Friday, August 22, 2008

Complex about USA

English first/日本語は英語の後

I feel that many countries including Japan have a sort of complex about their relationship with USA. Although they try to point out weakness, problems, downside, and even ugliness of USA, they are somewhat attracted by the US lifestyle. And, Portugal is not an exception, either. As a matter of fact, while they are saying "American foods are junk.", "we have healthy lunch at a restaurant", etc., I saw McDonald, KFC, and Burger King in a suburb of Lisbon, whose advertisement sign even says "I'm lovin' it". Isn't it a contradiction? :-)

Another discovery is that English may sound really buzzy to young Portuguese and encourage them to long for American lifestyle. I saw many English signs in Lisbon: "life has its moments..." in a jewelry advertisement, "teen academy" in a prep. school sign, and "cheeky faces" on show windows of a cloths shop for kids. This trend can be seen in Japan, too where many English phrases are unnecessarily embedded in Japanese messages.

How about their fashion? Girls wear a little overexposed cloth quite resembling the Hollister and Abercrombie & Fitch fashion. Did they mimic these American brands? Or, did these brands follow South European/Latin American fashions? And, I saw many men wearing a western checker shirt (a.k.a. a cowboy shirt).

日本を含む多くの国が米国に関してある種のコンプレックスを持っているように感じま す。人々は、米国の弱点、問題点、欠点、醜い所など根掘り葉掘り見つけようとする一方で、米国の生活スタイルに何となく憧れていると思います。そして、ポ ルトガルも例外ではありません。事実、「米国の食べ物はジャンク(くず同様)だ」「こっちは昼飯はレストランで健康な物を食べている」など耳にしますが、 リスボンの郊外には、マクドナルド、ケンタッキー、バーガーキングズなどがあるのです。そして、その広告看板には、大好きって書いてあるのです。矛盾では ないでしょうか。

もう1つの発見は、英語がポルトガルの若年層に取って本当に聞こえが良くて、米国の生活スタイルを勧めるのにもって来い という感じがします。リスボンで見かけた英語の看板には、人生にはある瞬間が存在する(宝石の宣伝)、ティーン学院(塾)、おませな顔(子供服のショウ ウィンドウ)など。この傾向は日本でも見られます。英語が日本語の宣伝に不必要にちりばめられているのです。

ではファッションはどうかと いうと、女性はホリスターやアバコビに似たちょっと露出気味の服を着ています。彼らがアメリカのブランドを真似たのか、それとも、アメリカがラテン系の ファッションを真似たのでしょうか?では、男性はというと、これが結構ウェスタン系のチェックのシャツ(カウボーイシャツ)を来ているんですよね。

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Ruins in A1 Community

English first/日本語は英語の後

Many travel guidebooks mention about Lisbon's uniqueness where historical and modern buildings are crowded to each other. How about suburbs of Lisbon? Marisol is an A1 community located 10+ miles south from Lisbon and 3-miles inland from the beach. Many residences are surrounded by their huge, well-maintained yard and facilitated with a personal swimming pool. Some of them are even the 2nd houses where their owners stay only over a weekend. However, (as usual in my blog), I saw many ruins like every 10 building lots. They are generally for sale, vende in Portuguese as you can see my attached pictures. Some of them even seem for sale for more than 10 years, because trees have grown up quite high in their lot. Their walls are fallen in decay. So, if you focus on just such ruins, you feel as if you time-slipped in the Middle Ages. Then, the next question is how about non-A1 suburbs? Almada is the largest city on the south side of the Tejo river. Many new buildings are under construction. Railroad tracks for streetcars are being extended. So, the city is still growing rapidly. But, notable (again) is that those under construction have been already graffitied and are even waiting for being a slum.

リスボンは、歴史的な建物と現代的な建物が乱立するところがユニークだとよく旅行案内本に書いてあります。では、リスボン郊外はどうなんだろう?と思う訳です。マリソルは、リスボンから南に16km, 海岸からは5km程のところにあるトップクラスの住宅地です。多くの住宅が広々とした手入れの行き届いた庭とプールを持っています。それらの幾つかは、週末にしか使わない別荘ですらあるのです。しかしながら、(私のブログではいつもながらですが)、10軒に1軒程度の割合で、廃墟と化した宅地を見ます。その廃墟は、添付の写真にあるようにベンデという案内で、大体売りに出ています。その幾つかは、10年以上も売りに出ているようにすら見えます。というのは、宅地内の木々がそびえ立っているからです。外壁も朽ち果てています。だから、こういう廃墟だけをみると中世に迷い込んだかのように思えるくらいです。では、トップクラスではない郊外はどうなんだろう、というのが次の疑問になる訳ですが、テージョ川南の最大都市にアルマダというところがあります。結構な数の建物が建設中で、しかも、路面電車の線路も延長されてつつあります。そういうことで、この町はまだまだ急成長しています。(またまた)、しかし、注意すべきところは、建設中の建物がもう落書きされていて、スラム化を待っているかのようにさえ見えるのです。

Pictures: ruins (廃墟)

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Beer heaven in the winery country

English first/日本語は英語の後

Everyone knows that Portugal is famous for its delicious wine. Wine would be essential for their meals. I am not surprised to see them drinking wine even at lunch on a weekday, because I heard about it. What actually intrigued me was that I saw more people drink beer rather than wine at lunch. Maybe, they might be thirsty because of the hot summer season. However, of more interest is that there are a lot of advertisement signs of beer I can see in particular at quite many bus stops. (Look at the attached pictures.) And, they are almost all associated with some beach image, (e.g., fisherman's beach hut, stock at beach, etc).


Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Everyone likes beach at Lisbon.

English first/日本語は後

1. People: The majority on Japanese beaches are definitely those in 20's plus just families. You hardly see senior people. Moms in general stay in a T shirt under a parasol and thus don't show their body line, while dads still do not care about showing off their beer-barrel-like belly to take care of their kids. The key idea is that the beach is a place like a fashion show, and so people don't want to show their ugly body lines as they get aged. The same philosophy might be applied to US, in particular Californian beaches, yet many people want to go to beach. That's the reason why they attend 24Hrs Fitness really hard to keep their proportion against their age. The difference from Japan which I noticed was that senior people in US seem like enjoying a walk on beach much more frequently. Now, you can imagine what I would like to say about Portuguese beaches. Yes, I saw many sea lions loafing on the beach. Of course, they are actually not sea lions but people having a large amount of excess flesh (the definition from the MacNote dictionary.) I was just surprised to know that such big swimming suits, particularly bikinis are available to purchase in Portugal. Why don't they care about showing their chucks to the public?

The other day on a bus, a senior lady helped me transfer from a bus to a train. Although I didn't understand 99% of what she said, she kept talking to me in Portuguese. When the bus passed by a beach sign, ("praia" in Portuguese), she wanted to tell me that there is a beach in that direction, using her gesture of waving and wading with her hands. She seemed really happy. Now, I got a hint to my question! Beaches to Portuguese are just like hot springs to Japanese. Regardless of age, sex, and of course body shapes, everyone would like to enjoy getting relaxed on the beach as Japanese want to soak themselves in a hot spring.

2. Building: Restaurants and service facilities on the beach in Portugal seem permanent like US, whereas Japan only allows those facility to be temporarily built every high season, (i.e., July and August). Houses nearby the beach in Portugal do not seem well-maintained unlike US and Japan. I thought the closer to the beach the more expensive and better maintained houses would be, because people always look for an ocean view and a water-front life. However, as you can see my pictures, those houses in the Telha beach, 10+ miles south from Lisbon could even seem like a refugee camp. Miguel told me that they were all illegally built without purchasing and thus owning a land. Good houses are built back a little far from the beach, actually behind a pine-tree barrier to prevent beach sand from shifting to them.




Photo 1: Anyone welcome to beach (ビーチは誰もが行きたい)

Photo 2: Permanent beach house(永久的に建てられた海の家)

Photo 3: Telha Beach (テリヤ海岸)

Photo 4: Ocean-front houses with low quality (質の悪い海辺の民家)