Gaijin Smash

6 Circles of Hell Part III

Posted in Blog by gaijinsmashnet on July 31, 2007

Puke wasn’t the only bodily fluid we ride operators got stuck cleaning up.
Blood happened occasionally. Random bloody noses, kids who decide to pick at crusty scabs, Dracula got suddenly hungry, who knows. We rarely ever saw it happen, we’d just unload the ride and there’d be streaks of red all over one of the seats. Beautiful.
One night, I was hanging out at the ferris wheel, when I got a call from the Starfish requesting my help. I went down to find two operators, a girl and a guy, and one of the seats on The Fish covered in blood. The guy asks for my help in cleaning. The ride has been closed down to take care of the blood, so I can’t help but wonder why I’ve been called in to help clean. “Princess here won’t go anywhere near it.” The guy explains. “Why would I?” the girl shoots back. “It’s all red and nasty, and I bet it’s full of AIDS too!”
With Princess keeping a vigil a good 10 feet away, the other guy and I started to clean up the bloody mess. We weren’t too happy about this — I suppose Princess had a good point about sanitation, but we were all in the same boat, and we weren’t happy to see her bailing out while we cleaned up blood. It didn’t help that she wasn’t exactly being pleasant about it either.
Her: Aren’t you guys finished yet?
Me: No, we’re not finished yet. Although, you know if there were three people cleaning instead of just two.
Her: OMG, I think I’m gonna throw up.
Other Guy: You do, and I swear to GOD I will rub your nose in it first before making you clean it up yourself.
Me: All we’d need is for somebody to come along and piss and jizz, and we’d have the Grand Slam of Bodily Fluids.
Other Guy: (eyeballing Princess) I call the jizz part.
I decided to have a little fun with this girl.
Me: Oh my God!
Her: What?
Me: You were right. This blood is literally CRAWLING with AIDS!
Her: OMG, really?
Me: Yeah! Here, take a look. (Throws one of the paper towels at her.)
Her: AAAAAAAAAAIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!! (Literally runs away screaming.)
Other Guy: (Choking back tears.) You are such a bastard…that was so awesome!
Me: It had to be done.

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I Got Sick in Japan

Posted in Blog by gaijinsmashnet on July 19, 2007

Sorry for the lack of updates this week. Got sick, which slowed me down considerably. Time that could have been spent writing was instead spent sleeping, and trying to drain what feels like the Nile River from my sinuses.
I’m going to a doctor for proper meds today, so I should be in full recovery during the weekend, which means more new articles for you next week. Which includes Part III of “Six Circles of Hell,” and then getting back on the Japan-themed stuff.
And if the doctor today calls me fat, or thinks that my fat is somehow related to my sickness, I’ll be sure to write about how I punched his teeth out. After I get out of jail of course.

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6 Circles of Hell Part II

Posted in Blog by gaijinsmashnet on July 12, 2007

Unwanted discharge of bodily fluids wasn’t the only thing that made the Starfish so miserable. This particular ride had three safety features that were just downright annoying.
1. Height requirement
2. Horizontal bar restraint
3. Each seat had to have exactly two riders
The height requirement usually just meant turning away kids who were a few millimeters short. In addition to the sign at the front of the line, we operators also had a big stick, with a band of black tape on it. If we doubted a kid, we’d have them stand up straight next to the stick–if their head didn’t come up to the tape, too bad, too sad. Go have four of your closest friends pull on each of your limbs and come back tomorrow.
The ride had the height requirement rule because any kid who was below that height would probably be too small for the restraints to actually restrain them. They’d come flying out of the ride and be seriously injured or dead. Six Flags was very unforgiving about this rule. Even if the kid was a hair short, we couldn’t let them ride. Theoretically they’d be fine, but then in the event that something did happen, Six Flags would be 100% liable. To help motivate us to properly enforce this rule, the managers told us that Six Flags would have no reservations whatsoever about having us pay for part of the resulting lawsuit, and if you’re poor enough to be working at Six Flags, you CERTAINLY don’t have enough money to take on a lawsuit.
And then, there was also the issue of, y’know, not killing kids. Amazingly enough though, this didn’t actually seem to matter to one mother.
While advancing the line one day, I spotted a woman carrying a small little girl, no older than five or six. I knew just by looking at her that she was way too small for the ride. Despite that, when the mother got up to the front of the line, I asked her to put the girl down so I could measure her. Not even half the requirement. I tried to tell this to the mother, but then an interesting thing happened.
(I’d like to note beforehand that, unbelievable as this is, it *actually did happen.*)
Me: I’m sorry Ma’am, but she’s not tall enough to ride. I can’t let her on.
Mother: Aw, but she’s been wanting to ride this all day!
Me: That may be, but she’s just not tall enough to ride.
Mother: C’mon, please? She really wants to ride.
Me: This is a safety issue, Ma’am. She’s not nearly big enough for the restraints to effectively hold her in place. We cannot guarantee her safety on this ride–in fact, it would be quite dangerous. I don’t know your daughter, but I like her enough to not want to kill her.
Mother: Aw, c’mon. Please? I’ll hold onto her real tight.
Me: (Astounded, I point to the area around the ride.) Do you see those cups and bags and souvenirs and what not? People were holding onto those real tight too.
Mother: (Now getting angry.) Fine. I want to talk to your manager.
Me: All righty then.
(I call the manager, who comes out after about 10 minutes or so. Upon arriving, he can obviously see that the girl is too small, but he takes the height stick and measures her anyway.)
Mother: This jerk (referring to me) won’t let my daughter on the ride!
Manager: Good. If he had, I would have fired him. Your daughter does not meet our safety requirements.
Mother: But, she really wants to ride!
Manager: I’m sorry Ma’am, but that would be highly, terribly unsafe. We just can’t allow it.
Mother: I’m her mother! I’m the one responsible for her safety, not you!
Manager: Yeah, well, you’re not doing a very good job of it.
The woman, absolutely furious at us, leaves in a huff. The manager looks back at me, and although he doesn’t say anything, the look on his face says it all–“Was that woman pissed off at us because we wouldn’t let her kill her kid?” I’d like to think that she knew exactly what she was doing. She wanted a pay-out. Get Rich Quick Scheme #26:
1. Crap out a kid.
2. Wait a few years.
3. Take the kid to an amusement park.
4. Convince the ride operator to let the kid on a ride despite the kid being far too small for the restraints.
5. Collect large payout from the park over the death of the kid.
That’s gotta be it. I mean, the only other option is horrible, inconceivable stupidity–the desire to have your kid go on a ride that’s not even that exciting, when the likelihood that she’ll come flying out like a Pop Tart, crack her head open, and DIE, is somehow greater than the notion that, hey, this might not be a good idea. I despair for humanity.

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6 Circles of Hell

Posted in Blog by gaijinsmashnet on July 10, 2007

(By popular demand, here is the editorial about my worst job ever–ride operator at a Six Flags amusement park. As this editorial has nothing to do with Japan at all, it will probably be moved to Outpost Nine in the immediate future. Also, this is Part 1 of 3.)
Work sucks. That’s pretty much a given. The vast majority of us probably wouldn’t work if there was some way to just magically make money while sitting on the couch and watching Knight Rider reruns all day long. Unfortunately, there isn’t, at least not that I know of. Sometimes, you get lucky and you land a job that you actually like and don’t mind working. That’s awesome. But then, at least once in your life, you get a job that doesn’t just suck–no, it transcends the very concept of suck, bringing a whole new level of pain and suffering into your life. For me, this Job of Divine Suckosity was a ride operator at Six Flags, Marine World* in Vallejo, Ca one summer.
*Apparently, the park has since been renamed “Six Flags Discovery Kingdom.” New name, same brand of crap, I imagine.
But Az, you say, aren’t amusement parks places of fun and happiness? How could a job there bring so much misery and suffering? Grab a Snickers, because I’m about to educate you, and yes, you’re not going to be going anywhere for a while.
I worked in an area near the bay. A long, long time ago this place used to be called Marine World Africa USA and was mainly an animal theme park. There was a stadium near the bay which featured a dolphin show. However animals just ain’t what they used to be because the park wasn’t doing too well, especially with Great America not too far away. So Six Flags came in and began introducing more rides and roller coasters. Flipper and his pals were given das boot for a Batman Water Show. There were about three carnival-type rides behind the Batman show, and it was this area to which I was assigned.
You know though, however much I might complain about being a ride operator, it could have been worse. At least I wasn’t Batman. This wasn’t the Adam West Batman either, with the blue and gray pajamas and the drawn-on eyebrows. (Seriously, go take a look–we complain about nipples on the Schumacher Batsuit, but West had drawn on eyebrows. Holy Maybelline, classic Batman is a Japanese girl!) We’re talking Post-Burton Batman. Heavy, black rubber. I imagine this would be hot in any situation, but try to picture wearing this suit in a hot summer day in the California valley…Yeah.
There were three shows–11AM, 2PM, and 5PM–something like that. There’s one part in the show where Batman exits the stage and Bruce Wayne debuts. While Bruce is on stage Batman has to cross over to the other side of the stadium, which meant that he would run behind the stadium, which was right in front of one of the rides I regularly operated. As the day went on, you could see it taking its toll on poor Batman.
11AM Show
Kids: Hey look, it’s Batman!
Batman: Hey kids! I’m Batman. Remember, always stand for truth and justice, and eat your vegetables!
Kids: Cool, thanks Batman!
Me: Man, Bats sounds a lot like Superman these days…
Batman: Okay, I’m off to fight evil! See you again kids!
2PM Show
Kids: Hey look, it’s Batman!
Batman: (running considerably slower) Hey kids. I’m Batman. I’d love to talk, but I gotta run, Gotham needs saving and all.
Kids: Wow! Good luck Batman! Kick some ass!
Batman: Yeah, sure, bye-bye now.
5PM Show
Kids: Hey look, it’s Batman!
Batman: (Dragging what’s left of his oven-cooked remains behind the stage.) Yeah, yeah, I’m Batman, shut the fuck up and get out of my way.
Me: Okay, THAT’S the Batman I know.
The other problem with the Batman show was that it featured a soundtrack that sounded like 1960’s Batman meets porn. “It’s BAAAAAAAAAATMAAAAAAAAAAAAAANNN! WA-NA-NA-NA-NA-BOW-CHIKA-WOW-WOW!” I was subjected to this musical turd twice a day, six days a week, and I can safely say that had this not been just a summer job, at some point I would have stolen the Batman suit, and while wearing it, gone on a rampage at Six Flags headquarters, leaving a trail of blood and despair behind me until (if) I was finally stopped.

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Job Hunting

Posted in Blog by gaijinsmashnet on July 5, 2007

As fun as my new Japanese housewife lifestyle was, I couldn’t keep it up. It’s a special kind of depressing to see your bank account only go down, never up. And my nice, new apartment certainly wasn’t going to pay for itself. I needed a job. I was up for almost anything. Bartender (would have been cool actually–however my girlfriend had several blaring objections to this one), waiter, gas pumper, male whore, street scrubber, even one of those people who holds a sign pointing you in the direction of an internet cafe/porn shop.* I really only had one requirement–absolutely, under no circumstances, would I accept a job teaching English. Sure, it was fun for a while, but it was time to hang up that hat. Unfortunately, English teacher is the easiest job in Japan for a foreigner to get, so for me to levy this restriction upon myself would be a lot like Samuel L. Jackson saying, “I don’t want to act in any roles that involve me being an angry black man.”
*I always feel kinda bad for these people, especially the young college students. Essentially, they’re doing the same work that a couple of old spare tires could accomplish. Or hey, even a really heavy cinder block. They always look like they’re in their own personal little hell too. But then again, since they’re Japanese, they’re probably enjoying said personal hell. Remember: Japanese love suffering!
With my “no English teacher” clause, I found that the number of available jobs decreased substantially. Furthermore, there were few jobs available to foreigners in the Kansai region. Anything that didn’t involve teaching English almost required you to be able to speak Japanese. While I can speak Japanese, the only credentials I had were the JLPT, 2-kyuu. As this was December, I’d taken the 1-kyuu test, but the results wouldn’t be released until February. I marked on job applications that I had 2-kyuu at first. 2-kyuu, for all intents and purposes, is fluent Japanese. You may not be able to follow along 100% about conversations regarding politics, or superconductors, or how to re-calculate Einstein’s theory of relativity, but you can converse with people quite easily without getting lost or confused at all. I was kind of hoping that 2-kyuu would be enough, but after the first few interviews I noticed a disturbing trend.
Interviewer: Ok, well, do you have any Japanese language certification?
Me: Yes, as you can see on my application, I received JLPT 2-kyuu last year.
Interview: Ah, 2-kyuu. Oh, that’s cute. DO YOU UNDERSTAND THE WORDS THAT ARE COMING OUTTA MY MOUTH?
Me: Goddamnit.
After that happened a few times, I wised up and put “Took the JLPT 1-kyuu This December” on my application. Although I personally sorta knew I failed, I wouldn’t have official documented proof of my failure until February. Hopefully I’d be able to snag a job before then. And hey, who knows? Maybe by some stroke of pure, God-loves-me luck, I actually passed! Right. And if I passed, Monica Belluci would come to my door to personally deliver the results, and give me a congratulatory “fuck me raw!” in the process. “God-loves-me-luck,” who am I kidding?
The resume h4x helped somewhat.
Interviewer: Let’s see…it says here you took the 1-kyuu this month.
Me: That’s right, I sure did.
Interviewer: How do you think you did?
Me: (blatantly lying) Well, I feel I did pretty well. There weren’t a whole lot of things that threw me off.
Interviewer: I see. So, you know Japan has four distinct seasons, right? This is probably because of the molecular neutrino content of our sub-pressurized atmosphere. It causes atom diffusion which, due to the Fosters Chain Reaction theory, causes things to happen in a cyclic pattern. But tell me, what do you think?
Me: (no fuckin’ clue what she said) …Um…well…that is to say…oh wow, you’re pregnant? That’s great! When are you due?
Interviewer: I see. (Writes something down in her notes. Probably “big stupid liar,” but I suck at kanji so I have no flipping idea what she’s writing.)

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Taking Responsibility

Posted in Blog by gaijinsmashnet on July 3, 2007

I’d like to take a break from the catch-up to talk about something that’s currently going on.
News Story
Synopsis: Japan’s Defense Minister Fumio Kyuma is being forced to resign, after commenting that the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki “couldn’t be helped.” The comment came from a speech in which Kyuma said, “A countless number of people were victimized (by the bombs). But it helped end the war. I think it couldn’t be helped.” This caused an uproar, especially among bomb survivors/relatives of those affected, and politicians. With pressure rapidly mounting against him, Kyuma had no choice but to resign.
August is generally not a good time to be American in Japan. The Japanese commemorate the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. If you are American, Japanese people around you may ask you what you think about the bombings. Brace yourself for a look of awkward displeasure from your Japanese friend if you say anything other than, “I think it was terrible, truly awful, and the Japanese are so pitiable to be the only country on Earth ever subjected to a nuclear attack.”
The “was it justified?” debate has been done to death and back. There are all sorts of factors that come into play. A defeated nation, perhaps willing to fight to down to the last man, woman and child. The US wanting to flex her muscle in a show of strength to Russia. A decisive end to a long and bitter conflict. The simple truth is, the true reasons why the bombs were dropped, and what might have happened if they weren’t, are long since buried in the past.
I also took courses on Japanese culture and history to go along with the language classes in university. These courses allowed me to look at the war and the bombings from a Japanese perspective. While I was in America, I was never quite sure what to think about Hiroshima. Was the A-bomb really, honestly necessary? Might Japan have surrendered? However, after four years of living in the country, and seeing the war/bombings from a truly Japanese point of view, my stance now is–yes. The bombing, while terrible, did ultimately end the war early and possibly save lives.*
*This is my opinion, and it’s not really subject for debate. If you want to debate about it, might I recommend some other Japan-related venue. The Outpost Nine Forums already have a thread or two about this subject.

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