Nakamura-san was careful to close the windows before he left for work, in case it rained. And because break-ins are all too common in Japan, he made sure to close and lock the sliding veranda door. On his way out, he patted his pockets, checking for wallet, keys, and phone, then grabbed his briefcase and headed for the train station.
It would be four hours before a locksmith opened the door to his apartment, where he’d locked his wife out on their tiny third-floor balcony. She’d been watering small pots of basil and tomatoes. Fortunately, it wasn’t too cold, so she waited until she heard a neighbor moving about downstairs and then banged furiously on his balcony with a laundry pole. He called the locksmith who ultimately let her back in. When Nakamura-san came home, he and his wife had a brief argument about whose fault it was and then never spoke of it again. From then on, she took her phone with her when she watered the plants.
Continue reading “Why You Shouldn’t Marry a Japanese Man Either”
This is the Tree Test: Look at the picture above, and if it’s not immediately obvious why you shouldn’t marry a Japanese woman, then you shouldn’t marry a Japanese woman.
The moment Erick With-a-K saw it, he proclaimed, “That’s the most Japanese thing ever.”
“Close enough,” I said, “you pass.”
Don’t worry if this makes no sense. We’ll come back to it later, until it makes even less.
Domestic Violence in Japan
But my buddy Erick’s not the guy whose Japanese wife punched him in the stomach while he was sleeping on the couch. That’s Dave.
Continue reading “Why You Shouldn’t Marry a Japanese Woman”
The Tanuki gingerly picked up a piece of shrimp sushi with his chopsticks, dipped it ever so lightly into the soy sauce, then promptly dropped the whole thing in his lap. He looked down dejectedly as it rolled onto the floor. I thought briefly of remarking, “Impressive chopstick skills,” since that’s what Japanese folks typically say to me, but instead I pretended not to notice and simply ordered us two more beers, plus a shochu for Imada-san. We Japanese are polite like that.
Thanksgiving in Japan started with a trip to Ten Thousand Fucking Poodles. That’s the establishment formerly known as Starbucks. Know how Europe has all these wonderful cafes with outdoor seating? Yeah, not Japan. If it’s 22 degrees Celsius, everyone’s all “atsui, atsui,” so hot. Or else it’s 20 degrees and everyone complains “samui, samui,” oh, it’s so cold. Japanese people love nature, as long as it’s exactly 21 degrees.
Continue reading “Thanksgiving in Japan”
I eventually made my way to the counter and ordered a beer, plus some cabbage with miso from the pickled Japanese geezer behind the clear curtain. His mask was pulled down into a decorative chinstrap.
“What?” he yelled into the plastic.
“What?” I yelled back.
So we stood and yelled “what” a few more times before he handed me a glass of potato shochu and a plate of grilled flounder. Well, those were my second choices, so good enough. I returned to my assigned space between two tall, translucent dividers.
A young Japanese woman from a nearby table leaned around a roll of plastic descending from the ceiling and announced in slurred English, “I’m a golf club.”
Continue reading “COVID Japan: Venturing Into a Japanese Dive Bar”
The Tokyo Olympics has been a steady topic of conversation in recent months. Although to hear Japanese folks tell it, they might as well be discussing a collective ice bath. Can’t we just put off this horrible thing a little longer? No? Mmmnn, could we at least make it less awful? Okay, how ’bout if nobody watches? And here we go . . . whew, glad that’s over. Now, why’d we do that again?
If nothing else, this year’s Olympics did a great job of reinforcing Japan’s longstanding image of foreigners as a bunch of wacky bastards who’ll never fit in here. Athletes and staff jumping on beds, openly consuming alcohol, intermingling between teams, being arrested for cocaine, and running off to go sight-seeing in the face of Tokyo’s highest-ever COVID-19 levels did little to improve Japan’s traditional perspective toward visitors from the outside world. Well, bring on the Paralympics.
Continue reading “Japan and What the Hell to do With Foreigners”