At a bar in Kannai with my boy from my Nova days …
Him: So, when you headed back to civilization?
Me: Hell if I know…I think I’m stuck here.
Him: Sheeeet, I ain’t stuck nowhere! Soon as Obama gets his magic wand out of his ass and fixes the economy I’m gonna…
Me: Stop lying! You know you here for the long haul…shit, you been here through, what, five prime ministers, two wives, half a kid…
Him: Yo, that ain’t no joke! He came home crying the other day talking about somebody called him black. Man, this is some complex shit I’m dealing with.
Me: What did you tell him?
Him: What the fuck else I’m uh tell him…I told him he’d better toughen up, cuz that’s the way it is, no matter where you go. Always gonna be some haters. Always!
Me: Why don’t you put him in one of them International schools?
Him: Put him? You must think them shits is free. Trust me, they ain’t! Wait til you knock up one of these Japanese girls, you’ll see…
Me: Don’t be wishing no hateful shit on me! I ain’t the one who was barebacking in Yokohama…
Him: Sou da ne…gomen. (You’re right about that…my bad)
Me: Iie (Don’t sweat it)
We share a glance, and laugh…
Him: Damn, man, we’re fucked ain’t we?
Me: I’m more fucked than you…
Him: Why you say that? I got a wife and half a kid, remember?
Me: Yeah, but I’m so Japanized I said ‘gomen nasai’ (I’m sorry) to my moms on the phone when I screwed up the time difference and called her the day after Mother’s day. She was like, ‘speak English boy! Yo Mama ain’t Chinese.’
Him: (laugh) Man, that ain’t shit. I’m so Japanized I bow when I’m talking on the phone to my boss.
Me: Uso! (Stop lying!)
Him: Honto dayo! (I’m dead-ass serious) I caught my reflection in a window and I dropped my damn phone!
Me: Well, you ain’t said nothing. You know how when foreigners see you and want to nod and say Hi and whatnot? I’m so Japanized I be pretending like I don’t see them sometimes.
Him: That’s all? Man, I’m so Japanized I don’t even sit next to foreigners on the train. I don’t even like to stand next to them…hell, sometimes I be calling them foreigners like I’m a native.
Me: (Laughter) That’s messed up!
Him: Who you telling!
Two girls sashay by, skirts illegally short, heels index finger long. We both check them out til they’re out of view.
Him: Damn, I love this country!
Me: It does have its perks, doesn’t it?
Silence…pause for the cause.
Him: See…that’s why I’m on wife number two.
Me: Can’t fault yourself for that. Might as well blame a compass for pointing north…
Him: See, that’s that bullshit! I wish I could Japanize this. (He grabs his crotch) That would solve half my issues.
Me: (laughing) That’s the stupidest shit I ever heard!