Friday, January 30, 2009

Japan's Gone Bananas!

It seems that bananas have been in short supply in our grocery store these days. I wondered why at first. As it turns out, foreigners are the last to pick up on the trends and pop culture. I overheard a conversation at church that brought me up to speed. Stated simply: Japan's gone bananas!

It all started with a pop Japanese singer claiming she lost more than 20 pounds on a banana diet. There was no stopping it after that. Every Japanese young woman who felt she was a kilo or so overweight had to try it for themselves. It is the diet for the undisciplined. The protocol is:

1) Eat 1 banana with room temperature water for breakfast.
2) Eat whatever you like the rest of the day within reason.
3) A small sugary snack at 3pm is fine.
4) Get to bed by midnight.

Here's a link for a video if you're interested in checking it out for yourself.

Japan is a homogeneous unit of people, not individuals. When compared with their western counterparts, Japan is far and beyond a copycat culture. If something becomes hip, it takes the country by storm in as much time as the 150million cell phones can get the word out. (As a side note: I pray for the day that revival sweeps through Japan in the same fashion).

This isn't the first diet to sweep the nation. There was the tofu diet and the fermented bean curd diet crazes not too long ago. I didn't mind the grocery store being low on those. I suppose in time this diet will also go the way of all flesh, but in the meantime if you want a banana you've got to stand in line.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

New Neighbors

We're getting some new neighbors. About 7,500 of them to be more specific. We continue to marvel at the new city-in-a-city called "Rise" being built just a few minutes from us. Its three towers rise some 30 and 40 stories above the rest of the neighborhood. It's slated to be completed by April.

This is just another in the trend of major construction projects around us. Just last year "Eden" opened. It's massive towers of concrete and steel hardly do justice to its name. More than 8,000 people live in that tiny footprint of land. And more such construction projects are in the works in our immediate area. Our easy access to points in Tokyo makes the Denentoshi rail line a desirable place to find housing for commuters. But we wonder if this massive urbanization is really sustainable. Talk about population density!

On the other hand, 7,500 new neighbors means 7,500 new evangelistic opportunities. Thank you, Lord, for bringing those opportunities our way!