I’m Turning Japanese!

5 Jul

A feeling of stagnation. Restlessness. Unidentifiable malaise. These, and an influx of (truly) petty cash, have combined to instill a powerful wanderlust in my heart, which can only be sated by some thrilling international exploits. I’m leaving the country, ladies and gentlemen, and darned if I ain’t fired up like a Kalashnikov at a flag-burnin’!

The noble Japan will receive me, and as my chosen destination it promises honour, dignity, and dime-store cartoon pornography in heaping helpings. Follow along on my two-week adventures as I give the Land of the Rising Sun something to get out of bed for!


Like the lexiconnoisseur I am, I’m doing my best to prepare by diving into the local lingo, but the Japanese language is an elusive, enigmatic mistress. I don’t want you to be as lost as I (no doubt) will be, so I’ve prepared a lil’ something. Here is a handy reference list for Japanese phrases I might employ over the coming weeks:

gaijin: Yours truly, baby. Literally “outsider”; refers to any non-Japanese person. Considered an archaic and slightly rude pejorative, which I intend to use in reference to myself as often as possible.

shinkansen: The country’s famous “bullet trains”, so named for their ridiculous top speeds of around 320 kph. I’ve got a two-week pass and I plan to use it!

prefecture: Imagine provinces or states, only more Japanese.

apato: Apartment.

manga: The backbone of the Japanese publishing industry, collecting comics of every subject imaginable. Almost all manga conforms to a recognizable style established in the 1940s, featuring characters with huge eyes and other exaggerated features. You can find a handy explanation of the style here.

anime: Manga’s animated sister. Pretty much all Japanese cartoons are classified as anime, most featuring long-legged women and giant robots.

hentai: Catch-all term used to describe erotic anime and manga pornography, this is the dark side of Japanese cartoons. Nothing is taboo in the decadent deviant’s paradise that is hentai, where you might see tentacles, machinery, and animals all at the same time. I can’t wait!

izakaya: A sake house; what we Westerners might call a “bar”. Most can be easily recognized by the decorative red lantern hung outside the door.

You can see I’ve done my homework. Keep an eye out over the next month for regular updates, because I plan to document every waking moment of what I’m sure will be an amazing journey. For now, sayonara!


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