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Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Soaplands - Rub You A Wrong Time

With Japan's economy feeling like it just got a shot of Viagra and Cialis via the new Abenomics stimulation package, various business sectors have begun to feel movement… including… down there, if you know what I mean.

Proving that there's a sucker born every minute, Japan's Soaplands are feeling the rise in public purchasing power, as it comes to a header in renewed demand for its services.

Soaplands are a place where you can be loved for a long time - as long as you have the money - by sexy Japanese women who will wash your filthy genitalia in warm soapy suds.

Soaplands came into existence in 1958... coincidentally that was when sexual intercourse type prostitution became illegal in Japan. But, at that time, women did indeed wash men for money - and the whole thing was called turuko-buro (Turkish bath).

After Turks got upset that the Japanese were using this offensive name for things other than bathing, the Japanese held a nationwide contest to rename the places... and Soapland was chosen, because... everybody loves English.

Now… since I have no personal knowledge on what actually goes on within the confines of a room at a Soapland, I can only assume that the soapy, sudsy tiny, calloused hands of the Soapland workers must accidentally come into contact with either the customer's penis or testicular ball sack whilst they clean him down there. That the said contact might cause a rise in emotions for the customer, is a possibility. As such, to ensure that the customer will have a pleasant experience, the Soapland worker does her best to ensure that there is some sort of happy ending.

I should state that officially, no sexually intercourse is actually performed at a Soapland, as sexual intercourse for money is against the law in Japan, and I am sure no Soapland would want to be in breach of the law.

Rub-adub-dub.
Whether said happy ending involves the Soapland worker utilizing her hand to provide a digital experience; or whether lip-service is provided; or whether a probing into a tight spot might cause a sticky situation to conclude… well… that's up to one's wallet, isn't it?

Okay… enough beating around the bush… you can get jerked off, blown or screwed at a Soapland. And… business is up.

Why? People have more money to spend thanks to a better economy.

People are horny.

People are old or Chinese.

What?

Well, while not exclusive, by any means, there is indeed a boom in business at Japan's Soaplands, and businesses are seeing a rise in customers coming over from China, as well as from Japan's own senior citizen population. And even old Chinese people.
Soupy Sales... that's different. Damn Auto-correct.

Ancient, Chinese secret, huh?
According to a July 26, 2013 article in Japan Today, they talked with Ikoma Akira (surname first), the editor of Ore no Tabi, a soft porn magazine, who says there seems to be an increase in business at the Soaplands on the 15th of every other month when the Nenkin (national pension) checks (cheques, too) are doled out.

"Around those days you can see nattily dressed seniors marching in. While some places in Ikebukuro and Shinjuku don’t admit older men, Yoshiwara’s more broadminded—you don’t see them treated that way.”

Some places don't admit the older men? Interesting. I get it. I would assume that it takes a bit more work to get the older boys off, and that's not something a Soapland worker can afford, as the business revolves around a quick turnover so that one can make more money hand over fist.

Ikoma adds: "Men who have made a killing in the stock market might opt to visit a super deluxe shop that charges 60,000 yen or more for two hours."

¥60,000 is about $600, which is a lot of money… considering one could probably hire a pair of women in Toronto for full on dual action (FFM) and still have change left over to get your car washed too (see HERE).

Now… lest one think that Soaplands are beyond your reach, there are many places that cater to simple folks who have a smaller budget, so to speak, where, for between ¥10,000 - ¥20,000 ($100-$200), you can still have fun… but your time is up after 30 minutes. Or sooner.

The thing is… if you are paying ¥60,000 for a couple of hours of fun, you may indeed have multiple shots on goal, but ensure you check first with the dealer, because your mileage may vary.

Now… according to the Japan Today article, senior citizens looking to have someone choke their chicken or gobble their turkey or cook their goose (hmm, that's not a proper bird euphemism for ducking... whoops, spelled that one wrong), well, these old boys might be horny or lonely or horny, but they aren't stupid.

Despite looking to have sex with women as young as their granddaughter, it can be tough to attain and maintain their interest in things… and as such, erectile dysfunction pills are often taken by the old dudes, who are affectionately known as the 'Yoshiwara pensioners tribe'.

According to one Soapland owner, one tribe member in his 80s boasted that after spending ¥2,000 ($20) on a little blue pill, he was able to do it twice in a month - once at the Soapland, and once with his wife. Who knew those pills lasted that long?

They don't.

I think I can - I think I can - I think I can… 
If we listen to Fukushima Hiroki (surname first), the president of Tokyo's Toshima Ward-based Toho International (Japanese language school), and a person who makes it his business to know about affluent Chinese consumers:

"Two years ago the restrictions on tourist visas to Japan were relaxed, and since then word has been circulated that Yoshiwara is the place to go for ‘the ultimate in service'."

While everyone knows that China also has Soaplands (I assume everyone knows), the Chinese themselves say that those places are as boring as watching paint dry on a Great Wall - all two of them.

As such, when they visit Japan, they hit the Soaplands, as they feel they are treated better… not just as a customer, but as a lover.

Didn't I already use: Me love you long time? - as a line? How about: "Me rub you a long time"?

Anyhow... it's not just about sex, the visitors enjoy the customer service of free cigarettes or juice - things that are apparently paid for by the Soapland workers out of their own pocket.

They have pockets?

"Nothing up my sleeve - presto!"
"I sure do love your apple juice."


They also will provide an offer to iron out the wrinkles on one's slacks, which I assume is code for something dirty, because I'm pretty sure they have laundries in China.

I personally can't believe that the Japan Today article bothered to write that part about the fact that the Chinese are visiting Soaplands and that it's not merely for the sex.

For the price of a smoke and a juice, getting your clock cleaned (I think that was a typo) at a Soapland is ALL about the sex. Let's not be naive here.

Soaplands… not about sex? Don't make me angry… I'll get all in a lather and might go off all over you here in this blog.

Cheers
Andrew Joseph
PS - Auto-correct kept trying to change 'seaplanes' into 'seaplanes'. Holy crap - did it again! Really! It changes 'Soaplands' into 'seaplanes'. Auto-correct makes me feel dirty. And stupid.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

First Few Days In Japan For JETs?

So it's July 30, 2013. For most JET (Japan Exchange & Teaching) Programme folks... you are now in Japan... many of you for the first time... down in Tokyo... perhaps even at the Keo Plaza Hotel?

Why are you reading this?

Hopefully you have a bunch of people down from your prefecture taking you guys out tonight... showing you a good time in Tokyo's Roppongi district... the entertainment center. If they aren't... you need to find a group that is and ask if you can join them.

I don't care if you aren't the party animal type. You have to go and see the place to believe it.

I'm a former JET - 1990-1993... back when we could only stay a maximum three years - I would have stayed longer... and although I was never the most popular guy back in Toronto, I wasn't the most unpopular either. I was one of those guys who kind of fell between the cracks of being one of you - regardless of who YOU are.

But... there in Japan... I became James effing Bond... licensed to thrill. Okay... that's just ego talking... and it will slip out from time to time to time... but... to the point... Roppongi... you need to leave the hotel and go and check it out.

I remember that first night out with the gang from Tochigi-ken. Sort of.

That July evening in Tokyo - 1990 - a bunch of us newbies are led by Mary, Peter and Catherine. Peter is quiet... a Brit who is the boyfriend To Mary - a loud, fun and wacky American... and Catherine - who should have been every guy's wet dream.

So... I'm unsure what I ate for dinner... but I recall that there was a lot of drinking involved... and that we all had one of those low Japanese tables and we sat on pillows, which made me think that I was really going to hate Japan... me effing knees and back were killing me... and I wasn't even in bad shape yet.

There... at dinner, I HEAR one of the guys I was drinking with actually STEP INTO the Japanese toilet, and then hearing him swear... I do recall not liking the taste of green tea ice cream... I do recall a cute woman sitting near myself, Jeff and Matthew swallowing drinks at the same speed the three of us were, though she didn't seem to say a word to any of us. Maybe she was talking to someone else? I do recall walking to a train station... I do recall sweating... I do recall someone telling us how to buy a subway ticket. I don't recall anything else until we were walking around Roppongi looking for a place that would accept 25 gaijin (foreigners)... some places didn't want us (it happens)... others had too long a line-up... and then I do recall that one of our leaders - the super hot Catherine Komoldi saying that we could go into the Java Jive bar... but guys could only enter with a woman (which is how I prefer it)... and as I reached up to grab Catherine's beautiful hand, I was snatched away by that cute brunette who was drinking with us... and...

I don't recall a hell of a lot of what happened while I was in Roppongi... but I do know I had fun. I do know that I had about seven screwdrivers (orange juice and vodka)... I do know that I danced my ass off with a woman I just met (that brunette)... (I didn't know I could dance - and I'm still not sure I can, but I did get asked to go dancing by a few women over the next few years). I do know that the brunette and I went out back into the alleyway and made out... and after trying to find additional quiet places to make out, like doorways and other alleyways (we went up some stairs in an apartment!), we gave up and caught a taxi back to the hotel.

Just note that ¥10,000 is equal to $100. I gave the taxi driver $400 for a $25 ride. He was nice enough to not accept that... and when I got it right and gave him ¥40000, he wouldn't take the tip. He took the money from my hand - ¥3,000, and then made change. I tried to tip him again... he shook his head, bowed, smiled and got back into his cab and drove off.

Now... I'm expecting to go back to this woman's room to finish off what we started... or at least have her come back to my room to finish what we started... but she gave me a long kiss and asked me to wait a few minutes before she went back to her room and I went back to mine. Discretion and all that chivalrous crap.

Okay... whatever... it's still more action than I ever got back home... but I was horny, horny, horny... so rather than have to explain the lack of blood to the brain to my roommate Tom - who decided NOT to go out - I walked around the block... and then after de-tenting, I walked back to the hotel... only to find the front doors locked.

Are you effing kidding me? Who locks the front doors of a hotel? The Keio Plaza Hotel... that's who. So... I walked around - it's 3:30AM... and spotted other gaijin walking about... and people who had kiosks set up in front of the hotel's meeting room where JET meetings were held for us during the day... I saw the suicide help line... the depressed hotline... the lawyer hotline... and I talked to them all... not because I ever thought I would need their help, but because I was bored... and they were bored... and dammit, I had to stay awake until 6AM when the hotel proper would be opened up again.

Somehow lasting until 6AM... I went up to my room... slept for 2-1/2 hours and then had a shower et al... and then made my way down for a 5-minute breakfast before having to attend the 9AM JET meetings that would last until 3:30PM.

Quite the second night in Japan, eh? For my first night in Japan, read THIS

And you know what... I had no idea what that girl's name was.

Here I was in Japan... a guy with zero luck with women back in Toronto... had already met a gorgeous woman the night before (Kristine) ... and was making out with another cutie pie a night later, who had no problems with my grabby hands, nor I with hers... and I'm stuck in a teen comedy with no concept of who's throat I had my tongue down last night.

Luckily I spotted her a row in front of me at the meetings... and I quickly went through the roster of new JET participants in Tochigi-ken to see if I could learn her name. I couldn't figure it out.

Matthew... one of my drinking buddies from the night before... I don't know if he actually made it down to the Java Jive afterwards... blur... and vodka... and messing around... anyhow... he asked one of the others near her and we found out her name was Ashley.

Yup... classic teen comedy bull crap. Ashley... from Georgia in the U.S... and she lived in the town next to mine in Japan... and taught at the Boy's High School in my city of Ohtawara.

Here I was in Japan...two days in... and I think that soon enough... I was going to get laid for the first time.

Japan is awesome. Get out of your comfort zone and go have some fun while you are in Tokyo...

Cheers,
Andrew Joseph

Monday, July 29, 2013

JETs Ask: How Do You Stop The Loneliness At Work?

On the Japan Exchange & Teaching (JET) Programme Forum page, some JETs are wondering - how do you stop the loneliness at work?

They aren't talking about the school days, but rather those days you have to spend at the BOE (Board of Education) offices... especially come August... when you have no school...

It can suck.

You know me... I was a junior high school assistant English teacher in Japan between 1990-1993 in Ohtawara-shi, Tochigi-ken, and admittedly many things have changed in Japan since then... but that boredom or loneliness one can experience at the BOE as the lone English speaker is probably still a constant, and it can be devastating.

As usual, I was lucky.

I had one person - and one person only - who spoke decent English there (besides, myself, of course) at the Ohtawara Board of Education (OBOE) offices. That would be one of my two bosses, Mr. Hanazaki... a former junior high school science teacher and judo master who was now a 'suit' in the BOE.

Luckily for me, Hanazaki-san was not only a complete gentleman, but he loved to speak English, tell jokes, teach me things about Japan and even take myself, fellow stooge Kanemaru-san (my other boss! who communicated with me via dictionaries and broken English, and the same way for me with dictionaries and broken Japanese) and myself out for jaunts in the car - to see the city's area... to have me learn about Japan.

Ohtawara might be called a city, but it's a small one with a plethora of beautiful farmland and countryside with many natural parks and rivers and sites and forests and hills just waiting for people to discover.

Almost every week, we would be off to learn. I was very lucky, indeed.

And let me tell you... I'm the type of person who gets off on learning new things. Knowledge and all that... you never know when... even 20 years later, you might find a use for such things - like starting your own blog.

So... I got lucky.

I was given my own desk beside Hanazaki-san and got my own computer. Keep in mind that in 1990, the computers that the small BOE offices had were like those circa 1980 back in Canada. Monochrome monstrosities with orange as the type on a dark green-black background.

I had a keyboard that could be changed from Japanese kanji production to romaji - what we know as English letters.

As such... I would sit down and type out letters to friends and family back home, create episodes of "It's A Wonderful Rife" for my AJET Tochigi-ken magazine (I created 80 such columns), and when the urge hit me, I would create my own short stories (close to 80) and a novella or three (only one has never seen the light of day yet in this blog - it was a 10-part story based on DC Comics' Sandman character... it's an effing good comedy-drama-horror romp through the circles of Hell).

Writer's block? What's that? I would sit at the keyboard with no concept of what I was going to write and I would just start typing... and whatever popped into my head became a short story... it was the most prolific fiction-writing time of my life... though I did recently sit down and create a story for someone just to see if she would like it, and to see if I could still do it. I can. (I also still write comic book stories - hopefully for professional publication soon by some folks in the UK.)

Boredom? At the office?

I also studied Japanese. I learned how to write some 500 kanji, and memorized their meanings, learned hiragana and katakana, and then tried conversational Japanese. I am conversant at a Grade 2 level. Or is that a 2-year-old level? Whatever.

It came in handy.

Seeing as how only one person at the BOE could speak excellent (coherent, really) English, it behooved me to learn how to communicate with my fellow workers - the other Japanese folks.

So I did.

Now... loneliness at the Board of Education offices? Nawwwww. Maybe it's because I'm a bit of a loner anyways, but being left alone was a godsend.

But even then... being an introvert pretending to be an extrovert - and a very successful one at that - I always had a smile on my face. Always. I still do when I walk around here in Toronto. If people see me - and they do - I get a hello or a nod or a smile back.

That happened in Japan, too, except I would get a bow instead of a nod. A bow is as good as a nod to a blind bat, right?

People... you are the stranger in their midst. They don't know you from Adam. You have to expose yourself, so to speak... be the one that makes the first move.

They aren't sure how to communicate with you, but I know they do want to. They always do. They want to know all about you and where you are from. Not only for their own knowledge, but so they can tell others around town who are also curious about you, but are too shy to ask.

Get out of your comfort zone.

Granted, it might be difficult for some of you to change who you are... not everyone can walk around with a smile on their face.

I am conscious of what I do and how I appear to others. Paranoia and being the only minority in the neighborhood can make one like that (like being a gaijin). But it's a positive thing for me, because I make it a positive thing.

Even at work here in Toronto... I look ahead - not down - to see who I am approaching or who is approaching me... I keep eye contact - and I offer a bigger smile as they near.

Doing that makes people think you are not only a happy person, but that you are actually glad to see them. I do this for people I know or for people I don't know.

I don't even know why people are asking the JET Forum for advice on things like this. Loneliness? Boredom?

At least nowadays, many of you have phones and laptops and can get the Internet whenever you want. I don't (and didn't) have a laptop and I certainly don't (and didn't) have a portable phone. I don't need to check for imaginary important messages from people every 45 seconds and I don't have my 'life' locked in a Crackberry. I don't get calls from work, which is also nice.

I'm not bored. I was not bored in Japan, either. I certainly wasn't lonely... not even at my BOE office.

Then again... I said I was lucky... not only did I have one person look after me... I had an entire BOE willing to look after me. I had a decent office filled with decent people.

I also knew how to amuse myself.

You should learn how to amuse yourself and learn how to make yourself more available and visible to your entire BOE.

Hell... offer free English lessons. Simple conversation classes at lunch time. Want to be a superstar? There's one way.

Lonely? Ask if you can meet with some of your school English teachers! Ask if you can go and visit some of the schools... see if they have any club activities going on. Not every day, of course... every once in a while. They will love the fact that you want to see the teachers and schools! Love it.

Take a vacation. Haven't you saved any dates? You get a couple of weeks a year... I went home once. I went to Thailand once and hung out with my mother who met me there. I stayed in Japan once.

Bring a book to read. Read the English newspapers. Do the crossword puzzles. Volunteer to help put the AJET newsletter together. Volunteer to go down to Tokyo to meet and greet the newcomers. Gods... there is so much to do.

Cook something special for your small office and bring it in to share... want friends? You got'em! Do something for everyone. Omiyage (presents) when you travel... give them to your office. Even if it's not individual presents... get a couple of boxes of sembei (rice cracker snacks) or buy the best damn green tea you can find and give it to the office! You're a hero! Friends!

Okay... enough... if you really feel lonely in Japan - even after a day at the office... read this blog... and then write to me. Compliment or criticize or just say hello. You would be surprised how often I answer. Every time.

Your friend in need, indeed,
Andrew Joseph
PS: It's now September of 2016 - and no one has felt the need to contact me re: loneliness. I'll assume it was because of all the awesome suggestions provided above.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Baby You Can Dry My Car

I've owned a few cars in my relatively short life: a 1974 Chevy Nova, 1986 Mazda 323 (Familia), 1986 Toyota Camry wagon, 1998 Ford Escort (wagon) 2000, Hyundai Tiberon, 2005 Mazda Tribute, 1995 SAAB 900 and a 2006 Mazda 6 (wagon)... and all in all, I have probably used a car wash maybe 20 times... and that's a generous estimate.

All in all, I probably have never spent more than $10 at a time to have my car washed. As such... I am always amazed that some people will spend more... like ¥10,000 ($100). 

Granted, if I was to spend ¥10,000 to have my car washed, it better be pretty special. And that's just what is offered for those with more money than sex appeal.

Yes... now you can go have your car buffed clean by a bevy of sexy Japanese girls in Tokyo, Japan.

I'm not jealous. Even though my days of being a sexyboy are long since past, not once did I feel the need to have my car washed by women in bathing suits, and I still don't feel that way.It sucks not being rich and powerful. I'm not rich.

If I'm going to enjoy life in the fast lane, it will be me being worked to a lather and not my car.

But... if that's your thing - have at thee. Go check out the Swimsuit Carwash in Akihabara (see www.sukumizusensha.com).
 
For ¥10,000 and until August 30, 2013 (after that it either gets too nippy (triple entendre) or the car washers have to go back to school) (I know they aren't on vacation from school!) you drive your car into the S3 Warehouse in Chiyoda, Tokyo where a pair of swimsuit clad sexy Japanese babes will clean your car... which is not an euphemism.

The 20-minute job includes hosing (the car and you of your money), sponging (the car), high pressure rinses, hand drying (the car) and even tire waxing. There are also a couple of un-named bonus cleaning techniques that the owners does not wish to divulge for fear of copy-cats at the other car washes...

We assume this is all on the up and up and is not a soapland for the driver to get off.

However, having said that, you the driver may remain in the car while the initial washing goes on. But... once the soap starts to fly, you must vacate the vehicle - see - not a soapland - and can watch the women clean your vehicle... or you can walk around and look at the scenery outside the warehouse.

If I paid ¥10,000 for a carwash, I'm watching the women.

There is a complimentary drink while you wait, and while there is no photography to protect the car washing process, they will provide you with a commemorative photo and certificate of you and your car... so I can assume you can show the wife and kids before displaying both proudly at work to impress your business contacts that you own a cherry ride cleaned by women who have long lost their cherry. I assume.

Click HERE for brief (ha-ha) bios of the lovely car wash attendants.

Ahh... but here's the rub... for some reason... no high-end cars are allowed. That means no luxury cars like a Rolls Royce or Bentley... or exotics like a McLaren or Ferrari or Maserati. My other car is a Lamborghini Veneno (one of three!). 

Wait... so people with money to spend on high-end cars can't get their car washed here? So who exactly is Swimsuit Carwash in Akihabara catering to? Average schmoes like you and me?


While I am sure the only way I'm getting a 21-year-old Japanese babe to look at me is to run her over with my car, I still won't pay ¥10,000. Fug. I can't even say I must be getting old... because even young, I wouldn't have done this.

I guess I like my cars like I like my women: older and dirty.

Cheers
Andrew Joseph
PS: After I finished writing this blog entry, it began to rain. Figures. It always happens after you write about getting your car washed. 

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Your Rent Could Be Based On Weight In Osaka

Keeping it real, an apartment block in Osaka is challenging renters to reduce their rent by reducing their body weight.

Cool. Hey… this building isn't sitting on some fault in the Earth, is it… too much and down comes the building?! No? Good.

Lady Share House B&D in Osaka, Japan is an apartment complex for women only (do men know about this?), whose ownership wants to help people lose weight… not just people… women.

Lose 1kg (2.2lbs) = Rent Drop of ¥1,000 (Cdn/US $10).

Want more money to buy more groceries? Lose weight. But then… if you buy more groceries… won't you be gaining weight?

No! Don't buy groceries… save up the money saved from lower rent by purchasing new clothing… let's see… you lost 2 kilograms (4.4 lbs) this month… you're down a whole size… and now, everything you wear makes you look dumpy… you're so depressed you might just inhale a matcha-flavored cheesecake. And sleep around.

Okay… extremes all… but it is an interesting concept:

Lose weight = drop your rent.
Gain weight = raise your rent.

Hey… waitaminute… raise my rent? WTF? Who said anything about that?

It's a cool idea… they don't have to provide one with an incentive to lose weight… but this apartment is.

Might I suggest that when you move-in to the place and they take your weight for good measure… before going in… pack on the pounds.

No… don't eat all those pastries or bags of popcorn. Those are delights and are not to be used in such a nefarious plan…. rather swallow some ball bearings or something heavy… maybe apply some lead dust to your hair or skin… add false pockets of flab that hide extra weight…

Then… over the next several months… drop the weight… soon enough, the apartment bossed will be paying you money just to rent their unit.

This is a real thing, by the way, and sent to me by my gal Friday who only works Thursdays, but that's another story.

"Since the rent is lower if you lose weight, we thought overweight people would be coming to live here, what we found out that many people who already have a great body come here," says the Broad Enterprise administrator, as translated by Mari Kataoka, to the Associated Press.

According to the administrators of the apartment complex, the 24 women who have come to live at this fat farm aren't interested in losing weight and dropping their rent, but instead now have an incentive to maintain their body.

So... no one is losing weight?

This is a not a lose-lose situation. It's all about keeping the status quo.

Broad Enterprises who own the Lady Share House B&D in Osaka help their renters out by providing them with an exercise room filled with equipment, beauty products and even healthy snacks.

The idea behind all of this is to provide the women with the concept of restraint... don't eat junk food.. make healthy choices... but I wonder... if these women are interested in maintaining what they have rather than lose weight, it would appear that they are already in decent shape and already know how to have restraint.

I don't get it...

The facility gains notoriety, and loses money by providing beauty supplies and snacks... so what do they get out of this? Healthier women? Are they really that altruistic?

That's interesting.
 
My only question to you all is this: While I don't have an issue with someone providing incentives to LOWER rent for housing… but to raise it? That doesn't seem legal. I don't care what rules are made up, a sliding scale for apartment rents seems shady.

What if someone moves in weighing 300 lbs… and drops down to say 200 lbs… losing 100 lbs (45.36 kilograms)... that would mean a reduction in rent by ¥45,360 ($451.62)... that's like reducing your rent by... maybe 1/3.


The article does not actually state how much rent is at the Lady Share House B&D... you know... the base rent... so I can't give you an exact percentage in rent reduction... but it seems that if you are an overweight female... it behooves to rent one of their apartments and lose weight and get a fantastic deal on your apartment rent.

Here's a You Tube video on the facility:


Cheers
Andrew Joseph 

Friday, July 26, 2013

Obama Taps Caroline Kennedy To Be US Ambassador To Japan

What? Another Kennedy in politics? Will they never learn?

Caroline Kennedy has been named as the U.S. ambassador to Japan.

Oh well… Caroline seems to be an interesting choice… though it smacks of a pay-off… which is apparently how politics works… but… despite her helping with US President Obama's campaign, she is a Kennedy after all… the daughter of former President John F. Kennedy, and niece to Senator Ted Kennedy and the late Attorney General Bobby Kennedy.

Good political bloodlines or tragic ones. Obama thinks the former, obviously.

She is not an expert in Japan or its politics or society, but if she reads Japan - It's A Wonderful Rife, it will bring her quickly up to speed and a possible jail sentence.

There is a quote in a New York Times article about the appointment that says:

“What you really want in an ambassador is someone who can get the president of the United States on the phone,” Mr. Campbell said. “I can’t think of anybody in the United States who could do that more quickly than Caroline Kennedy.”

Geezus. That's very leading.

With that in mind… let's take a look at a possible phone call from Ambassador Caroline Kennedy to President Barrack Obama: 

"Uh… Hello… Caro… is that you baby?…  Sorry for making you wait 20 minutes…  Yes, I find that muzak version of the Led Zeppelin II album to be quite refreshing… uh-huh… so, how's the sushi? … I said, how's the sushi? … it's rice wrapped up in seaweed… uh… seaweed… that's a green aquatic plant that grows in the ocean… uh, no… I wouldn't sh!t you… No, I don't know why they don't use lettuce, but I do know that the seaweed is quite good for… no,  no…uh-huh… yeah… yeah… yup… Uh, I'm pretty sure you didn't see Godzilla… well, I'm sure it wasn't the real Godzilla. We have been monitoring Monster Island, and our satellite data shows he is still there battling Gamara or something… okay, not Gamara. Is there some other monster that looks like a giant turtle?… yeah?… that one, then…
So… you called? Was there anything of import you needed to communicate to me? … it's hot right now… about 93 degrees and I'm wearing my presidential briefs - the one's with Uncle Sam on the front pointing and saying 'I Want You'… is it hot in Tokyo, Caro? … what's that? You're sweating heavily but when you check the temperature gauge it says it is 32… uh-huh… you know, beautiful, Japan uses the Metric system as a way to measure things like temperature, weight, height, speed and things like that… I wouldn't call the Japanese strange little fuggs, after all every country in the world uses Metric except us… uh, we use the Imperial System… uh… it's named after the British Imperial System… uh… no… we are no longer… uh… there was that whole Independence thing you might recall… (sigh) yes… the one with Will Smith… yes, I agree. Will Smith kicks it Kennedy-style.
"Uh… look Caro… I have to go… was there anything else? … me? No, no, no. You first. Tell me what you are wearing…  "   


Okay… just having some fun there. I'm sure Caro is a fine choice for President Obama and whatever it is he has planned for Japan.

Read The New York Times article HERE to see how Caroline will handle her Japan duties.

She's kindda hot, eh, even though it's only 32 degrees.

Cheers
Andrew Joseph
Photo of Caroline Bouvier Kennedy at Barnes & Noble in New York on October 2, 2008 - photo by Martyna Borkowski from Wikipedia.
Bouvier? She has the same name as Marge Bouvier Simpson? Far out!

JET Buddies And The Revolving Door Of Friendship

More from the JET (Japan Exchange & Teaching) Programme Forum where a person feels a bit sad about the ever-changing line-up of people on the programme in their prefecture.... what they call "The Revolving Door Of Friendship".

Check out the original commentary HERE.

For those not interested, here's the nickel-tour... they feel sad that:

1) when they first arrive in an area, there is already an established clique of JETs, and it's tough to make friends;

2) When some of them leave after the first year, it's easier to make friends with them... plus there are new AETs (assistant English teachers coming in);

3) In your third-year, most of your friends have already gone home... and what should I do?

They feel kind of down.

Look... I've been there and done that. I was a JET between 1990-1993 in a small city called Ohtawara-shi in Tochigi-ken. My town is famous for... I don't know... me. Sorry... Matthew, too. But... mostly me.

But here's the thing... people are upset that they are losing their JET friends... and other people write in to offer advice... well... may I chime in?

People - why did you go to Japan? Was it to make friends with foreigners... or to make friends with foreigners who are Japanese?

I miss my buddy Matthew and his Japanese-American wife Takako and their two kids! But, we remain in contact almost every day - despite being five hours apart, we are seconds close thanks to social media - something that only existed back in our time in Japan when you left someone a message on their answering machine.

I miss my ol girlfriend Ashley... I was depressed (not clinically) when she left after our second year to bigger and better things - and because I'm not a complete prick, I wish her much success and happiness. She has more grey hair than me, though.

I miss my buddy Jeff who married a Japanese woman and stayed in Japan and then fell off the face of the Earth. I bet his father-in-law finally killed him by making him eat Japanese food for the first time.

I miss Nicholas and Chris and Colin and Kristine and Jimmy-Jive and Gasoline and Tim and Mona and a whole mess of others.

But... you have to think that everyone enters your life for a period of time for a particular reason... and when that reason or time is fulfilled, be thankful... move on. They have enriched your life and hopefully, you enriched theirs.

But seriously... I understand that when you first arrive it's tough to make friends when the clique pre-exists.

Still... even though some were 500 kilometers away, I would talk for hours on the phone with Kristine... or Ashley nearby... or Matthew when he would pop over with beer.

In my second year... I was aware how people like Catherine (Gasoline) and Mary treated me - and I wanted to make sure the newbies felt as I did... so I went down to Tokyo uninvited and met them. I made them feel welcome. I bought beer, drank with them, told tales, jokes and I probably also scouted out which women I wanted to sleep with. I'm being honest here. And I did. Because I could.

But... I opened myself up to any and all JETs. They would call me - not mention any problems or concerns... but I would tell stories and amuse them, and dammit, put people at ease.

In my third year, I was becoming more independent of JET, but still went down to Tokyo to meet the newcomers, drink with the new boys and flirt with the new girls. And I did again. Because I still could. Apparently I can't any more.

As the veteran, I helped them acclimatize to Japan - providing advice and an ear for their concerns. They bent my ear constantly, and did so for the first couple of months, at which time I had slept with a few of the women, and everyone else just kind of spent the rest of their time discovering Japan for themselves.

I could only give advice... and that advice always involved telling them they had to experience things for themselves in Japan. My life in Japan won't happen to them - hopefully theirs will be even more interesting and fun than mine.

But to the JETs asking how to survive friendship depletion or part of a revolving door... when your buddies leave home... simply make new friends. Change is good.

The answer was there for them all along... cliques were already in place and it was tough to make new friends... so... now that you are the veteran, ensure that there are no cliques.

I will admit that in my neck of the woods - NO ONE renewed in the north end of Tochigi-ken, so all of us in 1990 were rookies. We were the clique that year.

As such... when some people left the next year, I ensured that the newbies could enter our clique... and did so again in the third year on a more prefectural stage...

What's stopping you from helping out the newbies?

I went to Tokyo and stayed down there on my own yen and dime. Granted... I did crash in the rooms of a lot of people... but I did what I did for the benefit of all the newcomers and my insatiable sexual appetite for female flesh no matter what country it's from.

Whatever... go... get out of your comfort zone. By my third year in Japan, although an unofficial leader of JETs in our prefecture (province), I was more comfortable with life in Japan and had Japanese girlfriends and friends and probably got more out of the Japanese experience that I ever would have thought possible in years one and two.

Get out of the rut. Go... try. The ever-repeating mantra...

Cheers
Andrew Joseph
In the telephone card photograph above, James Jimmy Jive Dalton (Stoney Creek, Ont.) and Colin McKay (Calgary, Alberta) and myself (Toronto) in the process of growing my hair in my second year in Japan, and their first.. They are visiting Ohtawara and myself. The three of us are pointing to each other in the classic "I'm With Stupid" and "Stupid's With Me" stance.
Although I saw Colin many a time after I first left Japan, I didn't see him again when 1994 began. James... never saw him after August of 1993.
I wonder how each are doing.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

JETs Ask: What Keeps You Going?

Allow me to be harsh here. I visited the JET (Japan Exchange & Teaching) Programme Forum earlier on Wednesday... at the behest of a friend, who wondered if I had an opinion on a question a person had: What keeps you going?

See HERE.

"I'm really struggling recently. Seems like everyone says they have the best time of their lives on JET, but so far I can't say I feel the same. What am I missing?

Do you ever have rough spells? What keeps you going? What gives you fulfillment here? What makes this better than what you would alternatively be doing?"


A great set of questions and are deserving of multitudes of answers...but to me... it smacks of "woe is me... others are having a better time than me on JET in Japan."

First... What keeps you going?

This is an important question for every single person on this planet.

Whether its ensuring you get one more breath, one more meal, one more kiss, one more toy, one more vacation, one more house, the idea of what keeps one going is highly specific to the individual an that particular point in time.

As for the JET participant looking for an answer on how to keep on going... well... many people asked more questions and others provided answers... good advice... People seem to care.

But... it seems strange to me that people can not fathom how Japan is not the best time of their life.

If you are there right now… that is the best time of your life.

And you know what? It's the best time of your life regardless of where in the world you are now, Carmen Santiago.

Want to go to law school and become a lawyer and help people? Want to become a doctor and play more golf? Great ideas… it may never happen, as life gets in the way. The future is completely unwritten and to assume things will work out exactly as promised seems silly at best, doesn't it? What does happen exactly as planned?

Believing that at some time during the past that things were so much better than now… well, that might have been true… but what can you do about it?

Now please note that this string is coming from a guy who is now 20 years REMOVED from Japan, and I'll bet many of you still believe he (me) lives in the past…

Look... I respect the past, and I certainly recall the past, but I would drive myself completely batsh!t if I dwelled on the fact that the past was better than the present. It's not.

Twenty years ago and more, my parents were planning for their future retirement… and then my mother died suddenly at 54 - 19 years ago. It threw my father into a state of flux, and it interrupted my plans for personal growth and pushed me down another pathway, as I stayed at home with my dad (and brother) and now had no bills to pay - just a whole lotta free time and cash earned. I worked out six times a week, womanized and drank a lot and did whole lot of naughty things that would blow the mind of most people... and it was the best time of my life.

Just like Japan was.

Just like it is now.

You can try and make plans for the future - by all means, do… just know that plans can fail as well as succeed.

The past doesn't exist anymore. It's gone. Gonzo, man.

We only have the present. That's it. We have the now.

People are writing in to the JET Programme and wonder how people can say that Japan is the best thing to ever happen to them. Because it is. It's happening now.

Commentators to the forum - not all, mind you - are lost in a romance, wilderness of pain… and alllllll the children are insane.

You are in a city, town, village or hamlet. There are people around you, but you lack the skills to communicate. So?

Unlike me 20 years ago, the capabilities are there to communicate with anyone around the world via Skype, e-mail, Twitter, Instant Messaging - in seconds.

Saying you are shy or introverted is the biggest crock of sh!t I have ever heard.

Boo-freaking-hoo.

What the hell did you think you were getting into in Japan? You are coming out to be an Assistant English Teacher… at an elementary, junior or high school. You are shy? What was your plan to get over that? New start where no one can pronounce your name? Brilliant.

Japan? You decided to apply - and for some strange reason they chose a shy, introverted person to come out and be a part of the Japanese community?

Gee… it's your fault for applying and JETs fault for accepting you.

Did you study Japanese before leaving your home country?

Did you read more than ONE blog to get different perspectives on Japan? I like Japan a lot, but I frequently take the piss out of it. It's like any country on the planet… good stuff, bad stuff and so-so stuff happens there.

There is no perfect country.

I did not want to go to Japan… and was convinced that I wouldn't actually set foot on that jet airplane (I had only applied to JET to get laid - epic fail because my success at getting into JET caused her to like me even less as she did not get to in to JET. Ain't nobody getting into nuthin'!).

As such… I never actually researched Japan. I knew we kicked their ass in WWII (U-S-A! U-S-A!)… I'm Canadian, however.

I had nothing for Japanese research except a library I never visited, episodes of Astro Boy, and heavily edited Godzilla movies - this was my education on Japan... and yet... despite all of the preconceived notions out there of geisha running around, ninja in every dark corner and radioactive monsters destroying Japan every few months, I had zero preconceived notions when I arrived.

Maybe that's a wee lie, but when confronted with a contradiction to the preconceived notion I immediately discarded my preconceived notion. It's called learning and growing.

I actually believed that the Japanese had no sense of humor. That was thrown out the car window during my van ride up to my home town of Ohtawara-shi in Tochigi-ken in July of 1990, when one Japanese man, who looked so stern, moved to sit beside me in the back of the delivery van (no seats!!!). Because he spoke next-to ZERO English, while smoking a BAT cigarette, he slowly flipped through the pages of a Japanese-English dictionary just so he could tell me a joke. Kanemaru-san… you are my hero.

Do you all see what Kanemaru-san did there? He tried.

What keeps you going? You try every single day. Try what? Exactly.

If you don't understand it, perhaps there's an emotional maturity you have not reached yet. I'm, not saying maturity, because my sense of humor makes me appear immature. And I'm not saying intellectually immature, because I'm sure most of you did far, far better than I did in school…

But after I did five years of university, I did an additional two years of college. That put me at the age of 25 when I arrived in Japan… almost 26, in fact.

Not old, but not as young as some JETs who are a mere three or our years removed from high-school.

It was suggested to me by a friend that perhaps to avoid the angst and bed-wetting that occurs amongst many a JET participant who worries that their Japanese experience isn't the best experience in like ever, perhaps the JET Programme needs to install a waiting period… akin to what the U.S. has when you want to purchase a gun or rifle.

But… rather than a two-week wait to responsibly shoot things, perhaps there should be a two-year wait after graduating university to go to Japan and teach.

Why wait? Well... by waiting, the applicants will hopefully have gained a bit of real life maturity and experience as to how the real world works in their own backyard.

Think about it… people graduate… having never left home (like me), and are suddenly thrust into a situation that could break anyone… people tend to lack survival skills.

I had never left home before. Mom and Dad cooked, cleaned, shopped for food and clothing for me. Washed, ironed and sewed. I had only ever had one real girlfriend, and certainly had never slept with a woman. I had been shy and somewhat introverted until I was 23, when I decide not to be. I have a university degree in political science and a college diploma in journalism. I like sports, played and coached soccer, played baseball and judo, taught piano and clarinet but can play all brass, woodwinds and keyboards. I worked as a newspaper reporter for one of the top pares in North America… I'm okay-looking. Have a good sense of humor, and can talk to anyone about anything now that I've got over my shyness… and yet… you saw the first few lines of this paragraph.

No worldly skills to call my own. By my own ramblings, I shouldn't have been allowed to go… because I could have been ONE EPIC FAILURE.

Yeah… I survived. Thrived even. Depending on the day, I hated Japan or loved Japan. But really, what it boils down to was how I chose to handle myself that day.

People on JET seem to think they are there in Japan to teach English. Teaching English has ever been a small part of what your duties are as a JET participant. You are there to internationalize. To become the gaijin part of the community. There's nothing wrong with being called a gaijin. Really. You are an outsider.

When people get to know you… then you are Kristine-san, Matthew-san, Gasoline-san (Catherine-san, in case you don't understand my poor English skills). No one will call you a gaijin then. No one to your face, anyways.

But for all of you people in JET who are down because Japan isn't the best experience ever… ask yourself… are you giving it your best shot?

You are shy? Introverted? Stuck in a podunk place. Can't speak the language. No one loves me.

Man… if you are in a rut… get out of it. Get on your bike and ride around town. Go explore the countryside, the mountains, the beaches, the waters and rivers. Go explore the city. Go and get lost (take your business card with you!) Get on a train or a subway and ride... get out and look around.

Get out of you apartment. Go and sit in a bar and have a drink by yourself. If you don't drink, have a soda water. Sit. Wait. If not that day, then the next… but eventually, someone will begin to talk to you. Guaranteed.

Get out of your comfort zone. If you can't do that, life is going to be tough for you, because, as you will discover, life isn't all about being comfortable. It's about making the best of a situation. And… if you can have a good time while doing it - congratulations. You just learned how to keep it going.

Planning the future? You can't.

Life happens.

Just try and enjoy it. Just try.

Oh... and yes... I did have a great Board of Education office. I was like Ferris Bueller and could do no wrong. But it's a two-way street. They give as you give. I never denied them anything. And they rarely denied me anything... and when they did, I understood why.

I had a huge apartment and relatively low rent. It was well-furnished and I had air-conditioning, and heating. I had a queen-sized bed, carpeting, a couch, western furniture, shower, western toilet... washer/dryer... two balconies... I was lucky.

Granted... your office and bosses may suck donkeys. You apartment might suck, too.

A friend of mine was told by his bosses to cut his hair... meanwhile, I was told I looked 'cool' by office as I grew an 8-inch long pony-tail and had my ear pierced.

But... I always had my hair look nice. I always wore a suit and tie to school, I participated in every school club - just participate - you don't have to freaking teach it!, I ate lunch with the students, brought booze for the prinicpal(s), made my own green-tea and served the female teachers, I did radio and newspaper interviews when asked by my BOE... I asked for permission to teach a night school course not affiliated with JET (granted)... I screwed my way through many a prefectural JET entourage, and through the female citizenry of my city, I went out and drank and ate at local establishments, I went to school concerts, town concerts, I rode my bike around town, I got lost on the trains, I hit every party I was invited to, had private invites to family homes of my students, teachers and BOE friends, I traveled the country, I took photos, bought postcards, I asked questions, I even tried to learn the language (failed). But, I eventually learned enough to ask out Japanese women.
I called home, I wrote to family and friends, and anxiously waited for them to respond.
I took up hobbies that I knew would help me better relate to my students - video games, anime, manga - just have a brief bit of knowledge and see what that gets you! (Granted I liked those things already.) I built models, formed puzzles, read books, rented movies and watched videos of shows from back home.... and passed them around to other JETs. I began to write fiction and non-fiction. I became more involved in JET. I hit a lot of the JET functions... and then I withdrew... maybe because I became less needy of other gaijin.... that took two whole years. I invited people over for a party, I went to parties. I became friends with the locals, ate with them and they with me. I went on school trips, I hung out with students at lunch and talked to them and they with me. About sports... about girls... or boys (if it was the girls asking). I talked with other teachers about life in Canada. I talked with women about women's rights in North America, relative to Japan. I muddled through in broken Japanese and English and two dictionaries: Japanese-English and English-Japanese.
I learned about Japanese history - memorized it for a time (trust me... learning about anything Japanese impresses the average Japanese person). I did ikebana (women's art of flower arranging), I learned and did bonsai (art of tree bondage), I did kyudo (Japanese archery every week - even though I hated it), I bought 150-year-old ukiyo-e art. I bowed at everyone, I smiled at everyone and shook their hand. I signed autographs. I asked for help when shopping (Japanese people speak more English than even they realize!).
I ate every Japanese food placed in front of me. I shared my music with teachers, and they with me. They taught me about Sumo and Japanese baseball. I play baseball and soccer and judo. Do you like baseball? I played a few games with the BOE. I helped coach a junior high team. I played keyboards at a concert. I wrote and performed in a short wordless play/skit. I taught ONE cooking class. I wrote stories for the AJET newsletter, became its editor, turned down the leadership of AJET for my prefecture though I was secretly asked by JET themselves... stupid, I was.
I laughed, I cried, I yelled, I barfed, I screwed, I was stupid, I was smart. I loved Japan. I hated Japan. I hated everyone. I loved everyone. I hated myself. I loved who I was. I got sick twice, found out I was allergic to something only in Japan, thought I got my girlfriend pregnant, found out some Japanese people had me confused with the very poor actions of another foreigner. I dated a woman who was kinky and a bit psychotic. I fell in love.

There's so much more that I did, I should probably start up a blog and write about it.

I got lucky. You may not. But you have to try... Just know that there's no perfect JET experience save that what you make for yourself. Now go try.

Cheers
Andrew Joseph

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The First Thing You Will Learn About Japan

This blog is for those of you who have never been to Japan before, and are actually about to embark on the journey there on the JET (Japan Exchange & Teaching) Programme.

I was there - 23 years ago. I arrived there a few days before August - just as you will.

And... the first thing you will learn about Japan as you disembark the airplane from whatever country you are from... as you step out from the airplane and out into the air of the airport is...

it's fugging hot.

You might think you know hot... but you don't.

Hot and humid don't even begin to describe how hot it is there at the airport.

Granted the hot jet airplanes all around you may have something to do with the heat, but trust me... the first thing you will feel when you take that first step onto the tarmac of Japan is that it is stupid hot.

Now... the good news is that you will be so excited that it won't matter to you... but as you then pass through customs and grab your bags and wait for the air-conditioned bus, you will feel that heat. You will feel it again as you exit the bus for the hotel you will be staying at in Tokyo... and after you shower and put away your clothes in the hotel and brave looking outside the hotel, every single pore in your body will open up and you will begin the first day of many sweating.

Don't wear silk. That's the second thing you will learn about Japan.

There. Short and sweat.

Cheers
Andrew Joseph   


Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Teamwork Saves Life On Japan Subway

Just look at the attached photo.

Awesome.

HERE

Somewhere near Saitma... and because the train was eight minutes late - I'm betting someone will be apologizing.

By the way... if fellow passengers pushed the train up and off the rails to provide wiggle room for others to lift the fallen woman to safety... did anyone check the train to make sure it didn't suffer damage when it was rocked back down onto the rails... and even IF the wheels came back down onto the rails?

I'm just asking...

Still... well done people. 

Cheers
Andrew Joseph

Feeling Good

As mentioned… some 20 years after the fact… whenever I sit down to write about Noboko, the memories come flooding back. It's not a bad thing or a good thing, it's just a thing.
For that brief moment in time, my life in Japan revolved around my relationship with Noboko. That this moment in time also coincided with the ending of my three-year contract with the JET (Japan Exchange & Teaching) Programme, it was either merely coincidental or a true harbinger of events.
At this time, I don't know which it is… and I won't know until I finish writing about it.
Meanwhile… It's April… it's 1993, and I am currently in my large, westernized apartment in the smallish city of Ohtawara-shi in Tochigi-ken, Japan.
Although I am not by any stretch of the imagination a ladies man, it is only since arriving here that I have been accused of being a player.
If chatting up and having as much sex with women makes one a player, then mea culpa.
Until I arrived in Japan a few months shy of my 26th birthday in 1990, I had only one woman I could consider to be a real girlfriend, and woe is me, afterwards I still maintained a virginal relationship with myself. That all changed 48 hours after arriving in Japan, where I quickly learned that despite being a shy, quiet nerd - there must have been something in the water here that made me seem desirable to the opposite sex… and I quickly got over my shyness.
Flash forward three years to 1993 and 20+ women later, again, and on my second date with Noboko, just as she is about to leave my place after a meal she cooked, I have just asked her to spend the night - even though she has a curfew imposed upon her by her father.

Noboko looked at me with her warm, brown eyes, placed her arms around my neck and pulled me down towards her and kissed me long and soft - tongue dancing around my mouth like sugarplum fairies in some Christmas operetta.

"An-do-ryuuuuuu," she said before reaching up and biting my lip, holding onto it for a couple of seconds. "I want to stay. But I have to go. My father…"

"That's okay, beautiful," I interrupted. "I wouldn't want you to get in trouble with your dad."

And that's when I blew it.

Noboko reached up and kissed me hard on the lips, and… to be honest, I couldn't take much more, so I reached down under her bum cheeks and grunted lightly as I lifted up her 100-pound frame.

I had my eyes open, but Noboko kept hers closed, as she wrapped her legs around my waist.

I knew I wasn't going to go any farther, even though mini me was screaming obscenities at my cowardice, so to quell that inner voice, I pressed her up against the hallway wall, holding her there, as I pressed myself up against her.

She gasped a little… it's amazing how I can still hear it in my head… 

We wanted each other more than ever, and she began to unbutton my dress shirt… and I did something I had never done before.

I stopped her.

In my head - the upper one - I really didn't want her to get in trouble. In my head, I actually thought, that when I meet her father, it will be with him having some respect for me as a person, and not the guy who just wants to screw his daughter's little ass off.

I wanted her father to respect me. Her Japanese father to respect me… the gaijin who wants to marry his daughter.

This is our second date. And, even though I could have been screwed, I was not screwed, even though I was screwed in the head screwed.

I already knew I could bang Noboko until the cows came home… but with her… I waited so long for her to like me, let alone agree to a date with me, it was like I knew she was supposed to be with me even before we met… it felt… good.  

I gently placed Noboko back down, kissed her passionately, and unlocked the front door. She peered out through the peephole by standing on her 5'-1" (if that) tippy-toes, and then opened the door and quickly walked down the stairs to the right of my apartment … leaving freedom behind… as she quickly got in her car and drove home. I know that because I went to my balcony and watched her.

Noboko waved to me through her windshield as she raced off… possibly late for her curfew with daddy at 10PM.

Oh, Noboko… who's your daddy?
Andrew Joseph 

Monday, July 22, 2013

Hugh Jackman - Naked In Japan

Seen in the Toronto Star's Entertainment section on page E7 on Sunday, July 21, 2013 is the following tidbit:

Hugh Jackman says that he inadvertently upset the locals when he visited a hot springs spa in Japan and didn't know he was supposed to cover up his underpants area. 

And if there's one thing old Japanese dudes hate, it's a Wolverenis. 


OMG! Bwa-ha-ha-ha! That was right out of the paper!!!
Cheers
Andrew Joseph

Japan's Abenomics Revealed

Hi - Want to learn about Japan's current politics, but can find the help?

Canada's CBC.ca offers up a wonderful article that even I understood. And now you can, too.

HERE.

Cheers
Andrew Joseph

How To Be A JET Settler

I admit that I have an addictive personality.

When I get my mind onto something, come hell or high water, I drink at that trough until I get my fill.

It's why I haven't missed a day in posting a blog here since - February of 2011. I'm not sure if I'm proud of myself or worried at how obsessive I've become.

I'm taking a break from a Breaking Bad marathon going on seven hours now... from one thing to another.

During the week when I'm not working, I'm coaching my seven-year-old son's soccer team. House League. non-competitive.

But... let me tell you... although I am not a jerk - I don't yell at the ref, or parents or players - and will in fact applaud good plays by the other team... I will say that it eats me up inside.

I watch my team of undersized kids either not care about the sport or simply lack the knowledge of what to do... and I scream inside my brain.

It's my fault. It's always my fault.

Ever since I was seven-years-old, I looked at every single loss or tie or bad play made by my team and rolled it over obsessively in my brain as to how I could have done something... anything... more... to not have had that happen.

Here's the thing. I am a pretty good soccer player. At least I was when I played. I gave the 100 per cent effort on the field every time. Every single time.

I played hurt. I played sick. I played concussed. I never missed a practice and I certainly never missed a game. I cared about soccer - and sports - and realized that even if I was a little nothing outside the soccer field, at least inside it I could be somebody.

It gave me a wee bit of confidence... to know that there were people out there who respected my abilities. I always played 'borderline dirty' according to my father who hated to ref my games because I was always that close to straying over the line... but I never, ever, and I mean ever, went out of my way to hurt a fellow competitor.

It was just a game, right:? I didn't care if I won or lost... but rather how I played the game. I rarely lost... but every night after a game... I obsessed about what I could have done to not have someone else make a mistake.

People don't understand that about me, because that was never something I told anyone else before. I like to blame myself. When my wife does something wrong. My fault. Why didn't I see it coming? What could I have done to have the whole thing avoided?

What went wrong with the numbers in my blog - growing at an exponential rate until last November and then it dropped for a few months - like a rock - where by only now is it getting close to those old numbers. I obsessed about it. And obsessed about it... I have no idea why... it's not like I make any money doing this. Ego satisfaction I suppose... so maybe when the views on the blog dropped, I took it as a slight against my ego.

And yet... whatever... I just wanted to know how to fix it and make it better.

And what does all of this have to do with Japan?

Well... this was the mindset of the young man back in 1990 who was going to Japan for the first time as an Assistant English teacher on the JET (Japan Exchange & Teaching) Programme.

Kindda fugged up, eh? Sure.

Consider if you will that I was nearly 26 and still hadn't slept with a woman... was 30 centimeters shorter than I am now until I was 17. Hated school and failed a ton of classes including English in Grade 12...

And yet... when push came to shove and I was at my lowest emotionally and wanted to kill myself - though never actually thought about how... I just knew that I was wasting my time... I asked myself... is this the best you can do?

I heard that exact same line on Breaking Bad a few minutes ago. Of course I did.

And then... that's when I realized that no... no it wasn't the best I could do.

So I repeated Grade 12 - all of it - did something I had never done before - tried in school - and did well... not great... but well...

I applied to both universities and community colleges... my guidance counselor told me not to bother trying to get into university 0- they would never accept me... but screw him... I did it anyways.

I applied to three colleges and three universities... and you know what? I got accepted into all of them. I chose the closest university to my home... because I hadn't saved up enough money to go elsewhere... confidence came to late.

Then I fell off the wagon and floated through university... doing enough work to get a degree, but not enough to learn anything.

So I went to college and learned how to be a journalist. Lesson learned from university, I tried... got an internship with the Toronto Star newspaper - something only 10 people get into each year - and I was the first ever college student to get into it.

I applied to JET... and got in the first time...

So... what's with the creepy life story, you may ask?

Well... I just wanted to tell all of you JETs out there who are heading to Japan in a few days time.

Japan can be a bitch. You might have been the hot-stuff university person who always smelled of roses... or you might have been the person for whom life has been a challenge... but just know that Japan will be a challenge, too.

I watched brainiacs and IQs the size of a country get blown away by the social intricacies of japan. I watched people get lonely... cry to me about how their offices hate them... of how crappy their apartment is or how no one speaks English... or no one is writing from back home. People die and you are stuck in Japan (for me it was my grandfather, a friend and my cat).

Yeah, yeah... it happens.

But this time... rather than wonder why it sucks... think about how you could have made your experience better. Did you give it your all?

Did you try and learn a new language... did you ask for help? Did you try and make friends?

Whatever it is... Japan is a chance for everybody to get a fresh start.

Enjoy it. Take lots of photos. Keep a diary. Don't start a blog about Japan. There's enough of those out there, and only a few like mine are interesting. (unabashed plug).

But dammit... get out into the community. Let the people see you. Screw privacy. Just be.

Dammit all to hell... it will all be over so damn soon... and you will be glad to go home... until you sudden;y realize you already were home.

I'm pretty much home where ever my head hits a pillow... but you will miss Japan. So try and have some positive memories and experiences.

Okay... enough preaching.

Tomorrow - back to the fun stuff.

Cheers
Andrew Joseph
So... you might be wondering  - what's with the photo at the top? Really? You are wondering? I just told you the blog numbers were down. LOL.  

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Manga Inspires Japanese Kick-Ass Suit

Perhaps we can file the above photo of an exo-skeleton suit under Ripley's Believe It Or Not.

You sci-fi fiends will know I'm word playing on the character Ripley in the movie Aliens, I believe.

Thanks to Vinnie for showing me the light and noting that Japanese firm Sawaga Electronics Co., Ltd.  has developed an exoskeleton based on the manga (comic book) Powered Jacket.

The manga - Powered Jacket (see below) - revolves around the lives of Japanese high schoolers in the year 2044.

Now, since life is imitating art here, the Powered Jacket MK3 is an actual recreation of an exo-skeleton featured in the manga... and have smartly created a promotional video demonstrating their mine robotics using a young woman dressed up as a high school student.

Each exo-skeleton weighs a mere 25 kilograms (55.17 lbs), and is 225 centimeters (8-1/2 feet) tall. Perfect for taking down pesky JET Programme English teachers who want to try and improve your already stellar language skills.

"I like ski."

Although the Powered Jacket MK3 exo-skeleton can be purchased for a mere ¥12,500,000 yen (US/Cdn $124,400, you better hurry. Sagawa Electroniucs is only maing them to order... and only has plans to make five such suits. Believe it or not.


Want to buy a suit? Click HERE and fill out the order form.

Cheers
Andrew Joseph

Saturday, July 20, 2013

My Kind of Camping With Noboko

It's 1993. Ohtawara-shi, Tochigi-ken, Japan.
I'm in the midst of my third and final year of the JET (Japan Exchange & Teaching) Programme (back then that was the maximum number of years one could teach). I have Noboko over at my apartment.
Noboko is a Japanese teacher of English (JTE) at one of the junior high schools I teach at. Although I fell in love or lust or severe like with her when I first saw her - enough to write a gushy but decent enough love poem in the form of a haiku, Noboko was not that enthralled with me until our students began singing my real virtues to her and not her imagined ones.
For whatever reason, Noboko listened to a bunch of 14-year-old Japanese girls in Sailor Moon outfits when it came to affairs of the heart.
It's fine. Despite being 28 years old, I'm pretty much a 14-year-old boy, so the advice could be considered relevant.
After I cooked dinner for her, she decided  a couple of days later to retaliate and cook for me.
She brought over some groceries and cooked me dinner.
Sadly, no unagi (eel) were hurt during the making of this dinner. I love eel.
We are not dating, though we are in the midst of our first kiss as you join this blog.


To say that I was excited when Noboko leaned her face into mine for a kiss, would be an understatement.

I'm sure some of you might understand what I mean when I say that sparks exploded in my brain - you know... like fireworks - and if I wasn't trying to stifle an erection before, the kiss pretty much did that in, and I was popping a tent. It sleeps two. Three if you're lucky.

No matter the length of that kiss, it wasn't long enough. It never is.

Heads tilted just so. Mouths lightly parted. Lips sufficiently moist - not too moist and not too dry. Breath seemingly fine. Teeth not rubbing. Tongues dancing lightly but passionately against one another, as I moved my hand to cradle her face. My other hand dropped to wrap itself around her waist.

It makes me all hot and bothered just remembering it. And even though I hate camping, I do like tents.

How long did we kiss? No idea. It really didn't seem long enough... and truth be told - because I can - I didn't break the kiss. She did.

Either she felt something pressing up into her belly (my wang), or she went numb from having to hold a difficult position - who knows. It certainly wasn't my idea, because years later, I can still feel her warm lips pressed just perfectly against mine own.

You see all of those things that make up a kiss? Head position, mouth opening, lip moisture, breath, teeth, action of the tongue... those are just the technical aspects. Don't forget there actually has to be chemistry. The Breaking Bad kind.

Getting it just right? On the first kiss? Come on! Some people are just right for each other. And sometimes it works out.

I've actually kissed a lot of women. Probably around 50 before Noboko and hundreds more after.
There is an obvious divergence here... some women know how to kiss - and some don't. For the record, I apparently know how to kiss.

But there are women out there who don't... women who have their tongue so rock solid hard that when they drive it into my mouth it's like I'm performing fellatio - I assume. I don't want to perform fellatio.

Those tongues are so hard, and sometimes the woman is so urgent with that hard tongue trying to maintain its position in my mouth that I can't get my tongue into their mouth! WTF?!

I've actually been with women (plural) with whom I have been so sexually turned on - and haven't yet kissed - that after I've had that whole crappy kiss thing happen to me, after we've had sex, I simply don't want to be with them again. I'll take the crappy kissing if I can get laid... but yes... not wanting to see them again is because of the kiss.

And, while I did experience that crappy kissing technique with a few Japanese women, I also experienced it with Russians, Germans and Hungarian. Even a French woman. You would think a woman from France would know how to French-kiss!!! And yes, I plowed through more of Europe than Hitler did. What? Too soon?

So... Noboko pulled her face back... but just a couple of inches away... and I looked into her chocolate brown eyes... and saw a dazed look on her face that was like: "What the hell was that? That was good. I want more. But this is so wrong. He's a gaijin."

Okay, I'm lying. All I saw was her beautiful face. No layers of psychoanalysis necessary.

But... I did re-arrange our bodies a bit - remember... I'm still draped around her... I moved her to lie down on the couch with me beside her... and suave man about town that I am, I banged her. Her head. I banged her head on the arm of the couch.

A-ha! You thought I meant something else. Let's not get too far ahead of ourselves. But thank you for assuming I did.

Bang! Owtch! Sh!t! Gomennasai (I'm so sorry!)

To kiss her on the top of the head (where the boo-boo was), I, who am still lying on the inside part of the couch, use my elbows to scrunch myself upwards.

A man should always be on the outer part of the couch. I think there's some sort of make-out law about that.

Itai! Itai! (Ow! Ow!)

I was now accidentally pulling her long hair down with my elbows.

Okay... now realizing that I am a schmuck, I say: "Don't move!"

I'm afraid that if she moves while I move, someone is going to end up with a black eye.

I lunge with my right hand, grasp the arm of the couch and push myself upwards as though I was doing a sideways push-up.

Even though I am about 20% stronger now, I was about 100% fitter then. (It's noon as I write this, and I am currently eating a Blue Moon hamburger from Hero Burger - over at Fairview Mall in Toronto - screwed up my order by giving me fries rather than onion rings. I hate that. But... there's blue in the burger... Gorgonzola cheese! Yum.) (I just wanted to say that I love the burgers, but am disappointed with the screwed-up order. It's not like I have a small, mousey voice. I have a voice and face built for radio and television voice-overs. Hint-hint!)

So... having lifted myself up and away from Noboko, she slid herself off the couch and down onto the floor beside it.

She looked at me and laughed and laughed.

"What's so funny?" I asked. "Did I hurt your brain?"

"I was just kidding! You didn't really pull my hair!"

That's sort of what the conversation was. I tend to see red when people laugh at me. Now... was she laughing with me or at me?

I sat there in stunned silence... slid down off the couch and sat beside her. Let's find out what type of laughter that was...

I leaned to my right and moved down onto her - pushing her under me... and kissed her again... and hours later (or maybe it was 10 seconds), I told her that for her joke...

"Be prepared for revenge."

Now... just to show you what a strange woman I am writing about, she slid her hand down between us, grabbed hold of my denim tent, and said, "I look forward to your revenge."

My what now?

Just as I was about to reciprocate and slide a hand up her blouse to grab her small breasts and begin thinking about revenge, she says: "No."

OMG! Don't tell me I have to wait until we are married?! I won't do it!

"Really?" I ask. "No? You are still holding onto my...  "

She shakes her head sadly, "No... I just noticed the time on your watch. It's 9:30, and I have to go home."

That's the problem with a lot of single women in Japan. They have to be home thanks to a curfew erected by their parents or boarding house. This one was from her father.

Noboko's dad was the boss of the high school principals (I think) for the northern sector of Tochigi-ken, that included Ohatawra-shi where I lived, and Kuroiso-shi, where Noboko was currently living.

She said she had to be home by 10PM. I looked at that stupid watch of mine on my left wrist... the same watch I have on there now in 2013...

Even as a relatively inexperienced young man... even that very fist time ever... 30 minutes wasn't long enough... and I sure as hell didn't have 30 minutes now, as it would take her that long to drive home from my apartment.

I stood up, helped her to her feet, while staring at her and smiling, I pushed my hand down into my pants in an effort to break down the tent. It wasn't going to be easy.

She walked with me to the front door, stepped into her stylish tan-colored heels, moved forward and hugged me, and then kissed me long and deep and cried that she didn't want to leave.

"Then don't."

Somewhere not expecting that to work,
Andrew Joseph
PS: Eel, perhaps because of its shape, is supposed to be akin to an aphrodisiac to help get the old wiener cooking.
I'm pretty sure that I did not require any help, but I sure did and do eat a lot of eel.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Scent Of A School Girl - Hoo-ha!

Now… before you get all up in arms about how screwed up Japan is, just note the the product in question here is available from Tamatoys, a Japanese company that specializes in sex toys.

The photo above… that's a product anyone can buy on-line.

Take a close look at the photo above… the graphic shows a young woman or girl lifting up her junior high school or high school skirt… and peeing through her black nylons.

Do Japanese school girls wear nylons? I don't think so.

Anyhow… the bottle with the yellow stuff in it? Yup… you guessed it - kind off… it's not actual school girl pee, but rather a liquid that looks and smells like schoolgirl pee.

Looks like school girl pee? Really? That girl needs to drink some water, because that's not a healthy color… she seems a bit dehydrated.

That's not the point. It is supposed to smell like school girl pee.

The packaging says it is : Real Scent Of Girl.

Now… I'm not an expert when it comes to school girl pee, though I do play one elsewhere on the Internet, but I'm pretty sure there is little difference from schoolgirl pee, schoolboy pee, old woman pee and old man pee. There may not even be any difference between cat pee and pea-brains.

And… since I'm betting the person needing to have a bottle of something that may or may not smell like urine from a school girl… probably doesn't know the difference, I say more power to Tamatoys.

Apparently you can order your own bottle of pee for US $25. You can look it up yourself... I found it on-line, you can, too. I don't really want to post the website here.

Again…. though this is a Japanese product, I would be if better advertised, this would be a global product in no time, with large sales.

Never underestimate the buying power of a pervert.

Yeah… I'm calling you a pervert. Look… do the watersports all you want… but even if this was REAL pee, you would be buying anonymous pee… where' the fun in that? BUT, this stuff… it's not even real pee. It's fake pee. Where's the fun in that?

Anyhow... the site has other smells for the pervert that has needs... vaginal, armpit... it goes on and on... and all at an affordable cost. But... again... it just supposedly smells like it... it isn't really the real thing.

Cheers!
Andrew Joseph
(Uh… you didn't drink it when I said cheers, did you?)

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Hey! My Finger Smells Like You!

Boong-Ga Boong-Ga.

I'm not even sure where to begin with the tail of Boong-Ga Boong-Ga, except to perhaps begin at the end.

That's where it always ends up.

Yes, this story has something to do with a Korean-built arcade video game for the Japanese market, butt it actually has its origins in Japan… here now in a tale that will go down in the anals of his-story.

This is the story of 'kancho'. According to the Urban Dictionary, kancho is:
1) repeated pings or probes by hackers on the Internet seeking un authorized access to a computer;

and the better definition which shows the origins of the definition above:
2) a game played by Japanese school children under the age of 12 where they poke their finger(s) in an unsuspecting ass.

… like me…

(I know what I wrote!)

But… Urban Dictionary has it wrong… the whole kancho phenomenon is hardly limited to 11 and unders. Not only did I have it done to me at one of the Japanese junior high schools I taught at (ages 12-15), but I have seen adults do it too.

Kancho is not simply taking an index finger and jamming it up an ass. Even during some sort of afternoon liaison with a woman, I'm not going to jam it.

No… for kancho you form your hands together into a gun shape (yes: bang-bang), except for the barrel, rather than a single finger and thumb trigger, you use the index and middle fingers to form the barrel. The thumbs point upward, and you link the ring and pinkie fingers.

Then… what you do is you sneak up to some poor unsuspecting sap, gaijin or sexy babe (or all three), and from behind, you poke, or double poke if you are feeling extra bold, the barrel of your finger gun into that other person ass… not the cheeks… butt the hole.

Kancho experts are trying to poke you in the asshole.

To make matters worse, after they poke you in the asshole, the kancho bandit will actually sniff his fingers. Right there in front of you.

Now... being poked in the asshole is bad enough, but to have someone sniff their fingers right in front of you... that's disturbing. 

Seriously? WTF is wrong with some people?

Now… I'm no prude. But I am also an adult man. There's sex, and then there's childish games.


Kancho is a childish game performed by immature people and comedians… in which you will note that it is funny to watch mostly because it's not happening to you. It's that same reasoning that  allows me to watch two 230-pound men beat the hell out of each other. I'm just happy that it's not me.

So… yeah… one day at Ohtawara Chu Gakko (Ohtawara Junior High School) in Tochigi-ken back in 1991, I was standing around talking with a group of four seniors (all around 14 or 15 years of age, in Grade 9), when one of the little bastards came up from behind me and kancho'ed me twice in the buttohole.

He didn't even buy me a bag of popcorn first. That's the food equivalent of a reach-around. Butt I totally digress.

I whipped around with the fury of a man hoping beyond hell it was the hot female Phys Ed teacher, but discovered it was a 5'-4" tall monkey-faced boy grinning happily as he dragged his fingers under his nose, inhaled deeply and sighed happily.

At this moment while my back was turned, one of the other boys I had been talking to, saw this as the perfect moment to Pearl Harbor me…. hit twice from behind, this was a day that will live in infamy.

I turned around again… but decided to sidle my ass over to the wall and berate a Japanese kid using the six words of Japanese I knew.

While kid number 2—a tall, well-built boy who looked like he could be the starting quarterback if there ever was a football team in Japan—was grinning while sniffing my butt on his fingers, I yelled at him.

Now… six words of Japanese, right? Well… one of them was 'konoyaro', and the other was 'bakayaro'…

Konoyaro when growled (and I really mean growled) and separated into its syllables (Ko! No! Ya! Ro!), translates into "you… you… you.. guy, you!!!!" and despite its translation, if said correctly - and I did - you can sound like a pissed-of yakuza boss about to take his revenge on your entire family for generations hence.

Bakayaro when screamed, and followed by an open-handed slap to the back of one's head (not your own!), translates into "you stupid idiot!!!".

Obviously saying those two words with less energy lessens the desired effect.

Now… my name of An-doo-ryu, when translated into phonetic Japanese kanji characters, it means: Peaceful-leader-dragon.

Let me just say that there was no An-doo (peaceful leader)… just something for them to rue… enter the Dragon.   
  
My bellowing quickly drew over a plethora of teachers who screamed at the gathered students to tell them what was going on.

Every student within earshot pointed to these two dumb schmucks and in one uni-mind communique related what had just occurred.

Now… even though I was the wronged party, there was no real harm done to me.

I'm glad they got caught. I hope they learn not to do it again to anyone else. Butt I don't need them to undergo the tortures of Torukemada the vice-principal.

(Just kidding… that was a play on words for Torquemada, the cardinal involved with the Spanish Inquisition - bet you didn't expect that!)

So… the Science Teacher dragged the two boys down to the teacher's office, and I was bowed to and asked to follow, using the only English word the teacher knew: "Please", while bowing and gesturing for me to walk in front of him. I guess he doesn't trust any one when it comes to kancho.

The teacher explained to the principal what happened, and I, with help from one of the English teachers, asked for leniency for the boys.

I know that doing anything stupid to a teacher was very bad. And, while doing something to a gaijin is not as naughty, doing something to a gaijin who is a teacher and honored guess in Japan was akin to blasphemy and high treason rolled into one. (Yeah… JET people… you should considered yourself an honored guest in Japan).

The school wanted to tell the Board of Education and their parents and give them month-long detention, but I asked them just to apologize, say they wouldn't do it again, and we can all live happily ever after - The End.

The last thing I want is to foster a feeling of mistrust with my students… word will get around. I might be an adult and a foreigner and a teacher, but I also want them (the students) to look at me as a friend… my job is to internationalize. Teaching is secondary.

As far as I know, after apologizing, they did not receive further punishment and they didn't get into further trouble.

I do know that while they were still in that school they treated me with respect and friendship and none of us ever mentioned kancho again.

Which brings me to the Korean arcade video game Boong-Ga Boong-Ga devised for Japanese audiences by Taff System.

Essentially you get to poke your controller conveniently shaped like the finger gun, into a 3D ass jutting out from the videogame.

Now… according to those in the know, there are a total of eight characters for the player to kancho: ex-girlfriend, ex-boyfriend, gangster, mother-in-law, gold-digger, prostitute, con-artist and child molester.

During the game, when you correctly poke your finger controller into the asshole, the video image showing a face will howl up in surprise, disgust, excitement and horror. Perhaps pain.

Now… I used to collect ex-girlfriends like some people collect stamps, but while I might have wanted to poke them in the ass, I would not have lumped them into the same category as gangster or child molester. I'm sure even a gangster wouldn't want to be lumped in with the child molester.

Let's not forget… unless consensual, kancho is a form of sexual assault. Only the child molester falls into that category... unless your mother-in-law gives you herpes, of course.

Anyhow… after you play Boong-Ga Boong-Ga, the game will give out cards that rate your sexual depravity depending on your 'sexual prowess' with the finger up the ass-thing… but if you do really well, believe it or not, the machine will give you a trophy in the form of a pile of feces.

I have no idea how you proudly display that.

A real game? Yes. It did make it's debut at the 2000 Tokyo Game Show. Do you see that photo at the very top Those are the video game's mascots at the show. No Sh!t. Or Sh!t... I guess it depends on your point of view.

"Seriously, Honda-san… playing this pile of feces could be the break you are looking for. Do this and you could soon be cast in a Japanese samurai television program as horse poop."Check out the Flyer advertising the game: "Have A Fun!!! Enjoy" Man… these Koreans sure made it sound like it's a Japanese game.



And… in case you are wondering… Pokemon has nothing to do with this blog, even though it sure sounds like it.

kancho,
Andrew Joseph