Make Busy Work

IMG_20170623_003706.jpg

You know people die from overwork in Japan? Well, I found the reason for that. In order to keep unemployment down, they will hire a dude to do one thing and one thing only. When there is construction work of any kind, there’s always one dude whose job is to bow to every single person who comes by and apologize for the inconvenience. Then there’s the dude with the lightsaber to guide people across the road DESPITE THE FACT THAT THE SIGNAL IS WORKING. Then you finally have the guy who is actually doing the damn job. This picture all of them on the same picture.

What a country!!

Jindai Botanical Garden in Mitaka, it’s HUGE!! Also there’s a samurai village downhill.

Before we begin our lighthearted entertainment content, we have to talk about abusing science for profit. These people, all these “mystics” and salt-blowers and anti-vaxxers, they aren’t trying to align your chakras or save your precious little soul from damnation. No, dear reader, the only thing they are saving you is from the burden of your hard-earned money!

IMG_20170528_111810

That’s right. You are reading it right – the molecules of this rose water (that I bought in the Jindai botanical gardens) have been sized down. Let me repeat once again: the H2O molecules have been sized down by the power of science. What a feat! Surely these people have mastered quantum physics so we could enjoy sized down water for reasons!

Or they just wrote whatever the fuck they wanted so people would lap it all up. This anti-intellectual trend combined with realpolitik is really driving us downhill and will spell the doom to us all. Look at Trump, the world’s lowest hanging fruit and butt of all jokes these days, this is the guy who has mastered the art of the deal, and while this might work for real estate and whatever, this sure as hell won’t work for actual countries. This is the sort of guy who would take money now even if it would kill him. Pull out of the climate agreement, no problem at all! Estonian politicians as well – fucking cut down ALL the trees will ya and blow dirt into our eyes that we’re actually being green by having 25% of the trees under protection. What about wild-life, huh?? You think all these moose and bears will go silently from the old forest into insuitable young sapling forest? Grr, makes me so mad!! Anyway, the botanical gardens are huge, many beautiful things and next to it is the Jindai-ji temple with the surrounding samurai village. It’s just freaking awesome.

IMG_20170528_121147

These nasty little buggers are quite gross ´yet alluring as well.IMG_20170528_140559

The samurai village had GeGeGe Kitaro official fan shop!! Real cool stuff.

P1200202

This guy shared ariheito, which he repeated that this candy was first tasted by Oda Nobunaga, the famous warlord and first shogun of Japan. He also said don’t mess with ariheito (舐めんないで!) all the time, so don’t fuck with this candy all right. P1200198.JPG

And this is the village itself. It spas about 300 meters in all directions, so it’s a bit small, but a great extra for your botanical garden trip.

Musashino Picnic

I think there’s a lot of common between Japan and Estonia. Here’s something to riddle about:

You are planning a city-wide picnic and it’s going to be the best thing ever. You gonna have a walking tour around the town, you are gonna have bands, speeches and fair and it’s gonna be the best day ever. You have posters out a month before the event and everybody’s invited. What is the weather going to be like?

A) Sunny and warm.
B) A bit cloudy, but enjoyable.
C) Raining cats and dogs.

IMG_20170513_130803IMG_20170513_130837

Yup. The answer is C.

IMG_20170515_170044

At least this girl on the ad is pretty cute!!!

Kabuki-cho Blues

IMG_20170506_234051

If you’ve ever seen this movie called “Lost in Translation”, then you will know exactly what’s going on once you get to Shinjuku and Kabuki-cho. It’s a freaking mess, you know. It’s like these people try to cram 2 days of the weekend into 5 hours of getting fucked over.

IMG_20170506_234927

Of course the McDonalds has to be 3 stories high and the Pachinko place right next to it even higher, but where does it all lead to? It’s a physical void without any kind of aether, it doesn’t matter if you are in the pachinko in Shinjuku, Shibuya or even to the north in Akita, it’s the same damn place with the same faces droning on the silver balls, hathunk, ha-thunk. One after another.

IMG_20170506_235104

You go through the neon gates and you won’t see a familiar face anywhere. People are laughing but they aren’t smiling. Gaw-gaw-gaw! It’s painful to see, but time’s a-slipping. Make it go faster for once more.  All these people are looking for something, but they sure as hell ain’t finding it here.

IMG_20170506_234739

A thousand thrills but at the end of the night there’s always standing noodle places for the last bite before the body purges the poison from the mind and the monkey in the head starts to bang the drums. Kanpai! It was a good night, thank God it was Friday! They wait for the crystal ship that never comes.

IMG_20170509_232343.jpg

Homeless in Shinjuku Station,
May 2017

So a few days ago I was tired from all the walking and I was laying with my wife. I said “I kinda miss Estonia.” She nodded.

Next thing I knew I was bawling my eyes out and the next day before work too. Homesickness just came upon me and all I could do was weep. Japan is a great place to live, it’s safe, it’s clean, things work over here. Other times it sucks ass, they unironically use (and insist!) fax, you feel illiterate most of the time, and worst of all, you feel alone despite millions around of you. It’s hard to find friends here in Japan, especially if your Japanese is so-so.

After bawling a bit and writing some letters to my family, I felt reconnected once again and understood that it’s all right to feel lonely, especially after going to Kabuki-cho in Shinjuku (which I will do a little review later on).

I really do miss my friends and family and I thought about the pilgrims who went to America. My co-worker said that America wouldn’t ever been that strong if all these people would’ve gone to America, seen that there’s pretty much nothing and went back. “One thing people are going to realize when they return is that people are the all the same everywhere.”

That’s probably the zeitgeist of our time. People, young people especially, are always looking for something better or in the fancy business term – “The Next Big Thing”

One of my friends wrote to me and asked you know, I’d also wanna come to Japan. I was like great, whatcha wanna do? He said he wanted to join a dojo and learn sword-fighting.

Man, I knew he really didn’t want to learn sword-fighting. He was sick of being in home and not feeling in control of his life. I explained he should take some time and really thing what he really wants in his life and go for it. Make a plan and go for it, and he’ll make it.

I’m one to talk, huh?! I change plans all the time. Sure, I made to Japan somehow, but where now? I want to make an album, write more, get paid more, spend more time with my wife etc. So much to do, so little time.

I was at the same spot where my sword-fighting friend was a year back, all broken up and no purpose. I went hitchhiking in Europe just to find something, sure, I spent three weeks in space but when I got back it was the same old place. And I was still miserable! Man, July 2016 was the roughest month ever. Then I got a job, started to take care of myself and in March I found myself in Japan already.  Sometimes things work out until they break down, get fixed, break down and fixed once again.

You could say life has ups and downs, eh?

But the thing I miss the most is being able to read. I took literacy for granted until I came to Japan, and now here I am, not being able to read all this cool shit when I go out or pick up anything. Once I press post I will learn how to read again.

Musashino-shi at Night and Internet Blues

IMG_20170506_011428.jpg

So I know I haven’t written anything for a while and the reason is that I started working in Shinjuku. It’s hard, as I don’t know much Japanese yet and I’ve never served tables before, the late shifts mean I can’t spend so much time nerding out with my wife etc. etc. But! It’ll keep the fire up my ass so I will haul ass, get better in Japanese and hopefully get something not so shifty.

Plus I don’t have internet in my home so I am using my precious mobile data plan to post this. Why I don’t have internet? Because we had wireless wi-fi for a month until  NTT comes and hooks the house up with something more permanent. A month later and NTT shits the bed by saying that they’ll be able to come in June. And oh by the way, the rental period of the wi-fi box was was for one month only, so they kindly asked to send it back. Maybe we could keep the box until June? Nope, can’t do that, gotta send it back, it’s the rules. The whole idea of the damned thing was for us to have Internet until the NTT man comes in the first place!

Well, in that case we decided to switch ISPs. Sure, they will send a much cheaper and much nicer mobile Wi-Fi thing in 5 days. We ordered in May but.. where’s the box?

Golden week happened. Suddenly every man and their dog are on vacay.  But soon. Soon. Soon!

Let`s talk about shrines, baby.

IMG_20170418_163115.jpg

When you are in Japan, when you are in a bit more away from the center or even inside the center, you might find a temple or more commonly, an unassuming shrine. You can find these shrines quite easily as you have to keep your eye open for either the torii gates or an overgrown patch of vegetation in an otherwise concrete jungle. This is one of the shrines inside Musashino.

Now you are at a shrine and what do you wanna do? You wanna pray, right? Say hi to the gods and thank for all the fish? But how many claps and bows were there? Thanks to the internet, there’s a link right here which will explain why you gotta do everything. But here is how it’s done for the ultra-lazy.

First we gotta purify ourselves first. In the smaller shrines there’s no purifying fountain, so you can skip this if you feel like you’re pure enough. If there’s a water fountain to scoop water with a bamboo ladle, then the order is

  1. Scoop water
  2. Rinse right hand
  3. Rinse left hand
  4. With the water on the left hand, rinse the mouth
  5. Throw the rest of the water on the ground

IMG_20170418_162659.jpg

Now we go to the actual altar. Now listen closely, as it’s really simple.

  1. Throw in the money (Don’t skimp!)
  2. Ring the bell (If there is one)
  3. Bow twice, nice and deep.
  4. Clap twice
  5. Pray
  6. Bow once again before leaving
  7. Leave

So there you have it. Two bows, two claps, then you pray, then you bow once again. Simple as that.

Now if your Japanese friends are more left-leaning or they’re more in tune with the modern movements, then they might not want to go to a Shinto shrine. The reason is that history is repeating itself once again. The right-wing and the Japanese version of the alt-right are reclaiming their proud Japanese heritage and instead of shitting in the fields just like their noble ancestors did, they pray at Shinto shrines when they’re taking a break between harassing Korean women, reading GATE (or any other cute-war drivel), and shitposting on the internet.

But you know, obviously somebody has to stay at the vanguard, huh.