Whelp…I am back from hawaii. It was an interesting experience juggling two grandmas in two different languages, but it went well, I believe.

At least I got to drink alcoholic beverages every day, so I count it a success!

I’ve been meaning to discuss the whole difference between people holding signs here in Portland and back in Tokyo.

First of all, what’s with paying people to hold signs anyway? Too cheap to put up a permanent one? (okay, Jerry Seinfeld has officially left the building)

Back in Tokyo young boys and girls tend to get that job. They stand around (or sometimes even sit on folding chairs) in their everyday clothes listening to music, reading manga one-handed, or just looking bored.

There’s a whole “I’m really too cool for this job, but I just couldn’t be bothered to find a better one because I might break a nail” feeling about the whole thing.

The best ones I ever saw were right on the corner near our apartment building where a “model room” for a condo was built. All their sign holders had to wear full-on suits (and this in 90 plus degree weather in muggy Tokyo) when they held their signs. It was pretty weird, actually. Imagine walking down the street towards your home with girls in tow, and walking past a young, suit-wearing guy with a sweat-damp, orange spiked hairdo, sitting on a folding chair reading r-rated manga one-handed everyday.

Here in portland the sign holders seem to be scruffy older men. They smile, they boogy, they twirl their signs. They try to catch the eye of drivers and point towards the store in question. Even in drizzly Portland weather they seem not to mind. It’s more of an “yes I may look scruffy but I am having a gay old time just making money by standing here, so take that you rat race commuters”

For me, it kind of sums up a general attitude difference between Portlanders and Tokyoites.

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