Y’all didn’t think the party was over, did you? I hope not, cuz far from it, friends!
So, welcome back to:
First, let me set the mood with this little throwback classic from my teen years!
Alright now! Speaking of DJs, the queue of guest DJs is long and distinguished…but few are as accomplished as my next guest!
I really don’t know how to do this woman justice in an introduction except to tell you that she’s one of two bloggers in Japan that actually make me feel green…with envy! Not due to her stats or fame or anything like that, but because her writing and story-telling skills are such that when I read her work- after the bout of “I need to give this shit up…I don’t deserve to call myself a writer” followed by a strong desire to read something I’ve written previously that I think is great just to re-assure myself that I can hold my own- I get pumped up to try and write something that even she might dig!
She’s that friggin awesome!
She goes by the moniker Green-Eyed Geisha and if you’ve read her work you know I’m not exaggerating in the slightest. And if you haven’t read GEG yet, then I envy you, too, cuz you’re about to get your boots knocked properly and ain’t nothing like the first time!
Loco in Yokohama is proud to have her as our next Guest blogger!
So, without further ado, Green Eyes? Mi casa es su casa!
1) What the Loco-est (craziest) thing you’ve ever seen or done in Japan?
To be honest, I’m not that crazy or “loco” as we are calling it, so I don’t have many stories of ridiculous or titillating things I have done in Japan, at least none I could possibly share (think stupid drunken decisions). One of the only mildly peculiar things that has happened in my years here has been that hundreds of Japanese men and women have seen me completely bare-ass naked. And paid for it, too.
I’m not a streaker or perv that runs around my neighbourhood at night flashing my white ass at innocent bystanders, nor did I have a stint around the Pole: I used to nude model for art classes here in Tokyo (please also understand this doesn’t mean I look like one of the 17 year old Estonian models that frequent certain Roppongi clubs – I’m built more like a Greek statue). This entailed going to a location somewhere in greater Tokyo, hopping up on a raised platform, slipping off my robe, and assuming a variety of poses standing, on the floor, or on a chair. Rinse and repeat.
I would never have considered something like this before coming to Tokyo, but when a friend asked me to join her on a job that required two models, I thought, why not? There is something very disconcerting at first about taking your clothes off in front of a room of eyes peering up at you attached to clothed bodies, and no matter how many times I did it, the first set of poses was always accompanied by a small whoosh of adrenalin. I would then settle into whatever position the students’ assignment called for and my heart would start to slow to a normal rhythm.
This is probably not something I would consider doing overseas but somehow my body – so different from the Japanese people representing it in clay and on paper – made it feel like something I could do (and wanted to). Instead of being drawn or painted by “one of my own,” I felt more like an exotic piece in a museum, offering the Japanese students an experience they couldn’t get from a Japanese model. There was one time I almost fainted, naked as the day I was born, in front of a group, and once I started attending school here with severe restrictions on part-time jobs, I was constantly paranoid that one of my teachers would wind up in a class I was hired for. Despite this, all the kindness showered on me by the students and the time an old Japanese man walked in late once I was already “in position” and muttered utsukushii (beautiful) under his breath, made it one of the more fulfilling things I have done here. So there you have it, I have been naked and bare at hours and sometimes days at a time, carefully examined by all kinds of Japanese people from art school students to salarymen taking a weekend art class to huge groups of retirees who are members of art appreciation groups for oldies.
2) Why did you start blogging?
Shortly before I moved to Japan I became aware of these so-called Japan blogs and had read a few of them on and off. At some point along the way I got really into a couple of blogs in the “generation” before mine and thought it was fascinating to read about life here for other gaijin. Addicting, really. After joining a Japanese company I was feeling quite lost and isolated; my lack of a social life certainly didn’t help either. I found myself having all these new experiences I wanted to share, even document, although I can’t tell you why exactly. The dawning of my narcissism perhaps?
I began tentatively and was pretty nervous putting my private thoughts out there for anyone to see. That people actually started reading was a huge shock and I was beside myself when there were only five or ten people reading at the beginning. It’s uplifting to know that even one person wants to read what you write, more so when they can relate. I’ve come to love writing and it’s an exciting process when the ideas come easily; it has been a way for me to note things down along the way. I wish I had started writing during the year I struggled through Japanese language school and regret that I didn’t put down that experience as it was happening because it was one of the most trying periods of my life.
Writing my blog has helped me to see the humor in things that could otherwise be entirely crushing and an unexpected outcome has been that I’ve met a few really special people I can’t imagine not having in my life now.
3) How realistic is your portrait of gaijin life in Tokyo?
It’s accurate insofar as it shows parts of my life and experience here all processed through my own personal bullshit and snark filter. Everyone will see Japan in their own way and even similar experiences will be interpreted and reacted to differently.
While I love delving into the personal writing of others, there are certain things I intentionally leave out because they cross my own line. In some of my posts I have gotten extremely personal and writing it down has given me a way to first examine and then say things I would otherwise never cop to. In my non-written life this has now led to the ability to admit to parts of myself that before I simply couldn’t – I no longer have any qualms about discussing my on again off again loneliness, fears about being in a relationship that is conducted in my second language, or that I am ritually ignored at work. I can even laugh about it when I’m feeling light of heart.
Some kind readers have said I offer up “untold” stories of living here as a gaijin but if all you have is a guidebook for reference, every story is untold. Because I tend to choose topics that are funny or frustrating or sad, you have to keep in mind I am leaving a whole lot out, and the ratio here increases further by limiting myself to Japan-related stuff. Eventually I would like to be able to write about other aspects of my life that aren’t directly Japan-related but I am also aware that the backdrop of Japan with its “quirks” lends a certain twist to my stories that are, simply, about the bathroom habits of others and mean girl behavior exhibited by colleagues, stories that could, and do, happen anywhere.
If a little potty mouth and snark coupled with the ramblings of a lonely whitie don’t turn you off, please feel free to check out my blog where the posts are long-winded and the cray cray abounds. Thanks so much for letting me guest DJ at your party Loco, it’s nice to see you getting the Japan bloggers together!
@GEG: You’re most welcome, Green Eyes! Kochira koso, I want to thank you for taking out time to do this. Much appreciated!
@Readers: Show Green Eyes some much deserved love and treat yourselves to one of the greatest blogs the Japan Blogosphere has to offer!
And…tell her Loco sent ya!
And, please don’t forget to keep Praying for Japan! People are still struggling and suffering!
If you haven’t gotten your copy of Quakebook 2:46 yet, well, it ain’t just gonna materialize on your Kindle! See that big ass link on my sidebar? Use it! And spread the word. A paper version, as well as a Japanese version, are coming soon!
This party WILL continue…
Who is this guy, Loco, anyway? Click here!
PS: And, click on the links below to catch the previous guest DJs!