Tokyo Damage Report

the banality of Orwellian government: a satire in two acts

Now the FBI is in the headlines trying to get the authority to warrantless wiretap citizens. And the DOJ is bugging the AP. The most SMFH thing about this is not that the government is spying on innocent citizens – we all knew that. The SMFH thing is that  even  this Brave New Cyber 1984 world is chock- full of  banal Dilbert office politics and petty infighting between agencies. Like, it’s not too oppressively Orwellian, it’s oppressively too FAMILIAR.
FBI CHIEF: What? The NSA is monitoring everyone’s phone and email and texts? That’s fucked up Mr. President!  That is a grave injustice, Mr. President! Howcum they get to but we don’t? No fair! The NSA are just total dicks! 
NSA CHIEF:  but  the painstaking legal acrobatics of YOUR  “laughably illegal presidential authorization memo which no one is allowed to see”  authorize slightly different categories of targets than the panstaking legal acrobatics of OUR “laughably illegal presidential authorization memo which no one is allowed to see”, so it would be just TERRIBLE GOVERNMENT OVER-REACH if we let you copy any of our wiretaps.
FBI CHIEF:   You see, Mr. President? You see how he is? Some al Queda guy in a cave knows what “CONTROL+V” means but this guy doesn’t????
*DHS CHIEF ENTERS* But Daaaaddd!!! If the FBI gets to construct a totally redundant and expensive system to monitor the 90-percent-of-the-same emails that the NSA is monitoring, then we have to get our OWN redundant and expensive system! Google said it would be ok, and also FBI are just pricks!  
NSA CHIEF:   You get to do extraordinary renditions and you don’t share, and now you want to copy our thing??? Penis breath!
FBI: Anyway we thought of it first!
DHS: Liar! Butt munch!
OBAMA: Everyone shut the fuck up! Jesus, you kids! OK, you can all have your own expensive, totally redundant, incompatable, and overlapping systems to violate everyone’s civil rights. BUT, you have to subcontract the construction to a bunch of private sector scam-artists, fuckups, and cronies who will jack up the price, while storing all the people’s private data in a shoebox in the middle of the street where any 14 year old Chinese kid can hack it.
FBI: You are firm but fair, sir.

RELATED: what gets me isn’t the Orwellian descent, but the utterly childish, Asperger’s, Calvin-ball nature of the justifications:

Well, OK, the “torture” and “worldwide secret prisons” and the “read-everyone-ever’s-emails” policy and the “assassinate our own citizens based on secret evidence” dealies weren’t voted on by Congress, or, you know,  even made public at all, but it’s so totally allowed because the President paid a lawyer to come in and type up the memos with lots of “whereas”es and “aforementioned”es and “party of the first part”s.  Then we paid a second lawyer to click his heels three times and sprinkle the memos with Constitution Dust while reciting the powerful spell "OHWA TADI KAYAMM".  Did you ever see the part in the Godfather where Brando writes a memo assassinating his enemies? No? That’s because CROOKS DON’T DO THAT. Geez.
And the totally legal-because-of-jargon memos are immediately rushed to a safe in the Pentagon basement which no one is allowed to open. And the secret safe is also situated in the Time-Out Zone on the other side of Cootie City, so it's super super against the rules to even mess with it. But . . . . we printed them on real paper.  If we just copied them on a flash drive which we gave to the Joint Chiefs of Staff, that would be tyranny. Duh. And of course you Glenn Greenwald types would have a point if we just printed out ONE copy.  But we printed out MULTIPLE COPIES, and put all the copies in the same safe. This isn’t fucking Syria. Plus the multiple copies are on Magic Human-Rights Paper, we’re bringing in a wizard on Tuesday to laminate them. Just to be on the safe side. We're not taking any of these steps lightly. 
But you wingnuts still aren’t satisfied? I suppose you want us to stop fluoridating the water too?  You think Hologram Tupac killed JFK with time-travel bullets?
Fine, we’ll let the leaders of the Congressional counterterrorism committee read the assassination memo, but only if they don’t bring pencils, make notes, or consult their own lawyers about the constitutionality of what they read. Also they can’t read odd-numbered pages, and they have to touch the countertop three times everytime they read a verb.  We are a nation of rules and laws here.

New Rap Song About NRA





Wayne LaPierre, he ain’t playing fair

High heels, bustier, lingere derriere

His style is suspicious, these violent hypocrites is

Switching up,   playing both sides of the fences

“Gun control is bad, crooks will always get guns”

They should know, because they’re the ones who’s selling to thugs!

Sell a nine to you, Sell a mac to your spouse

A bazooka to the dude who’s a-breaking into your house.

You can get my meaning The NRA’s biting

the hand that’s feeding

They’re laughing at you, after you leave the meeting

they’re calling you a sucker

Saying, if our rank-and-file only knew the real number

Of guns we’ve put in the hands of crooks,

Because of loopholes we put on the books,

All paid for with our members’ dough

Which we take to DC buying hookers and blow

For a scandalous representative from Kansas

Givin’ protection to gunrunners and bandits

And I don’t need heat

to jack for beats

Just a sonar crack and some mp3s

Got these firearms causing higher harm

Than ten nine elevens every year

That’s thirty al quaeda bombs

and it’s not terror

it’s wayne la Pierre

keeping the spotlight off of the real players

like Hi-Point, Bryco, And smith and Wesson,

so kids that’s investin’ get returns on their shares.

And You’ll never hear, all about rea-ALL-co,

100 crimes a year, 100 deadly salvos

All from one store, and thanks to ALEC

The ATF can’t make it public.

So exercise your rights Cap a caribou twice,

hit the range every night But don’t be a chump, 

have a lil self respect now  They shitting down your neck,

 you got a mighty smear you’re looking silly troop

get some tide out and some cheer   So While you wash your ghillie suit, 

just Sing the chorus in your boxers be obnoxious ‘billy dudes

Wayne LaPierre, he ain’t playing fair

High heels, bustier, lingere derriere

His style is suspicious, these violent hypocrites is

Switching up,  playing both sides of the fences

We’re the only way to keep your rights (BULLSHIT!)

It’s communist to compromise (BULLSHIT!)

We give a fuck who lives and dies (BULLSHIT!)

We’re on the law abiding side (BULLSHIT!)

We got a Ouija board direct to John Wayne (BULLSHIT!)

He says freedom and murder is the same (BULLSHIT!)

We only want to keep you safe (BULLSHIT!)

Every single solitary syllable we say is (BULLSHIT!)

And the maker makes em cheap – he says thank you wayne

Knowing the customers are creeps – he says thank you wayne

I buy  20 at a time – I say thank you wayne

When I cross a state line with ‘em - thank you wayne

And sell them to a felon or a nihilist – I say thank you wayne

With no background check because it’s private - I say thank you wayne

If I can sell ‘em to a terrorist - he says thank you wayne

Even selling on the net  - we say thank you wayne

And even though it’s evil yeah, every step’s still legal fair

Right up ‘til your daughter gets put into a wheelchair

thank you wayne , YOU say thank you wayne, YOU say thank you wayne.

Wayne LaPierre, he ain’t playing fair

High heels, bustier, lingere derriere

His style is suspicious, these violent hypocrites is

Switching up,  playing both sides of the fences

But just who is benefittin’

From all of these decisions?

Is it all for the amendment?

Or did the inspiration

Come from the corporations?

With some fishy vested interests

The heads of which are sittin’

On the board you ain’t elected?

I could do 100 bars about the censorship

With a hundred examples loaded in my extended clip

Who’s the

most crooked gun dealers – you ain’t allowed to know that

Common causes of gun deaths – government can’t show that

Which brands crooks buy most - you can’t be told that

If the truth is on your side, why they hold back

those facts? Cus They don’t trust you

 to make up your own mind.

NRA is on whose side?

Is it? the guys who buy the stocks  ,to sell the glocks?

And the special hollow points for killing cops

Is it? the patriots whose whole business model

Is sellin to El Narco? They hit the pinche lotto

Is it?  the gun stores who somehow wind up winning

Every time half their inventory goes missing?

Is it? the undertakers, Is it? the wreath makers

Is it? the Bushmasters sitting on the board of directors?

You’re in the last sector, treated like a heckler

Yet you’re begging them to save you

from the danger they created

And you do as you’re plainly told

Because your brain’s controlled

Who got you in a fuckin’ stranglehold.

Wayne LaPierre, he ain’t playing fair

High heels, bustier, lingere derriere

His style is suspicious, these violent hypocrites is

Switching it up, playing both sides of the fences

You supporting us

But we supporting thugs

So they can get more guns

And now you’re scared as fuck, so . . . .

1 comment


DIBS – disinformation beurau of scandal.
The so-called “war on whistleblowers” is only the visible prong of a 2-prong strategy. The administration knows that no matter how hard it tries some stuff will eventually leak. To “prepare the battlefield” for future leaks, the DIBS was created: a super-secret beuaru whose only mandate is to think up fake scandals that are WORSE than whatever might possibly be revealed. The benefits are that, when stuff leaks in the future, 1) people won’t even believe it because of prolonged exposure to DIBS’ constant wolf-cries, or else 2) they will believe it but by that point it will seem tame in comparison, so they won’t be outraged.
The real challenges are, of course 1)  to think of scandals which are that bad. And 2) to persuade the media (who are being, as you will recall, harshly intimidated into IGNORING leaks by the first prong above) to run the stories. That’s where the internet comes in!
But then you run into the inevitable inter-agency conflicts with DHS, NSA, FBI, and other agencies whose job it is to monitor the internet: the DIBS is so secret, they can’t openly tell the other agencies “Hey, it’s OK, don’t mess with the owner of that site, that’s one of OUR stories.”   Since you can’t openly tell that to DHS, NSA, FBI, etc. it becomes important to create a new sub-agency within DIBS whose job is creating fake cover stories for the fake articles, to fool the other agencies. And naturally that sub-agency’s budget grows exponentially with mission creep, threatening to take over the whole organization, and leading to resentment within the staff.
So anyway, from now on when you see some absolutely awful story in the media, you can knowinly smile and say to yourself, “OK, the world is not going to hell, it’s just DIBS doing their thing.”
1 comment

Iron Maiden Venn Diagram

1 comment


There’s been a lot of debate about tea party racism-or-not, a lot of very tedious and inconclusive debate  . . .but I’m finally confident that I have got to the bottom of it: no, they’re not.
I base this on their reaction to the IRS singling their 501c(4) applications out for scrutiny.
Barry was arrested in 1990. After he got out of jail, he was re-elected in ’94.   What the fuck?!? I remember reading this article at the time, and there was a quote from an African-American DC citizen saying basically this:  “It’s not that I think he’s innocent. ALL mayors are guilty. If the FBI looks at ANY mayor long enough, they’ll find a boatload of felonies. So just by CHOOSING to look at the most powerful Black mayor in America, the FBI is guilty. . .  of racism!”
I don’t remember the exact quote . . . the news story was 20 years ago. But I remember being blown away. This was my first time to hear the idea that EVERYONE is guilty and by choosing to LOOK AT one person and not another person, the government can basically choose arbitrarily who to throw in jail. In other words, you can have a system of laws (which in theory apply equally to everyone and are thus fair and rational) which is also totally arbitrary.
Fast forward to 2013, and the IRS catches the Tea Party groups applying for 501c(4) status – which they fucking clearly don’t deserve. 501c(4) is for community service and charity and stuff, it’s explicitly NOT for politics.  Rather than deny they’re political groups, the Tea Parties say exactly what Black DC said: “Since EVERY 501c(4) group is guilty of false filing in order to avoid taxes, singling US out for inspections is an arbitrary persecution.”
So, they’re not racist after all!  And I’m happy to hear they’re against racial profiling, stop-and-frisk, no-knock warrants and the drug war!  Which is the only logical consequence of their anger over IRS “persecution!” 
 Marion Barry Tea Party 2016!!!!

home grown terrorists and secular idealists

People ask, “What is up with home-grown terrorist kids? How can they enjoy all the freedoms of a rich and democratic society and still want to blow up America (or England or Spain or wherever)?”
I think a major reason why “home grown” terrorists exist is that precisely BECAUSE they are growing up in the west, they have no idea how fucked up Muslim countries’ governments are, and no idea the amount of Muslim-on-Muslim violence that goes down, even when infidels are not involved.  And I’m not saying this to bag on Arabs or Muslims. I’m just repeating what the Arab Spring protesters were saying about their own countries.    
Put another way, if you live in a middle-east country, you might love Allah and hate the American and Israeli governments, but at the same time, every day of your life, you’ll be dealing with other folks who are downright jagoffs, who happen to be Muslims. Maybe it’s the secret police, or maybe it’s just a noisy neighbor or a waiter at a restaurant who has an attitude. And you’ll read daily about fights that your sect (Sunni, Shiite, Sufi, Alawite, etc.) is having with another sect WHO ARE ALL HUGE DICKS AND WRONG ABOUT RELIGION. Plus, you'll likely every day see your own politicians invoking the name of Allah to justify whatever corruption they are doing, and you’ll become cynical about that.
So even though you’ll get a daily dose of  "us-vs.-them, good-vs.-evil" rhetoric from your local imam or TV host, you’ll instinctively balance that rhetoric with your daily life experience, like I said above. But “home-grown” terror kids, lack the cynicism about real-life problems in Islamic countries, experience that would allow them to think critically about these messages.
In other  words, home-grown terrorists just get the “AMERICANS ARE KILLING INNOCENT MUSLIM CHILDREN” part, rather than the “SO ARE OTHER REPRESSIVE MUSLIM GOVERNMENTS” part. And probably the jihadi come-back is "Well, you see, any Muslim government that is corrupt is only  corrupt because it's influenced by the West, and really infidels are to blame." But I would bet like 200 yen that most Muslims who buy that bullshit are not living in those countries, but instead living in the West.
Like all ideologies (including the American idea that democracy can be spread with guns and bombs (which even other white-people countries find bizarre) ), everything seems simple the further you go into the abstract, and everything gets much more morally complex and fucked up when you try to implement the ideology in practice.
All that talk  on jihadi forums about “CHILDREN DIED FROM USA BOMBS AND WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO ABOUT IT, YOU POSER?” seems fairly black-and-white . . .The obvious answer is, “Well, I have to join the jihad and avenge the dead children! It’s us Muslims vs. them infidels!”    
But what happens to all that us-vs.-them when you enter village politics in some redneck shithole town where there are like 10 different tribes and 3 versions of Islam and family feuds that go back centuries, and all this guns-and-money being shipped in by foreign governments to fuel Muslim-on-Muslim fighting? And all sides concerned insist that they are the only ones truly doing the will of the Almighty?
Who is “Us” and who is “Them”? 
And to further morally complicate things, . . . . in places like Afghanastan, Syria, and Lebanon, most of that money is actually coming in from other Muslim countries, who you’d think should be trying to STOP the fighting. If you grow up in a middle-east country, you’ll know that the USA is not the only government who is giving military aid to corrupt regimes, and that this money is NOT used for religious purposes but just for power.
But again, if you’re some American or British kid whose immigrant parents never honestly explained to you exactly WHY they left their home country and how corrupt it was, and instead your head is full of bullshit websites that only discuss the religious aspects of jihad, and never the political agendas, then not only will you be brainwashed, but even native Middle-east Muslims would consider you a simpleminded idiot.
The fact is even if you are ready to die for jihad, chances are, by the time you make it through the recruitment phase and the training camp. . . . and you finally get to the front lines. . ..  you’ll wind up working for some dickbag local warlord who gives 10% of a shit about Islam and 90% of a shit about fucking underage prostitutes, extorting the (Muslim) locals to  within an inch of their lives, and whose idea of a fun weekend is smuggling 3 million dollars worth of khat. And you’ll be dying for HIS aims, not for Allah. And you’ll most likely be killing like – best case scenario – 1 or 2 Americans and 20 Muslim locals who were in the wrong place at the wrong time. 
Who is “Us” and who is “Them”? 

(ironically, or maybe not, this is the exact same problem faced by US troops you're trying to kill!  The US troops  who are doing counterinsurgency in those countries: "Which warlord do I bribe vs. which do I assassinate? When should I try to "win hearts and minds" and when should I take out a wedding party?")


Regardless of which side you're on, thinking you are fighting a global battle for world domination/salvation and the ultimate final victory of good over evil is way more fun than fighting for small incremental local changes in the real world. Not only does local real-world change take longer, but you have to be accountable for the results. Double fail!
On the other hand, the attraction of thinking in big, abstract, global terms is twofold: You elevate your own importance and the purity of your ideals while at the same time blithely ignoring all the corruption, counterproductive side-effects and moral-slash-physical quagmires that happen when you try to implement those ideas.
For example, here are two ways of describing life at a forward operations base in Afghanistan: “Going on foot patrol 90 minutes a day just to get shot at or blown up by an IED, before running back to base, then doing the same thing again tomorrow, forever.” Compare that to: “Saving the world for democracy while nation building and employing state of the art counterinsurgency strategy!”  Which of those sounds better to you? They are both describing the exact same thing, just at different levels of abstraction.
While I disagree with the view that “The American GWOT (global war on terrorism) is just as religiously motivated as jihadi violence”, I would say there’s a grain of truth. The grain is: both the crazy imams and also chicken-hawk American national security goofballs like Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, and T. Friedman tend to see things in terms of abstract ideals and are living in this wacky dream world to the extent that they are willing to send people off to die for abstractions.   Which sounds religious to me!
So, in summary,  I set out to bag on home-grown terrorists but wind up bagging on my own government.

design festa spring 2013 roundup

OZEKI ISAMU's gag panels about contemporary Japanese cultural foibles

NISHIMURA GUNDAN's wonderful character design


JACK POY's incredible Ghibli-Meets-Bladerunner photoshoppery


EM's awesome series , the theme of which is: "cute girls posing with insect larvae and other soft garden critters"


NAO KITANO's incredibly lush retro-Edo mythological paintings


TAHAI ROMAN's retro '30s stuff


TERADA SO's "modern day family crest" series


SAME P 's  hallucinatory gay catholic illustrations


KIKOMU RIN's series "if  various desserts were personified as cute anime girls"


SANKAKUSHA's wonderful "street fashion" zine of grandmas (instead of '90s Harajuku girls)


AKAI HYOUHON's retro '30s grotesque/patriotic work


YUTORI GAL – chaotic graffitti like schoolgirls. No anime or "moe" here.


TSUKI NO KAERU – giant mechanical levitating spheres and rabbits

NORIHIRO TAKECHI – the ultimate taboo . . .women who look like real women.

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how about a REAL new music format?

When I was a kid, we had LPs and cassette tapes. CDs were the “new thing” that was supposed to “change the way you listened to music”.  No one was sure exactly what would change, except you were supposed to throw all your LPs in the trash and spend your change on replacement CDs.  Because. . . shinier!!!!
Then mp3s happened, and this really DID change things. . . they changed the way music was DISTRIBUTED. And various Apple products changed the way you could CARRY your music – 150 gigabytes of it per pocket.  
But here’s my point: exactly NONE of these advances (more shiny, more free, smaller) actually changed the WAY we listen to music.  
In fact, in terms of the ONLY THING I CARE ABOUT . . . .we’re still listening to music the way we did back in the days of WAX CYLINDERS.  
We’re still listening to PRE-MIXED MUSIC.
All these advances in technology and we still aren’t able to pick and choose the volume levels of the various instruments. Just like back in the wax cylinder days.
 How many songs have you heard that sound great on headphones but shitty on your car stereo?  YOU SHOULD BE ABLE TO FIX THAT. How many songs have amazing riffs but you can’t ever listen to them because the asshole engineer made the hi-hat louder than the fucking snare? YOU SHOULD BE ABLE TO FIX THAT. How many bands are awesome but have one particular band member that just fucks it up (usually the singer or keyboardist)? YOU SHOULD BE ABLE TO MUTE THAT. How many totally rad guitar riffs have you heard but you can’t learn them on your own guitar because of all the other instruments playing over it? YOU SHOULD BE ABLE TO SOLO THEM. How many songs are awesome but the lyrics are so fucking dumb that you just wish the singer would shut up? Until we invent some filter that automatically translates English sounds to Esperanto or some other language nobody knows in real time, YOU SHOULD BE ABLE TO MUTE THEM.
Think about it: everything recorded in a studio since the ‘60s has each instrument on a different track. THE VAST MAJORITY OF THAT INDIVIDUAL-TRACK DATA HAS BEEN PRESERVED. 
When you’re listening to some beatles song, you’re likely listening to something recorded on a 16-track.  Why are they selling you a 2-track recording (stereo)? Fuck this “quadraphonic” or “surround sound” bullshit. I want ALL the tracks.
I mean, what is the fucking holdup? Memory? You can fit the library of congress in a USB drive shaped like a dog dong. Copyright? As long as you’re not copying the individual tracks, it wouldn’t be any different than owning the stereo pre-mixed version.  Playback technology? Sure, record players and CDs were limited to 2 tracks (right and left). But as soon as we started using computers to play our mp3s – the SAME EXACT COMPUTERS THAT WE USE TO HOME-RECORD 64-TRACK JAMS ON – then the last technological barrier to mass-marketing music as individual tracks went away.
 If you really want to talk about “technology is changing the way people listen to music”, let’s fucking do this right. If you really want to make people pay to re-get music they already fucking paid for in a new format, fucking make it a REALLY NEW FORMAT.
Here’s how it would work: you pay for a 32-track song (for example).  You’d get 32 mp3 files, plus another file that would have the “default” mixer settings for your player’s mixer.  Then you could tweak, mute, louden and quieten the individual tracks however you felt, and save various re-mixes with the original file.  You could even swap mixes with your friends WITHOUT ILLEGALLY SHARING THE SONG. You’d just be sharing the mixer settings, which would be useless to anyone who had not paid for the song. 
So next time you hear some Wired magazine douche or Apple brandwhore talking about how technology is great, remind them that we are actually 18 years behind the fucking times.

so this is what i have been doing all this time

For the past months I've been doing a SECRET ART PROJECT.




This is a rediculous, immature, and probably illegal concept. But it is also a concept that I'm sure millions of people have thought of but NO ONE HAS EVER DONE IN A SYSTEMATIC WAY.  Put another way, this is something that really ought to have been done by some enterprising pervert way in the '80s (when the OFFICIAL marvel handbook of everything-but-dongs was first published) . . ..  but still remains undone.   I couldn't wait for a real comic-book artist to draw that shit anymore.  Also, I couldn't pass up the chance to be first at something.  So I DIY'ed some wangs in various states AND PUT IT ON THE INTERNET as one does.


Since I don't particularly want to get this site destroyed by intellectual property lawyers, I've put the offensive material up on a Tumblr.


The Tumblr is here. Go here to see all 50 drawings of super dongs.


Also here is the art in the form of a zip file.


Furthermore, while searching for *source material* I found these, which are awesome.



tour guide updated

broken links fixed and out-of-business businesses deleted.

Also: despite the hype about facebook/tumblr/whatever,  I can't seem to find a "social media page" or "community" about "PEOPLE IN TOKYO WHO LIKE TO MEET IN REAL LIFE TO DISCUSS PEAK OIL, MIDDLE EAST POLITICS, AND THE NATIONAL SECURITY STATE".   

Does anyone know if such a group exists, online or in RL?



First, there were yuurei (幽霊) and youkai(妖怪), Japan’s traditional monsters, demons, capricious faries and vengeful ghosts. Now, there were toshi densetsu (都市伝説) “urban legends”. Toshi densetsu are basically yuurei-type vengeful-ghost stories which involve modern technology such as TV (“The Ring”), plastic surgery (“Kuchisake-onna”) or train fatalities (“Teke Teke”). 

But still, these toshi densetsu are too old-fashioned because they are just a facelift of an outdated artform. If you really want to scare a Japanese person, you’ll have to come up with entirely new horrors. So I bring you, the 新生代都市伝説 (shinseidai toshidensetsu) . . . . the NEW GENERATION URBAN LEGENDS.

NAME: 5時に帰るサラリマン
ENGLISH NAME:The salariman who went home at 5pm
SHOCK POINT: HE HAS DINNER WITH HIS OWN FAMILY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Fear factor: 5

NAME: 飲み会へ行くものかOL
ENGLISH NAME:The OL who didn’t go to the nomikai
Fear factor:4

NAME: 不気味なほど静かである電車男子高生の連中
ENGLISH NAME:The eerily quiet group of high school boys on the train
                            THEIR NECKTIES WERE STILL TIGHT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Fear factor:2

NAME: 何も可愛くないと思ってる子
ENGLISH NAME:The young lady who doesn’t think anything is cute
IF SHE CATCHES YOU, SHE WILL SAY THIS SCARY DIALOGUE:: “kawaii” is for little kids. I’m 17 so I want people to like me for my interesting opinions and technical skills.
Fear factor:5

NAME: ただ学生がゼンゼン居ないという理由で勝手に夏休みした先生
ENGLISH NAME:The school teacher who went on summer vacation merely because “there were no classes to teach”
Fear factor:3

NAME: 学校の部活ゼンゼンやってないなのに人当たりがいい中学生
ENGLISH NAME:The popular, active middle-school kid who wasn’t in any clubs at all
Fear factor:4

NAME: エロくもないスケベもない看護師
ENGLISH NAME:The nurse who was neither horny nor sexy
Fear factor:5

NAME: 中東の政治しか話せないキャバ女。
ENGLISH NAME:The kabajo that would only discuss middle east politics
Fear factor:3

NAME: 年ボーナスも健康保険も与えられる派遣労働者
ENGLISH NAME:The temp worker with a yearly bonus and paid health insurance
Fear factor:2

NAME: 入学試験より命に大事なことを教えたせんせい。
ENGLISH NAME:The teacher who , instead of just teaching how to pass a college entrance exam, actually taught kids things that would be important in life
Fear factor:3

NAME: 携帯を持ってない女子高生
ENGLISH NAME:The schoolgirl who didn’t have a keitai
IF SHE CATCHES YOU, SHE WILL SAY THIS SCARY DIALOGUE: Have you seen my keitai? That’s because I don’t have one! I read BOOOOOKSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! NON FICTIONNNNNNNNNNNNN!
Fear factor:4

NAME: 鬼腕章ジジ
ENGLISH NAME:The evil armbands!
STORY: the armbands crawl onto the arms of ojiisans, and possess them. The “possessed armband ojiisans” do many abnormal things to strangers, but no one ever complains because people assume that the ojiisans are working for the city government. Usually they do things like steal bicycles or confiscating tobacco, but sometimes they do more weird stuff like confiscating people’s socks or pets.
Fear factor:3

NAME: 自分のしかたは課長のしかたより効果的新人
ENGLISH NAME:The junior worker whose method was different than the boss’ method
Fear factor:5

NAME: 想像力だけでオナニー出来る男
ENGLISH NAME:The single guy who jerked off using just his imagination,
Fear factor:5

NAME: “ツマラナイです!だれも構いません”しか言えないタレント
ENGLISH NAME:The talent / idol who would only say “This is so boring! Who cares? ”
Fear factor:4

NAME: 無料不動産屋
ENGLISH NAME:The real-estate agency who let you use their computers to find your own apartment without charging any finders’-fees or key money.
Fear factor:2

NAME: 金持ちなのに自分の子供をお下がり着せるママ
ENGLISH NAME:The wealthy mother who dressed her youngest baby in hand-me-downs!
Fear factor:3

ENGLISH NAME: An abnormal “life insurance company”. Instead of paying money to the man-in-debt’s family if a man-in-debt kills himself, this life insurance only pays off if the loanshark dies.
Fear factor:2

ENGLISH NAME:The hikikomori that is living IN YOUR HOUSE RIGHT NOW
Fear factor:3

NAME: 天気に同意出来ないおねえさんたち。
ENGLISH NAME:The one-sans who can’t agree on the weather
One-san 1: 暑いですね!
One-san 2: “. . . .”
One-san 1: 暑いですね!
One-san 2: 寒いですね!
One-san 1: 暑いですね!
One-san 2: オメェ!この便女!Fucking kill you!
Fear factor:2

NAME: 小さい街の地域短期大学から卒業した大蔵省の役人
ENGLISH NAME: The senior Finance Ministry official  who graduated from a small town community college
Fear factor:4

NAME: 呪われた高校野球の監督
ENGLISH NAME:The cursed high school baseball coach whose team could win every single game . . ..
Fear factor:5


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.


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.


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.


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.  


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)


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.


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.”


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:


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).


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”


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.  


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.”


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.


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:


  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.


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:
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?!?!?”


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:


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!