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The Hammering Heart

Still beating.

Month

November 2008

Thanksgiving

Wow, I almost missed it entirely. But Happy Thanksgiving, all you American folk!

Yoko surprised me with a big platter of food, including little sweet potato tarts, which is about the only thing even remotely close to Thanksgiving food you can find here. Anyhoo, despite all my bitching lately, I’ve got a lot to be thankful for this year. Much more than last year, even. Great job, great apartment, sweet new guitar, and even some new friends.

Anyhoo, I hope you all had a magical feast including at least three types of root vegetables.

G

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That’s it, I’m outta here.

This gaijin bullshit is getting out of hand. Just now at Kani train station, a place that puts the “po” in “podunk”, I was confronted, or SANDWICHED, if you will, by the two most rampant types of anti-gaijin offenders. In case you don’t already know, I’m referring to:

1) Patronizing teenager who thinks it’s funny to yell out things at foreigners, even though foreigners often carry bladed weapons.

and

2) Crazy old person who recently discovered religion and has been dying to make a friend to tell ALLLL about it ever since.

As a preface, I had spent the previous hour writing about the time I got lost in West Virginia and what a nightmare it was and how, no offense, I’d like to never set foot there ever again.

So I was walking into the station when I passed a threesome of young teenagers–a girl and two girly boys–sitting on a bench. The usual reaction I get from snotty teenagers–especially girly boys who are trying to impress a real girl–is for them to smirk at the idea of my general existence and shout something like “Hey!” or “Hello!” because it’s real cute when people do that. In this particular incidence, though, one of the boys shouted out something to the effect of “John Lennon!” to which I replied with a momentarily sideways glare as I approached the ticket machine.

The man in front of me at the ticket machine, upon hearing the boy shout “John Lennon,” turned to face me. He wore a big smile, the kind that would’ve been extra toothy, except that he only had about three teeth, all of them rotting. Yes, three.

Crazy old man: ::sputtering away in crazyman Japanese:: “Oh, you like John Lennon too?! He’s great he wrote ‘Imagine’ which I love and hey you look like John Lennon and he’s great with the Jesus Christ and the ‘Good Book’…”
Me: ::pretending I don’t speak Japanese:: “Uh, I didn’t say…”
Crazy old man: “So where ya from? Germany? America?”
Me: ::sigh:: America.
Crazy old man: “What part? West Virginia?”
Me: NO!

I shit you not, it was his first guess.

He yammered on and on for another good ten minutes. Most of his ramblings were about how Christianity, rock ‘n roll music, and the Western world are generally good while Japan is full of morons. The teenaged morons continued pointing and laughing at us from a few feet away while everyone else in the station tried to pretend we didn’t exist, but occasionally casting nervous glances our way. I could feel myself about to lose it.

“This is a fucking circus,” I said out loud.

The man took a break to buy his ticket (the machine had been off previously) and take a smoke. I noticed the kids were still smirking at me, so I went over to confront them.

Teenaged snot: “Herro.”
Me: “What’s up.”
Snot: “Herro.”
Me: “So you study English or something?”
Snot: “Yes. I stadii Ingurishu.” ::his cell phone goes off. It’s the scary ring tone from the movie ‘One Missed Call’, which is about haunted cell phones. “This izu myujikku.”
Me: “I know. We havu myujikku in Amerika tsuu.”
Snot’s smarter, quieter friend: “He says they have this song in America too.”
Me: “Sounds like you’ve got ‘one missed call’ there.”
Snot: “Hey, that’s right.”
Snot’s friend: “Shit, he speaks English.”
Me: “Nope.”

And with that I walked off to the platform to wait for the train, which couldn’t have come soon enough. The crazy old man immediately followed me outside and began again with his Christianity rant, talking about how it and Jesus are the supreme truth. He produced a Portuguese Bible and showed it to me, along with some other trinkets whose meanings were completely beyond me. He talked about how people who believed in Islam and Buddhism were idiots, and I think he even threw in a jab at Jews, assuming I was Christian, since all white people are. I also took note that he was gradually getting closer and closer to me. Also that he was shockingly knowledgeable about Western music as well as the world at large. The fact that he even knew what West Virginia was already meant that his knowledge of geography was way above that of the average Japanese person.

When the train arrived, I purposely waited for him to board, then boarded the next car down. I sat down, only to discover that the teenagers from before were sitting directly to my left. “Fuck, not these bozos again,” I thought just as a voice came in from over my right shoulder.

“Yeah, so John Lennon John Lennon John Lennon Jesus Christ Islam bad you great smell my gumholes blah blah blah blah blah blah blah….”

Sure enough, he had followed me through the train and taken a seat right next to me. The teenagers continued pointing and laughing and occasionally saying “Hello” again until we reached their stop, at which point they said “Bye” and I used every ounce of willpower left in me to fight the urge to throw them through various windows. Meanwhile Gumholes McGee managed to take a hint after only about forty minutes of me gradually transforming to mildly unresponsive to smoldering with murderous rage.

He went all the way to the end of the line with me, but said nothing for awhile. I waited for him to leave and then I went on my way.

Oh yeah, and the girlfriend brought up the ol’ “Do you really love me” talk today. It’s a perennial favorite that always ends joyfully.

I want out of this.

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