This question is from Matt
What’s up Loco!
I noticed in recent posts you mentioned that once or twice your
anger/rage had actually manifested itself into a physical
confrontation, I’d like to hear more. Without going into my personal
situation in too much detail, I currently live in the UK but will
eventually move back to Japan. My big worry is that (like the last
time I lived there)I will at some point get into some fisticuffs with
asshole salarymen.It only happened a couple of times and I felt pretty
bad afterwards…..I wanna know how these situations panned out for
I bet you do! lol
I’ve restricted my discussions of violence to allusions in my writing mostly because, like yourself, I’m actually not proud of how I let my sometimes certifiable temper get the best of me. Especially here in Japan where the other party, I’ve found, is not so inclined to fight back. They’d commit offenses I feel are on the aggressive side- stuff they must know might be thought to be offensive- but they appear to not really expect any reaction or repercussion from me. This only serves to fuel the rage.
Sure, the assholes who’ve seen Loco unhinged had it coming to them. There’s but so much a man can be expected to accept from another man…I don’t care what country he’s from or what his culture has informed him is the proper way to deal with whatever issues he might be having with another person. But, I could have handled it….differently.
Like most people, I have a personal code of justice. Sometimes it’s like what Ghandi would say leaves everyone blind (an eye for an eye) and sometimes I just think of myself as helping Karma do it’s thing.
I will share one instance since I agreed to answer questions as long as they weren’t too off the wall, and yours wasn’t.
Fighting here in Yokohama, in my experience, is like a twisted version of that brilliant scene from Fight Club where the Project Mayhem Space Monkeys were tasked with going out and starting a fight with a stranger. A fight they had to lose!
In my case, I used to think of myself as that priest getting hosed down and the Japanese guys as the Space Monkeys, only they don’t know they are, or appear not to. They incite the fight with their antics, but by the time it’s over I feel like I started it.
I was on the train (don’t you just love the trains) being shoved around like everyone else by boarding and departing passengers, and that’s all fine and good. I wound up, at one point, behind a guy texting something on his cellphone…not a care in the world. Until he peeked over his shoulder and noticed me. Then, there’s the usual shift in behavior from carefree commuter to that annoying prey in the midst of predators behavior so common here. Also, the usual. Everyone in the vicinity is doing the same. I pretend not to notice it, ignoring it as much as this kind of thing can be ignored.
This guy, however, takes it to the next level. After repeatedly eying me over his shoulders in a suspicious way, he reaches in his back pocket and removes his wallet and holds it above his head in the same hand he’s holding the strap with, and gives me another look which I interpreted to mean, “I’m wise to you. You won’t be picking my pocket today! No way! How you like them apples?” Then, satisfied with the statement his action had made, turned back to his cellphone and continued texting.
Anyway, at that moment I found it difficult to think of any other reason why he might do something like that other than his calling me out as a thief. In hindsight, there might have been other reasons for him to have taken such an action. I guess I could have done some mental gymnastics at the time and convinced myself, with some effort, that he had been pick-pocketed previously on a crowded train, or had had a very bad experience with some black guy who looked like me in the past, or simply he was preparing to disembark and would be using his SUICA (commuter)card, which resided in his wallet, to exit the station. These were all possibilities.
But, my temper at that moment didn’t allow for any gymnastics.
I suddenly, blind with rage, turned away from him with my elbow held high and clocked him, with unmistakable and clearly intentional force, upside his head. I was aiming for his temple, but I caught the back of his head. If I hadn’t been wearing a heavy jacket, I wouldn’t have been surprised if he or I had bled. He stumbled sideways into someone but didn’t seem too fazed by the blow. Strong bastard. My elbow smarted from the blow.
He’d dropped his wallet when I struck him and had to “sumimasen” people until he could retrieve it. When he resumed standing he placed the wallet back in the same hand and resumed looking at his cellphone like nothing had happened.
I wanted him to turn on me. I wanted to fight! But, he wouldn’t give me the satisfaction of kicking his ass, or getting my ass kicked. Either would have suited me better than his voiding of the situation. His utter abnegation of violence made a Space Monkey out of me!
And, it was about then, that I regained my senses, saturated with dissatisfaction and a twinge of shame for I realized, like Project Mayhem, and though I was the only one to throw and land a blow, I had indeed lost the fight. I didn’t teach him a lesson, but I learned one:
It ain’t worth it!
Thanks for your question, Matt. Hope I’ve answered it to your satisfaction.
And that’s what’s up.
PS’: Loco still wants YOU (to follow him)!