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I have something that I need to tell you.
It's something that I'm embarrassed of. Recently
I have come to the realization that I could
possibly be... an... anti-Americanite.
Yes, it's true. I'm sorry.
I have this compulsion to tease my American
friends about their Americanism. I make sweeping
generalizations about Americans and American
culture all the time without a second thought.
I even say things like 'some of my best friends
are Americans'. They all take it so well,
so graciously. I know it's rude, but I can't
seem to help it. I have a problem.
Whenever I see my American friend Denise,
I run for cover screaming 'In coming!' in
allusion to the friendly-fire deaths of Canadians
Last night I was out with Nadine of tokyoshoes.com fame and had the gall to tell her that stupid
old American beer joke: Why is American beer
like making love in a canoe? It's fucking
close to water. Can you believe I said that!?!
Have you noticed that it's socially acceptable
to make sweeping generalizations about Americans?
You never hear anyone (in polite company)
talking that way about any other group of
people because it would be so blatantly racist.
I mean, people don't just go around saying
things like, 'Germans are all so fat', or
'Britons are just so war hungry', but people
say things like that about Americans all
the time on mailing lists and bulletin boards
and other public forums and nobody even takes
It could be that the American penchant for
debate and self-criticism (from a social,
not individual, perspective) has encouraged
other people to be openly critical. Americans
have a reputation for being chest-thumping
nationalists, but my impression from reading
the not-so-popular press is that the American
public is much more self-deprecating and
self-critical than they are given credit
for. They talk more shit about themselves
then any other country that I can think of.
What this all reminds me of, and I'm sure
that there must be a connection here so please
forgive the digression, is the 'White-man
The White-man joke phenomenon is that it's
socially acceptable for anyone at all to
make jokes about White people. Usually, it's
only okay for people within a certain ethnic
or religious group to make fun of themselves
but not of others. Hence, you have people
like Mel Brookes and Woody Allen making careers
out of telling Jewish jokes. John Cleese
of Monty Python never stops poking fun at
the British and Protestants. However, no
matter who you are, it's always open season
on White people, maybe not everywhere, but
it's certainly that way in North America.
I'll give you an example. One of the funniest
comedy skits ever, a truly brilliant piece
of work, was Eddie Murphy's classic 'Mr.
White' skit way back when on Saturday Night
Live. It's a long and involved sketch. Eddie
is going to do this big social experiment
by disguising himself as a White man. He
has a team of professional Hollywood make-up
artists change his skin colour. As he's in
the chair getting the make-up applied, he
and his assistant are studying old episodes
of Dynasty to learn how to mimic White body
language: "Ya, ya, you see that there?
They walk like they got a pickle up their
Eddie eventually goes out into the world
and discovers the secret life of White people.
Whenever the last Black person leaves a room,
or gets off a bus, a party suddenly starts
and everything is free. We learn that, when
alone, White people don't charge each other
anything at the store. They give each other
piles of money from the bank. They have drinks
and hosted parties on public transportation.
You can guess the rest, it was all pretty
Can you imagine, however, how people
react if White comedians put on black-face
and started to mimic and mock Black
Your guess is as good as mine what the relationship
is between anti-Americanites and the White-man
joke phenomenon. I've just pointed out some
Anyway, socially acceptable or not, being
an anti-Americanite is a poor attitude to
have. Even if American people aren't particularly
offended, it's still a mental crutch and
is inherently crass. I'm trying to get better.
Please bear with me.
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Today I found a Japanese language school
that I really like: The Japanese Language Institute. It's a non-profit, government sponsored
school that's rundown and dingy, just like
a real Tokyo high school.
The teachers are old-lady pros, the best
kind, been doing it for years, and the classes
have about 10 people in them, mostly of Asian
and Eastern European background. It seems
They're very strict. You can flunk out if
you're lazy (unlike most business oriented
schools). English is forbidden in the classroom.
Actually, if you use an English word you
have to put 100 yen into a special 'punishment
I have to be there tomorrow at 9:00
in on a day's worth of classes to see
I like it.
I'll try to take some pictures and
know how it goes.
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We got a pretty strange and sad random email
today and I thought I'd share it with you.
This person found our email address in a
local classifieds paper, the Metropolis, that Karen sometimes uses to sell things.
nice to meet you, i am japanese,i look metroporice,please be friend, i wanna talk ,if you be my friend, i am 18 year old girl,when i was high school student ,i was terible mentalillness,and depression,but i cannot notice what happen with me,i am suffer from something,but i cannot know origin,
and i wanna be die.always, i continue like the bitter life 2years,and i always cryed every night , then i met ikegami,she is sokagakkai, sokagakkai is buddhism from japan,there is about180country,they pray in front of idol to say namumyouhourenngekyou,and ikegami was very kind and she tryed to listen my feeling very seriously,although i was 15year old, she said you can solution, if you chant namumyouhourengekyou in front of soka idol,so i started to chant,she can believed,
after the 2 weeks ago , i vomited everything i ate for 8 hours,
i do not figure out to happen to me,but i continue to chant namumyouhourengekyou everyday,
after the 6 month ago ,i fell down ,while i am in highschool,and i became not to walk eventually.
so then i notice origin is almost mental,
so i was in hospital of mental,and i always fight my mommy close violence,and bullyed so so much in highschool,
but i continue to chant ,and i become to walk, but i got worth and worth my depression,so i wanna die especially terrible,i tryed to suicide,and cut my hand, neary die actually,
but i continue to chant so much,
i started to chant after the 10 month, all of the sudden,i got over illness,and i do not wanna die at all, i wondered,and everything become fine,tongue can feel taste,there is no fight in my house,my body came back helthy,and my cellular phone memory become 200 now,when i was highshool,i have no friend,you know, and i wanna be a singer, i played , i met hollywood producer,i got many chances
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Did you know that in Japan there are special
postage stamps for New Year's cards which
are used only when there has been a death
in your family? Guess who's been using these
death stamps for all of their regular mail.
I guess now I know why nobody ever writes
They're called bu shugi no kitte. They're silver, blue and yellow; they cost
50 yen; and they should NOT be used for job