Gaijin Smash

Where Everybody Knows Your Name

Posted in Blog by gaijinsmashnet on November 2, 2006

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.


After twenty minutes or so they showed up. And they were neither young or beautiful. The only truthful part about “two young, beautiful girls” was that there were definitely two of them. I question whether or not they were even female, but the only ways I could check that would leave me mentally scarred for life, so I just decided to trust them on that one. The *ahem*”girls” took a seat next to me at the bar, and Momma started trying to sell me up to them, saying how I was a cool Gaijin who understood Japanese and what not. The girls only seemed passively interested, thank goodness.
Some time passed, and one of the tables opened up. The girls immediately moved to it. There had been some old guy sitting on the other end of the girls, and as they moved to the table he moved as well. He then pulled out the remaining open chair and gestured towards me. The entire establishment literally froze in time to see what I would do. Poppa even took a time out from his beer, which is a major event in itself. I think even the Hanshin Tigers stopped playing to see what I was going to do. What I really wanted to do was go home, turn on some Bryan Adams, and softly cry in my pillow over why I wasn’t having any *good* luck with Japanese women. In that situation though, all I could do was take the empty chair.
The old dude, as it would turn out, was really, really perverted. One of the girls got up to go to the bathroom, and as she came back the old guy put his hand on the chair so that she sat on it. Why he’d want to stick his hand in *there* is beyond me, at best he was risked getting it crushed. “Oh you!” the girl says, slapping his hand away. Later, the girls take an interest in my hair.* They’re running their hands through it, asking me if it’s my natural hair. Old guy pipes up. “THIS is my natural hair!” he says, doing a D-Generation X-ish crotch-chop. Okay, now I just want to throw up a little bit. Later still, the girls ask me what sports I like. I tell them baseball. Old guy pipes up again. “I like softball!” he says, and he reaches out to grab one of the girl’s tits. “You’re such a perv!” she squeals, playfully slapping his hand away. This old fart is trying to molest you, why don’t you care?
*Japanese people are fascinated by black male hair. If you are a black male, all you need to do to pacify an entire room of Japanese is lower your head and let them pet you like a sheep. This is good to know in case you are ever cornered by any yakuza or something.
After 45 minutes of *fun*, sitting at the table, the girls finally decide to introduce themselves. One girl introduces herself, and then the other girl. However, when introducing the other girl, she used a term in Japanese I wasn’t quite familiar with. I told her I didn’t understand. She takes a moment to think about it, then hits me with the following, in English no less – “She is my lesbian lover.”
Ooooooookay, let’s recap. On one side, I’ve got the Japanese version of Larry Flynt. On the other, I’ve got the Japanese versions of Rosie O’Donnell and Star Jones, and really, who’s to stop them from engaging in some hot, manly bull-dyke sex right here on the table?
If this doesn’t call for Superman, then I just don’t know what does.
I patiently wait it out and at the first possible chance, I make my excuses to leave. As I’m paying, the group in the restaurant tells me that Momma is going to have a barbeque on Saturday two weeks from now, why don’t I come too? “Saturday, eh?” I say. “Saturday, Saturday … I’m pretty sure I’m busy on Saturday.”
Az’s Date Planner for Saturday: Practice raising right eyebrow without raising left one
The group continued to urge me to come, and I continued to insist that I was busy. I left the bar that night, and pretty much never went back. Despite it being so close, and cheap, and an easy way to eat, I’d think about the possibilities … more dirty old men and scary butch “women” and more molestation than you can shake a stick at, and I’d just kinda lose my appetite. And my will to live.
Instant ramen never looked so good.

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38 Responses

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  1. Anonymous said, on November 2, 2006 at 1:08 am

    Az, it isn’t just the black males. It seems that regardless of who you are, all Japanese have one hair style… Pin straight. When I was there I had curly hair so naturaly I was the town main attraction. I am not saying that my hair was touched… I am saying that my hair was molested on a daily basis to the point where I thought my hair was going to press charges. The Japanese are all the same so all things diffrent are, to put it bluntly, entertaining. Much like a freak show where you can touch the bearded lady.

  2. Anonymous said, on November 2, 2006 at 1:08 am

    Az, it isn’t just the black males. It seems that regardless of who you are, all Japanese have one hair style… Pin straight. When I was there I had curly hair so naturaly I was the town main attraction. I am not saying that my hair was touched… I am saying that my hair was molested on a daily basis to the point where I thought my hair was going to press charges. The Japanese are all the same so all things diffrent are, to put it bluntly, entertaining. Much like a freak show where you can touch the bearded lady.

  3. Jay said, on November 2, 2006 at 4:00 am

    haha, gambatte az! you’ll meet a straight, nice japanese girl… one day. xD
    anyways, thanks for that story.. it took the stress off the japanese midterm i have tomorrow!

  4. EvaXephon said, on November 2, 2006 at 5:08 am

    Awesome! Original content! Is this the first time since you switched to GaijinSmash, or have I missed a few other originals? I hope someone can link me if I’ve missed a few others.
    (Az’s Note:
    The other original content should be floating near the top of the archives now.)

  5. Brad said, on November 2, 2006 at 6:19 am

    Any chance the archives will eventually get backdated with original dates, or are they destined to remain dateless (much like myself)?
    (Self-deprecation always makes one cooler.)
    (Az’s Note: Um…they already are.)

  6. that one lez said, on November 2, 2006 at 7:10 am

    you should count yourself lucky. you have just met two of the five out lesbians in all of Japan. oh, and- grow up. lesbians exist. get over it.
    (Az’s Note: What the hell? I LIKE lesbians. …Just not big ugly bulldozer ones.
    But the same holds true for anything, really…)

  7. TheAirman said, on November 2, 2006 at 7:27 am

    Ah, Japan.
    I remember when I had my first personal encounters with the folks on this side of the world. Wierd. Yeah, they love our hair.
    “It’s wavy!!”, they all say. Even if it isn’t wavy. I love this place.
    If only Misawa wasn’t so bland compared to other places.

  8. Jason said, on November 2, 2006 at 9:40 am

    That’s one of the things I’m somewhat concerned about, if/when I end up in Japan, being very Irish/Germanic looking: red hair and freckles.
    Granted, I’d be living in Yokosuka, which is military, so there’s that. Anyway, back to studying 🙂

  9. AutumnFire said, on November 2, 2006 at 11:10 am

    Does Momma ever make her chow to-go? If so, you can indulge in some decent food without the ‘floor show’.
    Great post! I’m curious, did you ever tell Ms. Americanized about this and if so, what was HER reaction?

  10. Joe said, on November 2, 2006 at 11:47 am

    Heh.
    I have a Jew-fro. My first day at the local middle school here in Aichi-ken, I simply gave in, lowered my hair, and a crowd of about 30 of them all circled around me to take turns petting me.
    It actually felt pretty nice.

  11. Joe said, on November 2, 2006 at 11:51 am

    One other thought: How in the world are you having a hard time with the Japanese girls?
    Maybe it’s just me, but out of my not-too-large study abroad program, at least 5 guys already had Japanese girlfriends within the *first week*.
    I have a girlfriend so I’m not in the market, but I had maybe five or so pretty clear ‘offers’ in my first month here.
    I am a 5’4″ Jewish kid. I am not exactly going to win any awards for matching Aryan Male stereotypes. And yet, even from my perspective it appears really ungodly easy.
    Are you stuck out in the inaka?
    (Az’s Note: It’s…complicated. But dating in Japan is not as easy as most people think it is. Sure, you can hook up in university…but hell, that’s university. Everyone hooks up in uni, regardless of the country.)

  12. Warui Tanuki said, on November 2, 2006 at 12:33 pm

    My family visited Japan a few times when I was little. I think I was about three or four. Anyway, I had really blond hair, and all the Japanese people were fascinated by it. Everywhere we went, Japanese people came up to rub my head. I don’t really remember any of it, but apparently I got pretty sick of that. I remember most of the rest of the trip, so maybe I’m just repressing that part.

  13. xybazelu said, on November 2, 2006 at 1:22 pm

    Nice to see you posting original content again! Ganbare Az!

  14. Beavis said, on November 2, 2006 at 2:22 pm

    So the anime stereotype of the perverted old guy trying to grope every lady he can is true? Creepy.

  15. Kerii-chan said, on November 2, 2006 at 3:49 pm

    Gotta agree with you there, instant ramen is better than eating out any day XD Especially the chicken flavored ^^

  16. Patrick said, on November 2, 2006 at 7:19 pm

    That’s odd. You’d think that if they knew the two girls, they’d know they were lesbians. But then, it seems that nobody in Japan discusses their personal life. When I took Japaneese in college, the younger female instructor was really surprised at how much we students discussed personal things between each other. Which I find kind of odd, since she was married to an American (A linguistics instructor, by the rather short conversations we had in class.) and had been in the US for several years. Ah well, humans as a whole are werid.

  17. shikagonomimi said, on November 2, 2006 at 7:24 pm

    Japan seems to me to be one of the most happily hentai places on earth. Either you dig it or you don’t. I think, as a feminist, there are things I would roll with there that I wouldn’t tolerate in the States, and vice versa. It’s more of a game, and it seems Az could learn something from the way the two women played it off. I don’t know if it’s a slippery slope into true debauchery or abuse.
    The drinking was the thing that had the potential to freak me out the most. I don’t drink, and I usually don’t like hanging out with drunks. But, for some reason, hanging out with Japanese drunks wasn’t quite as boring or obnoxious as with American drunks. Go figure.
    I’ve found that I have two different minds, almost like a nisei, which is weird, when you consider A. I’m not nikkei and B. My parents weren’t immigrants. But I sympathize with that a-foot-in-each-world thing, after having been to Japan.
    I’m not comfortable being American in the U.S., because I have too many fond memories of the up side of being in Japan and the more communitarian way of doing things there. But here you get creamed, especially in a big city, if you think like that (in terms of collective good). I can understand why Japanese expats freak out when they get here. We’re so damn full of ourselves. I’ve been told by older Japanese people that Japanese people are much more egotistical than they used to be, but they still have a long way to go before they reach our standard off arrogant individualism. Which is not to say that Japanese people are’t arrogant, but they’re not individualistic to the extent that we are. Japanese arrogance is more collective.
    I was never homesick in Japan, occasionally fed up with some things (the weird-ass bus system in Kyoto that I didn’t have enough time or patience to figure out, for example), but not homesick. Now that I’m back “home,” I’m incredibly homesick for Japan. Yes, the hentai, yakuza-run, drunk OL, deeply negative teen-ager, patronizing o-ji-san Japan. And, especially, the strangely community-oriented, living-under-the-bridge, with-everything-under-blue-tarps, wino-Japan.
    I suppose this would wear off if I spoke Japanese better and were more of a threat to be integrated into Japanese society, but since I will always speak mostly crappy Japanese and not be integrated, I can still make it there as some sort of fun little freak. I have no problem with that.

  18. Gennai said, on November 2, 2006 at 10:16 pm

    “….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.”
    LOL this is one of the funniest jokes you’ve made in your articles.

  19. Kosetsu said, on November 3, 2006 at 5:40 am

    Haha, personal stories related to either hentai or foreign-hair-touching.
    My (adopted) little sister was always dying her hair when she was younger because she had this idea that it would make her “more acceptable” during her high school years, and so, at one point, she had her hair dyed _platinum_blonde_ and put up in a large… ponytail? that fanned out like a peacock’s tail-feathers. At one point during the time she bore this hairstyle, my sister and her mom went shopping at this one Asian grocery market that’s predominantly run by Koreans and Japanese people. At first, she didn’t notice anything, but her mom eventually pointed out that every Asian in the store was -staring- at her hair with a mix of wonder and excitement. They would just stop whatever it was that they were doing and watch the mass of almost whitish-gold hair pass them by. Finally, when the two were arriving at the checkout counter to ring up their groceries, an elderly Asian man (my sister couldn’t identify if he was Korean or Japanese at the time, and still can’t) reverently walked up to her mom and handed her a bag of mochi that he had bought earlier, and said: “Your daughter has the most beautiful hair I have ever seen.” I think the implied thought was that ‘this gift is for allowing us the honor of witnessing such beauty’.
    To be fair, this takes place on the East Coast of the U.S., and no actual touching is involved, but this was the first thing that popped into my head when I re-read this story. We (my sister and I) still don’t know what to make of it.

  20. Jenn said, on November 3, 2006 at 8:48 am

    White people are fascinated by black male hair too, but we’re just too afraid to show it. You have no idea how bad I’ve wanted to walk up to a black guy with an afro and touch his hair. Just once! >.< Someday I’ll get the balls to do it.

  21. Dan said, on November 5, 2006 at 9:43 pm

    Yeah, I have short brown hair(I got it buzzed while I was here) and it gets petted all the time. As a twist on the softball thing, I am a pretty fat guy, so a lot of girl start touching my breasts. I don’t get offended because they follow it with wanting me to touch their and compare. The sad thing is that mine are often bigger. 😦

  22. anton said, on November 6, 2006 at 12:35 am

    Dont worry! Konomiyaki isnt the best food japan can offer ;D

  23. Kate said, on November 6, 2006 at 7:49 am

    I’d just like to state for the record that the underground gay scene in Osaka is full of the hottest femme women you will ever see in your entire life. And despite the fact that if you placed them in a Western setting they were waaaaaaaay out of my league, I did very well. Being a dyke gaijin has its compensations.

  24. Azrael said, on November 6, 2006 at 8:38 am

    …Well. I know what my dreams are gonna be about tonight.
    Hint – it’s not oatmeal.

  25. Will said, on November 6, 2006 at 9:24 am

    hey Az are you still in Japan ?
    (Az’s Note: Yep.)

  26. Lisa said, on November 6, 2006 at 9:52 am

    When I lived in Japan, I wore my waist-length auburn hair in braids (yep, lots of little ones). The people would sneak up behind me while I was out shopping and pull one to see if they were fake. Without warning my head would snap back and I’d holler “ouch”, whip around to see obasan unapologetically inspecting my hair from the distance of about 2 ” away.

  27. Jake said, on November 6, 2006 at 2:38 pm

    …all you need to do to pacify an entire room of Japanese is lower your head and let them pet you like a sheep. This is good to know in case you are ever cornered by any yakuza or something.
    Thanks, you owe me a new keyboard.

  28. Navi said, on November 7, 2006 at 4:53 pm

    When I was at school in Ishigaki, I had a long, thick, wavy, brown, naturally highlighted ponytail that even got a little oily in the humidity. It rapidly became 2-nen 3-kumi’s pet cat.
    I have since lopped it off, straightened it, and dyed it black because I got sick of taking care of it. My classmates would be so disappointed. ^^;

  29. Jason said, on November 12, 2006 at 5:51 pm

    Awesome. The original content lives up to the expectations I’ve had since reading your older editorials. I’m planning on participating in a program similar to JET so I’m wondering, what is the single most difficult thing to deal with living in Japan?

  30. Genibibiou said, on November 19, 2006 at 2:06 am

    Two summers ago, I was on a student placement program to Japan. I read all the books and even the very beginings of Az’s “I am a Japanese School Teacher” posts on Outpost Nine. I actually thought I was prepared. I was so, so wrong.
    TWO DAYS before my departure, my friends came over to my house and hung out, giving me lists of CD’s and other random stuff to buy for them. We talked a lot, and one of them asked, “Why don’t you change how you look before you go there?” I didn’t know why she asked that, so she went on and explained, “Well, going to Japan is like a big deal, right? Don’t you want to make a fresh start once you get there? You shouldn’t go there as you are! Make a new image of yourself and do a total makeover!”
    At the time, it made sense. So much sense that all 5 of us went to the salon around the corner, and we each chipped in enough money so I could get my hair dyed. I let my friends chose the color, as long as it was “natural”. From now on, I don’t let them pick out what MOVIE we go see. They convinced the hair dresser not to let me see myself in the mirror until she was done, so about an hour and a half later, the lady spun me around in the chair and there I was: blonde.
    My hair is naturally dark, dark brown- about one step away from black. But there I was- with hair blonde enough to rival Draco Malfoy’s. It was quite a sight. But that’s how I went to Japan. We paid extra so that the woman would dye my eyebrows, too, and two days later, I took a pitcure of my blonde self, smiling with my host family in front of my arrival gate at the airport.
    And what was my host family’s first question for me you ask?
    “Your hair is so pretty- may we touch it?”

  31. Jonathan said, on December 3, 2006 at 7:53 pm

    I’m wondering how they would react to my hair though. It’s blond, voluminous, wavy and about waist length. Is it just back hair they have a fetish with? =P
    I know for example Italians are crazy about long blond hair. Even the guys, I can see they want to touch it, but they don’t dare ask, hehe.
    I really want to go to Japan, I’ve been meaning to go since I was like 16, but I keep pushing it off because I don’t know the language :s I get as far as watashi, kawaii, tenshi and a handful other words frequently used in anime 😉 Hardly enough to strike up a conversation.

  32. Anonymous said, on January 2, 2007 at 7:53 pm

    Yeah… I’m blonde and probably a B-cup at most and the people in Japan, especially the women, always commented on two things: “Wow, you’re hair is so cool, is it natural??” and the one that really got me, “You have such a big chest!!” I was like… what now? lol. It was pretty funny, I had people stroking my hair. Plus,hilarious old ojii-san’s ^___^ merry perverts. Keep up the good work! It makes me miss Japan all the more though… can’t wait to jump back down the rabbit hole. xD

  33. Anonymous said, on January 2, 2007 at 7:53 pm

    Yeah… I’m blonde and probably a B-cup at most and the people in Japan, especially the women, always commented on two things: “Wow, you’re hair is so cool, is it natural??” and the one that really got me, “You have such a big chest!!” I was like… what now? lol. It was pretty funny, I had people stroking my hair. Plus,hilarious old ojii-san’s ^___^ merry perverts. Keep up the good work! It makes me miss Japan all the more though… can’t wait to jump back down the rabbit hole. xD

  34. matt said, on March 8, 2007 at 12:25 pm

    I can raise both my eye brows independantly, pretty cool but its never gotten me any…

  35. LeeGuy said, on June 7, 2007 at 12:41 am

    Az, where do you get your hair cut in Japan? Do you cut it yourself, or can Japanese people cut black people’s hair?

  36. Nappy said, on May 6, 2008 at 9:45 am

    Wow, somewhat relating to my name, I have really really interesting hair. People in AMERICA ask me if it’s natural… now I wonder about Japan…

  37. Anonymous said, on July 27, 2008 at 9:30 am

    I am a black girl who was born and raised in England and often the first thing people ask when I’m introduced [usually to friends of friends] is “can i touch your hair” usually followed by ‘uwah! it’s so soft!” even with my old friends there is a sort of odd fixation/ curiosity they have with my hair.

  38. Anonymous said, on July 27, 2008 at 9:30 am

    I am a black girl who was born and raised in England and often the first thing people ask when I’m introduced [usually to friends of friends] is “can i touch your hair” usually followed by ‘uwah! it’s so soft!” even with my old friends there is a sort of odd fixation/ curiosity they have with my hair.


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