An Irregular Column
by Mykel Board
[Conversation that was originally in Japanese is printed here in UPPER CASE.]
It's tastier than an eighteen year old crotch. About the size and texture of a testicle. Slightly brown on the outside, soft, with a small hard mass in the center. Tako-yaki, "octopus fry." It's famous in Osaka-- a Japanese Chicago, to Tokyo, Japan's New York.
I'm back in Japan. It's been seven years since I last lowered my naked body into a boiling furo. I've got friends to see. Places to explore. Nookie to seek. I also have friends in Taiwan, just a boat-through-a-typhoon away.
Despite a depression, little has changed from when I was here last. The girls are prettier. There are more fat people.
Everybody, has a cell phone, especially Junior High girls.
There're no free manga left on the subways. The local bums pick 'em up to resell on the street. Machine drinks are 20 yen more than they used to be. Except for these, the country is just like I left it.
In Osaka, I'm staying with my pal Sven. With a name like that, you'd think: tall, thin, blonde, handsome in the disgustingly "I'm dumb" way that most blond guys are. Sven isn't like that.
A weird Finno-Mexican mix, he's tall, but not thin. Not fat either, just BIG. His face is intense, with a thin nose that juts out directly from between his eyes-- like nasal Viagra. He's not ugly, but he'd be scarier than a doberman in a back alley.
Today Sven gives me the "red line" tour. In other places it'd be called "red light."
The brothels cluster together in a series of huge old wooden houses. Prewar style, they have ornate tiled roofs and large sliding doors facing the street. Most of the doors are shut.
"It's early," explains Sven, "usually, the girls don't start until after eight."
The open doors each reveal a small front room. In this one, a low black dresser stands against a side wall. A white rug rests on the tatami mat, raised above the recess where you leave your shoes. A red chair, with no legs sits on the floor. Next to the chair is a large futon.
A woman sits on the chair. Somewhat chubby, the flesh around her mouth is beginning to sag. She looks at us impassively, like a casual park-goer might look at a tree.
"That's the mama-san," explains Sven. "It's her job to procure, inspect, approve of, bargain with and otherwise deal with the customers."
On the futon, lying propped up against a mountain of pillows, is the working girl herself. Thin, in her mid-twenties, her long hair flows freely over her shoulders onto her kimono- like gown. She smiles gently at us, but says nothing.
We walk on, checking out the other rooms. Sometimes the futon is empty.
"That means the working girl is working." says Sven.
"To ask for group sex," he continues, "you add 'pai' to the number of people. For example, sex with her and two guys is 'san- pai'. Four people is 'yon-pai'."
"You suggesting something?" I ask. "How much do they cost?"
"They're about 15,000 yen (approx $120)," he says. "But I'm well taken care of, thanks."
Seeing a pair of foreigners walk by, some of the mama-sans smile. The girls giggle. Others stare straight ahead, as if we're glass. Still others look hostile or frightened as if saying, "Please G-d, make them go away!" They're safe from me. I'm broke.
And Sven? He's not bragging. He's surrounded. He's got girls coming out the ears. His foreignness, his hulk, his difference.
They want him. Back at his place, the phone doesn't stop. He's got to schedule 'em in.
"Mykel," he says, "You've got to leave tonight. There's a Chinese one coming over."
Being in Japan, one of the most xenophobic AND xenophillic countries in the world, it's a good time to talk about foreigners. Well, not exactly foreigners, but foreigner-as- object. I'll explain later.
Right now, still in Osaka, I'm getting my beer fix with Hiroshi. He's a pal I met getting plastered in Sapporo eight years back.
We talk about my adventures hitching in Japan-- and how easy it is to get a ride. Is this how Japanese treat each other? Or am I getting something special because I'm a gaijin, a foreigner?
"MYKEL-SAN," says Hiroshi, "IF YOU WERE JAPANESE, YOU COULDN'T HITCHHIKE. NO ONE WOULD PICK YOU UP."
We're in an "Irish Pub" downtown. The bartender's a beauty: dark hair, green eyes-- Australian, not Irish. I order a Yebisu.
I suggest Hiroshi order a Guinness. He does.
As the bartender waits for the Guinness to settle, I smile at her. Then I explain how I'm a famous writer and rock'n'roll star.
"I'm only in town for a night," I tell her, "but a night can be a long time."
She looks at the ceiling. I guess this is not the first time she's heard that line.
"I'm looking for a Japanese boyfriend." she says.
It figures. Why else would she be here?
"AREN'T YOU MARRIED?" Hiroshi asks me in Japanese, clueing into my flirt.
"NO," I tell him, "I LOVE MY FREEDOM."
"HOW OLD ARE YOU?" he asks, also in Japanese. I tell him.
"YOU'RE FIFTY FIVE YEARS OLD! SUGOI!"
"Sugoi!" means both "awful" and "great." In Japan, as in the U.S., freedom is for kids. It's something you grow out of.
"What are you talking about?" asks the bartender, unable to understand our Japanese.
"Marriage." I tell her.
"I'm young yet," she says. "Maybe someday, after I'm old.
Thirty or something. Then, I'll get married."
Hitching out of Osaka, a man stops for me. His thick black hair is just beginning to grey at the temples. He wears a clean plaid shirt and newly ironed jeans. He could be a businessman on his day off.
"WHERE YOU GOING?" he asks.
"HIROSHIMA." I answer.
"SORRY," he says, "I'M GOING SOUTH, TO SHIKOKU (ANOTHER ISLAND)."
"OKAY," I tell him, "THEN I'M GOING TO SHIKOKU."
"FINE," he says smiling, opening the door for me to get in.
When we cross the bridge, he turns to me. "YOU HAVE SOME EXTRA TIME?" he asks.
"SURE." I tell him. "I HAVE NO SCHEDULE."
"I WANT YOU TO MEET MY FAMILY," he says.
After an hour drive through mountains, past industrial cities, we arrive at a small apartment building in Matsuyama.
Raising his index finger, the driver asks me to wait. He goes into the building.
He returns with a matronly woman a lot like the first mama- san in Osaka. With the woman is a slender girl, about twelve years old, with JAILBAIT written in big metaphoric letters across her forehead. Pure tanned skin, thin dark eyes, just budding pubescence.
It's a family outing. Show the town to the foreigner. The four of us pack into the car and head to the local Buddhist temple. Dad pays for admission. I ring the temple bell.
Then we hit the best eel restaurant in town. Dinner costs about $30 each. Dad pays. After dinner, we take a local tour. I buy some souvenirs. Dad pays. Then we're off to the port so I can catch the boat to Kyushu, the next island. Dad pays for the boat too.
Fast-forward. I've left Japan. I'm in a Taiwan homo bathhouse. Three floors. The lockers are on the middle one. There are also two saunas, one with a large glass window in front, the other in almost total darkness. Downstairs is the "relax room." It's a large room with a bunch of cots in it. Against one wall is a giant video screen. On the cots, people... sleep! One to a cot!
On the screen, Porky Pig says, "th...th...th.. that's all folks!" I shit you not.
On the top floor is another video room. This is an improvement: Hong Kong action movies. There's also a maze of little rooms with a futon and pillow in each. Curtained off behind the video screen, another room is totally dark.
I'm wearing only a towel, walking around the halls. Avoiding the big-bellied and the big-titted, I see a tall thin young man.
Despite his slight acne, his face is beautiful, like a sandstone sculpture. I look at him, catch his eye, and smile.
BLAM! He's off. Around the corner like he'd seen a whiteman.
Eeeek! Not an encouraging sign.
I stand in the hall, outside one of the little rooms. A hand brushes my forearm. I turn. Yuck! He's about my age-- and looks it. I smile, bow slightly, and head away, toward the dark room.
My eyes can't focus. Every time the curtain opens, there's a flash of light. Shadows appear. Then darkness.
My nose and ears do all the work. I smell the sperm. I hear the moans, the sucking, the little breaths: caught, held, then released all at once. My blood surges, rising the towel draped over my lower body.
A hand touches my side. I freeze. It moves to the front, hitting the hair on my chest. Like it's touched fire, it pulls away and vanishes into the darkness.
Another hand. This one touches my neck, rises to my forehead, gingerly exploring. Then it traces my cheek. Stubble!
Bang! It too pulls away and disappears.
Discouraged, I leave the dark room to patrol the hall. On my way out, I almost run into another beautiful young man. About twenty, with a buzzcut, his eyes widen in shock as he sees me. I smile and go back on the prowl. No luck. I return to the dark room.
As I arrive at the curtain, Buzzcut's ahead of me. He looks sideways at me. A Mona Lisa smile brushes like a lady's powderpuff over his face.
I follow him in. In the shadows, what I guess is him leans against the wall next to the curtain. I lean on the other side.
He edges toward me. I can smell him. A clean Oriental smell. As I shift position to move closer, a big shape steps between us, completely blocking the light. The shape ignores me and moves toward Buzzcut. PAHTCH! The sound of a slap. The thud of skin against skin. The big shape leaves. I move in.
We stand one next to the other. I brush my hand against his arm. Then withdraw. A few motionless seconds later, his arm brushes mine, lingering a bit. I raise my hand cautiously to his chest. He stands there. My blood-gorged twinkie pushes against the towel.
When he doesn't move, I run my fingers over his smoothness, lingering at a nipple, feeling it grow erect under my fingertips.
He raises his hand to my chest. The big test. Tickling my fur, his body language says "yes!" to my foreignness.
Slowly we lower our hands to grab each other's turpitude.
Stroking back and forth...
Ok. Enough porn! Finish yourself off, then come back. I've made my point (and his!). For most of the bath-goers I was a foreign object of fear or disgust. For at least one, I was a foreign object of lust.
I was not a "complete human." No one was interested or afraid of me for my intellect, sense of humor, or athletic prowess. They were only interested in the hairy foreigner.
What's true on the Taiwan sexual front was true on the Japanese hitchhiking front and most kinds of relationships. I'm an object. Until (and if) people get to know me. I remain an object.
Contrary to the feminist whine, being an object is not bad.
We don't always deal with complete people. When I see my doctor, I don't care if she's a Yankee fan or if she can whistle with a mouthful of water. She's a medical object, there to serve my needs at the time.
It's valid to say "I don't want to be ONLY a sexual object." It's strange to say "I don't want to be a sexual object." Why not? Don't you like sex?
Sure I'm a complete human. My friends know that. That's enough. For travel, I'll be a foreign object. It gets me rides, food, and let's me see what I'd never otherwise see. It even gets me laid.
I'd be a sex object too, if I could. Just take a number and step right up.
-->Time to switch to coffee? dept: Bottom Line Health reports that drinking tea seems to boost women's fertility. Women who drink at least 1/2 cup of caffeinated tea a day are twice as likely to conceive as women who don't drink tea.
-->Is it real or is it Subgenius? dept: I recently got an internet spam claiming the TRUE name of the lord is not "Yahweh" or "Jehovah," but YAHOO! I'd say it's a joke but they look pretty serious about it. See for yourself at:
-->The Liquid Sunshine boys asked me to pass on the following from them:
Punkoholic Warzone! is now expanding to Liquid Sunshine Records. We are currently seeking bands to contribute to the (as yet untitled)Project #1 VHS compilation.
We are also trying to contact as many punk E-Zines as possible for cross links.
If you are interested in being a part on our first or any future projects please check out our site even if you are currently signed to another label. Our unique business model is built on contributor cross promotion and group effort.We are a punk collective hoping to expand into a full service label in the future. Our website is up at:
We hope to hear from you and wish your band/zine the best of luck.
--> Don't tell me it's catching? dept: I've written that Holland and Denmark are the only two countries freer than the U.S. But, it looks like things are changing. Schelto Patijn, the new mayor of Amsterdam, has modelled himself after New York horror story, Benito Guilliani.
The Dutch passed new laws against porno postcards, pissing in public and street musicians. You get fined $125 for giving a cop the finger. In New York, you'd get a plunger up your ass.
--> The Indian Solution dept: Swami Chaitanya Keerti from an Indian (turban, not feather) sect known as the Osho Commune supports Clinton's penile adventures. He encourages Clinton to express his sexuality.
"If you are the president of the most powerful nation and you don't have a normal sex life, you could throw bombs at other countries out of your own personal frustration." he said.
-->Zine of the month dept: Yowee Zowie, I haven't seen anything this cool and obsessed since Murder Can Be Fun! It's called Tail Spins (POB 1860, Evanston IL 60204). Along with your usual MELVINS story there's an interesting story on hermaphrodites. But the crowning glory is a 25 page "History of Cannibalism." More than you want to know! Excellent research, well-written, This one is it!
-->Speaking of Osaka dept: Along with the cool whorehouses, my pal Sven took me to a cool bar. Called the Agave Cafe, it's run by an LA Chicano and his Japanese wife. Great food, fun place, cool people. I don't have an address, but if you're in Osaka, or will be, call (6) 213-8110 for directions.
-->The Cure for Punk Rock dept: The following abstract is from Medscape Mental Health Vol 3(3), 1998:
The Disruptive Behavior Disorders (Oppositional/Defiant Disorder and Conduct Disorder) and Antisocial Personality Disorder classify antisocial behaviors across the developmental spectrum. These criteria reliably describe deviations from behavioral norms but have limited treatment implications...This paper focuses on aggression with irritability and mood swings, a problem for which clinicians often use mood stabilizers like lithium, carbamazepine, or valproic acid...This article also notes a link between this type of aggression, and use of marijuana. Antisocial adolescents use large quantities of marijuana to "chill out" (calm down), and they reduce marijuana use when their aggression diminishes on medication, suggesting that self-medication is occurring... This raises the possibility that intervention at an early age in children may prevent antisocial outcomes in general and substance use in particular.
In case you don't get it, that means that if you drug kids at an early age, they won't wind up as punk rockers using marijuana. Don't you just love science?
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