Sunday, November 13, 2016

Opposites Attract Pt.2

Welcome back to Overseas With A Carry On, the blog the about nothing!

Haha. That is an ode to Seinfeld, one of my favourite sitcoms. The show was literally about nothing in particular, just the daily life of Jerry and his 3 best friends George, Elaine and Kramer. In a way, this blog mirrors that - minus the 3 best friends. I just tackle these events as they happen, there's no rhyme or rhythm to it!

Dating back to the last post (if you haven't read part 1, I suggest you go back and get up to speed), I introduced to you many inverted practices that the Japanese do. The last thing we touched upon was driving and that's where we will take off.

"Japanese Style"

One of the first things I noticed when I arrived in Japan a few years back was that it seemed as every car had a television in it. This screen serves as a GPS system. It also serves as a rear view camera. Another thing I noticed was almost everyone reversed parked their vehicle. Regardless of where, how many other open spots were available or difficulty to squeeze in. It was just what they did and continue to do. This photo above was taken at a local grocery store. Each and every single car on that row is reversed in.

So, if you're ever in Japan and you see a car parked head first, it may be a lazy local but it's more than likely an out-of-towner like myself who doesn't know any better!

What's beef?
Last week I went out to dinner with one of my trainers. We went to a local Korean BBQ spot. In Japan, this style of cooking is referred to as 'Yakinku.'

Yaki, as I've been told, essentially means 'fire' or 'direct heat' and Niku means 'meat.' It's by far my favourite meal to enjoy while stationed here in Japan. I have had teammates who despise these type of restaurants.

"Why am I paying to cook my own food? If that were the case, I'd just cook at home. I'm paying to be served."

I understand that logic but I also enjoy the overall experience of going out for yakiniku. You get to converse, cook the meat to your preferred tenderness (I like mine medium-well) and many places offer a buffet style. 'Eat until your heart is content' is the motto I stand by!😊😁

How does this tie into the overall theme of inversion you ask? Let's take a look at these two cuts of beef shall we?

The cut of steak on the left is your normal North American grade beef. After being marinated and thrown on the grill, I don't know a carnivore who would turn it down. I want you to notice the trim of fat that surrounds the outside of the steak in comparison to the meat on the inside. That's grade A cattle right there. That's what you'll find at any butcher shop or supermarket.

Now, the cut on the right is none other than The Mamba aka Kobe beef. It is amongst the highest priced and most sought after cuts of meat. Hailing from the Wagyu cattle here in Japan, the stark contrast of fat strands on the interior is its tell-tale sign known as marbling. These strains of fat give the beef its flavourful, fatty and tender appeal.

There's actually an entire association dedicated to up keeping the standards of "Kobe" beef and ensuring its quality worldwide. But you all are missing the point here. The Japanese found a way to reverse the fat distribution in a particular type of cow. . .and this was done prior to cloning, genetic modification or lab created foods. Are you kidding me?!😲

Reading Japanese

Lastly, reading over in Japan. Obviously I can't read or write in Japanese but I can whip through a basketball magazine and examine the photos of NBA action. Believe it or not, these magazines are read from right to left. Yes, the spine is on the right and you flip the pages from left to right. Each time I grab one, I catch myself looking at the back panel and then realize I need to flip it over.

As far as reading, I have caught some older folks on the train rides reading books that have Japanese characters in columns. These books are also read from right to left and from top to bottom. This traditional format of reading/writing is known as tategaki.

Clearly this is something I won't have to worry about because I don't plan on learning Japanese anytime soon. I've been encouraged to try to learn: "Why don't you learn and pick it up?"

"My friend, do you think "picking it up" is as simple as learning Microsoft Excel? Re-evaluate your thoughts!"

Have you seen those Japanese letters? I have a better chance at becoming the president of United States, and I'm not even American (Not a political jab, I promise).

Well sadly, that concludes our "Opposites Attract" series. I had a good time brainstorming the content for these last few posts. Poking a little fun never hurt anybody right? I hope I was able to open your eyes to some of the backwards practices that force me to use a few more brain cells each day. They say fish is brain food and I do like a good piece of salmon, so I guess I can afford an extra thought or two.

To my loyal readers, thank you for your continued support. If this is your first time, I hope you make a return visit! If you have any questions or topic suggestions, feel free to leave them in the comments section.

Overseas With A Carry On will be unveiling something special for you in the coming weeks. Stay tuned!
"Walk with me through the pathway of more success."


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