Friday, February 20, 2009

J-Blog of the Week Ed.#6 Chirimotsumoreba

Not to worry there will be a J-blog of the week. I have been moving the date around a lot for this thing; but now is looks like Friday is during out to be the day for the weekly J-blog. I have really enjoyed doing this so far. The whole point of the J-blog of the week is to expose people to English language J-blog that a lot of people might otherwise overlook. My site, surprising enough, gets a pretty good amount of hits so this is my way of giving back to the English J-web community.

This week lets all take a look at I have checking out this site for several months. The person behind this site is a cool person. He works really hard, not only in life, but also on his site. He covers a lot of topics but the main draw to chirimotsumoreba is the great Sumo coverage.

That's right folks! If you want to keep abreast on the latest Sumo events this site is for you. I admit that I am not the biggest Sumo fan. To tell the truth, I really do not know so much about the rules and such. I still have yet to attend an actual event. None the less, I do enjoy reading about it and seeing videos of the matches. I guess you can call me a curious bystander. The sport looks to be interesting. chirimotsumoreba satisfies my curiosity of Japan`s traditional sport. The cool thing about the Sumo coverage on this site is that you get some play-by-play of each match. He seems to be very knowledgeable about the sport. This helps the reader to better get into the action. He almost always provides a video so you can see what happened. As an added bonus, he sometimes covers issues surronding the sport. For example in this post he looks at Sumos accusing each other of offering money to throw matches. The detailed coverage he offers helps to expose the world to Sumo. I commend him for these efforts because many people have no idea concerning the ends and outs of Japan`s traditional sport.

This site is not just about Sumo. He blogs about others thing as well. From time to time he will feature a photo along with a story about how the photo came about. I like reading the photo posts because he always seems to take a decent photo and provide a interesting tale to match. This one is a good example of what he runs across. Obama selling pachinko is something I never expected to see any place in the world. Yet, our pal at Chirimotsumoreba found Obama doing just that on a Saturday in Shibuya.

Give this site a good look. The Sumo coverage is great as well as all the other stuff you can find. The design is pretty professional, better than my scary layout, so it is easy to explore. I think that everyone will like this site.

No More Smoking Mr. Smith

Damn! I just agreed to quit smoking. I have been smoking from the time I was 16. Yeah, I was one of those kids who started smoking because it was an easy way to socialize and make friends. You know, if you smoke you can hang out in the boys bathroom and make friends. It was an easy way to get acceptance from my peers. It was the common opinion, among the boys, that tough guys smoke. Everyone wanted to be a tough guy. I can still remember how I got my first pack of smokes. There was this senior boy who lived on my street. He knew just about everything concerning cars. So of course I wanted to hang out with him. He usually did not give to shits about me. In fact, our first meeting ended up in me getting the crap kicked out of me. He beat me up pretty good. Now that I am an adult, looking back on the situation, I should have avoid the guy. I was a teenager desperate for acceptance. So, I kept hanging around him. As a way to gain his friendship I talked him into buying me a pack me smokes. I have been hooked ever since my first pack of Lucky Strikes.

Now I am 29 and it is time to kick the habit. There are many reasons why I am quitting. The main reason is the gal has developed an extreme sensitivity to cig smoke. She used to smoke but she quit about a year ago. I was really surprised by how easy she quit smoking. She was smoking about a pack a day. Suddenly, about a week, she was not smoking at all. Over time she has started to complain about my smoking habit. She starts to sneeze and complains of headaches due to the smoke. The situation has gotten to the point of becoming a real problem. I like her a lot so now I am quitting the habit once and for all.

So, I sit here looking at a pack of peace cigs. Although not my preferred brand, they are pretty good. I got eleven cigs left. After those are gone I will never smoke again. In fact, I am gonna have one now. Damn! It feels so good. I must admit that I will miss smoking. You know, once an addict always an addict. I think there should be support groups for people who have quit. In the states I am sure that such groups exist. In Japan, smoking is fully accepted. We all know the reason why smoking is so popular in Japan. The damn government owns the fucking tobacco company!

Anyway, in the back of my mind the tobacco demon is telling that I will lose some cool points. I know this is simply brainwashing from years of propaganda being feed to me by the tobacco companies and pop culture. I can hear the demon screaming at me even now. I will quit smoking god dammit! It is making my life shorter and having a big effect on my health. Yet, I will never give anyone shit for smoking. I will never agree with anti-smoking laws. I will always feel that people should have the right to smoke any place they choose. Who am I am judge? I have been a smoker for many years. It would be hypocritical of me to turn around and give others crap for smoking.

So, wish me luck in my quest to quit smoking. It will not be easy but I know I can do it. Hell, I am a greaser. I can do anything I want!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

The Perfect Snack for the Commute to Work.

On my daily commute to work I usually stop at the little quick stop at Kita-Senju station, on the TX side, and grab a great little snack. I have only picked-up this habit over the course of the past month. I had been looking for a way to shake the shitty feeling of traveling to work by train for a while now. I tried drinking mass amounts of coffee, but that usually ended in me being way to wired for work.

Well, one morning I stopped at the quick stop, hungry as hell, and saw this odd looking snack. The price was right, only 168 yen, so I took a chance and bought one. As I walked to the Joban line at Kita-Senju station, I munched on this little snack. I was really surprised by how good it was. It is basically two prices of pork, or chicken, wrapped inside bread. There some kind of sauce which gives it a pretty good flavor. It really hits the spot!

I quickly became hooked on the stuff. Now, I find myself hitting up the quick stop almost everyday to grab one of these things. I have finally found a cure for the train ride blues. It fills my stomach and leaves me feeling right as white on rice. It is important that I show up for work in a good mood. If I show up feeling like crap, it is really hard for me to force a smile. I have been keeping this little golden nugget of Japanese snack food to myself;but now the cat is out of the bag. If you run across this odd, but tasty stuff, be sure to give it a try. It have been greaser approved for you eating pleasure. HaHaHa!

So, this is my entry for the February Japan Blog Matsuri. The J-blog Matsuri is a monthly collection of entries from several most excellent J-blogs. Next month The Ghost Letters will be hosting the Matsuri. Someone made the mistake of giving me control of the Japan Blog Matsuri. I am keeping the topic under wraps until around the first of March. This month the topic is food in japan. The host for February is Deas of Rocking in Hakata.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Need to Learn to Speak Better...Among other things

I have finally realized that I really need to learn to speak Japanese better. As of now, I can only say very basic things. This is not going to cut it if I plan on staying on Japan on a long term basis. I want to be able to communicate with people better. There are two things holding me back: motivation and time. When I try to speak Japanese I tend to get frustrated rather quickly. When Japanese people do not understand me I feel like a total idiot and give up. It is not a good habit to have when living in a nation in which my native language is not spoken by most people. I feel like I am being judged when speaking Japanese. I am the kind of person who get a little nervous when I know I am being judged. I must get over this fear if I am do speak Japanese better.

I have a few options for improving my speaking ability. There is this student of mine who teachers Japanese to gaijin. I think she does it at a very low or no cost. She loves my lessons and I think it would be no problem for her to teach me. I actually really like her as a person. She is kind and cares about other people. She is a rare person in this post-modern age. I think she may be a damn good teacher. I have considered asking her to teach me Japanese. My shyness about asking such a request has prevented me from asking her to teach me. I may very well ask her the next time she shows up for a lesson.

My other options are varied. I have tried getting the gal to teach me but that usually ends in total ruin. We simply do not click on teacher/student level. She has no skill what so ever at teaching. It is better just to use her as practice for words I learn. If she understands what I try to say then I consider it a good thing indeed. I did tried to take lessons from a private school but that did not work out so well either. My teacher was good but I could not learn from her. She did not give a shit if I learned anything or not. I think it was a part time job for her anyway. My other option is try and get in on those lessons that the Nerima ward is offering. I do not think I will go for that because I what I really need is a teacher I can make a connection with. I am one of those people who needs to make a connection with someone before I can trust and learn from them. So, it appears that my student is my best option. I trust her and she seems like a person who cares about gaijin learning to speak the Japanese language.

On some other notes of interest in my life; there are some things I may need to improve about myself. You see everyone, I got a problem with dealing with people. I have this chip on my shoulder that I will never be able to lose. I was raised pretty rough and that really shaped me as an adult. I tend to worry a lot about things that I know I should not give two shits about. This makes it hard to some people to get along with me very well. I would like to be a little more smooth but my roughness comes shining though every damn time. When people are polite to me and appreciate what I do for them, it is easy for me to show them my inner self. Sadly, most people are just real assholes. I do not take well to assholes. I have seen a lot of people who are able to charm even the biggest dickhead on the face of the planet. I just cannot do that so well. I also have a hard time dealing with cold people. You know the type, no matter how nice you are to them they just will not warm up to you. I must learn how to charm even the toughest cookie.

The other thing I would like to get better at is showing people that I care about them. Recently, I have been practicing this with the office lady at my base school. I really do care about her but I have been pretty bad at showing it. So, I have started doing little things. When I arrive at work I try to bring a little food for her. I bring a little something for her everyday. You know, a rice ball or something like that. Her English is not so good but she is able to get out a few thank yous. Wednesday she was able to explain to me that the rice ball I gave her was her favorite kind. It almost brings a tear to my eyes that she puts forth the effort to speak English to me. I know it is very hard for her to speak in English. I also have started telling her that she did a good job before I leave for the day. I think it will make her work a little more harder. There is something about her that troubles my brain. I guess that her life is a little more complex than she lets on. In another life she might be a greaser gal. Sometimes she smiles and laughs a lot. Although, there are other times when she does not smile at all and seems to be rather sad. I will take the time to get to know her a little better.

Anyway, maybe I am just a messed up person. I allowed myself to become too rough. It might be too late for me to chance so much; but I am gonna try anyway. My hard noise greaser ways have made me into a complex person. Yeah, a greaser is trying to care about other people. This should be funny for sure. I will always be just a fucking greaser. Hell, one day I should write a book about my life.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Gotta hold It All Together

Life has been pretty crazy recently to say the least. At times I feel as if I am being bombed by 1,000 WW2 era Zero planes. You know, like when you were a kid fishing by the river and a swarm of bees decide to attack you for no good reason. I just cannot stop the flow of shit coming my way as of late. So far, I am handling most things okay; but I think there may be a few things that I am just going to have to let get out of control. I may have to make some real hard choices in the near future. I am not looking forward to some of the hard decisions but as always I will hold my head up high and laugh in the face of insanity.

My mental state is still not that bad at this point. Considering that the balance between professional and personal affairs is getting to be a real pain in the ass; I am holding up pretty well. There are days when I want to say fuck the whole deal and focus only on my own desires. I try to be the superman that a lot of people want me to be but I am not perfect. Sometimes when I get off work I hit up a bar to unwind. In those situations I do not want to take even the slightest bit of shit from anyone. Yet, almost every time I find myself dealing with someone you just will not get a fucking clue. I need to have fun just like everyone else. Why do so many people seem to want to get in my god damn way! I meet a lot of people in Tokyo. Sadly, most of them try to use me to make themselves look better. It is like they think I don`t know what they are doing. The typical method they use is to point out every little thing about me that can be made fun of so the girls will think they are so much cooler than me. What the fuck man! Really! I do not care if someone is trying to get laid. That is not my business. It is really so hard to be nice to people? Is it is a real challenge for people to be honest about who they are as a person? All the fake ass attitudes and personalities I come across get to me sometimes. I love living in Tokyo but some of the people in Tokyo can be really hard to deal with sometimes.

I guess I am just not good at pretending to be a weak ass person with no pride. I mean, what is the point of this kind of pretending? Why lie about who you are just so others will like you? I cannot understand this way of thinking. Like wise, why down others so you will look better? I don`t see the point of it all. I just try to be myself and let everyone play the childish `game.` Despite all the sick childish behavior I see each and every day I still run across cool and interesting people from time to time. I guess I just have to learn how to deal with this childish BS that people just love to get into here in Tokyo.

Anyway, I know I should not care so much. Everyone is just going about their life. I guess it is my own fought for not making such strong bonds with people in Tokyo as of yet. My love of working has a negative side effect. In the course of my adult life, I have chosen work over social concerns. When I do have free time, I tend to wonder in places that do not require so much effort to gain a good drinking buddy or a nigh of wild abandonment. You know, the kind of places that as long as you do not fuck with someone they will like you and call you friend.

Well, don`t worry about me so much, I will be okay. I will find a way to make everything work out just fine. Tomorrow is a good chance for me to practice dealing with people in Tokyo. I got this really important nine hour business meeting tomorrow. I am sure that there will be some food and drinking after such a long day. I will work on talking with people. From what I have gathered, a few of the other managers like me so I got a spring broad to work with of sorts.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Late Night Muse


Good evening everyone. I decided not to go home tonight. Why would I make such a decision. Well, I have no real reason to go home. I just do not feel like going home to an empty apartment. I think that most of you can understand the feeling of wanting to avoid an empty apartment on a Saturday night. So, here I sit at a Internet cafe in bukudo blogging. I got to pass the time away somehow; you know?

It has been an interesting night. I met, by pure random chance, someone who I have not seen in a long time. One of my favorite people in Tokyo just happen to be at the same bar as me. I was caught totally by surprise. Considering the amount of people living in our dirty little city, I never expect to see anyone I know without previous plans. Life is just like that sometimes. It was a very pleasant surprise to say the least. My plan was just to get a good drunk buzz going and head home. After meeting up with this person I decided to hang around for a while just to see what would happen. I wanted to talk but that really was not going to happen. It is a Saturday night and most people are looking to get laid. Hell, I cannot really blame them. There are few things better in life than getting drunk and laid on a Saturday night in Tokyo. So, I just kind of hung around and played the situation out a bit. You never know what might happen. Well, everyone did their best to try and hook up with someone. A few people got lucky and a few did not. As for me, I end up at an Internet cafe waiting for the early morning train. It is ok with me. I am happy and feeling good.

Although, this even has got me thinking about my personality. I wonder if I am just a little too rough for my own good. I know that I can be a little odd sometimes. I mean, when it comes to work there are not too many people who can out do me. Damn, I have pretty much begged the company to give me more work. I like working a lot. If I had it my way I would work everyday. I think that my desire for work has developed a roughness in the way I communicate with others in social situations. I tend to say things that do not fit the situation sometimes. When working I do not have to care about what people think of me so much. As long as I work hard everything is fine. I get reward for my hard work and that is that. There is no game to play. I do not have to earn any cool points. In social situations everything is totally different. It is all about cool points. You have to look the right way and say the right things. The fact that I work my ass off does not amount to a hill of beans. So, what is a guy like myself to do?

Well, it all depends on were I go. If I go at a punk club or greaser hang out I fair pretty well. I feel in control of the situation. It is kind of like being around people who feel and think the same way I do. On the other hand, if I go to a pub or night club things are very different. I am being judged only on how cool I look and how smooth my words roll out of my mouth. If I say exactly what I am thinking I end up looking like an ass. At the end of the day I am ok with this because it shows me where society is these days. The rules have changed and a guy like myself is slowly fading away. You know, the old school brand of man. The type of guy who works his ass off, while carrying others on this shoulders, does not appear to be valued in society much anymore. I am not saying that society is full of lazy sacks of shit because we all work hard to make a living. What I have noticed is that working hard is not enough anymore. People are much less likely to overlook a few minor cracks in a person`s personality; as compared to years past. These days you have to be perfect in order to attain social success.

Anyway, I remember gal I used to run around with back in the states. She was this really young gal from Tokyo; who somehow ended up going to college in West Virginia. I really do feel that she was a gal from a by gone era. She overlooked a lot of fucked up shit about my personality because she knew that I worked my ass off and would always look out for her no matter what happened. I used to get mad at her sometimes for no real reason. She overlooked it because she knew that I was a good person at heart. We never got romantic with each other but I looked out for her all the same. I guess I did it because I knew that if I did not do it no one else would. She was a gentle type who could be hurt very easy. She was real small and did not talk so much; even with her friends. Her shyness made her easy to cry. I get along well with people like her. They kind of jump on my back and let me carry them to the finish line.

So, what I have discovered is that a person who has a little roughness about their personality will not do so well in social situations in Tokyo. This fact I can accept. It is just the way things are in our dirty little city. As always, I am happy with life. I take life as it comes. Everyday is an adventure in the land of the raising sun.