Category Archives: Japan

Because, Fuck It, I’m Shinzo Abe, Dammit

Japanese Hyūga-class helicopter destroyer Celebrates 2020 Tokyo Olympics Selection

Prime Minister Abe alluded to future Olympics conducted entirely on yet to-be-built Aircraft Carriers, editing his remarks to say “Helicopter Destroyers”  while making hand quotes, but continued: “Yeah, we’re gonna need a lot of those for the ‘Olympics’ (more hand quotes).”

Only days after Tokyo rallied to claim the International Olympic Committee’s selection to host the 2020 Summer Olympics, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe outlined a massive new proposal to fully incorporate the Olympics as a major new cornerstone of his current economic initiatives.

Prime Minister Abe met with the press Thursday morning to outline his new philosophy.

“After winning this bid to host the 2020 Olympics, and analyzing the economic benefits and employment opportunities of such massive public spending, I, and by default, the Japanese government, have decided to move to a fully Olympics-based Economy” said Abe during his time outlining his new vision for the nation.

He proceeded to detail the major tenets of his new plan.

“For this new economic direction to succeed, we’ll have to win all future Olympic bids, both Winter and Summer. We will base our entire economy around building for, and conducting future Olympics. This will help to fuel massive public construction projects throughout our nation, allowing the government to pump money into area economies, creating jobs for all, and really cool buildings that look like the future. It’ll be just like the 1980s again, but better! Remember how cool it was when we just built airports everywhere without a care in the world? We’ll also challenge ourselves by setting the bar higher, sometimes randomly changing it up, like holding a Winter Olympics in Okinawa, or a Summer Olympics on reclaimed land we created just for that Olympics, possibly having an entire Olympics on the decks of a bunch of newly-minted Aircraft Carriers, or um, whatever you people are calling them, “Helicopter Destroyers (Hand quotes).”

Abe went further into auxiliary added benefits, such as doubling or tripling the nations mascot creation industry, currently the third largest industry in the nation, as well as the potential for a massive upward spike (pun intended) that continual international guests will bring to the Japanese Whore Economy (Nikkei: JWE),

While Abe’s new plan immediately awed the Japanese public, who have become experts at listening to anything that comes out of the Prime Minister’s mouth and believing it, some brash reporters, perhaps new to the job and not yet acclimated to the press club’s norm of avoiding tough, un-vetted questions,  grilled Abe on his new direction and its lack of international vision.

Abe responded to his critics with the same gleaming smile that won best in show during the IOC selection process. “Well, you see, we’re creating a highly skilled, events staff workforce, fully adept at running massive international functions. To stimulate global exchange, we’ll surely lend our honed Olympics-hosting abilities to other nations to kick-start their events. Our builders and logistics people can be cross-trained and sent abroad to assist with the soccer World Cups, Super Bowls, NBA All Star Week, and that silly World Cup of that sport that takes days per game and uses weird S&M bats.”

Abe’s ego may have become as bloated as his ever-rising approval rating, and some are beginning to believe that he has superpowers or mind control abilities, skills that apparently translated well to his dealings with the IOC.

In off-the-cuff remarks after his main presentation on Thursday, Abe walked directly amid the crowd of reporters, fielding questions like either Jesus or an American talk show host, assisting and reviving at least two reporters who fainted in his presence, and passing out onigiri rice that appeared magically from his hands to hungry journalists,  all while casually delving into more of what spurred him towards his new economic model.

Boardwalk Empire Napkin Scene

The Genesis of a New Path for Japan (Pic via: http://www.uproxx.com/tv/)

“Yeah, I told the IOC there were no problems at all with that whole Fukushima disaster and they completely bought it! I didn’t even frame it as “for Tokyo,” I just told ’em it wasn’t a problem AT ALL! Who knew you  could just clear an entire mess like that by just saying it wasn’t an issue? During that final coffee break I pointed out that Istanbul’s a disturbing mess of weird, potential secular terrorists and that Madrid is perennially a hive of unemployed wasters, but that was all just icing on the cake. After we won, during a day or two of prostitutes and binge drinking to celebrate, I thought it would be cool if we could just keep this train rolling forever. So I drew some shit on a napkin in some snack bar at like 5am and handed it to Taro Aso. The rest is history.”

And so Japan charts a bold new path on the global economic stage, the post-modern, Olympics-Based Economy.

Stuck In The Middle With You: AKA, Being Stuck Between Scylla and Charybdis AND a Massive Love Train, But Not Really a Part of Either

I originally wrote this piece for #Quakebook, but it didn’t make the final cut. After reading through some of the excerpts, I can see why, as they capture the moment, the feelings, and events far better  than I and are more deserving of a spot than the hungover notions that I penned below.

Still, I like what I wrote and I don’t want to see it just disappear, so I’m putting it down right here for posterity.

Should you like what you read here, I HIGHLY recommend that you navigate on over to the afore mentioned #Quakebook Project and pick up a copy. It’s absolutely gripping stuff.  Just think, you’re sitting here potentially enjoying the scraps when you can invest in the full fucking dinner, 100% of proceeds going to help the people in the Tohoku region of Japan.

Anyway, here ya go:

3/19/2011

It was a bizarre mental week…

Foreign media proclaimed the entire country  a wasteland, accusing the Japanese government of hiding incredible evils, and the only good news was that Japanese people still fit the convenient world stereotype of politely not killing each other or devolving into Barter Town-esque dynamics that apparently arise whenever any other country faces crisis.

Friends and family outside Japan heaped a deluge of love and worry upon me. I played the comedian and thanked them for caring so much about my pollen allergies, but by week’s end felt heavy with what might be considered a mild case of survivor’s guilt. As my net-brethren in Tokyo braced for their nightly aftershocks and the clouds of media radiation, there was a moment or two where I’d hoped to feel at least a piece of it all myself so that I could be part of what everyone outside Japan was telling me I was a part of, perhaps a little quake or a tiny-tsunami, just enough to join the club, to be a city on the Japan Quake ’11 tour tee-shirt

I don’t think I’ve ever been in such a strange situation, media and friends consoling me and proclaiming my doom in equal measure, all while I sat in my rainbows and puppy dogs corner of newly ‘post-apocalyptic’ Japan.

Before our power company figured out how to send power across the east/west wattage differential, my wife and I made irrational decisions, canceling her plans to make oatmeal cookies to help spare the power grid while I donated money to the Red Cross knowing full well that they’d just change the rules on CPR again so they could make new CPR manuals to sell.

We all had our mini mental breakdown moments here this week, but it’s a beautiful spring day here and I can still buy batteries.

So, there it is. If you liked that for free, get the real deal at Quakebook and support a good cause.

 

Japan: The Ex-Girlfriend of Technological Innovation, Driving by Your Place Constantly, Texting about “Old Times”

obama's robotic seal experience in Japan

Oh, so that's what that shrieking was, I thought you were fluff'n some whores for me in the next room (Picture courtesy of spectrum.ieee.org)

I’ve been a bit out of the loop. My computer crashed and I was torn from the universe. I suddenly found myself indulging in crazy, Luddite activities, reading words printed on pressed trees and (hand quotes) ‘using my imagination’ or ‘having sex with my wife’ instead of  the plethora of media options available to me in the modern era.

So forgive me if I’m a bit behind in catching up, but I couldn’t help but shed a tear for the crushing, utter implosion of Japan’s grip on innovation and technology, convincingly embodied by the above picture and the accompanying video.

The Tale of the Tape

1) Years of Robotic Research and Japan’s developed Robotic Baby Seals?

Say that again with me people:

Robotic…………Baby…………………Seals

I ain’t gonna lie, Teddy Ruxpin was fully anthropomorphic, spoke WORDS, and did all that 25 years ago.  Your seals yelp down a hallway like a two-bit whore from Roppongi in a love hotel.

2) Robots with human qualities are fucking creepy. Don’t take my word for it, listen to accredited, actual journalists and scientists here. Japan is ungodly excited about crossing a point, that no one wants to cross except Japan. I want a Roomba, not a creepy robot that looks like a woman with Parkinson’s disease.

3) Looking above, I can only assume that Japan is on an epic quest to have sex with their robots. My epic quest is to get a robot that does the shit my wife nags me about on a Sunday while trying to watch football. Can’t we all just get on the same ‘epic quest’ page?

4) Stop creeping out foreign dignitaries with weird shit. Listen, when Vladamir Putin visits Bulgaria, he gets a puppy:

Putin and a Puppy

That's REAL World Power right there

You’re creeping out the guy who still has the most nuclear weapons at his fingertips with shrieking pseudo-mammals normally worn around fashionable ladies” necks en route to cold Christmas balls and immobile, nagging  wife-like robotic zombies without all the fun of actual, real zombies.

Where’s our fucking puppy?  Stop making foreign dignitaries go through an endless loop of technological nonsense because you think they’re cool.

We just think you’re weird.

5) After the faux-imals and immobile, yet nagging, vagina-less faux-wives, they ferried President Obama over to their proudest innovation, a really bulky future Segway thing.  Congrats Japan, you took a technology previous known for a) laughing at shorts-wearing American tourists in Paris b) a wildly hilarious story, making them both into a far more cumbersome and useless technology (with rain shield!).

Listen Japan, it’s over. You’re not good at this technology thing anymore. We’re gonna have to see other people. Don’t call me anymore, end the soppy texts, and stop driving by my place.

In the rest of the world, we don’t care about phones that can access analog TV channels, we have smart phones that do everything. We don’t care about how you’ve invented Blu Ray or pioneered 3D TV, because the simple fact remains that most places I go within your so-called ‘technological mecca’ lack basic cable or satellite television.

People still show me ‘mini-discs’. I don’t even know what those are.

Techies used to flock to Akihabara like it was a pilgrimage, but let’s face it, they’re going for the maids now.

Akihabara Japanese Maids

I smell sex and.....coffee?

You’ve gotta stop pretending. When I wanna see wacky Asian tech shit, you’re just not on my list anymore. I’m gonna be check’n underground in Shanghai and Beijing, or hit’n the streets of Seoul.  It’s just cooler there right now.

Warm toilet seats don’t make the world go round.

I know, it’s difficult for me too. I mean, there are some nights when I might still come calling. After all, you still lead the world in creepy squid and octopus pornography and humiliating and painful game show innovation.

But girl, ya gotta understand, me and Obama just ain’t into what you.got anymore. You keep recreating these old moments, hoping we don’t realize it ain’t noth’in new, hoping that nostalgia’s enough to carry us through to a new day.

Well, it’s not.

We’re kinda into these new girls with these new tricks, and the more you try and bring up the past, the more we’re just gonna walk on by.

So if you wanna get us back, stop being a one trick pony. Go get yourself a makeover, take some pilates classes, maybe get a lil’ work done. Hit these scene again with a newer, hotter beau, make us jealous.

Because if you want us back, shoving weird robot seals in our face sure as hell ain’t gonna fly.

 

A Comprehensive Explanation of the Japan/China Situation for Laymen and Yacht Enthusiasts

chun li vs e honda

This is a visual metaphor to help understand the situation visually with pictures

People back on the”‘sane” side of the world often turn to me like I’m actively involved in shaping the future of Asia. They think I have magical inside knowledge of the tensions between North Korea and the rest of the far East, or that I possess a deep understanding of the going rate of worn school girls’ underwear.

They’ve recently been asking me about all this China and Japan ruckus. I’ve decided to put it in simple terms to help the international community better understand this complex situation:

The Beginning

Japanese Whaling Ship

Fuck, we hit another foreigner!

Japanese people are always hitting foreigners with their boats.

Whenever they journey out into the sea, they inadvertently find ways to crash into some other foreign peoples’ ships. This is why the Tokugawa Shogunate gave up on seafaring and Japan never mastered the art of trans-oceanic travel until the Meiji Chocolate Era.

Japanese people know this. They have an intense fear of everything outside the confines of their happy islands. Japanese tourists know that in their travels they might be forced into a boat, slowly turning the wheel of destiny to lead them into an inadvertent collision with outsiders.

This would be tragically stressful for the Japanese tourist, requiring at least three unique apologetic phrases, much like when entering an elevator*

*Japanese people are also afraid of elevators because you smell funny. They apologize when entering an elevator because they feel sorry that they hate your smell so much. Isn’t that nice of them?

The Problem

Fish cocktail

A Traditional Japanese Breakfast, made from live, screaming baby fish and Shochu

Japanese people despise their gods and shake their fists in contempt at the sky because of the irony of hating boats and having an insatiable appetite for fish.

Every year brave men and women are put through rigorous game show segments where they play human tetris or fall into boiling water. This is meant to weed out the weak, who are thrown into meaningless bureaucratic jobs, much like the babies thrown upon the cliffs of Sparta.

The survivors become Noble Fisherman and Defenders of Japan, constantly wrestling with the fact that they will one day literally collide with their destiny.

The Situation:

The Situation

Not a fish, not even a Lobster, despite Red Skin and Lobster Moves

The Situation between China and Japan:

Reenactment China Japan

China was Hang'n Out with Goats, Mind'n their Biz...

China was in their little boats, get’n all out there, explore’n shit. They found a small island with goats, as seen in the picture above. The goats are represented by coins in the picture because of their value*

*The Chinese like goat island because goats are an important resource in China, accounting for about 27% of China’s current energy systems, a figure estimated to rise by as much as 13% by 2020.  They also like to eat goats.

Japan had previously run a bonito flakes* factory on the island and had decided to check into restarting their operation there.

*Bonito Flakes are a fish based breakfast cereal in Japan

China spotted Japan at full steam off their starboard bow*  They waved goodbye to their goat friends, packed up all their opium, and shipped out to avoid the inevitable collision.

…But Opium makes you slow

*Observant readers might take offense to my nautical terminology, but in China, they use nautical terms opposite the way that you do.

The ships collided and the Japanese Noble Fishermen/Defenders of Japan took the Chinese captain hostage for fraternizing with goats*

*Japanese people hate goats because their meat smells like you smell in an elevator. They will complain about mutton incessantly.

The remaining Chinese were allowed to sail off in their junk ships.

The Hostage

Chinese Fisherman

How Many Birds Does Your Soul Weigh?

From there, the poor fisherman was brought to Japan, throngs of people politely jeering at him and calling him names that could possibly be interpreted as offensive, then apologizing to their hostage in case they’d offended him.

He was brought to their Great Hall, to meet their tiny Emperor on his cute little throne. The Emperor commanded his servants to bring the ceremonial birds to weigh the fisherman’s soul in an ancient Japanese ritual of weighing peoples’ souls with birds*

*Birds are important to Asians, look at Asian shit in Asian museums for more information

The Bird Weighing Ceremony was complex, vague,and a waste of time, giving the poor Chinese fisherman valuable insight into the Japanese Political System, but one does not question mystical Asian shit.

The Response

mochi

All Your Mochi Are Belong to Us, Bitches!

The Chinese media caught wind of their fisherman’s capture and the populace responded, suspending all production of Omiyage (translates to ‘Useless Japanese Souvenirs made in China’)  and Omiyage Mochi (‘Crappy Japanese dessert made from beans that functions as a Useless Japanese Souvenir Made in China; A Way to Kill Old People ‘).

Japanese people cannot travel without acquiring Omiyage to bring back to friends and family, even within their own country. This brought Japanese transportation systems to a halt, all people hiding in their homes to avoid travel.

In addition, they were without their Mochi Omiyage supply, the second most important food on the Japanese Food Pyramid next to fish.

Japan was caught in a bind, taking a strong stance against goat fraternization, but now with their populace in fear of leaving their homes. Without people to go fishing and without their mochi imports, Japan was caught between their ideals and their survival.

The Resolution

Geisha

Inside I'm a ball of Hate Rage, but outside I'm passively frown-y

Japan relented and released the Chinese Fisherman. Their stoic response claimed victory, but everyone knew they’d bitched out.

Chun Li Owns Your Soul

U'sa Bitch, Japan!

China welcomed their fisherman hero home with one of those parades with dragons. He became a national hero and they built a Chinese restaurant on the goat island, making him the manager.

He now works there 18 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 365 days per year. You can even go there on Christmas. Lunch buffets are a reasonable $6.99, Dinner $10.99, drinks not included, please tip the waitstaff.

In Conclusion

I hope I’ve been able to better enlighten people on the various political shadow games behind the scenes here in this interesting world of intrigue. Thank you for joining me on this journey through Eastern Asia. I hoped you’ve enjoyed learning as much as I’ve enjoyed helping open your eyes to this mysterious land of mystery.

Now you’ll sound really smart and worldly at your white people yacht club parties and score mad bitches and cougars.

Neon-Pink Enlightenment & Mad Sea Captains

Eastward Expansion

She tried as hard as any of them to win the war and she picked her battles well…

It was the late eighties or early nineties, all the kids hanging out on the beach sporting jams and loud neon colors. I rocked a crazy neon pink shirt scattered with random newspaper clippings about surf heights and how ‘gnarly’ the waves were. There were a few curses words hidden on it, making it the epitome of cool in my little 10-year-old universe.

I was a little righteous bad-ass.

My bad-assery was short-lived though, mom taking it upon herself to destroy and deflate any illusions of coolness.

She pointed to one headline on the shirt, “Mom was right…”

There it was, clear as day, a headline positioned over my heart like she’d bought me slavery apparel. From then on, whenever she saw me in the shirt, she nodded and smiled, throwing it out there again, hoping to let it sink into my brain and grow like she was on-boarding me to a household corporate culture.

I continued to rock the shirt, trying to ignore the tiny headline, hidden among all the other lines scattered about the shirt, but whenever returning from the mischievous adventures of any average ten-year-old  she was always there to remind me again:

“Mom was right…”

…And so the battle raged, her first volleys having damaged my ship, but my imminent teenage cannons eagerly prepping for return fire.

As a college student I ran off to Colorado to free myself from the reigns, to find my independence, strike it rich like all the other American vagabonds that head west for some perceived notion of enlightenment.

In an ironic twist of fate, Colorado was exactly where she’d run from New Jersey to blossom too…

I found myself a few year later at what might be considered an adult, still trapped under parental funding to aid medical insurance, something akin to a second rent, but with shitty levels of care. I gotten to the point where I couldn’t make ends meet and couldn’t exist in the world I’d grown up in without parental help and they were far to slow to remove themselves from the equation as their own parents might have.

Somehow, despite the distance, the strings were still attached. I’d need to quit the word I’d grown up in.

I cobbled together a plan with the girl (at the time). She was stuck in the same boat, our silly little coddled generation. We’d run away together like a Bruce Springsteen song and strike it rich on our own in Asia. The west had failed to enlighten us, but the far east could surely solve our woes.

I brought my hammer down upon the chains and shattered them, running fast and deep for Asia. We didn’t all make it over here, the girl needed to find her own path to enlightenment and I lost her somewhere along the way, keeping my rudder pointing east like a mad captain Ahab (or west-i-er, if you pay attention to flight patterns and don’t fly Emirates).

I washed up upon these shores without much knowledge of the place. I’d thrown a dart at a map with some relation to the ex (Korea, but edited for better surfing opportunities…and never tell a Korean they’re somewhat related to Japan).

Some come here as dedicated otaku, ready to bask in anime and maid-cafes. Some men come here for the pussy,  seemingly possible for even the most hapless foreigner. Others come here for a quick dose of how the other half (of the world) lives.

I came here to escape mom and make my own way.

My first memories of Japan are getting angry at the toilet for shooting me in the face with water. I’m often intensely crabby about the whole place, but the whole thing, the whole 4 years (as of last week) have been my own. It’s been 100% mine, the trials, tribulations, insanity and joy have all been my creation, no strings attached…

…And it all started with a pink neon shirt…

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‘Hitler’ Invades America, Rocks

Tamori

Overlord Tamori encourages you to enjoy Sakura-themed products, or else...

I loathe the Japanese mainstream pop music scene. It’s the most insipid, heartless music to ever have passed through my ears, so utterly disposable and yet so intensely catchy, as if programmed to infiltrate my brain cortex and then melt it.

It creeps into your head like a virus.  Songs hit your subconscious before you realize they exist. Before you know it, you’re bleeding from every orafice of your body. Death follows shortly thereafter. Survivors just become 5% stupider with each infection.

Japan took the America idea of corporate controled pop groups to some insane further end, meticulously crafting every little piece of a group in an assembly line of image creators, songwriters, producers, and studio musicians, all for the sake of moving product.

Band are written into movie scripts and their songs become TV show themes. They play in the background of every convenience store, push variety show pieces forward, and help sell Shiseido products all before you ever catch them on TV as an actual video or performance. By then, the first symptoms have already gripped your brain.

The way Japanese corporations have been able to harness and control the music sent out to the masses is something American corporations must have wet dreams about. They took the Josie and the Pussycats movie to heart.

This leaves little room for Japanese bands to control their own destiny. If you want to hit it big in Japan, you’ve got to let ‘the machine’ run the show. They’ll approve of your new identity and have Marty Friedman play guitar on your album sessions. They’ll get you on Music Station, lipsynching the night away with your new Sakura song:

After seeing that, why do I suddenly feel the need to drive as fast as possible to Nitori and buy a chair? Hmm, anyway….

Without ‘the machine’ on your side, you’re as good as nothing. The average Japanese citizen won’t know who you are, because they’ll be too busy shampooing their hair after buying Namie Amuro’s album (sponsored by Shiseido!).

Before I came here, I’d heard of bands like Boris and Boredoms and I was amazed by the unbridled creativity of the Japanese music scene. Unfortunately, beyond scenes in Osaka and Tokyo, your average Japanese citizen has never unhooked from the collective to experience anything beyond what their machine overlords offer them.

Bands try to fight against the machine, but they never get a piece of the action or they fail to generate enough cash to pay the bills, hanging up their instruments and falling in line with the hammer.

Kat-tun as gay pirates

I seriously didn't think it would take 5 seconds to find a picture that would relate 'Gay Pirates' to 'J-pop'

Some finally cave, signing the dreaded contract that instantaneously transforms them into a boy-band that dresses like gay pirates and sings songs about a lonely Christmas without you. But the rebels are out there, hiding and fighting the good fight…

I am Hitler!” blasts through my speakers. Camisama (sic) sounds likes like the shitty band you created when you were eight as you dreamed of being in Jem and the Holograms and walked around the house banging on a pot (maybe that was only me).

I once had an art teacher who told me she was constantly striving to draw like a child again, but couldn’t overcome the weight of years to find their simplistic, value-free  aesthetic and shrug off  the adult indoctrination that had changed her art.

As Camisama blasts nonsensical lyrics and sloppy drumming, they’re that kid, banging away in the kitchen, pissing off the neighbors, they’ve found how to draw like children again.

While I write this, they’re in some bar in Austin, Texas at SXSW, having gotten there by god knows what means. They’re there with a bunch of other Japanese bands that have made the trip, in hopes of finding the eyes and ears that often elude them in Japan.

I found Camisama via NPR and slowly dug deeper to find information about some of the other Japanese Bands at SXSW. After the festival, they’ll be touring through America. You can download a free sampler of some of the bands’ songs at HearJapan and if you’re in America, can catch many of the bands as they host Japan Nite throughout the US.

Japan Nite 2010

Japan Nite 2010

‘I am Hitler’ might not be everyone’s cup of tea. I’m not sure it’s even my cup of tea, but in a world where all the sakura songs from the last 20 years blend together into one giant commercial to convince me to buy products with pink flowers on them while sipping my Premium Malts and feeling nostalgic, the rebels are out there, breaking the mold.

Take some time to listen to or check out some of the bands. From there dig deeper, find those obscure and wacky acts, the guys that are playing weird shit in dark corners.

Without them out there, fighting, music in Japan is as good as lost.

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Black Russians and Sammy Huntington, Round 2

glory hole consolation

Buck up my friend, it could be worse

I stand at the bar, swirling around the ice in my Black Russian, searching for meaning in the swishing. I like the Black Russians. When you’re paying ¥500 for whatever’s on the menu, you might as well go for a shot of booze and a shot of lesser booze to help it along. At least it has a legitimate name.

I taught the bar how to make’em and it wows the Japanese clients, who often buy me one as they try it out themselves, the perks of being a celebrity in Japan, also known as being foreign. I never thought I’d live in a world where men bought me so many drinks, but I’m a humble man, and accept what’s given to me with a wink and a nod.

The bar’s an emerging trend in Japan. Men used to frequent ‘snacks,’ paying copious amounts to be worshipped by girls in prom dresses that light cigarettes and pour drinks like doting slaves. The old salarymen still carry a torch for such shenanigans.

Japanese Hostess

...Because a night out helps them remember what they coulda been...kings....

The cynical young folks though, they”re saving their money (for Godot) and don’t have ¥5,000 to ¥20,000 to throw down on a night of entertainment. These kids go to lady’s bars, pseudo-snacks where bartenders ply the men to buy drinks for them to up the revenue. Sometimes there’s a sit down charge, but perhaps this bar lacks that fee because of our inability to actually sit down.

Rats run across the upper structure of the bar as the sun begins to shine, destroying the black-lit purity our imagination.

He’s next to me again, blabbing on about the job. He’s taken my advice about ‘attacking shit’ to heart, but he’s turned his sights on me. He fires volley upon volley of complaints about our boss, our coworkers, women, life, the world, the universe, and the pursuit of happiness.

I’m stuck here in a never-ending cycle of affirmations and head-nods. Such is the life of those who find themselves drinking on Wednesdays.

It’s times like these where I spout out the lyrics to songs that may or may not have anything to do with the given situation. Drunks never notice.

“Sometimes relationships get ill, do doubt.” (The Roots)

I nod my head strongly to add strength to my argument. A strong nod always helps force Japanese folks agree, despite whether or not they actually understand you.

He’s taken my advice of  ‘absolute victory and honesty,’  but I can go buy ‘drunken honesty’ in a bargain bin. He’s missed my point. A man can spout off all kinds of shit in his inebriation, but if he’s not honest enough to act on them sober, then he’s as good as nothing.

Standing here next to me, pissing out every damn feeling under the sun about how he’s getting shit on at work, with a fair bit of  flattery ‘dick sucking’ that I warned against towards me, he’ll be as docile as a Hindu cow when the sun rises.

Hindu Cow

Put me in a Kansas Slaughter House line, no qualms here

He interrupts both my ice-staring time and chatting with the Chinese bartender . He asks for some cash for future drinking (these places demand per drink). I support him, toss ¥5,000 his way but write a drunken, arabic-like nonsensical scrawl of a receipt to him, demanding ¥7,000 for his ¥5,000 investment.

I both jest and test.

Later in the night, as I debate the finer points of ‘shiofuki‘ with a random Japanese bunch over udon, he’ll ask me how I navigate so well with rough Japanese and a shitty understanding of the language.

I stare at him blankly, jaw agape.

It’s then that I get it. It’s then that I understand that no amount of coaching is going to change him. He’s tried so hard to understand my philosophy, he’s taken it to heart.

He gets how Western-folk operate, but he’s still going about it like a scholar of a dead language, like those first-year Kyūdō kids that practice form for a year and never fire an arrow from their bow.

“You’re not studying sharks in a book, you’re swimming with us my friend, so open your eyes or we’ll eat you alive,” I say, loving the art of the cliché.

I try to take his whole confusion about how I could interact with other members our human race without a firm grasp of their language with a grain of salt.

After that night he avoids me for 7 days, knowing I’m waiting for my payback, but unable to interpret that I’d far prefer the “I’ll getcha payday” to ‘I’ll avoid you until payday.’

I’ve disregarded his first night out (for the gods’ eyes only), but count the two previous strikes (now committed to record).

Black Russian

I know it's backwards learning our silly ass ways on your own soil, but globalization's a bitch, yo! Cheers!

One thing our cultures can agree on is the rules for baseball, right?

I want him to step up to the plate, I want him to hit home runs.

Well, step up to the plate my friend, because the game is on the line.

(A three-part, continuing series on a Japanese man’s trials and tribulations to make sense of western-biz, written through the eyes of the man watching him gasp for air in rough seas. Part 1 can be found here)

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