A geek goggle in Royal Albert Hall for an amazing Final Fantasy Concert. Arigatou gozaimasu!

My Japanese weeks don’t seem to come to an end even though I have left Tokyo and spent two days in London. Precisely we were in the stunning Royal Abert Hall in London for the Final Fantasy – Distant Worlds Concert. It was announced as the “THE ONLY OFFICIAL 25th ANNIVERSARY CONCERT IN EUROPE”

Royal Albert Hall, London, Final Fantasy – Distant Worlds

Well, there is another concert in Munich in 2013 which isn’t less official, but, ok, I see the appeal of the “ONE and ONLY” once-in-a-lifetime opportunity in marketing. I have to mention that I haven’t played a single one of these games, so I was more of a geek goggle. And – of course – they didn’t disappoint me!

I am one of these old school admirers of Commodore 64 looks and layouts, so I can easily connect to the buzz about the first Final Fantasy release back in 1987. They showed scenes on the gigantic screen from these first games and always made the comparison to the newer versions of the games so we could see how the different characters evolved – and, more importantly, how computer games generally evolved from looking like 8 Pixels fighting another 8 pixels to almost fotorealistic sceneries which was quite impressive. The music: The Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra plus choir were performing the most important, popular or whatever interesting themes of the games. Makes a nice combination, this high profile orchestra and their serious looks in contrast to the geeks in the audience dressed as chickens (I was strongly advised to write chocobo instead) or whatever animals (I was strongly advised not to write whatever animals)!
In the end they were performing kind of opera songs with soloist singers which was a little bit over the top seeing kind of funny video game scenes with dragons and attacking monsters and listening to impressive voices as though being in a Mozart or Rossini production. Well, I enjoyed very much even though I was maybe as much impressed by the venue as by the production! Arigatou gozaimasu Nobuo Uematsu and Masashi Hamauzu ありがとうございます。

Japan! Different Promotion! Squeeeeeeeaking until your ears hurt

I am back! Tokyo was really like plunging into a whole different Asian experience, different from what I knew having been in Nepal, Singapore and Bangkok.

Aquarium and my humble me in Tokyo

It was a nice change, it changed me from within. SO I think I really have to do something about my lately rather limited sports activities after seeing this charming artsy promotion for losing weight on a Tokyo street.

Promotion weight control Tokyo

Or what about this squeaking promotion for writing mails with “Hapyyyyymaiiil” from a promotional bus?
Different indeed…my ears still hurt, no wonder the police was coming in the end….


Stay calm! Relax! Ok, I guess the gym wouldn’t be a bad idea at all to cope with that stress fromintercultural readaption.

How to stop horny men grabbing women on the Tokyo subway? Chikan counteraction, let’s roll!!!!

Funny thing every European notices when riding the Tokyo subway is the high density of posters that encourage to stand up against men that get too close to women in packed trains.

The Blog “Japan for the Univited” explains: [“In Japan, more than 4000 men are arrested each year for groping on public transport.”]
Ok, problem recognized…a kind of antigroper secret service mingled with the crowd every morning on worst affected lines to get hold of the perverts..and the subway company introduced “women only cars” that look like this:

Women only car
Tokyo subway, women only car

Though the rule only applies from 7:52 to 9 :32 in the morning, then the gender segregation is over.

Chikan counteraction

So the question is: Are the perverts exhausted in the evening, that means, as from 9:33? Do women commuters go home earlier than men? Is it all more symbolic and actually authorities gave up the fight against the sexually repressed (or degenerated) gropers? YOu could understand when seeing that video about officers pushing in people into an overcrowded subway car (crazy!): http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=33qxTMA9XTA
I guess the “chikan” gropers would choose exactly those cars, and that posters like that won’t help then….?!

Don’t you dare to show me the Sushi liver I ate!!

Today more about simple questions that cross your mind as an European when eating in Japan.

1. How green can Green tea be?

Veeeery “Green” Tea served with Sushi

2. Who can spot a gigantic liver of whatever fish on this Sushi plate?
Well, we were told there is a gigantic liver on that plate. I was horrified, but in the end, um, I ate it all. Now I am not sure why I was so brave. It is the overwhelming amount of new things. In the end you just stop worrying at all. Good training to embrace new things. Please don’t tell me you can spot the liver!

Sushi plate with gigantic liver

Hallo Fuji-san, hallo land of funny signs and where obeying equals solidarity?!?

After all these reports from travellers to Japan about NOT seeing the Fuji-san 富士山 when they came  – [couldn’t view it…] – first thing that happens 30 minutes before landing:

Fuji-san, seen from the aircraft on 17 October at 7:40 am

I take this as a sign. I mean: Japanese Buddhists believe the mountain is the gateway to a different world. Mount Fuji, Mount Tate, and Mount Haku are Japan’s “Three Holy Mountains.”
SO surely this trip is a gateway into a new dimension!
Into a new dimension of strange rules and regulations for example. I mean, we always think the Germans are best in setting rules and obeying, but clearly I have to cut the Germans some slack on that! The Japanese just have to have “Don’t do this. Don’t do that”-signs all over their country.

 Tokyo Fishmarket

I guess the difference is just: they think obeying is really something healthy, that would benefit the society, so they do it for a greater purpose. The Germans seem to hate their rules and they only obey because they really fear the consequences – socially mainly (what the neighbours could think was always the biggest worry of my Grandma).

Tokyo Metro

You can see this, for example, when you see how many of the Japanese wear this funny masks. And what I heard is: they really don’t do it because they are afraid of catching some bacteria or an infection. They do it when they are or feel sick themselves to protect the others. At least that is something that Germans wouldn’t be so caring about…
And the perspective of US citizens seems to be the same as this article in the New York Times Blog shows – they just want to protect themselves [Who should wear a mask]
So I ask myself: Do Japanese and Asians just care more about others? It seems as though. Christians always have to go through the circle of fear, failure, punishment and guilt, that is normal in learning processes. At least when doing something that would entail an individual sacrifice – in Christian Europe it always needs more of negative pressure from a guilt driven approach when it comes to do things in favour of society as a whole it seems. Otherwise people just won’t do it.

In Japan and Asia, the approach seems to be more positive towards society, more like it is with family in Europe. There a group benefit is closely linked to individual benefits, so with a sacrifice comes a reward right after. That is different with sacrifices for a much bigger group like society. Rewards don’t come instantly – and often there is no reward that can be seen easily. But still Asians rather tend to do society a favour. Why?

As a study called “Japans’ New Middle Class” puts it, though there is no clear value system that all Japanese can refer to and so rather a lack of moral rules,  […]loyalty of the individual to his group remains the most important attribute of the respected person. In its extreme form, loyalty means that the individual can be counted on to place group interests above his own”

So I will watch out for more proofs or disproofs of those assumptions…