep on keeping on.


To be continued...

P.S. A part 2 of this will be the next follow up..This should be dropping in the next week or so. :-)


  1. Reading your blog will have to suffice since I graduated from Tech before I could interview you for The Tech Talk.

    1. Haha! Good ol' Ruston. Believe it or not I miss that town. 4 years of college flew by. #BulldogPride Thanks for continuing to read!

  2. Interesting blog, I enjoy the window you provide into a new culture... Q: how do you keep your whites white? (White Jersey) lol

  3. Hey there, my apologies for the delay on the reply! And how do I keep my whites white? I wash my whites jerseys/warm ups/socks together! Although I am beginning to see the colour fade. Good thing that has no bearing on the outcome of the game!