The problem with life is that it’s not a thousand years long. I mean, they say Japanese men live to be 80. That’s not actually that lengthy, at least compared to eternity. So I plan on staying here until the morning of my 80th birthday, then moving to Korea. Pure genius. It’s kind of like if you’re in an elevator crash, but jump up right before it hits the ground. Saaaaafe. A friend of mine’s buddy did that, and he was fine. Heh, and people say I’m simple. We’ll see who’s laughing when I move back a week later. Suckers.
The other thing people say is that Japan has high prices. So to help dispel yet another myth of the Far East, the fine folks over at Tokyo Weekender were kind enough to publish
in which I explain that No, it isn’t. Guess I really shouldn’t have just given the answer, since now you don’t actually need to read it. Oh well. I’ll probably oversleep on my 80th birthday too, and die. Man, remind me to buy an alarm clock before then.
The High Cost of Japan
So although Japan is actually inexpensive, it still comes at a cost. That’s because if you spend ten years of your life here, that’s one-eighth of your total time, which is like 25 percent. Well, I’m not really good with the metric system. Anyway, it’s still a lot. Hey, blame America, not me. Two liter bottle, my ass. That’s actually 68 ounces—you’re not fooling anyone with your fancy decimals. Anyway, where was I? Oh right. Ten years is a long time to be away, no matter what.
The Hidden Cost
Because while you’re whiling away your life enjoying cold Japanese beer and sashimi on ice, life goes on without you, miles away, back home. Your friends get married. They have babies. The babies grow up. The parents die. Pets die. Which reminds me that my cat Bufu died, back in the States. That was just his nickname, of course. I normally called him by his formal name, which was a little longer and ended in “-er.” Hey, it was a sign of affection.
Anyway, I was in an izakaya, eating some really nice engawa sashimi when I got the email. Of course, I’m not some dude who cries into his beer just because some stupid cat died. I’m just saying it was a tiny bit sad to hear little Bufu had gone to Kitty Heaven while I was slamming a pint of Asahi. I never realized just how light and delicious it was until that moment. Ah, good ol’ Asahi, so soft and fluffy; promise you’ll never leave me. Ah, but why didn’t I just move you here with me? I mean you the cat, just to clarify, not the beer. There’s plenty of beer here. Time just slipped away. Jeez, you were so playful when I left; just a boy. How come I didn’t at least set the alarm on my iPhone? Then you’d have lived to be 80. Sorry I never got to say goodbye. Ah jeez, I knew I should’ve ordered a 40-ounce bottle. Then I could at least pour out a little for my homey. Damn small Japanese pints. So few milliliters.
At the Temple, in the Evening
After dinner, as I do sometimes and particularly when drunk, I went to the temple and prayed to Japanese God. I prayed in Japanese, just to be on the safe side, although I’m pretty sure Japanese God understands English, even if he can’t speak it. And I prayed for my mom, and my relatives, who are all getting older, and my friends who are getting married and having kids, and for dear sweet Bufu, whom I’ll never see again. And I looked at the sky and the moon was out and it was raining. And Japanese God said, Seeroi, for such a genius dude, you sure don’t notice a lot of stuff. And then I went to the Lawson, picked up one more bargain Asahi, and knew He was right. I was so busy converting yen into ounces that I forgot about the real cost of living in Japan. But as I walked back out under the foggy moon I thought, well, at least the engawa was good and cheap. You just can’t beat four bucks a plate. He would have loved some. My cat, I mean, not Japanese God. I assume He gets all the sashimi He wants. I just hope He gives some to little Bufu. At least that’s what I prayed for.