Monthly Archives: January 2014

We all live in a house on fire

One of Jessy’s students, let’s call him Timbo, apparently told her yesterday that “[he] hates black cops” which was more than just casually alarming because he is a generally polite space-cadetty young boy of the tender age of seven. His friend, in contrast, disagreed, being all like “no, black cops is awesome.” Doing her civic and professional duty, Jessy side-barred the boy’s mother when she came to pick him up. Today your little boy said he hates black cops, she says. Black cops, the mom says. Timbo ya goof ball, she tells him, that game isn’t called black cops, it’s Black Ops. Oh right, Timbo says, rendering a series of potential considerations in Jessy’s tender first-year teacher mind: is it good that his mother is at least aware of the video games he is playing and corrects him on their pronunciations, or is it bad that Timbo is playing Call of Duty: Black Ops, in which you assume the role of men who stab/shoot/slice enemies amid a virtual hailstorm of words including but not limited to fuck? Perhaps it is a little bit of both, perhaps it is a little bit of both.

AMERICA, OK
– Bought an iced tea at the 7-11 yesterday, it was available in Gulp, Big Gulp, Double Gulp, and Super Big Gulp sizes despite the fact that if anyone tried to “gulp” any of these massive drinks their entire esophageal passages would explode immediately, also the iced tea tasted kind of dirty, like I mean it tasted as though there was dirt in it
– I got some pad Thai at a restaurant in a little strip mall over by the Interstate for lunch yesterday and ate it in my car, it was probably the second best that I have had in my life, meaning that the pad Thai ranks for me are as following: #1: dinky store under an old apartment building in the middle of Iowa, #2: random little strip mall store in yuppy eastern suburb of Dallas, Texas, #3: Thailand
– Speaking of food I gave Jessy a meal at a sushi place around here called “Hypnotic Sushi” cause they had like some kind of gift card deal and it looked fun but now that I think about it I sort of wonder if I really want to be hypnotized by raw fish
COMIN’ TO SAVE THE DAY

My pal James, who used to assist me in nuclearly obliterating all competition in a variety of trivia contests, is currently posting offensively excellent pictures of his sweet hostel views on Facebook, the following of which I have reproduced here without his permission.

I kinda decided somewhere along the line during my life in Japan, when a good view could literally be mount Fucking Fuji out my window, that you have enough good views and after a while they are all the same, like the fifth or sixth temple you’ve gone to, or another shrine after you’ve already been surrounded by vibrant little things at Ikuta on New Year. The views that are more interesting are essentially the bad ones, the bad views. I like a bad view every now and then, what’s more entertaining than this room that’s all dressed up to look real nice and you even have a low wattage bulb in the desk lamp next to your hotel bed and then you open up the curtain and it’s a literal brick wall? I have fond memories of a story that my step brother used to regale me with of the time that he and some of his classmates took a trip to New York City as part of the chorus class and they checked into some hotel there or whatever and he said that the most notable thing about it was that instead of some kind of painting or framed art on the wall or something there was a poster advertising the movie Heat, the Pacino/DeNiro thing, and it was actually glued to the wall, covered over with like some kind of glue plaster like that shit you’d buy at the stationary shop so you could paint over puzzles with it to preserve them as framed art or whatever? it was painted over with that shit on the wall so nobody could steal it I guess, so nobody could steal the poster for the movie Heat. I wonder if anyone actually tried to steal it, I guess my stepbrother at least examined the situation, cased the joint, the joint being the poster for the movie Heat.

What I mean to say is I like a bad view. My favorite place to take a piss, or at least one of the most frequent places I would go, was in the side part of the Sannomiya Hankyu station, and I’d go there because it was maybe the only train station restroom that I knew of where I could get to it without having to actually use a ticket to get through the gates? I’d pull a gaijin smash and beep through with my prepaid fare card, go take a piss, then come back through the gates and be all like “I mistake, I mistake” and they’d cancel the fare out so I could go back to the bar or karaoke or whatever immorality I was participating in. Anyway the urinal that I’d always use had this little flip-open window right in front of it, and when I looked out of it it would pull me away from my reality in this sort of different way than I was expecting, because it reminded me that I was actually high up, which is a thing you tend to ignore or forget in Japan. Often times, quite without you realizing it, you are either three stories underground or four or five above it, having gone up a few steps to a station, an escalator or two, something to a platform, a walkway connected to another building, who knows where the fuck you are. I’d stand there with myself in my hand lettin’ er rip and peer out that window and it looked like inside a television or something, a few old slimy black pipes connected to walls that were parts of buildings I had no spatial awareness of, a big old crevasse below it, little bits of old rainwater dripping down onto something or other, and the vague voices of people that probably didn’t realize that their words carried up to this place, wherever this place was, whatever this place did. For a minute there each time I didn’t stop to say “hey look at the view out there, where I am not,” but “hey, look at what that view has done to me, here, where I am, look at how it has made me notice where I am,” and I always found it more memorable than that nice pastoral, that picture on the wall out my window.

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I never travel without my Stetson

The struggle straggles on dear reader–yet bound to the perils and quandaries of adapting to New Life I grit my teeth and like palm trees that stood their ground during Andrew hope that no blades of grass or other tiny projectiles come flyin’ my way. I hold my arms in real tight and try to make myself a small target: awake at six, breakfast made for the two of us somewhere in there, dressed and out the door by seven to drop her off and hit my own job by eight, pick her up at five-thirty, supper ready by six-thirty or seven, maybe we squeeze in a movie before I pass out like a cantankerous old fuckhat at nine and a half tops.

The natives remain a source of intrigue, though I struggle to define them as easily as I did in the strange land of Japan, where everything already has a convenient social perception and stereotype automatically baked into it, stitched on like a mattress tag that you may flirt with the idea of removing but dare not actually ever attempt to rip off because hey you never know when you’re going to need it. I do not, in practice, see anyone wearing cowboy hats or driving massive Olds or Buicks with steer horns on the fronts of them, I have never met anyone named J.R. but lots of people say y’all it is true, in such constructs as “did y’all get y’all’s reports this morning” &c.

Today there was a terrible driver in the car behind me, he was picking at his face while examining it in the flip-down mirror. He didn’t use turn-signals and crossed the solid line to get into the turn lane that I was also going to get into, the impatient little ass crinkle. I was half-singing to a song playing through my radio at the time, I had changed it away from the normal talk program I tend to listen to during my “morning commute,” I really am a fucking American now aren’t I. I fancy the guy behind me is a serious asshole in real life, because it makes me feel better, and speed up to get in front of him. I watch his face in my rear view as I do it and his mouth takes the shape of a heavily-serifed capital letter I, and I just shake my head, this poor cretin, this dumb mother fucker, I wonder what he ate for supper last night, and if he is upset about DirecTV removing the Weather Channel, and if he is the kind of guy who buys bottled tap water.

We watched a movie called “Dallas Buyers Club” last night, the title made me think it was about a salesman but then Jared Leto was winning these awards for cross-dressing or some shit and then the movie starts with a frail Matthew Mc-connahee bangin’ some ho in a rodeo pen and then they are all like, getting drugs and I had no idea what kinda movie it was before I started. As I watched it all I could think was that they sure made a decent movie and I bet it hardly cost a bit of money to make it, it only cost five million dollars, which is basically nothing but a fraction of that would pretty much set me for life. I borrowed Dallas Buyers Club from a friend who I know who lives somewhere who is borrowing it from his friend who does the voting for the Oscars, they send out copies of movies on DVDs so the voters can see them without having to go to the goddamned movie theater and pay twenty dollars like all the other poor fucks to get pissed off by little stupid babies and idiots who don’t know how to just watch a movie. As it turns out I like to see movies in my house too so I borrowed it from that person. I promise I will cast a vote, not that it will count for anything, kind of like a real election!!!

CURIOUS AMERICA, PRETTY WEIRD SHIT
– There are new “Doritos” corn chips on the market here, they are called “DYNAMITA” and they called them that I guess because they look like little sticks of dynamite? they are “rolled” chips which means they look kind of like little tubes, like if you were to roll up a money into a tube to snort coke out of only it is a dorito, boy don’t make that mistake next time you’re snortin’ cocaine, if you grab that dorito hoo lawdy! it will be bad for you i think
– It turns out that dead cat from a couple days ago is actually still there, I just didn’t see it that one morning so that’s kind of a bummer but I always wonder like how many dogs that these wasps from up on Swiss avenue walk by it are all like “hm i’d like-a get me a bite of that dead ol’ cat there” and probably it is not a small number of them who think in that way
– Our heater/cooler or “HVAC” as they like to call it here stopped working on Friday, and the landlord was like oh hey I’ll give your number to the heater people, and they called me on Monday to schedule an appointment to come fix it, and I was like okay so when can you come, and they were like oh we only do service from eight to four-thirty Monday through Friday, and I was like well what if I have a job, which I do, and they were like um, and I asked if they could come on a weekend, and they were like no, and I wonder, how did they ever actually become a business going to people’s houses to repair things that people without jobs could not actually afford to own or operate, and I thought maybe I will start a pizza company that only delivers pizzas between eight and four-thirty, and when people call in to order a pizza I will say “ooh, sorry bro we only deliver pizzas during the time you are at work” so basically we are never fixing our HVAC sorry landlord
– I wonder which random chain-restaurant I will be forced to go to for lunch today because there are no normal restaurants
I’M SO TIRED OF YOU AMERICA

If I keep doing this and get used to it again I promise I’ll get better at it and I will be able to bitch about everything but still be entertaining to myself and maybe you. For now though it is just bitch bitch bitch. Maybe I will get some of those animal horns to put on the front of my car.

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I’m really not what you’d call into your basic kink

I’ve been makin’ mashed cauliflower lately for supper, for some reason. I boil up a chopped head of fresh cauliflower in a cup or two of water till it’s all soft and then mush it with some cream cheese and butter and parmesan and whatnot and it is super taste because it stays really hot, hotter than mashed potatoes probably even. So last night we are sitting at the table eating it up and this lady comes to the door, Jessy goes to get it and I jaw at my roommate for a little while and drink my beer waitin’ for her to come back, but she doesn’t for a while so I decide to go check it out. The lady at the door is some kinda crazy cat lady, she asks if we have a black cat which we do, but Kiki is right there next to us, and she says well she’s asking cause there is a dead black cat out in the road off in front of our house. In my mind I am all like “yo why is this my problem lady” and then she gets to the meat of the issue: she lives next door, and she knows the cat is there in the road, and she can see the cat, and she doesn’t want to see the cat anymore, and she wants to know if I will “remove” the cat.

There has been for a few months this black cat that has on occasion freaked us out by looking exactly identical to Kiki who walks around our house and out in front of it, my roommate once saw him and thought oh shit, Kiki got out, but then he came inside and there was Kiki right there, no big whoop. He would only come around in the afternoon or as we were gettin’ home and we haven’t seen him in a while so I guess this is that one, doppleKiki, bizarro-Kiki for all yinz Superman guys.

I grew up on a farm and all, I have been surrounded by dead cats, buried in piles of cats!! But what does she mean remove I ask her, do I like, do I pick it up and put it in a Trader Joe’s bag and give it a nice organic trip into the plastic dumpster or. She says well yes you could throw it away but then like, what if it belongs to someone, and they go looking for the cat, and they can’t find it and look for it forever thinking it’s alive but it is dead, so maybe we should leave it so they can stumble upon its fresh corpse and get the grieving out of the way. Whatever lady, she decides I should move it from “sort of the side of the road” to “the actual side of the road” up against the curb. I put double layered plastic Target bags on my hands and I am still wearing my flannel “room wear” which is what they call it in Japanese I have no idea what kind of shit this is called in American.

I walk out there and wait for there to be no cars seein’ me dinking around with a dead animal in the middle of the road and all, and then I wonder ya know, I guess this thing is kinda fresh, but like did it get hit by a car or something cause I ain’t really want all this guts and all on me. I slide my hands under it, only vaguely considering how I will one day scoop up my own black cat’s finished body, and can only notice how soft and warm it still is, so soft that I wonder if maybe like its goop is all splattered out under it, but as i kinda slide him over to the curb he ain’t leaving a trail or anything so I just kinda go with it. I hold him at length like I used to hold Jessy’s little brother all “oh he he yes this is a nice thing to hold this oh yes” and set him down gently against the edge then go back in and wash my hands and finish my beer and look at my own goofball cat who has no idea I was just shuffling around a corpse of something just like him!! BUT

But then today me and Jessy leave the house for work and just as we are about to go out the door I am tellin’ her hey, I wonder if that dead cat is still there by the side of the road, and we step out a few steps onto the lawn to peek around our car and look, and there sure ain’t no dead cat there. And I say hey, the cat is gone, and I look over to my left to see her reaction, and right there on the goddamned lawn is a black cat, having somehow emerged from somewhere, lookin’ right up at us, and we say hey cat, and the cat walks over into the bushes. WHAT THE FUCK so in conclusion, the cat reanimated and is still alive.

curious america
– I went to this Thai restaurant for lunch the other day, I had to wait to be seated, wait for the menu, wait for the dude to come take my order, wait for the order, wait for the dude to come back to ask me “if I am done” after my food was all gone, wait for the check to be brought, wait for him to pick it up, and wait for him to bring me back my goddamned change. This is far inferior to Japan, where I sit down of my own volition, peruse the menu which is ALREADY ON THE TABLE, push the button, order with a person who comes to me, then brings me my food and a receipt that I take up to the register whenever I am ready to go. Get your shit together america not everyone has an entire fucking hour for lunch to waste like me
– I snagged one of the “natural organic rolled oats” “healthy” granola bars from the break room, it has like 23 grams of sugar in it oh such health so natural

– Almost everyone in the office is gone because of the flu or something, they came in today and sprayed my entire workstation down with actual Lysol spray, it made everything sticky and now my head hurts mission accomplished
– Have you heard of these “Butter Finger” candy bars, I haven’t had one in like a million years but I bought some the other day, I don’t think I have ever opened a Butterfinger that wasn’t cracked in half or thirds and they crumble all over hell good lawd
that’ll do

There was a crazy traffic jam today, I was over a half-hour late for work, at least it wasn’t traffic jelly AHAHAHAH uhhhghhhh

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A faded word on an old bumper sticker

If I really add them all up, I suppose I am now on my 14th paying actual job, which means that I have gone through the processes of getting to know my coworkers, finding break rooms, learning about the surrounding eateries, crunching out the commute routes, and mentally calculating the maximum possible amount of weeks/months/years I could theoretically do This Job Without Going Crazy more times than I could count on both hands and a three fingered foot.

Before Christmas I worked in “the greeting cards sector” and now I am technically working for a publishing company. What I do is basically email people, we use the AP style so I have to say email instead of e-mail now which I mean, come on, but whereas Japan saw me be a foreigner for money, I am now a professional organizer, I get information from one party, pick two parties to do a job for a fourth party, and then get it put all together to the satisfaction of all parties before passing it to the fifth party to print in the magazine to be read by an amount of other parties. I keep them all straight, I use GMail, my job is mails. I neither write nor photograph nor sell nor print, I just make sure everyone else does that stuff, and then I take all that stuff, and I give it to someone else. Also i look at google maps

Jessy and I drove 3,700 miles during a couple weeks over Christmas to go see everyone, man that was a lot of driving.

CURIOUS AMERICA THINGS OF THE NOW
– I used to think Japan had lots of flavors of stuff, let me tell you that America has the flavors, and so well-stocked, there are like eight flavors of Wheat Thins now, I was okay when it was “wheat” as the flavor
– Taco Bell constantly releases new products but most of them are just a burrito with the tortilla in a different shape
– It takes me half as long to go 25 miles to my new job as it did to go 5 from my apartment to work in Kobe
– The beer in this country sure is top notch
– Virtually every Chinese, Thai, Japanese, or Korean restaurant here serves things from every other country, they are all the same, they all have some name that includes “palace” or “paradise” or “royal” or “sushi” it does not matter nothing matters
– Everything is cheap
END OF THINGS

My grandma in her house has a folder which contains every single entry from this very online repository, the sum totality of Nom A Day, all that has ever been written. Apparently my aunt, while I was living in Japan, took to printing off a month or two of them on paper at a time and bringing them to my grandmother for her to read since she does not have a computer or cellular telephone or any of that “computer stuff” but she does have cordless phones though. She showed it to me when we went back to visit her. It is a fat manilla folder, tied together with string like some sort of historical archive, which I guess it now is, if Historical Archive is a title allowed to be assigned to a collection of musings about how Christel Takigawa is my future wife and talking about dog poop. She noted that I had mentioned her in the Nom A Day only a single time, I have now made it two.

She calls them my “print outs” and seemed concerned that because she had them I might somehow no longer have them, I explained to her that I am in possession of the “originals” though really I am not sure what an original even is since all this shit is just on the WordPress thing here. Last year I downloaded the whole thing outta curiosity to see how much writing it actually was when I used to put out a couple thousand words a week on it and was surprised to discover the total was 135,000 words, roughly three times longer than Fahrenheit 451 or a quarter of the size of War and Peace. All of that about Tomomi Itano wearing assless chaps while driving a golf cart in the winter.

It is either depressing or uplifting that I ran outta Nom steam as I got closer to America, maybe I just need to look harder at this weird old country to find everything that’s as fucked up about it as the entirety of my daily life in the land of the rising sun.

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