Archive for the ‘Personal’ Category

I’ve Been ‘Tagged’…

June 27, 2006

My new friend Maliha over at Lightness of Being… has sent me a meme tag. Maliha, I usually hate this kind of stuff, but in the spirit of friendship, good international relations, world peace, saving the whales, and plugging the hole in the ozone layer, I will play along. 😉 I’ll need a bit of time to figure out which of my friends to ‘tag’. Here goes…

I am?
an outsider, a stranger in a strange land
I want?
to live forever
I wish?
England would win the World Cup; my beloved Boston Bruins would win the Stanley Cup
I hate?
Japanese-style pizza (potatoes and mayonnaise on pizza? gimme a break!); intolerance
I miss?
my father (who never got to meet his grand-daughter); Canada
I fear?
anything bad happening to my family
I hear I am not?
a very nice guy
I hear I am?
a very nice guy
I dance?
only when it’s absolutely necessary! (except with my daughter–anytime, anywhere)
I sing?
goofy Bugs Bunny-style ‘opera’ tunes to my daughter (“Figaro” is her favorite); old Rolling Stones tunes when Japanese friends drag me to karaoke
I cry?
when nobody’s watching, about really sappy things
I am not always?
aware that I’ve acted or spoken unkindly
I make with my hands?
very good sandwiches; a nice, spicy chili; silly play-do creatures with my daughter
I write?
these days about my love/hate relationship with Japan; generally about things that interest me or make me concerned
I confuse?
nobody intentionally, but probably many accidentally
I need?
some time alone (maybe more than most people)
I should?
work a lot harder to improve my Japanese; quit smoking
I start?
umm…what time is it now?
I finish?
umm… when do you need it?



May 26, 2006

I’ve never quite been able to figure out what to do with this blog; I haven’t been able nail down a certain writing style or even any sort of vaguely thematic content. Yeah, the Japanese angle is certainly ripe, but my feelings about Japan are so damn ambiguous at this point that I don’t have any confidence about writing coherently about it. In many respects Japan is a shithole when I compare it to Canada. Yet there’s no doubt in my mind that coming here was the best thing that could possibly have happened to me. My wife and daughter are daily reminders. After eight years I still don’t know what to make of this place that has given me so much. And that’s the essence of my problem–it would be unseemly to make fun of a place in which I’ve become, well, successful, but it would, at the same time, be remiss not to talk about all the fucked-up things I see here. My own ambiguous feelings are mirrored in how I’m perceived by the Japanese who know me. I’m neither an insider nor an outsider. I occupy some limbo-like region of social existence that I haven’t quite come to terms with. It would probably help if I put more effort into my Japanese language studies, but there’s a creeping fear: the more familiar I become with the language, the more obvious it becomes that the Japanese don’t have anything to say–at least not anything I’m interested in. To be fair, that is an as yet unproven hypothesis…
Anyway, I haven’t given up on this blog yet. Actually just writing this post has given me some ideas for a new approach. In the meantime, I’ve started a new blog about something I love: rock n’ roll. It’s called Rocklops, and you can find it here.


May 14, 2006

It occurred to me tonight, after several beers and while listening to Opeth, that I’ve become too polite. Obviously a symptom of living in Japan for the past 8 years, this ‘politeness’ is, in fact, not a true reflection of the ‘real’ me. I’m not talking about open-the-door-for-little-old-ladies, common-decency-to-your-fellow-man, “sorry-I-stepped-on-your-foot”- type of politeness. No, I’m talking about the insidious type of politeness that keeps you from saying what’s on your mind for fear of offending someone.
Fact is, I think that 99% of what goes on in the world is shit. It goes without saying that I only interest myself in the 1% of things that happen in the world that are, well, interesting. You may not like Opeth, but I don’t really give a shit. I’m quite pleased that, at the age of 47, I can listen to a good death/prog metal band and enjoy them. Beats the fuck out of Eric Clapton Unplugged or Queen with Paul Rodgers or whatever.
I’m generally a left-wing type o’ guy, but speaking of Japan, I think it’s time they renounced that pathetic, peace-loving constitution of theirs. Let’s get real here, how can Japan participate in world affairs if their ‘soldiery’ can’t go and be killed in foreign countries while ‘keeping the peace’ wearing the blue beret of the UN? Permanent Security Council seat? Up to now all Japan has done is pay protection money, they have not shown that they’re worthy to have a permanent seat on the Security Council (the notion of ‘permamnent seat’ itself is worthy of another post…). I pay taxes in Japan, I pay into the social security system here, and my wife and daughter are Japanese citizens. I think I have the right to speak about these things… (and I will in my next post…).