one thing i hate about japan

by gilda rêvasseur on May 16, 2007

i’m here in sunny singapore. actually, what i meant was, really-hot, i-need-to-dunk-my-head-in-a-bucket-of-ice-water, sunny singapore.

it’s really hot.

so it’s been about 4 days now, since i’ve been back here. everything has happened so fast and i’ve been so busy and tired.

i nearly went crazy on saturday, the day before i left japan.

i had to call up all the gas, electricity, etc companies, to tell them that i was leaving, so bill me and stop the service the next day (i was leaving early morning at 7 am on sunday). i think i quarreled with almost every single one of those idiots.

i’m telling you, i love japan, really i do. but the whole country is SO GOD-DAMN ANAL. they have a certain rule book that they HAVE to follow and if you ask them to just deviate slightly from the normal route, they get lost and don’t know what to do!!

the country is supposed to be one of the the most technologically advanced nations in the whole world, but they have got to be the most backward in terms of the way they think.

like when i do things, i like to go directly from point A to Z, cut all the crap in between and get things done asap. but nooooooooooo. if you are japanese, you basically like to travel the ultra-long route and go from points A, to B, to C… before finally arriving at Z. everytime there is a particular procedure to be done, the whole thing could take hours, when it should have been completed in under half-an-hour.

take for example: i wanted to cancel my internet and phone line. so i called up the number that was written on my bills. “for change in address, moving, cancellation of lines:
in osaka, call xxxx1
in hokkaido, call xxx2, etc etc,
in tokyo, call xxxx3.”

so i called up xxxx3 for tokyo.

the lady at the other end asked for my name, my customer id, and to confirm that it was me calling, i had to tell her my phone number and my address.

but because i was calling from tokyo, TO the tokyo line, when i told her my address, i omitted the words “tokyo prefecture” when i said my address.

there was a long pause, then she asked, “are you calling from tokyo?”


“would you please repeat your address, and say that you are from tokyo?”


“we need to make sure your address is in tokyo.”

so i repeated my whole entire address, and told her “yes i am from TOKYO TOKYO TOKYO!!”

but guess what? after she made me confirm all that crap, she said,
“thank you, miss gilda. now that i have confirmed that you are
indeed miss gilda, i will give you the phone number to call
to cancel your internet line.”


“then what number is this that i am calling now? it says here on my bills, to call this number to cancel my lines.”

“yes, this number is for canceling of lines.”

“so why do i need to call another number???”

“you cannot cancel your internet service here.”

i swear i could have killed her.

so i had to call ANOTHER number, and again go through the stupid procedure of name, customer id, phone number, and address!!

that’s not all. after that, i called the water company.

i told them the same story, that i was leaving early sunday morning, so bill me till sunday, but to please come around today and collect the money. they told me they wouldn’t do that. they couldn’t bill me extra, and that they would come and collect on sunday before i left. so there i was rolling my eyes and asking the guy on the line, if he was coming around at 7 am cos that’s the time i would be leaving.

he said, “no, we do not operate at that hour.”

“fine, so come and bill me today and i will pay extra till tomorrow.”

“no, we will come and collect from you tomorrow.”

i think i nearly started shouting after that. “DID YOU HEAR ME!!! I SAID I WAS LEAVING AT 7 AM!!!

“but miss, we do not operate at that hour.”


so after like 20 minutes he finally agreed to get someone to come and check my meter, and bill me on the spot. but then after that, he started a new round of questions. “between now and tomorrow when you leave your apartment, are you going to be using a lot of water?”

“well i will take a shower and i will wash my face when i get up.”

“will you be taking a long bath?”

“no, like i said, i will only take a quick shower and wash my face.”

“so you will not be taking a long bath.”


“so will you use a lot of water when you take a shower?”

“what?? i don’t know. i might also use the toilet a few times.”

“will you use a lot of water when you use the toilet?”

my god. i didn’t know how to answer all those questions. “do YOU use a lot of water when YOU go to the toilet?? how much water am i allowed to use? if i go over that limit, do i not flush??”

really. by then, i was sick of all those stupid questions. my friends who had come over to help me pack, were laughing and giggling, and saying, “hahaha. singaporean quarreling in japanese.

SO not funny.

but i think the worst came about with the international calling line. (in japan, the international phone line is different from the regular one.) that bugger on the other end, obviously didn’t know his job, and kept putting me on hold while he checked the answer to my questions with someone else. even though that company was the biggest in japan, he insisted that there was NO WAY for him to check how many calls i have made, and that i could only be billed at the end of the month.

i was like,”yeah but i’m not gonna be here after tomorrow!”

“but we will bill you at the end of the month.”

“are you going to send my bill to singapore?”

“no miss, we will send your bill to your japan address.”

“but i won’t be here so who’s gonna pay?”


“are you telling me that the biggest phone company in japan, does NOT have a proper computerized system, to tell me my phone usage?”

“yes miss.”

what? “so what do i do now? wait, don’t you have many foreigners who have signed up with you?”

“yes we have millions.”

“and what do they do when they leave the country?”

“that’s true…”

“what??! so you don’t know either?”

“many of them don’t pay up.”



i wanted to bomb all of them. thank GOD the electric company was nice and quick. my phone call to them was over in 5 minutes. an hour later, some guy came over to collect my bill and it was all over.

why couldn’t everything be as easy as that?

does every foreigner go through this headache when they leave japan?

the saga continues.


my last few days were basically spent going crazy and trying to get everything into boxes. 3 of my friends had stayed over since friday to help. then when i had to leave, eri and reiko went to see me off as i hailed a cab, and sasan shared the cab with me to the station.

just as i was about to get on, she handed me this book. apparently, the last week or so, she and a few friends had gathered goodbye messages from all my friends in school. they had compiled it all into a little notebook for me to take along. i think i nearly cried right there. but i bid eri and reiko farewell and got on the cab.

everything was in a blur from then on as i had to hurry to the station. but on the bus to the airport, i had 90 minutes with nothing else to do, so i started to read the book. i think i started bawling. thank god i had a little face towel in my bag.

reaching the airport, a million emails came flooding in and reading them made me cry. i called up a few people and said goodbye. took a picture of the plane i was going to take, posted it up on my japanese blog, wrote a long “thank you” post, and got on the plane.

i think i made another mistake of watching a really sad movie on board.

basically, 30 minutes before we were about to land in singapore, my left eye decided enough was enough, and started to swell. it started with a small, mosquito-bite look-a-like spot, right under my left eye. then two, then three, then they all started joining together to form the mother of all eye allergies.

i checked in the mirror and got a shock. i looked like a goldfish.

i’ve had these before. i knew what it was going to become. and god, i looked like shit.

i tried to hide behind my hair and scarf. but nothing helped. i wish i had an eye-patch. but i looked like the devil. or the fishmonger from hell.

well me and my rotten luck, i landed to find out that we had arrived WAY ahead of schedule. so when i called my dad on his mobile, he said, “huh! you’ve landed? i’m still at home!!”

so i took a cab back. it was the first time i had ever taken a taxi home from the airport. and all by myself!!

i can’t believe i didn’t get picked up! so me and my bright gold backpack and duty-free yummy japanese cookies, my huge suitcase, AND my mannequin (my torso that i use for creating
3-d designs. yeah i carted it back.), we all climbed into a taxi. i was carrying so many things, the driver asked if i was running away.

har har. very funny. shush and just keep driving.

we were supposed to go for dinner, but with my eye like that, i didn’t really want to go. it had pretty much settled down with the help of anti-histamines, and many drops of eyedrop. but it was still swollen.

so i hopped into the shower and washed my face. but my entire face broke out in a weird allergic rash, and it itched like crazy and turned into an angry red color!

i swear, i’m allergic to singapore!

my sister ran over and gave me some cream for hives and i was frantically rubbing loads into my skin, all the while asking if it were safe to use on the face. at that time i REALLY didn’t wanna go for dinner.

besides, i had initially planned my flight so that i would arrive back in singapore, in time to celebrate mothers’ day with my mom.

but. my mother had been in koh samui and her flight was delayed, and so she called and said she wasn’t in the mood! so we went for our mothers’ day dinner, without my mom!!

does that make any sense??

to top off a bad week, i’ve lost the charger for my camera. it was a stand that my camera would sit in, and i needed to connect the wires to charge it, and also the usb cable that goes to my computer. i’ve lost that stand, and so all my pictures can’t be uploaded, nor can i charge my camera!!

it’s driving me mad.

the only thing that is consoling me now is that i have stolen my dad’s canon eos 30d. yippee!!

also, my mum seems a little pleased with the jacket that i’d made for her.

she wore it to the office today and she said everyone loved it. well if it made her smile a bit, then it was all worth while.

anyway i hope i manage to find that camera stand in the stores soon. have loads to upload!!

i’ve got a tiring day up ahead tomorrow. gonna be meeting up with my juniors from my field hockey club. pretty excited. well i should probably be sleeping now. it’s like 6am!!

how are the rest of you doing??
email me!

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Online Taxes June 28, 2013 at 5:01 pm

Gilda I stumbled upon your blog and had to post about your writing style. I read a lot about Japan and plan to visit one day(a weeaboo fantasy I’m sure you hear a lot of).

I wasn’t laughing at your misfortune, because you had to deal with a lot of things. I was laughing about how you so accurately depicted your frustration with your situation, but continued on with great determination.

Sorry you had such trouble dealing with people, they get in the way a lot! I did love hearing about you making a gift for your mother, I’m sure she’s very proud of you. I’ll be lurking around your blog to read more of your gems, so thank you for this entertaining view of your life.

I know this may be weird coming from a stranger, but as an artist who doesn’t get to make art for a living, I envy your success in doing what you love. Keep fighting the good fight, and keep living the dream, even though it may make you want to rip your hair out at times. I’ll be submitting your site to get you some links if(or when) this comment is approved.

Thank you for lighting up my boring day with your blog.


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