Thursday, January 29, 2009


So this week, I have decided to tell you (read: rant) a little about a Japanese custom which is both painfully annoying and expensive but at the same time, it represents well what Japan and the Japanese are: Omi-fucking-yage.
Omiyage is the art of gift-giving. It is the worst scam since Valentine's day and Halloween. I wouldn't be surprised if Nestlé is somehow behind this.

When I arrived from Canada, I gave maple flavoured whiskey (40$) to a guy I haven’t seen since, who is now retired. Just 5 minutes ago, I gave 20 dollars worth of cookies to my co-workers because last weekend, I went snowboarding an hour away from here, in another prefecture. So because I ‘travelled’ I had to buy 2 packs (38 staff members and teachers at my present school) of waffled cookies in a nice little individual wrapping, to show them that I appreciate them and that (even if I never really was thinking about work) I was still thinking about them enough to dish out 20 bucks for them. I could have bought a lot of beer, a lot of electricity to make my apartment warmer but noooo, I have to bring back cookies for my co-workers. So in addition to the 120$ I spent in Canada for the various important people I met when I first got here, I have spent another 150$ on gifts from Tokyo, Yamagata-Zao, Zao, Naruko, Nikko and next week, I will buy some more from Sapporo because I am going to the snow festival up there.

How many times have I received omiyage? Maybe 4 times, some random energy drink that tastes like cherries and some shitty mochi... COME ON!
Oh and that’s not all, every time someone invites me for dinner to their house, I have to bring something, so yesterday, I brought 15$ worth of chocolate to a man who has diabetes (and no teeth). He invited me and Daniel to his house because he is the host father of the Australian kid at my school. So according to my calculations, at the end of those two years, I will have spent 600$ on cookies and chocolate because I get to travel because I don’t have a wife and because I’M NOT A PSYCHOPATH WHO WILL SHOW UP AT 6AM ON A SATURDAY MORNING FOR KENDO PRACTICE!!! I’m sorry, I’d rather go snowboarding... and buy cookies to tell you I’m sorry.

P.S.: I still love you Japan, you just piss me off sometimes... xoxox

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Japanese sick masks !!

There is an outbreak of Influenza in the district... I think that the word Influenza might be the word I hear the most these days:

Ahh Natsumi has Influenza’ or
This class is half-empty because of Influenza’ or
Influenza is really bad this year’ or
You wanna go see that new Sylvester Influenza movie: Texas Influenza massacre? I hear it’s pretty influenza’ or also
Would you like some Natto with your Influenza?

Anyways, I have to give classes to half-empty rooms, the ones that are still there either look like zombies or look like they are immune to every disease on the face of the Earth. I could throw a bucket of malaria mixed with a little yellow fever (and a side of SARS) to that little girl; she’ll still show up at 6 am to come play tennis 2 hours before class! But one thing unites them all. Everyone is wearing a mask.

I feel like I’m teaching to a bunch of Asian Darth Vaders. They all have masks!! So as if I wasn’t flashing enough, I’m one of the 5 people in school that isn’t wearing a mask. I was told that they wear masks to protect themselves and to protect others. It’s just a bunch of crap if you ask me... As soon as they come to talk to me, they take off the mask and come inches away from my face. I had a snotty coughing girl sitting a meter from me for 50 minutes yesterday and I was like ‘Oh Oh, I’m in trouble’ but I woke up fine... Maybe it’s my beer a day (or 7), that is (are) keeping the doctor away?

I think the masks are great, but I was told that they think it’s weird when gaijins (foreigners) wear them. But I’m so tempted. They have Hello Kitty masks, Reebok masks, plaid masks, houndstooth masks, argyle masks, Louis Vuitton masks, Lilo and Stitch masks. It’s a fashion statement, as well as protection. I also think it has to do with the fact that deep down, these people are all ninjas (It’s a secret, don’t tell them I told you). But man, I’d be so cool if I had a Burberry mask, or even better, a Montreal Canadiens mask!

Friday, January 16, 2009

I don't know why you say goodbye I say hello...

‘It’s always better when we’re together’ -Jack Johnson

My best buddy left me this week, after spending 17 days with us in Thailand and 7 days in Japan. You know, it was already hard enough to tell him good-bye in July; I had to go through this again 6 months later. With a teary eye, I was walking in Akebonobashi towards the subway station and I was wondering again why I put Thailand and 7 days in Japan. You know, it was already hard enough to tell him good-bye imyself in this situation.

This guy has been around me for almost half of my life. He knows everything about me and was there for most of the crazy shit I’ve done in my life. We have always been there for each other and it will be the same for a very long time. The past 6 months have been wonderful on a personal and professional level, but it felt so good to see him and Seb and to ask them what was going on with Hugo, MCP, Ben, the poker crew, the Habs...

All those things and all these people I love, is it worth spending another 18 months away from them? Well the answer is: most probably. I mean, these 6 months have been a real eye-opener about myself, and what I want and what I can become. I have learned a lot and met some great people. And when I was left by myself after Jee’s departure, I was on the shinkansen and I decided that yes, I will definitely stay, but also, I will definitely go spend 10 days in Montreal, whether it be this summer or next Christmas... But I also realised another thing, this roller-coaster of emotions is only starting, whether it’s deep conversations in my freezing apartment or the painful good-byes coming up next July, this was and will be an interesting year...I miss you Jee... see you soon my brother!


Mon meilleur chum est parti du pays du Soleil levant, pour aller rejoindre les nôtres au pays du (avertissement de) froid intense. Ça m’a fait du bien de le voir et de passer du temps avec lui, parler de nos amis et du Canadien (Lecavalier… n’importe quand sti). Les 17 jours passés au Pays aux milles sourires (Thailand baby) la semaine au Japon (Tokyo will never be the same) m’ont fait un grand bien. Mais c’est la deuxième fois que je dois lui dire ‘au revoir’ en ne sachant pas trop quand je vais le revoir… C’est pas facile de laisser partir ceux qu’on aime, pour aller faire tourner, des ballons sur son nez, ouuh oouh ouuh. Non mais pour vrai, des fois je me demande vraiment pourquoi je me suis foutu dans une situation pareille. Mais en même temps, cette expérience m’a appris beaucoup de chose sur la personne que j’étais et la personne que je suis en train de devenir. Les prochains 18 mois vont être une succession d’adieux et de moments très forts et difficiles. Je vais devoir m’y faire.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Guess who's back?!

Welcome back!

Allright so here’s the lowdown on my vacation...
High points
- Swimming 18 meters deep with my friends and discovering that there is indeed a world under there. It was magical, thank you Antoine and thank you Jacques Cousteau.
- Being with my friends from Montréal, just talking our slang , as if I never left town. Listening to gangsta rap on the balcony of our bungalow in the jungle. Playing Settlers on a rooftop, with a small special event...
- Spending quality time with my friends from Japan, creating legends (King Tablette the First, Bumfight, the Medieval Pig...). Enough inside jokes for 18 months!
- Meeting the Thai Bob Marley, complete with words of wisdom: ‘My neighbours you know, they think I’m special... I build a big fire you know... to hide the smell. Because early in the morning man, I like to smoke some BIG weed...’ Whenever I’ll feel stressed or sad, I’ll just think about that man… You can’t make this shit up!

Low points
- Losing Jenn, my Montreal friend, because some asshole can’t light a firework properly. We were just chilling on the beach on New Year’s Eve when a fugitive douchebag lit a firework that attacked all the people that were at that bar that day, including me. I showed I come from the ghetto, as soon as it started going towards us, I ran away! Jenn didn’t, and she ended up in a hospital...
- Coming back tanned, but not tanned enough

Some stats:
- Some kid hustled 200 bahts (6,73$ CN) from me by calling me a ladyboy in front of my friends, before beating me at thumb wrestling. Asshole.
- Most expensive night: 250 bahts (8,50$ CN)
- Cheapest: 125 bahts (4,25$ CN)
- Pair of true religion jeans: 590 bahts (20$ CN)
- Red bull: 10 bahts (HEAVEN: 0,34$ CN!!!!!!)
- Eating in a dirty alley in Koh Phangan, full meal with beer: 100 bahts (3,40$ CN)
- Price of fruit shake, made of fresh fruits, in front of you: 25-30 bahts (0,94$ CN)
- Fake Ray Bans: 100 bahts (3,40$ CN)
- I saw a guy buying 2800 bahts (96$ CN) of helium balloons on Kao San Road, just to release them, that guy is now in the Hall of shame of idiots.

Overall, it was a great vacation. It felt so good to be with my Montreal buddies. It took the pain away from not having a white Christmas. Thai food is good, but it’s far from my brother’s turkey and my mother’s stuffing (and soup, and Alaska pie). I would have appreciated having my niece sitting on my lap, while I listen to my sister-in-law entertain me. It won’t be a real Christmas until I relive those. But this: the palm trees, the buckets, the friends, the stray dogs… it was the next best thing.

PS: This blog will start going again, at the same rate as before, sorry to have kept you waiting ya’ll


Bonne année à tous! Voici mes vacances, racontées pour vous:

Points forts:
- Faire mon cours de plongée… C’était la meilleure idée que j’ai eu depuis longtemps. On découvre un nouveau monde à 18 mètres de profondeur. Les coraux, les couleurs, les poissons, le sentiment d’être sur une autre planète. C’était vraiment magique! Merci Antoine et Suzanne…
- Passer du temps avec Jee et Séb, parler du roi Heenok, de Montréal, du Canadien… Chanter du Sans Pression en étant écrasé dans un hamac un 26 décembre… ça c’est gangster! Merci les gars, ça m’a tellement fait du bien.
- Avoir crée des légendes avec mes amis japonais. Bumfight l’itinérant, Le cochon médiéval (aka le chien le plus laid sur Terre), long live the king. Assez d’inside jokes pour 18 mois!

Points faibles :
-Perdre Jenn le 31 à 23:30, parce qu’un imbécile sait pas allumer un feu d’artifice. La pauvre à passé le coup de Minuit effrayée, avant de se rendre à l’hôpital, brûlée. J’aurais pu y passer moi aussi, j’ai eu un instinct de survie exceptionnel quand j’ai vu les feux exploser partout autour de moi… C’était ASSEZ ordinaire mettons.
-Revenir pas assez bronzé, la faute de mes cours de plongée et de la météo…

Quelques stats : (voir l’article anglais ci-haut)

C’est un voyage que je méritais, et qui m’a fait le plus grand bien. Je remercie mes amis d’être venus, ils m’avaient dis, quand j’ai quitté, qu’ils viendraient et ils disaient la vérité. J’ai ri, j’ai fait le party, j’ai pensé à tout sauf au travail. Ils ont réussis à me faire sourire malgré le fait que j’étais triste d’être loin, dans un Noël qui était tout sauf blanc. La bouffe thaï est excellente, mais c’est pas mon traditionnel repas de Noël. J’aurais aimé être avec ma vraie famille… Ben là j’étais avec ma 2e famille, ce qui à fait que j’ai passé des Fêtes que je n’oublierai jamais.

PS : Le blog repart, au même rythme qu’avant, donc revenez souvent!