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Wednesday, June 3, 2015

If You Like New Orleans, You'll Like Japan

New Orleans and Japan have a lot more in common than you may think. I know it's hard to believe since the biggest difference is language, but trust me.

Anyway, let's get to it! Here are the similarities of New Orleans and Japan.

Drinking Life

When I say drinking, I mean alcohol. In New Orleans we have a street dedicated to drinking called Bourbon Street, located in the French Quarter. We have a lot of people who like to go out and get really drunk, like drunk enough to where they can't walk straight and can't think about what they're saying, and then you have the ones who like to go drink socially. New Orleans is definitely a culture of drinking, not that it's always a bad thing down here because I like the social aspect of it, I'm just not a fan of the kind of drinking that's done on an extreme level.

Japan is kind of like New Orleans in that aspect. Drinking in Japan is very social. In Japan friends are always going out to bars to catch up and have a good time. If you're not drinking with your friends you're drinking with your co-workers after work. It's actually looked down upon if you don't go drink with your co-workers. This is the time for all the workers to be at the same rank. There's no such thing as a boss when you go out drinking in Japan. Everyone is equal. It can be very relaxing but plan to stay out late on a weekday if you go drink with your co-workers. Don't forget to "Kanpai!" (Kanpai means cheers).
A friend of mine drinking at Mardi Gras.

Haunted Attractions and Folklore

New Orleans is big on haunted places and the supernatural. We use these as tourists attraction when visitors come down. One of our biggest attraction for tourists and locals is the Myrtle's Plantation, outside of the New Orleans area. You can make a reservation and stay the night to experience a real haunting. Then there's voodoo which is like a supernatural connection to spirits. Watch Princess and the Frog for more details on voodoo. It's nothing you want to mess with.

Japan has it's own horrors just like New Orleans. Have you ever seen the movie The Ring? It's a scary movie about a dead spirit girl rising from a well shown on a video tape and pops out of the TV. Scary stuff. Well, this is a real thing in Japan. It's called Okiku's Well and it's said that a maid was killed by being thrown into the well because she didn't accept a samurai's offer to be his lover. Now the place is haunted and they say you can hear her scream. You can find this well at the Himeji Castle. The Japanese even have a ton of folklore. My favorite is Kuchisake-onna. I'll stop there because I can do a whole other post on Japanese folklore later.


An excuse to party is something New Orleans and Japan shares. Festivals are mostly organized to appreciate or celebrate something. In the New Orleans area we have a Strawberry Festival, Oyster Festival, French Quarter Festival, and of course Mardi Gras. These festivals are huge and bring in a lot of people. Japan can relate to this. They have festivals all over the country for all kinds of things. There's a snow festival in Sapporo, Sanja Matsuri in Tokyo to celebrate a shrine, Gion Festival in Kyoto to celebrate a shrine, and Awa Odori, a dance festival. These matsuri or festivals bring in many people and have a tin of attraction for the public. If you ever go to Japan you should go to at least one festival just for the experience.
At Meiji Shrine in Tokyo.

Unique Food

This goes for both New Orleans and Japan. You WILL NOT taste anything similar to their foods. Yes, they both have foods that everyone has access to but they also have their own unique foods that can be really hard to replicate. When it comes to New Orleans it's all about the boiled BBQ shrimp, charbroiled oysters, red beans, jambalaya, and gumbo. All of these are a must if you come down to New Orleans. The uniqueness of these dishes really add up to the way we season our food down here.
Japan has a unique taste of their own. If you want to experience the food life of Japan the foods you need to try are okonomiyaki (cabbage pancakes), takoyaki (octopus ball), sushi (simply raw fish over rice), teriyaki burger, yakiniku (Japanese BBQ), shabu shabu (cooked meat) and ramen. All these Japanese foods are uniquely Japanese and are very hard to replicate yourself and even from restaurants. To taste the real thing, you have to go to Japan.
Cooking Okonomiyaki in Osaka.
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