When my time ended on JET, and I somehow decided not to go back to America, this meant that I would have to find a new apartment in Japan, as my JET successor would move into mine. …This, actually, was not my first time moving in Japan.
My first apartment was a room. …And that’s about it. There was also a 3-foot hallway which lead to the door. On the left side of the three foot hallway, imagine stuffing a toilet, bathtub, and sink into your broom closet. On the right side, was a small kitchen sink and ONE burner. Literally, that’s it. And while it was fun being able to shower and cook eggs for breakfast, at the same time, the apartment left much to be desired. Although the cramped size was a big issue, the apartment was located in the bad part of town (the Ghetto), and as it was right across from the train station, that wasn’t fun either. Trains stopped running at midnight, but from that point I had to put up with the “REV-REV-REV” of the scooter punks trying to be cool. Yes, not even motherfuckin’ motorcycles, but SCOOTERS. You will NEVER be cool on a SCOOTER. That’s like an army of chiseled-abs Spartans riding into battle on their magnificent stallions, and here you come atop a fuckin’ donkey. Turn your ass around and go the fuck home.
The other thing that bothered me about the previous apartment was that for its cramped, shitty location, I seemed to be paying at least double (if not more!) than most other JET’s, who had significantly bigger living spaces. Quite a few were paying less for 3-room houses. One guy in a town not too far from me was paying $100 for a 10-room house. JET likes to hide under the “Every Situation is Different” banner, but in this case I feel a more appropriate slogan would be “Some of you will be given Chardonnay and the finest Scandinavian cheeses, while Japanese magazine models line up to give you oral sex, and some of you will be lead into a room, greased up, and thoroughly violated by Japanese professional wrestlers wielding steel chairs and pumpkins.” As usual, guess which end of the stick I got.
So after sticking it out for awhile, I decided to move. I found out then just how challenging that is. Perhaps the biggest obstacle was finding somebody to co-sign. Co-signing is a big deal in Japan – there are Japanese people who would, without hesitation, take a bullet for you. Or push you out of the way of a speeding bullet train (with no time for them to get away unharmed). Or, shield you from a rampaging, horny Starr Jones (with no time for them to get away unharmed). But those same people would have to give the idea of co-signing for you a *lot* of serious thought. My higher-ups at the Board of Education finally did co-sign for me, but not without a lot of feet dragging and complaining. My boss made sure to tell me, at least three times, not to burn the new apartment down.
…Aw shucks. I guess I’m just going to have to cancel that Wicca Candlelight Welcoming Ritual I was planning on having. I’m probably going to have to tell my friends Johnny Storm and Puff, The Magic Dragon that they won’t be able to hang out at my place anymore too.
Anyway, my experiences from my first move had taught me that this time around, more than anything else I was going to need a Japanese co-signer. After three years in Japan, I knew people who would have gladly sacrificed their lives for me. I knew fathers who would have, without hesitation, given me their daughters to me to do with as I pleased. I knew fathers who would have, without hesitation, given me their wives to do with as I pleased. But I didn’t know anyone within this tiny island nation that would have willingly co-signed for me. My work had made it clear – since I was no longer working for them, they weren’t morally obligated to co-sign for me. So they weren’t going to. For all they cared, I could re-create the Darth Vader funeral pyre in my bedroom.
There was only one possible avenue I could venture down for a co-sign – my girlfriend.
By this point, we’d been dating for a year. Things had been going well. We had spent extended time together and never managed to irritate one another. And with me needing a Japanese co-signer, the choice was clear – I asked her to move in with me. She agreed, and with her name on the contract, as well as her parents co-signing power, we found a nice apartment in downtown Kyoto together.
Now, as a man, I had certain predisposed thoughts and expectations about living together about a girlfriend. Moreover, a Japanese girlfriend. Many guys who have had a Japanese girlfriend come over for the night have found that the next day, their apartments are magically cleaner than they were before. While dating my girlfriend for the past year, I simply never had to worry about laundry, or dishes. One of my friends brought a girl home for *one* night, and when he came home the next day from work, he found not only his entire apartment sparkling clean, but all the meds in his medicine cabinet had been arranged in alphabetical order. …Who the fuck *does* that? Like, some girl woke up one morning and was like, “Ah, that was some good Gaijin Cock I got last night. Welp, better go say thanks by alphabetizing his medicine cabinet…”
So guys, if you ever find your apartment is in a great big mess, and you *just* don’t wanna clean it…go bring home a Japanese girl for the night. You get laid, AND your apartment will be more sterile than a sperm bank. What a friggin’ bargain! Girls, I’d love to say the same applies for you, but I really doubt it.* You might wake up to find that an entire year’s supply of hair spray is suddenly just GONE.
*That is, unless you girls bring a Japanese girl home. In that case…FUCKIN’A, TAKE PICTURES!
I don’t mean to be some kind of chauvinist pig or anything like that, but I rather enjoyed having the dishes and laundry taken care of for an entire year. I sort of assumed that when we moved in together, that sweet set-up would continue.
Nope, nuh-uh sucker, no.
Suddenly, now I had to pull my weight. And if I didn’t, there was hell and high waters to pay. Granted, this is nothing more than fair share, but having gone from living the good life at the Playboy Mansion, to being whipped in the cotton fields, took a little getting used to. And as I’ve mentioned before, while any woman who unleashes The Furies is indeed scary, there’s an extra-special “OH SHIT!” Factor when it comes to Japanese women. Maybe its because one day, you realize that she will become an indestructible little obasan, who would not hesitate to fucking kill you with her bare teeth.
And it wasn’t even just that I had to do these things now. I had to do them in a timely manner. Maybe I’m wrong, but us guys, we work on a “when absolutely necessary” basis. As far as laundry goes, as long as we have clean underwear…what laundry? I make sure to specifically have at least 21 pairs of boxers, so that I don’t have to do the laundry for at least three weeks. Dishes weren’t that much different. Maybe I’d decide to boil pasta in a pot on Monday. On Tuesday, since my pot was still dirty, I’d cook a stir-fry in the skillet. On Wednesday, with the pot and skillet still dirty…well, then it was time for Jack in the Box. In the same vein, if I wanted to eat pasta on Monday but all my forks were dirty…then it was time for a soup. Only when there were no combinations of cooking and dining utensils available that would allow me to eat, would I do the dishes. Although, a REAL Man’s Man would just keep a supply of paper plates and sporks around the house.
But no, now I had to do the laundry no matter how many clean pairs of boxers I had left, and I had to do the dishes while the food was still traveling through my digestive tract. The laundry is one thing, but the dishes! I don’t want to do the dishes immediately after eating. After meal time is a special time in a man’s life, when he kicks back on the sofa, evacuates all thoughts from his brain, and drops a hand down his pants, Al Bundy style.
Well, sure, now I have to be responsible and all. That’s not a bad thing, right? Besides, and this is again another guy expectation, with my girlfriend living right there with me, I now had 24/7 access to sex, anytime I wanted, right?
And I’m sure all you guys who have ever lived with a girlfriend are laughing heartily at me right now. Laughing heartily between the bitter, angry tears.
(To Be Continued…)