Friendship in Tokyo: The Gaijin Circle
Fucking Gaijin. Nice life dickweed. Finally getting the attention you didn’t get for the 20 years of your worthless existence before arriving here. Don’t look over here. I’m not giving you directions to Gaspanic. or the HUB. I came here to get away from fucks like you…
You think. Because you aren’t one of those. You aren’t a dork. You’ve been laid in your own country. Your arrival in Japan wasn’t propelled by high school asskickings and rejection from your home society.
|Species: Gaijin Kingdom: Roppongi Genus: English Teacher Conservation Status: Least Concern|
You work off the contacts you’ve got and make friends on your own merit in your own scenes. Meet people at parties. Make connections. Go from 5 to 50 entries in your keitai. Ballller.
The weekend comes. You text Yoshi. No reply. You msg the girl you met at the club. She tells you she’s busy until six weeks from now, Tuesday, at 2pm. Mother F that. You call Naoya. No answer. Fuck it, you see what your few gaijin friends are doing. Text -> boom: a reply. Meet in 30 mins. Sure. Go out. Talk shit. Recite the TMNT theme song. Tell STD stories. Good shit. Not bad for a night with gaijins. But that’s not what you’re all about.
Next week you finally get a date lined up with a girl you met at the park. 8pm nakameguro. Even made reservations. You arrive. Nothing. Text her. She tells you she ate something bad for lunch and her stomach is upset. Gomen ne. Broken heart emoticon. Shitme. You text your Japanese friend who lives in nakame. No reply. Probably still at work. Fuck it. Meet up with fellow gaijin from work and grab some cheap beers.
The cycle continues. An undesirable trend of mushis (無視= being ignored) and dotakyans (ドタキャン= last minute ditching) emerges in your attempts to hang with your Japanese connects. Eventually, you realize that of the 100 Japanese people in your keitai, almost none are real friends. They kanpai you at parties and even use you to nanpa girls for them but probably wouldn’t give a shit if you ninja vanished tomorrow. Cold world syndrome. You’re a novelty. An alien transient.
— Shift in narrative (in voice of Stan Marsh):
Of three hundred Japanese ‘friends’ I made in Tokyo, there were only three I would consider real friends. They stood out as reliable, trustworthy, and almost never broke plans. The constant among these three was that they all had lived overseas for at least a year. They had an understanding of Western culture and our expectations of friendship. Other than these three, my other genuine friends were gaijins.
Some of the flakiness I experienced was partially because of who I associated with. Club bitches are scandalous and some scene people are fake. Also, people might doubt the depth of the bond they can form with an alien transient. When I’d bring up this issue with Tokyo people, they’d argue that people are equally flakey everywhere. Well, that is not in my experience living in Can, Aus, Belgium, and the Czech Republic. Even my gaijin friend who lived in Kyoto for years said he had never experienced such regular ditchings and coldworldness as he did once moving to Tokyo.
In defense of Tokyo, it is a beast. A soul-crushing, dandruff-covered, one-cup guzzling beast. A beast that slept only two hours last night, has vomit smeared on its leg and is rubbing his jizzly micropenis through the crotch of his cheap suit on the backside of a petrified schoolgirl. It’s the beast that would engulf and swallow my young salaried friends, effacing them from the social world forever.
If you are a foreigner in Tokyo, the dream of living a gaijin-free life immersed in a circle of Japanese friends where you are the unique crown jewel is unlikely to be realized. Also, the dream is stupid and probably even undesirable. Sure, you don’t have to roll with Roppongi Rob, but you need some gaijin in your life. And the longer I stayed in Tokyo, the more I realized this. Who else could we talk shit with? We need to blow off steam with our own kind periodically in order to stay mentally fit enough to plot our criminal activities and generally terrorize the country that was nice enough to admit us ticking time bombs in the first place.
Pool party in the Imperial Palace pond.