Kirby Tokyo Snack

December in Tokyo: A Month in Photos

How are you doing, Eli? How have you been?

Like my mask?
My students were terrified.

These “Month in Photos” articles are my answer. Here is my Month in Photos. It runs from the latter half of November to mid-December 2020.

It covers a lot of what I’ve been up to, what I’ve been thinking, and what I’ve been looking at.

For me, what’s really freeing about this format is that I’m not restricted to writing about a single topic.

Rather, I am able to simply share my photos and write about my thoughts and experiences.


Here’s to an afternoon in Asakusa, Tokyo: a cool new mask, burning sweet-smelling incense at the famous Senso-Ji Temple, and enjoying these colorful streets even as the temperature drops day by day to that of winter.

By the way, Senso-Ji Temple is a redundancy, like the Rio Grande River. “Rio” already means “river,” and “Ji” already means “Temple.”

Senso-Ji Temple.

Someone laughed way too close to my iPhone’s mic.

A Birthday Party in Chiba

There are a lot of Vietnamese and Filipino workers living in Japan. They aren’t treated especially well.

Anyway, their English is great, which makes them easy to be friends with, since Japanese is so damn difficult (along with Chinese, Japanese is the hardest language for native English speakers to learn!)

I recently joined some new friends in Chiba for a birthday celebration for a beautiful 3-year-old.

Japanese Grammar Sucks

Did I mention that Japanese was basically impossible?

I took this screenshot from a show called Chibi Maruko-Chan. It’s a great show to watch if you’re learning Japanese. But here’s the kicker. I know literally ALL of the words in the picture (below), yet I have no idea what the sentence means!

I had to have someone explain it to me….

Japanese Bike Baskets

Sometimes, if you leave your bike someplace, people will put their rubbish in your basket. Like one time, I went into Bic Camera, and when I came out, there was an empty little single-serving glass of alcohol.

It’s annoying, but this is ridiculous:

No Smoking

Seen at a park in Toritsu Daigaku.

I just like this picture.

Herd Mentality

One of the things I loved about living in Vietnam was that the country was like a jazz band: spontaneous, colorful, unexpected. People make spontaneous decisions that surprise you, yet they make so much sense.

I’ve heard it said that Japanese people need to know exactly what their month, week, and day is going to be like. This includes casual hangouts. Totally not my style, but I get it.

One of my favorite coworkers (a Japanese fellow who is no longer with the company) once told me that my teaching style was like jazz – spontaneous and creative – but the company was looking for more of an orchestral approach: in other words, careful and methodical. His advice was very helpful for my professional growth.

Personally, in contrast to Vietnamese society, I can see how Japanese society operates more like an orchestra. It is beautiful in its own way, and I can appreciate how one can take comfort in the organization and predictability that it offers.

I’ll leave it up to the reader to decide whether or not that’s the right fit for me (I’m still not sure about it).

At any rate, here are two pictures: Japanese pedestrians at a red light, and Japanese pedestrians at that same light after it turns green.

No one ever crosses at a red light.

Not even if it’s in the middle of the night and no one is around for miles.

Japanese society is indeed an orchestra.

Well, maybe some people cross on red lights. Check this guy (below) out:

He is the discordant sound in the Japanese societal orchestra.
Now the movement begins (no pun intended)

I’ve been staying healthy

I’ve been eating my sweet potatoes, drinking my vegetable juice, and lifting my weights:

Kirby Snacks

Finally, here are some delicious licensed-by-Nintendo snackies from the local convenience store:

Thank you for reading December in Tokyo: A Month in Photos.

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