I never miss Tokyo when I’m back in New York.  Never.  Even when I encounter rude service at Duane Reade.  Because let’s face it, it’s expected.  Besides Shaniqua and Mario ain’t got time to put up wit yo ass when ya needs ta buy mo toof paste n’ razors!  Shit!!

I do, however, miss Japan when I’m visiting my family in Texas.  Texas, that overly proud state that was once its own country and will never let anyone forget it.  I grew up here so I know just how awful it is–except for Austin of course.  Hook ’em Horns!

And don’t give me that “slower pace of life” argument or the “Why don’t you just relax?” advice.  I don’t want to hear it.  People here are just dumb.  Simple folks with simple values and simple requirements like the need to own a gun for protection from other simple, “values” oriented people.  Oh, they’d gladly give you the shirt off their back, provided you were next of kin.  Otherwise, they’d happily pump your ass full of lead.  It’s a myth that people down here are friendly.  Sure, they’ll smile at you when you pass them by (on the rare occasion you find yourself walking and not driving), but rest assured, if you’re not their kind of people, you are a foreigner.  A gaijin.  And I’ve spent far too long being one of those back in Japan. 

In Japan, the customer is king.  In Japan, you rarely have to wait for service when you enter a department store or restaurant and you usually don’t have to wait in line at a convenience store or supermarket.  And if you do, the line is orderly and moves quickly.  In Japan, you are greeted upon entering any place of business, no matter how sweaty, rain-soaked or inappropriately dressed you are.  In Tokyo, as in New York, I can walk to my local bakery, liquor store, subway station or Starbuck’s–yes Starbuck’s.  They’re everywhere you know.

In Texas, fat-assed carbon sacks move at a glacial pace when they notice a new customer.  And when a slack-jawed bumpkin finally does greet you, it’s with a measured hello.  And you can forget it if you don’t or can’t drive.  Walking is not an option and public transportation is either non-existent or requires advanced knowledge of a martial art before attempting.  I dislike driving, refuse to rent a car and am thankful that my sister lives within walking distance from shopping and entertainment in central Houston.  God, as if Houston actually had some kind of center.  Downtown is dim at night, the population scattered and segregated.  Houston is in the South after all. 

But there ain’t nothin’ like a Texas sky though.  It’s true.  The puffy, white clouds go on for miles, the blue in between changing effortlessly from periwinkle to cobalt to salmon.  And although I hate humidity and hot weather, summer evenings just before sunset are a treat I always look forward to.