Japan, guns, & love

I come from America and more specifically the southern area of the United States. I grew up in Florida, West Virginia, and Kentucky primarily. I spent the last three years of high school and all four years of college in Kansas, which always seemed like they were trying their hardest to either emulate Texans or convince me how much better they were from Nebraskans and Iowans. But to me that was like saying the ‘eggshell white’ is better than ‘white satin’ or ‘ivory tusk’… while there’s a difference who actually gives shit?

Oh my GOD it’s Ethan Hawke!

Aside from the easy Charlton Heston jokes, guns played an important point in American history. They helped conquer the indigenous people, win independence from the British monarchy, they helped us kill each other when we battled for states rights and wether a black man could or couldn’t be sold like livestock. Guns let Germany try to conquer Europe twice, they also helped the world stop Germany twice. And guns are just a phase. They replaced swords, bows, and sticks and stones. Guns themselves get replaced and will get replaced. I’m still waiting for a light saber…

Episode IV: A New Hope

Gun laws in Japan are strict. As I was never an “official” or “legal” gun owner in America, not having a gun or being able to quickly get my hands on a firearm is unsettling.

Wait did I say unsettling? No, sorry, the longer I’m out of America the more my personal lexicon shrinks. Soon I’m gonna sound like I’m from Georgia or Kansas… What I meant to say is it’s relaxing.

I notice a direct correlation between racism and stupidity…

People don’t own guns here. It’s kind of a weight off my mind. Occasionally you hear of someone going crazy on a slashing rampage with a kitchen knife, but compare a kitchen-knife-rampager to a pysochotic maniac able to get his hands on weapons easily and readily and which is going to make you more nervous? Even if you carry your own gun for protection, which makes you less nervous:  fighting a guy with a knife barehanded or a full out gun battle where you have a handgun and your opponent looks like he’s ready to hunt graboids?

Which scares you more???

Guns in Japan are viewed more like movie props and samurai swords in comics. If someone walked around with a gun on the street people would probably think it’s a toy, because seeing an actual firearm capable of killing is so rare here.

Now Japan has these things called ‘Love Hotels’. You can rent rooms by the hour or even overnight for affordable prices. It’s a place away from home where married couples can reaffirm their marital duties, prostitutes can ply their trade, married men and women can get some alone time with their boyfriends/girlfriends, and high schoolers can experiment with their brand new bodies; you can rent outfits for cosplaying/roleplaying, order food and drinks, rent movies, and even play video games.

Seriously… I didn’t bring you here for this…

Japan doesn’t have gun violence. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out why… but oddly enough they do have problems with their citizens not having enough colitis… Before I came to Japan I assumed that the Japanese were busily performing kinky sex acts that included gymnastics, bondage, and school girl skirts, but in reality the country is dying off simple because Japanese people are becoming more and more like pandas, not even willing to screw to save their own species. This phenomenon is well documented and studied.

Procreation=FAIL… Being a Bear=FAIL

So strange. And I don’t have any words of wisdom or anything. I like that the probability of me dying by gunshot is significantly lower in Japan than America. But I’m befuddled by  the so called the ‘herbivores‘ of Japan. And from my view point it’s not for lack of trying.

Common guys… you’re skipping several steps here…

Are the Japanese slowly devolving?

I bring all of this up because of one of my favorite bars in Fukuoka called The Shooting Bar. Located just south of the major shopping areas, it’s a snazzy little drinking spot where you can shoot airsoft guns at paper targets shooting range style. You have a menu with guns, ranging from James Bond’s PPK to the US army’s M4 rifle, and prices are fairly reasonable, a few dollars gets you the cheapest go around.

ザ・シューティングバー

This bar is situated in a Love Hotel area oddly enough, but it’s kind of genius. Shoot some targets, impress the ladies, then take them over to the love hotel for bon bons and Wii…

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New Hakata City

The main train station in Fukuoka is called Hakata Station. Hakata is an alternative name for Fukuoka, and really causes lots of confusion. While most stations in Japan are named after the city, like Tokyo Station, Yokohama station, Kyoto station… Fukuoka’s train station doesn’t match the city’s name. Go figure.

My friend Patrick has documented more extensively about this phenomenon in such great length I can’t finish reading it before getting distracted by something else.

The Difference Between “Fukuoka” and “Hakata” by Finding Fukuoka

Now the station is called Hakata City. It’s got 8 floors, basement level(s) (maybe 2?), and a roof top complete with dog park for the little handbag sized dogs.

So manly…

Video Tour

Now We Help

There’s not much left to be said that hasn’t been said or thought already. Even as I write this the ground from Tohoku to Tokyo still trembles with aftershocks and the tsunami swept land is still wet with salt water. The ramifications of the largest earthquake to ever strike Japan will reverberate through this island nation for many years to come.

Events like this strip away everything. Politics, religion, class, nationality, and ethnicity, it’s all gone and we stand looking at each other’s naked humanity and suddenly things that seemed complicated are simple, things that were muddled become clear, and we take stock of the binding reality that ties us all together on this shared journey we all make.

I watched the Twin Towers fall not knowing if my cousins had made it home from work that day. I stood on the Mississippi beach after Katrina, amidst the wreckage that the onslaught of wind and water had left behind. There’s a feeling of helplessness, grief, and anger. But more than that, there’s a deep burning desire to do something, anything, to help ease the burden off the shoulders of those who have lost the most.

This is a beautiful thing about the human condition. We may fight fight fight and argue about stupid shit like trickle down market strategies, which side to butter our toast, and fashion. But as this resounding shock hits us all we stop the bickering for a moment, shut up, and listen. Listen to the cries for help, to the strangeness of this eerie silence, and to the voice deep inside us all.

People are dead. People are hurt. People need help. We can sit idly by watching Youtube videos of cars being tossed about like toys or we can roll up our sleeves and pitch in. No matter the gesture, no matter how small, believe that it will be appreciated. We’ve compiled here multiple ways that we all can help even a little. Stand up and be counted along your brothers and sisters, your flesh and blood.

Thank you.

A 4 month old baby girl was ripped from her father’s arms by the water, only to be found days later and reunited with her parents. Thank you world.

Resources:
Fukuoka Now Lifeline: a new site I’ve helped produce with resources and information for donating, volunteering, and local fundraiser events.

Raining Women

According to a report….

The city I live next to is filled with women.  Specifically, women that are in their twenties.  Fukuoka (along with Akita) is also known in Japan for having beautiful women.

This is actually the popular Tokyo group called AKB-48. I think Fukuoka should form their own from their ample ranks and call them FUK-48.

This makes sense.  A year ago I got on the wrong bus with a friend.  When we realized our mistake we got off and found the closes subway station.  It was like we had slipped into some wonderful or (depending on the time of the month…) horrifying alternate reality.  The platform was packed with people.  All of them were young women.  I don’t know if an Arashi concert had just finished or David Hasselhoff was having a tit signing session, but for some strange reason we found ourselves immersed in a sea of women.

I think it’s safe to assume I don’t know what women want… Neither does Mel Gibson I assume though…

So write that down.  Fukuoka = tons of hot young women.  They really need to market that better…  If I’ve learned anything from Super Bowl commercials there are two things that sell and of them much better than the other.  Comedy and S-E-X.

Moral of this is:

who wants to visit?

 

We also have a baseball stadium…
and basketball!