Just spent my first day in Japan. Noticed some very interesting things right away. We arrived in the afternoon. The flight was ok, not too painful. For me that is. My aunt's new place is awesome, great location.
We spent today shopping. I needed to get a suit, and luckily, there was a huge sale going on at the store close by. I'm having a suit made for me - it's not as expensive as it sounds. And it's good quality as well, 100% wool, two buttons, side vents, pants that hugs everything right. I also bought an Aquascutum suit jacket, single button with peak lapels. And a pair of checked light grey cotton pants. Beautiful.
What comes across most is that it is a country of unfailing courtesy and formality. Almost excruciatingly polite everywhere you go. The people here have an attention to detail that is unsurpassed. After a day of polite smiling and bowing, things begin to seem fake to you. I mean, it just isn't natural to act this way. Let me give you an example: I was in UNIQLO, buying maroon dress socks. The girl at the cash was bowing and smiling and saying all these things as I was giving her money. I asked my cousin what she was saying, and he told me that she was just saying, 'Please give me a moment to give you change'.
Speaking of my cousin, Kazuhide is definitely by far the coolest person I know. Without a doubt, Kazu is just cool. He's completely mastered the 'I don't give a shit about anything' look. If there ever is an unpretentious and effortless sense of style, the kid has it. There's cool people that have to work really hard at it, the kinds that want to make sure other people notice it as well. Nothing Kazuhide does is ever forced. He just has that way about him - the slouching, the quiet demeanor, the way he carries himself. And he's only going to reach 19 at the end of next month! I was an absolute mess at 19. Wow, what a cool kid.
We're in the heart of Yokohama, right next to Tokyo Bay, so there's a lot to see. Excited to begin exploring the food here. I went with Kazuhide to the local grocery store today. You can learn so much about a culture just by buying groceries, trust me. I saw so many interesting things inside, especially the seafood. Tonight, we had sushi - not those cheap hand rolls that North Americans believe is sushi. No, the authentic kind. It was fantastic - fresh and beautifully structured firmness and weight to it. And I visited the local wine shops already. Of course I did - no one should be surprised. The selection at the more expensive stores is impressive. They sell a 2001 CH. Cote de Montpezat, AC Cotes de Castillon, as well as a 2000 Bodegas Lan Gran Reserva, both of which I have in my cellar, and both of which I thought was quite obscure. The markup is even higher, compared to LCBO, which was a shock. I bought a bottle of Suntory red wine, a Japanese bottle. Havn't tried it yet, but eager to do so. I also bought a bottle of Chianti Classico, which we tried tonight. Not good. That's all I want to say. Candied fruit, weak structure, at least it was cheap.
Very excited to be able to try some new Japanese cuisine. New, in the sense that I've never tried before. I'm beginning to see this country in a new light, and hopefully I'll be able to communicate that through here in the next few posts.