Out of all of the American fast food franchises in Japan, I prefer to go to Wendy’s because it is relatively cheap, and their burgers are more palatable than the other option (McDonalds). I rely on the 150 yen menu, Japan’s version of the 99 cent meal, . Using components from this menu, you can make some pretty badass combos:
Frosty Fries:
I can not take credit for this, as it sprung as a collective idea between me, my brother, and my sisters while cramped in the back of our Dodge Ram Prospecter, most likely headed to or from a vacation to Mammoth. Although counter-intuitive, the best way to enjoy french fries is dipped in a Frosty.
The Chili Bacon Cheeseburger-
Wendy’s is the only place I know where you can make a Chili Cheeseburger in Japan. Unlike In-N-Out, you can not order this because they don’t have a secret menu. You have to assemble it yourself.
Buy a Jr. Bacon Cheeseburger, extra packs of ketchup (not only does this improve the taste, but it also contributes to filling your stomach- something I was always trying to do in college), and a small chili. Load the burger with ketchup, and spoon chili on your burger with each bite. Not only is this a fun and less messy way to enjoy chili in your burger, but it maintains the integrity of the ingredients (doesn’t sog up the bun or wilt the iceberg) until you are ready to eat them. Why doesn’t Wendy’s sport a Chili Bacon Cheeseburger already? I don’t know, but they’re missing out on a great untapped market with great potential.
The only other way to obtain a chili cheeseburger is to go to Mos Burger (although chili cheeseburger-esque, a mos chili cheeseburger’s components qualify neither as “chili” nor as a genuine “burger”) or to make it yourself.
If you happen to find yourself in Kumamoto City, craving some good genuine American food, drop into Masa’s and you won’t be disappointed (huge burgers and even locomoco!).

All Dressed Up But Nowhere to Whore

I’m on another business trip. It’s late, I’m sweaty. In a suit. Wasted from a day of picking up on the subtle nuances of Japanese corporate doublespeak, flipping the sentences backwards and into another language, then funneling it down the client’s ear.
Now I’m back at the hotel with several hours worth of work ahead of me and the shrill ring of an alarm clock not mine own to look forward to in the morn.
Time to sign off, folks, but before I go, let me give you the Buddha’s One True Way to get an annoying fat gaijin perv in a middle management position to leave you alone and quit dropping hints like, “so what are Jap girls like?,” and, “so what’s the deal with those hostess clubs we passed earlier?” over a business dinner:
When he gets all drunk and alco-sentimental with your boss later on and lays pictures of his kids on the table, echo everybody’s remarks about how cute they are and what a lovely family he has, then lean over the table and hiss, “God hates sinners.”
Note: It’s all in the angryasianman.jpg

Kobe License Plates

Today I changed my car’s registration from Nara to Kobe. I don’t like the new number plates as much as the old ones – Kobe plates are a kind of status symbol in Kansai, much as Shinagawa plates are in Kanto. I have this nagging feeling that these plates might get me pulled over more often than the old Nara ones, although I can’t really explain why, it’s just a feeling I have (that I hope is never proved).
A few months ago I heard that Kobe plates illicitly exported from Japan were selling in LA for a pretty sum, mostly because of the Kobe Bryant case. In retrospect, I think the high price is justified; the process to get new plates in Japan is a colossal pain in the ass if you do it yourself (Most people just pay to have car shops do it for them; I did it by myself partly just to see if it was as a big a hassle as I imagined and I was not disappointed.)


Even though I’ve lived here on Awaji Island for nearly five years, I was registered at my friend’s house in Nara until last month. Basically, there was no reason to change my address officially until this year, when the immigration laws got stricter, plus I fucking hate having to tell the government where I live just on principle…
Just one of the many pains in the ass involves re-registering my car out here (in Kobe, actually), and in order to do that, I need a shakoshomei, which is proof that you have an approved place to park. If you live in a house, this might be your driveway or garage, but if you rent an apartment, like I do, you have to provide proof that you are renting a space somewhere.
This is an incredibly irritating process that takes a trip down to the local police station at least twice, once to apply and once to pick up the actual document, which is issued after an inspector goes to visit the parking space you have specified in the application (you actually have to provide two maps, one of the parking space in relation to your home, and another, more detailed map of the parking area with dimensions, etc. Most people hand-draw this stuff, but I, uber-nerd, did the work in Illustrator – may post it later so you can come egg my Silvia).
Anyway, after this long, drawn out process had gotten to its final stage, I was ready to pick up the document late last week. Before work, I went to the police station (cue: oh happy day) with my trusty hanko (personal seal used in place of signature) only to be told that the guy in charge wasn’t in. The fact that just speaking to the police in Japan – about just about anything, really – always puts me in the foulest of moods, only compounded my irritation at being brushed off because the designated desk jockey (and public fucking servant I might add) decided to make a run for the bento shop during normal operating hours. Whatever. I decided to jump through all the hoops when I decided to make the move out here official, so I sucked it up and went to work.
I didn’t have time to go again until yesterday. I walked into the police station all pimped out in my spiffy work uniform (complete with nametag; this is a Japanese white-collar job, thankyouverymuch) and requested service at the desk. This time, the balding desk sergeant in charge was there (oh joy), fat ass parked firmly in a seat with a bead cushion draped over it. He looks over my approval forms, sees they’re all in order, then announces to no one in general, “the window for processing shakoshomei is from 3 to 5 PM, please come back then.”
Me: “fuck, as in what the?”
Cop: “3 to 5”
Me: “But there ain’t nobody else here now! C’mon! ”
Cop: “Morning hours are reserved for driver’s license-related issues only – COME BACK BETWEEN 3 AND 5!”
Me: “THERE AIN’T NOBODY ELSE HERE – c’mon, cut me a break already. Pleeeeeease. Pretty please with azuki on the top.”
Cop: “Ungh.” (loosely translated: “wutevaaaa”)
Grrrrr. So I had to take off work early and got back to the police station just before 5. As I approach the desk sergeant, who I swear has not moved a single fucking inch since I last saw him several hours before and is now half-heartedly playing with pencils and rubber bands, looks up at me, then glances at the clock, gathers the approval papers again and says, “hehheh, you made it just in time.”
And as he stamps my hanko in the logbook and gives me the magic papers, he replies “I wouldn’t have minded if you came in a little later. I’m here until 7:00 anyway.”
I bit down on my lower lip, hard, and concentrated on quietly exiting the building.
As a good friend once put it, “why are cops such fucking cunts?”

Daihatsu Microbus

In Japan, there is a micro-subcompact class of cars known as “keijidosha,” or simply, “K.” Under current regulations their engine size is restricted to 660cc, and their appeal in this land of super expensive gasoline and narrow roads is fairly obvious. They are also cheaper than standard size cars, so it cracks me up when I see a lot of money put into their modification. This microbus mod has been getting more and more popular recently, and on my island alone, I have seen red, orange, yellow, black, tan, and lime green versions of it.

Unleashing Your Inner Loser

This proves that just about anybody can publish a book these days:
How to Date a White Woman: A Practical Guide for Asian Men
This is so pathetic on so many levels, I don’t know where to start. I think the publisher can sum it up for us best:

Perfect to use as a reference, for dating, and for romantics everywhere, this book contains over 200 pages how to guide, on love, dating and relationship for the Asian man with a Caucasian woman.

You know what Asian men need to be successful with chicks? I’ll give you a hint: It sure ain’t another book to stick their noses in, Einstein. Hell, you might as well sell the online version only so Mr. Long Duck can reference his PDA in between dinner courses!
Of course, what Asian men really need is a role model, like Rick James (I’m Ricky Yin, bitch!). But I’m not sure I wanna go there today…
Under the “Customers who viewed this book also viewed” section, one of my favorite books is listed: Hello My Big Big Honey!. Basically, this is the best title for any book I have ever seen, and the fact that I accidentally found this gem at a musty secondhand store in the dogshit slums of Bangkok only endears it further. I don’t remember much about the story except that it was sad, but Adam wrote about it in a bit more depth here.

I, Mexican’t

This weekend, when asked to describe a burrito to a SE Asian man (probably my future father-in-law, if such things matter), I described it as a “Mexican springroll.” Sometimes I just have my moments.
That got me hungry, so I made fajitas for us all.
In the age of Teflon-coated, feng shui-infused, drop-forged-in-space cookware, cast iron griddles still kick ass. However, my newly-purchased titanium wok (purchased at Jusco, 2000 yen) positively 0wnzz0rs for black bean sauce stir fry, garlic chicken, and the assorted curry dishes I have tried cooking in it. It heats faster than steel and is light enough to perform street tricks with (I’ve tried the Jive Nelly and an inverse limp-wrist 720 sinkgrind-to-deadfish ollie fazer and although splattering myself with excess olive oil, actually managed to land both tricks! Don’t try this at home, kids.). I also suspect it could be used as a conveyance back in time if one could be bothered to hook up some spare power lines to the clock tower one stormy night…
Fresh limes are the fulcrum of a kick-ass grilled meat dish.
Fresh limes often cost a dollar each in Japan, and are sometimes smaller than a “D” battery (“D motherfucker, D!”).
The first person who correctly guesses the origin of the quote above gets a fajita in the mail; leave a mailing address in the comments as well as your meat preference (chicken, pork, or fugu).
*If you live outside of Japan, I’m sending it by surface.
**If you live in Japan, just come by the house sometime.

Adventures in Soy

What is Nigari?
Nigari is a liquid extract left over from the processing of tofu.
Nigari is rich in minerals and is claimed to be an excellent dietary supplement.
Supposedly, the high magnesium content of nigari works in the intestines to block the absorption of fat into the body.
Nigari is claimed to be especially effective when taken with foods rich in B vitamins such as pork or mushrooms.
Nigari is poured over food before it’s eaten; some people say it’s tasteless, and others claim it’s slightly bitter.
Nigari, in case you haven’t figured it out yet, is a huge health fad in Japan.
I also think nigari is a damn good way for tofu companies to make money on what was once probably considered a waste byproduct. Maybe the health claims aren’t so far off. Another byproduct of tofu manufacturing is okara, a substance very high in fiber and very good for you, which unfortunately smells and tastes like shit. An old friend of mine once told me that when she was a kid, a truck from a local tofu factory would come by her school every week to drop off free okara. The kids would all run away from it screaming because they hated eating it so much. But I digress. You are thinking, “what the fuck is J getting at?”, and “hurry up and tell us more exciting tales of tofu.” Okay, kids:
Today in the company cafeteria, I chose a seat near the windows, as always, so I could look at the birds in the trees and be extremely jealous of their carefree lifestyle, as always. I sit by myself because if its one thing I’ve learned over the years at a big Japanese company, it’s that talking about work shit over lunch break doesn’t feel like much of a break at all.
A group of guys from another section intruded on “my” table, and this ridiculously irritating hippie health-fad slave among them pulled out a bottle of nigari and started pouring copious amounts of it on each person’s food, squealing in an incredibly annoying tone of nag, “try this out, it’s NIGAAAARI it’s TAAAASTELESS it’s GOOOODFORYOU.” When he got to the person who had sat down next to me, he accidentally poured some in MY bowl of miso soup (which I had taken off the food tray earlier and placed on the table between myself and the guy next to me). I was thinking, “what the fuck!”, and probably went bug-eyed in disbelief, but didn’t say anything at first (that’s the old “fitting-in at overseas office” function kicking in). Actually, the whole table was kind of in disbelief that this dumbass had tainted my food. This is Asia; the unwritten rules are that you don’t fuck with:
A. Another man’s bowl of rice
– or –
B. Another man’s bowl of soup
*curiously enough, main dishes and side dishes are fair game if you ask first OR the other person doesn’t notice
So now we have a situation because homeboy has fucked with my bowl of hot fermented soybean goodness and is totally unapologetic. The fucker tells me, to the horror of his friends, its GOOOOD for you.
Ten years ago, this guy would have been eating teeth. Five years ago, he would have at least been wearing soup. Today, since I was in such a good mood, what with the birds in the trees and, admittedly, since I’m not nearly such an asshole anymore, I resisted the immediate urge to kill. Half of his friends were apologizing on his behalf while the other half told him to stop being such a dickhead, and I eventually agreed to let him buy me a new bowl of soup (his friends insisted on it). That was strangely embarassing, so when he went to buy it, I made a big show of licking my thumb and sticking it in his bowl of rice.
His friends went along with that just fine, and he never figured out why everyone kept giggling throughout the meal.
I suppose the moral of this story is, “You can take the man out of the asshole…”

Instapundit on CNN Japan

Watched the Professor Reynolds interview on the international version of CNN this morning. It was kind of short, but he ended by saying that CBS should own up to their mistake – it was a milestone for bloggers, IMHO. This is the first time I’ve seen something like this broadcast in Japan. This was the Paula Zahn show, by the way. She interviewed wonkette after that, but she was about as interesting as her site, as in “not.”

Primary Cause: “30 minutes or it’s free”

USMC cargo helicopter crashes and explodes in crowded Okinawa city; three crewmen injured. Most significant backlash? Marines are criticized for allowing pizza deliveries through while blocking “Japanese police detectives, local political leaders and diplomats from Tokyo.” Well, duh. US Marines could eat any of those for lunch, too, but pizza is boneless (as opposed to spineless).
The whole “Go back to Japan” remark puts things in an interesting light.

“When Okinawans feel isolated from the central government, they rise,” said Mr. Okamoto, now a lobbyist, as he recounted waves of anti-base sentiment since World War II. “It may be happening again.”

Say Wuuuuuuuuuuut? Overall, I think the writer tried to cover a bit too much in this piece, but it sure does seem to hint at the secret development of a martial arts system emphasizing straight punches, powerful snap kicks, and, ultimately, Pat Morita chopping a hardwood ceiling beam in half with his bare hands, now doesn’t it?