I admit it – I am not a real Gypsy. I don’t even know enough about Gypsy culture to be a fake one. The title of this page is a reference to the negative sterotype of travelling perfomers in Europe. I don’t know how well modern-day Gypsies have tolerated the historical prejudice of their past, but from everything I have witnessed, experienced, and am guilty of myself, travelling performers deserve their bad reputations.
I admit with pride that I am an international fugitive from justice. It is my personal shame, however, that none of my altercations have ever been taken seriously – even when I have been caught red-handed.
It’s obvious that I’m not talking about raping and pillaging, here. I draw the limit at shameless flirtation in nightclubs and accepting free meals from people I meet on the street. My most ambiguous moral actions always involve finding places to sleep. With my comrades-in-arms, we have mastered the art of sneaking masses of people into youth hostels after curfew. We are ninja-like in our ability to circumvent security perimeters of camping sites. We know how to negotiate a night on a stranger’s sofa, casually wait until the deal is sealed to mention that it will be a whole group of us, and then – "Do you have a washer and dryer by any chance?"
For the last year, I have been living in Tokyo as a phantom. I am not on my roommate’s lease so we pay for one less person. Whenever the doorbell rings I have to hide behind a secret panel above the closet, but it has saved us four hundred dollars a month.
On July 21st, the last of my roommates will move out which makes it very risky for me to remain in the apartment. I have decided that for my last week in Japan, I will live on the streets – at least as far as that means anything in Tokyo.
That’s that kind of news that makes mothers worry, but it is not as bad as it sounds. The internet cafes in Japan double as an uncomfortable last resort for people who miss their last trains home. You can pay a flat rate of 1500 yen (about 12 dollars) for the time between 11PM and 7AM. You get free internet, TV, and beverage service. It just so happens that the cheapest internet cafe I have been able to find is right next to the gym where I will be training six hours a day. At that gym, I get a free bed, hot tub, sauna, swimming pool, gym, and a spot to train between the hours of 8AM and 10PM every day.
I will save 300 yen per day for transportation to and from this gym and 500 yen per day that I spend to log in here. If I drink a liter of green tea (300 yen value) while watching a video (400 yen value), I have already broken even.
And if it’s a nice night I could always be economical and just sleep under a bridge.