Apr 3, 2020

The Tall Girl in Japan

A lot of you who follow me on Facebook must have realized that I now live in Japan. It is an enchanting land but between you and me I think I have chosen the most unsuitable country to live in. Let me give you a very sincere piece of advice if you must work out of India chose a country according to your size. I mean look at me, all five feet nine inches living in a country that even on the world map seems narrow and cramped.
I could have chosen Canada – where everyone is tall (and handsome), where there is enough space for you to take long strides without banging into things and where the shops overflow with lovely clothes – all of which fit you. Instead I chose to live in Japan, a country that makes you feel as if you are living inside the dollhouse you had as a kid.
Space is at a premium here. The apartments are handkerchief-sized, the rooms so small that when someone as tall as me stretches out on the bed, my legs hang out of the balcony. This is a world where you get used to standing in tubs and showering because the tubs are so small that the only way you can have a bubble bath is if you curl up in a fetal position with your knees touching your ears. I am just thankful for a detachable showerhead. Washing my hair in a crouched position would be no fun at all. The loo is an interesting place with all those high tech toto toilets but the toilet is so low that you keep wondering when your butt will finally hit the seat.
The kitchen platform and bathroom sinks are perfect for a five-feet person but for someone like me, it is like viewing them from space. I never know if I am applying my makeup correctly because the mirror cuts me off at the neck. My greatest achievement in Japan has been finding a bed that fits me. Of course, that huge bed now takes up most of my apt and leaves space for nothing else. Sheets and quilts are another business altogether. I don’t think there is a quilt ever made in Japan that can keep me completely warm. If you like to pull up the quilt till your shoulders be prepared for frozen toes when you wake up.
It is not only the apartments. One would think a better world awaits once you leave your tiny claustrophobic abode. But that is not to be. It is as if the Japanese in an attempt to save space started making everything in child sizes. The seats in buses are so small that I sit with my legs jammed against the seat in front of me and half my butt hanging out. Obviously, I take up most of the two-seater leaving no space for the poor petite Japanese wanting to sit down.
In trains seats are not a problem but you do tower over everyone else giving you a nice birds-eye view over everyone’s head. The positive is that you don’t have to breathe in everyone’s sweat during the hot Japanese summer because your nose is high up in the air. But things are not hunky-dory here either. You need to be on a constant lookout against the advertisements hanging from the roof lest you bang your head against them and with every lurch of the train the handrails play a tattoo against your head.
Sometimes you just want to escape from everything and have a nice relaxing meal. So, you go to a restaurant dreaming of a piping hot bowl of noodles. A lot of restaurants have counters where you sit in a row with other diners. If the restaurant is even slightly crowded, they will request you to sit at the counter if you are eating alone. There needs to be an award for tall people who need to fit their butt on to the tiny bar stools and also somehow fit in their laptop bag, handbag and long legs and pointy elbows in the narrow space. I barely enjoy my meal because I am always worried about my elbow dipping into my neighbors Ramen bowl. Everything is so close to each other, even If I manage to get myself a table, I am always in a perpetual state of anxiety about how I would manage to squeeze out between the tables without juggling the table and toppling my neighbor’s meal on his or her lap.
Japan is known for its great fashion sense. I remember on my first visit here I entered a clothing store with great excitement. Only to slink out totally embarrassed a while later. The only thing that fits me well in Japan is a scarf. This is a country where S is normal, M is what XL is to the rest of the word and sizes beyond that just don’t exist. If you manage to buy a shirt you can button yourself into, the sleeves will end well above your wrists, the shirt length will be so short that it will barely clear your navel and your ankles will invariably peep out of even the longest pants that you find on this island. I now walk past all those fashion clothing stores with my eyes averted. Buying shoes is equally embarrassing. The salespeople will not even bother to assist you. They will glance at your feet shake their head and tell you nothing exists in your size. The best thing to do is stock up when you go home. You start treating clothes and shoes with more care than your diamonds because you know you will never be able to buy more here if you run out.
Back home, you may be a normal human being, but in Japan, you turn into a combination of Gulliver and Bigfoot.

So, dear friends in keeping with my current state, this blog has been renamed the Tall Girl in Japan. I promise to bring you the stories of my latest escapades and adventures from the Land of the Rising Sun and Short people!

I do hope you will enjoy them!

22 comments:

  1. That sounds tough! But am sure there is a sunny side to this :) Waiting to read more in the 'Japan and I' series :)

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  2. Dear Ruch,

    I read this twice! And loved it more than that. I laughed so hard because I could visualize so much of what you were saying thanks to our video calls and chats. And I am so, so, so glad all the bricks and bats have lead you to this. You are such a lovely writer. Please continue to pen more stories. You do know this is your true calling.

    Much love, joy and happiness to the tall girl in Japan. She is one of my most fav people on planet earth. Mwah!

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    1. I love you BlogwatiG. To the moon and back! Thank you so much for the bricks and bats ..keep em coming :-P

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  3. This was so hilarious...Like Vinita said, I was visualising each line as I read 😄keep writing more stories
    Prudhvi

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    1. Thanks so much for reading ! I love it when you guys enjoy my stories !

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  4. This made for such a fun read, Ruch. You do stand out literally there. Hope you are staying safe.

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    1. Thanks Ranchna. You guys stay safe and healthy too !

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  5. This is hilarious but I can imagine the troubles you go through. I always face short people problems lol. I'm glad to see your Japan posts, as always :)

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    1. Thanks so much for reading ! You would love Japan !

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  6. Oh you have shifted to Japan. Never knew that.
    i understand that problem of trying to fit on the stool. Tall people understand :-)
    Take care......... Japan is in the limelight now.

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    1. Yes, I livr in Tokyo now. You take care too. Stay safe !

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  7. Hahaha 😅😅 oh dear... That part about your elbow in someone's soup made me laugh so hard. Absolutely enjoyed reading the tale of a tall girl. I have short girl problems. Can't find any fashionable shoes in my size

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    1. Come visit me in Japan and shop to your hearts content.

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  8. इसे पढ़—पढ़कर मेरी हंसी रुक नहीं रही है और घरवालों को लग रहा है कि आज मैं पगला गई हूं।

    जापान की इस तस्वीर को आंखों के आगे साकार कर देने का शुक्रिया। अगले सफर पर कहां ले चलोगी जापान में? इस देश के टॉयलेट भी दिखा दो, तस्वीरों से ज्यादा तुम्हारा टैक्स्ट दिलचस्प होगा, यकीन है।

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    1. Toilet se pehle sakura to dekh lijiye ! Phir ek ek kar ke is desh ki sab anokhi cheezen dikhaungi !

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  9. Hilarious! Do keep posting regularly here! And the book won't be far off!

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