Japan


Here we go again / May 20, 2005


A few hours ago I was sitting in an izakaya in Shinjuku with a bunch of guys from insertcredit and the token Japanese hangers-on.


Or maybe we were the token gaijin hangers-on, I am not sure which is right.


Anyway.


Five minutes after we sit down and order drinks (the party was already in progress when me and the IC crew got there) one of the girls leaves her seat at the other end of the table and moves next to me.


Shoot. Here we go again, I think to myself.


"So what do you do in Japan?" she asks.


I deliver my reply without a moment's hesitation. I've been through this a thousand times.


"I play games."


Everyone bursts out laughing. The IC guys are looking on with a mixture of bewilderment, amusement and, maybe, slight disapproval. Hell. They know better than to admit they ended up in Japan because of their gaming habit. Officially they are here toÖ take in the culture or some shit. Travel. Meet people. New experiences. Whatever.


The girl smiles a somewhat embarrassed smile. I take it she is embarrassed for my sake. In all fairness she is responding better to it than most Japanese girls.


The dude sitting next to her, however, is having none of that.


He is a typical Japanese cool guy whose mission in life is to... act cool. I know his kind very well. Or hell, that's how I am reading him at least. It's not easy to form an opinion of someone within 5 minutes of meeting them.


"Do you know what MANIA is?" he asks me in a loud voice, like so loud I am sure they could hear him in the next room.


I guess it was my brash and outspoken attitude that set this guy off. I mean I was practically asking for it and I knew it. In Japan, if you mention games, manga or anime in a conversation with strangers you better make sure you stuff some socks down your pants and have a cute girl around your arm. Or two, preferably.


I had neither.


As a matter of fact all night long I was carrying around a boxed US PlayStation 2 Israel had brought for me from the States. The man had just given me the damn thing, what was I supposed to do, go all the way home just to drop it off and come back? So yeah, my appearance screamed gamer and I couldn't care less.


Still, I am not the kind of guy to sit down and take shit from anyone, let alone strangers who decide to make fun of me because of my hobbies and passions.


"Do you know who Mamoru Oshii is motherFUCKER?" I snapped back. "Or Andy and Larry Wachowski, or Quentin Tarantino, Stan Lee, Sid Meier, George Lucas even!


What's wrong with people having hobbies anyway? Or being obsessed with them. What's wrong with people having passions?


Yes, passions motherfucker. Something that boring-ass cool dudes like you who spend half of their adult life in smoky bars or two-bit clubs chasing after every uglyass pussy that so much as gives them a second look know nothing about.


What do I care if someone loves music so much that they spend all their money buying records and CDs, what do I care if someone is obsessed with basketball, skateboarding, 19th century literature, poetry, fucking stamp collecting or ghey pr0n.


If they enjoy doing what they are doing, then let them do it I say. I am not going to look down on people for having fun.


No, I have no problem with people being passionate about what they like doing.


The kind of people I don't like are half-baked, dumbass dudes like you who go through life with no passion, working dead-end 9 to 5s, going through the motions, having the obligatorily boring social life, laughing at stupid jokes because it is "polite", saying stupid jokes because they are, well, stupid.


People like you bore me to death."


Well. I didn't really say that. I think I smiled, mumbled something under my breath and finished off my beer.


Donít misunderstand me.


It's not that I didn't want to say all that - I wanted to. Under different circumstances, I would have. It's just that everyone (including myself) was having a good time drinking and laughing and so I decided not to bring the festivities to an abrupt end by venting all my pent up anger on this one clueless dude.


It's a war you can't win anyway - there's so many of them. And in any case I am sure he wasn't an asshole.


He was just too dumb to know any better.


here_we_go_1
Shinjuku

here_we_go_2
Israel's holding the camera. I am holding the PS2. nickcan and rud13 are looking on

here_we_go_3
Good times

here_we_go_4
Guess what. I am not in there