Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Why do Japanese people use umbrellas so much?

They are obsessed with them. Many people carry one at all times. And statistically, evey Japanese person owns 7 umbrellas, and as a nation they go through 100 million a year.

At the first sign of precipitation, and often before, they go up. There is no concept that a few drops of rain, 'spitting' as we say, is not going to hurt somebody. Rain, even in the Summer, which I find pleasant, is an evil in Japan, to be resisted and opposed like a foreign invasion or threat to civilization.

In fact, the sea of umbrellas in a crowd of Japanese is a symbol, I fear, of something more than just a few drops of water. It is, like so many things in Japan, symptomatic of a deeper malaise: the fear of nature in general. The same fear, the need and desire for nature to be feared, controlled and avoided, is behind the concreting of Japanese rivers, the chopping down of the forests, the concreting of the seashores, the fear of dirt and infection, even the traditional, thousand-year-old tradition of bonsai, where the natural power of a tree's growth is tamed and perverted. It is one of the great ironies of Japan- and there are many. For a country that is supposedly so enamoured of nature, exactly the opposite is reflected in the behaviour of the people.

Personally I despise umbrellas. One of my pet hates. They are unwieldy, clumsy, a waste of money, and often ineffective.

And if one is able to accept a certain level of precipitation, enough, say, to dampen the shoulders, umbrellas are unnecessary. Admittedly, at times rain is heavy enough to make going outside unpleasant, but if one waits 5 minutes the situation will almost invariably improve. This is because the level of precipiation is changing constantly, and statistically speaking, a random change is likely to trend towards the mean, in this case a situation of no precipitation. That is why a change in the rain, if the rainfall right now is heavy, is likely to be towards a state of rainfall that is less heavy, and very likely to be comfortable to a human being who is not childishly and unnaturally afraid of nearly the most benevolent of weather conditions.

And that's why I don't use umbrellas.

SPARTANS never use umbrellas.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Something Strange About Japanese Breasts

That is, I think.

They are smaller than they claim, size-wise. What a woman claims to be a C-cup would barely muster a B back home. Half of the boob size seems to be in the padding of the bra, which is both generous and ludicrous.

In the summer of 1989 I spent nearly every afternoon making love to Becky Huckster in her family's granny flat while ostensibly helping her cram for her end of year Geography exams. As for what the Japanese would make of her huge bulging bazongas, with those great hairy nipples sticking out like an old man's thumbs, and wriggling blue veins spreading across her chest like lines on a road map, it is impossible to imagine.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Why are there so many trannies on Japanese TV?

Japanese beauty: vagina not necessary

Talks shows. Game shows. Commercials. The Japanese queens, 'okama' are there in strength. Miwa Akihiro. Maeda Ken. Ikko. Haruna Ai. Ayana Tsubaki. Kaba-chan. Can't ignore them. Once you find out they're men, that is.

Some of them are hot. It's a bit disconcerting when you find out for the first time, when your girlfriend informs you.

Then you notice that the okama are excessively feminine, exaggeratedly, absurdly, comedically feminine. They're there to be laughed at, with the possible exception of the old battleaxe Miwa-san. Their value on TV is to provide variety, be laughed at, to amuse.

But what's going on here? Do Japanese people really believe all gays are trannies? Well, I think many do. In Japan, being gay is not about same-sex desire. It's about gender orientation, about being as ridiculously feminine as possible: same-sex desire is about crossdressing. The idea that same-sex attraction involves some kind of transgenderism or desire to be like the opposite sex is constantly reinforced in the media. To be gay is to be a queen. There are no straight-acting gay men.

But of course there are. They're ubiquitous. A casual aquaintance with Japanese night life will gain the average western man more 'Hershey Highway' invitations than an evening in an Oxford Street steam club.

Or hang on...maybe that's just me.

Anyway, gay sex is widely and easily available, and I personally think it is only a small exaggeration to say that Japanese men are constantly shagging each other. Japan is steeped in gayness.

Only it's hidden. Most of the men are married. And most, I suspect, would deny that they are gay. After all, to be gay is to be a cross-dresser. What these guys do is just sex. And as long as it is hidden, it is not frowned upon. Nobody minds. Kind of like sex in general in Japan. As long as sexual practices do not threaten the legitimacy of marriage and household, they are accommodated by Japanese society.

Which is a good thing. Sexuality is not the political battleground it is in the West. Homosexuality doesn't carry the baggage it does back home. There is little discrimination, and the kind of open hatred that you might come across in some Christian or Muslim communities is just completely absent here. There are no 'God Hates Fags' groups in Japan.

That's not to say the portrayal of all gay men as screaming queens is not troubling. The visibility of these men has not created the space for individuals to 'come out' in actual life- the development of a personal identity for gay men who express 'normal' gender identities is problematic. This, of course, contributes to the hidden nature of the phonomenon. But Japanese culture is not confrontational, and many gay men in Japan feel little need to 'assert' their rights. As one gay man said, "For me in Tokyo, subscribing to the concept of 'gay rights' is like carrying around someone else's baggage."

But the real question remains unanswered:

Why are there so many goddamn queens on Japanese TV?

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Starbucks rocks

Best of a bad bunch, madly overpriced but always hot girls to have a perve at.

They know what they are doing- they know what people really want it sweet. Ordering a frappacino is like ordering a cup of sugar with a little coffee in it. Great stuff, a combo made with humans in mind.

Monday, September 07, 2009

The Prime Minister's wife is a space cadet

That's right. A certified fruitloop.

Yukio Hatoyama, the incoming prime minister, has an interesting wife. She is emerging as eccentric counterpoint to her boring as guano husband. While Yukio talks of international relations, Miyuki talks of interplanetary travel and...eating the sun:

"I eat the sun. Like this. Yum yum." Raising her hands in an interview and pretending to tear pieces off the sun. "It gives me enormous energy".

Well, nuclear fusion is likely to do that.

And in her book Very strange things I've encountered she related being abducted by aliens some 20 years ago and taken to Venus, which was..."a very beautiful place, very green."

She also reckons she knew Tom Cruise in a past life. I wonder if he remembers.

But I say bring it on. We need a dose of the alternative in Japan.