AUTHOR: Tim Rogers at Kotaku
FINDER OF THIS BLESSED GEM: Tyler Cowen
SUJBECT: Japan, the author's current country of residence
LENGTH OF SCREED: 15,921 words
THINGS AUTHOR LIKES ABOUT JAPAN: 4
THINGS AUTHOR DOES NOT LIKE ABOUT JAPAN: Much more numerous
TIME SPENT IN JAPAN: "Many years"
'FACT': "I have never seen anyone playing Tekken 6 without also smoking a cigarette."
WHAT AUTHOR SAYS TO IMAGINARY READERS SHOUTING 'MMM! DELICIOUS GREASE BUBBLES!' AS HE EXPLAINS FRUSTRATION WITH OMNIPRESENT MEAT IN NONMEAT PRODUCTS: "Save it, asshole! Let me finish: I don't eat meat because I don't like things like grease bubbles."
WHAT HE DOES LIKE DOING: "making up the weirdest fake reasons for not eating meat"
SUCH AS: "I wouldn't want to ingest an animal weak or dumb enough to enter a life of slavery under another species, that the only meat I would eat would be that of an animal which a human cannot actually kill"
CONNECTION TO ANOTHER PROBLEM WITH JAPAN: "People don't get sarcasm or irony"
RELEVANCE OF AUTHOR'S ALCOHOL ALLERGY: Useful for illustrating the burden of mandatory company parties in Japan, high prices for surfing the Internet on Japanese cell phones, and the usual placement of Japanese bars "60 feet underground"
MORE ON JAPANESE SCREAMING:"the biggest electronics stores actually keep ladders on hand so that certain employees can climb the ladders and scream indecipherable words down at the customers, through megaphones."
REFERENCES TO THE MATRIX: 1
NUMBER OF WORDS DEVOTED TO AWFULNESS OF JAPANESE COMEDY: 997
REFERENCE TO THE AUTHOR'S PERSONAL LIFE: "Years later, I was dating a woman who might have really hated me."
ON MARKETING: "It is my opinion that Japanese businesses generally suck at marketing."
ON CROISSANTS: "They made a lot of little pastries, you know, just flinging shit at the wall."
ANECDOTE REGARDING JAPANESE TELEVISION:
A coworker prepared a new variety of cup ramen for lunch; another co-worker looked at it and said "UMASOOOOOU" like he was on TV. Dude took a bite of the ramen, slurping it loudly, like people do on TV, like you're supposed to do it. "UMAI!" he yelled, before the heat of the boiling water could even vent out of his mouth. Japanese television is a way of programming the mannerisms of tomorrow's society and/or/by propagating the mannerisms of yesterday. It scared the shit out of me. Once I got back from the toilet, I thought about it some more, and realized that Japanese television is mostly something people put on in the background; it's wallpaper for conversations.ON GARBAGE: "It's hard to find a garbage can in Tokyo. That's why the city is so clean — the people carry their garbage everywhere. In addition to being a metaphor for the en-masse bottling-up of passive aggression in Tokyo, it's also the truth."
ON JAPANESE DEMOGRAPHICS AND MARITAL BLISS: "The birth rate in Japan is plummeting, and something like 33% of newlywed couples ask for two master bedrooms in their new homes. People aren't having sex, and they're not trying to set the world on fire financially, either."
ON CONSULTANTS: "At one office where I worked for a while, they actually hired a guy from an efficiency expert firm to sit in the office for a week and analyze where the staff should sit."
ON JAPANESE SMALL TALK:
I swear, at every party I've ever been to in Japan, this exact conversation has occurred, word for word:ON STORES PUTTING TAPE OVER BARCODES TO INDICATE PURCHASE: "For some reason, the longer I live in Tokyo, the more this really shits me off."
"This beer is delicious!"
"Yes! This beer is delicious!"
"There's nothing quite so delicious as a cold beer after a hard day of work!"
You know those trees in "Lord of the Rings", where they have to sit in a circle for an hour making low sounds just to say "hello" to one another? That's what this is like.
ON JAPANESE WEATHER: ":-/"
WORDS DEVOTED TO WHETHER VIDEO GAMES CAN MAKE US BETTER PEOPLE: 897
CAPPED OFF WITH: "And that, basically, is what's been on my mind the past five years."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.