Ball Eggs

April 24, 2008

I’m currently hunting for a new flat in my beloved Tokyo (which is no mean feat: finding someone foolhardy enough have a giant, accident-prone foreigner as a tenant is proving to be the mother of all headaches.)
Here’s a picture of one of the apartment rental agencies I’ve encountered. If anyone has any idea why “Ball Eggs” might be an appropriate name for a real estate agency, please let me know!


April 23, 2008

Electronic forces are conspiring against me this week. My PC stopped working the other day, and chose to beep at me incessantly instead, like R2D2 malevolently taunting me. I suppose it was about time my wretched old computer kicked the bucket- I’ve had it for four years, and it was second hand even then. It looks like the kind of thing you might see a serial killer hunched over in the “Saw” movies- splattered with food, with multi-coloured wires spilling out like a terrorist’s bomb.

This development is irritating, because only last week I bought a new keyboard, after dropping an open can of beer onto the previous one, rendering it sticky and useless. And now the computer itself has gasped its dieing breath. No more internet radio, downloading movies and music, MSM messaging, or Skype. My Gollum-style, shut-in existence has been disrupted. My lifeline to the outside world has gone, forcing me stumbling, blinking, out into the sunlight.

Being utterly computer illiterate, I resolved to fix the problem after a late-night drinking session, by kicking the conked-out contraption around the room.
This didn’t help, so the next morning I called a company to pick it up and fix it. The phone call, in itself, was very complex and gruelling in my broken Japanese.
They told me it was a RAM problem. (Don’t know what that means, but I suspect it has nothing to do with woolly, horned animals.) Apparently the motherboard is mother-fucked, and the best they can do is salvage what they can from my computer’s memory and stick it onto one measly DVD.
There were thousands upon thousands of songs and movies and TV-shows saved in that magic box, along with six years of photographs and writing. Almost all of which is gone for ever. Sob!

Jesus, I hope the PC repairman doesn’t find any sexy pictures. I don’t want to become the next Edison Chen!

Since I’m too broke to buy another computer yet, this means that, for the time being, I’ll be writing this blog on stolen hours at work (My job is rather undemanding, so it shouldn’t be a problem- I’ll just pretend I’m working, by writing stories in Microsoft Word then cutting and pasting them into here when no-one’s looking) or in the local internet cafe. At least Japanese internet cafes are relatively luxurious, with private booths, reclining chairs, and a selection of free drinks.
I’m currently sat in a booth now, surrounded by boxed-in insomniac internet gamers, and drinking some delcious free “Calpis”- a white, yogurt-tasting potion that looks as it sounds, (like cow piss.)

Drunk Japanese Police

April 17, 2008

“Why don’t the police in Japan do something to stop mischievous booze-hounds like you?” you may ask.
Well, they don’t because they’re shit-faced as well!
According to Japan Today, 26 police officers were busted for drunk driving in 2006 alone, the irresponsible loons.

One such piss-head cop is Yukio Yasuda , a 51 year old sergeant of Shiminoseki, Yamaguchi. Last November, he decided to go on a joyride down the highway after guzzling some shochu. He slammed into the back of another car at a red light, and was given a breathalizer test, which he failed. “I drank four or five glasses of shochu before driving. I’m terribly sorry” Yasuda slurred. He faces punitive measures.

A couple of months ago in Osaka, a mid-ranking police officer called Mitsuyoshi Sumida got sloshed on sake after a night shift, and decided it would be fun to burn around town on his police motorbike in the early afternoon. The horseplay ended when he tumbled off his bike and it smashed into an oncoming car. No-one was hurt, but I don’t think old Mitsuyoshi will be up for promotion anytime soon, the naughty nincompoop.

Meanwhile, another very drunk policeman, in Kyoto, had the genius idea of snapping the windscreen wipers off a car. This Jackass-style tomfoolery cost him a promotion. Way to go, Supercop!

Finally, a 60-year policeman in Okayama prefecture was so wasted that he turned up for work dressed in his pajamas, and scratched his car against a guard rail. This fine, upstanding officer of the law was fired for his shenanigans.
It’s not very reassuring, knowing that the police officers watching over us are sixty year old piss-heads in pajamas.

Santa Claus is a Tokyo Hobo

April 16, 2008

Santa Claus seems to have fallen on hard times in the dry season after Christmas. I spotted Old Saint Nick, covered in filth, rummaging through dustbins in Maedai-Mae in Tokyo. Clearly desperate for cash, Santa has taken to busking with a saxophone.


April 10, 2008

Kawasaki City’s annual penis-celebrating fertility festival, the Kanamara Matsuri took place on Sunday and was as crazy as ever. A highlight was the appearance of Gachachin, a grotesquely mutated phallic version of the popular cuddly character, Gachapin. Gachapin usually looks like this:

…and this is Gachachin:

Truly, deeply warped. He looks like the bad-trip hallucination of Sigmund Freud watching children’s television on mescalin.
I wonder if we can expect to see more of Gachachin in the future?
I, for one, would like to see him do battle against Flesh Gordon.

Deadly Serious Bar Names

April 10, 2008

When bar-owners scratch their chins and try to think up appealing names for their establishments, they usually want words which seem inviting and up-beat. Bright and breezy words like Cheers, that bring forth images of parties and good times, names that would draw in customers like moths to the flame. Not so in Japan!
Take, for instance, Refrain. When you want to let off steam and go a little nuts at night, the last word you want to hear is “refrain”. It’s a word you’d normally see on a list of petty rules on the wall of a swimming pool.

“When you are in this bar, please refrain from eating, talking, drinking, smoking and chewing gum. Strictly no fun allowed!”

Speak Low is a bar with a name that would be more suitable for a library. I can imagine a waspish woman sitting behind the bar, hissing “shhh!” every time you open your mouth to speak.

There is another bar in Tokyo called Prison.

What less pleasing environment could you imagine for a Saturday night party, than a cold, sterile jail cell? A sign on the website says “welcome to prison.”

That’s as terrifying a phrase as I’ve ever heard. I wonder if, for the sake of authenticity, there is a tattooed psychopath waiting to attack you in the toilet. Don’t drop the soap when you’re washing your hands!

Despite the ominous names, I’m sure all these bars are perfectly fun places to hit. Names can be deceptive. I mean, look at Goofy’s Bar. With a name like that, you’d expect the walls to be covered with Disney pictures, whoopee-cushions on the seats and a buck-toothed guffawing moron behind the bar, whistling “Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah”.
Wrong! Take a look:

What the…?

April 7, 2008

Any ideas what this clothes shop sign means?