Friday, September 8, 2017

Storm Clouds Gathering


Gibson Michaels or "Mike" quickly became my friend when at Dawn Ireland's Critique Group in Houston he told me bluntly, "I liked your first chapter. Then the book got boring with all the sitting and chattering. Needs more action." Mike had also taught me the word, "Cunnillingus," but that's a blog for another day.


                                                

His honesty was what hooked me. Mike didn't just say a punchline and the end. He was willing to meet for coffee, talk about ways to improve, and asked for feedback on his work. 

It's strange when you share the same passion with someone, then they die, and you realize you didn't know much about them. No idea how old he was. He claimed to have "Moses on speed-dial." 

"It's surprising someone your age can use speed-dial," was my response. To be fair, someone younger might wonder what speed-dial was.

What I knew was Mike loved history, kept pocket-sized books in his back pocket, and had a reasonable addiction to coffee. Along his Facebook wall you can find memes like this one:


The guy was a troublemaker in the Navy, a father, and was good to his partner, Brenda. 

Yet, I couldn't tell you his favorite song or middle name or if he had ever watched sunrise atop a mountain while holding a loving hand. 

What I know is almost every writer meetup I went to there was Mike taking notes. He gave advice and listened to feedback even when he thought the person talking had a few screws loose . . . especially them.

Mike was working on his first novel of a trilogy, "Storm Clouds Gathering A Military Space Opera," when we met. Kind how he'd always pretend my joke "no one sang in it" was funny. 

                                                        

One of Mike's sons made his book covers and designed his videos on YouTube. Always helpful, Mike had asked the same son to make the logo for my Facebook writer page. 

Thanks to amazon.com, Mike was able to fulfill his dream of being a published novelist. He worked his tail off to push for readers. I probably read every single review on his books to see how many people enjoyed the results of his dedication. 

We didn't have many conversations after I moved to Japan. I managed to let him know a character, last name "Gibson" was named after him in a short story published in an anthology of mine. 

Mike had made it big and got busy with awards and being nominated in The Inaugural Dragon Awards Best Military Science Fiction category for "Wrath of an Angry God" last year. 


Despite his many successes as a novelist, my favorite piece of his is "Tinkling Light" with DM du Jour, because it's short enough to read through in one sitting. 

Will forever miss my friend, Mike.

Guess I should pop on my cowboy hat, snag a paperback book off the shelf, and have a cup of coffee in his honor.




Remember to remember . . .

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Favorite Word

Image result for ヘトヘト (credit)

ヘトヘト
phonetically pronounced: ”heh toe heh toe” (spelled heto heto), quickly became my favorite word in Japanese. 

It's slang for "I'm tired." 

This means not just "tired" but destroyed.


Image result for destroyed after work

ヘトヘト piqued my interest initially because I enjoy onomatopoeia. 


Japan loves their rhyme sounds, too. 


Example: もしもし
Sounds like "moo she moo she," spelled moshi moshi.


Image result for mo shi mo shi (credit)

One time I made the mistake of not responding with もしもしon the phone. 


Caller: もしもし。             (Greeting on the phone.)
Me:      こんにちは            (konichiwa: Good afternoon / hello.)
Caller: もしもし                 (Louder this time to hint repeat me.)
Me:      はい?                    (Hi: Yes? Because I'll say what I want.) 
Caller: もしもし!!            (Say it because this is JAPAN!!)
Me:      なに?!                (Nani: What, dude?)
Caller: もしもし! !  😈        (I can do this all day, Foreigner!)
Me: ちくしょーもしもし。(Kusoo: Dang it! Greeting on the phone.)

Then the conversation started. 

So as you can see Japan is really into their rules and onomatopoeia usage.

Intrigued with how many different ways I could say "I'm tired," I searched by asking my friends and family. Some of these are slang, and some are direct.



American Sign Language: 
Video Here


Australia:                    
Buggered 
A blue field with the Union Flag in the upper hoist quarter, a large white seven-pointed star in the lower hoist quarter, and constellation of five white stars in the fly – one small five-pointed star and four, larger, seven-pointed stars.

Brazil (Portuguese):   
Morto na farofa
Flag of Brazil

Canada:                      
Bagged
Vertical triband (red, white, red) with a red maple leaf in the centre

Costa Rica:                
Cansado
Flag of Costa Rica

Colombia:              
  Estoy molido     
Estoy mamado 
Estoy que caigo como un bulto de papa
Flag of Colombia


China:                        
我叹了 and 我三家爱了
(wo tan le / wo san j'ai le)
Flag of the People's Republic of China


Ecuador:                    
Estoy agotado
Flag of Ecuador

France:                      
Fatigué
Flag of France

Germany:                  
Ich bin müde
Flag of Germany

Indonesia:                
Capek banget
and borrowed from Arabic
lelah hayati
Flag of Indonesia

Ireland:                 
Wrecked or bolloxed 
Flag of Ireland

Israel:                     
Gamur
Centered blue star within a horizontal triband

Italy:                         
Stanco morto
Sono stanco
Flag of Italy

Japan:                          
ヘトヘト
Centered deep red circle on a white rectangle [1]

Mexico:                  
Muy cansado 
File:Mexican States Standard.svg

New Zealand:         
Knackered or buggered
Blue field with the Union Flag in the top right corner, and four red stars with white borders to the right.

Québec:                   
J'suis fatigué
Flag of Quebec

Peru:                         
Estoy agotado
Flag of Peru

Philippines:            
Pagod
Flag of the Philippines

Russia:                    
                        подзаибался на работе                      (podzaibalsya na rabote: it's a bit dirty and involves profanity. Use your imagination.)
Flag of Russia

Scotland:               
Knackered
Flag of Scotland

Spain:                     
Estoy sobado / me voy a mimir 
Flag of Spain

South Africa:          
   Ek is moeg 
Flag of South Africa

Thailand:
เหนื่อย (nuei)
Flag of Thailand

Tunisia (Arabic)   
Taaban
Flag of Tunisia

United States:      

Drained (many others)

Flag of the United States

United Kingdom  
Knackered 
A flag featuring both cross and saltire in red, white and blue

Vietnam:               
Bèo nhèo
Flag of Vietnam
Wales:
Knackered
Flag of Wales

And finally, my favorite language . . .

Yiddish:                     
Oysgehorevet  
Image result for yiddish flag

Here's a list of countries where English is the primary language. I don't know slang for "I'm tired" in the unhighlighted countries. Do you?

Anguilla
Ireland, NorthernSingapore
Antigua and BarbudaIreland, Republic ofSolomon Islands
AustraliaJamaicaSouth Africa
BahamasKenyaSwaziland
BarbadosLesothoTanzania
BelizeLiberiaTonga
BermudaMalawiTrinidad and Tobago
BotswanaMaltaTurks and Caicos Islands
British Virgin IslandsMauritiusUganda
CameroonMontserratUnited Kingdom
Canada (except Quebec)NamibiaVanuatu
Cayman IslandsNew ZealandWales
DominicaNigeriaZambia
EnglandPapua New GuineaZimbabwe
FijiSt. Kitts and Nevis
GambiaSt. Lucia
GhanaSt. Vincent and the Grenadines
GibraltarScotland
GrenadaSeychelles
GuyanaSierra Leone


I'm rather spent, beat, and a bit worn out (different ways to say "tired" in America) after compiling this list of ways to say 
ヘトヘト

Thanks for your help: 
Ana, Beryl, Brian, Cody, Darlene, David, Dee, Flo, Gadi, Ga Bri Elle, Han, JP, Keiko, Señorita Maria, Mark, Martin, Max, Megan, Mou, Na Na, Raíssaランギ マコール, Robert B, Rio, Sharon, Stephen, Syarif, and YF. 

Flags are from Wikipedia.

What's your favorite word or phrase and how many different ways can you say it in?

If you enjoyed the read, please check out my other media outlets below:


Remember to remember . . .

Monday, June 12, 2017

Sexless in the City


When it comes to Japan I've only lived here for two years and am no expert on the problems in this country. However, I've seen one issue with my own eyes and it's not just that they call bald people skinheads.

Yeah, there's a nationwide consensus it's what you call bald people because in katakana their word for bald is スキンヘッド pronounced su kin he do. 

Katakana is their version of English, so Japanese people believe English speakers also call bald people skinheads. They have other terms, but this is the agreed upon one everyone uses.

A few times I've told Japanese friends, "Just say bald."

"That's offensive," for some reason they believe. 

"No," I would argue as someone bald and Jewish. "Calling someone a neo nazi white supremacist is what's offensive." 

It's so difficult to explain 
this is a skinhead:


(credit)

This is a bald guy:

(credit)

These are thirty minute conversations that often still go misunderstood. The listener's mind is blown and they still say "su kin he do" in Japanese like it's not offensive. 

I digress. 

Although my one desire is Japan stop referring to people with shaved heads as neo nazi white supremacists by some kind of countrywide mega language barrier fumble, this topic is about a real problem in Japan.

In recent years Japan has been worried about the decline of their population's birthrate. 



People here are very concerned. General fear is there won't be any Japanese people in a few hundred years. 

Blame goes to overworking and women being treated unfairly. 

True and true. 

However, a larger reason is people in this country are afraid of sex. 

As someone who has taught jr high school and high school, I know the most education on the topic is as follows:

"This is a condom." 


(credit)

"You shouldn't have sex. If you do, use one of these or you will get aids and die a painful, slow, death." 

There's a cute character of some kind explaining it in Japanese and that's the end. 


(credit)

What happens? 30-year-old virgins here cringe from the very word "SEX."

In Japan you try to have sex with someone who likes you and you've been on three dates with, and they will probably say, "No. I'm pure," (whatever that means), and will be afraid to go out again from fear that you two might have:
S-E-X 

They want to text and talk for months before maybe holding hands and then becoming a couple like they're in some 1930s classic film. Nothing's wrong with courtship for the right reasons. When you have to do so because of fear, it's unhealthy. 

Sex is the purest action two people can do together. In Japan the masses don't want any part of it. Of course there are exceptions. 


They have a saying here:
"The nail that sticks out should be hammered down," which is why you might meet a lot of foreigners like me who say Japanese people think in one way. 

Most of them believe you work, maybe get married and have kids somehow magically, then die. 

One way to solve the decline is to educate their young on sex before they're too old and stubborn to take action. 

Don't just teach about one disease in a vague way and show a cute bear to trick people to think one way. Teach the positive aspects on the sexual, beautiful body that people have an inherited right to explore. Let them decide for themselves.

Often the best way to find stuff out is to ask people involved what they think. As a writer, I questioned a grown Japanese woman, asking her opinion on older virgins in Japan, why people were afraid of sex. 

She was too scared to talk about it. Yes, scared of even talking about sex. This was a freaking bartender! Where I'm from these are some of the most foul-mouth people on the planet. Here, bartenders think about Disneyland and Doraemon

(credit)


Hey, who doesn't love Doraemon?

Anyway, I told a friend this point on Japan's population decline. He remarked, "They have sex education. It's called anime and manga."

A funny joke, yet in actuality anime and manga teaches you the following about sex:

If you find a woman attractive, you're a hentai: pervert! 

(credit)

If you tell a girl she's beautiful, you're a pervert.


(credit)

If you think about sex, guess what, you're a pervert.

(credit)

Much like the problem with Japan's whole country believing you call bald people "skinhead," they just won't change this false ideology. 

Sexualizing someone in this country is considered perverse and wrong. This is why they're trapped in a downward spiral of self-destruction and population doom. 

It's a shame. Japan is one of my favorite places in the world. The people are fun and friendly. I'll smile at strangers and they smile back. If you lose something, i.e. money, it'll probably be returned because they're an honest society. The customer service in most establishments is so great it's from another planet. 

I'd argue it's better here than in most other places for several reasons. Yet they won't survive if they continue to think about sex as perverse and impure. 

Europe had the sexual revolution. 

(credit)

In the States they have prom to secretly promote procreation to the young. Don't tell.


(credit)

Japan has had no sexual revolution and there are no proms or dances. Instead they separate boys and girls during all sports activities and almost any chance they get. Girls on one side, boys on another. 



(credit)

And men and women follow suit into adulthood. I'll often see a group of three men and three women on dates in a large group. The women sit on one side of the table talking to each other and holding hands. The men do about the same on their side. Meanwhile everyone casually ignores the opposite sex.

In my jr high school days in Texas we had girls on the football team. In the first high school I taught at in Japan a girl told her teacher she liked baseball. He corrected her, "You like to watch baseball, because girls play softball."

She didn't argue.

It's natural to be shy around the opposite sex. Here people accept segregated, sexless, shy traits as if this was the way of the world. 

Then you have all of these grown ups walking around thinking sex is scary, weird, and unnatural. They have festivals to make light of sex as if it's some sort of unspoken thing you joke about at parties:


(credit)

One could toss the problem onto the laps of married couples and say they don't have time to raise more than one or two children or there's not enough childcare. Yet there are still thousands of virgins in this country who are terrified of sex and say they'll die before they try it. 

The lack of sex education needs to be addressed; otherwise, the problem of population decline will steadily rise. 

To be frank, Japan is fucking itself by being overly chaste.   

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~BAM