Flamboyant straight men are what I love the most about Japan

Until recently, Japanese gays seemed content to fade into the background: a performance of normality bordering on boring. Not so for the straight men of Japan, who are truly some of the world’s most magnificent peacocks.

I love the attention to detail: the rolled up hem has a fruit pattern, zebra print can be fused with jungle print, hair fried and stiff, skin is kept eerily dark and flawlessly unblemished. Sitting hip-to-hip challenges no one’s masculinity.

When I feel frustrated about various aspects of a foreigner’s life in Japan, I look around the train and feel uplifted, inspired, and very much in love.

Pokemon says no

Pokemon says no

Pokemon says “no” to bottle of booze, green tea, congratulatory and funeral flowers, school children’s backpacks, incense, expensive fruit baskets, and gifts of rice. I don’t know whether to laugh or cry seeing this government poster. Is it patronizing, funny or just ridiculous?

Given widespread corruption, not so different in Japan as in the United States– including dead people voting, illegal corporate contributions and staggering levels of distrust– do citizens need a children’s cartoon to tell them about the dangers and illegality of accepting small gifts from politicians?

Are small gifts the reason why Japanese politics are so dismal?

Fruit display in Nishi-Ogikubo

This fruit display is at a small store near the station at Nishi-Ogikubo, where we’re staying until we can move into our new Nakano apartment at the end of the month.

I bought mini-grapes, an apple and an amazing $3 nectarine. Our friend Kathleen might be right that Japanese fruit generally has less water and more sweetness. I think it makes them taste great.

The nectarine was individually wrapped in a protective cover. Check out how the melon stems are perfectly symmetrical.

Food display in Tokyo is often very artful. I am also amazed by the pride that even small shops take in show-casing their products and the extreme politeness in greeting customers, even those whose language skills are rough.

Some of the food I’ve been enjoying: tonkatsu, ramen, tanmen (noodles, light pork broth, cabbage, carrot and sprouts), pork with ginger, Indian curry and nan, “stand-up” sushi (たちぐちすし), Italian pasta, artisanal ham, perfect bagels, the husband’s home-cooking, and, of course, Mister Donut.