02 August 2011 ~ 5 Comments

Back to Life Blog Party #12: Another Guest Post By Some Douche!

At the end of some parties back in NY,  DJs are known to drop lines like: “You ain’t got to go home, but you got to get up outta here!” Usually this would occur about 4 or 5 am when it officially becomes Sunday morning and time to sober up and go thank god for the 5 phone numbers you got at the club last night.

And, there’s a rumor going around that Loco has uttered that most depressing phrase of Party Animals everywhere.

No such a thing!

Yep, I’ve got another guest post from some douche who keeps a blog…so don’t kick off your dancing shoes just yet cuz it’s time for:

Long time Loco reader and twitter-buddy Craig Scanlon of the blog  Smashed and Sinking (www.anothershittyblogbysomedouche.wordpress.com) brings us something actually out of the usual. In a country where the unusual is often commonplace, it’s rare to find an unusual story that isn’t damn near cliche.  Well, you’re in for a treat, cause that’s exactly what we have here, the truly unusual!

So, without further ado, Craig, she”s all yours!


1-What’s the Loco-est (craziest) thing you’ve ever SEEN or DONE in Japan? Describe the experience as only you can, anything from the insanely mundane to the absurd is fine with me.

In the interrogation room, I played it tough, eying the timid looking guard with that cold “fuck you’” face that all people growing up in New Jersey learn as  children as a means of showing their hospitality and friendliness. The room was exactly like you’ve seen in movies, except they’d left the door open and hadn’t taken an order for whatever comfort foods would make me spill the beans like on the Wire.

I kept going over the story in my head…

…I wasn’t his friend. I’d just met him tonight. I didn’t see anything and I didn’t know anything…

From there I’d just clam up and play silent….unless they took my order for some “lake trout” and half n’ half.

To be fair, I wasn’t really sure what had happened anyway. I’d been with my friend, drinking a megaton of booze to celebrate the (lack of) Christmas. We were completely wrecked, swaying down the street, complaining about heathen, lame, weird Christmas.

Then he kicked turtle man’s turtle soup sign…

I knew turtle man’s sign. It was right around the corner from my workplace (and to this day I’m not sure how my work never learned of these shenanigans).

Now, there was no damage to turtle man’s turtle sign, just a bit of a racket, but this is Japan and there are old people with nothing better to do EVERYWHERE. They’re the fastest response team in the country.

So at about 3am, there were suddenly old people surrounding us like Ewoks, pointing fingers, and yelling a lot of garbled Sanuki nonsense (sounds like Japanese if you hold 40 marbles in your mouth and try to speak Japanese).

It was the day they’d been preparing for all their lives. There’d been hundreds of false alarms, drunk Japanese salary men who’d caused them to lift their tired old heads like alert bloodhounds on a hot summer’s eve, listening to them trampling by, slurring words and kicking/breaking everything on the street…

They’d finally found their true culprit, the foreigner who dared randomly kick turtle man’s sign.

Perhaps they’d thought he was aligned with those Sea Shepard douchebags, on a rampage to free the poor turtles…or perhaps their ire and loathing had increased in all these weeks over another co-worker, notorious in the neighborhood among the Japanese for “talking loudly on his phone outside (in the middle of a city during daylight hours).”

The hammer had fallen. We were surrounded. The Ewoks had me captured, but my friend walked on undeterred, shrugging off their accusatory fingers like Guliver would fend off tiny arrows.

Turtle man would have none of it, and the last I saw of their time together; he was walking off into a dark alley way, getting all kinds of ‘Puerto Rican close’ to his new nemesis.

And now I was in the police station, in the interrogation room, Merry Christmas…

Perhaps I should expound a bit more on what happened?

Or perhaps you just want me to get the point where I…. No, that’s the best part. I’ll save that for the end.

To be honest, I’m not sure if I know what happened or not. I may have seen what happened, or I may have actually done like guilty people do when they actually convince themselves they didn’t do it.

So I’m not actually sure if I saw what happened or drummed it out of my mind pre-interrogation, but turtle man DID come back clutching his jaw. It seemed a bit farcical and over-reaction-y (AKA: Bull Shit), but he very well COULD have been decked in the face in that shadowy alleyway.

Everything from then on came in quick bursts, old people forming up around me, chittering like squirrels, a useless bicycle cop, obliviously riding by the entire scene, police cars, my friend still drunkenly hanging around the outskirts of the area, despite my waving to “go away,” and a final, very comical, Three Stooges-esque routine where the police finally found him and politely tried to escort his very drunk and dismissive self into a police car.

An hour or so after all that, she walked into the interrogation room. She didn’t have that sad 80s lesbian haircut that they give the poor police cadet girls and she spoke fluent English. An unmarried man writing this might refer to her as ‘cute.’

Where the hell were the good cop and bad cop at?

We had a good conversation. Shy-guy guard at the front wondered why we were laughing, having never bothered to stay awake during his English classes. I stuck to my guns of having no idea what had happened in those dark corners, but it seemed my tact of saying nothing at all was just the paranoia that comes from dealing with American police and their “everyone is a potential criminal” mentality. She seemed more concerned with going home before sunrise than anything else.

At the end of our conversation she made a request.

“Listen, he’s drunk and passed out right now. We’re going to have to toss him in jail if we can’t get him awake enough and have his wife come get him. Is there anything you can do?”

Sometimes I have ideas….

…So I told her I had a plan and asked her to take me to his cell. It was even more interrogation-y than mine, perhaps because it was smaller. He sat asleep  in a non-descript chair at a non-descript table, passed out with his head back, flanked by two guards. I looked at everyone in the room like an ER doctor ready to get down to business.

“So I can do anything that’ll get him to wake up and get picked up?”

She nodded

I grabbed him by whatever shirt he was wearing, shook him hard, and screamed at him.

“Motherfucker, if you don’t pull out your phone and call your wife right now, you’re going to jail!”

I slapped him across the face as hard as I could.

“Wake the fuck up!”

The two guards looked on in complete astonishment.  Their training had not prepared them for a random foreigner walking into an interrogation room and beating the shit out of their suspect.

“Did you hear me? Where the fuck is your phone?”

I clocked him again, his head reeling back from the impact. a small groan emerged..

…And so it went on for a few more minutes, until his groggy self finally produced a phone from his pocket, unlocked the passkey, and found his wife’s number.

Yes Virginia, I got to interrogate a prisoner in a Japanese police station. This was probably one of the crazier nights of my years in Japan.

So beware children, because on a cold Christmas night, when the wind chills your bones, and you turn down a dark alleyway to behold a glowing turtle sign….

 2-Why do you blog about life in japan?

It’s hard to say why I still blog about Japan after my recent return to the States. I’ve never been overly fascinated by it in that way that some folks are, but there is SOMETHING indelibly strange about Japan. I’ve traveled all over the world and there are many bizarre cultures, wacky people, and interesting aspects of each, but I can usually feel that I ‘get’  a general sense of them at the end of the day.  I can come to a general idea of what Koreans are about, or why Russians are the way they are. I understand why Canadians are sensitive about certain things and what makes Brazilians want to dance.

The reason I write about Japan and have a continued interest in what happens there (beyond recent events that tied me to it in a way I never expected), is that I’ll just NEVER quite get it or its people. It’s a weird, isolated island and culture that NEVER make the slightest bit of sense to me. North Korea or Turkmenistan might be the only places that come close on my mind’s levels of interesting, and that’s generally because they’re two places that don’t even let people inside them .

Japan as the 3rd largest economy in the world and a major player in global events, still somehow manages to be as cryptic, secretive, and strange as two bizarre hermit nations even during the time I was living inside it.

THAT is why it continues to be worth writing about…

3- Why did you leave Japan?

I don’t think everyone is wondering, but I’m sure more than one person in the blog-twit-facebook-bath-o-sphere world saw that I slipped from one side of the Pacific to the other.

And yet, I still seem to be keeping up with the world of Japan fairly heavily on the interwebnets.

Why did I leave Japan?


Part of what makes Japan tick is all the pressure that it’s constantly under. Those plates moving down below, neighbors that live close together and all have the same doorbell sound, the boss that keeps you grinding until way past darkness, the audible buzz of bustling old ladies flying around on the weekend, the rigors of gift giving, familial obligation, work obligation, friend obligation, obligation to be obligated to something to create stress for no reason.

All that pressure fuels a lot of what’s good about Japan….but it also stressed me the fuck out…

After three years, I began formulating my exit strategy, and as the clock slowly turned toward five, only the earthquake briefly made me consider sticking around.

But the plan was already in motion and there wasn’t much turning back available.

The pressure of Japan was always trying to bring me in line, do thing the J-way. My young and immature soul just wouldn’t let that cliche hammer strike my cliche nail-self down, but it DID grind me down a bit as time went on.

I learned a lot about being a better, more respectful person, but on hitting America’s shores again there was a profound sense of relief that I could just relax and be more ‘me’ again.

I think that when I’m older and there’s a bit less fire in my belly that perhaps I might make a return appearance, but now I’m kinda enjoying my new vantage point from the outside looking in with some insider knowledge of it all, even though I don’t really understand that knowledge or know what to do with it.  ;-p

Craig Scanlan

@Craig- Thanks a lot for this yo! I’m an admirer of your writing style. To weave a simple story at a keyboard that hooks the reader and leaves them wishing there was more is an often underrated ability. You’ve got it, Buddy, and I dig it!

@Readers- Craig only blogs sporadically but maybe if you guys go over to Smash and Sinking and show him some love he might realize that he’s not just another content creating douche, but an especially talented one.

And tell him that douche Loco sent you!

This party WILL continue…


Who is Loco?

PS: Click on the links below to jam with the previous guest DJs!

Blog Party #1: Saboten Girl

Blog Party #2: Wakarahen

Blog Party #3: Bad Boy!

Blog Party #4: Verity

Blog Party #5: Green Eyed Geisha

Blog Party #6: Caroline Josephine

Blog Party #7: Corinne

Blog Party #8: Rubi

Blog Party #9: Mima

Blog Party #10: Orchid

 Blog Party #11: Biggie

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5 Responses to “Back to Life Blog Party #12: Another Guest Post By Some Douche!”

  1. Will 2 August 2011 at 6:26 pm Permalink

    Smashed and Sinking…

    So, that’s what happened…he checked out.
    But can he ever really leave?

    His message echos in my mind, like Kurtz last words.
    “Obligation…the obligation…the obligation.”
    It grinds a lot of people down in ways that many of us are just flat out afraid to talk about (if we even recognize what’s missing). No familiar stench of lies in his writing.

    Yeah, he might come off as a funny read when you first start, but the truth in that comedy…is the kind of truth that hurts so good to laugh about. And then run like hell.

    Thank you for telling us what happens to drunken sailors Captain Craig.

    (And thanks to Loco for mixing it just right)

  2. Eddie 3 August 2011 at 1:35 pm Permalink

    I remember asking a Japanese friend who lives in Japan, his opinion on why Japan had one of the highest suicide rates. His response was that generally Japanese are very stressed, to which I replied that I understood but so are so many other people in the world. I won’t go into detail because the conversation we had was long but I will say that when you spoke about obligations to everything including things that weren’t necessarily necessary, it reminded me of what Agata was saying. Good read nevertheless.

  3. Verity 3 August 2011 at 2:37 pm Permalink

    Great writing/storytelling. I will definitely head over to smashed and sinking. I have to admit I don’t make too much effort to do things the “J-way”. For example, I never stay at work passed when I’m done. What my coworkers and people around me think I can only guess, but I don’t worry so much about it because I don’t want to be stressed out like everyone else. I like being a foreigner in Japan, I don’t want to *be* Japanese…it seems too troublesome lol.

  4. Chris B 3 August 2011 at 6:08 pm Permalink

    I have had that word thrown at me by my blog’s resident troll….it’s making a comeback??

  5. Craig 4 August 2011 at 3:41 am Permalink

    Thanks for the love people! When Loco asked me for a piece, wasn’t sure what I was gonna churn out, but the request got the creative juices flowing. I even remembered an equally wild story which I hope I can turn out sometime soon

    Will: I like the Kurtz reference….never really thought of it that way ;-p

    Eddie: Thanks for the props

    Verity: I think a lot of it had to do with the position I was in. When I’d visit Tokyo or Osaka, it was far easier to be myself, though stressful in a new way. In my countryside city, it was pretty easy to burn bridges if you weren’t doing things the J-way, and it was a VERY conservative part of the country, akin to places I probably wouldn’t want to live in America. I also lived with my gf/now wife and her grandfather. All this meant that I couldn’t just live my carefree existence, but had to constantly take into account my image and manors. I got tired of it, so I got out. Now my wife and I are living in a new place for both of us, where we can just establish ourselves how we wish.

    Chris: I just happen to love the word “douche,” thus the blog site, though “Smashed and Sinking” refers to an old American patriotic documentary called Victory at Sea about WWII that always proclaimed the destruction of another Japanese naval vessel with “Smashed and Sinking!!!” AKA: “Kaga, Smashed and Sinking!!!”

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