Gaijin Smash Original Content
It’s something that every foreigner in Japan has to do at one point. Whether you’re here for a one week vacation, a few month study abroad program, or a few years of work, you will resort to it eventually. You swear you won’t, but you know that it’s an empty promise, much like when Mom swears to you she’ll buy you that pony for Christmas but she never does.
I’m speaking, of course, about a trip to a Japanese McDonalds.
The one thing both Americans and Japanese people ask me about is the size. Japanese McDonalds is much smaller, right? When it comes to the burgers, actually no, I don’t think so. A Japanese Big Mac and American Big Mac are about the same. The fries and drinks on the other hand, are an entirely different story. Japanese large is what we’d call medium in America. Which means that Japanese medium is American small, and Japanese small is somewhere in between kids size, and the size you’d use if, somehow, an unborn infant where to walk into a McDonalds and ask for a Coca Cola.
Quite the opposite, I am enjoying myself here, and I LOVE my job. My co-workers are all really nice, my students are adorable (minus the bastards), and I’ve made some awesome friends here.
Granted, Japan’s not a place I’d want to spend the rest of my life. As the old saying goes, nice place to visit, but I wouldn’t want to live here. But I’m glad I came and making the most of my time here.
Of course it isn’t. Japan has something my friends and I call “Export Culture” – they only show you EXACTLY what they want you to see. There’s a lot about this country that a person just won’t know and understand unless they live here for awhile. I was a Japanese minor in college, and came here before on a study abroad trip, and I’m still being surprised by things I’m finding here.
Face and image are of the utmost importance here. Japan doesn’t even like admitting it’s bad parts to itself. It sure isn’t going to broadcast it to the world.
I get a lot of people who take issue with some of the things I’ve said, so I’m writing this to try and address some of the most common concerns I’ve been hearing.
If you’re looking for dick-grabbing humor, you may want to move on. If you are curious about some of what’s going on behind the scenes in the editorials, and some things you may not know about Japan, then read on.
Original Gaijin Smash Content
I went to a ninensei class with Ms. Americanized at the Ghetto School. This year, the Ministry of Education and Evil Torture or whatever the fuck it is changed to an updated version of the New Horizon textbooks. I haven’t had too good a look of it yet, but a lot of the changes seem superficial – for example, instead of Yumi asking for a glass of orange juice, Emi now asks for a glass of water. …Yeah, I don’t get it either. But I suppose the new texts do contain a lot of new stuff.
Among that new stuff are English songs. The ninensei book starts with stuff about American baseball (complete with pictures of Ichiro and Matsui so that Japanese people will actually feel compelled to give a damn), therefore the first song is “Take Me Out To The Ballgame”. …There is something oddly surreal about a class of 30 13 to 14 year old Japanese kids singing “Take Me Out To The Ballgame”. And, somehow, patriotic. I skimmed ahead in the book hoping to find “The Star Spangled Banner” but sadly it wasn’t there. Man, if I could get even just one school of kids to have to stand up and sing America’s national anthem, that’d be like the greatest Gaijin Smash since Commodore Perry.
I wish I was that creative. Everything I’ve written about actually did happen exactly as I told it, I’m not even embellishing. I have no desire or reason to fabricate stories about Japanese kids poking their fingers up our asses. And if I did, I’d ask you to recommend me a good psychologist.
And if you still don’t believe me, oh well. I can’t win them all. Nor do I want to.
Original Gaijin Smash Content
Next to my first apartment, there’s a small little mom and pop bar/restaurant. It’s run by an older couple whom most of the patrons actually call “Momma” and “Poppa”. Although, to be fair, the only one really working is Momma. Momma is constantly busy pouring everyone’s drinks, cooking the food, and ringing up the bills. Poppa’s investment in the place is to sit down, drink his own beer, and watch Hanshin Tigers baseball games on TV. It always reminds me that Japan is a country where you can actually get away with this kind of thing, if Poppa tried that with an American woman I don’t think he’d make it past the second inning before getting bludgeoned by a frying pan. And then, as the ambulance takes him away, police would ring him up on domestic abuse charges for attacking Momma’s frying pan with his head.
Anyway, as it was next door, and as my own kitchen was about the size of a Post-It note, I used to go pretty often. Momma made a pretty good okonomiyaki, and it was fun to watch Japanese baseball with all the old guys, who got into the game as their very lives depended on a Hanshin victory.
I used to go.
One day I went, and as all the tables were full I took a seat at the bar. Momma began to engage me in conversation as she always did, and as is destined to always come up, she asked if I had a girlfriend. At the time I didn’t and said so. She then told me that “two young beautiful girls” were coming, and I should stick around and meet them. Granted, I’d really only seen older folks at this place, but who knows? Maybe one of these old guy’s daughters? Who am I to turn down not one, but two young beautiful girls? I wasn’t getting my hopes up or anything, but I thought it could be interesting at least.