Sunday, July 02, 2006

The Japanese Perspective on Texas















At first glance, it doesn't seem very likely that too many Japanese people would know anything about Texas. I mean, even though our president is from a particular part of America, do you know which district Tony Blair is from (there may be a better analogy, but just deal with it)? Anyways, I do need to learn more Japanese just to survive, but I have been surprised at just how many people in a "small" town like Saijo do speak quite well. Just walking into a random bakery for a midday snack, I promptly pointed at a pastry and said "kore o kudasai", only to have the waitress tell me with barely a trace of an accent, "how soon can you get it into a refrigerator?" Life is weird like that.

But back to Texas; there are many people in my particular apartment complex. as I was going down, extremely late for work one morning, I shared an elevator with a middle aged man who spoke decent English. When I told him where I was from, his lips perked up and let out a laugh, followed by "cowboy!" Yeah....

Then, while beginning the ten minute hike to the office, it occurred to me that Texas must seem like a pretty amazing place from any foreign perspective. I mean, most Americans know as part of our history that a majority of the midwest had its share of gunfights, cattle drives, and good old-fashioned cowboys. But a century later, most Americans still associate that kind of behavior with modern Texas. So why shouldn't the rest of the world? Deserts with red sand, rock formations, roping cattle, shootouts at high noon, even just the hats are enough to catch attention. Hook 'em horns.

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