What the heck is Charisma Man?
Well... it's a comic strip about a nerdy guy from Canada who goes to Japan and because of his charisma has the Japanese falling all over themselves. The men love him because he's just so kakui (cool), while the women love him because they think he's got something they can't find in any other Japanese guy.
But, just as Superman (also originally half created by a Canadian), Charisma Man's one true krypotnite is the gaijin woman, who take every moment to snipe at him and his charisma.
Who is Charisma Man?
In reality, he's me.
He's also a whole lot of other foreigner guys who went to Disneyland, er, Japan, and found that the all of a sudden he was the main attraction at the fun park that everyone wanted to ride.
He's the guy who couldn't get a woman to look at him back in (insert country here), but upon setting foot in Japan he suddenly becomes Don Juan and Johnny Depp and Christiano Rinaldo and Tony Hawk and Chuck Norris and Jesus all rolled up in one. He suddenly became suave, good-looking, sophisticated and laid.
He became that foreigner guy in Japan that every other foreigner guy would look at and go: "How the fug did he get a girlfriend like that?"
If you have read any of my adventures in Japan, if I wasn't the inspiration for Charisma Man, I probably should have been.
Is it ego if it's true?
Yeah, well, I might brag about the conquests, but I also take myself down a peg or two while doing so.
I was Charisma Man with self-awareness.
|Reverse racism is a problem for Charisma Man who just wants to be treated like everyone else... when other foreigners are looking. I used to take those massages, and free drinks, and what ever opportunity floated my way.|
And still, I always knew I could be the flavor of the month. Charisma Man... not so much. I was too smart for my own good.
Ahh... so WTF is Charisma Man the comic strip?
Created by Larry Rodney, a fellow Canadian, who asked an artist friend, Glen Schroeder who living in Canada and had never been to Japan, to help bring Charisma Man to life. So he did.
The similarities end between Charisma Man and myself only with the physical depiction of the two-dimensional character. I mean Charis Man, fer crissakes.
Rodney sold the concept to The Alien (later known as Japanzine) with a single joke strip... but the editor thought they had something there and begged Rodney to create more.
Ten more strips were created - and then Rodney went back home - and figured he couldn't possibly write about Japan if he wasn't there.
Uh... yeah... For the record... before I started this blog 16 years after I left Japan, I was creating Wonderful Rife stories and being paid for them by an English-language magazine for two years after I left. It's no biggie... write what you know.
Still, Rodney had principals, and I applaud him for that.
Still... The Alien wanted more, so The Alien co-founder Neil Garscadden was tasked to continue the journey of Charisma Man.
Myself, like Charisma Man, deals with Japan in a muted manner... no harsh criticism, but rather quiet poking at Japanese social and cultural norms.
The two of us... we have experiences that most every gaijin male has had in Japan, except for us, we've experienced it in a different way.
But here's the thing that Charisma Man and I both did that helped us immensely. We tried different things in Japan. We did our best. We succeeded. We failed. We failed again. We found the humor in our experiences. Japan could be an absolutely horrible place if that was your mindset. Ours was not. We were accepted for who we were (for real) by the Japanese... gaijin women be damned.
Of course, I did date gaijin women... because I discovered - where Charisma Man did not - that everyone needs a little companionship sometime.
I was also a really nice guy. You know... with charisma. If that sounds like ego, just note that in at least one case, we became famous and a global catchphrase. Hint... it wasn't me, despite the over 2.3 million visitors to this blog.
You can check out some of the strips, and merchandising at the website: www.charismaman.com. I'm an XL, of course.
Somewhere, living the dream,
Andrew "I'm up... I'm up!" Joseph
PS: Color image at very top is NOT part of the original series, but I liked the layout and color.