Aug 222006

Just four days after returning from Vegas I left for my next trip: Michigan. It would not be one of my usual adventure trips, but a calm week of daytime TV, family BBQ’s, and mid-afternoon naps. It would be a visit to the grandparents.

Since I’ll soon be moving to Japan for an unknown period of time, I’ve recently been trying to see my dad’s parents (who live in San Diego) as often as possible. But as my mom’s parents live halfway across the country, opportunities are much more limited. So when one arose, I took it.

And to be honest, Michigan was really pretty interesting to me. Since both my parents grew up there I used to go fairly often as a child, but as more and more of the family moved away my reasons to visit faded, along with my memories. Going back for the first time in over a decade felt like I’d just entered a time machine and traveled backwards…not just in terms of my own life, but also in terms of the world in general.

Why did Michigan feel like a trip backwards through time? Well…

At 5pm on a Friday there was virtually no “rush-hour” traffic; people had red brick houses with huge front lawns; there were barns; grocery stores were called “Farmer John’s;” middle-class homes didn’t have high-speed Internet or even Cable TV; Bob’s Big Boy still exists; gas was less than $3/gallon; churches were everywhere; neighborhoods looked like scenes from Pleasantville; supermarkets still carry “Dots” (a candy that I thought disappeared in the ’80s); etc, etc, etc. I even saw a number of “I Support George Bush” bumper stickers (SHOCK!). American culture might not be the most diverse out there, but I gotta tell you…going from California to Michigan sure is different.

And while I for one love diversity…you couldn’t pay me to live there 😛

So while the week was fairly uneventful, it was very nice to see some family members whom I haven’t seen in years. We did get out once for a Jethro Tull concert (or to be more accurate, Ian Anderson); his rendition of Led Zeppelin’s Kashmir was absolutely astounding. Too bad for him that his most popular song was one written by someone else!

Other than that, and a dinner with the cousins, the visit consisted pretty much of hanging out indoors and taking care of the old folks. Perfect opportunity to watch Samurai Champloo, a DVD that’s been burning a hole in its case for almost a year now. It ruled.

OK, boring post. Next time: Comicon.

  4 Responses to “Michigan”

  1. Man, that post made me homesick. I’ve never spent much time in actual cities except Seattle and those here in Japan. I’m learning to be a more metropolitan individual, but I still enjoy those lazy weekend barbeques and no rush hour traffic. But I also spent last weekend in Osaka and enjoyed it to no end, so who knows?

    Also, please bring me some Dots.

  2. your Michigan story reminds me of 山形県 which I was born.I love the life style in there but I don’t think I could live there. first of all, I sometimes can’t understand dialect↓I thought you went to “Motown” Michigan,haha Cute pictures by the way, I’ve never seen you wearing hat!

  3. Dots are still pretty common…..I get them all the time….they are quite good 🙂

  4. Haha well, shows what I know…I thought Dots had totally dissappeared from the face of the earth. Or maybe it’s just because I haven’t gone down the candy aisle in years! 😛

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