Gaijin Smash

Questions, Comments, Concerns

Posted in Blog by gaijinsmashnet on February 26, 2008

Reading my mailbox lately, again I’ve been noticing many of the same questions popping up over and over again.
Yes, I do read all my mails. I’m terrible about replying, but if people are taking the time out to write me, the least I can do is read it. I usually think “I’ll reply later when I have time”, and before I know it six months have elapsed. If it makes you all feel any better, my own mother often complains that I don’t answer her emails frequently enough. My own mother!
Anyway, as I’m noticing the same questions popping up over and over, I thought I might like to devote another editorial for a FAQ. Saves everybody time if I answer questions here.
***


Even though I’ve answered these two questions in the previous FAQ’s, they’ve made a spectacular comeback.
I want to teach in Japan/do JET? Any advice?
I’m going to Japan soon, can you recommend any good places to see?

The JET question is answered in the current FAQ, so please check there (read from the bottom up). For the lazy though, the Cliffs Notes answer to both questions is: no.
I am not the JET spokesperson, I never was. There’s plenty of information out there about JET, and more than enough past JET’s floating around who are willing to talk your ear off about the experience given the chance. There are plenty of past/current/future JET’s on the Outpost Nine Message Board, for example. There’s a good resource.
Regarding travel advice, I’m not a Lonely Planet. I actually have not done that much traveling within Japan myself, so its not like I’m not willing to tell you, I just don’t know. Regarding anything within Kyoto, Osaka, or Kansai, I don’t think I know of any ultra-secret hidden hot spot that Lonely Planet or some other guidebook hasn’t already unearthed.
I’m (insert nationality here). Will I be accepted in Japan?
No.
Okay, let me elaborate a little. To the Japanese, there are two types of people. Japanese, and not Japanese. Within “Not Japanese” there’s all sorts of levels – white, black, hispanic, Middle Eastern, whatever. White people will get stared at, black people will get stared at more, and someone wearing an actual fruit basket on their heads…might not get stared at as much as a black person. But basically, we’re all in the “Not Japanese” group.
Not that this is a bad thing. There are many ways in which it benefits you not to be Japanese. And its not like Japanese people will actively hate on you. Many will go to great lengths for you. But if you’re looking to just blend into the crowd…no. Maybe in Tokyo. Not many other places. Don’t let that stop you from being interested in the country/wanting to visit, but just realize that this is how it is here.
Congratulations on the engagement! When’s the wedding? Pictures?
Thank you. The wedding ceremony will be September 20th. A nice chapel in northern Kyoto. Sure, I can throw up a picture or two at least.
Legally speaking though, we’ll be hitched sometime next month. The girlfr-er-fianc- …er, soon to be wife, said that we should go ahead and get the paperwork out of the way. There was NOTHING I could reply with that she wouldn’t hear as “so…you DON’T want to marry me then?” So by this time next month, I’ll be all married and stuff. I was planning on a one or two year engagement before marriage…but eh. When life throws you curveballs…sometimes all you can do is get married to them.
Do you have a wedding fund of some sort?
Thank you to all who have asked this. I don’t have a wedding fund specifically, but if you would like to contribute my regular PayPal is fine. Check out Outpost Nine for donation information, or just make a payment to azrael@outpostnine.com. Again, thank you to all those who are even considering this.
Love…is expensive. I don’t know if its tradition in Japan to have the bride’s family pay, but her family isn’t really in that position and there is no way I will ask them of it. The girlfr-fianc-wife and I are cutting back and trying to save up as much as possible. Hey, you only get married once, right?
*crickets chirp in the background* Erm, ideally.
Hey man, can you help me to hook up with a Japanese girl?
No. Do it yourself.
And if any mail you’re thinking about sending to me includes the phrase “Japanese girls are so perfect”…I’d recommend stepping away from the computer and re-thinking your life for a few days. This isn’t advice for my sake either. Yes, I am about to marry a Japanese girl, but if you think any race of women (especially Japanese) are “perfect”…then its time for some serious introspection.
Do your parents know about the engagement?
Yep. I think I mentioned before, but pretty much the only person who didn’t know was the bride-to-be-herself.
My mother is currently patiently awaiting half-Japanese grandchildren. So I am actually. Gotta send them off to the entertainment industry so that I can retire and live comfortably off a percentage of their salary.
Kids in Japan?
Sure. Until elementary school. I absolutely positively refuse to let any kids of mine go to a Japanese junior high school. If you are baffled as to why, start here and work your way back to this entry.
Do you keep up with anyone from your teacher days?
Unfortunately, no. Though there was the obligatory exchange of email and the promises of meeting up, everyone becomes busy and life moves on I suppose.
I do meet up with my successor every now and then, and through him I get status updates sometimes on how everyone is doing.
— Ms. Americanized is still stuck at the Ghetto School. She’s become the head English teacher there. She’s still as colorful as ever, although ten times as busy now.
— Principal of Peace was actually transferred from the School of Peace…to the Ghetto School. I feel bad for him, but on the other hand, if there’s anyone who can actually help that school it’s him. The previous principal…well, to say that he was a pushover would be an understatement. “Gee, it sure would be nice if you boys didn’t destroy every single classroom door…but I understand that this is a fun activity for you, so I can’t really stand in your way…”
— The Ghetto School is actually not all that bad now. Sure, it’s not a pristine institution of higher education, but its not the “want to throw yourself in front of a train” situation it was before. Sometimes the difficulty of the Ghetto School changes depending on how good the students are. My second year was actually kind of fun, because out of three classes of students two of them were good.
— Chidori Boy occasionally sends me postcards. He gives me status updates on how he’s doing in school, written in English no less. I have to wonder if he’s grown any (he was kind of a small kid) and if he is still carrying out any anime-inspired Kancho conspiratory attacks on unsuspecting Gaijin.
— An English teacher at the School of Peace is getting married. I never really wrote about her, because we didn’t start working together until I was on my way out. I think that’s a blessing in disguise, because this teacher was the hottest Japanese woman I think that has ever been born. That’s not even an exaggeration. I don’t know how I could have worked with her AND successfully defended my Dodgedick Champion status at the same time (let’s just say the students would have had an easier time finding/grabbing it). I don’t even know who her future husband is but I’m insanely jealous of the guy.
…Ok, no more of that talk. I’m going to be MARRIED this year. I am a good boy.
Angel Az: Yes you are. You love your wife to be. You will not stray.
Devil Az: Damn man, we’re not married yet! At least let me fantasize! You can take away my freedom but you can’t take away my fantasies!
How is Smash Brothers Brawl?
*Yes, I actually got asked this, more than once.
I don’t own a Wii, I don’t know.
I actually found myself in line at the electronics store in Kyoto the day it came out. I was there for a completely different game (Devil May Cry 4) which happened to come out on the same day. Madness, I tell you. The line wrapped around the store, with half of the patrons also buying a Wii.
I’ve only played the first Smash Brothers briefly, so I don’t understand the craze. While I can see the general appeal of getting to bash Pikachu’s brains in with Solid Snake, I’m more of a Street Fighter man.
And yes, for those of you savvy to the game industry, this was January 31st, a Thursday, which means I took the day off work to go buy a video game. You may question my methods, but when the demo came out, I had to wait a full 3 hours to play it while my girlfriend watched inane Japanese TV (hey look, people are talking and eating on TV again! How interesting!). I didn’t want to take any chances of the same thing happening for the real game. Am I a total nerd? Absolutely! Haven’t you been paying attention?

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52 Responses

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  1. Prodigal Priest said, on February 26, 2008 at 2:27 am

    “Hey man, can you help me to hook up with a Japanese girl?
    No. Do it yourself.
    And if any mail you’re thinking about sending to me includes the phrase “Japanese girls are so perfect”…I’d recommend stepping away from the computer and re-thinking your life for a few days. This isn’t advice for my sake either. Yes, I am about to marry a Japanese girl, but if you think any race of women (especially Japanese) are “perfect”…then its time for some serious introspection.”
    Sounds like anyone thinking there’s any race of perfect women out there doesn’t just need some serious introspection…. they need some stronger anti-psychotic meds! XD They are not on the same page as any of us who’ve been reading all your posts on the subject of Japan. Or, at least, YOUR part of it. πŸ˜€
    Good to hear things are chugging along fine for you and the little lady so far, Az. As always, a good read. Take care.

  2. Shinkada said, on February 26, 2008 at 2:30 am

    So… What do you think of DMC4? X3
    (Az’s Note: Love it. Although I’m playing on Dante Must Die now, so sometimes that answer changes to an affectionate “hate it!”)

  3. Brad said, on February 26, 2008 at 2:42 am

    I guess the follow-up question to your last one is… what console did you buy DMC4 on?
    (Az’s Note: PS3. The 360 isn’t really a contender in Japan.)

  4. code monkey said, on February 26, 2008 at 5:18 am

    I was hoping I’d read more about the other kids…Watson, Moeko, Ultimate Sweetness, et. al… (although I think Watson was mentioned recently and I spotted Moeko’s owl behind Megatron in one of your desk pics).
    The Japanese are known xenophobes (sniff…our mother company’s making that apparent already) but at least in each generation, that’s starting to become less true, so I hope things’ll be ok.
    So wait; you’ll be married in a civil wedding first? Is the paperwork always separate from the wedding ceremony itself in Japan?

  5. Rob said, on February 26, 2008 at 6:19 am

    …but whatever happened to Ultimate Sweetness?
    I don’t have the patience to wait for the VH1 special…
    btw, the permalink to your drinking story/your last post keeps going to a 404 error. At least on my 2 computers here in Japan. The comments link too.

  6. SomeGuy said, on February 26, 2008 at 7:01 am

    That’s great. Of the three comments you get, 2 are about Devil May Cry and how awesome it is. Not only is the author a nerd, so are the readers.

  7. Captain Canada said, on February 26, 2008 at 7:43 am

    Dude, really? Not a fan of the Super Smash? You need three friends and a N64. Whip it out old school, much better than that Gamecube crap. Then again, I was never a DMC fan, so fair is fair.

  8. Tscho said, on February 26, 2008 at 8:01 am

    hey az, how are you?
    i’m reading your editoral since the good ol’ outpost nine days. and this is one of the funniest pages in the world wide web!
    what do you think of the ps3? i’ve one too, (60GB, PAL) and this console is just awesome! at the moment there aren’t many games, but in the future some really big games will be ‘unleashed’. (like gta IV on 4/29/08)
    greetings from the warm heart in europe!(Switzerland ;-))

  9. Lachlan said, on February 26, 2008 at 8:36 am

    I think the REAL question is how do you feel about Street Fighter 4, and to a lesser extent King of Fighters 12 πŸ˜›
    (Az’s Note: Looking forward to SF4 very much.)

  10. Louis said, on February 26, 2008 at 1:53 pm

    Here’s my chance I guess: Are some Japanese actually born with a kurukuru perm? If so this a positive/negative?

  11. Patrick said, on February 26, 2008 at 7:15 pm

    This is interesting stuff today. Question, though, is what other PS3 games will you be getting and do you plan on ever moving back to the US for any length of time?
    (Az’s Note: I need to start saving money for the wedding, so no new games for awhile. I will probably actually play God of War, I haven’t yet and I hear its great.
    And yes, going back to America at some point.)

  12. Webbster said, on February 26, 2008 at 8:52 pm

    There’s no tradition in Japan for the woman’s parents to pay for the wedding. Actually, it’s the opposite: The Groom is expected to pay for everything, AND give presents to the parents in order to buy their daughter. Traditionally at least, but these days it’s not that big a problem. Congrats on the engagement! Don’t forget to do the extra paperwork so your soon-to-to-be wife can take your last name. Since you are foreign it won’t change automatically.

  13. Marc said, on February 26, 2008 at 9:48 pm

    I don’t really have any questions. Best wishes to you and yours for the day that you officially check your penis at the door of fate….
    …lol jk. I know you’ll be happy and live a fruitful life with your soon-to-be wife.

  14. Diru said, on February 26, 2008 at 9:57 pm

    Getting GTA 4 Az?
    (Az’s Note: Nope.)

  15. Anonymous said, on February 26, 2008 at 10:17 pm

    Never played any Devil May Cry game, but I watched my roommate play it. He even showed me some of the cinemas from #4 and I have to say, Agnus is Japan’s gift to man. Is it true that DMC has an English audio with Japanese subs over there?
    (Az’s Note: All DMC games feature only English audio. I bought my copy in Japan, but I have my PS3 set to English so I can play the American version.)

  16. Anonymous said, on February 26, 2008 at 10:17 pm

    Never played any Devil May Cry game, but I watched my roommate play it. He even showed me some of the cinemas from #4 and I have to say, Agnus is Japan’s gift to man. Is it true that DMC has an English audio with Japanese subs over there?
    (Az’s Note: All DMC games feature only English audio. I bought my copy in Japan, but I have my PS3 set to English so I can play the American version.)

  17. Wayland said, on February 26, 2008 at 10:38 pm

    I haven’t played Devil May Cry since the first one. I guess, ‘I May Cry,” or even you may after reading this. The same goes for Super Smash Bros. And um, dude…STREET FIGHTER 4! There are video clips on YouTube somewhere.

  18. Liam said, on February 26, 2008 at 10:39 pm

    …you don’t have a Wii? Is it just that hard to get them in Japan still, or is it that you have no interest in the console? Can’t see how you could be a total nerd without a Wii. ;p
    (Az’s Note: Don’t really have the space for a Wii. Swinging my arms around would result in hitting a wall or the TV.
    And I don’t really need one. Aside from Mario Galaxy and Zelda, I’m not missing much.)

  19. Polaryzed said, on February 26, 2008 at 10:52 pm

    well, I’m more interested to know 2 things NOT related to video games.
    1. Where are you gonna send the kids to school for junior high?
    2. If you get married, can/will you apply for Japanese citizenship? (not sure how that works)
    Later!
    (Az’s Note:
    1. America.
    2. Nope. Don’t need/want it.)

  20. didiosa1980 said, on February 27, 2008 at 12:21 am

    So about the kiddies. Are you going to send them to school in the US then? The question is…how are you going to be able to do that? Have them live with the parents would be no prob, but the trick is to get them away for that long. lol
    (Az’s Note: We would live with the kids…in America.
    I’m not staying in Japan forever. Heavens no.)

  21. Guesto said, on February 27, 2008 at 3:20 am

    For any Smash Bros. game, you’ll need three other friends to truly enjoy the game. And yeah, I really want to play more DMC4. The demo was very fun.

  22. BigText said, on February 27, 2008 at 5:22 am

    I think I’m the only ryuugakusei reading this.
    For all those that are wondering, Smash Brothers Brawl is AMAZING. It’s absolutely fantastic. I expected the Subspace Emissary just to be a fancy version of Melee’s “Adventure” mode, but no, it’s a full, complete campaign. I’ve been working at it for over 15 hours, and I still haven’t completed it fully. Playing with two players is mind-blowingly fun, and just… it’s amazing. If you don’t get it, but you are able to get it, then you’re being colossally stupid.
    (Az’s Note: That’s the thing, I keep hearing that Smash is best in multiplayer. I don’t have anyone to play with, so…yeah.)

  23. Spooky Electric said, on February 27, 2008 at 12:03 pm

    I love how people are ruling out the possibility of Az MOVING WITH the kids. “So where are you sending them?”

  24. Jenna said, on February 27, 2008 at 3:31 pm

    I hope you send Chidori boy postcards back because I’m sure he doesn’t send every teacher he’s ever had postcards so he must really have liked you… also smash sucks. I don’t understand the craze.

  25. Justanothermom said, on February 27, 2008 at 9:02 pm

    Polaryzed asked you about applying for citizenship in Japan; you should do some research before considering it. I’ve been told that American citizens who apply for citizenship in another country do not remain American citizens, and that the only Americans allowed dual citizenship are those born while their parents are serving their country in another country while either in the military or while working as ambassadors of another country.
    Of course, if you don’t care whether you keep your status as a citizen of the USA, this advice is moot, but I thought it might be a good idea to let you know. πŸ™‚
    (Az’s Note: Thanks for the advice!
    I’m not really interested in becoming a Japanese citizen. I’ll be going back to America for good at some point, so I’m fine with my Japanese status the way it is now.)

  26. Gabriel Sharp said, on February 27, 2008 at 9:07 pm

    Thank you, I’m one of those people who emailed you very recently.
    Cleared things up for me, hope you’re well.

  27. Venkman said, on February 28, 2008 at 5:30 am

    The comment from Justanothermom about dual citizenship and losing American citizenship only kicks in under very certain conditions such as if you becomes the citizen of another state & join the armed forces/military of the state but were already in the US military (something like that it’s super complicated).
    Other than that you can have dual citizenship with the USA and another nation no problem. Not that you are going to make use of that anyway Az.
    Anyway belated congrats on getting married Az been a long time reader of blog.

  28. tensa said, on February 28, 2008 at 8:00 am

    I think you were a verry good teacher…. hahaha you should do that again.

  29. Ying said, on February 28, 2008 at 8:43 am

    But Brawl has that wonderful online multiplayer option :O You don’t need physical friends to play with! And Samus’s ZERO suit(I actually don’t care too much about this, but I’m trying to appeal to the guy in you)! And Snake’s box!
    My friends have had Brawl pre-ordered for about a year. Thoug personally I wouldn’t mind a PS3 (Final Fantasy!) either, and yes, God of War is awesome.

  30. ToniShinobi said, on February 28, 2008 at 10:01 am

    Hey Az, I’ve been wondering, now that the Jero craze is going on now, are you being compared to him? or still Bobby? (I know you look nothing like them, but i’m sure that people would say ‘Bobby mitai!’) As for me, i’m glad that Jero is there so when i get to Japan i won’t be compared to some blithering idiot. I hear from some people that Bobby only acted that way as a TV personality, but that still sets a bad image for any black person in Japan. Whaddya think?

  31. Anonymous said, on February 28, 2008 at 1:20 pm

    az,
    i think your guests actually pay for your wedding, what with all the cash gifts they give you… none of that “registered at” crap and people giving you picture frames…
    be ready for cold, hard cash.
    (Az’s Note: Yeah, people come bringing money…but you have to consider that before we even get to that point its going to take thousands of dollars in all sorts of planning and preparation fees. Considering the number of people we’re planning to invite, I don’t think the intake is going to be even close to what we’ll ultimately spend.)

  32. Anonymous said, on February 28, 2008 at 1:20 pm

    az,
    i think your guests actually pay for your wedding, what with all the cash gifts they give you… none of that “registered at” crap and people giving you picture frames…
    be ready for cold, hard cash.
    (Az’s Note: Yeah, people come bringing money…but you have to consider that before we even get to that point its going to take thousands of dollars in all sorts of planning and preparation fees. Considering the number of people we’re planning to invite, I don’t think the intake is going to be even close to what we’ll ultimately spend.)

  33. Dave said, on February 28, 2008 at 3:08 pm

    My mother says black men make the cutest babies. From your ‘exploits’ I have to conclude that the Japanese make the most perverted children…
    So will your children be uber cute pervert demons? πŸ˜‰ j/k!

  34. Ivan the Terrible said, on February 28, 2008 at 9:05 pm

    Have you talked to your fiance yet about going back to the U.S.? It sounds like you’re pretty certain you’ll want to go back to stay, at some point, but of course that’ll be a bit more of a rock to her system than it is to yours. Especially since she doesn’t speak English.
    She’s still up for it, though?
    (Az’s Note: If it were up to her, we’d be in America now. I’m the one forcing us to stay in Japan longer.
    Of course she does recognize the need to prepare herself (learn English, prepare for not being able to see family and friends for long stretches of time), but she does want to go sooner rather than later.)

  35. qklilx said, on February 29, 2008 at 8:40 pm

    Here’s a question for you, Az:
    Do you plan to take up another language sometime?

  36. anonymous said, on March 1, 2008 at 9:24 pm

    For some reason, when I try to click on the comments section I get sent to an error page. The only way I can access a comment section is when one of your articles have grown so long that the “continue” option appears.
    Is there any way to access the comment section of your shorter posts?

  37. VK said, on March 2, 2008 at 9:13 pm

    Wait, you’re the one holding you guys back in Japan? I definitely assumed it was your fiance. Why don’t you want to come back yet? Is there something you feel you have yet to do or accomplish in Japan that you haven’t in the past 4 or whatever years?

  38. CF said, on March 4, 2008 at 5:22 am

    BTW: You *have* reminded Chidori Boy that you still
    owe him for the “Requiem for a Legacy” incident,
    right? >:)
    Getting Even — it’s a Moral Imperative….

  39. Saknika said, on March 6, 2008 at 10:11 pm

    Man… I can’t wait to see pictures of the wedding. But I’m going to be hella jealous of whoever the lucky photographer is, because I’d kill to document your wedding for you!
    (and yes, I will have professional credentials upon my graduation this June)

  40. Sam said, on March 7, 2008 at 8:45 pm

    HUZZAH for being a nerd πŸ™‚

  41. DaveJ said, on March 10, 2008 at 4:28 am

    Good luck with Dante Must Die mode, I finished it in Devil May Cry 3 and consider it my greatest nerdy accomplishment.
    Oh yeah, and marriage. Good luck with that too. I’ll look forward to the write up.

  42. Anonymous said, on March 18, 2008 at 6:55 pm

    Seeing as Japanese are pretty fast about this kind of thing, will you be producing Japanese halflings after the legal wedding, or wait until after the ceremony? πŸ˜‰
    Congratulations on being engaged! Been following you since OP9.

  43. Anonymous said, on March 18, 2008 at 6:55 pm

    Seeing as Japanese are pretty fast about this kind of thing, will you be producing Japanese halflings after the legal wedding, or wait until after the ceremony? πŸ˜‰
    Congratulations on being engaged! Been following you since OP9.

  44. Loony said, on March 29, 2008 at 7:12 pm

    If you do have kids can I have one? I’ve always wanted to adopt a asian-african kid but they are so darned hard to find. =3
    Congratulations on your engagement!

  45. NyuDragon said, on April 2, 2008 at 8:03 pm

    I have to agree, Brawl wasn’t all that great.
    FINALY I READ ALL OF THESE! I must say, I’ve cried a about 20 times total.

  46. Victor said, on April 21, 2008 at 7:38 am

    Hey where are you Az? The first post has been offline for weeks. WE MISS YOU!

  47. Jen Aside said, on April 23, 2008 at 3:30 am

    Hey, what’s up with your last posts? I get an error trying to view them…

  48. Izeas GT said, on May 29, 2008 at 1:12 am

    ‘Course, Yahtzee would disagree with BigText there. (http://www.escapistmagazine.com/articles/view/editorials/zeropunctuation/4845-Zero-Punctuation-Super-Smash-Bros-Brawl)
    And are there actually people writing to YOU about how perfect Japanese girls supposedly are? You, the self-declared enemy of Yellow Fever? Now that’s just silly. And very, very strange, if it’s gotten onto your FAQ list.

  49. johnnycanuck said, on June 3, 2008 at 1:03 pm

    Congratulations on your marriage and pending wedding! While I’m not a victim of yellow fever, my cbc wife (canadian born chinese) seems to be very similar in temperament to yours. I feel your the depths of your pain, the hights of your passion. I’ve been following your updates since OP9 days, and have been able to pass many a tedious day at work just reading them. I even tried to explain the japanese school children predilection to attacking your butt to my sister-in-law in order to prep her for a business trip to Hiroshima. To no avail!
    I have one question for you. Once upon a time I wa able to see picture on the OP9 sight. When are they coming back?

  50. Mai said, on November 7, 2008 at 6:12 pm

    “No.
    Okay, let me elaborate a little. To the Japanese, there are two types of people. Japanese, and not Japanese. Within “Not Japanese” there’s all sorts of levels – white, black, hispanic, Middle Eastern, whatever. White people will get stared at, black people will get stared at more, and someone wearing an actual fruit basket on their heads…might not get stared at as much as a black person. But basically, we’re all in the “Not Japanese” group.”
    Fine. Would you be accepted if you LOOKED asian? I mean, not Japanese nationality of anything, because from what you said it seems that only looks are important.

  51. Gwynnie said, on March 26, 2009 at 9:15 pm

    Ah shit, maybe I should have read this before messaging you πŸ˜‰

  52. Frances said, on July 24, 2009 at 12:22 pm

    Wait…
    Don’t kids learn to Kancho each other in Elementary? XD Better teach them to NOT do that if they’re gonna go to school in America for Junior High.


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