Saturday, February 14, 2009

That Wonderful Saturday Morning Feeling

Here I sit,early as hell, getting ready for work on Saturday. I feel a little strange this morning. It is not because of the drinking I did last night,but because today is Valentine`s day. Due to schedule issues the gal and I will not be spending the day of love together. You know what, this sucks! A part of me does not even want to leave the house today. I know that all day I will have to deal with seeing young lovers going crazy for each other. I should be more mature about the situation, yet I find myself feeling a bit bitter. The gal and I don`t have a traditional marriage. We are a very modern couple. She does her own thing and I do my own thing most of the time. We usually plan to spend at least one day together a week. Despite this, we really do love each other. Hell, we have known each other going on ten years now.

This week she is out of town. She is away on business as usual. Actually, this time her business is a bit personal. Something about one of her friends having a wedding in her home town I guess. What kind of person has a wedding on Valentine`s day?! They are ruining this day for a lot of people just so they can have some damn special wedding. Fuckers! I know they are her friends and all, but Valentine`s day is not the best timing for a wedding. I did not say anything to the gal about my protests concerning the whole situation. I just smiled and said, `Oh honey! That is wonderful! I hope you have a good time.` It is her friends after all, you know?

Anyway, I gotta get my ass off to work now. Enough whining about things I cannot do much about. I will just have a few drinks after work and tough it up today. I do hope that everyone has a wonderful Valentine`s day. Go out and enjoy yourself.

Friday, February 13, 2009

An Oddity Among the Odd

I assume that most people are aware that the greaser look and lifestyle has its own special place in Tokyo. Just go to Yoyogi park on the weekend for proof. There are always great Rock A Billy parties and shows to go to in our dirty little city. While the Japanese have taken to this lifestyle, I have noticed that not many gaijin sport the high and tight pompadour,leather biker jacket, jackboots, and live the greaser lifestyle. I understand exactly why. The idea of a greaser fell out of pop culture long ago in the west. So, I find myself being the lone gaijin greaser in many situations. For the record I have not always sported a pompadour. In the past I would grow out a fine pompadour, keep it for a while, and eventually cut my hair short and start the process all over again. Hell, a few times I even dyed my hair some crazy color during transitions phases. These days I have decided to keep a pompadour until I am old and gray; or until I am forced to cut it. None the less, I have always had the greaser thing about me for the majority of my life. So I wonder: Where are all the gaijin greasers in Tokyo?

There is no way in hell that I am the only one. This city is just too diverse for someone to be totally unique. There are so many people, from so many different cultures and backgrounds, living in Tokyo that there must be a little gang of gaijin greasers running around in Tokyo. I just have not run into them yet. The funny about the whole situation is that I often lurk around the expected places to find greasers, yet gaijin greasers are not to be found in these places. So, where the hell to they hang? Maybe they are loners, which a lot of greasers tend to fall into, and don`t get out much. There are plenty of gaijin who keep to themselves due to the natural isolation of living in a different culture. Maybe they live so damn rough they do not last very long in Tokyo; i.e. end up getting deported for doing something unforgivable.

With the lack of gaijin greasers, I might just be an oddity among the odd. You know, being gaijin makes a person odd in the land of the raising sun. Hell, maybe I can bring the look and lifestyle back to the forefront of popularity along gaijin. Most likely, I am looked at as being just some odd ball with a strange obsession and way of living. Well, that is ok with me. I have written about being strange before. You know, I am actually comfortable with standing out in a crowd at this point. I mean, I add an interesting mix to the stock of teachers in my company. We need people who are different and interesting in my company to attract some more business. Now that I am a little higher up in the company I can add some flavor to the management team. We need to get the teachers to feel that they are working for an interesting company again. You know, like in the old days when things were rocking like Elvis and profit was high. Back in the day when we stood at the top of the mountain of English companies, there was no one cooler than us.

Anyway, if you know any gaijin who have greaser tendencies I would like to meet them. It would be interesting to meet some greasers from, lets says, Europe or even others parts of Asia. They might be a hell of a lot rougher than me but I can hang with even the toughest of people. We can get good and sloppy drunk together(I still have not learned about drinking, have I?), go to a good rockabilly show, and even become friends of sorts. If you do see me on the streets don`t be shy about walking up and saying hello. Just say: your the Tokyo gaijin greaser from the internet right? You never know, it might be the start of a great friendship.

J-Blog Of The Week #5 Our Man in Abiko

My life has been interesting recently. A lot of things are changing(no Obama reference intended) as of late. Life has been not so bad although not so good either. I do however, feel good about the near future despite big challenges in front of me. It is an exciting and interesting time for me. Speaking of things exciting and interesting, this weeks J-blog of the week is all about excitement and interesting thoughts and experiences. Our Man in Abiko is this week`s featured J-blog.

I have been reading this blog for a while and have left a few comments. I do not remember exactly how I ran across this blog but I am glad that I did. When I visit Our Man in Abiko it is rare that I do not find something interesting to read. I guess this is the mark of a good blogger. I mean, there are some popular English J-blog which I do not like but Our Man almost never lets me down. I do not know how popular his blog is but I think it belongs right up there with the likes of Neil

Blogs which have the personal touch of someone daily life and all the thoughts roll around in their heads always interest me. Our Man in Abiko seems to have that factor in full effect. Another element to his blog is that it is updated very regularly; which is always a delight for readers of blogs. It is always nice to be able to visit a blog everyday and get something new to read. He also just does not focus on Japan related topics. From time to time he will post something totally apart from Japan. For example, I believe in a place called... and America in 2012: The view from the day before the day before yesterday. If you read his blog regularly enough he will post some thoughts about politics form time to time. He seems to be pretty knowledgeable about politics. For some funny and interesting post about politics in Japan check out the politics for dummies posts.

There is a lot more I could write about Our Man in Abiko but just go over there and check it out for yourself. It is well worth the read. I am sure that you will be hooked in short order.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Are you a Manager or a Father?

There is this Japanese guy I have been doing extra `business` with recently. We get along well enough and he really is a decent guy to pal around with most of the time. Sometimes, we talk about stuff. I guess he is just as curious about my culture as I am of his. The little extra business we do together usually does not work out so well. It must be the current market situation which is making it hard for us to score some extra bread. So, we chat it up a lot. We talk about a lot of stuff. Usually the conversation is interesting and sometimes eye opening. The last time we were out and about `business` did not go so well, again, so we ended up chatting.

The subject of my recent promotion and the way Japanese run their business became the topic for the evening. I mentioned to him that since my promotion the office ladies have been treating me a little different. They have really warmed up to me in recent weeks. I asked him if there was any reason for their change in attitude towards me. He said that maybe they view me as a father figure of sorts. His statement shocked me, yet peaked my interest. I asked him to explain in more detail why they would view my crazy ass as a father figure. His answer surprised me, while giving me a inside look concerning the nature of a Japanese company.

He said that in Japan the people you work with are viewed as family. From what he says most Japanese people are hired as a generalist after finishing college; which means a person who can do anything the company asks of them. They usually get moved around the company every two or three years until they have worked in just about every department. After they have mastered all the different parts of the company they can get a very high position. He went on to say that the boss or manager is viewed as a father/mother to those under him/her. Despite me being gaijin, Japanese would most likely still be inclined to view me as kind of a father figure, though not as strongly as a japanese man.

It is hard for me to wrap my head around the idea of being viewed as a father figure in the eyes of the people I work with daily. I don`t know how closely this kind of thinking is followed in my company. After all, I am gaijin. However they view me, it is nice to be treated with at least a little respect at work. I guess I will just enjoy the habit of the Japanese to view a manager as some kind of so-called father figure. Hell, I might even be able to get some twisted humor out of the situation.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009


I finally did it to myself. Recently, I drank to the point of poisoning myself. I have not had alcohol poisoning since I was in college. Even then it was because I had been drinking MD 40/40 all night. I thought that at my age I would not have to worry about alcohol poisoning. I was confident that no matter how much I drink I would not get poisoned. Yet, on a recent bender with the rest of the management team I drank myself to the point of near death.

I like to get a good drunk going on just as much as the next guy. Hell, I have had many all night drinking fests in Tokyo. The problem with this most recent bender is the amount and time span I drank. After finishing up a meeting it was decided that we would go out for `a few drinks` to unwind. I knew that my fellow brass are hard drinkers. Our group included: a Scottish guy, an Aussie, a Nuzzie, one Japanese dude, and two Americans(including myself). I knew that I would have to drink a lot to keep to with these guys but I did not expect the amount of alcohol they were able to get down.

Anyway, we went to a bar that offered all you can drink for 2,500 yen; with a two hour limit. So, we had to drink like crazy people to get our monies worth. We tend to be mostly a rough bunch so before long the entire table was filled with large glass bottles of beer. The whole situation turned into a drunken boys club real quick. We transformed into a loud drunk gang of salarymen. We kept drinking glass after glass of beer while talking shit and swapping stories. Being the joker that I am, I told a few tales that got the full attention of everyone. I did not noticed that everyone was listening to me until the other American guy said, `Damn, we are all hanging on your every word.` I guess I am just one of those people. I am good at telling a good devilish Tokyo story.

Well, I had a damn good time but the next morning was not so much fun. I woke up at the crack of dawn; as usual. My entire body felt like it was shutting down. My skin was crawling, stomach twisting into knots, and my head felt like an exploding A-bomb. It took me a while to even be able to get out of bed. I tried to drink a cup of coffee but I threw it up as soon as it hit my stomach. Before I left the house I threw up two more times. When I smoked a cig it only made me want to throw up even more. Every time I changed trains I had to rush to the bathroom to puke my guts up. Nothing would stay in my stomach. By the time I reach the Ikebukuro station I was fully aware that I was poisoned.

When I arrived at work my office lady quickly realized that I was completely hung-over. She laughed at me real hard. She knew who had been with the night before so I guess that fact made my condiction even more funny. She asked if I was ok and I told her, `Hell no I am not ok.` My responce only made her laugh even harder. She is a nice gal so she was gentle to me while at the time no showing me too much mercy. Before I started the days work I puke one more time. The last time had to be the worst. The stuff, a bit of coca-cola, sandwich, and some water, came flying out of my stomach like a monkey on crack. After that I started to feel a little better. I was able to perform at the expected level; but I still struggled a little. I was not really able to eat much until late Monday night. Before I went to bed I was able to get down come curry soup.

So, have I learned my lesson? For now yes, but I know that the next time the boys ask me to go drinking I will jump in head first. Oh fuck! Will I ever learn?