Last Friday I kicked off Hello Sandwich's Japan Interview with the delightful Ii-ne-kore. And today I am so happy that Aron from my new blog crush Make it Easy has also agreed to an interview! I hope you will enjoy! And Happy Friday lovelies! xxx
Like me, you seem to be in love with Japan! Can you tell us how you first become interested in Japan?
it started in middle school, around 12y/o? a very interesting show called "soko ga shiritai" caught my attention, and it became a routine for me (even to this day) to watch that show on our local japanese tv station
What do you love most about Japan?
apart from the obvious food, culture, fashion, etc.....i find my self infatuated with the way everything is BU ILT. such as the residential areas, the mini-malls, the backstreets, the big city buildings, the rural countryside...the architecture of their everyday life fascinates me.
How is Japan a part of your current life? Are you working in a Japanese company, researching Japan, or have another link with Japan?
being born and raised here in Hawaii, Japanese culture is already huge and set in 'local' tradition because of their migration to hawaii. most of my friends are japanese, the foods we eat and the way we eat is quite japanese, i've even set up my room to resemble a japanese apartment. i've taken almost a total of 4 years in japanese language, next semester i will take my final japanese language course requirement...so i hear the language everyday (even at work since a good amount of our tourists are Nihonjin).
Have you been to Japan a few times or lived in Japan? Please tell us about your time there.
i went right after high school. it was my graduation present. i went with my best friend (at the time) and stayed for a little over a week in Tokyo. it was the most "living" i did in my entire life. see my LiveJournal post of it here (but please bear in mind, i was like 18 y/o at the time!).
What is your favourite city in Japan and what do you love about it?
i only stayed in Tokyo. i, unfortunately, didnt wander to other cities as i would have liked to. but Tokyo was simply amazing.
Do you speak Japanese? Any tips for anyone interested in learning Japanese? Most useful Japanese phrase for beginners?
not fluently. just enough to carry a small conversation. tips...hmm...you learn it much easier if you love it. pronunciation & intonation is key.
Your favourite Japanese food? (Don’t tell me it’s Natto! He he)
hmm, i love hamachi sushi, soba, different pickled vegetables....so many! (ya, i dont care for natto, and saba!)
Do you cook Japanese food in your hometown? If so, what sorts of foods? And do you have any websites, blogs or magazines you refer to for recipes?
i can only make the simple ramen, soba, or yakisoba dishes. if i want japanese food i just go out, because you can find japanese food anywhere here. some places (mainly in town), they ONLY speak Japanese and dont even know how to speak english!
Where do you go to stock up on Japanese food / books / treats when in your home city?
Shirokiya, Marukai, Nippon video, Don Quijote (ドン キホーテ), Hakubundo
Your favourite Japanese cultural quirk?
how they take so much pride in how good they physically look! they are not ashamed to constantly groom themselves, or fix themselves in the mirror in front of anyone. i found that quite surprising. if people did that here, they would think you are too high-maintenance or even stuck up and conceded...that, and the constant bowing. when i got home from Japan, i didnt realize i continued to do it so much! haha
Your favourite thing to do in Tokyo?
shopping. and taking pictures, observing, and just taking in all the surroundings. i tried to memorize as much as possible.
Do you have any funny stories about being lost / lost in translation in Japan?
a couple small situations that were funny: buying beer in the vending machine, thinking it was just juice. clubs promoters trying to get us into their sex bar. making friends with an Australian girl in Harajuku. not knowing what to order at a restaurant because everything was in kanji (and no photo picture examples) so i had to go outside of the restaurant to point out to the waitress what we wanted, because the food examples were displayed only outside...all the waitresses ended up laughing at us!
What is your most memorable moment in Japan?
oh gosh... i tried to remember everything as vividly as possible, but i guess what stuck out the most was walking drunk through the bright streets in Shinjuku and shopping in Harajuku...hahah. me and my friend also got into a really bad argument in front of everyone on the streets. we were yelling at each other! it was embarrassing and so silly, now that i think about it.
What are you like at karaoke? Or, like me, do you stick mostly to purikura?
me and my friends LOVE karaoke! we always go to this one japanese place where the lady really takes care of us. shes like our obachan! we get crazy and dance and drink till merry :-D
Chu-hi, Sake or umeshu? Which one is your favourite?
hmm... i guess umeshu. im more of a beer drinker though, i barely ever drink those :-(
And what about Onsen and Super-cento’s – like them much? Do you have any favourites in Japan?
i'm not allowed in onsen because i have tattoo's :-(
Favourite Japanese themed websites / blogs?
Fashions Nap for some japanese street style, and Dacafe / Your ad has links to some great japanese photography and design websites.
Favourite Japanese magazines?
mens non-no, spymaster, cazi cazi, tokyo graffiti, HDP, smart, lingkaran
If you could live anywhere in Japan where would it be and why?
i have such a specific imagination as to what i would want my living space to look like if i ever live in japan! it would be in Tokyo (i dont really have a specific district, just somewhere nice with good access to things), in a not-too-tall appartment complex, on the roof would be a little garden i could call my own and relax there if i wanted to. i want to live on the 2nd floor, it wouldnt be too big, just a little loft is good enough. big windows, wooden floors, potted plants everywhere, utilities included...simple and cute. i think it would be nice to smoke inside my apartment too (i always see films or pictures of people in japan smoking in their houses...it looks quite relaxing)
And finally, what do you miss most about Japan?
....the piece of my heart that i left there.
Thank you so much Aron for your gorgeous interview!!!