"Get your little ass back to the penitentiary, motherfucker. You know what you did last time you was here."

I’ve collected some random rants here about things that I either dislike or that just confuse the hell out of me. This does not mean I would not have a good time here. I actually don’t have a strong opinion about this stuff at all. However, writing interesting entries about sunshine and happiness would require a writer of much higher caliber than I am, and thus I’ve harnessed the power of all the fleeting moments of frustration I’ve encountered in order to come up with this rant.


I think I commented on a few of my early posts on how quiet the Japanese society is in general. Until now I have found very few exceptions to the rule, but the most peculiar one is the amount of yelling on the Tennis court. Yep, Tennis. Court. Now tennis, along with golf, is supposed to be one of those “noble” sports during which people are not supposed to scream like they are in a rock concert. I happen to know this because I break this rule myself quite often when in a bad position during a match and people on the adjacent courts don’t quite enjoy hearing my frustrated cussing. Here, though, it seems the Tennis court is the place to yell. I am still looking for signs saying “When overcome with an urge to yell, get in here and let all hell break loose.” What people do not seem to realize is that the tennis court is neither in a dimension of its own, nor is it soundproof. We can fucking hear you! Like the Seminar House 1 Otoo-san would politely tell us every time we’re drinking in the park: “Urusai! Bee quietto!”

And it’s not like only the players are yelling. We have tennis courts on the school campus, so on many a morning Japanese students get together prior to a tennis match or club training to yell undecipherable encouragements. They gather in a circle and cry at the top of their lungs. I have spent many sleepless nights trying to translate the cryptic messages that consist of crying out YEAH! as loud as one can for 15 minutes in a row. After that part, presumably the warm-up, is over, the games commence. During matches, naturally, the players are yelling “YEAH!” each time they hit the ball. But also each time they don’t hit it. And each time the ball is flying. In addition, they usually have up to four (4) friends on the sidelines yelling “YEAH!” every few seconds in a random pattern. There are some hidden layers of meaning there that I cannot begin to fathom. My theory is that in order to be fully functional the Japanese need to let it all out once in a while, and the government has chosen tennis courts as the designated area.


There are supposedly rules on which side of the pavement or road people should be riding their bicycles on: the left-hand side. Those rules were explained to us in theory during the orientation week and to me they seem very clear. However, trying to follow them in practice is very difficult because they don’t apply to a large percentage of the Japanese cyclists. When you see from far away that another person on a bike is approaching towards you, the first thing to notice is that he / she / it is usually driving right in the fucking middle of the sidewalk (Here, bikes are supposed to be driven on the sidewalk, which is narrow, contains small posts here and there and has no specific area for cyclists. This makes it very exciting because it increases your chances to fall over and die). Great, so much for the rule to drive on the left.

Once you decide to pull so far to the left you fall in the goddamn gutter just to show them that you have made your decision, the Japanese duelist starts to zigzag in the middle of the road as if he was trying to reach a consensus on how we should handle the passing-each-other-process. Culturally, I guess it could be explained as a sad attempt to do some silent in-traffic nemawashi. Unfortunately, we don’t have six months to ask everyone’s opinion because in about three seconds we’re toast. “Ok, so you see my position? Just fucking choose the opposite side! Y a pas mille et une solutions!” I’ve come to believe that if something is to claim my life in Japan, it’s the sidewalk.

The Garden of Everything

McDonald’s in Japan is weird. It’s not McDonald’s’ fault though. The Japanese society as a whole has somehow succeeded at creating the illusion that a fast food restaurant is not only a superior place to hang out, but also an intense experience. Upon entering, and this gets me every time, you are made to believe that the place is relatively empty, because there is no queue and the first floor usually does not have many seats, out of which all are vacant. However, once you go upstairs you realize that the truth is out there. All floors above the first, no matter how big the place may be, are filled with people. Here’s the catch, tough: Nobody is eating. People are either sitting doing nothing, sleeping on their chairs, playing with their keitai or portable consoles, working on their computers or smoking. Basically anything but eating. Personally I’d like to spend my free time anywhere else than a McDo’ but apparently to be hip in Japan you have to spend a specific amount of time there every day. The whole custom is beyond me.

In related news, the Japanese are notorious for using public locations for something completely different that we are used to seeing in the western world. McDonalds being used for anything but eating is only the tip of the iceberg. At school, one can quietly roam through the three floors of the library to see that half of the people there are not studying or doing anything productive, but rather feel no shame in sleeping on any surface in any possible position while looking like fucking tools. In a way, the library is just a huge dormitory with highly innovative sleeping devices. Oh, and the tennis courts I already mentioned…

Hofstede should be proud

The amount of uncertainty avoidance that is innately present in every Japanese person is incredible. Apparently, it is close to impossible to end a sentence with an absolute piece of information. Each and every statement ends with a small expression that mystifies the whole act of opening the mouth: “Maybe”, or “I think”. They are both frequently used in situations where they don’t belong. The Japanese are the best thing that has happened to uncertainty since Kyousuke of Kimagure Orange Road fame, and he was on the verge of falling apart because of his inability to do any decision-making. Here are a few examples on how to render a perfectly understandable sentence superfluous:

“I woke up this morning, I think” NO YOU FUCKING DIDN’T THINK, and you’re still not thinking. No, adding unnecessary uncertainty in a sentence where it can’t possibly fit doesn’t make you culturally enlightened, polite, or cute, it’s just plain WRONG. Try again.

“I have to go now, maybe” Ok, listen pal, you don’t have to go “maybe”, you have to fucking go. The story of this specific situation is that the person in question did leave around five seconds after saying that. The “maybe” did not make that action smoother or more acceptable, as it was already formidably so. Nobody will hold a grudge against someone who leaves a voluntary ultimate game if he has some other errands to run.

One last example on how to formulate a compelling answer when the professor asks you a question on whether your bike is similar to other normal bikes: “same, maybe. maybe, same, same.”


Right now my life is going through a very hard phase of exasperation, sometimes called “final goddamn exam week”. This ultimately leads to me starting to reap what I’ve sown in terms of procrastination. Therefore, I will now concentrate 100% on pretending to study the whole weekend, actually starting as late Sunday night around 2 and cramming for a few all-nighters afterwards in order not avoid getting my ass handed back to me at the exams. Updating of this blog will resume the 18th of December, and from that point onward I’ll address issues critical to world peace such as “Am I dead?”, “What happened to November?” and “Who stole the cookie from the cookie jar?”



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