*to Hanlon's razor: Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.

Saturday 23 February 2013

Not the wedding at Cana

I had the good first (though there is better),
And the poor second (and there is worse),

Following the notion that taste buds deteriorate with alcohol.
Every man at the beginning sets out the good wine, and when the guests have well drunk, then the inferior. You have kept the good wine until now!
Perhaps I needed a few more of the good to not notice the poor, yet even among Japanese 'beer', rather than Happoshu, there is worse.  Had I drunk the Yebisu first I would have thought it merely tasteless, not unpalatable, but would have liked the Coedo more.  There is no good way to drink good and poor beer in the same sitting.

As good a way as any for me to comfort myself about never having been in an onechan sandwich...  (And the group sex thing, since a man will take longer each time, yet get more tired, someone gets the short end of that, er... stick).

Saturday 16 February 2013

Apologies and culture

Apologies are not the same in Japan.  I don't mean the gestures.
That shit's just theatre.  Look at the choreography!

Let me ask you, has your Japanese wife/husband/lover ever given you a profound and vulnerable apology?

I am not interested in the thousand 'gomen', 'shitsurei', 'ojyamashimasu' et al. you hear in a day.  Those are conventions.  What I mean is have you had an apology, in any language, where the Japanese person said,
That was my fault.  I take responsibility for it.  There was no excuse.  Here is how I will address it.  I understand if you will not forgive me.*
Everybody screws up through their own selfishness, sometimes.  Everyone should have had to make the speech above from time to time, unless you are a psychopath or a narcissist.  This is my wife's weakness: she will not admit error (it is the only thing that drives me nuts - that and the usual Japanese generating of clutter).  Come to think of it, I think this is a cultural problem.  Japanese do 'confession', more rarely do 'satisfaction', but most certainly do not do 'contrition'.**

*The vanity of the 'Westerner' is that they presume confession is followed by forgiveness, but forgiveness is a blessing you cannot demand: to presume is no attrition.
**Sorry but the RC church does get penance right, except for 'absolution': there is no god, and even if there were it is contemptible to divest yourself of what you have done.

Tuesday 12 February 2013

I give up; they stink.

No, not all Japanese.  'That's racist.'  The women have almost no scent to speak of, apart from hair-care products (except mothballs for the old - Jesus).  Nor do all of the men, but good Christ a goodly portion of them!
I have said that it smells better on Japanese trains (Chris told me I am wrong), and maybe it did in the 90s during my first-impression.  NowFuck...

A forty minute ride today, and what did I smell?  Flatulence, pomade, the fecal-fug of middle-aged men who, even if I believed they had a bath the night before, cannot remember when they last dry-cleaned their suit, halitosis from more than one direction, at least one of which must have been an abscess, groin (I didn't want to think about it, and wasn't near anyone's), and the usual burr of Japan Tobacco's shitty products.  No alcohol yet, as it was noon.  That treat waits another hour.

If you stink by noon at a 'white-collar' job, there is something wrong with you.  Deodorant, dry-cleaning, and keeping your abscess-filled trap shut would go a long way.  And no, I don't care if you got home late from being pointless, you must bathe once a day.  Bathing at night is good for your marriage, but bathing in the morning is appreciated by the rest of us.

Sunday 10 February 2013

For the safety of the Japanese...

I need a trip out of this country soon.  I am going to take a bat to some salaryman...
I can't go two days without shoving some twat on the trains, nor more than one ride without keeping my elbows at rib-height so some oyaji doesn't too closely invade what personal space I am left.  Yesterday a little five-foot shit cut me off, smashed into my side, just to get at the back of a crowded line for the escalator, and gave 6'+ me a look for giving him a shove in the back.  If I didn't think everyone would 'bear false witness' I would have given him much more than a shove.  What few train manners there ever were here are getting worse all the time.

I have been in-country for eighteen-months.  We are not taking all four of us home this summer, because it would cost more than $7K all costs in.  I am going to be here another eighteen-months.  This is me now.
I don't even go outside on the weekends if I can avoid it.  Tokyo life?  I take my kid to the park, and I get my groceries.  I used to exercise...  Even that leaves me fed up with the witlessness.  I never go shopping for clothing or the like: won't find anything masculine, won't fit, and have to go among twerps who somehow have not adapted to living in crowds (Stand left!  Move right!  Walk in a straight fucking line, and like you mean to get anywhere!).

I have a thing about not going to the US, but where else can I get a few days away where nobody will look at me twice, and don't panic at the sound of English, and it won't cost a fortune to get there (Toronto, a fortune, and not somewhere I am pining for)?  We are a bit lean on money this year, but I think I can sell a solo-trip to the wife, as it will cost a third of the family going to my 'home', and neither she nor the kids need the trip like I do.  She'll be perfectly fine at her mother's.  It's also necessary for my sanity.  Three straight years here is not an option.  Plus, she'll be taking the kids to Japan every summer when we are in Toronto.  I agreed to that.

Have a friend in LA, but been there/done.  SF and Yosemite?  Hawaii?  Best option, but not going to go cheap as I will go at 'Golden Week'.  Too many Japanese, but I won't spend time in Honolulu.  This looks good.

Wednesday 6 February 2013

Toronto is:

like living in Saitama, but paying Tokyo prices.

I said that to a bunch of international school teachers the other day to explain why I hate the place.  Got a laugh.  I am sure any readers will understand just how much contempt is rolled into that one sentence.  Even better than something I said at a Toronto backyard barbeque among my heavily mortgaged friends, when my J-wife and I were getting the what-for for being renters,  pour épater les petit-bourgeoise:
I'm not going to pay Toronto prices, and only get to live in Toronto for it.
With a mouth like that I have already lost those Toronto friends subsidizing the banks with mortgages more than their houses are worth, which will be the case within twelve-months.  Even if I did have to tell them how much less I will have paid for a house in two years than they paid for theirs a few years previously it won't come to blows: Torontonians are as passive-aggressive as the Japanese, and like the Japanese, only 'brave' locked up inside their own cars.

My own brother, who worked on Wall Street during the crash, but made off like a bandit, and is now working for an important Canadian public financial institution, god help us, told me the analyses showing there will be a repeat of the American housing crash are weak.  To which I said:
So what's the downside for me?  Right now it makes more sense for us to invest what we have and rent, and if prices never come down that will still be true.  If they come down and we buy we'll have done far better than our stupid friends.  Explain the flaw in my logic.
 He couldn't.

Friday 1 February 2013

Isaac and Abraham

Came across a reminder today.  There are two ways to look at this story for an atheist: awe and ridicule.
You who build these altars now
To sacrifice these children,
You must not do it anymore.
A scheme is not a vision
And you never have been tempted
By a demon or a god.
You who stand above them now,
Your hatchets blunt and bloody,
You were not there before,
When I lay upon a mountain
And my father's hand was trembling
With the beauty of the word.
- Leonard Cohen, 'The Story of Isaac

It should be simple to call it barbarous, but yet, doesn't it speak to something fundamental in the psyche of 'religions of The Book' and their cultures?  I could have a discussion about this story with someone educated Jewish, Muslim or Christian  (I was educated Catholic), but not anyone else.  I once had a discussion with a Japanese lover about it (probably because the song was playing?) but she was horrified past any rational discussion... which is probably the correct reaction, really.  If nothing else the story stands as the metaphor for the Old Testament, and precursor to The Crucifixion*.  It still puzzles me.

*I am an atheist, but I still capitalize.