Tokyo Damage Report

The mother of all Japanthropology posts

Spider webs! Every little place where the threads connect is called a node. And every time you touch one node, it moves the other nodes a little bit. Japanese culture is hard to talk about because it’s like a spider web. You start out trying to think about one specific node but you can’t explain it without talking about other things, which triggers still other nodes, until you’re stuck trying to explain the entire civilization, which is impossible. Making matters even worse is that most of these nodes don’t even have names. Japanese people have no shortage of “cultural code words” like gaman, amae, tatemae, and honne, but let’s be honest, those things are just the tip of the cultural-dysfunction iceberg. Most of their cultural baggage is so deeply buried and omnipresent they can’t even put a name to it. 

Anyway I was out with some gaijin pals and we were having a discussion of street harassment of women here, which, the more I thought about it, the more it spiraled into every aspect of the culture. So I decided, fuck it! Let me try to articulate every damn half-baked idea I ever came up with right here. First let me stress I can’t really comment about the whole country. I’ve never been outside of Tokyo for more than a week.   Second, I’ve always said that the title of every single fucking “explaining Japanese culture” book should be changed to “OK WE DO THAT IN OUR CULTURE TOO, BUT IN JAPAN IT’S DONE SYSTEMATICALLY AND TAKEN TO AN EXTREME.” And that disclaimer applies to this article as well.



So, anyway, the original topic:


On the one hand, it’s normal for scanty-dressed young women to walk past groups of construction workers, and not only do they not harass her, they don’t even stare. Rent-a-cops might, though. But still, I find that remarkable. 

On the other hand, everyone who’s visited here has seen the groups of black-clad douchebags that cluster outside major train stations and harass women like constantly: picking a lone woman out of a crowd and following her as close as possible without touching, whispering at her until she crosses some invisible boundary, then they stop in mid sentence, pivot on their heels and either a) nonchalantly check their keitai, or b) give a shit-eating grin to their friend who is lounging against a nearby concrete embankment.

 I think some of these guys are working for yakuza sex clubs and recruiting new workers is part of their job, but other guys that do it are just regular guys that read too many “how to get girls” websites . . . but honestly I can’t tell which guy is which type. 

So anyway, this contradiction.

 I can’t explain it. It’s like Tokyo has some kind of sexual-harassment caste system, and the Train Station Creeps are the designated harassers for the whole city. They do all the harassment, so the rest of us guys can go about our business more efficiently.
 

GAIJIN'S OWN BLIND SPOTS

I want to stress that I’m not saying Japanese themselves are contradictory or hypocritical or wrong. I’m saying that when I use western concepts (such as safe for women –vs. – harassment paradise) (or alienated -vs.- communal) (or warm, friendly -vs.- cold and inhospitable) to measure Japan, I get contradictory results. Which seems to indicate that the WESTERN CONCEPTS THEMSELVES are somewhat arbitrary, and the western concepts themselves are full of unspoken assumptions that I MYSELF am making. Which is fascinating but makes my head hurt.

Tokyo women aren’t wimps by any stretch (for example, wearing micro mini skirts in subzero weather), so why do they tolerate being stalked and harassed like that? The answer isn’t that they’re so afraid of the creeps themselves, but they’re afraid of what the OTHER 99% of the crowd would think if they struck back. To understand this, I have to explain the dark-side-of-wa phenomenon.


THE DARK SIDE OF WA


This is a classic example of what I said in my opening paragraph: just because Japanese made up a word for this phenomenon (wa), just because they are proud of this “unique cultural trait”, doesn’t mean they really understand it. (not to single out Japan: in America we believe so deeply in “the free market” that we don’t realize how we have been trained to use “market reasoning” instead of “moral reasoning” in our everyday lives, which is the subject of a fascinating book called What Money Can’t Buy by Michael Sandel. )


For any culture, the biggest cultural traits are also the biggest cultural blind-spots, because they contain the deepest, un-examined assumptions about life.

Anyway, let me tell you the dark side of Wa which Japanese people obey without consciously realizing it: it means BLAME THE VICTIM. If I punch you full in the face as I leave a train, maybe one guy will try to chase me down and hold me for the cops, but the instinct of most people on the train will be to move away from you, to shun you. Because you were INVOLVED in an INCIDENT that fucked up the HARMONY. And probably you brought it on yourself!

In the same way, if a woman yells at a harasser in a public place, the people around her won’t think, “Finally!”, instead they’ll think, “That girl must be really low-class to be involved in a dispute with such a nasty-looking guy. And so loud!”

Most Japanese would never admit that this victim-blaming is an integral part of their treasured wa, but school bullies, yakuza, and harassers all know it and exploit it consciously. It’s like they found a loophole in a system !  Originally designed to keep harmony, wa winds up being utilized to promote exploitation and intimidation . . . . and the only reason it works is with the UNWITTING COOPERATION OF THE ORDINARY PEOPLE, whose disapproval of people fighting back works to help the bullies and harassers do their work.

When I first came here, what I found so shocking was: “How can he do that so blatantly in such a public place?” but the answer seems to be: he can do that PRECISELY BECAUSE he’s in a public place: he’s harnessing the power of the crowd to intimidate the women. And harmony is preserved! Yay harmony!

Another, related contradiction: it’s totally normal in Tokyo to see women walking home alone late at night. Which, a) good for Japan! And b) this is more evidence for my theory that harassment is more likely to happen in a crowded space.

But despite Tokyo women being safer at night than Western women, Japan is constantly getting in trouble for sex-trafficking and child pornography. Again this contradiction!   Although maybe it can be explained like this: alleyway rapists/muggers are “disorganized crime,” while sex-trafficking is “organized crime,” and the Yakuza have historically helped the police crack down on “disorganized crime” – a quid pro quo which helps the yakuza keep a monopoly on the underworld.


NORMAL FOR BUSINESSES TO HASSLE PEDESTRIANS OF BOTH SEXES


Anyway, if you pull on this dark-side-of-wa node of the spider-web, you can’t help but notice that it’s connected to Japanese attitudes towards work and public space. These harassers are WORKING. It’s their JOB, so it’s ok.


Put it this way: in Tokyo, it’s normal for businesses to hassle pedestrians of both sexes. And I don’t mean hassle like a spice merchant calling out in a bazaar (“Get your spices! Two for one! Best spices in Cairo!”) . One, that sort of call is an invitation to haggle i.e. a two-way street, and two, people come to bazaars specifically to be called to.

But in Japan you can get yelled at wherever. The assumption is that if you’re not in some designated zone (home/school/job) that you’re fair game for being yelled at, loud-speakered-at, and having tons of flags, placards, sandwich boards placed in your way. Just as long as it’s done to get you to buy. If anyone dares disturb you by busking, street performance, or unauthorized political shit, that is just awful and soon you will be protected by the cops from being accidentally entertained, informed, or broken out of your bubble.  


PUBLIC PLACES DON'T BELONG TO YOU

The clear but unspoken message is: public places don’t belong to you, they belong to government and business. And if you don’t like being yelled at, better hurry along faster!


There's something very distinct but hard-to-put-into-words about the  Japanese attitude toward public space – they view it as something to be tuned out and rushed through, rather than as something to be occupied or enjoyed or hung out in. When you’re at home or work/school, you can relax your mental bubble, because the group bubble takes over. But when you go out in public you have to – like Sue Storm the Invisible Woman – constantly concentrate to maintain your force field, and it takes a certain psychic toll. Not enough to make you pass out (like when Sue had to make a force field around the whole island of Manhattan after it got kidnapped by Galactus), but enough to make you hurry a bit faster and hunch your shoulders a bit more than people in other cultures.

And of course, the famous hikikomori are simply people who for whatever reason are unable to make any bubble at all.

Put another way, remember that scene in Boyz N Tha Hood where O-Dog is followed around the corner store every step by the Korean lady saying “Buy or get out!” (wait, that scene was from Don’t Be A Menace II South Central When You’re Drinking Your Juice In Tha Hood, which was the parody of Boyz N Tha Hood, but you get the idea). Well,  multiply that scene by oh I don’t know. . . multiply it by EVERY SIDEWALK IN THE CITY.

Put another way: you know what the Citizens United supreme court decision did for political ads in the USA? Imagine that, but applied to walking in public. Either way there is a loss of “the commons.” 

This is hard for foreigners to grasp, since the sidewalks seem so self-evidently common ground, and people are walking on them just like in any Western city. But it helps explain why there are no drinking fountains, parks with green grass, trash cans, street performances, or people sitting down eating in public.


(see my rant on the subject here)



FESTIVALS – THE ONLY TRADITION THEY REALLY UPHOLD IS THE TRADITION OF BEING A DICK ABOUT PUBLIC SPACE



Even in festivals, which emphasize traditional culture, pride in same, and help make everyone feel that they have something in common . . . people don’t talk to strangers. Even if they all put on the same yutaka and clogs. They turn up in great enthusiastic numbers, and all walk in one direction through a gauntlet of souvenir  stands, not talking or even looking at anyone but the pals they came with.

The whole physical layout of festivals is designed to minimize interactions between groups, and maximize people’s exposure to the street vendors: the celebrants are herded down a one-way gauntlet with vendors on both sides, and everyone basically faces one way (i.e. they are not facing each other), and anyone who DOES somehow stop to chat is guilty of holding up the people behind them. 

And this pattern repeats at all festivals, no matter what custom/ritual/religious thing that the festival is supposed to be about. Half the time, if you ask someone what the festival even means, they’ll look at you like you’re out of your mind for even wondering. Frankly I’m willing to bet that most of these festival “traditions” were invented by the street vendors. 



But if Tokyo people don’t feel entitled to use public space like they own it, then how DO they cope with leaving the house? Again, we’re stuck in the spider web: in order to properly explain the node called “public space doesn’t belong to you” node, you have to follow the thread to the next node over . . . the phenomenon of the PERSONAL BUBBLE.


PERSONAL BUBBLES

The Bubble – although it relates to the street harassment described above, it's not a gender thing. It's not a young-person thing. (in fact, the first people in Tokyo I saw who really got their bubble on were old guys with the surgical masks, oldschool walkman headphones, nautical caps pulled down low, and mini TVs playing horse-races held right in front of their blackout sunglasses). The Personal Bubble is how Japanese people are able to navigate through public space: they carry their privacy with them. Which, like I said in the beginning: “OK WE DO THAT IN OUR CULTURE TOO, BUT IN JAPAN IT’S DONE SYSTEMATICALLY AND TAKEN TO AN EXTREME.”

Most countries have “personal space” that strangers aren’t supposed to step into. Japan has developed “personal universes.” This goes against the western stereotype of Japanese people being very group oriented, consensus-decision-making folks. That’s true but with a contradiction: take them out of the group and they become the most alienated people on earth. 

I’m going to quote from a rant I posted back in 2005,

“An only-in-Japan phenomenon: the Girls Doing Makeup On The Train. Or the male counterpart, Guys Reading Porn On The Train. Or Kids Wearing Animal Costumes In Public And No One Even Looks At Them. All this, though superficially very modern, is part of the ancient tradition of Being In Your Own Little Fucking World.

And for this, I blame Earthquakes.

See, as people more scholarly than me have noted, Japan has lots of them. Earthquakes. And because of this, in medieval times, they discovered this : HOUSES FALL DOWN. What do you want falling on your skinny ass? A rock wall or a paper wall? Not exactly rocket science. So for safety, houses was all made with paper walls. The side effect of this, though, is you could pretty much hear EVERY FART from the next room. To say nothing of sex noises. Now, at that point, society as a whole was confronted with an Important Issue; in the name of Quality Sleepy Time, do we impose a total ban on farting and fucking? People who tried that, soon found out that everyone in the whole apartment would get stabby really fast. So they went with the other solution : Pretend You Didn’t Hear It. Again, not exactly rocket science. Even if it is like your brother screwing your boss’s wife, you gotta pretend you did not hear it.

And this is what led to the modern day custom of Being In Your Own Little Fucking World. Because as life expectancy improved and technology allowed totally huge cities to be built, shit got more crowded. As shit became unbearably more crowded, people started taking this Pretend You Didn’t Hear It Rule out of the bedrooms and into the streets. And city officials were like, “Great! People are so fucking docile, we do not have to make public parks or places where people can have actual privacy! Nothing but profitable real estate, woohoo!” and it became a DIFFERENT vicious circle. Unlike other major countries, there is no place in Japan’s big cities to Take A Break. If you need to relax and have some private time, there is no fucking infrastructure. So people do their private thing out in the trains, or on the sidewalk.”

This explains how people deal with the crowds by NOT LOOKING AT PEOPLE AROUND THEM. But they don’t collide because they walk REEALLLYY SLLOWWWW.  So in one sense, they’re all cooperating, a philosophy proudly expressed to me by a taxi-driver as 少しズツ (sukoshi zutsu)。 In other words, “little by little.”



ALIENATED BUT COMMUNAL

What blows my mind about this is that the crowds in Tokyo are all playing by the rules, and what’s more, those rules stress cooperation. Which in theory sounds like everyone’s on the same team, it sounds in theory like everyone’s all pals. But at the same time they’re all totally alienated, furtive and exposed, and deliberately tuning each other out. Which is the opposite of what you’d expect. Then again you get your more shovey-shovey, jump-the-queue-type societies like NYC or Germany, where people are very selfish or individualistic, but on the other hand they have to look at and engage with each other (if only to determine who to shove) way more than the all-on-the-same-team Japanese. Weird!

And you can’t discuss the bubble re: fashion without getting into this OTHER node on the spiderweb:


 BUYING THE THINGS MEANS YOU DON’T HAVE TO LIVE THAT LIFE . IN FACT, BUYING THE OUTFIT IS A SUBSTITUTE FOR DOING THE THINGS.  

I bought the things and now I am that person, even if I don’t look like that person or walk or have the attitude of that person, or do the things which I admire that person for having done.

Like you know how people make fun of spectators at a game . . .they BUY the tickets, they BUY the official sports team shirts and then sit on their ass while the actual players win the game, then the fans jump up and down yelling “WE won!” Lots of people comment on the absurdity of this, but as usual Japan takes things a step further: not just sports, but ALL hobbies or subcultures can now be consumed purely as a spectator. For example, if you’re “into” bass fishing, you read all the magazines, can comment in detail on internet forums about the exact specifications of lures which you’ve memorized. . . but you don’t ever fish. Too much overtime. Or if you are “into” skateboarding, you buy all the magazines and skate-company t-shirts, but you have never ridden an actual board. 


The “subculture uniforms” or “fashion uniforms” work the exact opposite of work uniforms, which mean I DO THE THING ALL DAY. And the rules are also the opposite of most western fashion, where you’re looked at as a poser or a failure if you buy the thing but don’t lead that life.



Put another way: in the west if you cop a certain look you want attention. In Japan you have the courage to cop a certain look only because you assume people WON’T pay attention. 

(assuming that you haven’t really had the experiences or lived the life of the persona you’re dressing up as. Real punks or gangsters or hookers or whatever is a different story. They make eye contact, they have a certain walk, they have an attitude which corresponds to the fashion).


SILLY WALKS THAT DON'T MATCH THE PERSONA OR FASHION

The "buy the outfit as a substitute for actually living that lifestyle" phenomenon maybe explains  the lack of judgement re: silly walks.   Seriously, haven’t you wondered about those? I don’t just mean the crazy pigeon-toed, super-pronated walk of certain young women. I mean how like 90% of women have walks that don’t remotely match their outfits. Like the femme fatale boots with the matching fishnets and Beyonce hair and giant sunglasses. . . but she walks with her shoulders all forwards and her feet clump clump clump like a zombie horse. Or sexy dressed women but they walk with a tight ass or walk like a middle aged man. Especially in a very competitive and fashion-crazed city like Tokyo, where every inch of womens’ bodies is scrutinized and judged, the total lack of judgement of walks is even more amazing. I guess they haven’t found out a way to merchandise it yet. But anyway, I think the reason is: You have to actually have led such-and-such a lifestyle in order to stride in such-and-such a way.ditto attitude. And buying the things substitutes for having led that kind of life.

It also explains why cosplay people not being expected to stay “in character”



Related concept : THERE’S NO EXPECTATION THAT YOU’LL BE TREATED LIKE YOUR COSTUME:

On the bad side, sure, people are treated as interchangeable parts. But the fluffy warm blanket on this particular Procrustean bed  is that you can expect the same exact polite treatment wherever you go, regardless of if you’re a 90 year old, a young biker thug, a club kid, or a salariman. 


Put another way: in the west, if you cop an attitude or outfit, you want people to treat you a certain way. If you’re dressed sexy, but the guy who hands you your whopper with fries doesn’t blush or stammer when he makes change, you realize you’re not that sexy. If you’re dressed in your leather and spikes but nobody is scared of you, and old ladies ask you for directions, you know you’re not tough. 

But in Japan, it’s the opposite: because of the whole all-Japanese-are-peas-in-a-pod mentality, you expect to be treated exactly like the salariman next to you.  People dressed as (jimmy page / beyonce / 50 cent / club kid/ whoever) don’t have to convince those around them to respond to them as if they’re cool or sexy or famous or scary. Which is very egalitarian, but it does sort of “lower the bar” and make it easy to pretend to yourself. For example, If you have an awkward pigeon-toed walk and stuff 4 socks into your bra and wear a red wig, people won’t treat you like you’re the Black Widow.   But in Japan, because of the Bubble effect, you never had any expectation that people will treat you like your costume. So you can push your self-deception to record levels. 

 This phenomenon is what makes BUY THE THING AS A SUBSTITUTE FOR LEADING THAT LIFESTYLE phenomenon possible. Since the point is not to convince strangers that you are hot / cool / famous / scary, all you have to do is buy the thing and wear it, and pretend to YOURSELF. Which is much easier to do. So people here can take their delusional fashions way farther. Safe in your bubble!


I’m not saying that Japanese never judge a person whose outward fashion is clearly out of step with who they are. There’s a whole slew of expressions to make fun of these people. For example,   気取り屋 (kidoriya)、イッタイ人 (ittai hito) , and  はったり (hattari) are all great terms to belittle pretentious people, self-deluding people, and posers, respectively.

I’m just saying it’s really bad form for them to ever express that to the person directly.  


CELL PHONE OBSESSION

The bubble also explains why Japanese are the most cell-phone obsessed people, and why it became popular here before other advanced countries.

Basically having a keitai just gave Japanese people a good excuse for the bubbles in which they’d been living all along. The main point of keitai is to reduce the cognitive dissonance required to ignore the 20 people pressed into you on the train: “I’m not staring directly at the armpit of some stranger for half an hour. Actually I’m . . .I’m having a fun conversation with my friends by text! I’m looking at a small plastic rectangle which happens to be in a stranger’s armpit!” . The actual communications technology of keitai is a plus, but hardly essential. Honestly some enterprising tycoon could have just started selling 5” blocks of black-painted balsa wood with buttons glued on, just as a “bubble placebo.”


OUT OF CONTROL FASHION AND SELF DECEPTION

It might sound like I’m making fun of Tokyo people, or ridiculing the bubble. But here’s the good thing: the bubble leads to people’s fashion getting a little out of control.

Since no one makes eye contact, since even NORMAL folks drag their own little worlds with them, then it’s comparatively easy to get really goofy with your fashions: you’re in your own little world . . . . but unlike everyone else on the train, you’re dressed in the native garb.   The self-deception on display is wonderful to behold.

Which explains how women can dress in a “How am I NOT a prostitute in this outfit?” way. (the actual street-walkers are 50 year old Taiwan ladies in gray bubble-goose coats, which is a whole other contradiction).


And it explains  the clearly-office-job-having short-hair middle-aged men on the trains every weekend with their bizarre Jim Morrison getups . . . these totally thought-out, accessorized, historical rockstar outfits, but with the walk and attitude of Dilbert still in effect.

And then the best are the people where you can’t even guess what the fuck they are going for. You have no idea what they see when they look in the mirror.



CLOTHING AS ARMOR



A Japanese guy once told me that Tokyo women were 武装してる (busou shiteru)。 Meaning, they were “armed” with clothing. That blew my mind! Lately though I’ve come to the conclusion that the extreme fashion – even though it seems confrontational or stand-out-in-a-crowd-y – it’s more of a defensive thing. People use the clothes to compensate for perceived deficiencies. They use them like rags stuffed into old wounds to staunch the spurt of bloooooooood. The middle-aged Dilbert in his weekend Morrison costume knows full well that he is not passing for Morrison. The chubby working-class girl in her overdone Princess costume knows perfectly well she is not passing for a Royal supermodel. By dressing exaggeratedly, by armoring their weak point, they are just trying to bring the weak point up to an average person level, so they can feel confident enough to just leave the house. So the clothes actually have the OPPOSITE meaning than you’d think. . . Like how Seventeen Magazine is actually for 12 year olds. Or how Muscle Bodybuilder Macho magazine is for 90 pound weaklings.

In other words, maybe fashion victims are not dressing like that because they’re in some dream-world and totally unaware people are judging them, maybe they dress like that because of the opposite reason: because they’re way too self-conscious of people’s judgements and need some sort of armor against it.

Wanting to disappear into your clothing. Never mind my homley face or my chubby body or short legs or receding hairline. Look at what I bought. It’s what inside that counts, and inside me is a wallet that opened up for this particular uniform.   In a way it’s kind of like the internet, where nerds can pretend to be martial-arts tough guys and tough guys can pretend to be horny MILFs and etc. Because you’re not visible to the other people on the net, and they can’t ask you to do the thing to prove you’re that person. But in Japan, the social isolation substitutes for the physical isolation of the net, but the result is the same: you’re in a bubble, and no one expects your average everyday life to live up to your persona, so you’re free to re-invent yourself in various idiotic ways.



see also:


WOMEN CAN'T TELL CUTE APART FROM SEXY.



  Not to single out women –judging from the amount of guys with Lolita complexes here, apparently neither can men. This attitude towards fashion (“Isn’t my thigh boots and micro skirt so CUTE?”) is part of a more general idea that females should act naive, girlish, and doll-like well into their late 30s attitude. Retarded development is what im saying. You’re issued a cute little girl outfit at age 5, and you’re encouraged to keep it on until way into your teens. You’re never issued a “woman” outfit to change into (not cute! Old! Eww!) . As you enter adolescence and sexual desire, you’re just expected to keep shortening the hem and deepening the neckline on your little-girl outfit to keep pace. Yikes!

 If you want to see how scary that is imagine if that attitude was applied to a man. That’s right:  he turns into Michael Jackson. Imagine a country where it was normal for all boys to develop that way.


And you can’t talk about how women’s junk is kept back in little-girl mode without also explaining how ALL children’s development is retarded in general.



BOTH BOYS AND GIRLS DEVELOPMENT IS RETARDED


I don’t mean retarded like down’s syndrome. I mean like there are certain traits which grown-ass adults are supposed to possess in, well, pretty much every other country:
Independence
Being active, not passive
Making one’s own goals
Standing up for one’s self
Making friends outside of the people that work or study next to you
Being able to evaluate arguments based on logic rather than “is it my friend saying this or someone I don’t know?”

And in Japan these grown-up traits are suppressed or delayed or stomped out. Since kids are kept from developing adult parts of their brain, I think it’s not 100% racist to say that their development is retarded by society. That’s what I mean. Sure, all countries have certain taboos, but usually those involve certain actions (robbery, assault) or politics (saying mean things about El Commandante’s mother).   Any half-assed dictatorship can get POLITICALLY repressive but Japan attacks the fucking brain development.
I know that sounds harsh or borderline KKK, so let me back that thing up (!)
1) when it comes to being able to evaluate arguments based on logic rather than relationships, America is trying real hard to be even more retarded than Japan. We’re racing backwards on that one.
2) in other ways, Japanese kids are way MORE adult than their gaijin counterparts. They do paramilitary exercises in PE class, they get to wear little suits and ties, and have to work over 12 hour days like their daddies.  Wait, that makes it sound even worse. BUT IT’S FUCKING TRUE B. Even Cotton Mather would be like, “Lighten up dudes. Just kick back a notch!” and then he’d pull out this huge blunt and be like, “Now who wants to get blazed with the C?!?!?”



MORE ABOUT THE PECULIAR JAPANESE IDEA OF EQUALITY


Finally, let’s go back to about 5 nodes or so, to the phenomenon of THERE’S NO EXPECTATION THAT YOU’LL BE TREATED LIKE YOUR COSTUME.  That particular node has so many connections I saved it for last. If you’ll remember, the reason there’s no such expectation is that everyone (thugs, punks, gals, vice-presidents of marketing,  you name it) is supposed to be treated equally. But us foreigners find the Japanese version of “equal” very confusing, because their version contradicts many of the illogical and arbitrary and unspoken assumptions buried in our OWN concept of “equal”. Some common contradictions noted by newbie gaijin are:

POLITE YET COLD. EGALITARIAN YET CONTROLLING. EQUAL YET ANTI-INDIVIDUAL.

Explaining these seeming contradictions is pretty much taxing my brain to its limit, so let me back up again and dish out some basic context stuff before we get into the crazy:

Japanese people are proud of their culture – not just that it’s the best culture (everyone thinks that about their own culture (except Canadians, bless your humble souls!)) , but more specifically that they’re connected by their culture in a much more fundamental, telepathic-mind-meld way, compared to other countries. At a café, I overheard some lady at the next table telling her friends (in loud Japanese) how “We understand all the linguistic nuances and unwritten rules of our land in a way foreigners can’t. Frankly even some nuances are hard for us!”   Keep in mind she’s not saying “we identify with or know the nuances of our particular in-group (co-workers or students in the same school club, etc.) She was saying there was a strong connection to ALL other Japanese. I’d agree with that, but as with wa, there’s a dark side that Japanese all perpetrate, without acknowledging it. For instance, one of the things that strikes us gaijin when we first come here is how COLD the Japanese are to each other. Not US, but each other.  This seeming contradiction might be explained just by “ingroup-outgroup dynamics” and by “keeping harmony by not puncturing a stranger’s bubble”, but I’m convinced there is something more at work here.

To us it seems like, yo, if you’re all on the same page, on the same team, why don’t you talk to strangers? If you’re all such peas in a fucking pod? What’s the point of “knowing all the cultural nuances and rules” if you’re still terrified of offending people all the time? The point being, only a foreigner would think that having a strong cultural bond with a stranger means you care about them or would look at them or talk to them ever. Ha! Crazy gaijin! So if that’s not what the peas-in-a-pod group-oriented deal means, what DOES it mean?
The clearest example I can think of this contradiction-between-super-polite-and-super-cold-hearted is this:
You can go to the same restaurant – not even a chain, it could be family-owned – for a year and the owner still won’t say anything except for the same very formal polite ritual greetings. No small talk, no “How’s the wife and kids?” , no nothing. The only reason I can think of is JEALOUSY. If the owner talks to you about personal stuff, then all the other patrons will get jealous: “Why is the owner playing favorites? I’m not coming back to this bullshit place. I didn’t come here to be snubbed!” 
So what seems like coldness is an effort to treat everyone exactly equal. Which is also a kind of contradiction: in the west we are taught equality is freedom and rights to do whatever you individually want. So when we see a form of “equality” in which no one is doing what they want, we’re confused. Even though it’s our own sort of illogical cultural assumptions about “equality” that make Japan SEEM contradictory.  In Japan, “equality” means treating people as interchangeable parts. 
The idea is that treating everyone equal means not making exceptions (thus the famous Japanese inflexibility, another thing that reads as “cold” to foreigners). If you have an allergy to the appetizer and want the restaurant to serve you a different one than all your co-workers at the after-work banquet, that is seen as “I’M SO SPECIAL I GET SPECIAL TREATMENT BECAUSE I AM BETTER THAN YOU.” 

Put it another way: in western countries equal means everyone is entitled to dress and act differently, to be different races and religions, and still get the same basic rights. Where in Japan, equal means no matter what you look or dress like, you’ll be greeted with the same exact formal, pre-scripted conversations: いらっしゃいませ! お客様! ご案内いたします! (welcome honored customer! Please let me take you to your honored seat!)
 
In closing, let me just say: TL;DR? FOAD!
19 comments

books I wish existed

 
 
1) A list of all the ways that all major religions exploit loopholes in their own rules in order to “outwit God.” Like how Muslims can get killed for adultery, but can enter into a “short-term marriage contract” and thus fuck a hooker in a holy way. See also: all the ways that businesses in strict Islamic-law countries try to get around the seems-pretty-fucking-straightforward-to-me prohibition against charging interest. Or how Orthodox Jews can’t work on the Sabbath but they can hire a Gentile to throw light switches for them. Or how they have a rule against taking a baby outside on the Sabbath but if they string a long wire around their entire neighborhood, that somehow counts as “one big house” so they can bring their baby outside to visit friends. Unless some non-Jewish person in the neighborhood cuts the wire that runs through her backyard, in which case I guess all the babies go to hell? I love the idea that an all-powerful, all-knowing deity can be caught in a loophole of a law He created. “Shit! Not only did I see that loophole in My law, I’m somehow powerless to punish the mortals for clearly violating the spirit of My commands!” So fucking weird how religious people love to fuck around the God they so admire.
 
2) A book which compares vengeance across all different cultures. How is the Italian vendetta different from the Albanian blood-feud, and how are both different from good old Appalachian family fuedin’? Of course each country would be ranked on a giant line at the end.
 
 
fucking 3) How come I can’t find even a single book about the 1,000,000 procedural loopholes that congresspeople can use to sink or sabotage leglislation? Why are there so many books criticizing wall street, big corporations, and presidents, but nothing that takes on congress? I’m talking about things like earmarks, pork, poison pills, cloture votes, killing-in-committee, calling emergency votes after the other party has all left for vactation,eleventh-hour revisions, revisions made AFTER the bill has been passed into law (special comittes have to take the house version and the senate version of a bill and sort of smudge them together to create a functioning compromise bill, and sometimes they use this opportunity to insert a loophole that renders the whole bill nonfunctional or even makes it work in the opposite way!) and all the other juvenile tricks.
 
 I mean there are, what? like 100 books that make fun of Bush, and 200 books that all make fun of Obama, and all the million fucking pundit books with the same mad-libs-style titles “(bad past-tense verb)! How (group we don’t like) is screwing American taxpayers and how (group writer is pandering to) can take our country back!” . . .and yet there is seriously not ONE book on Amazon about . .. oh I don’t know. . . CONGRESS.
 
 A search for “congressional earmarks” turns up a handful of $250 Phd-level textbooks, but other than that, nothing.
 
I guess there’s a book by Lawrence Lessig called REPUBLIC LOST that deals with the way money corrupts congress, but even that book doesn’t begin to touch the specific methods and scams that the legislators use to implement the plans of their corporate overlords.
 
It just seems this is a shitty time for books in America. Like 90% of the people who buy books just want to be told “You’re in the good group, and the bad group are fucking everything up and fuck them.” These 90% of readers don’t really care about the specific processes and details of how shit gets fucked up.  In fact too many details and nuances might just muddy the pure black-and-white picture in their heads.
 
And another 9% are like the people who DO understand the details of things, economics, tax laws, high finance. . . . but they are professionals in these fields that have zero interest in explaining things to us mere mortals in language we understand.
 
 And then you have the 1%, oddballs like me, that DO want to know the details, the nuts-and-bolts, the specifics, of how corruption goes down behind the scenes, but we want it in plain English. And there are almost no books like that.
 
 
Or Japanese books would be nice.
 
4) A book collecting all the urban legends re; the abandoned Tokyo subway tunnels. Apparently there are more miles of secret or abandoned tunnels than miles of Parisian catacombs. The only urban legend I ever heard is about how the Imperial Family hid all their WWII stolen Asian treasures in the tunnels so they wouldn’t have to return the treasures. But you know there are tons of other legends/conspiracies.
 
5) A book collecting all the weirdest – not just most wasteful or expensive but just plain WTF - make-work jobs and goofy public works projects in postwar Japan. Most small towns have shitty economies because a) the federal government steals their municipal tax revenue, and b) the kids/jobs all moved to the big cities decades ago. So the small towns become part of a “patronage network” – where they give all their votes to a certain party or central politician, and in exchange he or she funnels federal money into bullshit jobs that don’t need to be done, just to give the town some sembalance of an economy. Usually these make-work bullshit jobs are like construction or “street patrols” that go on “campaigns” to reduce outdoor smoking or illegal bicycle parking or etc, but basically it’s a form of social welfare. And I just know that the construction or street patrols are merely the tip of the iceberg. There's got to be some fucking weird jobs out there.
 
 
Drug studies I’d like to fund if I was rich:
 
1)     Have experimental volunteers partake of all the drugs and rank their experiences based on how nostalgic for the past the drug makes them get. I bet alcohol would be by far the winner at “provoking feelings of nostalgia”. But it would be interesting to see who comes in second.
 
 
2)     Drugs and nonstop voice-in-your-head syndrome. (AKA type A personality). Study people who drink/do drugs (both addicts and “recreational users”) Include both Type A (inner monologue 24/7)  and Type B people (mellow fucks with no or slight inner monologues). Do type A people have a higher risk of addiction?   I wonder what percent of  addiction in Type A Personality people  is just  the result of people just trying to shut the voice in their head up.
3 comments

virtual album covers

Ha! Fucked around and made virtual album covers for all my unreleased albums!  I put the first 3 albums up on my bandcamp page. I'll post more if enough people go there and download them . But until then, I keep myself amused goofing around in Photoshop.

 

 

 

1             the E-Z-Boy history of Man LP (87~89)
 
 

2            trump v. boredom!  LP (89)
 
 

3     Phil Collins naked – a real letdown DEMO (89)
 
 

4            Bombastic flamingo invasion! EP
 
 

5            all this hype about shit!  LP (90)
 
 

6            what the spoken word Jazz?!? EP
 
 

7            P.E.T.E.R. (Purgatory embraces these esoteric remnants) tunes 7” 
 
 

8            let us now praise anus men  LP(90)
 
 

9            Botched brunch EP
 
 

10          apes will tear us apart   LP(90)
 
 

11          Haranguein’ Da Joint   LP(90)
 
 

12   The Faculty  – demo one  and demo 2
 
 

14          major stereotypes EP
 
 

15          pheeding phrenzy of the madd phat   LP(90)
 
 

16           I support violence against pubic hair  LP (91)
 
 

17          Readers digested EP
 
 

18          deff speedo jam 1999   LP(91)
 
 

19   Snout  – demo
 
 

20          a fine bag of meat   LP(92)
 
 

21          Penis smut veneer 7”
 
 

22          Women who love men who hate women EP
 
 

23          Tv songs EP
 
 

24          rhubarb scumster  LP (92)
 
 

25          “what is ape compression ?” (a 30 second covers EP)
 
 

26          bowel goblin infestations of the late Rennisance  LP (92)
 
 

27          Loop Funk Erm 7”
 
 

28          noisejazz EP (AKA boppin’ the hamper with “entrenched” vincenzo applebottom)
 
 

29          nipplez del spellcheck  LP (93)
 
 

30          karaoke metal attempts EP
 
 

31          Mr. Pangolin’s fungal adventure  LP (93~94)
 

32   Adjective noun demos: dead victims of a no-good society . . .of death!!!  And : b@nk of @merica
 
 
 

33          grunting in obscurity  LP (94)
 
 

 

34          A brief history of vats vol.1   ROCK OPERA

 
 

35    Finger Lickin' Grout – Outlawed Ass Of Denmark, parts I~III ROCK OPERA
 
 

36          dad-blasted rotifers  LP (95)
 
 

37          Freakery beats EP
 
 

38           Suddenly last sphincter   LP(95)
 
 

39    Finger lickin’ grout -  demo
 

 
40           Belinda Carlisle and the enchanted stick insect ROCK OPERA
 
 

41   Phil Collins Naked – Figs: a three-day rock opera EP BUT ALSO OPERA       
 
  

42          23 grind EP (AKA grindin’ the night away with “lungless” p.d. gramaphone and Twaddle Unit)
 
 

 

43 / 44          Buckminister Fuller Suite  \ Choice selections from the autobiography of Wilt Chamberlain
double EP
 
 
 

45         bruise fondle   LP(96~97)
 

46          4-track proggg attack EP
 
 

47          Saving Throw Vs. Epic jams EP
 
 

48          loopy larnyx castaways 7”
 

49          The martyrdom of st. chuckles EP
 
 

50          Lieberman’s preposterous rock opera ROCK OPERA
 
 

51  Fish supply failing -  demo
 
 

52          Grafted emu stampede DOUBLE- LP
 

53          the "long-awaited noise album"  LP
 

54          excuse me while I outrank your baboon piss!   LP(98)
 
 

55          18-98 (eighteen from ninety-eight) LP (98)
 
 

 

59    Fish supply failing – blottalgore LP (99)

 
 

60    Busuchan – defrag my heart LP (2000)

 
 

 

61           Stalin claus Superstar 4 DISC ROCK OPERA WTF (2000)

 
 

 

62           forgot to get a rap name LP (2001)

 
 

 

63   Finky Bink$ - Charlie bucket; cosmonaut LP (2001)

 
 

64   Puny humans - no one will ever understand our genious (sic) LP (2002)
 
 

65   Amino assholes- collected works vol. 1 LP (2002)

 
 

66            Ookubo sutajio fukubukuro LP (2004)

 
 

 

67            Criminally insane project LP (2004)

 
 

68   Panda fucker  maniac revolution -  demo (2004)

 

69   Bouninjoutai – Tokyo aizo LP (2005)

2 comments

2013 plans

1)  working on fake covers for all my fake albums.  over 30 so far. Need another 15 but burned out.

2)  overhaul of the Tokyo Underground Tour guide

3) kind of don't care anymore.  Would rather be in the bathtub reading Pynchon than worrying that Facebook and Tumblr etc. make it possible for some trivial douche to update their "relationship status" and get 100 times more "likes" than if i spent 10 hours making an in-depth report about Japanese emperor-worship and its lingering effects on contemporary subcultures.  If the fuckin ' internet enables so much information then why can i not find for the life of me websites that I want to read? Oh because "information" doesn't distinguish between Russian penis-enhancement ads,  and actual reports of war crimes that journalists almost died to get,  and kittehs. 

 

FUCK INFORMATION.

 

4)  Church of Misery is playing a fucking one-man-show at the new 20000v on dec 29th at 5 pm. please come to this, as it will be the best show this year. Also please bring me some leather lube for my leather jacket which is so stiff and brittle,  i can'T even wear that shit.   Leather Lube Links Please in the Comments. Fuck.

 

5) second best show; for 1000 yen . . . .dec 22, at kouenji DOM studio (in PAL shopping mall).  .. . 25 bands, 1000 yen. can'T go wrong.    F.I. D.   。。。。 Endon, need i say more???? fuck!  starts i think 3 PM goes alll night. it is a classic Japanese "gaman" contest to see who can tolerate the most mediocre music.

 

6) maybe a short story / rock opera (new!) based on a dream which I am presently having, where different parts of a song (melody, the rhythm, the meter, etc) are each political parties, and each have their own Fox News-style propaganda groups and PAC committes to influence  how the song goes, to their own benefit, regardless of how shitty the song winds up sounding. And actually if  the song gets shitty, that is all part of the plan, assuming they had the 50 cents-and-a-diet-sprite neccesary to hire a Spin Doctor to explain to the masses (in this case, the individual notes)  that the shitty song is entirely due to THEIR FOES and the only salvation is to give even more UNILATERAL POWER to the SAME FACTION THAT FUCKED IT UP SO FAR.

Wish me luck bringing that baby to fruition.

It will be called STAIRWAY TO SHITSTAIN.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

shitstainnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

nnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn

nnnnnnn

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

nnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn

 

7) A n Old School Death Metal project about Kimberlite Pipes, not to exceed 5 songs in length. This OSDM . .. .will  be. .. .Perhaps even a OSDM   Puny Humans reunion, but don't expect   LA LA LA LA LA LA LA BULLSHIT WALTER  all over again (this last comment directed to our oppressive A&R agents).

5 comments

secret plans revealed!

 

 

So the reason I haven't been doing this site recently is, I was re-mastering all my old songs.

Hundreds of them.

It took years!

In some cases, I had to rip from cassette-tape masters.

In other cases, I had digital files in obsolete formats that had to be converted WITH TIME TRAVEL.

In still other cases, the digital files I'd previously archived DIDN'T FUCKING WORK because the archives THEMSELVES had been declared obsolete by the software manufacturer.

Years of  frustrating effort and nonstop worrying that I'd lose/break/forget about some ancient and obscure CD-R/cassete/ HD before I had the chance to archive it properly.

And then I had to re-rip a dozen more cassete-masters where the Dolby switch or the tape-speed was wonky BUT I HAD LOST THE 4-TRACK.

Borrowed a 4-track.

It didn't have the AC converter.

Found a converter.

But the polarity was reversed.

Fixed the polarity with sottering gun.

Then the earthquakes came.

Then, just out of sheer bloody-mindedness, I decided to REDO from scratch about 30 ancient tunes where the music was great but the recording quality was, let's say, not quite up to snuff.

In all cases , I had to re-mix all 500-odd songs from scratch.

And what's worse, actually LISTEN TO THEM  to make sure the levels were OK.

 

Which (the listening, if not the other efforts) lead to sudden and, in retrospect, quite predictable case of burn-out and months of  drinking.

And so on. 

 

But now it's FUCKING DONE.    The fucking master plan is IN FULL EFFECT; 24 years of songs, all in the same place, same format, all ready to go.

 

So, on to the next step: I set up a bandcamp page. We'll see if that's better than using this site to distribute.

Anyway, the bandcamp header looks like this: it's a close-up of this .99-cent guitar that I recorded all the original tunes on. The cheapest piece of shit that wound up playing the most ambitious tunes of my life. Just sheer hubris. Nobody told me that it was impossible to do that!!!

 

 

 Of course, There's still plenty of music available for free here on ths site, as well.

 

Anyway, if you are into funny / satirical / proggy music please visit the Schultzzz bandcamp page, and / or tell your friends.  Yes there are songs about Rhombuses, dung-beetles,  mall cops,  love songs to the toothless,  Flamenco-death-metal instrumentals, and of course raps about Gertrude Stein vs. Oprah.

 

The music is free to play and download, but Bandcamp makes their money by taking a cut of sales, so to encourage people to buy, they put a cap on the number of free downloads per month. Which is reasonable.

 

For now, I just have 3 or so albums up there. But just for the record, here is my whole fuckin'  curriculum;

Unless otherwise noted in bold type, all albums are one-man-band style.

1             the E-Z-Boy history of Man LP (87~89)
2            trump v. boredom!  LP (89)
3     Phil Collins naked – a real letdown DEMO (89)
4            Bombastic flamingo invasion! EP
5            all this hype about shit!  LP (90)
6            what the spoken word Jazz?!? EP
7            P.E.T.E.R. (Purgatory embraces these esoteric remnants) tunes 7” 
8            let us now praise anus men  LP(90)
9            Botched brunch EP
10          apes will tear us apart   LP(90)
11          Haranguein’ Da Joint   LP(90)
12   The Faculty  – demo one  and demo 2
14          major stereotypes EP
15          pheeding phrenzy of the madd phat   LP(90)
16           I support violence against pubic hair  LP (91)
17          Readers digested EP
18          deff speedo jam 1999   LP(91)
19   Snout  – demo
20          a fine bag of meat   LP(92)
21          Penis smut veneer 7”
22          Women who love men who hate women EP
23          Tv songs EP
24          rhubarb scumster  LP (92)
25          “what is ape compression ?” (a 30 second covers EP)
26          bowel goblin infestations of the late Rennisance  LP (92)
27          Loop Funk Erm 7”
28          noisejazz EP (AKA boppin’ the hamper with “entrenched” vincenzo applebottom)
29          nipplez del spellcheck  LP (93)
30          karaoke metal attempts EP
31          Mr. Pangolin’s fungal adventure  LP (93~94)
32   Adjective noun demos: dead victims of a no-good society . . .of death!!!  And : b@nk of @merica
33          grunting in obscurity  LP (94)
34          A brief history of vats vol.1   ROCK OPERA
35    Finger Lickin' Grout – Outlawed Ass Of Denmark, parts I~III ROCK OPERA
36          dad-blasted rotifers  LP (95)
37          Freakery beats EP
38           Suddenly last sphincter   LP(95)
39    Finger lickin’ grout -  demo
40           Belinda Carlisle and the enchanted stick insect ROCK OPERA
41   Phil Collins Naked – Figs: a three-day rock opera EP BUT ALSO OPERA         
42          23 grind EP (AKA grindin’ the night away with “lungless” p.d. gramaphone and Twaddle Unit)
43          Buckminister Fuller Suite EP
44          choice selections from the autobiography of Wilt Chamberlain
 
45         bruise fondle   LP(96~97)
46          4-track proggg attack EP
47          Epic jams EP
48          loopy larnyx castaways 7”
 
49          The martyrdom of st. chuckles EP
50          Lieberman’s preposterous rock opera ROCK OPERA
51  Fish supply failing -  demo
52          Grafted emu stampede DOUBLE- LP
53          the "long-awaited noise album"  LP
54          excuse me while I outrank your baboon piss!   LP(98)
55          18-98 (eighteen from ninety-eight) LP (98)
59    Fish supply failing – blottalgore LP (99)
60    Busuchan – defrag my heart LP (2000)
61           Stalin claus Superstar 4 DISC ROCK OPERA WTF (2000)
62           forgot to get a rap name LP (2001)
63   Finky Bink$ - Charlie bucket; cosmonaut LP (2001)
64   Puny humans - no one will ever understand our genious (sic) LP (2002)
65   Amino assholes- collected works vol. 1 LP (2002)
66            Ookubo sutajio fukubukuro LP (2004)
67            Criminally insane project LP (2004)
68   Panda fucker  maniac revolution -  demo (2004)
69   Bouninjoutai – Tokyo aizo LP (2005)
3 comments

Insane godzilla cosplay rap battle NSFW!!!!

OK  I heard everyone wants me to write more about Japan, so here's a review of a super insane concert where otaku dress up like godzilla and rap-battle each other and the judges are all naked lady robots.
 
I'm fucking with you. Actually this post is about how I organize my itunes database. I think you'll find it much more informative.
 
 
Finally reached the point where my itunes collection is definitely “too big to listen to every song” so instead of doing the sensible thing – deleting songs – I have decided to do the nerd thing AKA defiantly stop listening to the music altogether and spend my time instead mining the database for staistics.
 
For starters, here’s how I’ve classified music by genre, and also by percentage:
 
Classical                          0.4%
Crude                               2.5
Neofolk                            1.4
Drone                               1.5
Creepy                             0.2
Electronic                       1.3
 
African funk                    0.3
Mellow southern            0.2
Regular funk                  2.0
Poplocking/naked          0.3
Latin funk                     0.2
ALL FUNK                      3.0%
 
Grind                                1.4
Industrial                         0.9
Jukebox                           0.8
 
Kraut w/drum-machine 0.6
Kraut ambient             0.5
Krautrock                   0.5
Psychedelic               1.0
ALL KRAUT                   2.6%
 
(Salsa/meringue/boogaloo/cumbia)                                  
Latin                                1.2
Lazy sunday                   0.3
Lounge                            0.5
 
Mathcore                         1.8
Avant metal                     2.1
Atmospheric black         1.7
Folky black                      1.8
Orchestral black             0.6
Raw black                       0.7
Black metal                     2.2
(all black                         7.0)
Death metal                    1.7
Osdm demos                   0.7
Doom metal                     3.1
Uncle metal                     0.1
Fancy metal                    0.2
Power metal                    0.6
Thrash metal                   0.7
General heavy                1.4
‘70s heavy                       0.8
NWOBHM                       0.9
ALL METAL                   21.2      %
 
New wave                       0.8
Japanese avant rock         0.6
Horror                              0.5
Sound effects                   0.5
Pop or no category           2.2
Novelty                             5.2
 
Oldies (40s-60s)             1.5
Oldies (1900-1930)           0.2
Rockabilly                       0.3
Bluegrass                        0.2
Blues                              0.2
Dixie/jugband                   0.4
Jazz      bebop                 0.3
Doowop                           0.5
ALL OLDIES                  3.6%
 
Dissonant prog               0.7
Folk/ethnic prog             0.4
Fusion                           0.7
Heavy prog                    0.3
Modern-times prog         0.4
RIO prog                       0.7
Soundtracky prog          0.2
Symphonic prog           2.4
Zeuhl                             0.8
Zappa                            0.7
ALL PROG                      7.3%
 
 
Punk comps                    2.3
Punk                               1.1
Hardcore                         5.2
Japan punk                     0.6
Oi!                                 0.4
Finland punk                  0.4
Swedish punk                 0.3
Tardcore                          0.3
Uk82                              0.7
Postpunk                         0.8
Noise rock                       0.6
ALL PUNK                      12.7%
 
Ragamuffin / dancehall       0.5
‘70s rap                            0.5
Rap beats                        1.5
Non-english rap                 0.5
Dj scratchin’/mixes            0.7
Rappity rap                      6.6
 
(east: 66%
West: 30%
South: 3%)
 
 
ALL RAP                         10.3%
 
Rocksteady                     0.2
Schultzzz                        0.8
Soundbites                     1.5
Soundtracks                   0.5
Spoken /comedy            1.8
 
Africa                                0.6
Asia                                  0.3
Chanting                            0.4
Greece                             0.06
Gypsy                               0.4
India                                 1.1
Irish                                  0.3
Japan                               1.0
Klezmer                            0.2
Middle east                        0.3
Misc                                  0.6
Scandinavia                        0.3
South/latin America            0.05
Turkey                              0.06
              Pirate shanties                   0.2
ALL WORLD                  7.4%
 
 
(total 94.2%, not including songs which I ain’T listened to yet and the odd TTC joint)
 
AMUSING THINGS ABOUT MY CLASSIFICATION SYSTEM: 
 
“CRUDE” is a category dedicated to a bad habit of mine: searching the internet for all songs with certain words in the title, JUST TO SEE IF I CAN FIND ANYTHING INTERESTING. Words like “buttocks,” (surprisingly few songs. Dissapointing really, especially when you consider there are over 300 songs with the word “anus” in the title) (at least), “peepee”, “poopoo” and so on. The results of some searches are predictable: medical words like “vagina” or “fecal” tend to be only grindcore/deathmetal titles, while in the case of “booty”, duh, funk is highly represented.  But other words are less obvious: “goblin” tends to bring up a LOTTTT of techno. Why do techno douches like goblins? Since when? And when it comes to “armpit,” there’s way more ‘60s artists than you’d imagine. “booger” yields a bunch of country and western tunes or Southern r&b.  “boner” skews very punk rock – not the hardcore punk, but the sloppy, ramonesy/sex pistolsy punk.  A word like “fart” is ALL OVER THE PLACE. You’d think it would just be some Weird Al wannabees, but there’s a suprising amount of avant-garde or experimental bands getting down with their farts. “gnomes” sounds like you’d get a lot of fantasy-themed ‘70s prog, but in fact there’s more death-core bands that come up – you know, the spazzy post-dillinger-escape-plan dongs.  They like them some gnomes. Mysterious. 
 
CREEPY refers to bands that are sot of “quiet heavy metal” – songs that are scary and dark and heavy but played really quiet and ominous like AT ANY MOMENT the monster is going to come out of the closet.  Yes that’s a whole genre!
 
 
 
 
JUKEBOX is where I keep single songs – not full albums. Usually these songs are nostalgic things from when I was a kid. Boston! The jukebox now has like 2,000 songs, which I spice up by adding a lot of filler (say, fake DJ scratching or animal SFX) between them. So a sample playlist might go like:
 
Kansas “carry on my wayward son”
Gibbon grunting
f-f-f-f-f-fresh!!!!
Billy Ray Cyrus “achey breaky heart”
Napalm Death: EUHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!
Etc.
 
 
GRIND: Did you know on Soulseek (a P2P site) you can search for songs BY FILE SIZE? So, hypothetically, you could search for "grindcore" and then rank the results from smallest to largest. By DLing all the smallest files, you could instantly amass a collection of  JUST ONE- OR TWO-SECOND-LONG SONGS.  Consequently, 90% of my grind collection is only used as filler between '70s songs on the jukebox ! Honestly I don't have any use for this genre besides as a joke.
 
 
HORROR: There's actually a whole genre of haloween-themed novelty tunes, most from the '50s and '60s, with titles like "took my baby to the hop BUT MY BABY IS FRANKENSTEIN WTF" or "My baby is a Teenage UFO!"   or "baby baby baby baby baby baby baby baby baby baby werewolf baby baby dragrace LOL deeeeyammnnnnn"
 
KRAUTROCK: this is an irritating label because it seems to refer to “all german music in the early ‘70s.”   Most of which, I discovered, is shitty wanna-be Led Zeppelin nonsense. Even after you edit out all the fake blues and shitty guitar solos, and control-z all the songs with a lead singer who likes to “improvise poetry” over a “jam” (shout-out to the over-rated Can) . . . .there’s still a bewildering diversity of Fritz music left.  And when I’m in the mood for some spacey synths, I don’t want to hear some Kraftwerk drum machines, and when I want drum machines, I don’t want to hear psychedelic jerkoffs. So I had to sort of make my own sub-categories for it.  
 
LATIN: At 1.2% that seems kind of small, but  to me it FEELS like 20% at least, probably because I spent so much time editing the songs. See,  most salsa/merengue songs tend to be like 2 minutes of really shitty ballad-y nonsense with really complex and sappy jazz chord progressions, before the horns go BLAT! BA-BLAT, BLAT, BYONNNNNNNNNNN!!!! and then it settles into a totally rad one-note groove with call-and-response vocals over it. So pretty much 80% of my latin songs I've had to cut out the first minute or so. Besides the collecting of CRUDE songs, this Salsa Surgery is my other bad habit.  But I can't fuckin' help it- there is literally no other genre where the songs are THAT CRAPPY  in front and THAT  PARTYING in the back. It's like the mullet of music.
 
UNCLE METAL is my own term for bands like CIRITH UNGOL, MANILLA ROAD, PAGAN ALTAR, BROCAS HELM, SLOUGH FEG. . . .  the always-unpopular type of old-school metal that is too fast to be doom, too slow to be thrash, too late to be NWOBHM, but continues to this day somehow, galloping into a fan-less future of poorly airbrushed dragon album covers. . . .
 
FANCY METAL is a term I got from the perceptive fellows at the ILLOGICAL CONTRAPTION blog.  According to them, Fancy Metal is like a lot of different melodies at the same time, usually with female vocals or harmony vocals, and a general epic retro-‘80s Maiden vibe to it.
 
NO CATEGORY:  I have so little pop music, I stash it here, so Blondie and ABBA can rub shoulders with  Abnormal Growth and Diamanda Galas.
 
SOUNDBITES is my THIRD bad habit (besides CRUDE songs and Salsa Surgery) . . . .I got this sweet freeware called REPLAY MEDIA CAPTURE which I guess most users use to "capture" streaming porn so they can watch it later. But I use it to steal the audio punchlines of cartoons – Simpsons, mostly, but also Harvey Birdman, Family Guy, Sunny in Philadelphia, or pretty much any movie with a rediculous dialogue.  I have a shamefully large amount of soundbites, which also wind up as filler in the JUKEBOX.
 
For example:
 
Abba "gimme gimme a man after midnight"
Frank: "What the shit is a thundergun?"
Dio: "rainbow in the dark"
Llama Spitting SFX
Mooninites "we smoke as we flip the bird"
Zapp : "more bounce to the ounce".
Neil Hamburger "sigh . . . . .oo-kayyyy."
 
SCHULTZZZ is my own bands. 813 songs so far!   That means I have more of MY shit than I do Lounge, Old School Death Metal, Power Metal, New Wave, Horror, Rockabilly, Bluegrass, Classical, Bebop, Doowop, Dancehall, Soundtracks, or Pirate Shanties.
 
 
 
Moving on, let's look at all the music i own BY REGION:
 
 
NORTH AMERICA
/CARRIBEAN                 41.5%
WEST EUROPE                          24.2
ASIA                                           5.2
EAST EUROPE                           2.3
AFRICA                                       1.4
SOUTH/LATIN AMERICA              0.8
MIDEAST                                    0.5
AUSTRALIA                                 fuck’em.
 
 
And BY COUNTRY why not.
 
USA                    37.4%
England               8.0
Japan                 4.6
Germany            2.9
Sweden              2.3
Finland               2.2
France                2.2
Norway               1.7
Italy                    1.2
Canada             1.2
Russia              0.9
Jamaica            0.8 (sorry)
Holland             0.5
Ireland               0.46
Australia           0.44
India                  0.41
Spain                0.35
Swiss                0.32
Belgium             0.33
Poland 0.32
Cuba                  0.27
Puerto rico         0.26
Ukraine              0.26
Israel                 0.25
Austria              0.24
Czech               0.24
Israel                 0.24
Ethiopia             0.21
Dominican         0.17
Hungary            0.17
Mexico              0.17
Colombia          0.17
Bulgaria            0.16
Nigeria              0.15
Denmark            0.14
Brazil                 0.13
Indonesia           0.1
Balkans             0.1
Argentina           0.1
Mali                    0.09
Thai                   0.0 9
Saharan Africa    0.09
China                 0.09
Egypt                  0.07
Morocco             0.06
Benin                0.05
 
SUMMARY: in your face, Benin! 
 
Well, that's it for now, people. Join me next time as I write 5,000 words describing the proper way to re-roll toilet paper back on the tube after you've unspooled the whole thing.
 
Because WHAT KIND OF SHEEPLE USES UN-HACKED TOILET PAPER??!???!?
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Mexico