Monday, September 25, 2006

Muslims, Pork, and Rednecks

Caution: I lost control of this post about 3/4 of the way down.

Sometimes it seems like I'm always the last to know.

So I had this interview thing on Satuday at 8am, which took over 4 and a half hours. Not bad for an interview. Jeepers. Either way, no hanging out in Tokyo on Friday night for me, so I came right home after jiujitsu, watched a little Conan, and passed the fahggout.

Anyway, the li'l lady wanted to go driving on Saturday, so I said "roger that" and she cruised down to my locale at about 2 or 3pm. Since most Japanese people don't have cars, and driving in the city is such a pain in the ass, it's sometimes nice to go for a little "country drive" from time to time, so it was a nice break from the grind. Anyway, south-south-west we cruised -- where we were going, I did not know, but apparently she somehow did, even though she kind've pretended like there was no plan. She saw a sign and said, "Wanna go there?" and I was like "yeah sure whatever," and we turned off.

The place was called "Yamanakako", which means something like "Inner-Mountain-Lake" or "Mountain-Inner-Lake" or "A lake that is in the mountains" or something like that. Usually I ignore names in Japan because they're not literal, kinda like in the USA. For instance, if I say "I'm going to Cedar Rapids," people generally don't think that I'm going white water rafting amid some trees. So we're driving along, doop-de-doo, we turn a corner after driving through winding mountain roads, and BLAMMO, there's a giant fucking lake right at the base of Mount Fuji.

Here's what it looks like.

Unfortunately, it was really cloudy, so it looked a little bit more like this:

I was pretty surprised, and demanded to know why I was unaware of this little piece of heaven, a mere 2 hour drive from my house.

She shrugged and looked at me like I'm dumb, 'cuz I am.

So we cruised around to some other places, checked out an outlet mall, and headed back.

"I SHALL RETURN," I shouted in my best MacArthur voice, and drove back to Tokyo. All and all, a very fun trip.

We made it back and decided to hit up this all-you-can-eat/drink Yakiniku place, which usually ends in disaster for me. For 2500yen, which is like $21.50, there is an all-you-can-eat/drink course which lasts for two hours. Most Japanese approach these deals with a level head, and figure, "Yay, we can enjoy ourselves without worrying about the price!" As you can probably imagine, though, Americans see "all you can eat/drink" deals as more of a "I have two hours to force as much beer and meat into my gizzard as I possibly can, let's whoop it on!" I am no different. Alas, I'm a slave to my cultural upbringing.

.....aaaaaaaaaaaaaand scene!

Imagine a world where the fois gras goose and the farmer are one in the same. And instead of figs, its meat and beer. And instead of harvesting the liver, the goose/farmer combo nearly pass out at the table.

That was me.

Anyway, every time I eat pork, I think about Muslims, cuz Muslims don't dig on swine. That's fine. No swine is fine. Everytime I think about Muslims not diggin' on swine, I think of how Afghans don't dig on swine either. Every time I think about how Afghans don't dig on swine, I think about how some of the rednecks in our program thought it was really fun to feed the Afghans pork-products without the Afghans knowing it.

"Haiy Main, didjoo see thay-yut? I may'd thayut po-leece chief eat a poh-wurk saw-sidge! a-hyu-hyu-hyu-hyu."

I'm sure a lot of people probably get a chuckle out of that, but not me. That makes me so mad, that I have difficulty typing about it even now. And it's not a religion thing. It's not a "har har, git them muslims" thing. The thing that pisses me off about it is the breach of trust. Those Afghans were receiving training to become policemen in various parts of Afghanistan, and their instructors were giving them pork. This was almost as offensive as the time I heard someone bragging about "having a turban painted on the side of his truck." "Har har har," he said, "I have a confirmed kill." "Wow," I replied, "I didn't realize any of our guys had taken fire or anything like that." "Oh, it t'wurn't nuthin laaaik thay-yut," he grinned. "I hit a kid with muh truck and he died."

Yeah. This guy hits a kid with an F250, the kid dies, and he's talking about painting a fucking turban on the side of his vehicle. This incident resulted in me having my first of about 30 tantrums/freak-the-fuck-out sessions in Afghanistan.

At the job interview on Saturday, the interviewer asked me why I took a nearly 66% pay-cut to come to Japan. I answered something like, "Well, it was my goal to come back here, blahblahblah, money's not important, blahblahblah," which isn't false. But what I wanted to say was this:

While the company I worked for in Afghanistan was stellar and grade-A, the people we supported were filth. I lost at least a dozen IQ points and most of my faith in humanity during the 7 months or so I was there, and not because of the Afghans. I realized who some of the people were that we were sending over there to help bring the Afghans back on their feet, and I was thunderstruck by their cultural destructiveness and tried to distance myself from them as best I could. Coming to Japan was a means to not only fulfill my personal goals, but to get away from a level of violence and stupidity I formerly thought somewhat more unlikely to exist among my fellow countrymen.

Don't get me wrong -- a majority of guys over there were good guys, so I guess the stuff I talked about with them (the good guys) doesn't stick out as much in my mind, because it was normal human-to-human interaction. But when I sit back after drinking beers and consuming enough meat for 3 Afghan families, I get a little reflective and can't help but feel a little mudded. I feel guilty for not raising a stink. I feel dirty for being a part of that organization, however loose the association, and being on the same pay role as those 4 or 5 people who were party to some of that shit.

So there I was, all meat drunk and buzzed from beer, thinking about Muslims, Pork, and Rednecks. My last thought before crashing like a coke-fiend at Jesus camp was...........them Afghans, they're good peeps...I wish they only knew that the swine they were putting their trust and confidence into were much more inferior than the swine they were being tricked into eating...

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

South Asian Men are Hi-Layree-us!!

I really get a kick out of these guys. Nothin makes us white devils scratch our heads and think, "huh?" more than Asian men.

I like saying "Asian men" when referring to Pakistanis and Afghans because it's such a silly concept. That's like calling an Egyptian immigrant and African American. Yeah, he's from the African continent, and he's American, but get real. The fact that people would get really upset with me for saying something like that gives me a serious case of the giggles. I had a really liberal rhetoric teacher in college. She said that we could only say "African American" if the person was from Africa and descended from slaves. One time I was in her office and she referred to an author as a "person of color". I said, "Oh, I didn't know she was black." She repressed a gasp and said, "She's Jewish." I said, "Jewish people are people of color?" and she puffed out her chest and proclaimed, "...the Holocaust saw to that." (meaning that they can't be considered white, for some reason). I understand why she thinks that, much in the way that I understand why fundamentalists act like assholes. Understanding isn't condoning. In any case, racial labels like that are interesting. Another thing I like to say to people is "Mexicans are really good Marines". People aren't sure how to respond to that. They want to get mad at me for generalizing, but at the same time I'm paying people with Mexican heritage a really high compliment. Oh, how to be offended? What to do?!?!?

I've said it before on here and about a million times over on Brando's little spot on the innernet, but a lot of the symbolism that these Asian men use also rates high on my giggle-scale. Namely the destruction of KFC. We all know that these fellas are really big into symbolism, and that sneezing on a copy of the Koran is more grave than gang-raping women as punishment for minor infractions. Here's a pic I stole from

I like the strategically placed bucket. Gotta love them stringers.

While they probably see the defilement of Colonel Sanders as some sort of military victory over a famous Soldier, it's pretty high on the 'whatever' factor for me. But some things, well, some things are just taken too far:

What the hell? How are you gonna burn Ronald McDonald? I took this picture, by the way. Yeah, I was there. I added a little speech bubble for what my buddy Ahmed was saying:

Can you believe that?!?!

And look at his buddy Mehmet there in the background. Know what he was saying?

This is an outrage!!! I'm going to take my shoe off and smack a copy of the Koran with it! I feel this will thoroughly display my outrage and somehow excuse the fact that I have no concept of what a job is!


I wonder when these dudes will realize that Americans don't give a shit if they destroy McDs and KFC. In fact, most American hipsters would high-5 them. Don't our Asian brothers know that McDs and other fast food chains are a symbol of American corporate imperialism? Oh wait, they do, which is why they don't like us. Not because they're ignorant, sociopathic, sexually repressed xenophobes rallied together by religious leaders with similar social disorders. Hey fellas, check it out: Wanna piss Americans off? Succeed. Do well. Show us that you're not pieces of shit. Community leaders can stand up and not tolerate this bullshit because it reflects poorly on them, not on the USA or the American people. That'd "show us" a lot more than burning a ceramic statue of a redheaded clown, you assholes.

Anyway, I've been pretty disappointed with Pakistan lately because they're proving me right. I've been running around for the last couple of years talking about what a poser country Pakistan is. It seemed like every 6 months or so they'd nab a terrorist and be like, "Look at what we are doing for the GWOT! Oh, nevermind that enormous chunk of land that we have no control of, nor a populace of people who hate you." And now they've pulled troops from Waziristan and released 2,500 prisoners. Hmm, wonder where those guys will head? Now they can stage attacks on Kabul and feel totally justified about it, because they don't see themselves as being responsible for their actions. The Cindy Sheehans of the world will make excuses for them and openly hope for their success, then blame the "neo-cons" the next time one of these whackjobs hits a world-trade-center-like homerun. Thinking about the possibilities in Pakistan and the aforementioned horsepucky seriously gives me the butterflies. I also think it's funny when G-Dubya talks about establishing a democracy in Pakistan. I can't think of a more horrible idea.


Ugh. Americans are so blissfully ethnocentric. I'm just waiting for the dam to break and hope I'm somewhere safe when it does. *shudder*

Oh, on a more serious note, here's a picture of me feeding pizza to Joe's ass this weekend in Austin.

Monday, September 11, 2006


アイ ミス ユー 亜紀!!...that's between me and the addressee..
...and on to the body of the post:

I write this in the Denver International Airport. Apparently Cedar Rapids Airport is the only place in the country that offers free WiFi, so I can’t check my email or anything like that. Got some time to kill? Hell, I’ll write a blog post.

You, my one reader, may have noticed a little absence on my part. The reason is simple – unlike you, I have a job and “grown-up” responsibilities, and as such have certain things that I must tend to because, again, unlike you, I don’t live in my father’s basement on “disability”.

Just kidding about that stuff. I don’t judge you.

So yeah, I’m stateside right now, as there was a little get together with my platoon from the Marines. It was called “Samapalooza,” in honor of Mr Sam’s entry into UT. Sam has made numerous appearances on this blog and Adventurestan because he visited Japan for a week, was my roommate in the ‘stan, and is completely nuts. Coincidentally, this was the weekend of the OSU – UT game, and my reasons for not following sports were reaffirmed about 100 times over. To me, the only thing more beyond comprehension than covering your body in blue body paint and donning some strange headgear in support of your team is wrapping a pizza parlor tablecloth on your head and blowing yourself to smithereens.

That’s not entirely true, but I’m in the mood for hyperbole. Either way, I wonder if humans are hardwired for that sort of thing. Clearly I am different, likely hardwired to be an Emperor or something like that, to be the one rallied around and supported with fierce, warrior fervor.

I’d like to begin by complaining about stewardesses. I think that a country’s progress in Women’s Rights is easily measured by how the appearance of its stewardesses. I’ll let you munch on that one for a while and realize the brilliance of that statement. Anyway, someone needs to remind American stewardesses that they’re in the fucking service industry. Every shrill command issued from their aged, lined mouths seems to be punctuated with, “….OR I’LL HAVE A SKYMARSHALL COME BACK HERE AND SMOKE CHECK YOU.” And yes, I know about FAA regulations, but the plane’s not going to crash if someone’s seat is back, so stop flipping out about it. Traveling to and in third world nations really opened my eyes to flight regulations much in the same way that a child realizes that they won’t be struck by lightening if they say “shit” when no one’s around. Did you know that you can walk around on the plane when it’s screaming down the runway immediately after touching down and you won’t die? Did you know that you can smoke on planes? Did you know that Russian pilots and chain smoke while flying and most likely be half in the bag and still manage a pretty good landing? It’s amazing. Anyway, I’m tired of being berated and bullied by stewardesses. “Oh but they’re under so much stress.” Bullshit – they’re doing their job, and, as 46 year old women, are probably the least likely individuals to take action if some crazies hijack the plane. And if them spazzing out about a tray table being down is any indication of their stress tolerance levels, I’d hate to see them in a situation where a group of Asian men of unknown religious affiliation do something whacky on the flight. Hell, I feel a little bit of pressure in that area. I know if some asshole stood up and shouted, “I HAVE A BOMB IN MY SHOE! I BLOW YOU!” people would be looking at me to do something simply because I’m not morbidly obese and I’m not that old. Here’s an idea – knock $50 off of everyone’s plane ticket and start a tipping system on planes. There could be a little money slot on the seats and you would put in money based on their performance. That’d make em mind their shit. “Oh, do you think it’s funny to treat me like an idiot because I’ve been flying for the last 15 hours and can’t put together a coherent sentence? No tip for you.”

So, on to happier stuff. No one got arrested in the course of Samapalooza, and the people who came were pretty much an A-list from our “generation” in my platoon, meaning we were all in Hawaii pretty much the same time, and most of us had deployed with everyone else at least once. Hell, 5 of the 6 guys from my first team in Okinawa were there; an impressive showing. I feel bad for guys who really didn’t have an excuse not to come, because it was a really good time and they will be heckled. I’m looking forward to all the, “Durrp, I wish I could have made it but blahblahlameexcuseblahblah.” No one got arrested, though three people got pepper sprayed in the street. Seriously, I was a little worried about getting arrested or hospitalized, but I came through unscathed, which was amazing considering how absolutely insane 6th Street was following the football game.. I didn’t even have any odd bruises. I think that getting horribly drunk on Friday after flying from Japan and throwing up all the next day was a good idea, because it kept me from drinking pretty much anything on Saturday night, making it pretty mellow. I’d like to thank Wojo for setting it up, even though he was being sour at Denny’s this morning, but I can’t really blame him because he was still intoxicated and hadn’t slept yet. Plus I don’t think I’ve ever spent time with Wojo without him renouncing his friendship with someone in our crew. It’s always going to happen, along with him getting kicked out of bars for doing things that are totally inappropriate.

So now it’s on to the parent’s house, where I expect I will meet up with Brando, and hopefully Travis and Eric at some point. The grandparents drove in from Colorado, which is an impressive feat considering they’re in their 80s. 80 is the new, um, 75 I hear..

Anyway, I have a plane to catch. More later…