The Onyanko Club, Pt. II

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In 1986, The Pussy Club hit Number One on the Oricon with their peppy surf-rock ode to sexual harassment on the public transportation system: “Otto Chikan!” (YouTube video). The word chikan means “male sexual pervert” and these days mostly refers to the action of men feeling up women on the subways. Not exactly a term that just screams “pop song chorus,” but again we must trust the epic sense of Akimoto Yasushi.

The song starts as an anti-chikan rant from a high school wanting revenge on the suspicious males in her train car, but turns out, she was wrong to complain: The creepy kid in thick glasses just wanted to give the girl a love letter. Crisis averted.

The song seems to say: these men who appear to be in the art of — excuse me for this one — chikan’ery in fact have pure romantic intentions (a love letter). Don’t jump to conclusions, little girls!

(On closer inspection, the entire song seems to be a mockery of women who do scream out “pervert,” basically saying that they are fully in control of the situation and making accusations for “fun.”)

The lyrics in English (translation by me):

Look! Look! Look!
Somebody, somebody’s eyes are on me!

The morning rush-hour trains
are over capacity, jam-packed
(the lyric お寿司詰め is a pun on 鮨詰め)
Uh-oh, a dangerous type of person
has come this way.

There’s gossip about a guy
wearing milk bottle-thick glasses,
an oboucchama [spoiled son from a wealthy family]
with short-cut hair
and wearing serious clothes.

Let’s bully him a little!
Grab that innocent hand.
Let’s bully him a little!
It’s a girl’s trick.

“That person is a sexual pervert!” In a loud voice!
“That person is a sexual pervert!” All together!
Let’s get rid of him — get rid of the stress!
We’re so lucky!

Look! Look! Look!
That confused guy!

It’s not like I really care
If my navy blue uniform becomes a mess,
But because it’s fun, I screamed on purpose,
And pretended to cry.

If a high-school girl, who couldn’t even kill a bug,
is not treated seriously, she’ll make him hurt!

The overprotected daughter acts gentle,
but when she does it, she does it.

Let’s bully him more!
I thought of something good.
Let’s bully him more!
I pinched him hard!

S-s-sorry! A surprised face!
S-s-sorry! So awkwardly!
He had a love letter that said “I like you.”
So-rry!

Read more about The Onyanko Club in Part 1: Don’t Take Off My Sailor Uniform and Part 3: Stop It, Teacher.

W. David MARX (Marxy)
March 17, 2005

Marxy wrote a lot of essays back on his old site Néomarxisme. This is one of them.

62 Responses

  1. Momus Says:

    Captive Japanese Person, did this song made Japan a better or worse place?

    “I first heard it when I was 11 or so. Girls used to sing those songs at school. But the teacher said not to watch that TV programme every day, because it’s bad education for children. I think it made Japan better. Because music like that can be released in Japan. Why is that good? There’s many reasons. It’s not a song that makes you want to do more chikkan, you know.”

  2. Momus Says:

    Oh dear, Hisae’s answer sets up a binary Marxy won’t like: it’s this song versus the repressive Japanese education system!

  3. Momus Says:

    The song seems to say… don’t jump to conclusions, little girls!

    Exactly. The message of the song is “don’t rush to judgement”. It’s the same as a commercial I once saw for The Guardian newspaper with the slogan “Things are not always what they seem”. A white man is walking along a street. A black man rushes up from behind and pushes him violently. Then the same scene is shown from a wider angle and we see that the black guy is actually saving him from a barrell falling off a scaffolding.

  4. marxy Says:

    My dad wouldn’t let my older brother and sister watch Dukes of Hazzard, because he said it was “trash.” I don’t think parental disapproval means that it was actually a good show.

    I think it made Japan better. Because music like that can be released in Japan. Why is that good? There’s many reasons. It’s not a song that makes you want to do more chikkan, you know.

    1) Why is the baseline question: did it make Japan a better place?

    2) I think there’s hypocrisy in the sense that a song about high-school girls that is titillating for adult males is okay, and overtly political messages aren’t.

    3) No one would want to do more “chikan” after hearing this song, but it does make light of a serious social problem. “When his hands are in your pants, he was just trying to put a love letter there, dear.”

  5. Momus Says:

    Wait, you’re not being consistent here. We agree that the basic message of the song is “Don’t rush to judgement, things are not always what they seem”. A positive message, and one with a certain political resonance too, I’d say — analyse situations carefully before you condemn people, don’t persecute people.

    At no point does the seriously-dressed young man with thick spectacles have “his hands in your pants”. But yes, he does have a love letter. So don’t persecute him.

    I think there’s hypocrisy in the sense that a song about high-school girls that is titilating for adult males is okay

    Personally I didn’t get an erection listening to this song. Did you?

  6. Momus Says:

    Also, I’d have thought that the song’s condemnation of the groupthink sentiment “Let’s get rid of him, get rid of the stress” would gain your approval. It’s a song about a group’s attitude to an Other who is different from them, and onto whom they mistakenly project negative stereotypes.

  7. Momus Says:

    Furhtermore, you’ve raised the issue of bullying as a political problem in this blog in the past. The song condemns it:

    Let’s bully him more!
    I pinched him strongly!

    So why is it political when you raise it, but not political when the songwriter raises it?

  8. marxy Says:

    I like it a lot more when you talk about the topic at hand, Momus.

    I don’t think the song necessarily questions the practice bullying. It’s more like an innocent “Oops, I did it again!” than a self-reflection on their own reaction to possible further chikan from men. I certainly get a sense that this is not her first time to be groped. I’m just a little suspicious of a male adult songwriter in a song targeted to young girls trying to make it sound like all groping – which is the issue at hand – is really just “romantic misunderstanding.”

    If a young girl first learns about chikan through this song, is she going to think it’s a social problem or a “silly” thing guys do?

  9. Momus Says:

    I don’t think we can say the song is about chikkans when there’s no chikkan character in it, and no act of, ahem, chicanery detailed. Certainly the song presents the problem of train groping as a backdrop to its lesson on tolerance and non-judgmentalism, but it takes care to present a morally nuanced picture of the train. There are no goodies or baddies, no black or white. The girls are capable of cruelty and deception, persecution and hasty judgement just as the men are capable of sexual harrassment. There are “dangerous types” in the world, and girls are vulnerable, there are otakus and spoiled young men. But sometimes what passes for bad motives are good ones. I’d say this is a rather tender-minded song that emphasises virtuous circles and social cohesion, and that that is a characteristically Japanese way of dealing with potential conflict. It is possible that the girls get a bit of a dressing down in the song, though. I put this down to it being directed at girls, and essentially didactic in purpose. It seems to deal with the subject in a responsible way, and I can only assume the teachers who disapproved just thought the subject shouldn’t even be raised in the first place.

  10. Chris_B Says:

    I’m just not going to jump into the silly argument.

    Thanks for posting another interesting tidbit marxy.

  11. r. Says:

    this just a tangent, but what if nick wanted to write something, but the native japanese s.o. were out shopping? would nick be tempted to use her as an avatar for voicing his opinions in absentia? i’m sure he wouldn’t…

  12. Chris_B Says:

    r: that would be dishonest! posing as an expert without any backing? unheard of!

  13. r. Says:

    true, true!

    when i read Hisae’s (hi there, Hisae! how’s it going?) comments…

    “But the teacher said not to watch that TV programme every day, because it’s bad education for children. I think it made Japan better. Because music like that can be released in Japan. Why is that good?”

    probalby because i know a little bit about her background from have chatted with her a few times (in the vernacular), and from what nick has said about her here and elsewhere, i thought, hey, it is GREAT that Hisae was able to get out of/away from japan and into Europe and England (and englISH, for that matter) so that she could become AWARE enough to say…

    “Because music LIKE THAT [emph. mine] can be released in Japan.”

    and so, voila, there is ANOTHER interesting binary for you to put in your pipe and smoke, nick, and this time it is a demographic one. Hisae thinks this song was positive for japan OK, but she thinks that way because she has spent time back and forth between japan and other countries, no? (and keep in mind, i’m not saying that i agree with her POV)

    i wonder what kind of opinion you might get if you asked the same questiosn about this song to some young woman who hasn’t had the luxury of such comparative experience gained thru travel? in other words, someone who as never left the island, and may have slightly differet values than nick’s s.o.-cum-mouthpiece? i’d pay money to see nick go toe-to-toe and try to defend his position to a ‘looser dog’ (make-inu)

    http://www.japantoday.com/e/?content=shukan&id=259

    or a NEET girl.

    http://www.japantoday.com/e/?content=news&cat=1&id=327282

    or even a NEEN girl (

    http://www.manetas.com/eo/frame1.html#

    like mae ueda or sawako) from NYC who are worldy, but leaning toward a NYC style of gender politics…

    femme du monde?
    femme de chambre?
    femme fatale?
    femme galante?
    femme incomprise?
    femme savante?

  14. r. Says:

    david,
    btw, i think it is interesting that (and i’m dragging this over from your Part. 1 blog) based on what you said about some of the girls getting kicked out because of getting boyfriends or -gasp- smoking, these girls were forced to maintain the image of a ‘pussy club’…that DOESN’T PUT OUT! i’m sure the guy who put this group together had the notion in his head along the lines of: TEASE = $$$, PUT-OUT = NO $$$. and on top of that, if the girls where seen as girls that PUT OUT, wouldn’t the name have to be changed to “CUNT CLUB” or something like that? and i have to agree, that isn’t going to sell as much (with SOME groups…he, he!) like nick agreed (with me), you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar! natch!

  15. A Non-captive Japanese Female Says:

    Thought – Momus is to ‘Captive Japanese Female’ as Plato is to Socrates.

    Discuss!

  16. r. Says:

    whoops, it looks like my ‘kusuri-yubi’ got out of control…that should have been ‘loser dog’ instead of ‘looser dog’, but actually if you read it in a slightly different light, it kind of works…

  17. r@r.edu Says:

    whoops, sorry to hog the blog, but i posted this up on the Part 1 without noticing that the discussion there is pretty much dead. so, i’m posting again here.
    ———–
    ten things i don’t like about japan

    1. not everyone is able (many are willing) to experience the ‘authentic’ japan (a scalene bermuda triange-like stretch of land between shibuya, nakameguro and daikanyama) that momus is mostly dedicated to describing BECAUSE of issues of race, socio/economic problems (even among the japanese), etc. although with that being said, recently he’s learned a little about the country side here…that he hates it! why DON’T they have any – from you POV – likable culture, nick? that’s because their traditional culture was discarded for and their consumptive patterns retrofitted to the consumerist desiring machine. only problem is they, even in hokkodate, have everything that is CONVIENIENT, but nothing that it INTERETING.

    whenever i’m in a ‘select shop’ in daikanyama, i always wonder why japanese and whites are the only clientele.

    2. the quasi-opposite of 1. that momus is so dedicated to being a PR man for this little sliver of japan that he adores he has ignored the rest of the rich panolpy here, and that BECAUSE of this, the readers of clique opera aren’t told about OTHER really interesting places/people in tokyo. one example (there are countless ones) would be the Senjyu area, two of the few ‘reincarnated shitamachi’ areas in tokyo, where recenty it gives one the feeling that it is going thru some kind of japanese, 21st century version of the Harlem Renaissance. will probalby move my studio there this year to be in the thick of it.

    by the way jean snow, a near-counterpart of momus, in that he is a kind of poster boy for the blind adoration of culture as consumerism sans the critical discourse (perhaps jean want to engage in it, but in my opinion he isn’t capable of it for several reasons) is also implicated in this. his page is just a raw optical organ…the “guest with no ‘judge’ function” stated in the either/or momusian lingo. scary!

    3. as nick says “Lack of sidewalks, the conflict between cars and pedestrians” but i would further this by saying the conflict of cars and people who AREN’T in cars (i.e. bicycle riders). that is way i took issue with nick’s blog a while back that glorified the bicycle, but forgot to include the bicycle RIDER in the equation. (don’t make me fish for the pertinent URLs.)

    4. again, borrowing what nick says and adding a little “The fact that I can never be entirely sure that the Japan I love isn’t partly the result of two of the major atrocities of the 20th century [caused by my country], the use of nuclear weapons on civilian populations”

    5. rude japanese (the demographic is quite wide) who don’t give up the designated seats on train to the people who these seats are for (the elderly, physically challenged, pregnant women, etc.) even though these people may be standing RIGHT IN FRONT OF THEM, PLUS the fact that nobody around them (all of the ‘polite’ japanese that momus loves?) are also part of this little conspiracy since most of them (because of a warped, 21st centry spirit of ‘wa’) choose to pretent not to see what is happening. the 19th century of ‘wa’ would cause a japanese who saw such a thing to reprimand the infractor.

    6. and speaking of ‘wa’ i don’t like the fact that on the back of my box of ‘wa’, there is written in microscopic letters: “let’s enjoy ‘wa’ ourselves, together!” but that they forgot to mention that ‘wa’ is a concept that still, for the most part, applies only to the way two japanese people are supposed to treat one another. it is not a “‘wa’ du monde” applying to ALL humans. i hate that ‘wa’ needs to be updated but that many people don’t see that it does.

    7. i didn’t like it last year when audrey (from ok fred) invited me to come to an interview (to add my two-cents-worth to the translations) in which her young and beautiful japanese female fashion-designer friend (semi-famous) was being asked over and over and over again by the german woman (her second time in japan) to DEFINE ‘wabi-sabi’. the young girl couldn’t do it (because she didn’t CONSCIOUSLY know what it was and even if she did, couldn’t put it into words, since that literature – things like the manyoushu – isn’t really read by young japanese), the german girl INSISTED that IN FACT the DID know, and proceeded to ask over and over the same question for about 10 min. i sat there quietly, enjoying my designer cocktail thru my bitten lip, when finally i couldn’t take it any more, in an effort to safe the drowning little japanese designer, and rescue the Teutonic interviewer from herself, i interjected: “Have either of you ever seen Star Wars?” They both said they had. Then I said, “Wabi Sabi is like The Force, and all of the cool Yoda-types that could have told you what it IS have died out.”

    8. i don’t like (rail-thin) people in japan who don’t get that eating at an izakaya isn’t about being able to get their 3000 yen of food, it is about getting a PRICELESS amount of conversation between MEN and WOMEN, which doesn’t really happen anywhere else. cafes are for girls, bars are for boys, izakayas are neutral territory. (probably the fact that these conversation are in japanese makes things worse for these people?)

    9. i don’t like the fact that i’m not really sure sometimes if japan and i are realy trying hard enough to understand each other.

    10. i don’t like the fact that even after all these years, japanese people don’t believe in failure as the best teacher.

  18. Momus Says:

    nick’s s.o.-cum-mouthpiece

    Right, you’re in BIG trouble now, F*ckworth YA BIG BISEXUAL!

  19. Momus Says:

    By the way, Robert, you’ve slipped up with your 10 things you don’t like about Japan. Chris asked you for something else:

    “Maybe its time for those of us who are long term guests who happen to be unafraid to speak our minds about what we dont like to do a pennance list of 10 things we like.”

    You were specifically requested to list 10 things you do like about Japan.

  20. Momus Says:

    (By the way, we’re now all becoming so stereotypical in these discussions — nay, archetypical, painted into cosmic corners — that we’re surely only fit to become characters in some hilarious sitcom set in a Tokyo ELT school, with Robert, Marxy and Chris playing crabby old staff teachers desperate to go home, and me, Sparklig and Jean Snow playing yuppie artist types visiting occasionally to give lectures on design and check out the girls, uttering Warholesque “Gee, it’s all greats” from time to time…)

  21. sparkligbeatnic Says:

    Any of you guys ever consider writing for The Alien?

  22. sparkligbeatnic Says:

    Sparklig and Jean Snow playing yuppie artist types visiting occasionally to give lectures

    I’ve been here continuously for 8.5 years with occasional trips out of the country. Still constantly checking out the girls. But I’d be doing that most places (well most places on the Eurasian continent, at least, where there’s not so much of an obesity problem).

    I think the reason I’m more positive than David and Robert is (a) I’m not American and don’t have the same sense of cultural superiority (b) I live here because I enjoy it, and I live in what I consdier to be a very enjoyable place.

    There are problems in Japan like everywhere else. They are nowhere nearly as bad as the problems in the USA (Anyone read the news today?). Living here has been much easier for me than my time in the USA in all respects, though I dont regret that time at all. And it’s not to say that my time in Japan has been a complete honeymoon. The honeymoon lasted about 2 years and I still get flashbacks. Am I here for good? Don’t know. But I’m not quite ready to leave yet.

  23. r. Says:

    nick said:

    Right, you’re in BIG trouble now, F*ckworth YA BIG BISEXUAL!

    and i say:

    how articulate (and predictable)! with lucid prose like this, i wouldn’t even imagine you are 20 years older than marxy, and that you make your money from writing. oh, and i prefer to say that i’m just ‘sexual’ and don’t enjoy any labels more specific than that, thank you very much.

    if you want me to retract wha i said about hisae functioning as your mouthpiece, why not let her type her OWN opinions here? then we could hear it from the horse’s mouth AND you could increase the poplulation of this blog’s japanese female interaction from 0 to 1 (by your calculations). and THAT would be big of you.

    nick also said:

    You were specifically requested to list 10 things you do like about Japan.

    and i say:

    i know what he asked for. i gave him what i gave him because i chose to. i’ll also do the other list, for your satisfaction.

    and nick said:

    …Tokyo ELT school, with Robert, Marxy

    just for the record, marxy and i aren’t the ones teaching english as a profession. that would be jean, who, as you say…

    “Snow playing yuppie artist types visiting occasionally to give lectures on design and check out the girls”

    but jean has been here longer than marxy and i put together and is the most garden variety person you’ll ever meet in tokyo. you’ll have to choose different example of your yuppie artist types…

    but i should mention that marxy and i are both university students, for what it counts.

    i also have to say that marxy isn’t negative. i think he is realistic and his views are sober. also, when did i get lumped in with a negative viewpoint? if anything, my blog has a rich variety of content, both ‘pro’ and ‘con’.

    kiss.

  24. r. Says:

    non-captive japanese female said:

    Thought – Momus is to ‘Captive Japanese Female’ as Plato is to Socrates.

    and i say: you took the words right out of my mouth! but i wonder why nick hasn’t attacked YOU yet…

    btw, i check out your webpage. very cool stuff! hey, i just sent you an email, so let me know what you think about what i said in it. yoroshiku!

  25. r. Says:

    i’d also like to say if this thread had come down to MOMUS, of all people, ribbing people for being straight but not narrow, then we are surely living in the Last Days. regarding your venomous humor (or lack thereof)…as my grandaddy used to say “A hit dog hollars!”…so bow-wow-wow yourself, MemeDiddy Momus!

  26. Momus Says:

    Oh for Christ’s sake, put it back in your pants, chikkan!

  27. sparkligbeatnic Says:

    Actually I was wondering if anyone can explain to me what the heck is a yuppy artist anyways.

    Have we all been submerged in the ectoplasm so long that we are starting to froth at the gills.

  28. sparkligbeatnic Says:

    To add one more JF opinion on the onyanko theme, in absentia at least, my ex-GF upon seeing these album covers in a retro shop somewhere simply giggled and remarked “こてこてやんねん” (or something like that my Osaka-ben is not good) roughly: pretty cheesy, eh?.

  29. Momus Says:

    Sparklig, I’ve been very much enjoying your soundscapes. H and I listened to them last night, and our entire living room became the Kyoto subway system. Great stuff! (Couldn’t find the Philosopher’s Walk file, though.)

  30. sparkligbeatnic Says:

    Thanks. I’ve got more coming once I pass my obsession with my search for new accomodation.

    Last weekend I recorded two salarymen slurping their Ramen.

    I started the soundscape recording in 1998 when I bought some binaural mics and an MD recorder, but my interest was refreshed by your Hokkaido project.
    Was there a final exhibition in a more user frindly format than that web site you had your recordings linked to?

  31. Chris_B Says:

    I go out with the wife to an izakaiya for a few hours and this whole thread has gone to the dogs! r and momus having a pissing contest, marxy staying out of it, sparkling going off on one of his (I always thought sparkling was a female for some reason…) usual anti-USA rants. Where will it all end? WONT SOMEBODY THINK OF THE CHILDREN?!?!?

    r: was that 10 list for lil-ol-me? I’m flattered… Oh wait… you were just paraphrasing momus.

    FWIW I’m a salaryman, occaisional cyclist, and in my spare time I pretend to have some musical tallent on the Internet.

    Now off to checkout pinknoises.com and then enjoy one of the things which will be on my top 10 list, the digital thermostat ofuro set to 46 degrees.

  32. sparkligbeatnic Says:

    Here are some of the links.
    There was a typo in the first one. It’s fixed.

    For best effect listen with headphones. Good speaker placement should also give a good depth effect.

    http://sb.stanleylieber.com/gravel_walk.mp3

    http://sb.stanleylieber.com/kyoto_cutup2.mp3

    http://sb.stanleylieber.com/rokujizuyuki.mp3

  33. sparkligbeatnic Says:

    Chris_B: would you call someone who strongly cautioned the USA not to start a war on Vietnam in the 1960’s anti-American. I would call that person pro-American because their advice would have actually have been good for the USA.

    Likewise I consider myself pro-American in that I hope for the happiness and peace of the American people. I just think that they are doing it the wrong way. My opinion of course, but I am entitled to it, I hope.

  34. r. Says:

    note for everyone: when nick’s gets desperate in his arguments he resorts to levity.

    sparkligbeatnic: are you in kyoto now? i’ll be there in a few weeks (with of all people, my mother) if you’d like to compare notes about that city.

  35. sparkligbeatnic Says:

    sure …

    if you need accomodation suggestions check out
    this place:

    http://www.yoshimizu.com/en/kyoto/index.html
    very green area just behind maruyama koen, wa-fu, reasonably priced.

    if your Mum has money to burn and you want to stay in a real Ryokan all the accomodation suggestions here:

    http://www.kyotoguide.com/

    are good.

    there’s a new discount wa-fu inn opening up this month on the philosophy walk. i think i have the flier, if you are interested i’ll try to excavate it from my pile of rubble.

  36. Chris_B Says:

    sparkling: nice to hear that you are “pro-American”. Your opinions are noted. It does however seem that you manage to post some bitching about the USA into every thread whether or not anyone else is talking about America or Americans.

    I visited Kyoto once, should go back again someday. It was on top of mount daimonji (sp?) that I realized I was in love with the woman who became my wife, so I do have a good memory of the place.

  37. Momus Says:

    It does however seem that you manage to post some bitching about the USA into every thread whether or not anyone else is talking about America or Americans.

    Surely he’s just giving the Americans present the opportunity to show they’re nice people who would never dream of knocking someone else’s culture without also pointing to flaws in their own? In other words, he’s giving folks a chance to prevent a sort of conversational Vietnam.

  38. r. Says:

    sparkligbeatnic,
    thanks for the info on places to stay. actually, it will be my mom’s third time in kyoto, and she’ll be staying with a friend of the family in arashiyama (one of my fav. places on earth). i’ll be with another friend near ryoanji-eki station. anyway, perhaps we could have coffee or something? anyway, i’ll email soon.
    best,
    r.

  39. sparkligbeatnic Says:

    sure … let me know the dates you’ll be in town.

  40. r. Says:

    Nick: If this is turning into a sort of conversational Vietnam, then I’m a dissenter. St the same time, I DO find it more productive than not that you, Marxy, and I are all finally here in the same virtual room, exchanging ideas. Somehow I don’t think that this would work anywhere else, not on my blog, and not on yours. In fact, I would dare say that this is one of the best threads going anywhere on this kind of stuff.

  41. marxy Says:

    I leave for four hours to go see a show and come back to find 29 messages from 4 people.

    All this is same old same old, but I object to Momus portrayal of me as a jaded English teacher… Jeez, man, you really have no idea where I am coming from, do you? Most of the people in the Japan Studies academic world don’t spend their time talking about how great Japan is – they bring up what is not common knowledge: conflict, power imbalances, class struggles, change.

    A jaded English teacher would be barking about how low the doorframes are and how you can’t get a decent ribeye in town – in English, of course.

  42. sparkligbeatnic Says:

    Jeez, man, you really have no idea where I am coming from, do you? Most of the people in the Japan Studies academic world don’t spend their time talking about how great Japan is – they bring up what is not common knowledge: conflict, power imbalances, class struggles, change.

    And perhaps this is where the trouble starts, because after all this blog is “The Pop Sociology of (Japanese) Pop” not Foreign Affairs.

  43. sparkligbeatnic Says:

    Though the publication it sometimes reminds me of the most is The Alien.

  44. glitchslaptko Says:

    what show did you go see?

  45. glitchslaptko Says:

    sparkligbeatnic: where can i read the alien?

  46. sparkligbeatnic Says:

    I leave for four hours to go see a show and come back to find 29 messages from 4 people.

    This may be a gaijin bar for people who don’t like bars.

  47. sparkligbeatnic Says:

    where can i read the alien?

    It used to be a free ‘zine provided at places gaijin are likely to gather. Haven’t seen it for a few years. I did a quick google and see it has left only nebulous traces in the collective ectoplasm.
    Probably a good thing.

    I think it was based in Nagoya but was available all over the Tokai.

    It was pretty a pretty raw “fresh (or crusty) gaijin take the piss out of Japan” kind of affair.
    I’m sure they must have had a feature on the Onyanko Club. If they were still in existence they’d be having as much fun with the suybway bears as Marxy is.

  48. glitchslaptko Says:

    If this is a virtual gaijin bar, it probably has the highest average IQ out there, and the lowest chance of getting laid.

  49. sparkligbeatnic Says:

    I’d be willing to wager that Chris_B remembers The Alien.

    I’m sometimes not very selective with reading material myself.

    I remember discussing this magazine with a friend, and we both found it amazing that a rag that does nothing but sarcastically bitch about Japan, could be found in neat, polite, respectful stacks in bookstores like Maruzen, though it was a freebie and not making Marzuen any money.

    Honourable Gaijin Magazine!

  50. sparkligbeatnic Says:

    If this is a virtual gaijin bar, it probably has the highest average IQ out there, and the lowest chance of getting laid.

    Well Momus brings up the average, at least in the “getting laid” department.

    I’m of the wabi-sabi school of “getting laid” but this is all getting a little too personal for me.

    Good night.

  51. glitchslaptko Says:

    10 Things I, Robert, Do Like About Japan:

    1. Not getting shot at like a did in LA. (I saw a drive by on my first weekend in LA.)
    2. Not having to pay a lot for a PHD. My university (Tokyo Geijyutsu Daigaku, more or less the Julliard of Japan) is basically free. In Amreica, my Masters at CalArts cost $30,000 per year.
    3. Access to ALMOST all of the info I could want. (Although I find info on South America and Africa to be lacking.)
    4. Healty AND cheap food!
    5. The most religious atheists in the world! (Much better than were I was born.)
    6. Very good transportation system. (I don’t need a car here…of course, I didn’t have one in America either, but that wasn’t easy.)
    7. No war.
    8. Onsen
    9. Actual freedom vs theoretical freedom. (Of course, this only works for my demographic here in Japan.)
    10. Momus

  52. Momus Says:

    10. Momus

    You really mean “being able to rub against Momus on trains without getting arrested”, don’t you?

  53. Chris_B Says:

    I remember The Alien. It was an Osaka based cheapo alternative to Tokyo Classified with no pretentions of pretention at all. Sometimes funny, mostly tiresome.The “Charisma Man” cartoon was sometimes funny. My 10 list will take a while, but I’ll get it done.

  54. porandojin Says:

    this group sounds like piccolo coro dell’antoniano

  55. glitchslaptko Says:

    nick said,

    10. Momus -You really mean “being able to rub against Momus on trains without getting arrested”, don’t you?

    and i say,

    well, now that i think about it, i really should have written “being able for Momus to rub up against me rubbing up against others on trains without getting arrested”

    A sort of ‘Chikan Mambo’…perhaps we could get the same guy who sings ‘Matsuken Samba’ to sing this song! (Digiki could do the remix.) Ole!

  56. quasar ken Says:

    i sort of like the reoccuring “digiki could do the remix” joke.

    an anonymous digiki friend.

  57. Chris_B Says:

    I think The Alien became Japan Zine

  58. glitchslaptko Says:

    somebody said: i sort of like the reoccuring “digiki could do the remix” joke.

    and i say: thanks, i do what i can…

  59. Momus Says:

    I like that there’s now a Recent Comments bar on this blog, because it means new comments added to old entries have a chance of being seen. So I’d like to go back to the intervention of a “non-captive Japanese female” on this thread.

    non-captive japanese female said: Thought – Momus is to ‘Captive Japanese Female’ as Plato is to Socrates.

    and i [Robert] say: you took the words right out of my mouth! but i wonder why nick hasn’t attacked YOU yet…

    I have no intention of attacking NCJF. But I do still think Hisae is the most authentically Japanese female on this thread, even if her mother was born in Korea. Anyone pop sociologist would pay more attention to Hisae’s evidence than NCJF’s if they wanted a “typical” Japanese eye-witness account of pop phenomena. NCJF’s familiarity with Plato and Socrates, and her mastery of the English language, show her to be highly exceptional, if she really is a Japanese female. This blog is always telling us how the typical Japanese person makes appalling blunders with English. Even the construction “non-captive” would be beyond most Japanese. (It also smacks of a post-protestant mindset, a mindset of refusal, individuality and protest.)

    I’m willing to bet that if you asked the NCJF where she was when she first heard the songs of the Onyanko Club, she would say something like “I was being educated in the US at the time, so I’m hearing these for the first time now. But I am still Japanese.” And because we believe that people have the right to claim whatever identities they want to, and we believe in fluidity and inclusivity when it comes to identity, we would certainly not want to challenge this “Japaneseness”. (By “we” here I mean Americans, mostly.)

    Interestingly, Mumbleboy was discussing one of Marxy’s tracks recently. He was talking in Japanese to Japanese people. Mumbleboy is a hybrid: he was educated in Japan up to the age of 6, then went to live in the US. The Japanese were saying “It’s nice to hear a gaijin singing in Japanese”. Mumbleboy corrected them. Marxy speaks Japanese and lives in Japan, he said, you shouldn’t call him “gaijin”. That term might be hurtful.

    Now I think Mumbleboy has got a little bit American in his attitudes here. We have to be able to designate the degree of socialisation someone has had in a particular nation, and we all accept that the downside of the (positive) experience of becoming a “hybrid person” is that you’re no longer “typical” of the nation you come from. I come from Edinburgh, Scotland, but I’ve lived more of my life elsewhere. An Edinburgh person of my generation would be able to answer the question “Where were you when you first heard the Bay City Rollers?” but I really can’t. I was 14, and I was in Montreal, where this huge Scottish pop phenomenon meant nothing. I have no memories of the Bay City Rollers, not even Bladerunneresque implanted ones. I would be useless to a pop sociologist of Scottish pop. Sure, I have the right to call myself “Scottish”. But you also have the right to ask someone who never left Scotland questions about “typical Scottish experience” rather than me.

    So I say, with the greatest sense of respect and comradeship, to the NCJF, you’re clearly about as Japanese as I’m Scottish.

  60. Momus Says:

    Correction: after discussing the Mumbleboy comment with Hisae further, I should clarify. Mumbleboy played a Marxy track on his radio station. Someone e mailed saying it was nice that gaijin were singing in Japanese. Mumbleboy commented that the word gaijin was discriminatory. The e mailer apologised for using it, and Mumbleboy apologised to him for the reprimand. Mumbleboy wasn’t actually saying that Marxy isn’t a foreigner in Japan.

  61. marxy Says:

    The Recent Comments bar was at the bottom for anybody with OS X.3 or higher. Thanks to Jean Snow and Trevor for helping me fix it. Also, RSS readers should have the full text of my posts now.

    I was about to say, that was very kind of Mumbleboy to go so far as to say I wasn’t a “gaijin” until I read your correction. I don’t particularly find the word an offensive term. but I also cringe when people wear it like a badge. I also don’t have any particular need to “become Japanese” – an impossible task that’s ruined many lives, Lafacadio Hearn onward. I’m happy being “International” if such a thing is still possible.

    The other interesting thing is that most of my Japanese musician friends were not pleased with the idea of a foreigner singing in Japanese. Some of them think singing in Japanese is uncool to start with, and the others were bothered that my “intonation” was not perfectly Japanese even if my pronounciation was fine.

  62. sparkligbeatnic Says:

    I also don’t have any particular need to “become Japanese” – an impossible task that’s ruined many lives, Lafacadio Hearn onward. I’m happy being “International” if such a thing is still possible.

    Interesting generalization. I’m curious to know what you mean when you say these people tried to “become Japanese” and also what you mean when you say Hearn’s life was “ruined”. If Lafcadio Hearn hadn’t come to Japan, it’s unlikely we would ever have read any of his writings. So even if he did end up disappointed or negative about Japan, in some sense Japan contributed to his lasting success.

    Also, I wonder what you think it means to be an “international” person. I too wonder whether that is possible in the current global circumstances.