Jason Porath

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Category: japan (page 2 of 4)


Everyone keeps asking me if I was hit by an earthquake.

There was an earthquake?

We have tremors pretty regularly, and the last one we had was actually in the middle of graduation — absolutely nobody flinched even a bit, or paid it any attention. The day after that, at closing ceremonies for the school year, all the kids were standing at attention, listening to the principal, in tight formation… and one of them apparently threw up. Now, in America, something like that happens and every girl in a 50-foot vicinity would shriek, start running away, and start a stampede. Here, I couldn’t even tell what happened, cause all the kids remained completely quiet, although they moved slightly out of the way. The teachers descended on it like a strike force, three with mop, bucket, and rag, and one for extracting the kid. Once they got the kid out of the gym, I realized they had actually set up a rotating line of teachers from here to the nurse’s office to see any sick kids on their way.

I felt kind of useless.

Anywho, no, no earthquake damage. Seriously, there was an earthquake?

Pomp and Circumstance

Happy pointless excuse to get drunk and pinch people!

Here’s a catchup post for you, mostly dealing with the recent graduation at the junior high school I teach at.

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This and that

Couple of recent happenings: Continue reading

Shiroi Koibito

Oh, holy hell do I have a lot to cover. Unfortunately, due to a lot of the strenuous events listed below, I’ve come down with a 100.5 fever and the flu. I’m being confined to my room for the next couple days. Oh well. Plenty of time to blog.

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The immortal awesomeness of my kids

Okay, still waiting on pictures, but to tide you over, some of my students’ recent exploits.

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My Christmas present

So, I mentioned awhile back that my travel plans for the winter break got screwed over by my credit card company flagging me for fraud. Well, unbeknownst to me (until Christmas morning), the plans un-screwed themselves, so, in a couple hours, I’m boarding a flight to Singapore. Been a crazy couple days, and it’s likely to be a crazy couple more in the immediate future.

In the meantime, I leave you with two higher-res videos of me dancing like a madman in Yoyogi Park. The other guy I was dancing with was so self-conscious about it he asked me to blur out his face — which I haven’t, yet. When I get back, I plan on actually tracking a “laughing man” icon onto his head, all Ghost In The Shell-style. In the meantime, enjoy the uncensored ones of us being total raving loons:

Part 1

Part 2

Media Misconceptions

My friends just sent me the first couple episodes of “Heroes,” a new American TV show about… well, superheroes. From what I gather, one of the fan favorites is the nerdy Japanese salaryman character, Hiro. I watched the first episode, and while I thought it was decent television (not great — seriously, a multiple personality disorder stripper mom with superpowers?), a couple things about Hiro’s portrayal and the portrayal of Japan jumped out at me. It’s nitpicky stuff, but I thought it might be interesting to point out how peoples’ opinions of Japan/Japanese people and the reality are different. So here we go!

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In which I get caught in the midst of yakuza riots

My streak of “getting caught up in the midst of weird shit” continues. In this edition: grab-ass with drunken yakuza on the way to see the Emperor of Japan; techno dance parties; insane Japanese Republicans and the street riots who love them; self-inflicted foot bullets.
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The House in the Hurricane

Ah, now concludes one of the stranger days I’ve had in some time. I’ve mentioned it before, but Amy and I have found that we have a knack for finding or attracting weird shit. I described my life as me being fairly normal and well-adjusted (all things considered), and most everything around me being a swirling tornado of crazy. “You see,” I said, “I live in the house in the hurricane.”

Let’s walk through a not-untypical day at the house, shall we? Continue reading

The comedy that is my life

So, two things. One that`s kind of a funny look on Japanese culture, the other that`s more introspective, personal stuff (which I`ll put behind a cut, so you can be spared 😉 ).

Recently I`ve been trying to learn a bit more about Japanese comedy. My attempts to find out about Japanese culture through the television have been completely useless — every time I turn it on, it`s another goddamn food show. Seriously, almost every show on (regular broadcast) Japanese television involves people traveling around, eating things, and saying how delicious they are, with D-list celebrities superimposed in a box in the lower corner, nodding their heads in agreement. Every other word is `oishii` or `umai`. It`s frustrating.

So I set off to youtube to find some comedy bits. Most of the comedy I saw fell into two categories — bizarro hidden camera/reality skits (a la Hard Gay, the Don`t Laugh guys, and other increasingly cruel, game show-esque comedies), and owarai genin (comedians). The camera/reality skits were actually pretty funny, but the owarai genin were just baffling. Let me talk about the three popular ones I found:

  1. The Touch (aka Za Tacchi). These are two short, kind of ugly, weird looking twins. Their trademark is putting their hand out like a karate chop, and saying a word three times, in a specific rhythm. Usually, it`s `chotto, chotto chotto,` or `doumo, doumo doumo.` I CANNOT figure out why these guys are funny. Everyone knows who they are. They`re just short and weird and extremely lame. I have asked around a dozen Japanese people, ranging from 8 years old to 80 years old, and the only answer I`ve gotten is, `culture.` Apparently the rhythm and their manner are just hysterical to Japanese people. I don`t know.
  2. Yasua. This guy used to be a lawyer. He`s got this incredibly weird overgrown bowl cut that extends about a half a foot to the left and right of his head. His thing is to give the thumbs up and sort of cycle his hands up and down, grinning like a maniac. He looks like a complete doof. I guess that, in and of itself, is funny, but… Japanese people seem to find it hilarious. No idea.
  3. Taka and Toshi. These two will get up and perform this incredibly fast skit, which basically has one of them chiding the other for doing anything vaguely western. Basically, they`ll pretend to go eat, and one guy will order `cherri pai` (cherry pie), and the other guy will yell `Oubeika!` (westerner) and hit him. He`ll pretend to cut his pie with a knife — oubeika! Say `hello`– oubeika! This was kind of funny, but I don`t think for the same reasons Japanese people thought it was funny.

Alright, onto the other stuff.

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