And now, an inspirational moment


Hello, internets. It’s been a while — more than two years now since my last post, when I wrote about putting jalapeños on a demi-baguette to try to de-blandify the local food options.

I’ve thought a lot about this blog, and have wanted to do an update for some time. The problem is, that update would break one of my initial rules: that nitty-gritty, personal details should be avoided when possible. Ultimately, as you can see, I said screw it.

I started this blog during my fifth year in Japan, my second in Tokyo. After losing Office Job No. 1 due to the Lehmen Shock back in 2008, I bounced back and landed Office Job No. 2, a surprisingly well-paying position at a global financial institution.

It was fucking hell.

I loathed how the company was run. I dreamed of seeing my boss, whom I later learned was nicknamed “The Dragon Lady,” being stabbed to death by bloodthirsty Mongolians. But it was my primary source of income, and when the economy soured and I was let go from that job as well, it hit pretty hard. That’s when the former Mrs. Turningpin announced she was leaving.

Oh yes, dear Reader: I never mentioned her, but there was a Mrs. Turningpin. Ten years of marriage to a non-English-speaking Japanese can do wonders for one’s language skillz, but not even a decade is enough to address real, fundamental differences. Apparently, she’d been planning her exit strategy for a while; after informing her of my being released from the company, I was told over a dish of cold noodles, “Let me know when you’re done eating. Oh, you’re done? I can’t be with you anymore.”

I am Jack’s wasted life.

I had just over a week left on the spousal visa. I was able to get an extension, thank goodness, but the next month and a half was pretty miserable. I’d said my goodbyes, had moved to Japan with the intention of staying there for good, but now things were different. My personal life had gone to hell, and I was sick of the crowds and commutes and unrelenting asshole-ishness that permeates Tokyo. So I packed up and left.

Nothing quite spells fail like getting divorced in your mid-30s and moving in with your sister; with everything you own fitting inside 17 boxes, each having been lovingly ripped apart by customs; with, after hearing stories of husbands being suddenly left by their J-wives and thinking, “The poor bastards,” you are now one of those selfsame bastards. But somehow, I was already picking myself up.

In between drinking too much and interviewing for jobs in the heart of Fuck-All, Alabama, I began building a small but steady client base. It wasn’t long before I had more work than I knew what to do with, and — save for a four-month stint where things got slow and I took an office job, only to reaffirm that office jobs suck ass and I promptly quit — I have been working from home, doing Japanese translation while raging out to heavy metal.

I’m no longer living with family, I’m pleased to say. I’d been back in the U.S. for about five months when I started reconnecting with some of my old high-school friends through facebook. I sent one friend request, a simple “Remember me?” message, to a girl I had junior-year English and senior play with. She did remember me, and she wrote back.

We were married four months ago.

So there you have it. It wasn’t so long ago that, frankly, I was at the lowest point of my life. But I got through it, readjusted to life in the States; I bought my first truck, got a dog, put a 10-year mortgage on a house the size of which would have been impossible in Japan. I even married the cute girl I knew from high school 20 years ago. There’s still no shortage of things for me to hate on, but overall, life is pretty good.

As for this blog … there are some things I’d like to address (finish up the Matrix script, for sure, and bang out some of these long-lingering draft posts). But in the interim, I’m glad to have finally written this update, to let the rirekisho vultures, perverts and other wayward folk know what’s been going on with me.



The passing of MJ and other weird shit

Yes, the demise of Michael Jackson is by now old news and has already been blogged into the ground. But I mention it here for the following reasons:

iThriller-I have been watching the original Thriller video pretty much every day for the past week, and it still rocks. I mean, it has dancing zombies in it for chrissake.

-Given how much the people here dig MJ, I started wondering if there was a Japanese- language subbed version of the Thriller video out there. Finally found this one here, but it’s like trying to watch a movie when no one in the theater will SHUT THE HELL UP, in that there’s a constant scrawl of “witty” comments that has been added to the vid by the uploader. I’ll say it for the record: Japanese internet culture sucks.

-I subsequently got to wondering if there were separate, Japanese-language lyrics for Thriller posted somewhere online. And I finally found these, which educate as well as entertain; gotta love it when “I’m gonna thrill ya tonight, ooh baby” is translated as 私は今夜、オーッ!赤ちゃん屋スリルつもり. That’s just nutty.

-In looking for the original Thriller video, I stumbled across the so-called “Indian Thriller,” a ripoff scene starring the suave gentleman in the picture above. The video itself is embedded below for your viewing displeasure.

p/s – Sorry for the dropoff in posting, folks. The workload has been taking its toll…

Really, REALLY juvenile ways of employing new technology

Inbetween doing a bit of overtime, drinking too much and watching a couple Tony Jaa movies this past weekend, I decided to try out the recently launched “computational knowledge engine” WolframAlpha and see what it was all about.

faggetPredictably, it didn’t take long for me to sink down to the level of a 14-year old.

I had no business giggling as much as I did over this screenshot, but there’s just something about seeing this word — which has meant everything from a bundle of sticks to weird English meatballs to a homosexual to someone embarrassingly lame — being used as a unit of measurement that I apparently find pretty amusing.


I’m an idiot.