Before I left for my last trip I asked you what you wanted me to blog about while I was there. But I was so incredibly busy, even working 31 straight days in a row, that there was no time for blogging.
Here's what you said you wanted to hear about, and now I'm answering your questions:
From Little Ms. Blogger
"I've always wondered, do you have language issues when traveling for business or do you speak the language? If not, how do you communicate."
Well, my dear old friend, I have been taking Mandarin Chinese lessons for almost six months. I am pretty good at ordering food (the first thing I learned in Chinese were my fruits and veggies) and I can say basic phrases. I can have a simple conversation. I know how to say directions. I can order boba tea. That's pretty much all I need to know.
From J.J. in L.A.
"As for what to blog about. I'd LOVE to see pics of the local culture/nature. I'll never get to Japan or China."
My friend! You might get to Japan and China! Who knows! It is a very interesting place. There are many, many cultural differences. Tomorrow, I'm doing a post on food in Hong Kong. Check back then and you'll see a lot about the culture. I think a lot can be said about a culture through its food, and trust me, not a single thing goes wasted in China.
From Lynn at Actor's Diet
"I'm really curious about food in china - I haven't been there in forever, and especially not since I have become interested in food!"
Food, food, food. I love food. And the food in China is pretty good, albeit interesting. I can't eat about 90% of the items on most menus due to health/dietary restrictions (for example, "Chicken Testis In Chili Sauce" just doesn't appeal to me) but I do manage just fine. There are somethings there that are just so different than here, like soy milk. It's not emulsified there, so it separates. Think of miso soup...that's soy milk there. I call it "miso milk."
From Selma at Crazy Little World of Mine
"Food is always a good blog topic, strange things you encounter (like weird soda machines, or toilets, or buildings or whatever), street life or something."
Well, girl, you got it. The toilets in China and Japan are unlike anything I've ever seen before. So let's just focus on that, shall we?
Someone should have told me two things about bathrooms in China.
1. They do not provide toilet paper, so bring a steady supply of Kleenex in your purse; and
2. You cannot flush toilet paper in China, so throw it in the little basket next to the toilet.
There are countless pipes all across China clogged with my toilet paper. Oops. Sorry about that one, China.
Also, I wish someone would have prepared me for a floor potty:
It's a toilet flush with the ground (pun intended). You have to put your feet on the sides and squat. Guys have it so easy, don't they? It's so hard trying not to pee on your clothes. Or splash everywhere. And don't even try wearing flip flops and doing this. Not fun. A tip in case you're ever there? Look for the handicapped stall, they usually have "regular" toilets.
Then, you have some toilets like this:
That's a Toto toilet, they are actually a bidet, I guess, but they have many fancy functions. Such as:
That's "Spray" "Bidet" and "Flushing Sound" in case you want the toilet to make a little cover-up noise. So clever. There's even a "Powerful Deodorizer" button.
So there you have it! And Japan is no different, except that their Toto toilets are a bit fancier even. Some have heated seats.
Any more questions? You know I'd be happy to answer!