My Old Fridge

There has been a great weight lifted off of my shoulders. That weight is my old refrigerator. I had an old, broken refrigerator sitting in my apartment for close to 4 years, probably. It’s been there so long, that I was starting to think it would always be there. You see, getting rid of a refrigerator is a huge pain in Japan. There’s no dragging large items out for garbage pickup. You’ve gotta pay around $50 bucks for large item disposal. But electronics are special items here and they flat out won’t take a refrigerator. You’ve gotta get a disposal service to take it off your hands.

I had two opportunities to have it disposed of and I missed out on those each time, with the cost of disposal going up each time. The first time was 4 years ago when my ex-girlfriend’s father, who owns an appliance shop offered to take it away for free. I misheard him though, thinking that he would need ¥5000, when in fact he was saying it would save me ¥5000, and I kept it around. At this point, the fridge actually still worked. I just didn’t need it because I had a newer one as well. The second chance was when I bought my new TV three years ago. The electronics store took away my old TV for free and would’ve taken away the old fridge for ¥3000 as well, but, it was still usable, so I had it in my mind that I could still sell it and get some money out of it.

Eventually, the old fridge up and died and I was left with a bunk fridge sitting around taking up space not only physically, but psychologically as well. It was getting in my way on two fronts. It sat there for years and it just became part of the scenery. It became a metaphor for the perpetual rut I’ve been in for the last few years: unchanging and useless.

As luck would have it, I stumbled upon a recycling shop yesterday (2013–12–08) and for ¥4300, I finally ridded myself of the old broken down refrigerator. I feel like it’s the first step in moving forward.

Japan vs. America – Expectations [Part 1]

I think the biggest reason why Americans (or any Westerners) come to Japan and feel surprised is due to their expectations of how things should be. It’s not that Japan is weird or that people can’t handle the people or food, but it’s that (especially) America trains us to expect that everything should be about “me”. Americans pride themselves on their sense of individuality. We tell all the kids that they’re special. We know they aren’t, but we try to make them feel good about themselves, and in the process create expectations that the world owes them something. We all grow up and wind up complaining about everyone else around us and how they feel like “the world owes them something”, but then Americans go home and tell their dumb ass children that they’re special and that they can be “anything they want” (which isn’t usually true) and create the next generation of people that we’ll continue to hate.

Japanese parents and schools don’t preach this same level of “specialness” to kids. Sure, Japan tries to make kids feel good about themselves and they don’t like to foster competition (except for a few special occasions) but they don’t tell kids they’re special or that they can be anything. Unlike American kids (who all want to be rich or famous), when you ask a Japanese kid about their “dream”, you get one or two kids who want to be an athlete but for the most part, their dream jobs are pretty low-key. Most kids want to either do what their parents do or something like carpenter, teacher or (for some weird reason) dog groomer. They don’t aspire for glamorous jobs. There’s an underlying notion in Japan that we all have our role (or “place”) in society. Japanese kids have the same level of opportunity that American kids do. It’s no easier or harder for kids here in Japan. There is however, a lower level of expectations about what you’re going to get out of life.

Interesting Links for 2013-01-24

Extremely Rare Color Photography of Early 1900s Paris

Some really beautiful shots.

Declutter at Night

I practice this as well by setting up dishes for breakfast and laying out my work clothes the night before.

Junior Seau’s family sues the NFL for glorifying violence

You should not be allowed to sue over something legal and something someone made a choice to do.

Curry Prices and Inflation in Japan

While pouch curry may be cheap, there comes a point in your life when you should stop eating it and eat the really good curry that’s made from rue.

Cold Ninja

I may look like a ninja but it’s one of those masks you may have seen when SARS was all over the news. No, I don’t have SARS, but if you’re sick and want everyone to know it, the Asian surgical mask is the way to go.

Do I need the mask? Probably not. But everyone will notice that I’m wearing one, and with a little luck, they’ll take pity on me, and be extra nice today, and hopefully leave me alone and not ask too much of me. It’s childish, but I think it’s the way a lot of people are wired in Japan.

My Gym is Awful

Gym Schedule for New Years.JPG

If a company could be a literal box of dicks, my gym would be a box of dicks. Let’s imagine you pay around $100 a month for a gym membership. Of course you wouldn’t, but you live in a modern first-world country. I on the other hand live in ass-backwards Japan. If you were paying that much for a gym membership, you expect a pretty regular schedule too, right? Now, it still makes no sense to me why they are closed one Monday a month. I get why the barber who works by himself might be closed on Mondays. He needs a day off. I get that. I don’t get why an international gym chain would need to be closed once a month when they have a full staff. But whatever, they’re closed once a month for whatever dumb reason it may be. (I’m betting it’s a circle jerk around the squat racks.)

What really annoys the shit out of me is that they are open on 12/31 and 1/2 but charge you extra money to workout even if you are a paying member. You remember that $100 bucks a month I’m paying for my gym membership? Yeah, apparently that doesn’t count on December 31st and January 2nd. Now, they’re closed on New Year’s Day. Seems fair. But they’re more than willing to be open the day before and day after but they charge members an additional $13 to workout. That’s how much it normally costs a non-member for a day-pass. Should you happen to be a non-member and want to work out on these special days, it’ll cost you around $40!

Mr. Kanso: The Canned Food Bar

Mr. Kanso is a bar where you select canned food off the wall and the staff prepares it for you.

I went here tonight and had some delicious mackerel, fried chicken, eggs, pork and beans and turkey spam all from cans and served up by the wonderful staff at Mr. Kanso. It was a little expensive. The canned foods ranged from ¥250 for the mackerel up to ¥800 for the turkey spam.

It’s definitely an interesting place. If you happen to me in the Kanayama area, I recommend that you check this place out. It’s located in the Hasegawa Building on B2.

Mmm…pork and beans at a bar.