Chicano Subculture in Thailand and Japan

There was a resurgence of interest in “Thai Chicanos” last year, resulting in a few articles and videos across the web. The most entertaining video, however, is the one from almost a decade ago, about the “Cholos of Bangkok,” by Coconuts TV.

Also last year, an interesting YouTube video documenting “Japan’s Chicano Culture In LA” was published by Peter Santenello:

However, the true counterpart to the “Cholos of Bangkok” is “Inside Japan’s Chicano Subculture” by the NYT:

From a language and culture standpoint, all of these are enthralling. I’ve watched them all multiple times and pick up on new details every time.

Paperwork Crossfire

Having lived and worked at a large company in Japan for over a decade, I got used to dealing with red tape, idiot bureaucracy, and daunting stacks of interoffice paperwork and documentation. When I moved to Thailand to live a “simpler” life, it never occurred to me that I might find a tangled mess of paperwork to rival that of any developed country. However, today I find myself in the crossfire of two separate government offices that simply cannot agree with each other and hope to silence the other by firing enormous salvos of paperwork at each other.

It seems like every other day I’m getting a new form from one office, demanding that I provide a detailed answer to every request, and then almost immediately afterwards another form from the other office, with significantly different and sometimes contradictory requests. I try to explain the situation and provide the correct answer, but it doesn’t seem to help.

Jiro Inagaki & Soul Media – Funky Stuff (1975)

ファンキー・スタッフ
稲垣次郎とソウル・メディア

You may think you are cool… But you will be much cooler after you pour this in your ear and let it seep from your pores and permeate throughout your personal space.

I mean, until you hear homie singing and humming along to the bass line, you really haven’t lived. This is what he looks like:

Our storage room with all my Case Logic gear was flooded in October. So I’ve been going through the absolute mess made of my perfectly organized collection and listening to CDs for the first time in 20 years. There’s some real gems in there.

Jeff Goldblum – The Future is on LSIs (Rohm)

When I started out as a copywriter in a medium-sized translation office in Miyakojima, Osaka, I had more translation and technical writing jobs than anything very creative… but in that first year, a huge job landed on my desk, unbeknownst to me. The job was simple, the client wanted a rewrite and “native check” from a random gaijin on staff – me. The original headline was a single sentence, roughly worded. Something like, “We can see the future on this LSI.” Of course, nobody knew (and to this day, nobody knows) what an LSI was, so: “Large-scale integration (LSI) is the process of integrating or embedding thousands of transistors on a single silicon semiconductor microchip.” In semiconductor manufacturing circles, it refers to a specific kind of microchip.

I tried to convince the client to replace “LSI” with “microchip” for a few hours, but to no avail – the nomenclature was set in stone. So I suggested “The Future is on LSIs,” and promptly moved onto the next job. I was used to knocking out several quick jobs a day, so I didn’t really give it a second thought. Until I was watching TV one day half a year later and saw Jeff Goldblum, in the desert, with a spiky haircut, speaking words I had written:

It was my proudest day as a copywriter.

Later in my career, I would work with advertising legends like Leo Burnett on hot accounts like Sony Vaio, Virgin Records, and the Honda Insight, but I would always be drawn back to that hot day in the translation office in Osaka.

Kewpie’s Frankeneggs – Snowman Kimipuchi

On the right, a normal egg yolk. On the left, a fake yolk AKA the Snowman Kimipuchi:

A user on Twitter performed this experiment in a frying pan with a fake egg found in a convenience store bento, and the Japanese are outraged!

The list of ingredients on the Kewpie page sounds a lot like the ingredients in their mayonnaise:

I understand the concern of Japanese bento eaters, but I’m also really curious about the taste…

Conquistador and Castle

This guy’s photos are so good, they don’t look like photos.

Amazing!

Heisei Arigato

Alt. view:

Apparently he just walked off when the boat docked.

That’s the Ebisubashi bridge (Nampabashi/Hikkakebashi) under the famous Glico neon sign, where I spent approximately 0.004% of my total time in Japan. If I remember correctly, that was just enough time for me or my friends to throw someone else off that bridge… Was it me? I was pretty OK at drunk judo… Was it Dave? Was it on TV? For the life of me, I can’t even remember the name of the guy we threw off… I remember he was a real ass, though.

RIP Gaijin Shacho Hero Dude

Dear Nissan,
Now that you have ousted Carlos-sama, can you please stop making horrendous cars?
For example, no Skyline is worth a million dollars. Period. But this isn’t even trying:

The best looking part of this is the shadows!!
“Note from management: Please add ugly color swatch on the side.
Now THIS is how you de-accentuate a historical badge… Just bury it in carbon fiber and instead, make those air vents POP!!

Now, it’s rumored that you gangstabbed your Caesar in the back because he wanted to fully merge Nissan and Renault, but really, at this point you need to look at Renault’s current product lineup compared to yours. Although many Renault products look quirky,  they are at least generically modern, while Nissan’s look like they were designed in North Korea:

Nissan’s tribute to the Ssangyong Stavic?

It’s not necessary for you to compete with everybody on all fronts, but please, stop making ugly-ass cars. Please go back to your roots.

80 years old. This production car has more soul in just its tires than a million dollar Skyline.
Available in most parts of the world from around $500.
Aw hell, maybe there is a Skyline worth a million bucks…

Dajiban Glory

Road & Track published their first cool story online, maybe ever: The Glorious Madness of Japanese Dodge Van Racing

If I were still in Japan, I might be into that… Different and kinda expensive, but not overly weird. Then again, I think about my homie that drove around a Suburban and was constantly getting stuck parking spaces, narrow streets, and once, even a car wash, and it might give me pause. Still… Those oversize Watas are pretty awesome.

Check out the drifting from around 9:10!