Diaz Jr. is a freelance writer living in Tokyo
So I was sitting in a bar, forgot
where really, somewhere near Shinjuku, or Roppongi, one
of these theme places. It could have been a British pub
where they sell fish and chips with malt vinegar and Newcastle
brew in a bottle, real authentic looking, except for all
the Japanese staff and the fact that they play rap videos
on the many TV screens around the joint. It could have been
Australian, or Irish, who knows, but the point was, after
a few pints and a couple of tall cans of beers at the station,
this guy sat next to me.
He was slurring his words, but he liked the fact that I
could speak English and the fact that he was a native English
speaker. He looked not-quite-hip, but not really geeky either;
not fitting in, but not exactly standing out. There was
no bite to his style, except for his somewhat greasy long
hair and the fact that he was a Westerner. You could tell
by the way he held his glass and how he walked and how his
chest and head were puffed out that he was a Westerner.
Couldve been a John, or a Dave, who knows? But he
was from somewhere I knew, but forgot already; who has traveled
to places I have already been, or really want to go.
And because we are gaijin in a bar in Tokyo, we talk about
Tokyo and Japan.
Whats up with the trains stopping so early?
he says. That really gets to me. And I nod my
head in agreement.
And whats up with it being so crowded all the
time, even when its not rush hour. And why are there
no garbage cans anywhere? I now have all this trash in my
pockets. Or can they separate garbage into more categories?
Hes just getting started.
And the ginger things you see as condiments all over
the place, I hate those. I hate the pizza, too. Tomato sauce
on a pita is not pizza. Corn does not belong on a pizza.
His beef with food simmers to a boil.
Whats up with cooking your own meal in a restaurant?
I gotta grill my own meat? And make my own soup? Yeah, its
kinda fun, I guess, but I would rather have that done for
me. And how about that smell that slaps you in the face
and punches you in the gut every time you walk into a convenience
store? What the hell are those floating things sitting on
the counter? Who in their right mind would buy that at 2am?
He downs his drink; complains about the price of it. He
shouts loudly to the waitress, butchers the word sumimasen,
and says beeru. The waitress promptly returns
with another pint. He examines his glass. And what
is up with this beer? It should be criminal to serve beer
with this much head. He stares at the waitress as
she turns around and walks away; there is a look of lust
and fever in his eyes.
And then he goes on a tangent, about the different Japanese
broads hes picked up, and about the different techniques
he uses, and he goes on about it ad nauseam.
More rap videos: Snoop Dog crip walkin to a
Neptunes beat. More pints: the cheap ones, of course. More
conversation: complaining or bragging.
And he goes on about a date he had, about how this girl
was beautiful, complete with her Louis Vuitton bag, and
her great makeup, but she had a slight teeth problem, how
they werent all straight and even. About how they
take pictures throughout their day together and every photo
has a bloody peace sign. And this guy hates
peace signs and she poses with them before every
Finally, he checks his cellphone. The last train is coming
soon and he has to check the time.
But he is ranting: Whats up with the stares
I get on the trains? Whats up with the hip-hop dudes
acting all hardcore? Whats up with everyone being
so reserved? Cant anyone show their real feelings?
Whats up with taking my Nikes off every time I go
anywhere? Whats up with the ridiculous amounts of
hours people have to work?
And, all of a sudden, his last train is fast approaching.
He races up the steps, runs toward the station, and I follow
him. Hes missed it completely. He read his mobile
wrong. He took the wrong turn to the station. Hes
there, but hes on a completely different level. On
the wrong platform. Way off. We walk away and see some drunken
gaijin stumbling toward us.
And whats up with these idiot gaijin?
he asks. He smiles and takes the next cab, muttering about
how expensive they are.