Stupid Fucking Gaijin, et al

Discriminating against an odiferous goatfucking porch monkey penis-eating gaijin shithead isn’t illegal in Japan… But you should sue the fuckers for doing it to you anyway! So sez Debito:
Get on their case
For those that don’t have the million yen or two to spare on litigation, I offer a more cost-effective solution (all major credit cards accepted):
(Link via NichiNichi)

Hi! We’re Mormons!

One of the curious things you may find as you venture deeper into the rural areas of Japan is the surprising number of Mormon missionaries. Of all the missionaries – including Rastafarians (on Ikoma mountain), Wiccans (in Okayama), and Jehovah’s Witnesses (all over the damn place) – the Mormons are the easiest to spot because they fit a specific profile. Whether it be in front of the local department store where they cause expectant mothers to run away in (sometimes unfeigned) terror, or out on the streets late at night cruising in pairs on mountain bikes (and for some reason, always donning aerodynamic racing helmets wrapped with white reflective tape), they are invariably young white males in black suits, usually straight from – you guessed it – Salt Lake City.
Disclaimer: I hope you aren’t offended by this rant. It happens to be about Mormons, specifically the branch of mormons I will dub the “Sumoto Mormons.” When I was a kid we lived across the street from a Mormon family with 10 kids (which I’m told is like a royal flush in terms of Mormonic karma) who were hella fuckin’ cool around the block because they had not one but TWO AND A HALF Ataris to play with in their home (the 1/2 figure was due to a buggy machine that only displayed the bottom half of the screen – useable for Centipede but not much else if I remember correctly). Therefore I do not hate Mormons, because they had the 2 1/2 times the toy I wanted throughout my formative years but could never convince my parents to buy – it turns out that I’m secretly jealous of them (whew, good to get that one off my chest!).
I am in a somewhat weird situation with the Sumoto Mormons right now. They assume I’m Japanese (I do look Japanese, but I’m AMERICAN AS HELL – somewhere in Yamanashi Prefecture, my Aussie pal John is rolling his bloodshot eyes and murmuring “bloody Yank!” – eat me, dood.), and I have used this assumption to create a new form of entertainment, “Sumormo baiting.” A couple of months ago these guys approached me when I was returning home from a long walk, asking if I had a couple minutes to spare (in Japanese). Call me a devil, but my immediate response was to stop in my tracks, give them the once over with the trademark Japanese “gaijin gawk” (usually reserved for observing lewdly-costumed Russian dancers on Tokyo subways), say loudly, in English, “NO,” and walk away. Fish on. After that, they waited for me on my street a couple other times at night, eagerly fingering paperback copies of the Book of Mormon, but I spotted them before they saw me and I ducked down the back street.
This morning they stopped next to me on their mountain bikes as I waited in my car at a red light. I was zoning out in pre-work zombie mode with my arm draped out the window, blasting track #2 on the Grey Album. The younger guy recognized me right away. “Hey! We’d like to speak to you sometime,” he said, in English.
I tried to brush him off with a sarcastic, “Eigo wakarimasen” (I don’t understand English), and noticed “JAMES” was wearing a plastic name tag with “Church of the Latter Day Saints” printed on it.
“But Elder Thomas said you were American” he replied.
Ah, shit. Got me there. Elder Thomas was the Mormon guy who was in Sumoto before these guys replaced him. I invited him in for a beer once and we had a nice long talk about things. I served him and his trainee dude green tea and felt curiously like a total fucking sinner for drinking beer in front of them. When they left, they gave me a copy of the Book (I ended up wondering if they were going to ask me to pay for it, which I also feel curiously guilty about. They said it was truly a gift and never asked for money, but did use the book as a reason to come by the house every month. Once, as a joke, I offered it as payment to the NHK guy who came around asking for money, but he made the sign of the cross and said, “devil, be gone.”). So Elder Thomas had apparently told James about me and they had caught on to who I was from the street I lived on, apparently. Which does not explain why they never just came to my door (I must have successfully defeated the surveillance devices on the Book of Mormon by wrapping it in tinfoil, sealing it in a Ziploc bag, and sinking it in a bucket of water), but I digress. “Aight, you got me – I was just messing with you,” I admitted.
“As I was saying, we would like to see you sometime…” he continued.
Well, that’s that I guess. No way to wriggle out of this one – now that we have established that we are fellow Americans in a remote and desolate setting, an invite to the house is a virtual necessity. I invited them over at five this evening. Five this evening, as in, in approximately 5 minutes after I post this entry. From work. As in, I don’t imagine I’ll be going home for a few hours, at least. As in, I sure am glad my little bro will be at home to greet my new Mormon friends.
As in, Adam, I am finally getting you back for some rat bastard thing you did to me in the past that I can’t specifically remember right now, but let’s not let that get in the way of entertainment. Mine, specifically. This should be funny as hell. Will update later.

Kushiyaki in Shinsekai

Shinsekai means “new world”, and I can only imagine how striking this area must have been when it was new, a long, long time ago. Giant puffer fish(not called fugu in this area) lounge around a dense arrangement of lights, some street looking Japanese people hanging around, dark alleys cutting between the subdivisions on the block, and attractions reminiscent of carnivals in their heyday. Glare and inky darkness create a dystopic atmosphere in Shinsekai, bringing back snippets of Chinatown, Blade Runner, The Replacement Killers, Idoru (William Gibson), and other Noir works. I wonder how the food was in those world’s back alleys- Either Gibson or Stephenson wrote that most of the food available in his Shinsekai-like neighborhood was made of processed krill…
There must be about 10 different joints where they serve kushiyaki (skewered-fried food in the same family as shishkabobs and corndogs, but of different parentage) under the gaze of Tsutenkaku Tower, but the best looking one was the one where all of the locals were waiting to get in, right down this street. A huge counter surrounds the kitchen that runs down the middle of the length of the izakaya. The kushiyaki runs from 80 yen (regular fried pork cutlet and beef tendon- this item isn’t kushiyaki- stewed in a miso stew) to just over 200 yen per skewer (for more expensive stuff). You can sample so much for quite a reasonable price. The majority of the kushiyaki are prepared by frying them in panco, the bread crumbs that are used to coat tonkatsu.
It is unusual in Japan to have one of those food experiences where you wonder “Is it safe and sanitary to eat this?” (unlike the typical uninitiated gaijin question “Isn’t it supposed to be cooked/ not rotting/ dead when they serve it?”). Japan is typically the land where they will thourally package everything at least four different ways and use disposable wetnaps for every meal. Here, in the kushiyaki joints, the dipping sauce is shared in communal troughs with strangers and friends alike. Pools of swirling oil shimmer on top, and other random detritus can be seen floating, suspended in the collodial middle of the sauces thermoclamatic strata, or felt on the bottom by probing the benthosphere.
Like all wonderful late night culinary adventures, this place is best enjoyed over several mugs of beer. Beer tastes better with kushiyaki, and vice versa. And if you have any urge to satisfy your curiosity regarding something you would usually never eat, the beer will help you to go for it, and also serves as something to wash a bad experience past your mouth and into your gut. Using this very method, I was able to overcome killing, cleaning, and eating a live shrimp that quivered as it was digested inside my stomach, eat pig’s feet (the best thing I ate in Okinawa BTW) and other parts of the hog in their recognizable states that are usually reserved for the production of sausage, develop an appreciation for hormone (intestines) and every other type of innard prepared the proper way (I will never like cooked liver or kidneys, ever), and started to crave basashi (horse sashimi), grilled horse meat, and basashi liver. If you are content with eating exclusively out of McDonalds and convenience store food and have a need to use wetnaps before and after every meal, you will probably never understand what I’m talking about.
Oh, and just in case:
*Basashi should be enjoyed by wrapping it in a shiso leaf with paper-thin slices of tamanegi (onion) and dippped into shoyu with shoga (ginger) mixed into it. Wasabi is optional.
*Basashi liver is best enjoyed with paper-thin tamanegi slices dipped into shoyu with a few drops of goma-abura (sesame oil, the reguar stuff), and wasabi is optional.
*Like any other type of food, there is high-quality hormone and low-quality. If you eat bad hormone you will definetely know it, and the same is true of the good stuff because it will taste pretty good.
*Thanks to J for pointing out the mistakes in this entry.

Roadkill in Japan

Have you ever thought that your presence in this world wouldn’t be missed much if you suddenly died? You may be right. Whoever ran over the black cat and just left it there in the middle of my parking lot so all cars coming in or going out would run over it again and again, fuck you.
I wrapped it in my carwash towel and placed it in a nearby caged dumpster; luckily today was trash day.
This roadkill thing really gets to me, though. Roadkill is never cleaned up in Japan. When my pal Gatson’s dad came to visit, he observed this is because “it’s no one’s job to clean up roadkill in Japan, so it just stays there.” Pretty smart guy.
I remember a dachshund that got run over at the exit ramp of a highway in Osaka. The ramp had a traffic light that you almost always needed to stop at, so over the period of six months or so, I got to see this dog corpse in varying stages of decomposition. The most revolting stage was the maggot infestation, which happened fairly early on. Toward the end, it looked like a mummy with two big gaping eyeholes in the dessicated skin still stretched over its skull. The funny thing was that I never caught a whiff of it, even when it must have smelled really ripe, cause that’s just how fucking rank certain parts of Osaka get all year round.

Goblin Nation

Yesterday reaffirmed my contempt for the Japanese police.
My little sister, who lives in Sakai (Osaka), got home from teaching her morning classes at noon. There was a strange guy lurking around the stairs of her apartment building who set alarm bells ringing off in her head, so she hurriedly rode the elevator up to the 7th floor. She looked down the staircase once to see if he had followed her that way, but there was no sign of him. Just before she got to her door, she turned around to find the guy standing right behind her! Startled, she took a swing at him and started yelling at the top of her lungs, very likely saving herself from harm. The perp was frightened off.
How easy it is to relate this all now. When she called me right after it happened, everything was a blur. She had just locked herself in her apartment, so I told her to call the cops immediately (110 is the Japanese equivalent of 911). I gave my manager a heads-up and took the day off, ran to my car, picked up my girlfriend at the house, and headed for Osaka. It took a couple hours to get to her place. The cops were already gone when we got there, having concluded their “investigation” and telling my sister to call them if she “ever sees the guy again.” Need I point out what a fucking joke this is.
It’s ironic that a week after I write a post about gun control, I find myself wishing I could give her a piece to pack around the last week she will be in that apartment. I guess an ASP baton will have to do. My sister came back with us last night and will be here over the weekend.
Anyway, posting here may be light for a while because I’m playing mental D&D. Killing goblins and all that.

Gun Control in Japan

There is a very interesting article regarding gun control in Japan up at GunCite. It’s a fascinating outline including the history of guns in Japan (did you know at one time Japan had more firearms than any other country on earth?), and I recommend you read the whole thing for historical value, if nothing else.
I have actually met Americans who, after hearing that I work in Japan, make remarks about how “nice it must be to live in a gun-free country”. I usually don’t answer back to stuff like that. It’s really tiring and rarely ever beneficial to either party to start a debate over. In class at Tenri University I once heard a lecture about how violence in America would simply “disappear” if Japan’s gun control laws were adopted. I bit my tongue that time, as well. The bottom line, I believe, is covered by the article very well. Japan’s gun laws (with regard to numbers of shooting incidents) work for Japan. If you want an example of a country where similar ones do not work, look at South Africa. (Ironically, the SA government’s solution to the problems caused by preventing lawful ownership of guns is more gun control legislation.
One insignificant but irritating beef:

No-one shall possess a fire-arm or fire-arms or a sword or swords

This is a ridiculously poor translation. I suspect it may have been done a long time ago by someone currently working in the field of Nigerian mail scamming.

The Black Bus

You know those yakuza flicks where they roll out the ultra right-wing buses to intimidate politicians, extort businesses, and generally act like assholes by holding up traffic, blaring their horrible anthems and ranting over stadium PA systems? This is a real life example of a Black Bus. I could theoretically get in a lot of trouble for posting this photo (which is at least one reason why I’m posting it; there are plently of people who talk about this kind of shit but the lack the guts to call attention to it). I think everyone should know specific examples of criminal and inherently evil elements of Japanese society that are consistently ignored by the media and law enforcement – which perpetuates the very existence of said elements, of course.
This photo was taken in front of Nara JR station where this bus and two others like it came close to causing accidents several times over the course of an entire afternoon. The cops sitting in the police box in front of the station wouldn’t even get out on the street to direct the traffic overflow. They sure looked nice and cool in their air-conditioned little box, though. What a fucking joke. Almost as funny as the propaganda spewing from the loudspeakers mounted on buses like this. Yeah, take back all the disputed islands from the Koreans and the Russians! Restore the Emperor to power! Return the proud warriors of the Rising Sun to their rightful place in the high court of the Golden Chrysanthemum… Or some such bullshit… Nobody understands or really gives a rat’s ass what their message is anyway. The message is not the point.
The purpose of their noisy crybabying is to draw attention, through being a major pain in the ass to their immediately targeted area, as well as society in general. It’s absolutely amazing to me that these fuckers aren’t even stopped or cautioned by the cops when pedestrians are jumping out of the way and scurrying just to get across the street for fear of being run over.
The saddest thing is that the Black Bus tactic must work, because they seem to be increasing in number every year. We even have one on my island (actually not so surprising since Awajishima is like a yakuza retirement community).

Driving Impaired

I’ve got just enough time for a quick rant in between meetings today so – 3… 2… 1… Today’s rant is aimed at stupid drivers who won’t admit they lack multitasking capability: If you don’t have the mental capability to yap on the phone and drive at the same time, STOP DOING IT – YOU ARE A FUCKING MENACE. Coming to work this morning, this fucking guy in a black Mark II (Toyota, what else?) is trying to reach somebody on his cell and I can tell he has a major problem using both sides of his brain at once because every time he raises the phone to his ear, the car drifts to the left… Waaaay left. At first he is conscious of the danger he is posing to pedestrians and bicyclists so he stops fucking with the phone till he gets to the light. Then as he’s dialing or whatever the light turns green but he doesn’t notice. So I sound off with my horn, just a short “wake the fuck up, moron!” beep and not a full “GETTHEFUCKOUTTATHAWAY!” blast, and homeboy panics while shifting because, of course, as a full-fledged Toyota owner he has put the fucking gear in Park. So I start to sweat as his reverse lights come on and he steps on the gas, lurching toward my front bumper, then stopping just as suddenly about 0.117 inches from it. Then – I love this part – he gives me a dirty stare in the rearview as if the whole thing is my fault. He takes off, I follow. And thirty seconds after narrowly avoiding an accident, the guy is fucking with his phone and drifting left again…
My single greatest achievement in the area of anger management/road rage is my conscious prevention of escalation. I credit myself with great foresight because it’s been nearly two years since I stopped carrying a wicked-looking handmade scythe from Kyushu, a brushed metal pull saw, a hockey stick wrapped with black duct tape (nickname: “The Castrator 2000”), and a long-handled sledge in the trunk of my car. It’s not as if I ever really needed that stuff where it really made a difference… And it was much too fun having it in the car. I mean, what the fuck would YOU do if someone came after you with a scythe?
And you guys back in the states have to take this all in context – this is Japan. Ain’t nobody gonna pop a cap in your ass and make witty “don’t bring a knife to a gunfight” remarks. Plus, real katanas are too expensive to keep in the car (fake ones lose against the scythe – I have yet to give it a nickname but it stands in my house’s entryway to ward off the NHK toll collector once every year).

Sarin Memories

Nighty night, scumbag. Hope you leave this world fully comprehending your failures. The society you tried to destroy is still running strong – it will in fact be destroying you – and I hope that leaves an ironic bitterness in your throat. Right before the noose is pulled tight, that is. Is it wrong to laugh at a condemned man? Ha-ha, motherfucker. Because when I think of how bad it could have been, I feel relieved that you were so inept in some areas. The fact that you failed so miserably overall AND will be sentenced to death anyway is somehow very satisfying. Mostly, I hope your death can be healing for those who survived or were left behind. Closure, you know.
I remember the terrified faces on TV, picture bobbing as the cameraman scrambled for better shots of despair.
Summary of main incident: Years of planning and well-funded operations enable deployment of sarin nerve gas in the Tokyo subway but only produces the kill count of, say, a lone gunman. Pretty fucking pathetic for what has become commonly known as a Weapon of Mass Destruction (the original definition only included nukes). Yes, there were thousands hospitalized and I know that weapons of terror do not have to be lethal so long as people fear them, but gimme a break – my country is currently at war partly over the threat this stuff presents. On a scale of what could have happened, we were lucky that Aum made some key fuckups.
This was not their only attempt with WMDs. Far from it. (Link is a .ppt file). Did you know that Aum released anthrax over Tokyo, multiple times? These sick fucks were lucky enough to live and operate in a country as exploitable as Japan was at the time. They manufactured or procured the kinds of chem/bio agents that even state-sponsored terrorists have difficulty getting – sarin, VX, anthrax. Luckily, the effectiveness of these were compromised because their delivery systems and storage conditions were inadequate. They went to all the trouble of acquiring their arsenal but never learned to use them correctly. Lucky for us! Lucky for Tokyo!
In my mind, the Supreme Truth is that anyone who thinks that poking holes in a bag of nerve gas with the tip of an umbrella is a feasible delivery system has watched too many B-movies, didn’t read the instruction manual (maybe it was in Cyrillic), or is a COMPLETE FUCKING IDIOT. (The fastest way to deliver to a Japanese crowd is to infect a bunch of pocket tissue packs and pass them out at rush hour. Duh.)
It would be a small comfort if at least all the senior members of Aum die as a result of their own egomania. They believed killing a bunch of innocent men, women, and children could trigger a change toward a better society (for them, at least). I shudder to think what they envision as an ideal society. The world will be better off without them, and by “without,” I mean dead and suffering in a coward’s hell.
I mean, come on, in the end all these fucking hypocrites ran away from the cops, hiding in the folds of the very society they were bent on destroying (and leaving their blind and bat-shit crazy guru alone in a hidey hole at the cult compound). A real death cult would have at least had a last stand or something. A group tribute to Yukio Mishima with kitchen knives would have been a lot less wussy and saved us from waiting for the courts to decide their fate for so many years. As decisions go, I’m happy the judge turned over the original ruling. I wonder what the chances for an appeal are – judging by the headline of the article I linked to at the top, Aum cultist to hang for role in sarin gas attack, I didn’t think there would be one.
This quote from the defense is amusing:
“It is regrettable that the judge only considered objective facts and not his individual circumstances.”
Heh. Please don’t punish my client; he’s basically a nice guy, who, under pressure from his peers and the eeevil mind control of his blind prophet mentor, was coerced into something he might not have done if society wasn’t so cruel and his parents had loved him when he was little. And now he has changed! These days, he is fond of kittens, loves Jesus, and is a completely different man from the one who coordinated a sarin gas attack on a subway system filled with innocent people.
I think the Japanese government should specially institute the gas chamber as an alternative to hanging in this case. The instant release of a proper hanging is too humane for these fuckers. They should be gassed with the court evidence, spending the last lingering seconds of consciousness in a paralytic haze as the darkness spreads and eventually swallows them whole.

Meat Conspiracy

Do you realize how hard it is to keep up with a no-carb diet right now in Japan? There are problems with all four of my food groups!
Beef: Australian is the only beef available in quantity but the grade of meat they are importing has the texture of reconstituted beef jerky.
Pork: Pork has always suffered a stigma here, and it sounds like they are going to stop the import of American pork due to the mad cow scare. (I was going to write a joke about increased imports of Canadian pork here but I got engrossed in this page instead. Too bad.)
Chicken: Goddamn avian flu coupled with in-country corruption (they just busted a local hatchery for selling laying hens to butcher shops!) means that eggs and rows upon rows of possibly tainted fowl were the only goddamn meat product available at the store today. And the egg section was plastered with recall notices for lead-tainted eggs they sold last week!
Fish: Smaller, more expensive, increasingly frozen, and more likely to be farmed than caught lately.
Maybe the trees really are screaming.
I ate the last of the lamb chops I squirreled away last week for dinner. Oh, tofu also. Shit, I even ate a pack of natto, so I guess I’ll see what that does to my ketotes tomorrow when I do a test strip.
Lord Atkins in heaven, the natives of this savage land have forsaken me! Send me some lobster and steak dinners, stat!