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15
Dec

The Scavenger Hunt: Episode Eight

This week was the premiere of my final episode from here in Japan. It is amazing how fast the time has gone, but, then I suppose that is said a bit too often, and acted upon too rarely. Still, today a plane will take me away from here, but let’s not think about that now.

Instead, I thought it might be nice to let you guys see a bit more about the final scavenger hunt I went on here in Tokyo: my final tour of the city before I leave it.

To explain if you didn’t see the episode: before I left for Tokyo way back in August, my mother and I got into a discussion about what (if anything) wouldn’t be able to be found in Tokyo, one of the largest and most cosmopolitan cities in the world. Admittedly, I took the stance that anything I could find in the rural county in which I grew up, I would be able to find in Tokyo. In response, my mother gave me a list of ten things she thought I might have trouble finding. Clearly, this, my final episode, is devoted to her.

The items:

  1. Mexican Taco Shells – I found these easily in a supermarket I sometimes use, however they aren’t in smaller markets. I guess I underestimated the influence of our Southern neighbors.
  2. Popcorn – This was harder to find than I expected, but I was able to buy a small bag of pre-popped popcorn on a supermarket’s snack isle. I suppose this treat introduced to Europeans by American Indians hasn’t completely consumed Japan as it has North America.
  3. Philadelphia Cheese Steak – I tried a few bars, including a so-labeled “Irish Pub,” but, as suggested by some friends here, I couldn’t find anything like my greasy friend from Pennsylvania.
  4. Burger King – There are no longer Burger Kings in Japan, excluding one on the American Yokota Air Force Base here in Tokyo. I couldn’t even find out myself if that Burger King still existed because the premises aren’t very welcoming to strangers, American or otherwise.
  5. Kenny Chesney CD – I found a surprisingly large section of a five-story record store in Shibuya devoted to American country music, with a healthy collection of Kenny Chesney. I interestedly peered at a couple of middle-aged Japanese men who were scanning the isle, one of whom was buying a Bob Seager album.
  6. Pressure Treated Lumber – I pass a few small lumber warehouses just on my way to school. I have been assured by a few men living in Tokyo that pressure treated lumber is actively used in the large Japanese construction industry.
  7. Krazy Glue – This specific product name isn’t used in Japan, but rubber cement is.
  8. The Book of Mormon – I went to five of the largest bookstores in Tokyo and a handful of libraries, but, surprisingly, I couldn’t come up with one copy of the holy book of the American religion with some 2.5 million followers.
  9. Hummer Vehicle – Here in flashy Tokyo I have seen perhaps ten different, shiny H2 vehicles.
  10. Dental Floss – I thought this was a very odd choice by my mother, but, to her credit, a professor of mine told me that just ten years ago, one simply couldn’t find dental floss in supermarkets. Today, the product is much more common, though, still, only relegated to department stores and not nearly as widely used as in the United States.

I thought this was one of the more interesting things I got myself to do. I guess I have yet another reason to thank my mother, a woman who has already given me enough, both big and small. Tokyo scavenger hunts do count.

Jaa ne,
Christopher

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