Sunday, April 19, 2009

lost (and found) in translation

The minute I stepped inside the Tokyo subway, I knew I needed help. There was no way I could navigate the city just by studying the maps and charts plastered on the walls. Hardly anything was in English!

Luckily, the Japanese are the most helpful people in the world.

On our way to Project 1/6 (see pic below), Medicom Toys' flagship store in the crowded Shibuya district, my friend J and I got lost. (Our map was in English, the road signs were in Japanese!)

So we showed the map to a nice Japanese couple on the street. After an exchange of hand signals and one-word sentences, the guy quickly consulted the navigator on his mobile phone. Then he and his girlfriend eagerly walked us to the toy shop (which turned out to be more than a hundred meters away, in the opposite direction of where they were initially headed.)

On our way to our Kyoto hotel for the first time, a young graduate student got off his bike and decided to walk with us when he realized that he couldn't give us clear directions. It was a loooong walk but the guy didn't seem to mind at all!

And what are the chances of finding a lost jacket on a metro train in Osaka?

100%! In our case, it was through the kind assistance of a very distinguished-looking Station Captain (I'm not sure if that is what he is called) who went out of his way to figure out which train we left the jacket on, orchestrate its recovery, and even walk us to a distant office to claim it. That's him in the pic above.

It's easy to get lost in Japan, but it's not hard to find a Japanese who is willing to help. I am reminded of the classic quote from the movie 'A Streetcar Named Desire' – the line that lead star Vivien Leigh spoke to an unknown man who helped her get up from a fall:

"I've always depended on the kindness of strangers."

To all of them: Arigato gozaimashita! :-)

(Top) The Bearbrick+Kubrick set based on the TV series 'LOST' was among four boxed sets that I found at Medicom's Project 1/6 Store. The Kubrick with the gun is supposed to be lead star Matthew Fox (pic below), who plays one of the plane crash survivors who were stranded on a mysterious island.

Matthew Fox pic from /



Anonymous said...

hi sir!i've been reading your blog since the start of the year, and because of you i got inspired to collect be@rbricks. i hope u can check out my site to see my 'babies'.anyway, cheers to finding and having more be@rbricks!:D said...

Tala, just saw your cute bearbrick pics on your blog. You're a very creative person! Thanks for dropping by – blogging is a great pleasure for me, I'm glad to have inspired you. :-)

Anonymous said...

hi ariel! do you know the address of project 1/6? is it the same as the medicom toy building?