Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Memoirs of an immigrant

Growing up in Montreal-North, it happened a few times that I felt like a visible minority ( wow will you look at that, it’s a term we only use in Canada...). That sentiment was short lived because I was on a bus or whatever but it’s not as if I was a REAL immigrant. Especially with my private school uniform... Anyways, It’s not where I wanted to go.
What I wanted to point out is this:
Here, I am the immigrant. And it’s not like I live in a country where there are enough of us to start opening up our own schools and have our own supermarkets. There will never be a Little-Québec or a Little-Italy in Sendai. N-E-V-E-R. I am a white man in a sea of Japanese people (I heard that 99% of Japanese residents are 100% Japanese.........). Often times, except when I’m with my wonderful Gaijin friends, I am the only white boy in the area. In Natori, we’re like 5, and I know all of us. I’m getting used to all this attention.

Here’s a common situation:

- I’m at the Max-Valu (my supermarket) and I pass by this mom and her 3 year old daughter. I always look so lost at the supermarket it’s not even funny, so I’m in my own world. The mom, she will glance at me (of course, especially if she’s hot) but the daughter, she will stare at me as if I had 6 arms, and she will keep staring until:
A) She runs into something or
B) Her mom will tell her to stop staring at the Gaijin. It’s pretty funny. They seem intrigued to know what a gaijin eats. They look in my basket...

You want other cases? Here you go:

- My (girl) students ask me: ‘How do you prepare your hair, do you curl them every morning (lol)??’ Euuuh, It’s natural baby. 100%. I step out the shower and it dries like this. It’s magic! They tell me I’m really surprisingly good with chopstick!!! I tell them I was probably born with a gift. I kick further then them, I throw harder then them, I can bat a baseball like a champ and I felt like Happy Gilmore at the driving range last week .. It’s actually pretty fun; this attention... it’s something I’ll miss when I get back to Quebec.

BUT, the next guy who follows me to the bathroom, takes the urinal next to me when there are 40 others and stares at my cock, I’ll freakin’ PEE ON HIS LEG.

That is all.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Soccer day in Miyagi

You might not know this but...
...I used to be a pretty good soccer player.

I was an elite player, a feared player with a reputation that preceded me far outside the island of Montreal. I could play with the best of them, and make the best of them look very bad, from my defensive position. I still can but it’s not the same... Years of violent play, of not being careful, caught up to me. I’ll always play and whenever there is a ball around, I go nuts. Now whoever has seen me play, knows how it goes down: If you see me running towards you, well its either gonna be your legs or my legs, but most probably, it’ll be your legs. And there is a slight possibility that your face might get some, and a 100% chance of me laying over your motionless body, crying face, insulting you and calling you a girl while I’m at it!
I broke more limbs than Uma Thurman in Kill Bill!!

I even broke some poor girl’s leg when I was a pre-teen.
I broke the arm (open fracture, guitar student... sorry man) of one of my friends.
I had a guy come up to me in University, telling me I broke his tibia 3 days before his summer vacation in Italy. You get the point... I hope.

Well I went to a J-League game here, between Vegalta Sendai (our team) and FC Ehime. A beautiful world-class stadium that the Italians used as a practice field in the 2002 World Cup. 25 000 people, beautiful day, drunk as hell. And it got me wondering what if...

What if I did like my best friend Mers and got a scholarship?
What if that stupid motherfucker Marc Mounicot didn’t cut my ass (on a plane, one week before the biggest tournament of my life, real smooth ASSHOLE!) and send me home feeling like a loser?
What if I ended up playing in front of 25 000 people screaming my name in a foreign country?

Maybe that was what I was supposed to do. Everything happens for a reason. I still think Marc Mounicot is a major DOUCHE. Vegalta won 1-0. I’m not missing one more game. They showed us on TV, in the middle of the Japanese hooligans. Most of my students saw me on TV, apparently we were all over the news...
It didn’t take long, I’m a local celebrity... lol
Thanks Chris, beautiful day!

Peep this:


Le post en français est réduit. Parce que si vous parlez français, vous connaissez probablement tous mes exploits en terme de soccer. Si vous ne les connaissez pas, je vous suggère de lire ce qui est écrit ci-haut…

Je suis allé voir un match de l’équipe locale. On a bu un nombre incalculable de bières et je me suis retrouvé dans la section des supporteurs. Eh bien, apparemment moi et Chris et Jason, on était de tous les bulletins de nouvelles. C’est clair qu’on était tough à manquer. 2 blancs, dont un qui porte un espèce de chapeau de fourrure en forme de grenouille.

Un très très beau stade. 25 000 personnes, construit pour les entraînements de l’équipe italienne qui jouait à Sendai. Le stade Saputo est beau mais le Yurtec stadium est juste fou
! Les clips, c’est un exemple de l’ambiance qui régnait pendant 90 minutes.
Parce qu’ils ont gagné, 1-0.

Jusqu'ici tout va bien

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Take me out to the ball game!

Ok so last time I went to a baseball game, I was in high school or Cégep I think. I really have no passion for baseball, the best memories I have are linked to the fact I started playing soccer while waiting for my brother's baseball games to end... BUT, my friends, America's past time is something else in Japan. I went to a game between the Rakuten Golden Eagles (from Sendai) and the Hokkaido Nihhon-Ham Fighters (!!!) at Kleenex Stadium last week ! First of all, watching a game outside, on a crisp autumn night is really fun! But when you add:

-Japanese girls carrying kegs of beer on their back, kneeling in front of you (yikes) to pour you the golden elixir right in your cup!!

-Crazy Crazy mascots that would make Youppi! look like an intellectual

-Blowing up (phallic shaped) balloons and throwing them in the air in the 8th inning (see video)

-Crazy chants and intense cheering from the 25 000 people crowd

-Being the only white guy in the room and thus, getting my picture taken with people who think I'm a star

My japanese friends I went with had brought a jersey and a cap for me, I looked like a real fan. I even had binoculars. All I was missing was the portable radio... In the end, the Rakuten (Internet company) Golden Eagles got their asses kicked by the Nihhon Ham (Ham company) Fighters. It finished 17-0, 28 hits against 8... Yes my friends, it was a BLOWOUT at Kleenex stadium (HAHA!!)

But it made me realise... baseball can be fun, if we had built a decent stadium, it could have survived in Montreal. Nothing like being outside with friends on a chilly fall night. RIP Expos!

Enjoy the video of the release of the penis-shaped balloons (and how intense that girl in front of me was):

As you can see, I had a BLAST!


Moi pis le baseball, ça remonte à loin.

J’étais assez jeune quand j’ai commencé à encourager mon frère dans les parcs de la province. À regarder des parents de Montréal-Nord étaler leur grâce et leur classe dans les estrades de magnifiques cités comme : Pointe-du-Lac, Lac-Mégantic et Saint-Donat.

C’est lors d’une de ces nombreuses parties de balle que j’ai découvert le sport qui fut une révélation pour moi : le soccer.

Mais la semaine passée, je suis allé au Miyagi Kleenex Stadium voir un match entre les Rakuten Golden Eagles (de Sendai) et les Hokkaido Nihhon-Ham Fighters. Un match dans un stade ouvert, avec 25 000 personnes, par une tiède soirée d’automne. Et bien, le baseball au Japon, c’est vraiment l’fun! Les raisons :

- Les beer girls qui se promènent avec le baril de bière strappé dans le dos, qui s’agenouillent devant toi pour te verser le précieux nectar dans ton verre.

-Des mascottes qui ferait en sorte que Youppi! à l’air de Denise Bombardier.

-Gonfler de ballons phalliques et les laisser partir à la 8e manche. (voir le vidéo)

- Hot-Dogs et bière remplacés par sushis et edemame.

- Une foule de 25 000 personnes chantant et encourageant les 2 équipes

Mes amis japonais m’avaient emmenés un chandail et une casquette. J’avais l’air du fan ultime. J’avais même des jumelles… il ne me manquait que la radio portable! Score final 17-0 pour les visiteurs!! Les Rakuten (compagnie internet) Golden Eagles n’étaient pas assez forts contre les Nihhon Ham (compagnie de jambon lol) Fighters.

Les Fighters faisaient MOUCHE à chaque tour au bâton au KLEENEX stadium…


Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Giving thanks

L’action de grâce a été différente cette année.
Habituellement, c’est une dinde avec ma famille, un autre occasion de boire du bon vin et de manger la soupe de ma mère… (Oooo la soupe de ma mère). Cette année, je suis allé visiter la 3e plus belle chute du Japon (BOF..) et nous sommes allés se faire un imonikai. On fait chauffer de l’eau avec un feu, sur le bord de la rivière, et on se prépare une soupe avec pleins d’ingrédients plus ou moins identifiables. C’est une bonne occasion de boire de la bière avec plein de monde! Ils sont plus ou moins habitués de voir des blancs faire ça, c’est une activité qui n’existe que dans le nord du Japon. J'étais encore une fois le seul représentant masculin, donc, j'étais en charge du feu! Mais nous nous en sommes bien sortis, comme des pros je dirais! C’était dans un croche de la rivière et c’était vraiment très beau.
Après, Eeva nous avait invité chez elle pour le souper, La dinde fut remplacée par des steaks et elle nous a servi des patates pilées et des courges et on a bu du vin… C’est ce genre de journée qui font en sorte que cette expérience est vraiment vraiment le fun. Ce sont de belles journées entre amis, on est au bout du monde, carefree et on parle de nos différences culturelles et on se demande qui restera 2 ans, qui restera plus longtemps…
Ça fait déjà presque 3 mois que je suis ici, c’est fou. J’ai de la misère à le croire, bientôt Noël et la Thaïlande!


Thnaksgiving is usually celebrated with my family, drinking good wine, eating my mom’s soup and a turkey.
Well ... Thanksgiving was different this year. We boarded Rufus (Issy’s car) and headed for Japan’s 3rd most beautiful waterfall (Meeh). It’s the rest of the day that became special. We went for an imonikai. You go by a river, and start a fire, and cook a potato-miso stew. I was drinking beer with the Angels, talking about life and our future and just having a really fun day outside. It was a beautiful fall day as well, where you can wear a t-shirt with a scarf. The girls could clearly see I was nervous because of my new school I was starting today, and they were pretty patient with me, I was a real pain I think! Then we went to Eeva’s for our Canadian Thanksgiving! We had steaks, mashed potatoes, wine, pumpking-courge and great cake. She really is, the hostess with the mostesssss. My thanks are given to her, for making me feel like I have a family here.
We’re starting to ask ourselves how long we’re gonna stay here. It’s almost been 3 months already! Crazy! Hard to believe, that in 2 months, I’ll be ready to leave for Thailand! Loves it!


Monday, October 6, 2008

Fooled... once again

Je vais au supermarché avec ma liste hier. Je rentre au MaxValu, à 20h, avec l'intention d'acheter plein de trucs, mais surtout, de la VIANDE. Je suis un carnivore. Je veux de la viande. J'achète du poulet, qui semble mariné dans une sauce intéressante. Je rentre à la maison, heureux de mon achat. Fais cuire le morceau de volaille alléchant. Me prépare à déguster le poulet, remarque que la texture du poulet semble suspecte. J'ai faim, donc je passe outre et je mange....
Sacré tofu, c'est la 2e fois que tu me fais le coup... Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me.... C'est quoi la prochaine?

Went to MaxValu yesterday, had to buy stuff (kabbi Killah, potato thingies...) But mainly, I wanted meat. I felt like I needed that meat you know? So I bought chicken, already marinated. Went back home, happy, whistling on my bike, thinking about how good that chicken will be... MMmmm Mmmmm goooooood! I cook the stuff, set up my table (aka that messy table where my computer is) notice from the corner of my eye how suspicious the texture of the chicken is. I'm straving so, who cares right? Eat the chicken... and then it hit me. This chicken, is tofu pretending to be chicken.... Fuuuuuuuck! If it is tofu, why is it sold next to the chicken? And why, why would someone buy tofu? It's crap. I swear, it's the 2nd time I get fooled, and hopefully the last. Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me, what's the next one?

tofu...pfff, gimme a break