Hi! My Name is Loco…The Lost Chapters (and Comments) #5: Magnanimous Pimps & Corny-Ass Clowns in Japan
Here’s another jewel from the Hunterfly Road Publishing vault.
This one also made it into the book, “Hi! My Name is Loco and I am a Racist”, as part of chapter 3.
I’ve included this post in the series because of the comments it generated, particularly those discussing the relationship between black men and women here in Japan. This chapter was actually Part 22 of the original (37 part) series.
Yep, I was still a hater.
But, lucky for me, I went home to Joe and Greg, (the Aussie and Kiwi I wrote about earlier this year in my Black and White in Japan series) and often I’d find them hammered, sprawled out on the sofa or floor, living-room littered with beer and liquor bottles…or they’d be preparing to tie one on and just waiting for me to come home and join in. They were just what a therapist would have prescribed as an antidote for any racist symptoms I might have been suffering from… at least against white folks
As I mentioned in that series, it had been a little hairy at first, living with two guys from entirely different cultures from mine. We had to work through a number of issues, race among them. The minor racial wrinkles had gotten ironed out pretty quickly…nipped in the bud in the first couple of months, in fact. Before long I hardly saw them as white guys. They were just guys…cool ass guys!
But, the envy was another story. And when I’d turn green, they’d turn white!
I also told you guys in that series that Joe and Greg used to have a posse of Aussies and Kiwis (all white of course…I’ve never seen an Aborigine or Maori) coming through on a regular basis…drinking, laughing, and fucking off til dawn. Just having the time of their lives. You wouldn’t even have known they weren’t back home Down Under if it weren’t for the complaining Japanese neighbors and the threatening phone calls from our employer, Nova.
But often, though I was invited to join in, I’d pass. I wasn’t much of a drinker back home and didn’t long to do it here in Japan, either. They’d be disappointed, of course. Couldn’t figure me out, those two, nor could their friends. Whenever I did hang out with them we’d all have a great time, so they couldn’t make heads or tails out of why I passed on it so often. And, I couldn’t rightly explain either at the time. I’d just make up some excuse they never bought and they’d just shake their heads and go, “uh huh…”
Maybe they even thought it was racial. That I had some reservations about being the only black guy in a posse of whites, carousing in the streets of Saitama to the wee hours of the night, getting into all kinds of misadventures. I sincerely hope not, though, cuz it was nothing like that. Over the course of my lifetime I’ve been the solitary or one of a couple of chocolate chips on a vanilla ice cream cone a number of times and had developed a measure of comfortability with it.
What was really fucking with me was the camaraderie among them. I’d watch their Fellowship of the Bottle, or listen to them through the thin walls of my bedroom, all together, a circle of friendship, kinship, and support through the tough patches here in Kawaii-land. And I’d be seething with envy. I mean, to them, it made perfect sense to find a group of like-minded, similarly oriented individuals
and make the best of the challenges they face here.
But for me, and for the other African Americans here, it seemed: not so much.
I simply didn’t feel that way about Americans…especially African Americans. And, I got the distinct impression that the feeling was mutual.
The African cats were the complete opposite. They were more like the Down Under posse and the Japanese. They have their own version of “We”. They congregate all the time. And when they see me, it’s nothing but love. They’d holler “my brother!” across a Boulevard, blow their horns when they pass in a car, or even walk through a crowded train from the opposite end just to shake my hand and make my acquaintance. I mean, they’d totally go out of their way to show some love.
If I ran into an African American guy however (and I can usually tell at a glance) fuhgeddaboudit. We’d nod at each other and maybe mutter a few words if we found ourselves in a situation where it would be too blatantly rude to not engage in a conversation. And, for the most part, it never went beyond that. If emails or phone numbers were somehow exchanged, there’d be no follow up. Sometimes, I’d get a vibe from the person…a feeling like maybe they were on the run from the American authorities, hiding out here in Japan, afraid I might ID them and text John Walsh. Or, that they’d felt I was a saboteur looking to fuck up whatever scheme they had going over here…something sweet and fragile, and the last thing they needed was Homie the Clown fucking up the works. Either that or they were so friggin’ clueless, corny or geeky I’d see no common ground aside from race and nationality.
There was absolutely no love in the air quite often, and I couldn’t understand why. All I knew is I wasn’t sending any love and I wasn’t receiving any. And, actually, to be honest, I didn’t feel bad about it. I felt like I was on my own private adventure…not to be shared, particularly not with other black guys. I rationalized it to myself this way: I didn’t come to a foreign country to hang out with cats from around the way.
As for the handful of African-American women you might run into…well, I’d wager cockroaches get a warmer reception at the dinner table. The hostility is so potent, so open, you feel like the reason for it is obvious and personal. Like they were saying, “you can front all you want! You might have all these Japanese bozos fooled but I know you and I know why you’re here, so don’t even think about getting in my face!”
I spend a lot of time writing and this is an activity done on one’s lonesome usually. But, I’m not a loner, per se. I didn’t shun the company of others. I was definitely in the market for some cool companionship that I could speak in complete sentences with. Just not American. And definitely not African-American.
Occasionally I’d make exceptions, though. I’ve taken on a few black running mates during my stint here in Japan.
Damon was the first.
It was my second year here when I met Damon, a fellow Nova instructor. He was Canadian, straight outta Toronto, but he had “peeps” in Detroit, a three-hour drive away, across the US border. This was his ghetto pass, this connection to the Motor City, dubious as it was. But, hell, who was I to challenge it, anyway? Aside from being from a notoriously tough community, my Street Cred is suspect itself. Fairly clean cut college kid, straight outta corporate New York with a blemish-less criminal record like I was when I arrived here. Aside from an affinity for stuff grown hydroponically, I was a single mother’s wet dream. But, if I’m around people who don’t know me I know how to play the role. All I do is channel one of the older brothers or any number of characters I ran with back in the days. I can be pretty convincing if I need to be.
Damon was one of them pretty mocha-complected cats and could sing like R.Kelly. He was pretty intelligent, could turn his “ghetto” on and off like a light switch- transforming from a Motor City pimp into damn near Ivy League whenever he wanted to, and could dress either part. He was a little overly concerned with personal grooming for my taste but, all in all, aside from his ego, which was certifiable, he was pretty cool. Reminded me of some of the cats I knew back home.
There was, however, something about him I didn’t like.
Aside from his singing, which he hoped to do professionally some day, his hobby was baggin’ Japanese girls. He was crazy about them. It consumed his thinking. His M.O. was to get them into a karaoke booth (or his apartment) and sing their panties off. Worked like a charm. In fact, this so-called Yellow Fever was one of the few things we had in common. We were similarly afflicted.
We’d spend our downtime at Nova comparing notes on conquest. I’d tell him about some jukujo I’d tapped the night before, on a humble, while stopping for a drink in a bar, and he’d weave a tale of how he’d mesmerized two J-babes from The Hub to his crib with his pimped-out nampa but, since they uncharacteristically weren’t down for a three-some, he’d called up his homeboy (another black cat he hung out with. Damon lived in Tokyo while I lived out in Saitama in the boonies so he hadn’t bothered to call me) offering him the second girl. But his boy wound up almost fucking up the whole extravaganza by being a dick and treating the girl like she was supposed to do him, no game required.
“You can’t treat a bitch like a hoe, even if she is one!” he’d explained, imparting his wisdom to me. “I hate hooking up niggas like him…got no fuckin’ class!”
I understood the moral of his story: “Being a magnanimous pimp with triflin’ friends aint easy.”
I even understood his compulsive one-upmanship. It’s endemic where I come from.
What I didn’t understand was why it seemed every black guy I ran into fit this or a similar M.O..
And Now for the Comments!!
“All I knew is I wasn’t sending any love and I wasn’t receiving any. And, actually, to be honest, I didn’t feel bad about it. I felt like I was on my own private adventure…not to be shared, particularly not with other black guys. I rationalized it to myself this way: I didn’t come to a foreign country to hang out with cats from around the way.”
Stealing my thoughts again bro!!
I have always been alone wolf I suppose? I just never had the patience to put up with others and their insecurities or whatever the fuck it was that was slowing them down physically or mentally. I ain’t no one’s mama and I’m not gonna wipe someones emotional ass to move things along. 99% of the people I have met in my life are not worth my energy..I have always been the smartest and most hard working guy wherever I have been. I was a terrible co-worker. Fuck peace and tact. Do your fucking job cuz I ain’t gonna do it for your lazy unmotivated momma’s boy ass. I was a great worker though so I always moved up and forward.
I got no love for the ( ) insert any race you like cuz they are all mostly fucked -up.
Never surrender, it’s all about the faith you got
don’t ever stop, just push it til you hit the top
and if you drop, at least you know you gave your all
be true to you, and that way you can never fall
But beware, these backstabbers ain’t no joke
just like a rope, they hang on you until you’re broke
and when you’re broke, they move onto the next dope
and there you are, can’t even pay your car, nope
and when you reminisce thinkin how you got dissed
remember how it felt and do remember this
Be true to you
for me that there’s no one bigger
cause they can all suck dick
Cause strictly 4 my niggaz
I got a handful of people that I would go to fucking war for. I would get up at 4am and wire them cash. I would really stress my own life to help theirs because they did it for me someday in the way back and my ability and understanding that I must do that to keep MY pride is what the 99%ers don’t fuckin get.
If your my friend you got duties and you don’t know when they might come up and you gotta be there. and believe I will do the same when it’s your turn to be down and in need. If you can’t work in that way then you are worthless to me. Virtually ALL of the foreigners I have met over here are just boozing flunkies with loose lips who make beer promises which made me wanna shove a bottle in their fucking eye for even goin’ there. God forbid I would be dumb enough to buy it and when I called in there promised chip …they let me down. I will beat a bad “friend” down with hate more than a stranger every time. Thus I have few friends because they are all told this when their loose lips flap.
To put it in Black and White terms
Who you are IS what you do especially when no ones lookin. You are the sum total of every fucking thing you have ever done in your entire life up to this very second.. Do you take the easy way? Do you ignore the suffering of your fellow human brother or sister and blame it on your schedule or some bullshit. How do you act when no one in the world will ever know but yourself?? Big or small. That’s who the fuck YOU are.
I have broke bout’ every commandment but I have done a thousand solids in my day and if I am judged by my final score than this big mouthed shit talkin, fist flying asshole is getting escorted into the pearly gates. Bet!!
A Like Reply 2 years ago 2 Likes F .
Expand Heaven awaits you bruh, fear not. Your final score will be in your favor. And you won’t be in cornball heaven, Angels with Harps and horns and whatnot. lol
You never fail to impress man, I love reading your stuff.
Bored in Kanagawa
Another great post! I feel exactly what you’re saying on this subject. when I lived in Tokyo the Africans and Brazilians showed mad love, but the AA’s couldn’t be bothered. I asked this one AA what he did for a living and he reacted as if I asked him to divulge a state secret or something.It was only after i moved to Kanagawa that I received the type of “WE” you speak of amongst AA’s. man I can tell you that I have met some brothers down here that I feel are closer than my own blood relatives. I’m not one to call someone a friend until it has been test in fire and that’s what I’ve been lucky enough to find down here. Since entering Japan I have lived in Okinawa, Tokyo, and Kanagawa – I’ve also been to 26 prefectures. Out of them all the Africans, Jamaicans, and Brazilians are always the same. AA’s on the other hand seen to be the worst in Okinawa followed closely by Tokyo. I say fuck’em and meet people who are also interested in you! On the black girl thing I also feel you, around the bases they seem to have the most negative attitude, I don’t want to make judgments as I’m not sure what causes this, but it is there. Sorry I’ve been off the radar for awhile, please see reason below 🙂
Currently bored in Kobe.
Hey Bored in Kobe? permanently? When will u be back? Btw thanks for the shout yo! Clearly u understand exactly where i’m coming from.
Bored in kanagawa
Nah, I’m back now just went down to do the O’bon and in-law thing.
glad to hear it…we still gotta hook up!
Scrolled down after reading half way to say-um, run tell that! and I speak as an older chocolate chip in vanilla and butterscotch seas…okay, now heading back up to keep reading 😉
okay, done now.
just some impressions:
I do find myself making the assumption (because everything is, of course, about me – hadn’t you heard?!;-) that the reason African-American men don’t connect with me here (in general) is because they are here for the Japanese women, and that, as they say, is that.
my experience tells me that there’s a fair amount of that going on.
(but, when I’m honest: I certainly did not limit myself to going out with African-American men when I was going out back home. Far from it. I don’t have a ‘type’ per se.)
as for the lack of heart connection when meeting up with African-American women, luckily, my experience is different: there probably is some level of wariness, but generally, having grown up in the States, we at very least kind of understand each other, and there is quiet, tacit agreement to live and let live.
wow, this is the year of living racialiciously, isn’t it?
looking forward to the next installment.
Hey terri, thanks for the shout!! Not sure what racialiciously means, but it sounds tasty. (-:
Hiya loco, it came from here: http://www.racialicious.com/
I noticed that once I opened my mouth, the demeanour would thaw some (I’m a Brit).
I always considered the initial frosty reception from African American women (mostly those whose friends have not introduced me to them) down to interlinked causes, simplified:
1) A perception that I’ll be trying to run game… The same game that I’ve been running on these Japanese girls. Which brings us to
2) A perception that I prefer Japanese girls, which feels to the observer like a rejection of black femininity and
3) A perception I’m the same kind of triflin’ knucklehead they hoped to get away from when they left the US .
Hey Rubi: yeah, re: the Brit accent: I’m a sucker for ’em(lol!).
very succinct round up of the reasons for the frosty reception. I’ll respond:
2) of course it is a rejection of black femininity.
3) triflin’ knuckleheads are everywhere, but easier to ignore them here
ah well. as I get older, I figure that living my life for my own enjoyment and enlightenment is the best way to deal with all of the above.
Hello, Terri. Good to see another racialicious.com reader, and thanks for your response.
I wanted to expand a little bit on my feelings about perception number 2.
Firstly I totally understand the perception. It’s not as if black women have really ever been portrayed as capable of launching a thousand ships. And I’m sure you’re well aware of the ways in which the bodies of women of colour are marginalised.
I’ve heard some African American men I met in Japan talk about black women in ways that dovetail very neatly with racist and sexist tropes. In fact quite a few guys I’ve talked to described their preference for Japanese women purely in terms of how NOT like pushy, domineering, unfeminine, Western women they are.
That being said the perception -as well as those kinds of comments- bother me. The fact that I’m in Japan doesn’t mean I reject black femininity, hell even if they saw me with a Japanese woman on my arm it still wouldn’t necessarily follow. I would be dating an individual, not Japanese women over black women.
thanks for yours as well: you’ve been quite thoughtful, and I appreciate it.
I’m sure it does bother you to hear that someone like me feels that Black guys are rejecting Black femininity when they’re only interested in Japanese (or other non-Black) women.
I’m not sure that the depth of the ‘botheration’ is as deep as the feeling of rejection, though: guys here have plenty of other distractions, if they (unlike Damon, for example) even give it a second thought.
Black women’s feelings, on the other hand, are probably beside the point, which is par for the course.
Having said that, I do see this a bit more dispassionately than it may sound, as my only two long term relationships have been with white guys. from the south, yet.
so, I’m not blaming you for going where the heart (or other organs) may lead;-)
I just think it’s interesting how difficult it can be to be a Black woman and maintain a healthy sense of self-esteem even in this day and age. and don’t even try to be middle-aged – whew! if I come out of all of this alive, I am going to treat myself to something very special.
anyway, this bit of talk therapy is loco’s fault: let’s all blame him! 😉
Well, I was attempting to be a little more nuanced than that. Hopefully I can be clearer this time around.
It’s almost certain that a guy who’s only interested in Japanese women, and will not consider other partners, could be said to be rejecting black femininity. However, I would argue that unless the guy comes right off the bat saying, “sorry, unless you’re Japanese, I ain’t interested in really getting to know you”, it would be quite hard to tell their preferences when you meet them for the first time.
What I meant then was not that I’m bothered by someone like you feeling that Black guys are rejecting Black femininity when they’re only interested in Japanese (or other non-Black) women. What bothers me is the idea that based on my location, or who is on my arm at one time, a person can just know that I prefer non-Black women, and treat me accordingly. What bothers me is not black women’s feelings, but what some Black women think they know.
@rubi @terri Thank you for blessing my blog with such thoughtful, insightful and provocative comments. It’s people like yourselves that keep me motivated to keep Loco In Yoko alive, and help me to se the relevance of it. I want to thank both of you for broadcasting your discussion here so that my other readers might benefit from your ideas. Of course Rubi -san, you’ve been doing this for quite a while, so thanks for your continued support. And Terri, welcome to Loco and hope to see and hear much more from you. You rock! And if I did go back to dating sisters I’d definitely…
just joking lol
Interesting pattern that seems to be emerging here. The Brits, Aussies, Kiwis and even Canadians that I’ve met here have always been cheerful, friendly, and cool with other folk, but the Americans I’ve met have always been pretty stand-offish.
Actually, I think the only American I know here that I can genuinely call a friend is someone I was friends with back in university who also had the Japan bug…
Damn Loco, you always pick the worst (best?) places to stop! 😉 Can’t wait for the next part.
You always help remind me why I’m studying Japanese, and inspire me to study harder so I can get over there and see all the stuff you write about for myself.
I do this just to torture you Oz! Nah
Hey Ozball! Thanks.Next part is underway….going to Atami tomorrow so may not finish it til Wed. I’ll try and make it worth the wait! (-;
Well, that’s about it for part 5 of the lost chapters. Hope you enjoyed it! I’ll be doing another in the days to come. Look out for it (-; But, of course, you can (and should) pick up your own copy of Hi! My Name is Loco and I am a Racist. It’s available in paperback and E-book version here.