Posts Tagged delta upsilon manitoba
To recover from our long day out in Tokyo, we decided to walk around the my school near Kawasaki station. Our first stop was my usual internet cafe. The guys had never been into a manga / internet cafe before, and were impressed by the setup and the free drinks. If they could read Japanese we would have likely spent the day reading comics. Everyone made sure to send email to friends and family back home. Remember young travelers: always make sure your parents know you are safe and healthy, especially when it is your first time to be on the other side of the planet.
After catching up on email, we went to the big Yodobashi Camera near Kawasaki station. As we walked in, we passed a security guard who casually made a comment into the radio on his shoulder. He then proceeded to follow us around the store to keep an eye on us. Apparently when five young gaijins walk into an electronics store, they are up to no good.
Being five white guys who live in Canada, none of us had ever been followed around a store by a security guard before. I think the guys would have been more upset about it if they weren’t distracted by the huge selection of cool electronics in every direction. We literally examined EVERYTHING in the whole store, from TVs to video games to musical instruments. Generally the consumer electronics you can buy in Japan are at least several months ahead of what you can buy in Canada.
While walking around Yodobashi camera, you can’t escape the horrible store theme song, which is the famous “Battle Hymn of the Republic” aka “Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory”, but with lyrics about the store and what they sell. This also happens to be the same tune that Delta Upsilon Manitoba borrowed and turned into a song called “I Don’t Want to be a Phi Delt”. Phi Delta Theta was the second largest fraternity in Winnipeg, and were sworn rivals of Delta Upsilon. As we walked around, the guys started singing the modified lyrics. I won’t post the lyrics here, but there are verses about Phi Delts not being very fun, insinuations of what happens at a Phi Delt initiation, and derisive comments about Phi Delts’ skill with the opposite sex. I was happy that most of the people around us couldn’t understand English.
We likely spent almost two hours exploring Yodobashi camera, with our personal security guard casually following us around at a distance, but trying not to be too obvious about it. At one point we all turned and waved at him, which actually got him to crack a smile. We paid for our purchases and left allowing the security guard to return to his post and wait for the next batch of suspicious looking foreigners to follow around.
(2014 Update) Looking back, I have mixed feelings about the whole experience. I understand that theft is a big problem for stores, and they should be able to take reasonable precautions to protect their assets. Also, our personal security guard was never in our face, he was always a reasonable distance away, casually walking nearby. In my three years of living in Japan, this was the first time that I was ever followed around a store. I think I would feel a bit better if I knew that he followed us because we were a group of young males and not because we were a group of foreigners, but I will never know the true motive for sure.
There is racism in Japan, just like in every country. Being a white guy in Canada, I have never obviously been “profiled” before. It is an unusual experience to say the least. My friends and I simply ignored it because we were all short term visitors in the country and wanted to enjoy our vacation. However, if I was living in Japan full time I would not enjoy this kind of experience at all.
I wish I had some kind of clever way to end this post, maybe something with an uplifting message of peace, unity and brotherhood for the people of the world. Unfortunately I don’t, this whole topic is way more than a simple travel blog can handle.
Be good to each other.
My friends finally arrived today! I woke up early to tidy and vacuum my room. Before I left I pulled out my bright yellow Delta Upsilon Manitoba shirt and headed off to Narita airport on the slow trains. This involved taking the Odakyu line from Noborito to Shinjuku, the Yamanote line to Nippori, and the Keisei line to the airport.
After 2 hours in transit I arrived at Narita Terminal 2 about 20 minutes before the guys flight arrived. I left the train station in the basement of the airport, went through a security check, and then wandered around the terminal. The guys were flying a terrible flight from Winnipeg through Chicago to Narita Airport on United. In the arrivals area I couldn’t find their flight listed at all. After looking around at the signs I realized that United lands at Narita Terminal 1, so I was in the wrong terminal.
There were signs for a bus to terminal 1, but since I was more familiar with trains in Japan I bought a ticket and went back to the train platform. On the platform I learned that the next train between Terminal 2 and Terminal 1 was in 30 minutes. I tried to go back into the airport, but the train gate closed on me. I then attempted to use all of my Japanese skills to explain my situation to the train staff. Fortunately they understood and took pity on me. I walked away with a refund and directions to the bus which leaves every few minutes between the terminals.
Thanks to the incredibly slow lines in immigrations and customs I had to wait about an hour before my friends actually came into the arrival area. The entire time I had people staring at my bright yellow DU shirt. The shirt was very bright, but it did make me extremely easy to find in the crowd. After exchanging greetings and manly hugs, the guys showed me the souvenirs they brought from Canada; a case of Kraft Dinner and a 12 of Moosehead beer. I am so Canadian.
While the guys took turns exchanging money and cashing in travelers cheques, I was approached by an unlicensed taxi driver who offered to drive us to Kawasaki. I know he was unlicensed because no taxi drivers are allowed to solicit business in the airport terminal. I expect that our cab ride from Narita to Hello House would have been extremely expensive. I finally got him to leave and we bought tickets for the Narita Express.
Just like when I arrived months earlier, we changed trains in Shinjuku during rush hour. I took the group outside to get their first look at the Shinjuku skyline and mobs of people. If you ever bring people to Japan I recommend doing this. We changed to the Odakyu line and traveled the rest of the way to Hello House incident free. The Team Awesome Sauce adventure was about to begin!
Over the next month you will get to read all about the crazy adventures when my fraternity friends came to visit me in Japan. They were only in the country for about two and a half weeks, but some days require multiple posts. This will also help bridge the gap before my next set of visitors.
When I moved to Japan, I put out an open invitation to my friends and fraternity brothers to come and visit anytime. Many were interested, but only 4 managed to get the time and money required for an international adventure. During their long flight they gave themselves a nickname which stuck for the rest of the trip. Faithful readers: please allow me to introduce to you – Team Awesome Sauce.
Green – if you look up “frat boy” in a dictionary, you will likely find Green. Never afraid to have another beer or remove his shirt in public. Eventual chapter president.
Hippie – so named for his flowing hippie hair. Possibly the most sensible one of the group, although that’s not saying much. Was eventually in my wedding party years later.
Flounder – bigger than a sumo wrestler, flounder was a former chapter president and world champion shit disturber. Also the only person I have ever met to successfully complete the 4 liter milk jug challenge.
Code Red – was considered the most likeable one of the group. Alternated between flat hair and an awesome attention getting mohawk.
My day off was incredibly lazy. Other than that, the highlight was the DU Manitoba invasion of Japan is now confirmed! Four of my friends from University will be coming to visit in May. Japan beware!