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

Saturday 22 February 2014

Tokyo blogger meet: Yona Yona Beer Kitchen, 3/08, 18:00.

Update: based on the comments, Yona Yona Beer Kitchen, 3/08, 18:00.  I'll reserve for six people for the moment, and contact you via your blog's contact soon.  Thanks!

'Billy', I have emailed your blog's contact.  'Octopus', I couldn't because your page doesn't have one.  Mine is in my profile.

Original Post:
Narrowing down from the previous post, next Friday or later: which do you prefer?  If it's the Friday I am going to have to make reservations early.  Do your best to make it if you say you will, please.  Also, from 6 or from 7?

For the place, I think the running favourites are: Yona Yona Beer Kitchen, Popeye's and Goodbeer Faucets.  I've been to Popeye's but not the others.  I like Popeye's but want to try the others: no preference.  Also, each is about as convenient to work and home for me.

Invite anyone you'd like.  The needn't be other bloggers, just good company.  Just let me know numbers if you can.

Have a good week.

Friday 21 February 2014

"It's the smell" of Tokyo

I need to leave before I do the monologue on a train, lest I do the shooting that follows this scene.*
I hate this place. This zoo. This prison. This [culture], whatever you want to call it, I can't stand it any longer. It's the smell, [of your 'men', if they are] such a thing. I feel saturated by it. I can taste your stink and every time I do, I fear that I've somehow been infected by it.
I'll come back to the culture, I will, but it's the smell which has pushed me past the edge of cultural relativism.  Disgust is the earliest, strongest and most primal human reaction, and near impossible to overcome.  Tokyo smells at best of soya, fish, car-exhaust and tobacco, but as often of drains, halitosis, flatulence, pomade, sebum and urine.  The trains trend to the latter, and because of the density of primates, pungently.

I won't believe most men are bathing most evenings, because even sweating in their bedclothes all night they should not come on to the train with the fug they bring.  There are few other possibilities: some defecate while in their bath, many have a chronic metabolic disorder, bed sheets are changed infrequently?**

The smell is the straw on this camel.  There's much more on that load.

So I'm a misfit who came to Japan.  How unique.  How shocking.  I couldn't 'drink the Kool-Aid' handed out by:
- my class
- my parents' Catholicism
- middle American (and Canadian) team-sports' athleticism
- the same's cult of 'self-improvement' and witless extroversion
- its anti-intellectualism
- mass media
- and whatever else you've got***

This is the country I thought I'd come to for a solution?  In my defense, the notion wasn't to go to somewhere antiauthoritarian, but to somewhere alien.  Oh, so I have just admitted to alienation and Orientalism.  Give me a break, I was twenty years less wise.  I was also a conservative, but without status or assets to protect.  A fucking twat.

I was then, as now, a personality type which almost nobody likes.  From my teens it was clear there was something about me which made people angry, but it took another decade to learn what it was, that the anger was defensive, and that I couldn't be fucked about people this stupid.  It's not that I think more than I feel, but that I discount my emotions (and anyone else's) as a valid way to let myself be led around.  It's cute in a dog.

There's a few different ways to define the personality.  'Curmudgeon' in the linked documentary just about had it nailed.  I watched the ninety minutes slack-jawed that I was less alone on the planet.  The Myers-Briggs test calls me INTJ and it hits the nail on the head hard enough I see all of these as virtues:
- rarely doubt themselves or care much about their perceived social roles, expectations etc.
- ruthless when it comes to analyzing the usefulness of methods or ideas
- could not care less if that idea is popular or supported by an authority figure
- can be very patient and dedicated if something excites or intrigues them
- may also appear lazy in situations that do not require them to flex their mental muscles
- will embrace a competing theory if it makes more sense, regardless of the existing traditions or expectations
- see most other people as irrational or intellectually inferior.
- have little patience for things they consider illogical – e.g. decisions based on feelings, irrational stubbornness, emotional outbursts etc.
- strongly dislike environments that are built on blind obedience, traditions or respect for authority

So, Japan?  That wasn't going to work out as planned.  I don't need my friends to be well-read and intelligent, though it usually works out that way, but I insist on no 'bad faith'.  Narrows the pool, that.  Narrows the pool further in Japan, because 'bad faith' is the only way to be in the Japanese system; why returnees so often cannot reintegrate.  And Japan isn't going to change.  If anything it's become worse since I arrived just after 'the Bubble'.  There was hope then.  Read the link.  Illuminating.

Attempting to tie the threads together, my personality doesn't allow me to live easily among middle-class Canadians, so less so among the Japanese in their thralldom, but you can endure a great deal until something brings you to the point of disgust: the stench on the trains is it.  For you it may be any of a great many other things that trigger limbic disgust and make you need to leave.  It's easy to list the myriad of harms done to the Japanese ecological, social, psychological and urban environments; just as it is (nearly as) easy to do so for English Canada, but it smells better.  Or if it doesn't smell better, I am not so at the end of my tether there that smell is what sends me over the edge.

*Which is the last thought-provoking scene in the trilogy, as I remember it.

**Bedsheets are not changed correctly: all at once, weekly at home, between each customer at accomodations.  Often only the bottom sheet and pillow are changed, and the top sheet doesn't exist, but is a blanket washed maybe twice a season.  This is always so at mountain huts (I rather doubt sheets or pillow cases are changed between customers) but certainly at minshuku, and doubtless not at a few hotels.  Feh!

***Thanks, Kamo.

Thursday 20 February 2014

Blogger meet-up Tokyo style?

I have no idea what I mean by 'Tokyo style', except that it would be great to meet up in Tokyo with those of you who I have communicated with, on this blog, yours, or another's.  The genesis of the idea is in the comments to 'kamo's blog post.  What comes up often, apart from the tribulations of standing out like an indulged nail, is good beer.  If you are interested, please comment here, and we'll work out a way to communicate, keeping a level of privacy.

I can recommend Popeye's (Ryogoku), both Devil Craft locations (Kanda and Hamamatsu-cho), and the Harajuku Taproom.  I'd like to get to the new Yona Yona Beer Kitchen (Akasaka-Mitsuke), Goodbeer Faucets (Shibuya), or even Dry Dock (Shinbashi), and am open to other suggestions.

Craft Beer Market in Toranomon are dicks.  I won't go there.

A Friday night is convenient for most, but also for the other forty million in Kanto.  Perhaps a weekend lunch or dinner is better.  Please let me know your thoughts on date, location and time, if able to join.  Thanks.

Saturday 15 February 2014

'Hafu' VISA commercial face-palm

MicroaggressionInsensitivityNot getting it?  Complete lack of empathy?

Fuck it.  I haven't the energy to care about Japan anymore.  I'm gone in the summer.  No children of mine are getting raised by these people (apart from by the wife, abroad).

Saturday 8 February 2014

Japan: try making anything for your climate

Just a few notes, Japan, as if you're going to change unless you are invaded or nuked again (even then only superficially).

Your old buildings, and your new buildings, are built for some other climate, and are miserable three-quarters of the year.  Your 'western buildings' are never properly heated either, especially anywhere with any outside light, as opposed to fluorescent hells.  And umbrellas, no matter how wet the snow, are not the right tool for the job.

If you cleared snow before trampled to ice, you'd have no ice the next day, rather than for the next week.

Do you need round eyes to see the drawbacks to this form of snow clearing?

Gaijin, you realize the only reason the trains are not heated in such a fuck-witted way as their homes is because Japanese won't stand on the tables, rush hour or not.

Is there any reason, Japan, you dress your children so poorly for winter, inside and outside (amounting to the same thing)?  If it makes them so 'genki', why do I see so much running green phlegm, and people of all ages coughing, with uncovered mouths, of course?

To my lovely J-wife, no, it is not because I am a Gaijin that I won't take our son from our poorly heated home to make a snowman out of slush: it's because we've all had twice as many days sick as we would have in Canada, and I thought I'd put an end to that.  By the way, this is not a snowman, even if you people are short.

This is.

This house could be warmer than one of your own, but you had to cock it up lest the population realize it's better than their sheds: try a door.

Some old links from and about previous miserable Japanese winters.

Friday 7 February 2014

Snowpocalypse: the gods %$#@ with Tokyo

This isn't anything in Montréal, and only an inconvenience in Toronto, but a big deal here. Get several days food tonight or ASAP tomorrow. Last year half this snow and groceries emptied. The locals love to hoard: last year's snow and after the big quake too. If much snow at all falls, trains shut and Monday won't be a working day.  10cm snow over the weekend (or 25?), 150mm rain mid-week. Haven't seen that in seven Kanto winters.

Tuesday 4 February 2014

Why are Japanese women so hot?

This should get some hits.

Yes, preferences are a matter of taste, by definition.  Yes, there is beauty and homeliness in every people, however defined.  Yes, all definitions of peoples, by race, creed, ethnicity or what have you, are very nearly arbitrary.  Yes, there are no sharp boundaries for any people, but rather Venn diagrams palimpesting to absurdity for the species.  Yes, comeliness is not the best way to chose your couplings, but comeliness is the topic here.

All that said, there are a lot of comely women in Japan.  I am avoiding 'cute', 'pretty' and 'beautiful', but using 'comely' to subsume them all.  Japan's heteronormative male preferences in the media, and often in the individual, are for the cute at the expense of the beautiful, to the frequent extent of 'Lolita complex'.  Understand not one word of Japanese but this you'll easily figure out watching any Japanese drama: the hot one is 'evil'; the cute one is 'good'; and as everywhere, the plain one is 'friend'.

It's not like I can put aside my preferences any better than anyone else.  I have a thing for black silken hair and heavy-lidded eyes; whereas a colleague can't get over smaller tits.  "So it goes..."  I'd still say that Tokyo has far more comeliness than Toronto, even if Toronto has far more variety of it.  Why should that be?  Because nature is a bitch is why.

Before I was married I had dated 'white' and South Asian women from teens (when I was also!) to thirties, from one hundred to one hundred and fifty pounds.  Over the half of my life I have used up I have coupled with East Asian women from ninety to one hundred and sixty pounds, from twenty to thirty-nine years old.  Purely on the shallowest level, I have seen more attractive naked bodies on the East Asians.  Yes, yes, I am hugely biased by my preference. Here's the thing: East Asians more often have their body fat spread more evenly, and an even layer of it under the skin.  Others less so: Steatopygia.  Subcutaneous fat hides a lot: wrinkles and cellulite.  Who looks less wrinkled: the skinny old dude or the chubby one?  Never noticed how smooth and youthful much East Asian skin looks?  Subcutaneous fat.  Never noticed even chubby East Asian women do not balloon in particular areas?  And that Asian breasts seem part of, rather than attached to, their chests?  Less steatopygia.  These are just facts about populations, due to natural or sexual selection.  Sure, you may well sexually select differently in ways not widely popular.  I have a thing for namidabukuro.  What's that about?!

So why is Japan pretty?  Spread around body fat: makes a person look young twice as long, pretty much.  Anything is else is preference.  Well, even youthfulness is a preference, but nearly universal among men, straight, gay or flexible.  Nature's a bitch.

Addendum:  There's a discussion on plastic surgery in the comments, which is mostly against it, as my opinion is too apart from repairing significant injury or birth defect, such as a hare lip.  Besides both subjects and surgeons consistently going too far, the tragedy of sameness, and probable psychological issues, humans cannot better nature.  Look at the last picture.  She's much too young for me, but I find her shockingly pretty.  Would a surgeon have made that mouth a little too big, the lower lip a bit too plump compared to the top, the namidabukuro a little too large compared to the upper lids, the shoulders and wrists a bit too skeletal, and the forehead with such a high hairline?  Never, but I would so do her.  Gorgeous comes uniquely only.