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Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Green Tea and Crumpets!

Well sorry to let you know but this story contains no crumpets whatsoever. It was just a ploy to get you here.
I'm hoping it will spark interest with people that have twisted minds (and turned on by crumpets). I'd hoped it would be have the same pull as for those people looking for the words "SEX HERE" (I should note I always auto respond YES PLEASE).
I fear now that perhaps it would only work on the Brits, as they all have a appreciation for CRUMPETS (or is that just a stereotype?). Let's hope its not, and someone is actually reading this (and I mean anyone, there may be some money in it for you if you are. On the other hand there may not be. Its more likely to be the latter).


I hope there is no tobacco in that pipe or this is going straight to the SPCA.

No this blogpost is about Green Tea and Crumpets which is like oil and water, they just can't mix (unless of course you want to use detergent to emulsify it. As everyone knows, detergent is attracted to both water and oil molecules. If you don't know that, that is your science lesson for today).

As you know (or I hope you do), tea is an important part of Japanese culture. I want to say green tea only, but maybe I should just say tea in general. Vending machine everywhere serve it, restaurants, a person's house, office etc. Essentially everywhere ("dokodemo" which means everywhere as the cute character Doraemon says when he throws out his magic door that can take him to anywhere he wants to go).
The traditional tea ceremony called "Cha no yu" also serves it, though that one is bitter, and is not my cup of tea. Ha! That's a word play, not my cup of tea and its about a cup of tea. MWAHHWHHA why am I so funny with word play? I should seriously consider taking up rap. Though personally I never trust "white privilege" kids rapping about the hard life on the streets and living in the ghetto. They should be rapping about how their MacBook stopped working, and why their sweater gots a tear in the elbow (ya gots not got). Maybe about their Starbucks Venti (Italian coffee words brutal) being too hot. Cause that's too legit (to quit). I think I just stole that from a real rapper.... moving on.


I was lucky because I lived with a host family, so I was lucky to experience the changing seasons of teas. Different ones are served at different kinds of year just like the weather. Barley tea called Mugicha is served in summer. Its nice, especially when served cold from the fridge. My hostfamily liked to serve it with ice, so it was extra yum yum. I don't know how long you are supposed to leave it in the plastic pourer, but I found mine was mouldy or nasty when I made it myself after I was living on my own (like a bigboy at age 25). I left the teabags in it, perhaps its supposed to be removed and not big in the fridge while its still hot.


Naturally I do the Jedi way. I'll say I'm a natural, Yoda didn't even train me.



Winter, when its cold and depressing was served with a nice ryokucha (green tea) at my school. Tea ceremony and Starbucks served MACCHA (powered green tea, Starbucks one is super sugary).
A lot of the Sushi restaurants we went to served konacha (leftover junk green tea). Its like the low grade tea cause its bits and pieces of stems, small leaves, leftover leaves whatever thrown together. I liked it the most (cause I'm lowgrade I assume), and best of all its free (also a bonus) at most restaurants.

A lot of the Chinese restaurants served Oolong tea (also here in Canada at most Chinese places) or Jasmine cha (flowery one).

I always felt like I was surrounded by tea and I liked that. I also enjoyed all those maccha flavour candy, like Kitkats or other snacky snacks. Luckily lots of sugar to make up for the bitterness.


Seems to be a little upset, I suggest we get some now. Guessing she must be British. What is she a Queen (on TV she is LOL).

I read a few studies that said tea is a great drink for health due to the catechins (antioxidants). Most varieties have less caffeine than coffee. Interestingly monks like it cause it keeps them awake during the meditations (but to me Nirvana is sleep, so I would skip the tea).
There are some studies that seem to indicate that green tea helps with weight loss as one of the extracts helps the body to burn fat. I've always wondered why the Japanese are so thin compared to Westerner's. I don't think that's the only reason, but it may contribute to it.

I remember bringing some really nice green tea back from Japan. I gave it to my grandparents and told them this is the good stuff (not cheap for once), so enjoy it.
I found my grandmother drinking a cup that was an unrecognizable mud colour. I asked her what she was drinking, and she informed me the nice tea I bought her.
Nice tea has become mud, like that movie Slumdog Millionaire when the little boy jumped into the outhouse toilet hole (gross). I asked my grandmother why that colour? She said I added a lot of sugar and cream. Sugar and cream I thought? I've never heard of it with green tea, unless its maccha, and unfortunately for her, this wasn't maccha.

I figured at this point as might we well offer her a crumpet to go along with her not so green tea anymore, but then again, she's not British.


This seems highly inappropriate and funny. I should have given this shirt to my grandma instead of the tea.




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Thursday, August 31, 2017

BE THERE or Be Square!

This might sound like a command in English, but its more of joke used normally with children (the key word here is mostly).

It could be one with one child using it with another, or in a joking way between an adult and child. Of course, there is always the chance its serious and not a joke at all. If its two adults, expect an all out fight and if it involves weapons, move away. If it involves large dress up sumo suits, take some photo's and send them to me.

In Japan, something like "Be there or be square," would be more along of the lines of be there, or we decapitate you (with or without a smile possibly). Actually, that may be slightly overkill (that's funny cause I said decapitate before and I just used the word kill in overkill). I really crack myself up sometimes.
In Japan making your presence for work or social events is an obligation. It doesn't matter if you have nothing to do as long as you are there. You can stand around, pretend like you are doing something. Or not pretend and just sleep. Even snoring sounds are acceptable based on my observations.
It reminds me of those Simpson's episodes where Homer is supposed to be watching the security camera, and he's in deep sleep. In North American not acceptable, but in Japan, no problem cause you are there. You thought people slept already on the train on the way in (and therefore maybe full of energy), but you still find people sleeping all the time, in meetings, while talking to people etc. I even saw people fall asleep talking standing up answering the school phone. And I should add they also bowed, but of course the person on the other end isn't aware they are bowing. I started doing it too in my hopes of assimilation (I was like the biggest nail sticking out of the wood). I wanted to get hammered in but I never could (this is a Japanese expression I like, only I'm making a joke because I'm a foreigner and stand out).
Those people sleeping on the train were still tired probably cause they were obligated to stay at work late, then go to after parties, then get home super late, shower (hopefully), then start that cycle again.

This guy mean business. Frankly, I'm not messing with him.


And just to add to the confusion, cause I like mind games with words.
I don't want you to confuse your (personal) presence with (gift) presents, but both are equally important in Japanese society. As I alluded to in a previous blogpost, I gave a rotten melon to my hostfamily. It was beyond nasty, my fingers melted into it like it was butter. For me, it was the thought that counts.
Normally if I had given a nice $100 melon they would have recorded it in some hidden journal and wrote "Demon boy gave us a nice melon today, owe him something back for $100 ish". Instead they probably wrote "that mofo demon foreigner gave us a nasty melon, what a fuc$ker. I can't believe him. Let's get revenge on him in the future by slipping him some 'accidental" poison fugu fish on his next meal with us". That seemed fair, afterall revenge is sweet when served cold (or is that ice cream? Possibly both).

I never recorded anything when I was in Japan and I never remembered who gave me what. I'm sure I owe a lot of people things that I was given. I think I mentioned I once mentioned I wanted to buy a sword and all the sudden my host family bought me one. I felt a bit guilty now, but at the time I was like, can I rack it up even more? Some gold bars? Pixie dust? (the real magic dust one not some sort of code for drugs. Unless of course the drugs can make me feel like I'm flying with no side effects).

I want this one. Real pixie dust and I can fly like Tinkerbell.


The saying be careful what you wish for also comes into effect here.
Sometimes you have a balance owing for whatever was given to, if you like it or not.
This could result in a sliced off finger in certain circles, or broken bones in others.
I recall a story from my old Japanese teacher (a large white guy) who told me about a friend he had that kept going to this fancy steakhouse. The owner, a yakuza guy, said you can come here and eat anytime you want for free. His friend thought that was great, so he went everyday. He told his friend you should be careful or they might ask you to smuggle drugs, or do something worse in return. Nothing is free in life (except free craigslist section which I frequent daily, I got a nice iron yesterday, slightly rusty, but gets the job done)..
He didn't hear from that friend again.
Though I'm a bit concerned his "friend" was imaginary, its possible he's trying to give me a life lesson without telling me I'm an idiot (which of course everyone knows I am).

If that's true, he's the opposite of my wife. She likes to let me know, usually with weapons in her hands. Its at times like these I most desire pixie dust, to fly away.


That's not my wife, but it looks like her gun. Be careful.
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Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Being Fake is Great!

Being Fake is Great!


Been there, done that (I mean.... No.... I haven't).


And I don't mean like fake goods, though I shouldn't dismiss those either. I did have a few Lolex (Rolex) from China. They were dirt cheap compared to the real thing and left a yellow mark on my wrist. It was awesome! Like a free "fake" tan.

I also had some North Fake jackets. My friends in Canada were like oh you bought a North Face jacket? I said no, I bought in China and they noticed it was either North Fake or North Facs.

But don't tell Japanese friends that, I tried mentioning about fake goods onetime and my Japanese friends thought its like the evilest thing to buy and to wanted to call the FBI on me. Or whatever the equivalent in Japan was (JBI? MIB?). MIB isn't that funny I guess.


But regarding this post its a testament to the Japanese well oiled machine of "fake" social skills.
I like to call it being "fake" to make it easy to understand as its somewhat similar to our meaning.

You know in the West, a lot of people take sh#t for being fake. I remember in High School a lot of girls saying so and so is so fake. Fake nails, fake hair, fake eyelashes, fake body part ABC. Or that she just pretends she likes something but hates it, that may be more a little in tune.


What's wrong with that? My Lolex said it too.



Japanese fake is kind of similar, but bring the notch up a bit cause everyone does it. If someone said they are so fake, they'd be covering everyone.

When someone pours hot boiling coffee (or we can substitute that for green tea) on you, you just smile and say I'm sorry for being in the way. When in actuality the MOFO that just did it is totally at fault and might I add, a total ass. The person that did the spilling should offer compensation and bow, ideally on the ground with their face near your feet (you better hope they don't smell like doggy do do. Mine usually do).
I remember seeing people on trains during rush hour packed. People are trying to get off and among the pushing, some ladies are losing their shoes (heels). They just smile while hobbling with one shoe. Just go without it, pretending like nothing is wrong. Since its a heel its even worse, its like hobbling with a pirate's wooden leg, totally off balance. Hmm, that wasn't overly funny either.
If I had lost my shoe, I'd probably press the Emergency STOP button for the train and tell everyone to start looking. I'd call the Japanese S.D.F (self defence force) and tell them start looking, it must be here somewhere (that's funny). If they have a national guard to call them out too.


I recall a few times while buying groceries, thinking well thanks for helping me, but in Japan the cashier is bagging your stuff and bowing, thanking you for your business. Its great and very fake.. Those few business' in Canada where they say "Thank you for your business, please come again".
I usually do. I'm a sucker for fakery (and as I already mentioned about Lolex).

It also has to do with language.
In Canada we can say "Hi" to strangers on the street, not a big deal.
I recall a few times, I figured well why not greet people like in Canada.
One guy was running towards me and I greeted him "Konnichi Wa!" He didn't know how to react, seemed like an electric eel had just zapped him. But he mumbled something back to me, which may have been an attempt to speak an English greeting back, "HAROOO". It reminded me of that South Park TEAM AMERICA movie with Kim Jong Il. On a sidenote I have a Korean friend at work last name Kim. Thought he may be related, but he informs me only 60% are named Kim, another 30% Parks, and the other randoms.

It just like that. Not better.


It definitely helps the society to be well oiled and cause less friction in situations.
Mind you, its a skill to know when someone is being genuine or not. Most of us foreigners are terrible at it. I probably mentioned in Japan you are supposed to refuse a gift a few times when given something. I would always just say sure and take it. If someone said no, I'd respond OK, just take the gift and eat it (even when it wasn't food, ha funny). On the bright side no one said they hated my soul, they just smiled and went back to what they were doing. It may have been "fake" and they did hate my soul.


I guess Valentine's Day is a similar thing and only a plus for men.
In Japan women gives men Valentine's chocolate. Ladies first... oh sorry this is Japan, men first, especially through the door or walking on the street.
I always thought I did quite well, till I found out that in Japan there is something called "giri choco". Giri is obligation and choco is chocolate. So basically chocolates they don't want to give, but have to. On the plus side every man is going to get at least one chocolate, on the negative side, 99% are fake and the person probably hates your guts, but gives it to you out of an obligation. Somehow I don't feel that bad about it, and gladly accepted it.

I love Japan. Or am I just being fake.
That's for you to guess and me to ponder.

Let me know if you see any good Lolex, the hands on mine don't turn anymore.



I didn't mean this cheap, has to look slightly more convincing than this.


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Sunday, April 30, 2017

Doggie bag without the dog!


I sometimes wonder if Japan is becoming more Westernized due to more foreigners (evil one's of course) invading Japan or if there is a delay that trickles slowly over time. Over a few years I found a lot of things changed in Japan.
Like Chinese water torture upon someone’s brow (that's the imagery seems nice to start us off, because that's how my story feels like it ended and its still dripping on my head).

I hope its a golden wrapper to the chocolate factory again, but I fear its not!


I recall onetime as a student going with my friend Colin, who incidentally used to tell me I’m an idiot and don’t know anything (semi-true I guess). I met him at Uni in Victoria. He always seemed drunk to me. He did enjoy beer, so many he was (easier to get through class that way I guess). He was from some kinda famous posh private high school in Victoria. You would think he'd be a complete di#k (he was only 50% of the time) but somehow I found him funny, and for whatever reason(s) he hung out with us. Though he did have some "higher end more posh friends" he also hung with.

Once I went to Japan, he was going to a more prestigious University (since I was an idiot I didn’t go to Uni’s as good as him I guess). We met one time in Kyoto after I arrived for food.

We were desperate for food and hanging out with some random foreigners he knew (and they are evil cause they are foreigners too). It was like 2 pm and we didn’t know where to go. Usually there is food everywhere in Japan. Like every freakin block has a restaurant but for some reason the area was nothing (if my life was a movie I'd just need to add a few tumbleweeds like an old Western movie. You know those dust balls that roll through town when its dead quiet).
Finally after wandering what seemed like forever (at least 10 minutes), he said let’s go in the train station basement as it connects to a mall. We found a restaurant finally that looked closed & walked in (cause that's what you do when it looks closed, barge in. At least evil foreigners do).

They sat us down (they didn't seem overly impressed with our presence which is not typical Japanese style). Usually its at least faked. Maybe they had issues with foreigners before. At least it didn't have a sign NO GAIJIN allowed as a few shops did in Kobe. The restaurant was supposed to be Italian (which probably means, some weird Japan foods added into pasta). It was fairly pricey, so Colin says lets just order like 4 dishes and mix together and should be enough for all 6 of us.
Alas, the staff was horrified. There is a saying that the Chinese eat with their stomachs and the Japanese with their eyes. I guess mixing random sauces and weird flavours together is against the rules (but being evil we did it anyways. You might say real daredevil's). I don't mean like the Daredevil on Netflix, just so there is no confusion. We didn't wear red leather or do Kung Fu. Though I do have some self nun chuck training I've been learning from Youtube recently. I'm like Bruce Lee's long lost relative but much whiter. There's a link at the end of the post.


Mushrooms, spaghetti and strawberry style might be only in Japan and not Italy.


I didn’t really enjoy the pasta, tasted raw to me. Must have been “El Dente” (barely cooked), like blue meat (where you just touch the heat with it for a nano second and it’s done). That’s a guarantee of diarrhoea right there. If you ever want to eat meat like a dog, this is your chance.

Somehow we had a lot of pasta leftover (perhaps I wasn’t the only one that didn’t like it). Colin said let’s get it to go. Since we were paying more than its weight in gold I said good idea (though I didn’t wanna be the one to take it, unless I recooked it for 1 hour on the stove, even then it wasn't very enticing).

It occurred to me I had never learned the word “take it to go” in Japanese.

In Japanese he tried,
“Uhh hi, can we have a doggie bag?”
Looks of non-comprehensibility.

“Like you know a dog bag, inu bag”. Inu is dog in Japanese, so we thought that might sort things out. It didn't!

Not quite like this, but somewhat similar.


We couldn’t think of another way to say it. In retrospect, it may have been better to say TAKEOUT or Take away (as the Aussies say).

Colin started gesturing it out.
Using his hands on the plate to act out sweep it away in a bag and take it. No reaction from the staff. They really did seem to loathe us. Its rare I had that feeling ever in Japan.
I think they thought he was asking them to clean it up. They grabbed the plates, Colin asked if they are going to throw it out and they said yes.

I rummaged through my backpack and found an old plastic bag. I don’t remember what I had in it before, but hopefully not my old smelly underwear or socks (again).
I handed it to Colin.
He forked all the pasta into the bag and sealed it (the staff must have been shocked at our savageness). He handed it to me and said "Enjoy your dinner".
Fu$K I thought. "Thanks", I answered.

I threw it in my backpack. I forgot about it and a week later I found it. I guess there was a hole in the bag or it had become acidic from ALIENS spit and eaten through the bag. I had pasta sauce all over my bag. Fu$k I thought. Unlucky for me, one of the pasta’s was seafood so there were clams and shrimp in the sauce so it was extra “pungent”. Yum yum.


The next time I came to Japan I heard someone order a beef on rice. He used the words “mochi kaeri de”. Which was like “MOFO I was that shiz done for takeout yo”. In reality, it meant carry and go home with it. Which is supposed to be politely said “O-mochi kaeri”.
It seemed in a few short years takeout was now an option.

I did ask a few Japanese friends if that was typical not to have a takeout option. They seemed to think that was pretty "risque".They didn't think anyone would ask a high end restaurant or takeout. I explained it was a crappy Japanese Italian restaurant that served strawberries in their pasta (possibly the seafood one). They didn't seem to see a problem with that, so I let it go.

I consider this sacrilegious, but sometimes things are a little different in Japan.



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Friday, March 31, 2017

Never Judge a Book By its Colour

Yes I spelt that word colour. Its the proper "British way" and I'm "kinda British as a Canadian". If I was American I'd say color, but I digress.

Tried that before, needless to say, it did not end well, just a swift kick to my nuts.


You know the expression "Never judge a book by its cover", well this isn't that, but its somewhat along those lines. I'd say like "Never judge a book by its spine or index", but it doesn't really match my topic, so I'll go with colour. Its about skin colour, and misreading it. That's funny cause misread is also about a book but in this cause I mean misjudge. I'm so funny sometimes (why do I lie, I mean always). I love to talk to myself and tell myself how great I am. Some people say that's narcissistic (its better than sadistic I suppose. Another point in my favour. I am awesome).

As I interjected a few times in previous blogposts, people in Japan tend to assume if you are Asian in Japan, you are Japanese. Which is fair enough, if you are Swedish in Canada, most Canadians would assume you are Canadian. I only use Swedish cause I went to IKEA yesterday and had those meatballs. So the Swed's are on my brain.

Anywho...

There were a lot of problems with Chinese Canadians being thought of as Japanese. By pretty much everyone, including both Japanese and gaijin (foreigners), yes even other Chinese Canadians.

It can come in handy when you want to blend in a crowd, or a family totally hates foreigners with blue eyes and blond hair but they might you and are like oh, you look not that far off. On the other hand, when you don't act a certain way, bow deep enough (or at all), stop clapping/ start clapping at the wrong times, you start to look out of place (like a white albino among a heard of black albino's). That's also funny cause its wordplay, and fyi albino's are among any ethnic group, its just their melanin is missing so they are still white, but have characteristics of whatever group they are from.
If you also happen to be overly tall/ large compared to regular Japanese you also stand out. They will be thinking "something not right about this one". I had one of two very large Asian American friends that did not fit in well size wise, with the typical thin Japanese frame.

And that's funny on a few different levels, plus its more word play.


I think I mentioned the story about two Chinese Canadians that bumped into each other had no clue they are both Chinese Canadian then realized they both are. Became best of friends and had never even known about each other until that day. Even speaking to each other in Japanese saying "Excuse me (in Japanese Sumimasen)". Its a good expression to use you can never apologize enough in Japan for being doing the stupid idiotic things you will do outside the norm. Even if you don't think you need to say it I'd throw out some "Sumimasen's" at random. Everyone knew I did something wrong or had done and still making up for my past errors and idiocracies (which are beyond measure). I didn't break the family's 500 year old teaset like one of my friend's though, so I'm not that bad.

We all seem to jump to conclusions based on our "book colour".This is like my grade 6 English class. One of the questions, was like "What did the large strong tree in the family stand for?"
I'm just going on a limb (or maybe a branch here), but I'll go with "WHAT IS THE FATHER for $100 ALEX". I think I was right.
Can you decipher "book colour" on your own?

I remember a few aS$nhole American colleges (I don't wanna say friends) I had, that when we took the train to University in Kobe they'd be like "DAMN THAT GIRL IS A FOX, I'd love to see where she hides nuts during Winter". And then as she'd get off at the train stop be like "Thanks as$hats, I'm from Cali!". I didn't know if she was Chinese American (or Asian American or Japanese American), but whatever she was, they misjudged her book colour. They did not say "Sumimasen", which potentially could have made it better.

She definitely saw the Canadian flag I had meticulously (big word) sewn onto to my backpack. To announce to the world I AM CANADIAN (roll the beer commercial here).
I considered yelling "These assmonkeys I'm with are Americans! And bad ones at that". I didn't say it but I wanted to end with  "And you are no fox to me. You are like a 6, if you are lucky! Sumimasen!"
But I didn't. I pretended I did and retold that story as if I did say it. Its called living in your own world and I like that. Trump and I could get along together well, like him and Putin. Snap!

There was some morale in this post, but you will have to dig it out yourself.
Its somewhere hidden in this bookshelf (SMAP! That's my like 10th book related reference).


You hosers! A Canadian ism for losers/ fool.
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Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Smokers and Tokers!

As you probably know in Asia people smoke like they eat, everyday and multiple times a day.
That's a cool paragraph to map out this story. I would like to only say in Japan, but really its most of Asia.
This map I'm describing is as effective as flat earth theory in describing the Earth (I capitalised Earth the 2nd time just for fun, though there is a grammar rule about when it should or shouldn't be, did you know? Made you think!).

Ahem, back to the blogpost at hand (I'm so easily distracted, DAMN YOU ADHD {now called ADD}).


That's cool, it might not be because of the MJ maybe ADHD.

Everyone smokes in Japan, but nearly nobody tokes. As I have probably mentioned many times, marijavagina (Mary Jane) is bad news in Japan. Its considered one of the worst drugs on the planet. In North America, its ONLY considered a gateway drug. You start there and work your way up to the nasty stuff, coke (not the drink) etc. Coke drink isn't that great for you either though.

Due to that reason whenever I smelt it anywhere I was confident it was a foreigner smoking it.
And I'm not sure they understood the risk of it (life in prison / complete shame and you being labelled one of the top criminals in Japan or worse). I can't think of anything worse, but there probably is something, let's leave it open ended like flat earth theory (there are still people claiming its true, oh god!).

In general I don't really like smoking and in Japan its hard to avoid it (kinda like the black plague was in the 14th century, only easier to avoid). People smoke everywhere or I should say used to.

I mentioned previously in a blogpost that when I was there the teachers had started smoking outside the teachers office. This was funny because they told me that before everyone just smoked wherever, whenever. During my years they changed the law and weren't supposed to smoke on property, but as they were addicted they sat in their cars and smoked. LOL. It was so obvious, all the kids knew. I think the purpose was so kids don't emulate. What a fail!
The perils of nicotine addiction its like riding the Titanic, at some point you are going down (though in all fairness it took the Titantic 2 hours 40 mins to sink).
I hope you have longer as a smoker.

I remember hearing stories about the Tokers. Even my white Japanese teacher (he wasn't white Japanese he was just white and spoke Japanese). He told us onetime he stayed over at a friend's house and the police came to raid their place. I don't remember the gist of the story but somehow as they entered they shoved all the marijavagina into the potted plant and didn't get caught. Funny (and probably not true). You might say as true as flat earth theory.

This is bamboo leaves, do not smoke it! Though legal if its your bamboo.


I did know a guy that occasionally smoked MJ in Japan (not bamboo but possibly). He was quite funny. Italian American but for some reason thought he was black. I told him its dangerous to smoke that and if you get caught they cut your balls off. I figured that would persuade him from going down the path to the dark side (a Star Wars reference obviously).
He didn't listen to me. But he didn't listen to anyone.

Onetime during a fight I heard his Japanese girlfriend threw him through a window at his place.
When he invited me over one day and there was still glass on the floor I semi believed it.
Needless to say the fact that it was not cleaned up told me at least they were on the rocks (what girl would allow glass to stay on the floor, its a guy thing).
I believed it as much as flat earth theory (see you don't know which side I'm on!)
The end.......... (of flat earth theory). I hope.

Don't do it in Japan unless you wanna be on Japan's FBI list of top criminals.


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Saturday, December 31, 2016

Fill me UP!

I don't want to tell you the subject in the first sentence for I fear you might think the topic is full of gas and leave.

As you probably know from my 10,000 other blogposts, I've mentioned that service in Japan is top notch. Haircuts always have a happy ending, and by that I mean a nice massage. In between you are probably given a nice boiling wet towel to rub your greasy hands and face on, its FANTASTIC!
So minor and yet, so great.

I also enjoy the bows while greeting and on the way out. Its like I did them a favor and they are thanking me. Saying "IRRASHAIMASE!" which is essentially a simple WELCOME is a nice touch too.
I realise its all fake, but its still nice (just like Pamela Anderson haha not funny).

Imagine if you can't read Japanese. I always went for the cheapest and hoped there wasn't too much water in it. Wait, they don't do that in Japan? Maybe water costs too much.



Well today's topic is another place that many people have to visit while living in Japan.
It doesn't sound overly exciting but it can be quite fun.

As I may have mentioned I had two vehicles while in Japan. For the first year and a 1/2 I froze my butt off in the snow, and melted like a candle in the summer heat.

My co-worker (A half Japanese half Chinese American but family lived in Korea, so Korean influenced) and I bought a car together.
I wasn't too familiar with the vocabulary for gas stations as that wasn't something I'd ever learned at University while studying Japanese. That was more like "What time is it? Hi Mr.Tanaka" etc. Very useless stuff that no one ever uses (I later learned the object can be removed from a Japanese sentence most of the time as it was usually understood, and my Japanese teachers used to lie to say its always needed).

When I first went to the gas station I went myself. Unlucky for me, that some of my students worked at the only gas station near my place. They were part of what I called the "bad kids". Not the ones that might murder me, but fairly close.
Oneday I drove my car in and got a nice bow. The person said something to me of words I'd never heard before. 
I answered "YES" in English. He looked at me, it wasn't my student, but I could see one of my students inside the gas station.
He did not understand and neither did I.... oh mother trucker!

I got out of the car and reached for the gas nozzle, 3 people ran out of the shop, seemingly not impressed the damn foreigner was about to pour his own gas. They probably thought gas was unique to Japan and foreigners don't use it (yes a lot of things, I got asked that, I thought its just a bad joke but people were serious). You have rice in Canada? 

"Mantan desu ka".  
What the hell is a mantan I thought. I didn't have Google or smartphones back then, so I repeated "Yes" again in English.
One of my students came out and bowed. I realized this is probably the only time he'd ever bow to me. At school he was a total d$ck. A few times he threw erasers and spat spitballs at me. I contemplated breaking his fingers each time. I think he thought I was joking, but in reality I was holding back my inner 24 Jack Bower and ready to inflict some pain anyway I could, to get some terrorist information out of him (cause he threw erasers and its very similar).
He did his fake bow and started cleaning my windows. The thought of spitting on the widow and making him shine it also crossed my mind (that's a little mean, maybe I shouldn't have said the truth this time). Then when he went to shine it, crack one finger. He'd probably still be obligated to bow and thank me for coming.

They grabbed the gas nozzle from me (in a nice way) and filled up my tank. He asked "FURU OK?" meaning FULL is OK?
I realized maybe mantan is mixed word, man as in full and tan, short form of gas tank(tanku).
Turns out I was right.

My car was shined, windows buffed, they asked if I had any garbage in my car the throw out and took it away.
I paid and thought I'd get a bow.
All four of them assisted. One went to the road to block imaginary traffic, the other directed me onto the road (because I didn't know where it was I guess).
Another stood very close to the car (and very close to my wheel about to crunch his toes and he did a deep bow. Everyone bowed and thanked me.

I said "YES" in English and drove away into the sunset (there was no sunset it was already dark, but just pretend to end on a perfect note).

Gas served, bow necessary. Direction onto road mandatory. I like!


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