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.

Clubbing in Nagoya

I’ve long-searched for a satisfying night club experience in Japan. Nearly every club I’ve ever been to here has either been geared towards foreigners, or it was a small, uninteresting club for Japanese people. Finally, after all these years, I found a club that was what I was looking for.

I tried getting into Platinum years ago. My friend and I were turned away because we “weren’t wearing suits.” I just assumed that the club was anti-foreigner (as a lot are) and figured I’d never get in. Then last October, after a Halloween party, the group of Japanese people I was with wanted to go to Platinum. I went along, but I just knew that I’d be turned away. I was only wearing jeans and a button-up shirt. But, none of the Japanese people I was with were dressed in suits. We get up to the club, and low and behold, it wasn’t me and my clothes that get us turned away, it’s the weirdo Japanese guy with us dressed up like Spiderman from the Halloween party that gets us shunned. Again, this past weekend, we went there after another party and again, a sandal-clad Japanese guy got turned away. Luckily, we pushed ahead, leaving him behind. Turns out it’s not just foreigners they’re strict against.

Actually, there were quite a few foreigners at the club. Although, it was a better class of foreigner than you get at other clubs in Nagoya. There were no fights, no crazy drunk South Americans accosting women, and because of that, I suppose, the Japanese women, who typically wouldn’t go to foreigner-dominated nightclubs anyway because of the aggressive men they’d find there, were getting up on dancing platforms to shake their asses. It’s a large space that was really clean, and the music and lighting was pretty good. The only bad part of the set up being that there were seemingly only two guys bartending, so getting a drink (while extremely orderly) took 10-15 minutes.

Gaijin on Gaijin Violence

This has been eating at me for two days.

I went to a Christmas party at a club this past Saturday. It was a private party with lots of beer and food, and I had a good time. After that, against my better judgement, I agreed to go with everyone to a mostly foreigner (predominately Brazilian) nightclub down the street. I had a bad feeling about going there. There was close to 15 of us changing venues, and we were all jumbled up as we walked over. I assumed, but wasn’t sure, that my girlfriend went into the club ahead of me. (That seemed awfully strange to me.) It wasn’t crowded in front of the club, so I whipped out my phone and called her to make sure she was in there. A beefy black guy who definitely wasn’t a native English speaker said, “Move.” I told him I was calling my girlfriend who I thought was inside and I would be going in shorty if she was in there. He saunters off, comes back 10 seconds later and tells me to move. I wasn’t blocking anyone’s way, and if I had been I would’ve moved out of common courtesy. I was a little annoyed and in my best whiney voice said, “This is a public sidewalk, isn’t it?” I know, I was asking for it. Then, a white guy (who also was from some country where English was taught as a foreign language) comes up and without saying anything shoves me. Tells me to move, and before I get a word out, shoves me again. And a third time. For a split second, I thought about getting into a fight, but there were three huge bouncers and the only things I would accomplish by getting into a fight would be to get my ass kicked and possibly arrested. None of that would be worth getting into a fight over.

My new Japanese buddy was also with me, and he was also shoved just for being next to me. The white meathead told the black guy not to push the Japanese guy because, “He’s Japanese. He’s okay.” These dumb foreigners know that if they rough up another foreigner they probably won’t get into trouble, but roughing up a Japanese guy is going to be trouble for them. That set me off. From a safe distance, I yell at them in Japanese, and the people from my group that hadn’t already gone in calmed me down and after calling over and over to the people who did go inside, we gathered a little ways down the street and figured out where to go next. Now, the white guy who seemed to be in charge was happy to get rid of me until he saw that I had 14 other people with me who would now not be paying to go into the club. So he comes over and asks, “Do you want to come in?” I wanted to tell him, “Fuck you. Of course not.” But all I could muster the courage to say was “Not anymore.” So, while I may have had my pride bruised a little bit, I was at least happy to know that that guy shoving me cost his bar about ¥50,000 in cover charges plus whatever else we might have spent on additional drinks.

Stuffed Animal-type Things

To get myself in the mood to be back in Japan, I wanted to share some photos of the stuffed animals somebody keeps leaving (and subsequently moving around) near my apartment in Nagoya.

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The first one was Pooh-san. Pooh-san has been hanging around for a long time. This Pooh-san has a strawberry and a hair bow though.

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Then came along Buzz Lightyear. Not sure why Buzz decided to join the party (I don’t think these two are buddies or anything) but here he is.

I’m somewhat concerned about the water damage done to these guys when it rains, but I guess they can dry out later.

Junefest

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Had a delicious meal at a German restaurant on Saturday. Great food and great beer! I’m happy I’m enough of an adult to spend a bunch on good meals and not feel like I wasted money.

A Run on Natto

I’m still alive.

That’s always good. The impression that I get from folks back in America is that the news says the whole of Japan is near death. The total destruction of all of us due to radiation is near and there’s nothing we can do. Far from that, radiation levels, while requiring vigilance, are far from deadly. It’s only in Fukushima that the levels are worrisome. The current level of radiation in the air in Fukushima is equal to the level of radiation you receive during a flight from Tokyo to New York. The farther you get away from the reactors, the radiation levels decrease significantly. And by the time you get down to my area in the Tokai region, the radiation levels are no higher than they were at this time last year. That is to say, the same levels that you encounter just being alive and walking around on Earth.

I say these things not to dismiss concern over the reactor problem. Japanese specialists (along with help from South Korea and the US) are working around the clock to try to cool the nuclear fuel. I have the utmost faith in the Japanese (and my own country’s) abilities. I would urge others reading this to keep a level head on their shoulders and don’t let sensationalist media reports about impending doom get them all out of sorts.

The local grocery store is out of bottled water. They’re sending it up north to help out evacuees. They’ve also sent microwaveable rice and packs of dried noodles. I’m assuming they’ve donated these goods, and it’s quite admirable of them. I donated a little bit of money to the Japanese Red Cross. I would encourage those of you who’d like to help to do the same and donate some money.

I haven’t noticed much of a run on supplies around me like some of the reports in Hiroshima. Probably due to their history with nuclear material, people in Hiroshima have been buying up all the natto (and probaby lots of other types of food). Nagoya has remained level-headed. Life is continuing on as normal. The newscasters on TV keep everyone apprised of the situation in Fukushima and they probably have no idea that scum bags like Glenn Beck are saying that the death and destruction in Tohoku was a “message from God”.