Dear Fuji-san…

Opinions Tokyo Life - August 26th, 1988
tokyoweekender_Mike_Marklew

…from Mike Marklew

You can’t please ’em all

The bunch of locals who stated “Tokyo isn’t the ideal city,” when added to the tourists re­cently questioned, all grumbled about the wrong things.

“Public transport doesn’t run round the clock,” cried one. Taxis are “public transport” and there are plenty of them. Let’s hear cries for rules to make them pick you up at night, even if you haven’t got a hostess hanging on your arm.

“There should be more street signs in English,” whined another. Why? Who in their wildest dreams would want to drive in this country. Stupendous traffic jams, exorbitant toll fees and almost non-existent street parking make it quicker, cheaper and more convenient to travel by train.

Better idea is to get the Japanese to use true English spelling. Pronouncing some “romanized” words can give you a hernia of the tongue. Also, a few names sound rude. (Sorry, Nobby.)

A group found Japan “puzzling.” How? OK, a slice of bread may be the size of your home­town loaf of the stuff, but if you can’t operate chopsticks you can always get a fork. Plus, you can get a beer anywhere—and hold it in either hand.

Who dreamed up “Japan is closed to foreign­ers?” We don’t have a “Little Los Angeles” to prove the point, but I bet there are more gaijin, even in Osaka, than nihonjin in L.A.’s “Little Tokyo.”

“Sports facilities should be open later,” some­one quacked. What rot. Major “golf ranges” are open all night and discos open ’til midnight.

One lad felt left out and wanted more chances to meet the natives. There’s loneliness in every land. If he joins a club, church or the crowd at his local yakitori bar, hell soon make mates.

“Tokyo is noisy and dirty,” was a call. This must be the first city those callers have ever visited. They should try hailing a friend across a street in London or New York, or sitting at a sidewalk cafe on a windy day in Paris or Sydney.

“Prices are too high,” squeal many. Remember when there were more than ¥300 in every buck? Those days anything made in Japan was consider­ed “cheap rubbish.” Nowadays, everybody wants ’em.

Don’t just take my word, ask Corky, Wayne, Tim, Jim, Marty, to name but five of hundreds of “us locals.”

Yoroshiku,

MIKE