I hope you've had enough to drink; it's going to take courage

Following the euthanizing of Under a Blackened Sky, I decided I still needed some kind of outlet for idiotic inanities, and this seems like as good a place as any. The truly sad thing is that I’m likely to end up updating more over here than I ever did at the other place, and that I’ll also end up giving money to the LJ guys because I use and (ugh, I can’t believe I’m about to say this) actually like their software. So here we are.

I’ve been back and forth between Victoria and the mainland a lot lately, for four or five days at a stretch, living in hotels and generally missing people who know who they are. This week I’ve been staying in Richmond — the downtowny part of Richmond, I mean. The part you drive through from time to time, but don’t actually spend any time in. It’s a neat place, and I’m starting to wonder why I never realized that before. It reminds me a bit of being in Tokyo, without actually being in Tokyo (or leaving the country, for that matter) — once again, there are lots of little short people all over the place, talking in a language you don’t understand, with signage you can’t read, and, if you were to walk into a random shop in both Richmond and Tokyo, you’re probably about as likely to find someone who can speak English.

It’s the little things: More neon than you might be used to seeing in North American (though Vancouver has always been a little unique in that department), strobe lights advertising stuff, incomprehensible deals on strange prodcuts you’ve never heard of, bizarre foods, both prepared and raw, and a preponderance of really damn good and fast Asian food.

This can get particularly funny — I went to a Japanese bistro last night, where the food was better than average North American quality, but worse than what you’d get on the other side of the Pacific. As you might expect, the menu isn’t really in English.. but it’s also not in Japanese, either. I walked into the restaurant, and the staff yelled out, “Irrashimase!” just like they do Over There. “Cool!” I thought. “This is one of those Japanese restaurants!” I turned to the guy closest to me, and said, in Japanese, “Good evening, and thank you; I’d like a table for one, please.” And I got this blank look back. “Oh-kay, clearly not one of those Japanese restaurants.” Yet Cantonese was widely spoken and understood. I don’t know what to make of this.

No, people don’t drive on the wrong side of the road, and the alleys and streets aren’t quite as vibrant, but there’s a touch of difference about this place that I find kind of appealing. Two years ago, the last time I spent any significant amount of time in Richmond (about a day), it mostly annoyed me; now, I kinda like it. But Yaohan is easily the equal of any shopping mall you’re likely to find in Japan, and if you close your eyes.. well, you might not believe it, but you could fool yourself.