| Dear Readers, |
Many of you have been complimenting me on my work and I am very thankful for all the replies I've gotten thus far. In fact I've gotten so many lately it's been hard for me to get back to you all! Sorry about that. Now I know many of you have wanted to hear the juicy stuff that I've been leaving out of my journal. You want to know the dark seedy underside of being "naked" in Japan. Well this installment will cover that and more. I call this edition:
"Romancing the Naked Man!"
Last night 2 adorable Japanese college girls were telling me how beautiful my hands are. They were impressed by how white my skin is and how big my hands look. I was amazed! I'd always thought my hands looked pale, hairy and grotesque -- especially compared to theirs! It may have been the first time anyone ever complimented me on the appearance of my hands. In junior high school, my hands struck fear into the hearts of girls every time I went "double-jointed." But Japanese girls reach-out to stroke them, remarking how beautifully "white" or "pink" they are! Having been among the Japanese for quite some time now (4 months), I have come to view myself and other Westerners as bizarre creatures from outer space. We often look very strange in a sea of Asian faces. But to many Japanese, we are the most heavenly beings on Earth! I find this rather odd, especially after living in New York's West Village -- a sanctuary for gay GQ models. I was skinny, weak and balding among my Michaelangelic neighbors. I was unworthy. My ego was beaten into the pavement like the old gum on the subway platforms. But here I am an amalgam of all the hottest stars in Hollywood. Of course, they are illusions on the big screen, but I am LIVE and in the flesh! I AM KEANU PITT!
The only obstacle keeping me from having any woman I want seems to be my inability to communicate or understand their world. These females hale from another planet! They are eager to understand mine but this in itself can be a very daunting task. I am really getting tired of slow-moving explanations, slow responses, and slow decision-making. (The latter wouldn't change even if I were speaking their language!) I really feel like I'm in that Star Trek episode where Kirk's body movements are moved up to such a high speed that he is invisible to the human eye. He can walk around the Enterprise and everyone else looks frozen in time. They are all moving at the same rate as slugs while he is a humming bird. The only indication they have of his presence is a buzzing in their ears.
The following lines are from my journal when I had finally reached the end of my rope:
There's a lot of people I could be writing right now but I feel like getting some stuff off my chest. I've reached the end of my line, I'm afraid. If anyone ever asks me how much patience I have, I can say "about 3 months worth." It was after 3 months in Japan that I began to notice myself no longer able to patiently work with Japanese people in English. I wish there was some way I could get them up to gaijin-style, Shinkansen (Bullet Train) speed level communication! Of course I would like to get myself up to speed in Japanese also, but I feel that even if I could speak fluent Japanese it would be more like me slowing down to their cultural socialization level rather than them speeding-up to mine. Let me explain:
It's not just a language problem. Taking the bull by the horns is an American concept. The Japanese don't make individual ballsy moves like that. But I do, and I value that behavior. Of course the average Japanese female's "me before her" mindset does have its merits (for me) but right now I would much rather be with a woman who knows what she wants and goes out and gets it (I think). The "I exist to serve you" geisha crap was attractive at first but I'm starting to miss the sophisticated, independent girls of NYC.
I have another Star Trek analogy: (I hope all you non-Trekkies can follow this!) The episode, "Harry Mudd's Women." This is the one where Captain Kirk's bumbling nemesis, Harry Mudd, is trapped on a planet run by millions of beautiful female androids. Mudd somehow is able trick the Enterprise into sending down a landing party, of course containing ALL the key officers of the ship. He then tries to escape from the planet on the Enterprise. Our heroes are marooned on the planet faced with the terrible fate of spending the rest of their lives with gorgeous androids whose sole mission is to "serve." Of course Mudd is unsuccessful once Kirk, Bones, Scotty, Chekov and Spock discover the beautiful androids' weakness. You see, they want to study humans, much like many Japanese to want to study gaijins. But! When the humans behave in a way that is contrary to logic (or in my case, the Japanese mindset), the androids go into a "does not compute!" mode and short-circuit. This makes for a pretty hilarious episode as the Star Trek cast does everything within their power to act illogical. In other words, they act like total idiots to fake-out the fembots.
I have experienced this same phenomenon with Japanese people. Rashan and I, in the presence of Japanese friends, will sometimes joke in light-speed English. When we try to explain something funny that makes no sense in their culture, you can almost see their brains begin to overheat. "Does not compute."
If you're ever at a Japanese McDonald's you too can experience this phenomenon. Just ask for something out of the ordinary, like an extra packet of ketchup, or perhaps fries with no salt. The girls at the counter are programmed to carry out a very specific set of tasks (males almost never take your order. No matter where you are in the world, flippin' burgers is their job -- actually in the case of McDonald's -- tossing frozen meat pucks into an oven press). Should the customer (a foreign customer that is) order something special or out of sequence, it could result in a short circuit. The girl will be at least a little nervous already simply because of the fact that you are foreign. Foreigners are hard to predict -- i.e. chaotic -- and most Japanese fear chaos above all other things. Once you've made your special request, just like Harvy Mudd's women, the their face will develop a puzzled and perhaps nervous expression. They're head will then tilt to the right or left, and smoke may rise out of their ears. Fzzzt.They may snap-out of it, or some other more gaijin-friendly employee may have to help you. I asked for 6 packs of ketchup once (2 for me and 2 for each of my 2 other friends who were in plain view) and after a few minutes of uneasy hesitation, was given 6 but in half-filled small drink cups, complete with a carton 6 beverage cup holder in a bag. The cups were so deep that the fries could not reach the ketchup at the bottom!
Anyway, in four months, I can't tell you how many women I've met who were interested in me. It's pretty incredible. My ego has been scraped off the New York pavement and is approaching Godzilla proportions. Unfortunately, I haven't been interested in most of them. I've got quantity here, but real quality is still hard to find. To give you an idea, there was: Akiko, the "Body 2000" librarian who's "Never had an orgasm;" Yuko, the fashionable but anorexic "office lady;" Sheila, the 6 foot white woman who wants me to teach her to "merengue;" Cho, the pretty Chinese girl with the grey teeth; and Masako, the attractive travel agent with the hairy hands. She wanted me to photograph her nude.
I hope it doesn't sound like I'm bragging. Believe me I am trying really hard to keep my ego in check as well as my behavior. But the fact is, I've had an open invitation to date almost anyone that interests me! Why? Because I'm a 6'white American! Rashan's a 6' black American and he's even MORE popular! Almost any foreign man can be attractive here if he wants to be. Of course, to foreign women, I'm nothing special. Still, many of them are interested in me because no one seems to be interested in them! Unless they're small, cute and speak great Japanese, their chances of a date are slim. Japanese men are extremely shy and have no idea how to deal with formidable, foreign women. It seems most female foreigners have to resign themselves to life without romantic male companionship, except for the occasional fling with a foreigner who's grown tired of Japanese girls. It must be pretty frustrating.
But lest my ego get totally out of hand, there is one girl here that has put me in my place:
She is a vision. My journal is littered with entries about her. FYI, that's not her real name and she is no way related to Mr. Fuji of NM3. I gave her that nickname because getting a date her is as difficult as scaling the highest peak in the country! She works in the local International Center. Her English is as beautiful as she is, but culturally, she's still 110% Japanese.
I met her my first evening in Okayama and after 3 months of dogged pursuit (and I mean dogged! -- I went to the Center EVERY DAY, supposedly to study Japanese, but really just hoping to see her!), I was finally able to get her to go out on a date with me. Here are some examples of how pathetic she made me:
"She was there at the center. I wore long pants and tried to look casual but cool just for her (impossible in this heat). It was all in vain. I can't seem to get her to do something with me casually! I even told her to bring her friends! This is torture. She has a classic, clean, pure sort of beauty -- Tomina had it also [a former girlfriend of 5 years] -- that you just don't see everyday: Clean and delicate, but healthy -- the kind of girl who could in appear in a 'Cross Your Heart Bra' commercial. I'm not going to give-up yet."
Actually I did pretty much give up after that, because she just wasn't biting. But then...
| Last night Kim left me a lonely phone message with her sultry Korean accent. It was tempting, I almost called her back to say: "I'll be right there," but I held-off, so as not to look like Hell in front of the kids in the morning. Tonight I spoke to Kim for about an hour. I was feeling the green light flashing before my eyes when all of a sudden she said the words, "Ms. Fuji." I could feel the pain coming back. I had seen her just the day before looking radiant as usual at the Center. Her eyes were sparkling but she was all business. I dressed up in my best shirt and tie that day, not for a bunch of 13 year-old kids, but to impress Fuji-sama, if only for 5 minutes! But I walked off to Japanese class thinking, "I give up." She's not interested. I've tried everything and she remains simply cordial but cold. |
Back to Kim. I kept trying to flirt with her (forget about my goddess, Fuji), but every time I did, she'd keep mentioning Ms. Fuji's name! I couldn't really understand why. I asked Kim what she was doing this weekend. She indicated that she would be happy to see me tomorrow or Saturday, but then threw me a curve:
"Wouldn't you prefer to see Ms. Fuji?"
"Uuhhh.... (I gave away everything I was feeling in that grunt.) Kim continued,
"Ms. Fuji is very nice. She's very sweet. I like her very much and she speaks English very well. And her feelings are very favorable toward you. If you fight hard, you may be able to be her boyfriend!
How could I reply to that? "Well that's great, but can I have you now and her later?" Somehow I don't think that would have gone over to well, so I tried to change the subject. Inside however, I resolved to renew my ascent to Ms. Fuji's peak.
"Yesterday there was another rainstorm but it didn't get me this time (for a while there I had an uncanny way of summoning literal typhoons every time I left the house without an umbrella). It was over by the time we returned to Okayama station. And yes, today Fuji was there! AND she told ME she would like to have "coffee or DINNER" sometime soon!!! Yes SHE took the initiative! She must have been getting tired of waiting for me to grow some juevones! How could she have missed all my passes? I wonder if she has any idea how much time I have put into her in the last 2 months!
I rode home proud! I was in my element. Yesterday I could have died and gone to Heaven feeling fulfilled -- and the crazy thing is I STILL don't know when we're getting together! She's supposed to call me. GODSPEED!"
|Another week passed. Still waiting...|
Just when I thought I was going to have to go ANOTHER week without FujiÉ I was talking to the Chinese girls, Ko and Cho, when suddenly there she was!!! "Chotto Matte" I said, and in one step I was 20 feet across the room, standing in front of Ms. Fuji. I blocked the way back to her office. She could not escape.
"I... I was going to call you soon..."
"No need. Here I am! Do you know when you're free? ("YOU and ME -- Let's settle this right here right now!" was the only thought in my head). She looked at me and said,
"The only day I'm free is Friday, is that ok?
(Yeah!) "Friday when?"
"All day." (Whoopee!)
"You don't work on Friday?"
"Well, I do. So the only time I could meet with you would be Friday night. Is that ok?"
"Sure!" (I was almost to the summit!)
Finally the date we've all been waiting for:
Well I should've known the planets would not align in one night. Tokyo wasn't built in a day. Tonight I finally saw the top Mt. Fuji, albeit from very far away. Right now I'm feeling slightly confused and unfulfilled. The whole night she was like a flight attendant. It was a very comfortable "flight" so to speak, but I wish she'd let her hair down! Oh well, there is no way that reality could have lived up to my fantasy and I should have known this from the start: I have spent so much time concentrating on getting a date with Fuji, there was simply no way... Well tonight wasn't bad actually. I had a good time -- it's just that I've waited 3 months to be alone with her and... I just wanted more, that's all. The evening wasn't relaxing. I wanted us to fall in love on the first date. Maybe we have? Maybe we will? I still don't know. But for some reason I have my doubts and it makes me sad.
And that's pretty much where I am to this day a month and a half later! Fuji said she would call me but never has despite my pressuring her to do so every time I see her. Finally I decided to forget her a couple of weeks ago. I assumed she just wasn't interested and that I would be better off pursuing someone like Kim. So that's what I did. This weekend a group of us went dancing and Kim was my partner. But she did it again! Just as the temperature was beginning to rise she said, "Do you know that Ms. Fuji still likes you?" I couldn't believe my ears. "Why is she doing this to me!" I still have no idea what to think. Is it true? Is it false? Is Kim just testing me to see if I like someone else more than her? Perhaps. Time will tell.
To be continued...
| Gaijin love on TV: |
This must be a big topic in Japan. More than once I have seen it given special attention on TV. Tonight I watched a typical Japanese style talk show. It featured a host, the guests on the show (pathetic people who have some sad unresolved problem that they for some reason wish to tell the whole world about), and the talento panel (made up of currently popular singers and actors who do nothing but sit and watch or occasionally comment on the lives of the pathetic guests).
Tonight's program featured a man who is now basically a woman with the exception of one small organ that still hangs between his/her legs. She decided that she would finally tell her gaijin lover (an African man) about her little secret. They had been dating one year up until this evening and her boyfriend still had no idea. Her boyfriend was called at home and his face appeared on a huge screen above the TV show's stage. His face was blurred by a mosaic sensor. After a suspenseful commercial break, she confessed to him on TV that she is really a man and "still has her male organ." Of course, the gaijin was speechless and of course there was no happy ending to this story (there almost never is on these shows). The gaijin was able to sort of save face for both of them by politely saying he would still like to be friends.
I should add that the woman looked and sounded like a woman in every way shape and form as near as I could tell. It was sad to watch her life shatter before our eyes as her lover told her they were not lovers anymore.
I saw another episode of the same show (I think -- it may have been another similar and equally ridiculous program) where a poor, nice, extremely naive Japanese girl was flown (by the TV show) all the way to Vancouver, BC to find a Canadian guy she had dated for a couple months during the previous year in Japan. The Japanese girl had obviously fallen pretty hard for the guy, who had told her he loved her. Unfortunately, she was foolish enough to believe him and couldn't understand why he hadn't been in touch with her. So she got on the show and got a free ticket to Canada to track him down.
Well, they found his address (she didn't even have that!) in the phone book and gave him a call. He was pretty surprised to say the least (not a pleasant surprise either) but finally agreed to meet with her for coffee at Starbucks that night. The girl, the host, a translator and a full Japanese film crew waited for him there in the rain. Finally he showed up. He looked like a total slob -- sweatpants, beer gut, baseball hat, unshaven. The girl was beaming when she saw him. He was a vision of sorts I guess, but her vision of him and mine must have been complete opposites.
He cut straight to the chase. He didn't even invite her inside the cafe. He told her as he slurped his ice coffee that he had met someone else and that he was sorry for any misunderstanding. "Gomen nasai" he said in rudimentary Japanese. As he was speaking, quotes from a letter he had written her passed on the bottom of the screen in hiragana. It seems he had really led her to believe that they would be together forever and create beautiful, mixed, beer-gut babies.
The guy made an ungraceful exit. The girl stayed strong, smiled, said good-bye and held back her tears until he was out of sight. Then she let them go for all the Japanese viewers to see. There she was crying in the rain in Canada. It was hard for me to watch. They cut back to the studio host and the talento guests. They talked for a while. I assume they were saying something about how going out with gaijins doesn't pay (don't trust whitey) but I couldn't tell for sure. I did get the message loud and clear that they thought the guy was an obnoxious pig though. Then the girl came on the stage and got a big applause from the audience -- for what I'm not sure.
Naked Man Fans: Tune in next time for a brand new installment revealing the fate of the Naked Man vs. Ms. Fuji! (Photos included!) Will he watch the sunrise from her summit? Find-out in the next edition of DUCTS!
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