Thursday, September 15, 2005

Wednesday Night Out in Gifu City

After the Wednesday tutoring sessions, a bunch of us usually go to “Beer Hall”, the local foreigner hang out.

This past Wednesday it was very crowded. Someone was having a birthday. I tend to avoid large crowds, but just talked with a few friends near the doorway.

My arch-nemesis Tom was present as well. It’s unavoidable really. All the foreigners hang out at the same spots, so I’m bound to run into him occasionally. At least he is as intent on avoiding me as I am him.

I went to the front to get a drink, and he went to the other side of the bar. We passed each other as I was walking back. I gave him a nod and a cocky half-smile and said, “Hello Tom,” and he gave me a nervous nod back. I went back to my group of friends smugly feeling that I had won that encounter.

Someone was talking about her Japanese boyfriend. “It was going so well for so long,” she said. “But we’ve begun to enter the weird stage of the relationship. He’s begun to treat me like I’m Japanese.” She went on to describe how he has begun to lead her around by the hand when they go out in public, to beckon her to follow him like a dog, and to expect her to clean his apartment.

“On Saturday we cleaned his apartment,” she said. “It’s what he wanted to do, so that was our date. We cleaned his apartment. He even expected me to clean the bathroom for him.”

“Listen, he doesn’t know any better,” I tried to explain. “That’s how it works in Japan. I’ve dated a couple girls, and they both would come over to my place in the evening, stay the night, and then clean my apartment while I was at work the next day.”

There were some cries of protest from some of the Western women present. “What?” I said defensively. “It’s the culture! It’s not like I said, ‘You must clean my apartment to be my girlfriend’. They just do it naturally.”

Someone else agreed. “I’ve almost had to physically restrain my Japanese girlfriend to keep her from cleaning my apartment,” he said.

“That’s how I use to be,” I said. “But it’s amazing how quickly you break down. At first I would say, ‘Don’t worry about it. I’ll clean it myself’. But then the next week she would say, ‘You still haven’t cleaned it yet. How about if we clean it together.’ And I would say okay. And then pretty soon, I’m just letting her do the whole thing.”

I turned back to the girl who had brought the topic up. “Listen, I think you can still salvage this relationship. But you’re going to have to make it very clear to him that you’re not a Japanese girl, and you won’t do all the things that they would do for him. And if he’s okay with that, then you don’t have any problems.”

She disagreed. “The apartment’s one thing. I can tell him I won’t clean it. But the way he leads me around by the hand in public…that is harder to change. That isn’t even something he thinks about, it is just something he does naturally. I’d have to change his whole mindset to fix that.”

Link of the Day
I don't know how many people caught this, but Jared asked questions about Japanese TV in this comment here.

To answer the questions briefly:
I actually no longer have a TV in Japan, so I may notbe the best person to ask anymore. But...there is one Japanese station that does just run translations of foreign news shows yes. It's not terribly popular,and I think might be cable or satellite only. Lots of bizarre game shows, yes. And, Kendama is the name of the thing with the balls in it. It is a popular Children's toy in Japan.

For further info on Japanese TV: it's a bit easier to show than to describe. Ifilm has some clips archived on their website.

For instance this clip: Japanese Bitch Slap--containing girls slapping each other in the mall. It's sort of ripped out of context, so I'm not sure what to say about it other than this kind of stupid stunt live TV is quite typical of something one sees after midnight on Japanese TV.

This clip: Japanese Tight Ass also is very typical of a Japanese variety show.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Swagman, Swagman, Swagman, good to see you're still chillin' it in Japan. shoot me an email when you get a chance.