Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas Yall!

Today is Christmas here in Japan. So Merry Fucking Christmas you bastards! I know a lot of us gaijin living in Japan may be having a hard time finding the Christmas spirit due to the fact that Christmas is not a `real` holiday in Japan. Most of us will be working today(me included). Yet despite the awkwardness many of us may feel during this holiday season, we must make the best of the situation.

I got a few e-mails yesterday from a few of my fellow gaijin expressing a very down and out feeling about Christmas in Japan. As usual, I refuse to let Japan kill the Christmas spirit in my country ass. Instead I have decided to roll with the punches and work with what I got at hand. Yesterday, I planned out a pretty good Christmas evening with my gal. We reserved one of those take-out KFC Christmas dinner packs. Yes, I gave in and did the whole KFC Christmas thing; like I said I am working with what I got at hand. It is actually not a bad deal. We got a good variety of chicken with good old American style biscuits included. For 2,800 yen it makes for a right decent Christmas dinner.

I met the gal in Kita-Senju to pick up the dinner and do a little extra Christmas shopping together. We had already exchanged gifts a few days ago but decided to shop together and buy a little extra something for each other. I can`t get her anything from Tiffany`s like I did last year but I was able to get her something she wanted. It is the thought that counts anyway. It is a nice change of pace to enjoy a Christmas not focused on buying some crazy expensive item. It was really nice to just spend time with the gal. We ended up buying each other a little something. Before we left we picked a couple slices of Christmas cake.

When we got home it was time to enjoy the little fest we had set up for ourselves. We set our little meal up on a table and enjoyed some good chicken and pleasant conversation. I was even able to find a Christmas music complication on Youtube to set the mood.

For some people it all might seem a bit lame but the gal and I really enjoyed ourselves. A quiet evening at home just enjoying each other`s company meant more than any big fancy celebration. I don`t know about the rest of yall in Japan but I am living the real meaning of Christmas this year.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Winter in Japan is Now Full On

It has been cold as a witches titty here in Tokyo recently. We have not gotten any snow but it was a sign that winter is now full on here in the land of the raising sun. As usual it will more than likely not snow in Tokyo this winter. Yet, it will get colder than a nun on Sunday. I do not see anymore warm days coming for several months. Those icy days of January will be here before we realize it.

I usually adjust the cold weather in Japan pretty well. Despite my hate of cold weather I can deal with it pretty good in most cases. Winter in West Virginia can get really bad. A person living in the mountains of West Virginia can expect three or four brutal blizzards of year. It is not uncommon for an entire village or town to be completely shut down due to a snow fall. The only places I expect this kind of thing happening in Japan is in the northern region.

Winter is Tokyo does have its pitfalls. The wind can be really hard to deal with at times. The wind whips around the buildings and smacks you in face with an unforgiving sick joy what only old man winter can appreciate. While I am drugging off to work the sting of the wind hitting my face puts me in a right proper shitty mood. Hell, during the winter I actually look forward to getting on the train and warming my cold ass on the heated seat.

There is also the pure magic joy of no central heat in Japan. Now, I have lived here for a while so I am used this fact of life in Japan. The Japanese have come up with some interesting ways to off set the lack of central heat. The method to keep warm I like the most is the kotatsu. It works really well to keep me from freezing to death in my own apartment. During the winter in Japan, few things beat a cold night than a bottle of sake, warm soup and a gal warped around ya while bundled up under a kotatsu.

Anyway, I wanna hear what all of you think of winter in Japan and how yall keep warm.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

It`s Christmas in Japan Again

Oh yes boys and girls it is that special time of year again here in the land of the raising sun. Lets all get ready for another twisted version of Christmas here in Japan. As many of you may know Japan is pretty much a non-Christian nation. The very idea of Christmas is so far removed from Japanese culture that the holiday has been oddly integrated in the Japanese mindset. In Japan, Christmas is a completely secular commercial holiday. The natives of Japan make no connection to religion and Christmas. For the Japanese, it seems as if Christmas is all about presents, Santa, KFC dinner sets and illumination(Christmas lights), and spending some extra cash in high-end shopping districts like Ginza.

The Japanese secular take on Christmas has produced some interesting customs. Leave it to the Japanese to completely redefine the biggest holiday in the world.

KFC Christmas dinner:
When I first came to Japan several years ago I was surprised by how much Japanese people love KFC. I mean, KFC is deep fried southern style chicken. This is not something I expected Japanese to really go for. Yet, they love redneck chicken. They love it so much that every year during the holiday season Japanese people line up to buy a big KFC holiday dinner set. Deep fried chicken for the whole family!

It`s Happy Christmas in Japan not Merry Christmas:
I guess this one is a simple cultural misunderstanding. They always say Happy Christmas instead of Merry Christmas. I have actually talked to several Japanese about the difference between `Happy` and `Merry.` They don`t see the difference between the two words. They see every western holiday celebrated using `Happy -------` so it makes sense to the Japanese to say Happy Christmas as well. I try to explain to them that merry implies a special spirit connected to Christmas. Having no religious connection to Christmas they miss the point.

Christmas Cake:
This is something I found completely different. I for one had never heard of a Christmas cake until I started living in Japan. Every year all the supermarkets and specialty shops offer up fine quality beautiful cakes to enjoy. Apparently, the Japanese are taking the Christmas Cake tradition from the Brits(at least it appears that way from the Wiki article). It is usually just a fancy sponge cake. I had one last year and it was pretty good. I plan on picking one up this year as well.

Wham! Last Christmas:
In Japan is seems their favorite Christmas song in English is `Last Christmas` by Wham. I often wonder why the Japanese fell in love with a shitty song by a shitty pop band from the 80`s? Almost every place I go in Tokyo I get treated to this damn song. The Japanese seem to care less that the song is not all that good. I think they like it because it has a easy melody and refers to a happier past(the Japanese are obsessed with the past).

A Japanese Christmas is a bit different from what I used to experience in the states but I enjoy the holiday season all the same.

What do you find different about Christmas in Japan?

Friday, December 11, 2009

The 1,000 Yen Tokyo Haircut

Getting a haircut in Tokyo can be expensive. Usually I go a guy who has been cutting my hair for a long time. I have even followed the guy when he switched shops from Harajuku and Shibuya. Well, times are tough for everyone and a 12,000 yen haircut is just not in my budget right now. I can style my own hair pretty good but I am not yet brave enough to do a DIY haircut. I decided the solution would be to break down and get a 1,000 yen ten minute haircut.

I had heard about the amazing 1,000 yen ten minute haircut for a while but never got one. I don`t let just anyone touch my hair but when money gets low and hair gets too long a ten minute haircut starts to sound like a good idea. So, while enjoying a night out I stopped at Kita-Senju and rolled into one these infamous 1,000 yen hair cut joints.

The deal is pretty straight forward. You walk in and feed a little machine 1,000 yen. After you pony up the 1,000 yen the little machine spits out a ticket. There are a row of about two or three people standing next to chairs. You choose the express barber of your choice and the process get underway. Now, there is no way in hell you can get a full cut in ten minutes. Rather, the deal seems to be a quick trim with no fuss. If your Japanese is not so good make sure to bring a native speaker along with you. There is no time to try and explain what you want in broken Japanese. Currently I have been growing my pomp out bigger so all I wanted was to trim up the back part of my hair. My gal told them what I wanted and before my ass evened settled into the seat it was all over.

I cannot say it was the best haircut I had ever received but the job got done none the less. So if you need a quick trim and don`t have the cash for a professional to attack your hair the 1,000 yen haircut is the way to go.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

What Ever I Do in Life At Least I Did Not Marry A Video Game

Like most people, I have done several things which are not up to moral snuff. Sometimes people tell me, `You have lived a pretty unique life so far Ghost.` My response to this is, `If I wrote a book about my life, and was completely honest, no one would believe it.` If I ever write that infamous book one chapter will surely be missing: The Time I Married A Video Game. The reason said chapter will be missing is because I never have or will marry a damn video game. The same cannot be said for a Japanese man by the name of Sal9000. According to Sal9000 recently went completely off his rocker and married a video game girl from a popular game called Love Plus.

Some people may say I should be more understanding of post-modern Japanese culture. I do in many ways try my best to humor some of the more unique aspects of post-modern culture here in J-land, but marrying a fucking video game is pushing `We are Japanese and have a unique culture` attitude a bit too far. If anyone in Japan is still clueless as to why the population is decreasing they have to look no further than the case of Sal9000 and his video game wife. What the hell is going on inside the mind of some young Japanese guys these days? There is no way the women in Japan have become so strong willed that the men have been scared to the point of marrying video games. I live in Japan and I know these gal are not that all that hard to deal with usually. They might bitch and moan a bit more than gals back home but for the most part they are pretty easy going in most cases.

What are Japanese guys expecting? Do they really need a completely passive brain dead chick hanging off them 24/7 to feel secure? I am completely baffled as to the reasoning of marrying a video game women. The only positive I can make out is almost no fighting. I don`t think it is possible to get into a screaming match with a video game wife. Sex is also completely out of the question. I wonder if he considered the lack of crazy hot sex when he decided to marry a video game? More than likely this dude either has never had sex or when he did it was so bad he does not want sex anymore.

In a update Sal9000 wrote a email to reporter Lisa Katayama announcing his plans to introduce his wife his to mom and pop soon. I am sure his parents are gonna flip when his shows them his so-called wife. I would not be surprised if his pop beats the crap out of him and smashes his DS into pieces. His mother will more than likely cry and blame herself for her son`s social failure.

Someone is going to have to sit this guy down and explain to him that marrying a video game is not acceptable. I only hope he comes to his senses and gets a real women.

Monday, November 30, 2009

November was a Tough One

I have not been blogging much in the month of November. I must be honest and tell yall, November has been a tough month. A lot of shit has went down in the past 30 days. The level of stress has damn near broke me but here I stand all the same. I have seen a lot of crazy shit in my day but what has been going down recently goes beyond anything I have experienced. This dirty city I call home had finally decided it was `my turn` so to speak over the past 30 days.

I have learned something very important about Tokyo; when people become scared they get mean and brutal. Friendships and bonds melt away real quick. Humanity shows its true ugly side in Tokyo when times get tough. It seems rather than pull together in hard situations my fellow Tokyojin turn on each other. Loyalties are put into question and good people get hurt. It can be shocking at times the level of madness people will go to in order to save their own ass.

I try to understand all the things going on around me recently. Human emotion can be a funny thing sometimes. People do things out of fear or stress, which under normal conditions, would never dream of doing. Once people go into defensive mode all you can do is try to survive. It does not matter how hard you try to show you have not tried to fuck them over; they will think anyway they want. Emotion will take control over even the most mature person. Get caught in the cross fire and you are sure to suffer some injury. I am just glad this month is over. All I can do is focus on my job and manage my personal life.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Workaholic: Tokyo Style

It is well known that in Japan people tend to work long hours, and at times take very few days off. Many people live the workaholic lifestyle. In Tokyo the workaholic lifestyle is taken to new heights in a hyper reality sense of the term. I have seen people work late into the night and get paid very little overtime. Some folks will work a week or more before getting an off day. Now, it is my turn.

From November I will be working six days a week. My only off day will be Monday. When I first got the orders from my company I have excited and shocked. I was excited because, in truth, I really like working. The men in my family long ago ingrained the idea in me that A man`s life is judged by his hard work and achievements. My shock came from the long distance from my house to the three different branches I will be working. I will be going to Yokohama, Kokubunji, and Kamata every week. There will be a lot of traveling and working for me.

My record for working without a day off in Japan is 12. That was tough but I enjoyed it because I was out in the thick of things everyday. To be honest, sitting at home really drives me nuts sometimes. Maybe I feel a little `boxed-in` staying inside too much. I get this bend up energy when I am static too long. I must be `out in the shit` as much as possible.

The down side of a fast hard working lifestyle is the damage to my body. Little things add up over time. After too many drinking benders, lack of sleep, long work days and other such madness I start to get a little run down. Its all about balance I suppose.

Anyway, a six day work week will be fun for sure. It will keep things interesting. What is your record for working without a day off in Japan?

Monday, October 19, 2009

Come Here Boy!

Okay. Something happen to me this past Friday I think is worth sharing. I handled the situation cool as ice but it pissed me off beyond all measure. Yet instead of going off in a rant, I will simply report the event to internet land and allow judgment to be passed as such.

This past Friday I was in Shibuya. I was about to come out of a back alley onto center gai. I was feeling good just being out and enjoying hanging in Shibuya for a bit. It was about 2:00 p.m. and all seemed calm. Suddenly, seemly out of know where three cops on my ass like horny gay bikers. It is creepy how these boys can sneak up on people. They try to surround me but I was able to get myself a little wiggle room; just in case. Their gang consisted of two old men and one young buck.

The two old men spoke no English at all but the young buck seem pretty fluent. The young buck quickly said, `Sorry sir but this is a police check. Please submit.` I quickly answered, `Why are you doing this? I don`t understand why you are talking to me.` The only response I got was, `Police check. Police check. Submit sir.` A voice in the back of my head said, `punch one of them in the face and run` but I knew that would be a very bad idea. So I said, `Okay. What do you want?`

The old men started asking for my gaijin card(yes they actually called it gaijin card) and requesting I empty all my pockets. The young buck seem to have a different intetest in me. He wanted to talk in English with me. He made casual conversation with me while the two old men raped me from top to bottom. He asked me my nationality and what my hobbies were. He then went on to explain that his sister married an American from Milwaukee. The young buck says he favorite beer is now Miller high life.

Anyway, the two old men really had their way with me. They made me remove everything from my pockets. Even the bits of random paper had to go! They struggle to go though my leather jacket. My jacket has many pockets with strong zippers. I had to help them with the zippers. LOL!

In the end they got their fill of me. They gave everything back to me and let me go. They never explained why they stopped me and searched me from head to toe.

What do yall think?

Fucked up?

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Japan`s Lost Generation

I have heard many references to the `lost generation` of Japan. I have also come across many attempts to define the meaning of the term. As I have discovered, most attempts to define Japan`s lost generation only touched on one part of a much larger and far reaching issue which shakes the very core of Japanese society.

A quick search on google and you can find countless references to Japan`s lost generation. Some articles focus on the growing problem of suicide among the youth. Others zero in on the Hikikomori; people who completely fall out of society and become hermits. From what I have learned about Japan`s lost generation, Hikikomori become hermits because society demands so much that they fall behind and `give up.` They locked themselves in their bedrooms refusing to come out. Instead of reaching out to these folks, Japanese society pushes on leaving the Hikikomori to becomes ghost in the shadows.

Before I go any deeper into this let me just say I am by no means an `expert` on Japanese culture. It is just that I live here. I see and experience so much living in the land of the raising sun. Japan is kind of my home. I feel that sometimes it is worth sharing my thoughts on the culture of this island called Japan.
*just had to go ahead and say this to prevent some asshole fucker coming along later and starting some shit. God Damn the Internet!

Anyway where was I...

The Hikikomori was just one part of a much larger group of young Japanese known as Japan`s Lost Generation. It seems there is an entire generation of Japanese being left in the dust and forgotten about. A lot of them are highly educated and intelligent. Yet, due to situations beyond their control they did not get a chance to live up to their true potential. Some of them have been working for a while now. They got stuck in lower paying jobs waiting for their `turn at the table.` Sadly, they got passed over. I have seen first hand people in their late twenties and early thirties get overlooked for higher paying jobs in favor of younger `freshmen` entering the work force. This is just not happening in the job market but from within companies as well. Again I have seen examples of freshmen entering companies and getting higher paying jobs and positions than the `lost generation` types who have been working for said company for several years.

Yet, the lost generation seems to be not just one generation of Japanese youth. It appears that the social ills which created the lost generation is effecting a new generation of Japanese. The video I linked to earlier in this post features a few shots of young Japanese hanging in Shibuya in a very down and out manner. I can offer witness that if you go to Shibuya any night of the week you can see these kids. They really have nothing better to do than hang out in Shibuya looking for something to get into. I can relate this these kids. I remember growing up damn poor in an area with little opportunity to get ahead in the world. I saw a lot of kids give up pretty quickly in the mountains of West Virginia. A lot of them would end up just hanging out everyday doing drugs and getting into fights. While a lot of Shibuya`s lost do not get into fights so often, I am willing to bet that a lot of them are living a lifestyle of daily drug use, at the same time, using sex to make a little yen and provide the majority of their entertainment. These kids have fallen though the cracks in a system which does not provide a place for them in society.

So, how can Japan`s `lost youth` have hope of a decent future? Well like I said, I am not the expert on Japanese culture. There are many sides to the problem of Japan`s lost generation. Yet, I think that there must be a change in Japanese society. It might be a good idea for Japanese society to be more accepting of people who think a little different. It seems that when the economy went bust during the 90`s Japan did not know what do to with their upcoming youth; so they did nothing. These people grew up without knowing what to expect; so they expected nothing. Maybe Japanese society should stop thinking there is only one way to live life and be successful. A little outside the box thinking would be good for Japanese society. You know, when a person cannot hang with the `social standard` there should be other options for them to live a happy successful life.

I struggle to understand the idea of `get with it or get left behind.` Where is the logic is simply leaving anyone who cannot keep up with the pace in the dust to fade away? In order to avoid the social ill of a `lost generation` other life paths must be developed for people who are a little different. Not everyone is going to be a future leader of society. Of course, everyone should be pushed a little to achieve the highest level of success but not everyone is interested in such a goal. It is these kind of issues Japanese society is going to have to face up to sooner or later.

Friday, October 9, 2009

The `No Pain Doctor` Yanked A Tooth Out Of Me

So, my good friend the `no pain doctor` yanked a tooth out my head today. He has been doing `a lot of work` on my teeth as of late. He actually worked on one tooth for an entire month! Well, today he pulled one of my wisdom teeth which had been cutting into the tooth beside it. He knew it had to be done, and today he finally did the dirty deed.

I have to admit I was not exactly looking forward to having a tooth pulled. Having one less tooth in my head kind of freaks me out. Teeth are not something I can grow back. I only get one set of teeth for my entire life. So you can understand why I felt just a little uneasy as I he reached into my mouth and started his work. To his credit, the good doctor was very concerned about my level comfort. He kept saying to me, `If you feel any pain please do not hesitate to express the pain.` Well I expressed the pain alright. He ended up numbing my mouth pretty good. I think the nurse got a kick out of me requesting more and more novacaine.

Actually, I was surprised by the care that everyone involved took in pulling the tooth. I got great after service. Instead of the `English speaking doctor` another doctor explain to me the meds and after care. She was a nice lady who spoke damn good English. For once I actually felt like they gave a flying fuck about me.

Anyway, I got one less tooth in my head. Although, the epic is not over yet. He still has plenty of work(money) to do(make) before he is finished with me.

Don`t worry I am getting good and drunk this evening. I think I deserve it. He told me not to drink but fuck him. The bastard pulled a tooth out of me. I went down to the local supermarket with the gal and bought a six back of cheap ass beer to ease the pain. I am also popping a few of those pain killers the doc gave me as well. Pain killers and beer are usually a good combo as long as I do not over do it. Like my grandma always said, `you can take the boy out of the country but you cannot take the country out of the boy.`

Monday, October 5, 2009

How Did English Teachers Get Such a Bad Rap?

I have read and heard so much about how English teachers in Japan are `scum ball losers who drink all the time, make trouble all the time, and sleep around all the time.` It seems a lot of folks out there love to talk shit about English teachers in Japan. It seems to be a favorite pass time of many; both on the net and in real life. I have read many `articles` about how bad examples of human beings English teachers in Japan are these days. Some people even go as far as to say that there are very few `good` English teachers in Japan. Some folks say things like: `English teachers in Japan are lazy good for nothings`,`They are just getting paid to speak their native language`, `English teachers do not teach they entertain.` These are just a few of the comments I have come across.

In truth, I have not seen so much proof to back-up the reputation which many wish to place on English teachers in Japan. Many teachers like to drink and have a good time but most people like to do such things. In Tokyo for example, most people like to get a good and drunk on a regular basis. In fact, I see more crazy drunk Japanese than I do gaijin.

Everyone has their crazy stories. Maybe the difference is gaijin are more willing to share their life experiences than Japanese people. Japanese do plenty of crazy shit in the name of having a good time. They seem to keep much more quiet about it than gaijin. A Japanese women, for example, will go out and get into all kinds of crazy shit and not tell anyone about it. They will show up to work the next day like nothing happened. They tend to play it cool. The same goes for Japanese men.

So, English teachers do crazy shit and do not try to hide it so much. If an English teacher goes out and gets drunk as a skunk and hooks up with some gal you will know it the next day at work. If he does not tell you will know by his behavior. He will be a little slow and maybe even smell like the gal he spend the night with. As long as he does he job, I do not understand why people give him any shit for what he does outside of work. What a teacher does outside of work is his/her own business!

Sleeping with Students:

Okay. This is something which gets much more attention when it should. Yeah, it does happen sometimes. I do not condone it. A lot of people say it is a bad idea. They usually give professional reasons and job security as explanations. There is another side to this issue which most people do not talk about as much.

There is a much more deeper reason for avoiding sleeping with your students than losing your job. Students talk to each other about the teachers. They spread rumors faster than staff could ever dream. Once you sleep with one student, the rest of them will know about it real quick. How is this a bad thing? Well, Japanese do not like teachers who sleep with students! It will cost you, not only lessons, but also number of students per-lesson. You know what that means: less money for you! Although this is not the major reason gaijin English teachers have got a bad rap.

I am going to go ahead and say it now: it is because you are not Japanese. It is one of the those situations in which you are damned if you do and damned if you don`t. If you dress in a good looking suit and teach English decently well, be prepared to have shit talked about you by Japanese and fellow gaijin alike. If you become really good at teaching English the flood gates of shit talk will never end.

So, how did English teachers in Japan get a bad rap? It is because the majority of people in Japan want them to have a bad rap.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

What is in a Gaijin`s Mail Box?

After you properly establish yourself in Japan you will start to get mail. When I say `properly established` I mean a decent apartment(not a guest house), have all the utilities turned on, cell phone service etc. So, what kind of mail can you expect to get? Well, that depends on what you consider to be mail.

I get a lot of stuff from pizza places. I guess this is because I order pizza enough to get my address added to their mailing list in black ink. Most people just throw those away but sometimes those leaflets have some pretty decent deals. I also get a lot of useless crap that gets on my nerves more than anything else.

From time to time I do get some crazy shit in my mail box. I will say it simply: PORN. For some god damn reason I get some form of porn in my mail box from time to time. I don`t know how this started, or if it is even common, but someone in Japan is under the impression I am a porn freak.

There is usually two types of porn I get in my mail box. The first type is ads for DVD`s. These are sick DVD`s too. The kind of stuff that you usually have to go to the Cho to find. I don`t know why they think I am interested in watching old women having sex with college boys.

The second type I get is ads for hostess bars. It does not really count as porn but I have heard those `ladies` are always looking for a papa-san. Well, I don`t make the kind of money to afford a whining young chick who likes to shop in Ginza. They will just have to do without me visiting their bar.

Besides porn and pizza ads I usual get the monthly bills, community newsletters, wing-nut religious crap, and well wishes from my in-laws. The gal gets all those girl mags, which I find slightly amusing by her excitement then they arrive in the mail.

So, for all people living here in Japan: Do you get anything odd in your mail box? If you get anything really strange please share in the comments below.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Cheap Ass 7-11 Beer Gets You Drunk!

For all of you who currently live in Japan, I know you have seen it. That vile looking six pack of beer costing only 687 yen at the 7-11. Your better judgment guides you directly away from anything with a 7-11 logo on it calling itself `The Brew.` You take one look at it and say, `Fuck that I got standards.` Well fuck you too! Some of us need to drink for effect not taste or pride. In such situations our good friends at 7-11 have teamed up with Suntory to offer up the Japanese version of Redneck beer called `The Brew.`

Yes my friends, the brew is cheap as shit and will get you drunk. Throw taste completely out the window. Also, give up your pride when slapping a six pack of this stuff in front of the young gal working at your local 7-11. Trust me, you are not the first over worked and underpaid gaijin to buy this shit. I have even seem a few Japanese dudes go for it a few times. You know, in these hard economic times cheap beer is good for the soul.

Actually, I am no stranger to cheap beer. Back in the mountains of West Virginia we were known to get drunk on Natural Light very often. We made no bones about our intentions when picking up a case of `Natties.` Natural Light is true Redneck beer and 7-11`s The Brew matches it on all levels:

5% alcohol
Watered down flavor
Taste like the crap on the floor of the brewery
Gets you drunk!

When you want to get drunk and do not care about the quality of the beer; 7-11 beer is for you!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

On My Own In Tokyo

For the past several weeks I have been on my own here in Tokyo. The little lady decided she wanted to get the hell out of Tokyo for a while. Tokyo is a real intense experience for her. Sometimes this city really kicks her ass causing her to need a break. So while she has been hiding out in her home town, I have been holding the fort down here in Tokyo.

I have been keeping our place in mostly decent shape. I need do a full cleaning from top to bottom before she comes back next week. You know, just come basic maintenance. There are a few small messes I have been overlooking. I account this to the natural laziness of the male condition. Although, I have been handling the laundry pretty good. I have a new found appreciation for her skill at using a clothes iron. I am straighten out my dress shirts well enough, but my suit pants are a different matter all together. I cannot get the crease right in my suit pants. So in order to maintain decent looking formal pants I have been hanging them up preventing from from developing wrinkles. I may have to still give in and take a few of them to dry cleaners.

Cooking really has not been a problem. I am a decent cook. I have been eating good almost every night. Actually, I had some pretty good meals recently because I can cook exactly what I want. Eating Japanese food every damn night kind of gets to me after a while.

While I have been completely on my own I have been drinking a bit more. I guess it is just a way to pass the time after work. I noticed it was getting a little out of hand so I slacked off the past few days. It is no fun going to work feeling like shit and hung over too many days in a row.

Any damn way, I am up real early today. I had a little trouble sleeping and only got in a few hours. Coffee and Heavy Metal is my wake up call this morning. I might get in a bowl of cereal a little later.

The gal is expected to arrive back in Tokyo Monday or Tuesday of next week. I miss her. It would be good see her again.

Monday, September 28, 2009


I get this strange feeling of being an outlaw of sorts in Tokyo. Not only am I a minority by default but i am also kind of unique among my fellow gaijin. I have noticed that there are not a lot of southern people in Japan. If my memory serves me right, I have only met two people from the rebellious south. So I am a rare breed indeed here in the land of the raising sun.

I have experiences that a lot of people here just don`t have. For example, how many people living in Japan can say they have floated down the tug river on a car hood with a small gang of friends drinking cheap wine? I have clear memories of hanging-out at an abandoned poor drinking 40oz, smoking weed, and trying to deal with the shit situation life had handed us. My education on the `way life works` is very different from my fellow Tokyojin.

The uniqueness of my life experience sometimes causes misunderstandings. While this is expected, it stills gets under my skin sometimes. I have to give the Japanese a lot of `benefit of the doubt` due to the fact I am from a different culture. They sometimes don`t understand why I have tattoos, speak with a heavy southern accent, speak my mind as I wish, and enjoy breaking the rules a little(these are just a few things they have a hard time wrapping their head around). What gets them the most I think is the fact that I display an extreme lack of worrying about `saving face.`

I tend to stick to my own individuality even when I should just `go with the flow` at times. It really throws them for a loop when I express an opinion that is opposite from everyone else at the table. I think the Japanese sometimes feel I am disagreeing with them, when in reality I am simply expressing my own take on any given issue. I actually find it a little funny when they all stop talking and look at each other in amazement. It is as if they do not know how to react to an opinion different from the group.

There is also the whole thing of some Japanese finding me to be so-called `scary.` I know I am a little rough, yet that is not what is freaking them out at times. When I walk to do so in a very upright manner or with my hands in my pockets while slightly slouching my shoulders. My hair is also something which gets them sometimes. I wear a pomp which I have come to find out the majority of Japanese associate with `bad people.` Feeling no desire to change my choice of dress or manner of walking, I try to win them over with my `sparkling personality.` It seems the Japanese don`t take well to people who are a little edgy. They seem to like shit eating grins and rainbow happiness, which is not what I am about at all. I have had to learn to show them I am okay just a little different from most people. It takes time but eventually they get what I am all about. A few times I took it as far to explain to them the `greaser lifestyle.` I also have had a few request for knowledge about The American South.

The Japanese are a interesting bunch for sure. They seem to misunderstand people way too easy. You have to give in to them a bit for them to be able to make any attempt to try and understand you. It is strange for sure but I enjoy the challenge.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Cheese Flyes

From time to time I am sure every good man dives head first into a drinking binge. Sometimes it take a while for all the stress and anger to build up to the boiling point; yet it always does. Instead of going ape shit crazy, most guys simple hit the bars for a few days to blow off steam. This is what I have been going the past several days.

It all started Monday when it became my mission to drink the stress away. I met up with Jordan from Chiri mo tsumoreba. We hung out in Shibuya at a 300 yen boor bar on center gai. We got a pretty good beer buzz going before wondering around the local area.

While at the 300 yen beer bar I noticed something on the menu which is completely new to me. `Cheese Flyes` seems to be the house special. I know I should not give the Japanese too much crap for their English skill; yet sometimes it is too funny not to mention. They were trying to spell `Cheese Fries` although they spelled it according to the Japanese ascent so they wrote `Cheese Flyes.` Such misadventures in English provide cheap laughs when drunk.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Against the Grain

It is not easy going against the grain in the land of the raising sun. It becomes even harder when you are living in the capital city of Tokyo. As I expected, like most national capitals in the world, Tokyo is very corrupt. The corruption in this city transcends anything I have never experienced. As usual, the root of the corruption focuses on power and money. I have come to learn this because I have seen and dealt with the corruption in Tokyo first hand.

Corruption in Tokyo business usually comes in two forms; politically driven or power driven.

WARNING: before I go any further if you are corrupted, been blinded by corruption, refuse to admit or stand-up to corruption, or seek to somehow benefit from corruption you will not enjoy this blog post. In fact, you may even grow to hate me deeply.

Anyway, as I was saying...

Politically driven Business corruption in Tokyo

It usually starts in business when a man, or women, attains too much power too quickly. It is common that this person is also not prepared mentally or emotionally for such responsibility. In time others realize that the person in question is not fit for their title. It is at that time when corruption starts to poison the company. The person in question tends to do anything to secure their power. They will lie and spin facts to put themselves in the best light while attempting to put everyone who have contact with them in the worst light. This person is very dangerous and will come after you in time. They will try everything possible to trip you up and get you to say something for the purpose of controlling you or getting you fired.

Said person usually has gained their position due to a power vacuum which needed to be plugged quickly. Having few options the company hands over the position to a person of questionable morals and ability. This happens from time to time due to the aggressive nature of the job market for foreign workers. Now, not every person who finds themselves suddenly in a position of power becomes corrupt; yet it happens often. If you see this kind of thing develop avoid at all cost.

Do not let anyone play politics with you in Tokyo at work. It is a poisonous game which can have very damaging effects on your career. Many hard working people of good nature have had their careers ruined in this city due to one wicked bastards little political game. Although, all I have written so far is only a taste of just how far some people will take the `art` of politics at work. It goes much more deeper than what I have written here.

Power Corruption

Power corruption is closely related to political corruption at the work place with one major difference. When power corruption occurs it is usually for the sake of power itself. I often call those involved in power corruption `social climbers.` It is there goal to attain as much power as possible. They often say, `nothing personal, just business.` I really believe, for these kind of people, it is not about the money. They don`t give a damn how much money they make. It all about the power for them. These people are more dangerous than the politically corrupt in the world of foreign workers in Tokyo.

What really gets me about these types is that they have no mercy on anyone; regardless of the situation. They WILL use anything you say against you for the purpose of furthering their own agenda for power within a given company. If you are not in a position of proper title it is best to avoid any social contact with these types. Reason being is that it is not a friendly evening out for these types. For them, it is a change to trip you up and find a way to put you in their back pocket.

To be clear not every foreigner in Tokyo is like this. In fact, politically and power corrupt assholes are not common at all; but they are out there. All I am trying to say is be careful. I assume most people are smart enough to pick these bastards out pretty quickly. I have met my fair share of scum bags during my time here in Tokyo so far. I have learned how to judge who is `cool` to hang with in Tokyo. It took some time but I think I got the hang of it.

I am still going against the grain here in the land of the raising run. So all you opportunistic assholes looking to screw over your own mother in the pursuit of success can kiss my American ass!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Common People

I have always been one of the many, overworked, overlooked, underpaid and disrespected common people. You know, someone just like you. It may seem I am a little crazy, but that is just because life is hard and I need to laugh in order to make it though. Don`t worry I understand what you are going though. Everyday is just like the day before it seems. People trying to screw each other over everyday for a few extra pennies in their pocket; and maybe a little pride. Yeah...I do it too.

It is not easy being one of the common people. While fat under worked pigs drink wine and laugh at you, another days work seems to ever end fast enough. Some cheap beer, good friends and a sweet gal is all you really have to look forward to. Yeah...I deal with it too.

As common people we just keep pushing along. We hang out on the street and drink because we don`t have enough money to sit in the bar away from the cold. We stare at the pretty girl passing by and wonder what it would be like to sleep with her. We know she thinks we are losers, but that does not stop us from dreaming. Sometimes we even get the nerve to say, `Yo! Pretty girl! What is your name?` She smiles and keeps on walking. It is okay with us because at least we tried. Yeah...I saw her too.

Sometimes it is okay to be common people. Sometimes the boss gets us a seat at the bar; and a nice discount too. We know where all the best hang-out spots are at. We get to fall in love just for the hell of it. We can laugh when we lose our job. Our friends buy us a beer and cheap dinner when we get a promotion. We can stay out all night getting into trouble with the girl down the street. We get to let the office girl at work dry her tears with our dress shirt when her boss yells at her. We fight the bullies and the bad boyfriends. Yeah! We are the common people so FUCK YOU!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

I Think I Have Had a Personal Breakthough

Over the past several weeks something has been trying to burst out from me. Some deeper understanding of, not only who I am, but the very nature of life itself. I have been under such an extreme state of stress and worry recently that something spoke to my inner self. It is as if my entire being has been changing to a different level of understanding. Something just started to change inside of me. Odd as hell I know, but I been feeling different.

It all started when I was bored and watched two different films. The first one was about how Albert Einstein discovered the theory of relativity. The other was about John Nash and game theory. Both films where documentaries about these two men and their life work. Both of them are pretty much loony as hell but they did discover some pretty amazing stuff.

After getting a good understanding about the theory of relativity, from reading some books, I really felt kind of empty inside. Kind of like I suddenly had this big hole inside of me. The part of me which used to fill up with stress is left empty. I cannot seem to refill my daily need for stress. I have realized that everything is just condensed energy and everyone is connected. It is kind of hard to feel the pressure of stress when I know everyone is connected though the transfer of energy. Maybe I have become more condensed so negatively charged energy cannot be transferred to me. So maybe the trick to being more peaceful is maintaining my energy to be as condensed as possible. Pretty deep stuff for a person like myself but this is where my mind is at lately.

Game theory has also been an interest of mine recently. Game theory is the basis for all modern methods of business and economics. It is all about how to beat the competition by predicting what they will do based on your actions. It can be kind of complex but I got a decent handle on it. It has helped me to understand why a lot of my co-workers do some of the shit they do. For game theory to work in your favor, you must understand what the others players hope to achieve. They will react to your actions based on what they want. The more you understand game theory the easier it becomes to influence people. I am going to put it into practice at work and see how it goes.

Anyway. I think I have had a personal breakthrough. I have realized stress can only effect me if my energy is not condensed enough to resist the transfer of negatively charged energy. I have also realized that people do in fact react to my actions based on their own agenda. What does this all mean? If I keep myself focused on the hear and now I will be much more happy.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

The `No Pain Doctor` with Social Health Care

The picture I uploaded to this blog post is the actual social health care plan that Obama is trying to force feed to the American people. Pretty confusing; right? I can only guess as to how much it is going to cost tax payers. I can imagine that Japan`s social health plan is just as big and more than likely cost twice as much as Obama`s plan. None the less, my crazy ass pays into Japan`s social health care plan. I do not do this willing mind you. It is one of those carrot on a stick situations. Either I pay into the social health care so I can get a permanent visa down the road, or not pay it and let the Japanese government give me a hard time later. Well, I have pretty much made Japan my home so here I am paying into this damn social health care crap.

After paying into the system for some time now, I have finally been taking advantage of other people`s money. Over the past month I have been making regular visits to the `no pain` doctor. He is a dentist who promises effective pain free treatment. So far he has lived up to the `no pain` part. Yet I am wondering why every time I go he does very little work in my teeth. It has taken him a month to complete a root canal on one tooth. I am starting to wonder if he is taking advantage of the system. I mean, if I was paying out of pocket I am sure he would not be taking this long. I have had a root canal before and it took only one day to complete. It was much more painful but completed much faster. Due to the social health care system, I have lost the ability to complain about the length of time he is taking to complete work on one tooth. So, I cannot complain much because my in-person out of pocket cost is very low. In the mean time, he is making a killing on the tax payers dime taking his slow ass time to get anything done.

After every treatment he shows me what he did; which is not much. He works on only one small part of the root canal at a time. Why can`t he get the whole damn thing finished in one treatment? Well, I know why. It is trying to make as much money as he can. I guess I will just put up this his little money making game. He is the only Japanese dentist I know who can speak English well enough to communicate with me.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Mr. James and Foreign Darlings

In light of recent discussions concerning the latest McDonald`s Japan mascot, as well as an upcoming movie about a multicultural marriage, it is time I finally sit down and share my thoughts about racism and equality in Japan. I have avoided writing on this subject matter for a long time due to the attitude taken by many on the web towards anyone who brings up racial equality in Japan. It seems that when the above mentioned subject matter is brought up it is met with a boat load of loathing. It seems that racial equality in Japan is a subject which is delegated to jaded foreigners with a beef against the Japanese. Although simply venting a beef may be true in some cases, I believe that there is something deeper going on.

For the most part, it appears that bias towards non-Japanese is a well ingrained part of Japanese culture. I can see this more clearly than others due to my own unique cultural background. I grew up around a fair amount of racial bias. A vain of racism still runs though the culture in Southern American states. Although, racism is not nearly as overt as it has been in years past; it is something southern people struggle to come to terms with to this day. Yet unlike the Japanese, southern people at least try to overcome our short comings concerning racial understanding.

The latest up roar concerning McDonald`s Japan newest mascot `Mr. James` shows me that, for the large part, Japanese people are more than willing to accept racial stereotypes. I think it makes them feel comfortable as a society. The overt racial bias is a way for them to cope with being a unique homogeneous society. It seems to strike them in their own minds that, `We are all the same and everyone else is so different because we are somehow special and therefore on a higher level.` While the above mentioned thinking may seem to be unique to Japan, it is in fact common among other societies as well.

I refer again to my own experiences growing up in the American South. For the majority of the American South`s history it was homogeneous. The people of the south developed their own unique culture and dialect. They also have experienced geological isolation; in a similar way as the Japanese. It was commonly believed in the south, in much less degree today as compared to the past, that anyone not from the south was somehow too different to understand them. As you can see, cultures which are mostly homogeneous in nature and geologically isolated are more prone to develop strong racial bias. While these factors offer an explanation to the overt racial bias in Japan; it does not offer a solution to the problem.

The American South was so-called `opened up` by means of a social and political movement from all elements of it`s culture. The two main winds of change were the civil rights and New South movements. It took a lot of time and effort, yet today the American South stands as a testament to progress in the area of racial equality. While there are still problems, the south has largely been reformed.

Focusing back on Japan, it is clear that such social and political change has yet to get kick started. It seems as if Japan has never had a true civil rights movement. While there have been movements which led to women being able to live a mostly independent lifestyle, certain social groups gaining the ability to be upwardly mobile, and sexual liberation; Japan still lacks any anti-discrimination laws. It seems that gaijin(outside country person) have been kept in a iron clad box throughout Japan`s long and grand history.

Will Japan ever make a serious effort to become a more rascally equal society? It would take not only a major up raising of minorities but also mass support from Japanese people themselves. A dual effort by both factions of society will be ever bring about serious changes in race attitudes in Japan. Until then, Japan will always have `Mr. James` types characters and films expressing just now `odd` a gaijin husband is.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Interesting Summer

It has been an interesting summer so far. A lot of things have happened which have given me great joy and great grief. Yet, I am enjoying the summer of 2009 in Japan very much. I have had some good times so far. Although, it has been a little different from last summer. Maybe even a little tamer in some respects. I have had less all night randomness as compared to the summer of `08. I think my more tame behavior is due in large part to work keeping me in knots; but that is another story all together. It seems as if the god of chaos has decided to have mercy on me over the past few months. This is not to say that he does not toss me around from time to time.

So, I have been granted a little more calmness this summer. It has allowed me to be more reflective about the direction my life in heading. I have taken a good hard good at myself. There are things about myself I now realize others will most likely never accept. I am aware that I sometimes go over board with things. Other times I hold back a bit too much. In most cases this is not an extreme problem. It may be more of a personality clash. I tend to be a little tough at times. I have found that there are a lot of people in Tokyo who are not used my unique type of personality. I find a lot of passive aggressive and uptight personalities in Tokyo. These type of people often struggle to deal with a more rough and tumble person.

While I will not say city people are soft; I would say that city life does make a lot of people much more sensitive at times. Although, I must consider that Tokyo is not in American. Tokyo is in Japan which has a very different culture as compared to the states. Hell, I have witness people freaking out over a guy coming to work without a damn tie on.

Personality I have learned to laugh at the more sensitive members of Tokyo. It has made my summer more interesting. I will tell you something that made me laugh my ass off recently. I am the type of person who can only believe and accept a rule when it makes sense to me. So, I was talking to a co-worker on the phone while riding the train. It was important to talk to him. It could not wait until I was off the train. Sure enough, people slowly started staring at me with a `fuck you` expression. One Japanese guy finally said me, `In Japan it is bad to talk on the phone while riding the train.` My reply, ` I don`t fucking care. This conversation is more important than your stupid rule.` I though he was going to shit a brick. This guy looks at me like I have committed the ultimate sin. I waved him off and he takes the hint. What I thought was funny about the situation, was he was actually under the impression I would submit to him just because he said so. Damn these people need a wake-up call.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Pulling my Time..Handling my Business.

Another day has been fought, while not won, it has not been a losing effort either. I was able to get some much needed business rolling along well. There have been some very interesting e-mails floating around as of late. The kind of stuff which demands attention. I got it taken care of for now. People got contacted who needed contacting. Those who needed a little kick in the butt got kicked. I drudged though the sickness of greed and power plays to finally sit at home typing away on my home PC.

The stress of the day has not worn off completely yet. Hell, in Tokyo one can ever really shake the stress. Although, I do feel slightly relaxed and in far better shape compared to the mid-day balls to the wall rat racing. I drank a big bottle of beer when I got home. It helped a little but by no means was it enough. I would have drank more but payday looms around the corner leaving my wallet hungry for yen. When payday does arrive you may very well find me getting tanked down in the Cho. If the situation is right I may even enjoy the company of fellow drunken corporate dicks and leaches. Rest assured it will be all you can drink for me.

Sunday I must travel slightly outside Tokyo to a little place called Noborito. I have been there a few times before checking out the branch while doing E-vals and training. I never believed it would survive but to my surprise numbers have been up recently. I am not sure if this is due to keen sales or quality instructors but I am pleased all the same. I would really hate to see Noborito go under. We need to keep a decent foot hold in that area anyway. It looks to have a decent chance of becoming a stable branch. Hell, with the way the market is right now anything can happen during the 3rd and 4th quarters.

Yeah, I am pulling my time and handling my business here in our dirty little city called Tokyo. The ups and downs are really tough to deal with sometimes but I manage. Everyday something happens which shakes, and yet, reinforces my resolve to dig out a little life for myself here in Japan. So far, there have been parts of this process which has been far too easy. Although, there have been other parts which have proven to be much harder than I expected.

Another day will start up in a few hours. Maybe I will sleep for a bit. Maybe I will stayed glued to the hyper reality of the internet; catching two hours of sleep before getting ready for work. Either way it will do little to prepare my mind and body for another day of fighting the other bastards out there for a piece of the pie. Only pure will and stubbornness will give me the inner strength to put up a good fight.

The little voice in the back of my head says:

Yes, you are still in Tokyo. No. There is still no rest for the wicked.

Friday, August 7, 2009

The Reality of the Situation Is...

You know, truth be told Tokyo is not an easy place to live. On one hand you live in the largest and perhaps the most modern city in the world; there are many great and wondrous things to experience. On the other hand you live in one the most corrupt,sleazy, and cut-throat cities in the world. I often say to people back in the states, `Tokyo is one hell of a place, You never know what to expect.` The stress of living here day in and day out changes people. Many happy mentally sound people come to Tokyo and become something very different. Maybe its all the readily available sex, under handed business deals, all night drinking bars, the over crowded public transport, corrupt cops, compromised politicians, or eerie isolation which makes Tokyo such a twisted concrete jungle. Yet, there is something about Tokyo which can strip a person of who they are and recreate them into a completely different person.

I read all these blogs that talk about all the cool and odd things in Japan, which are okay, but it is rare for me to read a blog post talking about the raw experience of living in Tokyo. There are many blogs which I enjoy reading. There are some people who put a lot of effort into their blogs. I am impressed by the fruit of their labor. Yet, I wonder about these people`s personal experience of living in Tokyo day in and day out. I guess they are not willing to expose the reality of living in Tokyo. I can only guess as to why many people are not writing about the hard edged Tokyo lifestyle which shapes the micro-culture of the city.

Anyway, Tokyo changes people. This I can say is very true. It does not matter if you are Japanese or Gaijin; this city will recreate you as a person. It is a tough city in reality. There is little room for politeness(unless money is involved). You have got to fight to get though the day sometimes. Everyone is in a hurry and few people care about anything not concerning their own life. A lot of people come to Tokyo with stars in their eyes. They cannot see the grit and hard pressed lifestyle which awaits them. I guess this is why a lot of people leave Tokyo within three years. You have to become a very hard person rather quickly to survive in Tokyo. Many people do not want to do that. They want Akiba weirdness and Harajuku fun time everyday. Once they realize things are not the way they thought; it effects them in a way which does not sit well with them.

They start to get a taste of the unspoken racism and bias which infects the city. At least one landlord will turn them down because they are gaijin. Some whore house down in the Cho turns them away because they are not Japanese. When they pull their first all nighter in Shibuya and realize after hours in Tokyo is even more crazy than they ever expected. Let them go weeks without anyone speaking to them other than for business. Enjoy Cup Noodle and cheap Beer for dinner a few weeks in a row. Spend a few night getting tanked at the HUB. Deal with `unique` personalities from your co-workers in your English school company. Take it all in and bit your lip everyday. Welcome to Tokyo.

As for me, I like this dirty little city. It fits me well. The reality of the situation is...Tokyo is a fucked up place but a hell of a town.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Why it is hard to do Business with the Japanese

To say it is difficult to do business with the Japanese is putting the situation very lightly. Despite what you may think, doing business with the Japanese is like trying to get a lion and a rabbit to have turkey dinner together. The Japanese are the hardest people to work with by far. Some of you may be thinking, `But they are so nice and understanding all the time. They must be real easy to work with.` Truth be told, they are not so nice and rarely understanding. They are nice on the surface and only say they understand the situation. Before you so off on a tangent, please allow me to explain.

There is a common believed myth floating around that the Japanese work together for the greater good of all employees and the company. This is the biggest lie I have ever heard about Japanese society. In a Japanese run company everyone is out to get each other. There is almost no trust, while at the same time, lies and rumors fly around like flies at a slaughter house. It is a cold cut-throat environment which causes many people to develop some serious mental illness; just ask any former Geos J-staff about developing a serious mental illness.

The Japanese tend to micro-manage everything to the point of killing off any room for on the fly decision making and flexibility. They follow `policy` and `procedural` regardless of what the situation may demand. In many cases, I have witnessed Japanese follow protocol even when it is clearly obvious a little outside the box thinking is necessary. More surprising is when someone does bend the rules a little to get something done, their fellow co-workers attack them like sharks. They will try to get each other fired over the smallest misstep. They will go after their boss and anyone else who shows any crack in the armor.

On the corporate level the Japanese are real stone cold bastards. They attempt to make everything personal. In house fighting is common and often resulting in business wars which are the thing of legend. If you get caught in the crossfire there is a good change you are going down. If you get in the way of a power struggle the Japanese will send you to the gallows real quick. They do not care who you are or how much experience you have; if they want what you got they will go to extreme ends to get it. When they realize you have power from within the company it burns them up inside. There will be those in a Japanese company who will always seek to take out the person above them. So sadly, in order to maintain your power and influence you have to play politics with them very carefully.

Overall, I must say the Japanese do keep things interesting. Yet, at the end of the day, all the cold blooded business wars they get caught up in usually results in lost profits and constant pressure and stress. I think if they would just get laid more they might chill out a little.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Ice Coffee In Japan: Beat the Summer Heat and Get Jacked at the Same Time

I had never heard of the idea of Ice Coffee until I came to Japan. To me coffee was always black, bitter, and hot(just like a gal I fooled around with a little a few years ago). It was the stuff that got me going in the morning and when I felt low on go juice. Until life brought me to Japan, I was of the opinion that coffee was the devil`s crack. Well, I have come to understand that coffee can be more than just a quick jolt of energy to keep you sharp. It can also be a great way to beat the unforgiving heat of summer.

Now days, I have been known to have a tall class of ice coffee for the sake of cooling off rather than just for getting myself sharp for whatever activity I choose to engage in. It is actually pretty good. Usually, I have been known to indulge in a class of ice coffee to relax and cool off my over heated body. Hell, there are few things better than having a nice ice coffee while enjoying a walkabout in Tokyo.

It really adds to a day of wondering around Tokyo during the summer. It does not take much to start feeling like a wet rat running away from an angry dog on the streets of Tokyo; Shibuya is most likely the place to feel this way considering it does have a slight rat problem.

There is only one problem with enjoying ice coffee; you may end up enjoying it too much. While it does really hit the spot on a hot summer day; if you drink too much you end up getting way too jacked-up. This happened to me once while working recently. I had four classes before work and was almost bouncing off the walls. Lucky enough, I was not teaching that day or else lower level students would have never been able to understand anything I was saying.

Of course nothing beats a cold beer on a hot day in Tokyo; but ice coffee comes pretty damn close.

So, do you enjoy ice coffee? How much to you drink on a real hot day in Tokyo?

Friday, July 10, 2009

Beware of Greasers on Bicycles

Well, it seems that there is a problem with greasers on bicycles here in Adachi-ku,Tokyo. The problem has apparently gotten so bad that a sign is needed to warm people of crashes between speed demon greasers on bicycles. LOL

The sign has actually been up for a while. It is located across a bridge down form my apartment. The look of a greaser is uncanny. The two careless riders are wearing white T-shirts, blues jeans, and have their hair all greased up. It is kind of funny actually. The idea of greasers riding bicycles is odd enough. I have never seen greasers riding bicycles in Japan or elsewhere. I wonder what the person making the sign was thinking.

`Those damn greasers better stop riding their bicycles like crazy people. Someone is gonna get hurt for sure. I know; lets make a sign warning them to be careful. That will show them!`

In fact, I have never seen anyone crash into each other at that little intersection. There are some factories down the road so not many people would be riding their bicycles in that direction in the first place. The intersecting road leads off into a little section of town with a few small shops and restaurants. During the day a lot of school kids can be been riding their bicycles in the area; due to a jr/senior high school nearby. In the morning a lot of salarymen, housewives, and factory workers can be been riding their bicycles to work and otherwise. Yet, I still have not seen anyone, greaser or otherwise, crash into each other.

So, why put a damn sign up in the first place? I guess this is yet another fine example of the extreme Japanese risk avoidance thing in full effect. I have noticed that the Japanese will make laws and issue warnings, `Just in case.` They tend to think about every possible thing that could go wrong and create laws and policies to avoid anyone saying, `But you never said anything.` I must admit, it gets on my damn nerves sometimes. Doing business with them can be just as hellish. You basically have to beg them to agree to anything. Even if what you say makes perfect sense, they will come up with some reason to say no. It can take hours to get them to agree on a policy change.

Anyway, us greasers will make sure if we ever actually ride a stupid fucking bicycle we will be extra careful not to crash into each other.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

A Southern Ghost that Just Will Not Die

My life has been a unique experience so far. I started out as a poor punk kid growing up in the coal fields of West Virginia. Now, I find myself married, living in Tokyo, and working in middle management as an English instructor. My father(R.I.P.) was born to German immigrants. My mother was born of Native American/Dutch blood. Their blood lines gave a face that some love and others want to smash into the dirt. I had a complex relationship with my father; which still hunts me to this day. My relationship with my mother is conflicted at best. I grew up dirt poor and rebellious as hell. I have experienced shit that many people in Tokyo could never stomach. Although, somehow here I stand trying to make a life for myself in the unforgiving land of the raising sun.

During the course of my life I have noticed one constant; there have always been a fair amount of people who activity attempt to assist in my failure. Sadly, the list of people who have supported my efforts to be a success is rather short. Recently, I have been pondering as to why there have always been more people who want to fuck me over than desire to uplift me. I have thought that maybe this is human nature. Once someone is down others are quick to put on their jackboots and start stomping. Well, then you start life with your face already in the dirt you tend to see more jackboots than smiles. Well, dammit I refuse to give up!

I realize that I am at a very important time in my life. In about another six months I will be 30 years old. I must do everything in my power to raise above the masses. There is a lot of competition around me. There are several people, which I know of, who are out to take my job and bring about my ruin. There are others will refuse to listen to sound advice I give them. Instead, they keep on doing the same shit which will get them fired and make me look bad. In sort, I have been too soft on people.

So, I have decided to be much more harder on people. I have tried to give people the benefit of the doubt, but I can see clearly now that most people do not want to be given the benefit of doubt. People are either going work with me or against me. It seems there is little room for gray area. At this point, I must care more about number one. Until more people understand that I really am not playing around; my treatment of those I am responsible for will become much more harsh if they choose to give me too much resistance. I have warmed others that a weeding out process is coming down the pipeline. If they are too dense to understand what that means then may god have mercy on their sorry souls.

I have to care about running things more smoothly and building my career. I may have greaser tendencies, yet I am a grown adult as well. I cannot allow the constant to get in my way anymore.

So ends my rant about fucked up people who will do anything to see my down fall.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Warning: This City Protected by Giant Robot!

It is well known that the Japanese have a `thing` for robots. The nation of Japan is the world leader in robot technology. It seems that the recent unstable relationships between several Asian nations have spurred Japan into creating a protector for Tokyo. Taking inspiration directly form a popular manga/cartoon, we now have our very own Gundam. Now, Tokyo may be considered the most badass city protected by its very own giant ass kicking robot! I would like to see the faces on the North Korean military commanders when they try to attack Tokyo and are greeted by a giant pissed off robot! I would love to be a fly on the wall during a Chinese military meeting. Just think of the debate that would go down deciding what to do about the `Tokyo robot situation.`

`Should we nuke it?`

`No. Nukes don`t scare Japanese anymore.`

`Well...maybe we could create a female robot to seduce it`

`The Japanese do love strange sex.`

`Yes! We could get Japanese robot to have sex with Chinese robot. We sell tickets and make big profit!`

While N.K. and Red China try to figure out what the hell Tokyo is up to, those of us lucky enough to live in Tokyo get to enjoy viewing something truly wondrous. To my knowledge, no other nation has created a giant robot model. While I was looking the damn thing, I could not help but think of the future of technology. How far are we from actually seeing such a robot used for military purposes? Would it even be useful during a live military battle? It would need a type of armor I am sure has not been invented yet. Current armor would surely not be enough to provide enough protection from constant missile fire. There is also the problem with speed. It would have to able to make very flexible movements fairly quickly. Unless it can make almost human like reactions to movements, it would pretty much useless in battle.

Life in a Godless Nation Pt. 1 Sex is not Dirty

For all intended purposes Japan is pretty much a godless nation. Some people may give me shit for making such a statement, but the fact cannot be overlooked that most Japanese people have no real faith in a higher power. They seem to only believe in themselves. Some people may say that Japan does indeed have a deep religious backbone. It is true that Japan has many Buddhist and Shinto temples and shrines, yet for the most part, it appears Japanese consider such things only for big events or useful when someone dies. At lest one person, who appears to be Japanese, has attempted to explain Japan`s religious nature. Taking from my experience of not only living in Japan but forming relationships with Japanese people over the course of my life; I have formed my own opinion regarding the mostly godless nation of Japan.

The biggest thing I have noticed about Japan is the tendency of Japanese to indulge their inner desires. I have ran across just about every kind of sex service one could think of in Tokyo. Such things are shunned in the more religious west. The Japanese seem to have no problem paying for a gal to fondle for a bit. In Japan it seems to be viewed as just `blowing off a little steam.` In my home nation `blowing off a lttle steam` by spending some time at a sex club or girl parlor is still taboo; although we do have such places. In the states society tries to encourage us to resist our inner desires, while in Japan, society views the sex business as natural and even necessary. I think this casual attitude towards sex is a reflection of a lack of religious moral authority.

It is a common theme in many religions to instruct their followers to resist casual ideas concerning sex. Religions seem to take pride in spreading the idea that `sex is a dirty devilish act.` The followers of Christ push this attitude towards sex the hardest. Hell, even masturbation is painted in a bad light by most religions. Yet, in Japan the rule seems to be `whatever gets you off.` What passes for normal sexual behavior in Japan would shock the rest of the world. Spend a few evenings on the hunt in Shibuya and there is a good chance you will have some interesting experiences.

The only thing is while Japanese have very open cultural feelings towards sex, they have problems producing enough babies out of all those sexual encounters.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Shiso Pepsi: Has Pepsi Finally Scored a Hit?

I have been waiting for several weeks for the new pepsi drink to hit the shelves. Unlike in the states, Pepsi gets creative with their drink flavors here in Japan. This year pepsi has decided to combine Shiso together with their classic pepsi blend. In the past, a lot of folks have despised pepsi`s ventures in cola experimentation. Even this year`s offering is getting some heat.

As for me, I actually kind of like Shiso pepsi. Hell, when I am hanging on the streets of Tokyo I usually go for two kinds of drinks; beer or soda. Well, it is not always the best decision to grab a beer. They say in Tokyo, `Remember T&P(time and place).` So, when I cannot have a beer I go for a soda. When the new pepsi showed up at my local quick stop I had to give it a go.

Well, how does my no good southern taste buds take to Shiso Pepsi? I actually found Shiso pepsi to be pretty good. My taste buds must be as adventurous as my general nature. It reminds me of an odd Mountain Dew kind of taste. It has a sweetness to it yet the after taste is surprising. The first time I drank it I ended up having a second round. Although, after a few days of Shiso pepsi being my soda of choice I am starting to have trouble getting through an entire bottle.

I guess Shiso pepsi is another temporary cheap trill to get the summer started off on a lighter note. I will end up having at least a few more bottles of the stuff before it is pulled from the shelves.

By the way, it is a good drink to have with Ramen. Drink it with your next bowl of Raman and leave a comment telling me what you think. Also, please feel free to offer your overall opinion about this odd offering from Pepsi.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Hard Times In Tokyo: Selling Our Tooth Fillings to Pay the Bills

As the market keep going to shit and everybody either getting fired or scared of getting fired, us Tokyojin are finding unique ways to keep our heads above water. When times get tough you just have to tighten your buckle and carry on. Many things we would not considering doing to save a few yen in the past now seem to made a lot more sense.

I was out in Ameyoko recently and ran across a rather interesting kind of Japanese pawn shop. They seem to understand that times are hard for the people of Tokyo. The bills have got to be paid no matter if you have a job or not. When you get really hard up this pawn shop will buy the metal right out of your teeth!

I am not sure how this whole exchange goes down. Do they remove the metal for you or do you have to have a dentist do it? If they remove the gold/silver for you it would be make the process a whole lot faster. Hell, you could most likely stop in during your lunch break, get the money making tooth removed, grab the cash and be ready for your evening shift. The only problem would be any pain issues involved. You always would run the risk of getting doped up too much and making a fool of yourself at work. I could see a situation which some hard-up salaryman took a bit too much pain killers at the pawn shop and passing out during a meeting. How does he explain? `Sorry sir. I sold my gold tooth on my lunch break. The guy at the pawn shop must have given me too much pain killer.` An awkward situation for sure.

Well, if we have to sell our tooth fillings to make ends meet then so be it! I got some silver in my teeth. I wonder how much I can get for it?

Friday, June 12, 2009

Green Tea Coca-Cola-In Name Only

Recently, a little buzz was created over the release of green tea coca-cola in Japan. I first got wind of it though rinkya blog. So, I checked the local quick stop until GT coke showed up on its selves. It took about a week or two until it finally showed up on the selves of my local 7-11. As I always enjoy trying something new, as soon as, I spotted it I grabbed a bottle.

Looking at the bottle, as I walked to the station, I felt that the bottle of soda in my hand was not going to be as good as it promised. I mean, coca-cola was a very strong taste. Green tea is a very light sensitive taste which can take years to fully enjoy.

Anyway, I sat down at the station waiting for my train to give green tea coke a go. Well...I must say this stuff is...really bad! For starters, coke plus is a pretty shitty drink. All the damn fake sugar is enough to make me toss the bottle away. I really had to force myself to finish the entire thing. I did not even taste a hint of green tea. Did they even put any green tea in the damn thing? What the hell was coke thinking? Maybe they were hoping that by putting green tea on the label Japanese people would just but it without question? I have tried some pretty bad drinks in Japan but this one really takes the cake. If coke is trying to compete with pepis in the flavored soda market they are doing a really bad job.

I have lost respect for coca-cola for producing such a shitty drink. I did not taste even a drop of green tea in the damn thing. It was like talking to a cute gal and taking her to a love hotel, only to find out that she is really a lady boy with a thing for gaijin men.

I could go on and on about this piss poor offering from coca-cola but I will let you be the final judge. If you live in Japan head over to the local quick stop and indulge yourself in a green tea coca-cola. Hell, you might actually like it; but I doubt it.