Gaijin Smash

Homeward Bound

Posted in Blog by gaijinsmashnet on April 14, 2006

I went home for the Spring Vacation in March. This was a necessary thing – anyone living in Japan for any length of time needs to get out of the country every now and then. It’s like hitting a giant reset button. Novocain for the soul, as it were.
But you know what, I forgot just how frustrating our airport security has become.
I’m shocked there’s still tourism in America. All the security checks and endless forms and fingerprinting and what not and God help you if you don’t speak English. I didn’t even want to go through that shit, and this is my home. You know what, here’s a giant FUCK YOU to all the terrorists of the world who’ve made this shit so frustrating. FUCK YOU with a rusted coat hanger. I’d kick every last one of you in the balls if I could. Why can’t you terrorize something else, like the muni bus or golf carts or something? And a very special FUCK YOU to the asshole who tried to blow up a plane with a shoe bomb, so now in addition to taking off my coat, watch, belt, pants, and spleen at security, now I gotta take off my shoes too. It’s ridiculous.
I flew from Kansai International Airport in Osaka to Los Angeles, then to San Francisco. After arriving in Los Angeles after going though the lengthy process in customs, I had to get my checked baggage, then take it BACK to security to have it checked in again. Then I had to go through security yet again. It’s crazy. I remember when I took my vacation in Singapore, the security process went a little something like.
Agent: So, are you a terrorist?
Me: Hmm, probably not. I wasn’t one yesterday.
Agent: Okay, cool. You can pass.
If I was ever on a plane that got hijacked, I think more than anything I’d be amazed that the terrorist managed to sneak something deadlier than a spork through security (have they started stopping people for sporks yet? You know it’s coming). They stop you for anything too. I once got stopped because I had one of those Tot 50 Mini Staplers in my backpack. Yes, a mini stapler. It was hot pink to boot (c’mon, gimme a break, I bought it in the mid-90’s, hot pink was in, and acceptable). Seriously, what am I going to do with a hot pink mini stapler? If I was captain on a plane and some dude was trying to hijack with a hot pink mini stapler, I think I’d just give him the plane out of respect for the sheer balls it would take to even attempt it. “What is that? Is that … a mini stapler? Is that pink? Alright, you know what dude, you can just have it, you got some cajones man.”

All the nonsense is bad enough, but it didn’t help that many of the workers at LAX had an attitude. They clearly didn’t want to be there, and made sure to remind you of that every 15.2 seconds. The thing about Japan is, the service here is good, really good. You can go into a random convenience store and ask for directions for a place the clerk has never heard of in his or her life, and instead of saying “Sorry, can’t help you” they’ll be busting out maps and GPS locators and shit. Maybe even sending out field scouts and repositioning satellites. This doesn’t happen in LA, nuh-uh sucker. I was stuck in a long line, and my connecting flight was less than an hour from departure. I tried to get help, but
Me: Um, excuse me? My connecting flight leaves pretty soon and
Worker: That line! You stand there! *walks off*
Me: Oh no tell me you didn’t just walk off while I was in mid-sentence.
Worker: *can’t hear me because she’s now 50 feet away telling someone else to stand in this accursed line*
It wasn’t all bad though. The flight over was actually really, really kick ass. When I checked in and the gate agent asked me about seat preference, I gave my usual “Well, I have really long legs, so anything you could give me with a little extra leg room would be greatly appreciated.” The agent, who was Japanese, looked up and me and decided I was simply the largest human she’d ever seen, and she was going to have to help me.
Her: Well, if it’s alright with you sir, I can sit you in Executive Class.
Me: No woman, sit me in steerage with the rest of the cattle. OHMYGODDOIT!
And yes, Executive Class was freaking sweet. My favorite part though was boarding. You know when it gets close to boarding time and you see the gate staff congregating near the gates, people have a tendency to get up and line up even though the boarding announcement hasn’t been made yet. And what’s up with that, anyway? What’s the rush? We’re going to be stuck on that bird for 10 hours or more and you’re rushing to get on? You can have that one. Anyway, people were doing that when the pre-boarding announcement came up for disabled passengers, first class, and business/executive. I just kind of stupidly sat there (because it usually never applies to me), but then right at the last minute, like the precise moment that they were going to open up boarding for economy, I realized that hey, Executive Class applies to me! The gate staff completely stopped everyone who was just about to pass through the gates so that I could get in on the Executive Boarding. I was sitting near the back of the terminal too, and you better believe I took my sweet time in walking straight past everyone who’d already lined up so I could board the plane before this. What this was, essentially, was the biggest Gaijin Smash I have ever performed in Japan.
And damn, it felt good.


35 Responses

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  1. KC said, on January 22, 2007 at 1:01 am

    Being 6′ 5″ I somehow wish that I could get an automatic upgrade in the states too. As it is, Amtrak (minus the scary drunk guy that probably had a gun) works for me people.

  2. x said, on January 22, 2007 at 1:08 am

    They probly thought you were a supu-famous basketball player.

  3. Mitch said, on January 22, 2007 at 1:15 am

    Hey Dude,
    I only just found your blog and your outpostnine site I haven’t been able to stop reading it I really love your stories about the Koncho stuff thats hilarious keep up the good work man.

  4. TimmyNormous said, on January 22, 2007 at 2:48 am

    This has always been one of my favourite pieces that you have written. I’ve been looking forward to this one being posted. Largest gaijin smash possible….

  5. GeeQnastie said, on January 22, 2007 at 3:35 am

    Now that you’re back in the states…
    Before I get to that, Hi! lol. A friend in Texas led this lil ol Hawaii boy to your site. Pretty entertaining, if not a little scary. Remind me to stay away from middle schools when I go to Japan. The Texan, Nic, and I are planning on hitting up JP in ’08, if we dont win a trip to Tokyo this upcoming September. It’ll be my first trip out of the states, ever, and I want to make the best of it. He wants to see Hot Springs… I wanna get a job working for the Yakuza… ok not really. But I want to see the country, not just get stuck in the city for the whole trip. My sister went to Narita/Osaka a couple years back and she said it was too touristy. Like being in Waikiki for a week (dunno if you’ve ever been to Hawaii… but thats not as fun as it sounds). Anyway. Excuse the rambling, this is why I dont blog.
    So as for the question. I will obviously want to take some pictures, maybe video on my trip. And well, a camera is a camera no matter where you are, RIGHT? So I was wondering if I should buy my camera here before the trip… or if it would end up being cheaper in Japan. Yea I know Japan is supposed to be more expensive on the whole… bur were talking electronics here. Sony, no less.
    Anyway, if you can clue me in it would be greatly appreciated. Welcome back to the land of the “free” and the home of the overweight. Enjoy your trip home.

  6. Beavis said, on January 22, 2007 at 7:49 am

    You Gaijin Smashed an entire airplane? Another win for America!
    There needs to be a “Gaijin Smash” anime, complete with catchy Jpop theme song. You could fight crime, and teach the world’s best language, with your powers of Gaijin, or your desperation attack “Ten Thousand Years of Pain.” And nobody could resist your Ultra Gaijin powers, save for those demonic old Japanese grannies. Damn, that would be a great show!

  7. zeph said, on January 22, 2007 at 8:53 am

    “Airline security” has a lot less to do with terrorists than with raving loony bureaucrats. It really is a wonder that anyone will fly, any more.

  8. MrMickS said, on January 22, 2007 at 8:58 am

    Ha ha. You think that all of this security is to stop terrorists? Ha ha ha.
    Sorry… that’s my European sense of humour (damn, I think that spelling has given away my country of origin).
    The security isn’t to make the US any safer from terrorists. Its to reinforce in the US psyche that there are terrorists out there, that there is a clear and present danger, that you aren’t safe even at home. This then distracts away from anything unpalatable that the administration is up to.
    We do it over here in Europe too. Remember the terrorist scare at London, Heathrow last year. That was all to try and remind people of the threat and vote for compulsory ID cards with fingerprint, retina scans and stuff. It didn’t happen but HMG (Her Majesty’s Government) weren’t impressed that people weren’t taking their threat seriously enough. So far no one has appeared in court almost six months later. Odd that.

  9. Yitzy said, on January 22, 2007 at 10:07 am

    Ah… I remember the initial culture shock of coming back to America from Japan, standing in the airport, and reremembering that people aren’t so nice.
    Of course, I also had the misfortune of landing in Detroit.

  10. Anonymous said, on January 22, 2007 at 2:06 pm

    haha damn funny
    i think its even more funny cuz ur not even that tall to me. (granted im 6’1 or 6’2. But im used to 6’8″ ppl around me..)

  11. Anonymous said, on January 22, 2007 at 2:06 pm

    haha damn funny
    i think its even more funny cuz ur not even that tall to me. (granted im 6’1 or 6’2. But im used to 6’8″ ppl around me..)

  12. jitbag said, on January 22, 2007 at 2:46 pm

    yes indeed, another win for america! lol
    ive read countless articles, but somehow missed the main one on japanophilia…
    ok. i’ll admit. it was 90% accurate with me, except, i haven’t any need to wait until i move to japan to have it fade, it is starting!!!
    ooh dont get me wrong, im still going. yes indeed.

  13. Driver Driverson said, on January 22, 2007 at 3:50 pm

    Preach it Mick, I’ve been saying for a while theres no bigger terrorist organization than the Republican Party.

  14. Mr. Bomberman said, on January 22, 2007 at 3:52 pm

    Same thing as when I came back to NYC from Geneva. None of you had it as bad as me. It also felt sooooo boring ’cause Switzerland was one fun-ass place, getting laid everywhere and shit…, and let’s not forget the mean-ass security.
    Same thing about the store clerks, If the clerk only spoke German, he/she’d be outside looking for a person who would translate for us., Instead of standing there like a retard.
    …Az, I feel your pain.

  15. chaosrainz said, on January 22, 2007 at 4:47 pm

    On behalf of Americans, I bow to you Gaijin sensei! 🙂

  16. paully said, on January 22, 2007 at 6:30 pm

    I feel your pain, bruvvuh. I flew into Chicago from Narita a couple years ago and was shocked when a hispanic luggage woman started shrieking at all us passengers.
    “JU STAND OVUH HERE, OKKEI? HELLOOOO, AM I SPEAGING ENGLISH?!?!” at the top of her lungs.
    While the customer service over here in Japan is good, though, one thing I miss a lot is small talk. It’s non-existent here in Tokyostan. You chat up a tenin, male or female, and they act like you just exposed yourself.
    I guess it’s better than getting screamed at by Flora after flying 14 hours tho..
    ps: I love how people wanna turn gaijinsmash into a political forum. Jesus folks, take it somewhere else. No one gives a shit about your conspiracy theories.

  17. Chase said, on January 22, 2007 at 7:00 pm

    I think customs and immigration people probably just hate everyone who travels, mostly because all they can do is sit there and imagine how interesting everyone else’s lives are. On my own way home from Japan the first time I transferred in Vancouver, Canada, and it was 9 am, nice warm weather, sunny, and the customs agent was still angry at my existence.
    Least I didn’t have to remove a spleen though.

  18. Justanothermom said, on January 22, 2007 at 8:49 pm

    Yeah, it’s really bad now, but it wasn’t much easier ten and 15 years ago, when I had to fly my son up to San Francisco from LAX for family visits. Most of the time I couldn’t go with him, so I had to send him up as an “unaccompanied minor.” Once, the woman handling seat assignment and carryons told us she would call us up when it was time for the minors to be boarded, in about an hour. My husband and I, along with our son kept our mouths closed and ears open for much of that time, especially as it got closer to the end of the hour. We noticed that people were slowly gathering as you described, but kept our seats, then saw the woman just open the door to the gate and start taking on passengers. I went up to object and insist they board my kid, and the “lady” insisted she had announced for u.m.’s and since I didn’t respond on time, he would have to wait. We debated for a moment or two, but of course she won (no more is the customer always right). I turned to walk away, and another passenger mouthed “No, she didn’t call!” and shook her head from side to side. It was nice to know we weren’t going crazy.
    That’s how I found out why it’s important to mill around near the gate at LAX, if you’re an early board passenger. Never had that kind of problem in any other airport.

  19. Neil said, on January 22, 2007 at 11:18 pm

    I made so many copy-pastes on AIM from this one.

  20. Theo said, on January 23, 2007 at 12:08 pm

    on a trip from Narita, I was also upgraded simply for being a Gajin, spent the whole trip back with more leg room than any one else on the plane opposite one of the Air hostesses Seats, and yes, she was hot. ^_^

  21. Excel-2007 said, on January 23, 2007 at 2:03 pm

    So you weren’t charged extra or anything like that?

  22. Jenna said, on January 23, 2007 at 2:52 pm

    I think your life would probably be a good, highschool anime. You’d have the comedy, romance (the kids, not you), and epic battles against kancho attempts. I’d netflix it.

  23. ocassional reader said, on January 23, 2007 at 7:02 pm

    when everyone is out to help others everyone wins, japan sounds great in that regard, why can’t americans get past this greedy gimmie whats mine mentality, makes almost experience outside the home hostile and unpleasant at times

  24. Maggie said, on January 24, 2007 at 12:05 am

    Completely unrelated, but you know the student who sued to teleport around shouting BREASTS at people. I was reminded of her by this: – “They’re all over, hiding, waiting for you to let down your guard just for a second. Then they will appear as if out of nowhere: breasts!”
    I’m not sure if this indicates a worldwide breast conspiracy or if your stories are just insiduous.

  25. Anonymous said, on January 25, 2007 at 2:34 am

    While I agree service in stateside airports is ludicrous these days, I actually had an easy time of it on the way back to Japan… Trudged up to the line for the x-ray machine, then a man walked up and led the back of the line to a completely different checkpoint where I ended up in the front of the line…

  26. Anonymous said, on January 25, 2007 at 2:34 am

    While I agree service in stateside airports is ludicrous these days, I actually had an easy time of it on the way back to Japan… Trudged up to the line for the x-ray machine, then a man walked up and led the back of the line to a completely different checkpoint where I ended up in the front of the line…

  27. V said, on January 26, 2007 at 5:06 pm

    Shit man, you’ve been stopped by security for a Tot 50 mini stapler too? I was pretty sure I was the only person to have ever had one in an airport and get stopped for it. I used to just always keep it in my backpack for school purposes, but after getting stopped two times with it in the airport, I finally started taking it out before I fly. Fortunately, both times they let me keep it. Mine was even a far more threatening green too.

  28. evil_tennyo said, on January 26, 2007 at 8:02 pm

    A life with polite people…. ahhh only a dream…

  29. Lena said, on January 28, 2007 at 12:46 pm

    Aw man, MUNI’s already fucked up enough..if the terrorists ever start attacking SF public transit, the whole world will probably blow up.

  30. Anonymous said, on January 30, 2007 at 10:01 am

    that’s actually the fist photo i have seen of you. i pictured you leaner and will longer hear and a longer neck

  31. Anonymous said, on January 30, 2007 at 10:01 am

    that’s actually the fist photo i have seen of you. i pictured you leaner and will longer hear and a longer neck

  32. Archren said, on May 12, 2007 at 9:35 am

    (FYI.. for some reason the Sign In to TypeKey link didn’t work.)
    I know your pain. Living in Germany for two years and making at least 6 trips back and forth to the US was exciting, to say the least. The worst experience I had was flying to Virginia from Frankfurt. It’s like Frankfurt took a cue from the US security practices, and multiplied the pain in the ass factor tenfold. I went through security THREE TIMES.. once to get into the terminal, once to get to the concourse, and once to get to the gate. Every time, pat down, wand waving, in addition to the usual x-ray machine, metal detectors, and cavity searches. All this while I was 7 months pregnant. It’s a shock my kid didn’t come out with six eyes after that ordeal.

  33. Anonymous said, on June 26, 2007 at 9:34 pm

    I’m over 7’…..I never get executive class. I should move to Japan so I can treated like some Mighty Gaijin god of War…

  34. Anonymous said, on June 26, 2007 at 9:34 pm

    I’m over 7’…..I never get executive class. I should move to Japan so I can treated like some Mighty Gaijin god of War…

  35. Anonymous said, on November 9, 2009 at 9:56 am

    I agree, Gaijinsmash anime/movie/whatever would rule XD

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