May 10, 2005

Sacramento: City of a Beer!

Posted by DaveSmith

It's like a dream. It doesn't feel like I've left, only I'm not late for one of the jobs I had: Programmer and Monkey's Butler (feeding monkeys and hosing monkey shit at UC Davis).

Cursed, like I often have been, Marletta picked me up at the San Francisco airport (SFO). She bought a car from Dawna, an ex-girlfriend of mine (1966 Dodge Dart GT), which smoked and died on the freeway. It took hours to drive 100 miles back from SFO. It's still running (hard to kill a slant six) but barely. That car has been haunting me for years.

I'm in debt and homeless, but years of playing in a punk rock band has taught me only one thing -- find a girlfriend and move in. So I'm staying at Marletta's place and trying to figure out what to do.

I can try to see if Doug in Oregon is still willing to hire me. Or I can live at Marletta's place. Or I could find another apartment. If I move to Oregon, should Marletta come with me? If so, how long before Marletta kills me? It's a confusing world.

I don't want to be a programmer any more, so I've been kicking around the idea of going back to the Monkey Job. Or I might get a job with autistic kids. Or I could sell plasma and recycle cans.

Anyhoo, I'm at Charlene's place now begging for alcohol and using her computer while she's not looking.

Call up Marletta's phone and say "You suck, Dave Smith!" 916/470-5506.
More stuff is coming soon. I'll finally catch up. I know I quit posting just outside of Perth and I'll start from there. Just 6 months late.

Posted by DaveSmith at 01:46 PM | Comments (31)

May 04, 2005

What's up?

Posted by DaveSmith

Chicken butt!

Ah man, that one makes me laugh!! Ha! Ha!! Ha!! Ha!! (please repeat with steroetypical Japenese laugh). Plenty of pictures so make sure you skip this one.

Sweet beer vending machine.

and then a giant fish at Jay and Chikae's wedding. Fish head anyone?

Kee-rist Almighty! Japan.

It might be hard to see in my crappy picture, but Jay calls it "Mount Pussy". It's when you take the ferry into Nagasaki from Kumamoto.

Shit, this is just a picture of me putting out the volcano at Mt. Aso. Sorry, my mistake. I'll look and see if I can find the photo of "Mount Pussy" on my camera. I'm pretty sure it's called that because the crack in the mountain looks like a pussy cat. Not that other thing called pussy (a "coward" in the states).

I could make a guess at who started the hullabaloo on the last part about Japan. I'll guess the names rhyme with Becky-san and possibly Tess-san (who are the most Japanese, non-white monkeys, that I know). Either way, I thought it was funny and my mom said "I don't think these kind of jokes are funny" which made me laugh even more.

I don't know where to start. I landed at Osaka and took a series of trains (US$175 worth) down to Kumamoto on the Kyushu Island where Jay met me. When I flew from Kumamoto to Tokyo a week later it cost almost the same, but Japanese ground crew saluted the plane and bowed. An added bonus was the train didn't crash killing 106.

Jay knocked up his girlfriend Chikae so they were getting hitched in a few days as Chikae is 9 months pregnant. Jay had (has?) cancer and the docs said he wouldn't be able to have kids. Chemo and radiation treatments are where they come as close as they can to killing you, without actually killing you, to poison the cancer. But Jay, being Jay, seems to be alright.

Jay and Chikae run a shop buying and selling Western (mostly American) and Eastern (mostly Japanese and Korean) stuff. By stuff it's mostly clothes, CDs and records. They have a small shop named after their dog Shinju and they sell on eBay in the US and the Yahoo Japan auction. And they teach English.

So The Other Dave & Shinobu came out from Sacramento for the wedding, and a Brit named James. James buys a lot of stuff from Jay, so Jay invited him out. Dave & Shinobu run the same type of business as Jay only Dave owns a comic book store and deals with toys, manga and DVDs. Worlds Best Comics in Sacramento

Manga just means comic books, although a lot of Americans think it means sex comics. Something which the Japanese make fun of Americans about on the news. Which is probably why Dave and I roamed around while Dave bought sex comics for his business.

Copyright laws are different in Japan, so people can make and sell fan art comics (doujinshi) without having to get permission.

It's always a good time when Dave's wife Shinobu points out gay sex comics which sell well in the US: "Hey Dave, here's Sailor Moon having sex with Sailor Uranus". Although when the Japanese characters are meant to be underaged, Dave doesn't buy them. So he flips through gay porn comics weeding out the creepy underaged stuff.

I can't wait for the days of seeing Americans in suits reading comic books with Bart Simpson having sex with Ned Flanders. I should say that Japan has a very low crime rate. I think not having guilt problems with sex has helped. Although, this is also the country where an irate businessman can hire a rapist to rape the wife of his enemy of the moment. You make up your mind.

Which means, we were in Kumamoto for Jay and Chikae's wedding. We all stayed in their mansion.

In Japan they use the word "mansion"instead of "a tiny, tiny, tiny apartment that is the size of a sheet of plywood including the kitchen and bathroom". Only Chikae's family's house is so big it has an unused house attached. Not only rare for Western Nations but crazy rare for Japan.

Chikae's parents run a fish store and her dad coaches baseball but sadly he's not a fan of the Nippon Ham Fighters. Her mom is a good cook though!

We wandered around a lot and I drank about US$200 from vending machines in 6 days. The Other Dave and I had the mythical Pocari Sweat, but also vending machine beers and every crazy can we saw. The"sesame and banana juice shake" was the 2nd worst thing we had. Shinobu had some sort of energy drink that was the absolute worst, only Shinobu is Japanese so she liked it rather than was repulsed by it.

Bionic Drink and Calpis.

Tower Records brand tea.

But it hasn't just been weird drinks, I've been eating lots of weird things:

- burned fish head (from the pregnant fishes Dave & Shinobu had. They ate the tails but not the heads. I haven't had any living fish which Shinobu likes. You choose a fish out of the tank and eat it while it flops around. "Fresh" means "so fresh it lives" here)

- horse meat (actually pretty good and illegal to butcher in California -- "The Official State of Pussies")

- fugu (the deadly poisonous puffer fish made famous by the Simpsons. Prepared by Chikae's mom even though she's not legally licensed to prepare it -- her dad is, but he rarely does)

- chicken face (the part the beak connects to)

- mystery chicken innards - "almost, but not quite, the stomach" Shinobu said

- wasabe ice cream ("wasabe" is "horseradish" in the US or "mustard" or "English mustard" in Australia & New Zealand)

- And "What's up? Chicken butt!" Yes, I ate chicken butt (not the butthole, but the tail end). In Japanese it's known as "???-???-??". Hell, I'm a foreigner, you can't expect me to understand Japanese except speaking in 3 short syllables when I make up a Japanese word. Ah-go-shi! Ju-shin-ko!! Ha! Ha! Ha!!

I also went out with Yuka and Chie but Yuka wouldn't tell me what we were eating. She said it was better if I didn't know. Then Chie outdrank me with Japanese sake. Outdrank by a cute 23-year-old Japanese girl. Bob Brown would be proud. Last night on the tv, they had a show of people eating stuff that even most Japanese wouldn't eat. I didn't think there was anything that Japanese wouldn't eat. (I lied about Chie, her and Yuka drank the Western High School Girl level so I did A-OK and kept up).

Pregnant fish that Dave and Shinobu ate. I only ate the head. I took a fishhead out to see a movie...

I took a fishhead out to see a movie. Fishheads, fishheads eat them up. Yum!

Oh yeah, can't forget the "Sacramento Drink" Dave and I had at Shakey's Pizza. It's tequila and mango juice with a bit of orange and a cherry. There's lots of Shakeys in Japan which started in Sacramento although the Japanese think it's a Japanese idea even though they have a sign in English that says it started in Sacramento.

Dave and I went there and got nachos and a Mexican pizza. The nachos had burned chips and the waitress said something too fast for Dave to understand so he said "hai" which means many things in Japanese ("yes" and "I hear you" are 2 common meanings) because he assumed it was an apology for the chips. It wasn't. She mixed up the nachos with a spoon just like a salad. The Mexican Pizza was like a bit of Taco Bell on pizza crust.

Sacramento Drink.

The traditional Japanese pizza toppings are "corn and mayonaise" or "tuna".

A long way of saying we went to the wedding by bus with Jay and Chikae. I hope you can see how preggers Chikae is. I gave a present of a giant bottle of scotch and I had to speak a bit at the wedding since I'm a legally ordained reverend (not kidding just like 99% of what you think I've made up).

I had to borrow one of the suits Jay was selling and use a bungee cord as a belt because it was way too big for me. This has been the only public speech I've given where I didn't say "Phil the Fuck-Wit Fucked Me Over When He Built My Bike in 2 Weeks and it Poured Oil on the 2nd Day", although I have met Japanese people where I say "Ian Gowanloch" and "Bob Brown" and are given sake. No, not really. But I have mentioned their names in Japan (and have been shown Bob-o Browns picture in recognition in Tokyo). Even on the flight over, people recognized the Ian Gowanloch shirt and heard me bitch again about Phil Hitchcock and his not so good a job.

On the way to the wedding.

Jay wanted me to read a story about a 96 year old man who says he's lived a long life because he gets a boner everyday. I started to read the 2 page story but there were only 6 of us who could understand English so I said in my Official Wedding Dialogue that it didn't matter if I mentioned the 96 year old boner and then talked about saying "boner" in front of a huge crowd that didn't understand the word "boner". As usual, I'm an idiot.

I told Jay and Chikae to put on rings and smooch. Then laughed again about saying "boner". Then Chikae's brother and The Other Dave spoke in Japanese and we finally got to drink. Kampei!

Miki was a cute short (even short for Japan where I'm average size instead of being a midget) Japanese girl that I talked with. Very limited English although she lived in Seattle for a month. She rides a motorcycle. And she called Dave a "dildo" at my request after Dave called me a dildo. She didn't know what dildo meant so it was even funnier when she asked "What's a dildo?" I hope Jay and Chikae teach her that in class.

In Japan I've seen a lot of girls riding motorbikes and scooters. Way more than in the US. Australia. the Hutt River Province, and New Zealand combined (the countries I've been to on this trip).

After the wedding, Jay, Dave and I go out drinking. It'd be hard for Jay to consummate his wedding when his wife is 9 months pregnant. And James doesn't drink so he went home with Chikae. We went to a Kumamoto punk rock bar where we were ignored by the other gaijin.

"Gaijin" is as derogetory as Japanese get for "foreigner". Japanese don't understand the word "fuck" and especially "fuck you" as an insult. You don't see many white folks in Japan. I try to say "hey. how's it going" to the gaijin but 99% of the time they ignore me. Just like Jay said, "The ones that talk are other tourists or newly arrived English teachers". I guess after living here you learn to ignore other white people. Or you don't speak English.

I say howdy to black guys but so far they've all been Nigerians working for hip-hop stores selling American rap. I really want to rewatch "Lost in Translation" when I'm back.

Jay and I get absinthe at the bar which The Other Dave drank most of so I kept ordering more. Absinthe was banned in most countries because of the wormwood which makes heavy absinthe drinkers crazy. Luckily I'm already crazy so it'll just make me sane.

And this was where I learned that Japanese guys grab your dick (chimpo in Japanese) as a way of saying "you're good people" without being gay at all. They also poke you in the butt, I've heard, but like most Japanese things I think "there's no way that can be true" even though it most always is.

"Chimpo" by the way, is a word that Dave Ninja used as the fake Mexican way of saying chimp. You just add an "o" to everything to make it Mexican (Spanish). I've been using "chimpo13" as my computer name being the Unlucky Monkey until it was pointed out by a Japanese girl that it meant "dick" in Japanese. I didn't ask if it meant I had a 13 mm dick (which is a half inch in the danged metric system).

Speaking of ninjas, here we are under attack at the Kumamoto Castle. A Japanese Nationlist came up and said, "Hey don't tell the ignorant gaijin about weapons they won't understand" which embarrased the ninja and then someone poured water on the Japanese Nationilist and he melted hollering "I'm melting!" because he thought he was John Wayne, and we all know that's how Mister Wayne died.

I don't know if you remember any of Jay's crazy posts about Japan, but if you remember them, you'd think Jay belongs in the nuthouse. Only they're true.

BBQ party at Chikae and Jay's place. The whole family, plus guests, are here. I'm the short one.

The Other Dave and Schoolgirl wearing "Loose Socks". Please feel free to cut out my picture and put it onto this and post it up on this site. If you don't, I will.

We made up for the ninja attack at one of the volcanoes. This one is Mt. Aso, which has nothing to do with Mount Pussy. Jay rolls into Dave, and boy where the Japanese impressed!

The "Machurian Incident" which is how Japan explains away the "Rape of Nanking" officially in the rest of the world, is under attack. At Nagasaki (home of the 2nd A-bomb the US dropped in WWII), there are a few Japanse volunteers that explain "well, Japan got a bit nasty in that war". And then they show a few pictures of what Japan did at Nanking.

I'm guessing that most readers of my writings are American, and probably don't know what happened in "The Machurian Incident". Basically, in one sentence, it was so bad that Adolf Hitler had to come in and tell the Japanese that it was scary. And Japan still won't officially say "sorry".

Shot of the bomb site.

I'm sure that when the Average US citizen forgets about what happened at Abu Gharib, and a foreigner in another nation asks about that, it'll be the same American response: "What? What happened? Americans put sticks in boy's butts?" Trust me, as an American you don't think that people know, but people do. And it gets mentioned a lot. And the pictures of American GI's doing this gets everyone Good Thoughts in the world.

Enough about the US doing a Bad Impression of Hitler, Tojo and Reagan (testing go see if you're awake)! Japan is full of signs like this:

Ha, ha, ha!!

Posted by DaveSmith at 04:42 AM | Comments (19)