Fauxmosexual

I think I am OK with the relationship with The Contortionist being over, but looking at a life of dating in Asia as a half-Asian is not obvious.  I know that some Western men go crazy for Asian girls, but my first experiences in the Japan dating scene have been a little…  artificial for my tastes, so far.

Now that I’m alone again I’m remembering that I love the way that men and women act together.  It’s not like business or everyday life or family affairs. there is something timeless and immutable about what goes on between men and women.  The energy, the excitement.

The Contortionist always told me that I’m distant in relationships.  And I am.  I guess I see relationships as a process, like any other, like building a motorcycle, flying a kite, or a rose blooming, and that getting too involved in that process will fuck it up.

In any case, I had my first official date since the breakup last week.  I took a moment to enjoy dinner, movie, and drinks with The Publicist, a woman I met with two of my good friends in Tokyo (The Journalist and The Writer) works for one of the most well-know PR firms in Tokyo, is a self-described “unscrupulous daughter of an upper-middle-class Marxist.”  The first date went well and she even expressed interest in doing publicity for our project if the time is ever right.

Our second date last night seemed fine as well, but a simple misunderstood text afterwards turned the whole situation into an ugly Japan dating mishap.  She had been teasing me a little about how she was sure that I was gay because of my pronunciation of certain Japanese words.  I guess I’ve learned the feminine pronunciation of some words from my female friends  (MIzu instead of mizu, for example).  So just after the date I sent her a text after the date thanking her for a good time and for letting me “pretend to be a heterosexual with her.”  Evidently, she did not make the connection to her earlier teasing, thought that I was actually gay, and assumed that I had been playing with her emotions.  Bilingual sarcasm never really works when speaking with non-native speakers.

Roppongi Headbutt

Ah, a perfect night out with friends: a restaurant, a bar, karaoke, and a club.  Oh, and a short, brutal, and bizzare altercation on the steets of Roppongi.

Around 5am, we stumble out of the club and onto the streets of Roppongi.  Everyone has that post-dancing glow about them; that euphoria.  Eriko and Paul are planning to go to a karaoke together, the rest of us are going to share a taxi to the Yamanote-sen, when Paul and Gordon are accosted by two gents who seem friendly enough.  WARNING SIGN: one of them has a raised welt on the top of his forehead.  Typical drunken banter ensues:

‘Who are you guys meant to be?’

‘We can be whomever you want us to be!’

‘Can you be wrestlers?’

‘Please be wrestlers’

‘Where are you from?’

‘Scandinavia.  Norway.’

‘Norway’s got it going on!  Norway’s got it going on!’

Then: SMACK.

A quiet smack, a wet smack.  Concussive.   The shaved headed Scandinavian who now has two bruises on his forehead looks strangely puzzled and is restrained by the Norwegian.  I turn to my left, where Paul is standing with a stream of blood emanating from above his right eyebrow.  He is smiling; dazed.  Filipina hookers and Nigerian night club callers are surrounding him with concerned looks.  Some run off to get towels, ice.  Gordon is screaming at the Scandinavian:

“What the FUCK was that, man?  What the FUCK was that?  Walk away, asshole, just walk the fuck away.”

Gordon attacks the skinhead; he is restrained by, well, everyone.

Then: “He need a hospital.”

I think this Filipina is right. She is looking at me; concerned.  She would have told gordon, the more vocal member of our party, but he’s already running down the street.

It’s not just a cut, it’s a slice.  Deep, and the edges beginning to swell.  Paul wants to keep walking.  He is in shock.  He laughs at the idea.  To him it was just a little head-butt.  How can you go into shock from a little head-butt?  But then the spike of adrenaline fades, and he loses his legs.  We get him to a barrier.  He is shaking and pale.  I am worried about the combined effects of alchohol and shock.  I want him to lie down.  he says he is comfortable where he is.  Yuuko is gone.  I want him to go to a koban at least; he is going to need stitches, but he is refusing.  Where’s Gordon?  “Paul, can I get you to lie down?”  “I’m OK here.”  He is worried about his suit.  It is covered with blood.  Gordon comes back.   “I got him, man,” he is repeating over and over.  “You got him,” asks Paul?  “Yeah, man.  Two times.  Once here, and once over there.  Where’s yuuko?”  Yuuko comes back from the conbini with some bandages…  he needs more than that.  Someone suggests a hospital again.  Gordon refuses.  I say he needs a koban, at least; Gordon agrees, I go to look for one.

When I get back, the Guardian Angels are on the scene.  They manage some quick first aid, but they do not have any butterfly bands that will hold the cut closed.  The Angel that is bandaging Paul has shaking hands.  He touches the edges of the cut and hesitates, uneasy.

“Tabun, byoin ni itta hoo ga iin desu…” he mutters.

Paul has no insurance.  The Angels bandage him as best they can, a Turkish guy is explaining what he saw in Japanese to the leader of the Angels.  Just as they start bandaging paul, the Norwegian comes back.

Gordon takes a swing at him, and the Norwegian falls to the ground.  The Angels restrain them both, the Norwegian is in an arm lock on the ground.  head bent.

Gordon is screaming again:  “Where’s your friend, tough guy? Where’s you fucking friend?  I’ll kill you!”

The Norwegian is silent, restrained, pinned to the ground.  “I just came to apologize,” he says, palms up… eyes wide.  The Angels escort him a few meters away.  Gordon is hugging Paul.  Yuuko is crying.  Eriko has her head on paul’s shoulder…  the Norwegian is scared and held up against a wall by the Angels.  He does not understand their English or their Japanese.  I decide that I need to help the guy out.

If he had any malicious intent, there is no way he would have come up to Paul amidst a red-jacketed swarm of volunteer crowd control specialists.  The police are coming soon, I know, and I have not been impressed with the way Japanese police deal with foreigners, particularly foreigners that do not speak Japanese.  One misstep; one incorrect answer to a misunderstood question, and I know that the Norwegian’s holiday can take a litigatious turn.

I talk with him about what happened, and certain things become clear.  He did not know the attacker.  He was just walking him out of a bar to help him find a taxi as he had clearly been drinking too much.  They had met at the bar when they discovered that they were both Scandinavian.  Our Norwegian friend, now bearing the brunt of the responsibility, is of all things, a fucking pacifist.

His friends showed up, asking what had happened.  Their well-meaning, gentle friend is pinned to a brick wall by Japanese police and Guardian Angels and they are not allowed to approach him.  They get angry.  The Japanese police get tense.  I eye their batons nervously, and am worried things are going to get out of hand.  His friends to not seem to share his pacifistic tendencies, and they are getting irate.

I go to them to explain.  I tell them that it will take a bit of time, but that I don’t think their friend is going to be taken in.  They calm down a bit.  Say they will wait.  They wait.

The Angels and the cops are talking and I go back to the Norwegian.

“Maybe I should have let that guy keep hitting him,” he says, talking about Gordon’s revenge “but I didn’t want to see the violence.”

“You may have caused more trouble for yourself by coming back, my friend,” I say.

“I know.  but I wanted to apologise.  You can’t just head-butt a person cause you don’t like the way they look.  What is that about?”

The police are done.  The Angels are done.  I exchange emails with the Norwegian in case Paul or anyone need to get in touch with him later.  His friends are mad.  They didn’t trust the attacker at all because he was a Swede.

I offer to help them get a taxi, but they are OK.  His big friend is telling me how the Norwegians hate the Swedes because in 1939 they let Hitler march through their country into Scandinavia.  I have heard stories like this all my life.  The Chinese hate the Japanese because of blah blah blah.  The Dutch hate the Germans, the Lithuanians hate the Russians, the Quebecois hate the Anglos.  The Canadians hate the Americans, the Arabs hate the Jews…  same old song with infinite verses.

I used to think it was ridiculous.  A hold-over from a more violent time, but I have come to realize that it all stems from a basic element of human nature.  If an attack on a friend of couple months can incite violent anger in a borderline anarchist philosophy major, imagine what a blinding maelstrom of rage an attack on your family, culture and comrades can engender.

As members of varied cultures we are all more different than the current political model in the West suggests.  I think that the answer to the last generation’s question “Why can’t we all just get along” lies somewhere in that phenomenon.  The question is a false one, spurred by the notion that such a “we” exists.  It is a myth born out of the various social movements that swept the globe in the sixties and seventies and it is a legacy that we need to sweep from our eyes like so many other utopian dreams that have repeatedly poisoned our politics and history through the ages.

Royal Heartbreak

So shit just got royally fucked over here…  and as can so often be the case, it is due to a woman.  Not sure that I will be leaving Japan on the 11th anymore.  How can ending a long-time tenuous relationship with The Contortionist fuck up my plans to leave Japan in two weeks?  Well it’s complicated, but basically, I have had to reevaluate my professional goals now that my obligations to her are nullified.  It is suddenly worth my while to stay in Japan long enough to qualify for a new visa and stay here to continue my business instead of flying to Europe to work on projects with her next year.  As such, I’ll just miss my flight on the 11th, and will stay until at least the 24th of January, but more likely, by the time all the immigration red tape settles, the beginning of March.

While all this is not decided, yet (I just discovered the information that led to my deciding to end the relationship about 5 minutes ago) it means I probably will not be visiting Boston where, among other things, I was planning to see my best friend from MIT.  I feel like the two of us could have really used a good night of commiseration and foolishness imbibing intoxicating spirits all the while mocking ourselves for being clichés.

But the cliché may be the fucking point.

Fuck, I feel more free than I have in a long time, but it is a scary freedom.  I feel old.

I will decide on the 9th if I miss my plane or not, but right now, I feel like being able to return to Japan and pick this shit up where I left off is preferable to starting over in Europe, empty handed and alone in the spring. But I am probably just falling victim to my own suppressed emotions.  Fuck having been such a nerd all through grade school… it upped my autism quotient and makes it harder to be human now.

Fuck. The Contortionist and I are really over.  I had suspected for a month or so that things were going to go this way.  I don’t hate her or anything, I just feel nothing which, in a way, is worse.  I guess that seems cold, but I mean, if she writes me or talks to me, I know I can be friendly.

Anyways.  all that happened tonight.  I think I go get drunk with a bunch of girls now…  heading to a temple and shrine with The Political Scientist to see in the New Year, and then to a club with her and some French friends to dance until dawn.

A whole bunch of news and shit about business, but sometimes it just doesn’t feel like a good time to talk about it.

Learning To Hustle

Email still not really running, I am just logging in at an internet station in Shinjuku to do business about two hours a day.  Christmas in Holland is up in the air as I need to decide if it would be better to focus my energies on Tokyo right now with some of the projects that are coming up.

As I’m thinking more seriously about trying to develop projects here in Tokyo I’ve had the chance to meet a few people who have expressed interest in helping me out.  Here they are:

The Producer: worked for a major advertising company and a major movie studio, also working on his own projects and starting his own production company.  Sort of all over the map, it is hard for me to get a handle on what he really does, but I know he directs and produces small-scale, but high visibility shows (at Disneyland, shopping centers, that kind of thing).  He studied in the us and is fed up with Japanese conservativism in the arts, wants to do cool LV circus-style shows, but doesn’t know how and doesn’t have the personnel or the money/power to do it alone.  He is supposed to be my partner if we win the bid for East Asian business development with Global Live Entertainment.  He’s well-connected in all the power circles of Japanese entertainment.  Good name card to have.

The Designer: works in an advertising company, as best as I can tell.  His company is small-name, but still manages to land good, high-profile events, like the premiere of Pirates of the Caribbean 2, rock videos, in addition to designing posters, flyers, etc.  He has talked to me a lot of times about wanting to produce a show, what would it take, etc, etc.  I think he is trying to approach his boss with a project idea, but is intimidated by learning how to producing a large acrobatic show in Japan.  He’s may just seem like a graphic designer, but the company is in a posh location and he’s interested in expanding his influence internationally but he lacks contacts in Europe, USA, etc.  I was thinking of exchanging contacts if it will help us secure venues here in Tokyo.  After showing him the kind of work that The Rocker’s done, what we have done together, and giving him some ideas of how we might be able to do with this company, he offered to make a mock advertising campaign for the show that will help explain the project to interested investors in Japan and Taiwan.  He would do this free of charge, and sell it to the numerous clients who pass through his office looking for ideas of things to do…

The Project Guy: a new contact in Japan.  He runs a small production firm, wants to produce shows internationally.  I might be approaching him about a job as an oversees contact manager.  I wonder what he will have to tell us.

Mr. Taipei: actually, an investor I met in Taipei.  Very wordly, owns a bunch of restaurants and lounges in Taipei…  barely know him, but had dinner with him at a party he invited me to.  He was interested in what i am trying to do in terms of produce local Asian shows.  I wonder if he might be interested in what we are doing with the Taiwanese circus school?  His business card mentions CEO of his own company, VP, Chinese/German culture office, polish culture and economic association, chairman of Taipei Poems Club…. among other things.

So I am talking about projects in a very very very “what if” fashion to all these people because I’m still not totally clear on what The Rocker and I can really do.  At its simplest, I’m imagining a well-publicized, limited run in a prominent, medium-sized venue in Tokyo.

Auto Accident

Did I ever tell you about the time last year that I totaled my rental car on a deep-winter run between Boston and Montreal?  it was an all-night drive through a snowstorm after a one-day recording session with my former bandmate. I was in a hurry because I was driving to pick up The Contortionist, my brand-new girlfriend, from a party for an early morning tryst.  Black ice and poor visibility compounded by a few inches of drifting snow (the coarse kind; the stinging icy kind that hisses when it hits your windshield) led to a dead spin at about 60 mph.

I remember trying to right the vehicle as best as I could; turning into the skid and all that, before throwing my hands up in surrender; there was nothing I could do to avoid the inevitable that night.

I was on a bridge, which was cause for some alarm, and I was slowly drifting towards the railing.  Luckily for me, I went over the edge just at the end of the bridge, falling just a foot or two landing in a small tree at an angle of about 45 degrees to the ground.

The car was fucked up, and just trying to open the car door at that angle was a mind-altering experience.  After a tow truck and ambulance came (no injuries, but no longer tired) I was able to make it back to Montreal at a max speed of about 35 mph.  it really did look like I was driving a corpse of a car; all beat up and humming in a hiccupy way with a jerky sort of handling that pulled me so far to the right such that I had to constantly steer a hard left.  it felt like I was driving in circles, but I made it to Montreal at about 8 in the morning, three hours later than planned.

I was sure that there were to be repercussions of some sort when I returned the car, but they just asked me to fill in damaged areas with a ball point pen on a little pictogram of a car (“est-ce-que vous avez un felt-tip marker?” I asked before blacking out the entire car), and that was it.  The damage waiver of 20$ Canadian covered the whole thing.  There was no record of it at all.

The next time I rented from Hertz, they made no mention of it, I had no increase in insurance premiums… fuck!

The great thing was, it happened at a shitty time in my life; my teacher of three years had been deported, my new little circus company was falling apart before we had even managed to secure a big premiere, I was on academic suspension from my school, the plunging US dollar was causing me to lose about 100 dollars a week, and I wasn’t sure if I would be able to graduate on time.

But shit, spinning around on a winter’s night on a suspension bridge put shit in perspective, and the satisfying crunch of landing in a tree and smashing the fuck out of a luxury automobile was a great purge of negativity.

And it only cost me 15 bucks US.

Love/Hate Relationship

This long-distance relationship with The Contortionist is not working well as she’s touring through Europe.

When we see each other in person, things are fine.  When we email, things are fine.  When we text message, things are fine.  When we are alone, I am fine, but she seems to panic.

Given the situation, I really feel like we should stick to the forms of communication that work well.  My impression is that on the phone I’m not able to tell her the things she must want to hear and this experience is showing me that I need a girlfriend who is tough enough to live on her own and be independent when we are apart; to write me with good news about her accomplishments.

Do we love each other or do we hate the idea of losing each other?

I’m learning from all this how much people can change from year to year, and so the idea that someone can say that there is a ‘one’ for them just doesn’t make sense to me. Of course, I do believe that there is a ‘one’ out there, but there is no way to know who it is, or to control who it is. It just will happen that way in the end.

Souvenirs of a 2003 European tour

Barcode – The Clown and I created this show which was the first-ever creation I’ve had the opportunity to tour.

Racism in Europe – more open and socially accepted than racism in the US.  Good and bad sides to both.

Barcelona – the first city I ever had the good fortune to street perform in.

The Contortionist – seeing her on and off throughout the trip brings us to the edge of starting a relationship together.

Switzerland – “Don’t trust the Swiss!  Thieves, all of them!”

Munich – totally ill sleeping on the sofa of a German physician of noble decent.  We watched Friends in German.

The Clown and his family – my European adopted home – I’ve never had such a fantastic time with the parents of one of my friends.

Theater versus circus – the jury is still out on which I prefer and how easy it is to mix these disciplines.

Italy – street performing in Loano, feeling the appreciation of my friend’s grandmother for the 442 soldiers who liberated her city, an event in an old Italian castle, seeing the shroud of Turin, an Egyptian museum, a real cappuccino, almost getting punched in the face for offering to help our friend’s father cook, getting sideways glances from sleeping on the same sofa as The Clown, coke and rums, teaching strippers to dance, peeing into the ocean from a bridge.

The Rythmic Gymnast – met the Artist’s new girlfriend.

Beautiful moments – lot’s of them.

Al Carrer – my first circus festival.

Cruising – getting a master class in meeting women in clubs from The Clown.

Role of circus versus personal responsibility – I choose circus.

Amsterdam – sleeping 5 people in one bedroom, getting in a bike accident, no one catching The Artist when he shouted “movement” in a loud dance club, getting pushed by my mates into a private dance booth and being certain that the giant Black stripper was a man.  She wasn’t.  I was scolded for screaming.

Trains – so different in France versus Germany versus Italy.  I love travelling by trains when I can.

Language – so many to learn.

And finally, the Barcelona cast of characters we met:

  • Slovenian girls
  • Barbara
  • Army apes
  • Two face guy
  • Drunk guard
  • Drunk guard’s friend
  • Swiss girls (Mya and Sabrina)
  • My “boyfriend”
  • pot smokers
  • Shy Asian girl
  • Clap dancing hippies
  • Vomiting white dress girl
  • English blokes
  • Blue rose bitches
  • Pickpocket talkers
  • Curling fan
  • Clautilde
  • Oreille
  • 3 video girls
  • 3 Spanish girls
  • Danish wheelchair family
  • Singing guy with radio
  • Bleeding junkie jumproper
  • Dutch acrobat
  • Coke waiter
  • 2 waitresses
  • Aaron juggler
  • Bulgarian drunk soft head porter
  • Drunk red-shirted Norweigan
  • American break-dance guys
  • Barcelona break-dance guys
  • Burger King guard
  • Camping guards
  • The Tumbler’s bouncer friend
  • Dutch dog
  • Charlie Chaplin
  • Singing mustache waiter
  • Burger King waitress
  • Military solo camper with dog