Nigeria: Tokyo Olympics F-L-I-C-K-S

2 August 2021

My ear drums at peace

My friend wondered aloud the other day if the many vehicles in Japan are installed with horns. He has been in Tokyo for two weeks and has not heard the blaring, blasting, blowing of the horns as it were with drivers in Nigeria.

I smiled and he asked while I was not interested in his topic. He's a first time traveler. It's common to see travelers who did not cut their traveling teeth beginning from Cotonou, Togo to be overwhelmed in highly developed countries. His demeanor has always shown shock and excitement. For a man who packed pressing iron in his suite case explains to you that he's indeed a greenhorn.

Anyway, the sanity that one has enjoyed for the past two weeks would definitely add to my longevity. This guy brought me back to reality that I would soon go back home to face the punishment and torture of being a Nigerian. To face the terrible roads, avoid the annoying Okada riders who have graduated above the law and battle with Electricity men who are at liberty to increase their tariffs.

The problems are too many and yet we move and live thinking we are alive. My eardrum is at peace and so is my sanity.

For how long? The noise intensity on Nigerian roads have ruptured so many ears that many are hard-hearing or have gone completely deaf. Let's fast-track to the perennial log-jam on Oshodi-Apapa road especially the Mile 2 axis. Those of us with our companies around the area or those unfortunate to have residential buildings have become prisoners to traffic and robbery among other health issues emanating from the gridlock. It's dreadful to think that, soon, I will be back to reality.

Let's bow to Japan!

There are many things to bow to Japan for in appreciation. I'm fascinated by their bowing culture in greeting and or appreciation in return for a good deed.

A bow can range from a small nod of the head to a deep bend at the waist. Am told that a deeper, longer bow indicates respect and conversely a small nod with the head is casual and informal.

Besides bowing to greet, few countries have done more than Japan to define today's technological landscape. And they truly deserve a bow. The laptops we all work with? Toshiba was the first to produce them for a mass market. The emoji we use is also a Japanese invention.

Robots that look, speak and act like humans, that are now very much a reality, is also courtesy to Japanese inventors. Don't they deserve to be bowed to?

I learnt that traveling by train between Tokyo and Osaka - Japan's two largest cities - would take the best part of a working day. But with a top speed of 210 kph, the world's first bullet train reduced the journey to 4 hours.

Today, thanks to further technological developments, the trip takes just over 2 hours, soon to be reduced to around an hour. Imagine traveling to Maiduguri in just an hour or two, traveling to Umuahia, Calabar or Zamfara in one hour. It's amazing and Japan deserves to be bowed to.

Chika, (not the Ibo girl that fries akara), my Japanese friend and guide who has indoctrinated me in their bowing loves Nigeria and Nigerians. She thinks Nigeria is bigger and better than Japan.

She wants to come to Nigeria for holiday? She wants to know if we have better hotels and houses and cars that Japan. Each time she praises Nigeria and wants confirmation from me, I bow to her for loving my beautiful country. But how and what do I tell her? Should I tell her that I live in a skyscraper at Mafoluku Oshodi?

Have you been sanitized?

It was a big surprise to hear somebody preaching at the entrance of the Olympic Stadium. I was surprised because the majority of Japanese people are of the Shinto or Buddhist faith. And the elderly in Japan account more for Christians than youths.

Reason being that the elderly embrace Cristianity because their days are numbered. You could then imagine my surprise when I thought I heard a young man shouting; "have you been baptized?". That curiosity drew me closer but I was instantly disappointed because there was no tracks to distribute nor any message of repentance. Instead, I noticed that there were bales of sanitizers around him and he was giving them out freely.

As I drew closer, within touching distance, he again shouted; "have you been baptized?". As a baptized Christian, I wanted to be sure to know whether to be baptized again. Another shocker when he offered me a big container of sanitizer. Not knowing what to do or say, another volunteer who may have seen my dilemma and who speaks English explained that he was asking if "you have been sanitized?".

I dropped the sanitizer because it was a sure way of gaining excess luggage at the airport and paying through the nose. Sanitizers are a common sight here and they come in different sizes. The only thing one has not done with it is to shower with it. It remains the best way to keep COVID away. All the sanitizers are alcohol based. No gel is added.

Vanguard News Nigeria

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