Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Coon skin and Alligator hide?!

Oh dear.. This has to be the saddest smoker's etiquette sign I've ever seen. I'm not sure whether it's an anti-smoking ad or a be-kind-to-garbage ad.

Here's a haiku:
The Cigarette butt...
....At the blind corner.....

Makes me wanna go out and pick up cigarette butts. Not because it's littering, which is common here, but because I feel bad for the poor fellas. Speaking of littering, I can't really dog the Japanese too much for littering, because there are no public garbage cans hardly anywhere. There are recycling bins for cans and bottles, but they're usually quite full, so if you have a plastic bag from a convenience store or something, it's not uncommon to carry it around with you for a few hours. I've found that a good strategy is to put it in a corner somewhere I know that janitors frequent, like a bathroom. They'll take care of my little bundle of joy.

So this weekend me and shortie cruised around Ginza for a while. I even bought some clothes. Can you believe it? Anyway, when we exited the subway there was a Taiko performance going on. I've always liked the sound of the drums. It's like Stomp, only instead of using products mass produced by peasants in a factory to put random noises into a cohesive pattern to please over-educated snobs, in taiko, a group of over-educated snobs bangs large, wooden barrels with animal carcass stretched over it to please peasants who work in factories.

Something like that.

Here's a little video of some Taiko going on.

You can't really see it in this video, but they start off really slow and the action escalates until they're jumping around and going completely apeshit, and it sounds awesome.

While many (I guess myself included) would argue that Okinawan music is not "Japanese" music per se, it's also completely awesome and gives me goose bumps when I hear it. Here's a little example of a clip containing a lot of distinctive Okinawan musical traits:

I'm not sure if it's really appealing to most westerners, but I love it and I can listen to it forever. A lot of Okinawan music has a really melancholy feel to it, and it really takes me back to the year I spent there and reminds me of how much I miss it. When I went to Okinawa, I hadn't been to Japan for a while, so the differences between it and mainland probably weren't as marked as they would be if I went there now. I'm itchin' to go back and check it out, for shizzle.

One thing I like to do (or rather I do without realizing it) is I try to look at things that are going on around me as if I were a member of a primitive tribal band. For instance, when a train comes blasting by or I'm at the top of a really tall building, I try and picture what it would be like for someone who knows nothing other than the forest or the jungle. Having not spent my formative years in the Amazon basin, this is obviously impossible, but it's still fun to think about and I never take for granted the things that we have in hypermodern society.

I've been pretty busy with some shit I've been doing, so I don't have much to say. Summer's almost over, and it's been a memorable one to say the least. It was ushered in with Brando's visit, and the week after next I'll be going to Texas for a little reunion with all the guys from my platoon. Should be interesting, to say the least.

No Iowans were harmed in the posting of this blog.


Blogger brando said...

Don't be dissin on Iowa. What a jerk.

I thought the sign was an example of how to successfully get rid of any and all refuse. Now Git!

10:14 AM  
Blogger Paul said...

Yeah, I dunno why I did that. I actually get pretty angry when people think it's funny or cosmopolitan not to know the location of iowa and/or say, "FLOODS IN IOWA? THERE'S NO WATER IN IOWA". I don't know what to say in those sicha-ayshuns.

I guess I just wanted to destroy something beautiful.

10:36 AM  
Blogger brando said...

I enjoyed those drums. I'd like to whack on those drums too. There's really a whole lot of dancing involved too. It looks fun.

I'm a bit reluctant to critique the way the Japanese do stuff because for the most part they really have their shit together BUT, one or two more trash cans would work wonders in place of a sign.

I had to carry around an empty can of Suntory Times because there weren't no gosh darn refuse bins. I ended up crushing it and putting it in my back pocket. I should have followed the sign and chucked it in a blind spot.

Also why are you buying stuff in Ginza? Isn't that the most high end shopping in the world?

3:29 PM  
Blogger Paul said...

Um, B-Double-Oh-C. Ballin out o' control. Thas how we do it up in this mahfagh.

Now giz-nit!

(there are medium-end stores there too. but yeah, all the high-end shit is there too.)

3:49 PM  
Blogger bucket said...

They rarely have public trash cans in Switzerland too but no one dares to litter, we always joked it was a dictatorship of the people.

I even regularly saw a public trash can , which was the size of one most Americans have in their bathroom (small), in my neighborhood being used by the older ladies, the pensioners, for their household garbage. They would sneak up and quickly toss it away. The village ended up removing this public trash can because of it's "misuse", guess only casual trash was allowed.
But you have to pay for each and every bag you throw away in Switzerland, it is kinda like a consumption tax. You also get fined for throwing away verboten items.

Does Japan have such restrictions on trash?

Here in the US my town does not require anything except secret coding for the garbage men to encipher what kind of garbage you have put in each can.

11:54 AM  
Blogger Paul said...

they're really big on recycling here, which is good. im all about recycling, but not if it's an intricate system that i have to figure out and that takes a lot of my time. i simply cant be bothered. :)

when i was living in central tokyo id always forget when the garbage was supposed to go out. i never separated my trash, and the day before garbage day id sneak down at 3am and dump my trash 'cuz there was this old guy at the bottom of my stairs who would always maddog me when i came out.

it seems like a pretty simple formula for a society. no public waste management = filthy ass society. people arent going to walk around for 8 hours with an empty trash bag or a bottle. theyre gonna stash it somewhere.

12:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So i'm confused... Are you telling me that your pension for slovenly behavior is directly related to your acculturation into Japanese society? I seem to remember wading through your piles of "used" underwear to wake you from your sheet-free-mattress slumber.

Is Taiko Japanese or Okinawan?


9:37 AM  
Blogger Paul said...

i wish i had a pension for slovenly behavior. I'd be a rich man.

imma assume you meant penchant, which big gay joe would pronounce as "paw-SHAWN" cuz he likes pronouncing french words correctly.

and no, i was a pig long before i went to japan.

Taiko is Japanese. the okinawan thing on there is called "eisa", and the shit we used to rock out to at karaoke is called "paul being a drunken buffoon". furthermore, you'd better watch your mouth. D-minus-8, shitbag. no hickies.

10:14 AM  
Anonymous Tony said...

According to that sign the Japanese smoke enormous cigarettes. That but is the size of...well.. a garbage can. My wife once had a patient who would cry when he peed because he thought he was making his pee feel bad, because he didn't want it anymore. I wonder what a sign like that would do to that kid?

6:58 AM  

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