Muslims, Pork, and Rednecks
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.
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...