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Saturday, February 28, 2015

Nampa the art of picking up women!

I should tell you two things (truths) about this topic before I begin.

1. I'm not good at picking up women. (You may think I'm this Don Juan Da Marco or a sexy guy on the front of a women's love novel, but alas, I am not). I was also going to add in Captain Jack Sparrow. But no connection in any way. 軟派/  Nampa / ナンパ (written in Kanji here).

2. There second meaning of nampa is "shipwreck".

That's usually what happens what I try to pickup women, a shipwreck (although I'd like to brag about how amazing I am at it. I'm not).

I'm about as good at as the feeling of rubbing your hand across sandpaper. Bumpy and rough ("Just the way your mother likes it Trebek!"). If you don't understand the Trebek thing its a joke about Saturday Night Live. Google it or ignore, just like the girls do to me, ignore my sandpaper advances. LOL.

I think you can fill in the blank.

Once while entering Japan I came across a Japanese immigration officer who looked very serious. He looked through my passport. At which point he noticed I was heading back to Kansai area (Kyoto, Osaka, Kobe area) for school. He told me he was from Osaka, I guess to make us feel like we have some brotherly connection. That's a nice move (maybe he's trying to pick me up?)
He then asked me I speak Japanese, which I said yes. Since he already told me he's from Osaka in Japanese, its weird to ask if I speak Japanese after the fact. None the less, he did.
"You must be good at nampa!". I snickered. Although I knew very well the word means picking up girls in this context, I didn't want to let on, plus he's a freaking immigration officer. Imagine you tell them, yes I'd like to gain access to your country with one purpose to gain access to your most beautiful fair maidens. And they should be virgin maidens. And if by chance they have a dragon protecting them I'm not interested. Please allow me access and shoot me in the right direction.

I looked him in the eye for about five seconds at which point I replied, "I'm not good with boats". Incase you didn't catch my drift or remember my thorough explanation again. I'm implying to him I knew the second non slang meaning of nampa as shipwreck.
At this point he either realized I'm playing a game with him or thought I only knew proper Japanese.
He stamped my passport.
"Enjoy!" he said.
Enjoy I will, I thought (insert some sort of an evil laugh here).
I snickered as I passed into Japan, dreaming of my sandpaper smooth chances at picking up girls (aka none).

The ultimate technique. Works everytime for girls.

Most recently a good female friend reminded me.

"You know.. you are OK looking but you are very uncool. If only you could keep your mouth shut".
I smiled and responded, "But you know what. Its what's inside that counts right?".

"Ya about that... ummm you talk about the past a lot, and find jokes about rhyming words funny. You never shut up about Japan and things that happened along time ago. You don't live in the present. You are totally an old man."


LOL nice!

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Sunday, February 1, 2015

Politeness Shomightness!

Politeness Shomightness

By the way if you didn't know shomightness it isn't a word (that I’m aware of), but it’s supposed to mean “politeness meh, who needs it".

Mwa ha ha!

I should assert (or to be more polite& say volunteer) I did learn the different levels of politeness in Japanese while studying at Uni (University). 
I thought everyone’s sentences sounded so poetic. With long sentences with words inserted to caution the blow of changing topics or sharing knowledge that wasn't always positive.
Very similar to the British upper class.

A few stories come to mind to illustrate this point (if I may share them). See that’s politeness!

Allow me to submit to you a story (I’m sounding like British royalty here people).

Onetime as a student, I was on an exchange, and I wanted to go see Koga village (a cool ninja village). The stay in Japan was for 3 weeks. After asking my host-brother many times to go see this historical village, he gracefully informed me the distance to the location I sought after was far, and the time to reach it was great.
didn't get the hint.
After a few days he told me “Yes. We will go see it in six weeks”. I couldn't comprehend his politeness puzzle laid out before me, for my brain was small, and my puzzle solving skills destitute (it means poor / crappy).
I informed him, “But I will be gone in 3 weeks, so 6 weeks won’t be possible”.
He half smiled out of politeness not wishing to inform me in a way that might hurt my feelings.
Knowing fully well I’d be no place near him or this country he informed me.
“If you are here in 6 weeks, we will go then”.
Haha. I didn't go that time. Eight years later, I went with my wife. He was right that it was far and a real S.O.B (son of a bitch) to get to. Alas, my desire to see it was great, and my dream to reach it overpowering.

Add "please" to anything.

I also remember going to the store and noticing the banana’s weren't in their usual spot. I asked one of the staff where the banana’s were. “In an area located near the back, I will lead you there”. Ok thank you I thought. More graceful.
After not finding them there I’d get the same thing repeated but lead to a new area. I felt like I was being led in circles like a donkey with a carrot infront of my face (only I'm not as smart). So finally I asked, “Sorry, I’m not interested in the dog feces you are feeding me, do you have banana’s or what?”.
Trying to be polite she responded, “The location of the banana’s may not be in this store, however If you could wait, some banana’s will come to their location in an allocated time”. WTF!
I found out later there was a banana shortage in Japan as some diet guru suggested all Japanese women should eat banana’s to stay fit.
In my case I wasn't interested in a diet or staying fit.
I didn't have any cunning plan.

I just wanted a banana because I’m a monkey. 

I was so desperate for a banana I'd work for one too.

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Wednesday, December 31, 2014

New Years New Fears!

New Years is a funny time in Japan.
I wish I could remember many of the fun times, but alas most of them are a complete blur.

I recall throwing up in a ditch once or twice. Not completely positive memories (or maybe half memories I guess).

Ya, that sounds about right.

Onetime a nice family invited me to a traditional day of making rice cakes. Awesome I thought.

I made the rice cakes by hammering the hell out of this big wooden stump the rice was being held in. IT was cool (and prelude hot), except that my technique must have been wrong and hot boiling rice sprayed my companions (cohorts) in the face. Ouch!
They laughed with a hearty but fake laugh as their skin received 3rd degree burns.
Oh the foreigners are funny aliens I thought to myself. We do the damnedest things.

Oh no! You didn't!

It also tends to be very cold around New Years. Most of my stories are about how hot it is in the summer, but let me tell you Winter is another season unto itself.
Its like hell freezes over. Everything is cold and deadly. It reminds me of those ghost things in Harry Potter that suck your soul for fun. I forget the names, those ones from Prisoner of Azkaban, those dudes. They fly around. The air gets cold and you are screwed. Harry Potter shoot this like Unicorn thing to stop them. But I don't have a wand so I'm ATBS (about to be screwed).
Its totally like that, only no magic (or ghost dudes), only weather related similar.

And in that type of weather you see all these girls wearing short skirts and you think WTF hot! But cold. You catch my drift? Hot, but cold. Funny? ...... I guess not.
And as you see these girls wearing their short mini skirts, I'm wearing one layer of long johns underneath my jeans and I'm still freezing. They can totally see an outline of my old man long-john's. What kind of a guy who is 25 years old, wears long-john's? Me myself and Irene (its a movie reference).
I remember one kid used to slap my butt a lot and say "OMUTSU?". I didn't know what that meant but I looked it up oneday and it meant diaper. I guess my butt was so padded he thought I had a diaper on.
But you know what, if it traps in the heat, I was willing to try it. LOL. Embarrassing!

I even wore those Japanese heated sticky pads in my pockets and shoes to stay warm. Sometimes the heating pads rubbed a little too close to my groin and I'd moan as it burned my privates. I guess that's YIN and YANG, hot and cold.

Another semi good memory is the smell of kerosene. Emphasis on the "semi".
You see in Japan most people use kerosene heaters.
Heat up by your kerosene heater and hope you don't die from the fumes. Those are good times.
More than once I would pour kerosene on my clothes (usually my pajama's and yes not on purpose) and I'd think if someone smokes near me or I'm roast marshmallow. Like those ones that catch on fire and burn down to charcoal. They don't taste that good (incase you didn't know). Although there are sicko's that are into the burnt ones (hope you aren't one).
I also smelled like kerosene all night that I filled up the heater.
I believe now wholeheartedly, I may have lost a few brain-cells.

Someone once asked me, "Don't you air out the poisonous kerosene laced fumes every few hours as the heater says on it?". "No", I responded.
Even if I did, my clothes will still smell like it. So either way I can't win.

.. Happy New Year Mofo's!

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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Halloween's a bust yo!

Now that Halloween is long past and out of everyone's mind, I thought it might be a totally inappropriate and inopportune time to post a story about it.

Incase you didn't know, in Japan and in those days Halloween didn't mean much (although I heard the last few years its been becoming bigger and bigger).

I didn't know if I had the merchandise to pull off this costume.

As foreigners we already stand out like a sore thumb so adding witch, ghost or other costumes just make us look crazy (or perhaps crazier?). I don't even think most people realize its Halloween and think the foreigners in Japan are pretty weird. Its true to a degree.

Whilst I was a student in Kobe I was going to a Halloween themed party.
Now for me I didn't think about wearing a costume on the streets, the thought didn't even cross my mind. Ten of us gaijin (foreigners) walked together to the hall for the party.
We put our costumes on once there.

After about an hour someone came and said they thought they saw one of our class mates with the police (of course a gaijin one). I was like what did he do?

He called his girlfriend who was at the party.

He was a tall black male and was walking around town in a toga.
Yes a toga.

He was showing a lot of skin. I'm not sure if the police stopped him and thought WTF, or someone complained about him saying there a gaijin nutter walking around in half robes.

Regardless I laughed.

He showed up late (not fashionably) and told us he had to show his gaijin card (foreigner card) and explain he as a student and it was Halloween. The cops didn't get it and assumed he was a nutter (he was). He didn't get arrested but thought he was about to be.
Since he didn't bring clothes, I hoped he would be arrested on the way home after the party.
Unfortunately it didn't happen, it would have made the story better.
I realize now I should have placed an anonymous call stating his whereabouts and carrying a shield and spear like a gladiator. For sure he would have been arrested.
Leave and learn I guess, I'll know what to do next time.

Probably like this one but taller, darker and nuttier.

I quite enjoyed that party. I wore a white shirt and white pants. On my shirt I wrote in Japanese "I'll eat your soul", and also in English below it.
I asked my hostmom for some sort of white skin colouring to make me look ghostly. I didn't realize but I found out later I had been slathered with expensive cream which contained nightingale droppings (yes excrement of bird).

What's that smell? Well its good for the skin I guess. Slightly acidic?

For some reason I thought only geisha used that.

That's nice. I was covered in sh%t.
Not figuratively, actually.


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Sunday, August 31, 2014

Holy Time, Holy Crime!

Holy Time Holy Crime!

Its a rhyme...sorta.
No offense to my Buddhist friends in this story.

I was once on a trip to a place in Japan called Koyasan. It is essentially the most religious place in Japan. I was with around 20 other foreigners on a short trip. Koyasan is up this big mountain and has a number of religious sects (Buddhism of different varieties). They also have signs stating its a religious place and drinking is not allowed. I did know a monk or two who could drink so I wasn't sure if that was for the locals or the dirtier foreigners like myself coming to invade the holy land.

I should let it be known Koyansan (which means Mt.Koya) is up a really high mountain because it plays into the story. If I recall correctly it was an hour from Nara up this weird ancient cable car, that cut through a jungle or forest. My memory isn't great, but for sure it was an ancient cable car that creaked a lot. I was hoping we didn't fall into the abyss.

Anyways…. The point of the trip was to learn some Japanese religion. Somehow we didn't seem very interested. Unbeknownst to be, there were rules for this trip. No drinking and no fornicating. The fornicating is always going to happen with someone. I don't mean with me, I only hoped it was going to be me. Why not introduce a little liquor into the equation. 
Get this not so enlightened party started!  
Maybe if I added in some liquor my chances would go up too? Bonus!
Throw a few glow sticks in for good measure? Some rave music? Roll some Buddha beads.

I saw a liquor store, and althought I don't recall, I was told I said "Let's have a drink. What else are going to do?" I know I won't be seeing the 9th plain of enlightenment, because when I think I'm reaching nirvana the blood circulation cuts off in my legs my legs fall asleep. It hurts like you wouldn't believe. I recall a story about one guy who broke his families tea sets that had been in the family since the beginning of time (before dinosaurs). Maybe not that long, but fairly close to it.

What I learned at Koyasan. Oh and to drink as well, my idea? Hmmm.

We started to enjoy a few drinks. The rest of the night is a bit of a blur, but I recall a very terrible hangover and a dong waking me up at 6AM. As the monks chanted mantras, I chanted that I get through the day...alive. As they informed us we only need light to survive and the will of the Buddha, I needed water and possibly some greasy McDonald’s to get me through. I wondered what my chances were of finding a McDonald’s nearby. Afterall, I did find liquor.
For breakfast we had steamed vegetables so that didn't really help with the desire of the greasy meat. It was purifying my (perhaps evil) toxic foreigner soul. I had a feeling I was going to go through the 20 layers of Buddhist hell (as a sidenote I'll probably see some of you there. Something to look forward to).

A year later after returning from Canada, I met a student that had just got back from the same trip as me. One of the other schools kept tabs of all the issues of previous trips and how to improve them for next time. Somehow my name was etched in history. “THIS CANADIAN MALE elicited heavy drinking while on a trip in the most religious area of Japan, Koyasan. He had been warned no drinking at any time was allowed, but decided to peer pressure the other members of the group into a long night of debauchery (it means heavy drinking). He refused to eat breakfast and complained he wanted McDonald's, which was culturally insensitive to the hospitalable monks”.

I liked that, although not entirely true, at least I was remembered by future students, in a somewhat positive light.
I did remember when I went back to the school one of the teachers mentioned,

"So everyone had a great trip, but I think you in particular!"
HA! I wonder if he was the mother trucker who wrote the slightly alerted tabs of the trip.

I like this. Something magical about it. But where is McDonald's seriously?

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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Mr Roboto and Square Watermelons

Square Watermelons WTF?

The cost? A very reasonable $150. The taste? Sadly the same.

I think the Simpson's brainwashed me. After seeing an episode where they go to Japan and eat a square watermelon I assumed this was commonplace in Japan.

Upon reaching the shores, my assumption was deemed erroneous (as are most things in my life).
The square ones turned out to be unique to only one place in Japan and no Japanese believed me except all the other Gaijin (foreigners) who had seen that Simpson's episode.

In Japan giving fruit is considered a great present. The fruit is individually packaged and looks beautiful.
On top of that, costs a fortune.
Somehow I came into the knowledge that melon's are good to give as gifts are pricey MOFO's (especially those damned square ones).

Its only $84 for one mango. Seems reasonable!

My thought was to give a melon and get some brownie points with my host family for all the terrible things I did. I used the shower and prevented them from accessing the bathroom to brush their teeth, put my body hairs in the bath that has been reused 100 times, broke two hundred year old tea sets etc etc. I'm sure the tea set is easily replaceable though, not overly concerned about it. I'll pick up a new one at the dollarstore.
The only thing related to brownie points figuratively was the melon. It was soft, just like a brownie.
Usually the cost was outrageous, as in up to $100. I wasn't even sure about a square one. I see $150 and upwards online.

I found a nice looking melon among the rotten ones on a day trip to Osaka (this sounds like some sexual innuendo, but no I'm not going there).
Discounted to a still rather expensive $20 (2000 yen).
I headed home with a rotten melon in my backpack. I guess I should have been using my brain and thinking to put the melon in the fridge or perhaps freezer (to make it appear more solid), but instead being me, I left it in my backpack and threw it in my closet. Threw, and I don't mean figuratively. I mean I actually threw it.

It was already slightly soft, but since I forget it, threw it, and left it in my closet it got even more soft.
I pulled it out after two days and my fingers mushed through like fat skin.
I handed it to my host family.
"OH I bought a melon, strangely it went soft, hmmm... Well its the thought that counts".

They cut it up.

Does it taste good to eat rotten melons? I'll let you know it does not!
Its as terrible as it sounds, rotten, over the top foul and slightly mouldy.

I handed them the melon. It looks "OK" I thought. They might not notice its rotten.

I hoped they appreciated the thought behind it, because the taste was horrendous and I had to join in to pretend like I wasn't aware it was rotten.

I mumbled "Yum delicious", as I tried not to throw up.

Rotten melon, I'm SO NOT loving IT!

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Monday, June 30, 2014

Spirited Away into the the Matrix

Spirited Away into the the Matrix

I sometimes feel like my brain has left my body. Possibly my brain power being harnessed by robots. And by this I mean my brain is out to lunch (semi permanently).
And this Spirited Away refers to an Miyasaki’s most famous anime about wild animals, including an evil boar in a fantasy world (foreshadow of this blogpost for you smartypants types).

Oh sh#t! Not again! 
No more pills this time.

I was thinking about how I used to live in a fantasy world too, after so many unbelievable things in Japan. It was like some glitches in The Matrix. I'm like Neo, only not cool (and my sunglasses are the dollar store variety).

These are cooler than the ones I had. 
But probably the same price.

You see on my way to University in Japan I used to see a sign that said in Japanese, "Watch out for wild boars". And it was a big picture of a boar with tusks. It was almost comical (except they were dripping in blood. Actually that's not true, but it would be funny if they were. Imagine little kids being utterly horrified). 
If you don't know what a boar is, its like a pig but hairier and ready to impale something with its tusks (and not impale me ideally). I wondered where I needed to enter The MATRIX to see this boar. 
Or if there was some magical forest nearby. Surely it can’t be nearby as everything is just endless cement. 
I wondered why and where a boar might come from to warrant such a a sign in the middle of a city.
I often had a laugh about it and pointed out to my fellow students “Watch out for the boars, hahaha what a joke!”. The Japanese ones never laughed. Perhaps I should have taken as an omen (death sign or a death note was written about me by someone. Death by boar).

One day as I was walking by myself & I heard some weird sounds, huffing and snorting. And then some trampling, like horses galloping towards me. Rather odd I thought.
I looked down and saw a massive boar snorting and looking around. He seemed to be sniffing the air. Perhaps he noticed my unique gaijin (foreigner) scent or my B.O. smell. It was perhaps stronger than the locals due to my hairiness (ape like). At first I considered running, but I thought if it knew the area he knew all the shortcuts and might impale me (like Wolverine minus the adamantium claws). 
I considered slowly moving behind a building and following it. I wondered if it would it lead me to some truffles or Narnia (or was that pigs for truffles?).

He looks friendly enough, perhaps he will lead me to some truffles?
Or kill me, either sounds good.

I told one of the other foreign students I had seen a boar the other day and they should be careful walking down that road. 
He was an Aussie and his response was priceless.

"Mate. Go get bent".
I believe this to mean "Go F Yourself" or more literally yeah right I don't believe you.
But based on his personality it may have been more towards "Go F Yourself" I think.

I saw this shop for the first time. I realized I entered The MATRIX for sure.
And entered in the right spot too.

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