Japan: Worthy F*cking Adversary

Welcome to the first of my (hopefully) regular columns about my trials and tribulations while living in Japan. I really love Japan, but just like living in any foreign place, I am often confused and disoriented. Sometimes it's as if Japan and I are in a never-ending battle, and I have yet to win a single victory. Even the simplest task in Japan can pose a monumental challenge, such as renting a movie.

Fact: I live in Japan. Fact: Japan always emerges victorious, leaving me confused and bewildered. Case in point: For quite some time, I had been wanting to rent Copland from my local rental shop, V&C (Video and CD, obviously). Last Saturday, they happened to make almost all rentals 100 Yen. Hooray! This was a perfect time to rent Copland for cheap. Before going further, it's important to note that I have yet to visit the V&C and NOT leave completely befuddled as to the price of my rentals. Therefore, I was surprised to be able to walk out of there with my 5 rentals for the price of...500 Yen! It's about time.

All seemed well. But the V&C still got me good in the end. I discovered the problem a few days when I tried to play Copland (it was a VHS tape). My first clue was that the voice over was in Japanese. "Well, that's OK. I could see them only dubbing the voice overs," I thought. First scene: Japanese language attack. The entire movie was dubbed in Japanese! This is the first time I've seen this here in a non-animated film. There were 2 copies at the store, with a barely noticeable difference in covers. My theory is that the other copy is subtitled. I'll check next time.

However, what really teases my paranoid brain is that the employee who checked me out might have KNOWN Copland was dubbed. She also knows that I can't speak much Japanese because I can rarely communicate with her, but she let me rent it anyway just to get under my skin. This is probably all self-delusion, but I like to pretend she pissed me off on purpose so I can be mad at someone other than myself. In the Japanese spirit, the only thing to do is try my best again next time.

No comments: