11 October 2008

Peeing in Japan

I was at YouMe Town today ("[shopping] town" being Engrish for "mall", and "youme" being close to the spelling of "yumé", or dream). Yes, I went there again. I'm not proud of it, but there I was.

Anyway, I used to washroom -- the second floor one beside the dentist office and smoking room that's always empty. I tend to have a bit of a predilection toward that one, because the ones on the main floor seem to always have "Part of My World" from the Aladdin soundtrack playing while middle aged women obliviously clean the floors a few metres behind me, while old men hock loogies into the urinals, glance at my gaijin manhood, and then shake just a little too much, all the while swarms of five year olds pee Butters-style.

But, there I was, and I walked up the the urinal, completely alone and as I unzipped my fly, I heard a voice from somewhere say, "cha-ching!" I was absolutely sure I was alone, but I heard this two or three times. It was like an adult trying to imitate a child's voice and ended up sounding eerily like Michael Jackson. I thought I heard "cha-ching!", but it slowly dawned on me that I probably actually heard "chin-chin", which is childish Japanese slang for "penis". Needless to say, I got out of there as soon as possible.

Then I walked by a group of probably-stoned teenagers pushing eachother over and laughing hysterically -- which, given that drugs are tightly enforced here -- is almost unseen in Japan. Just after this, I walked by a woman who was wearing a tight navy blue t-shirt with the well-known English word "MILK" written across her chest in big white letters. In Japanese, the word for milk and breasts uses the same kanji (, for you pervs), so Japanese people should be much more aware that this is a a strange thing for a woman to write on her chest. Maybe this is a very popular shirt these days? Maybe she works on a dairy farm? Or maybe she has no idea what it says... being Saga, none would surprise me.

All in all, a very strange day at YouMe Town.

7 October 2008


I was flipping through some books at work looking for something-- anything-- teachable, and I happened upon a picture dictionary. A picture dictionary, for those not in the know, are glossaries of vocabulary arranged by subject which use illustrations instead of definitions.

I found this one series of pictures which was keeping it real to the point of being depressingly bleak, but had a strong streak of perhaps-intentional irony running through.

Let's call today's protagonist "Bob". Bob's my age, I reckon. 25 years old, but with a wife and eight year old daughter to support. Judging solely by the pictures, Bob's from a bad home and married young. He's an aspiring rapper from St. Louis who goes by the stage name "Ferret", because of his knack for weaselling out of things. Bob's job at the warehouse gave him time to think. Perhaps a little too much time, because after one night of heavy drinking with the guys, they decided get revenge against the bourgeoisie by breaking and entering. Someone called the cops, and while Bob's nimble friends got away easy, Bob, always the slow one, was run down by even the heftiest of middle age cops.

Caught! The misnamed "Ferret" is not looking too proud of himself. I want you to take note of one particular detail: mullet and sideburns. But in the next shot, Bob's cleaned himself up a bit for his impending trial.

But look at that vacant look his eyes. The eyes of a criminal.

His lawyer's hired/provided by the state, so now LET THE TRIAL BEGIN!

Bob and his lawyer are optimistic, but unfortunately that optimism is unfounded.

Look at his expression:

Poor Bob! He looks so sooooooooooooo sad. ☹ Good thing Bob has a lot more time on his hands, to think about his sins and how to survive on the inside.

Actually, from the look of it, the stress of prison aged Bob terribly through those seven long years, because the last panel has a significantly greyer, balder Bob walking back out into the world, so new and frightening.

He appears to be wearing the same suit that he wore to his sentencing too, leading me to believe this is the only possession from his old life that he has left.

I invite you to take a closer look at his radically different hair styles:

I think the moral this depressingly blunt story is, DON'T DO CRIME. Though, in my version, he finds religion, joining the Five Percenters, and focuses his experiences in the clink into his debut album, which sells a million copies in it's first week.

Last we heard from Bob, he was living in a 50,000 square foot mansion in Farmington, Connecticut and was doing family movies.

3 October 2008


One of my schools is really horribly disorganized right now. Actually, I have no idea if it's actually is disorganized, or if I only get that feeling because no one tells me a thing about what's going on. EVER.

It's a little like that scene in Apocalypse Now where Willard asks the soldier at Dung Lo Bridge, "Who's in command here?" and the guy looks a bit freaked out and says,

Weird thing about being an ALT is, no one - NO ONE - is sure what I'm supposed to do, and for a variety of linguistic and sociological reasons, I'm permanently out of the loop, and no one's sure who's in charge of me anyway, or if I'm in charge of myself, or if the idea of "being in charge" of a gaijin is simply absurd anyway, since we're as inexorable and untameable as 1000 wild stallions.