In the Beginning...(Hastings, England/Chitose, Japan/Sapporo, Japan)

"Life is what happens when you are making plans.."

England in Autumn, 1998. One crazy ass year. Let me tell you all about a guy who fell deeply for a chick and ended up chasing her all the way back to Japan, and in the process having the adventure of a life-time - beautiful women, exotic locations, heart-ache, anger, dissapointment, fear - it all happened to me, but not on any movie set. They say real life is stranger than fiction. Read on to find out just how true a statement that is.

When I was a young college student I used to be quite an active dude, hanging down the gym - mainly to look at fit birds rather than to actually work out - I should add. Well, there was one particular girl that always caught my attention, who happened to be Japanese. I saw her time and time again, and for months I'd dreamt of the perfect situation where I could get talking to her, but there just wasn't much of a chance, and at the time, well, I guess I wasn't much of a confident guy.
So, anyway, in my computer class two of my best buddies were these Arabic dudes, Fadel and Anas (well it wasn't a funny name in his language). We used to go out for beers on Friday nights occasionally. Then one day, they invite me out and we end up at some pub or other and get down to some serious drinking. They introduce me to some Spanish dudes, Juan, Jose and Manuel, and well, it turned out to my fortune that the babe from the gym was in the same social circle as those guys, and she'd come along that night, hanging around with them. I wasn't gonna miss that opportunity so I drunkenly introduced myself. After talking with her for hours, I got the feeling that she'd be up for a date, so I took a deep breath..and went to chat her up, and, to make a long story short, I ended up falling for her, and 6 months later we were moving in together.

She was great, being with her was so much fun, this sexy Asian chick. And the difference in culture only made it more interesting, never a problem. Of course, like any video-game playing dude, I loved the idea of going to Japan, and since I really loved my bird, I started picking up bits of Japanese here, there and everywhere. Being with her turned what was a passing interest in Japan into a passion. She seemed so different from the English birds I'd grown up with, it was funny, that I had more in common with this girl from the sunny side up than birds from my own country. And to be honest, I'd got tired of England..I guess I just didn't like the attitude here much, so the prospect of going to another country seemed mind-blowingly attractive to me.

Unfortunately, my girl was a foreign student just in the UK to learn English, so eventually she had to go back to Japan. Although it broke my heart to see her go, I told her that I'd come to see her in March, and she said I could stay with her and her family until I got sorted. But first I had to get some bum job for six months typing in data for some company, to save up a little extra cash. Man, have you ever tried typing the same stuff all day for 8 hours? Not that it's a tough job..but I nearly got my ass fired for falling asleep half the time.

Oh, rewind.. I guess I better tell you about an event that helped me get extra cash as, well, six months isn't really enough time to save up the kind of bread it takes to get started over there in Japan. So here's what happened.
Shortly after my bird went back, one day I'm walking to my pals to do some serious 2 player Tekken action, when I see three tough looking guys having an argument on the street up ahead. I was thinking 'Shit, better steer round these guys' and walked around them with my head to the floor. As I walked on I heard 'Oi! You got a problem mate?!' British English that's the equivalent of saying 'Actually you haven't done anything, but we're gonna kick you in anyway'. I knew the signs, but it was too late, the gorilla blokes had already come right up to me, and I was stuck in some corner against the wall. One of the dudes grabbed me, and I smacked that asshole in the mouth before he could do the same to me. Ah man, but life just ain't like a Bruce Lee movie. And even if you think you're a tough guy, 3 against 1's pretty useless, and these were no small guys. And much as I'd like to say I Round-House kicked one in the mouth, and did the One-Inch punch on the other guy sending him crashing into the a car, but, I just pretty well much got the shite kicked outta me.
Eventually after they were getting tired, I saw an exit and managed to get away and call the cops. The cops couldn't find the guys, but I'd lost quite a bit of blood and had to go to hospital..In fact, my eye was pretty swollen, and the doc didn't know if it was gonna heal correctly, which he put in his report. When I gave the police my statement the next day, one of the cops said to me 'You should apply for Criminal Compensation...You might only get ?0 or something, but, well, at least it's something'
I have to say, I wasn't fussed to be honest, I'd healed up great, and my eye was fine in the end, but my bird kept saying I should just do it. And I'm bloody lucky that I followed her advice, because eventually I got a letter in the post saying I'd been awarded. only 2500...bugger me! and there I was thinking I'd only get a tenner or something!..Well, needless to say, I booked my ticket to Japan two weeks later, sorted out my passport, and went to chase the girl of my dreams..Yes, just as it is the destiny of every Pakistani that he or she shall one day become the owner of a corner shop, so was it my destiny to one day make it to Japan.

I remember being on the plane thinking how weird it was to be the only guy without black hair, and for the first time in my life, I could see over the crowds head. 16 hours plane flight, and I arrived in Chitose Airport. I got through immigration's, my heart beating so fast, Jesus what a rush. I looked around, and there she was! My lovely gf, waiting for me in the foyer. I met her family, and we went back to her place, where we had a delicious meal, and her family listened to my crap Japanese. They asked me if I was tired, but I'd slept on the plane, and all I wanted to do was look around, it was so amazing. I felt like the guy from Coming to America, in the scene were he shouts "Good Morning AMERICA!!" I was so happy. Only this wasn't America, this was JAPAN. I felt like I wanted to kiss the floor, or do some breakdancing or some shit. And I got on so well with my gf's family, especially her pops, who I managed to communicate with on some caveman-esque level. I was just happy that he didn't throw a rag at me and shout "Oiiiii..Kris-san Clean car! Wax On! Wax Off!..ouuussssaaaa!". I can't say that my Japanese was any good when I got to Japan, and the Japanese comic books I'd read in England hadn't really paid off, though I often made my gf's family laugh by using the words I'd remembered from them in normal conversation. Actually I hadn't understood the words I was saying, I'd just memorised the passages, and had a vague idea of what they meant, yet I found out later I was saying stuff like 'I've gotta get out! This place is gonna blow!' and actually just meant to mean 'I think I'll go out because I'm a little bored'. And stuff like 'I did it! I really did it!' just to mean 'Oh finished my meal by the way'. Fun times.
The first thing I wanted to check out was what they sold at the local store. Call me nuts but I love doing that, going to a foreign country and seeing the differences between their Spar or 7-11 and our Spar (we don't have a 7-11 in the UK, curses). So yeah, I did that, I bought a Japanese cheeseburger and some mucky chocolate. Man, sorry to say, but Japanese chocolate really sucks dude (compared to the European stuff anyway), leave it well alone (oh, and except for Sasha which is OK). Cheeseburger was fine though, taste like any other countries (I swear the best Mcdonalds are in the USA though, greasy as they may be..) . Went off on a tangent again didn't I?

Me and pop's gelled and I started calling him 'Oto-san' which is 'Pop's' in Japanese. He even found me an apartment in Chitose, quite close to them, which saved my life as some 'so called' Japanese buddy of mine had let me down , when he was supposed to be putting me up in Nagoya until I found a place. Lucky for me he didn't otherwise I never would have discovered Sapporo.
Sapporo is the biggest city north of Tokyo which a population of about 2.2 million, bloody big and only about 40 mins by train from Chitose. It'd been a month, and well, I was thinking I really should write to my old dear, and I decided I'd go to Sapporo to try to find some kind of Internet Cafe so I could write to her and all my pals around the world. Well, when I got there I was amazed at how cool a place it was, full of cool looking people, big department stores, more importantly huge video-arcades, which I spent a good 5 hours investigating until I finally got round to going to the Sapporo International Communication Plaza (Kokusai) and asking some babe receptionist where I could use the internet. She told me two places, one of them was close, called Ants School.
So I got to Ants, and met some nutty old bird, who showed me where I could use the internet. After that she said 'Do you know, I needu some moru goodu British teachers here'..and I was like 'Err..well, you know, I don't think I can do it, I've never taught before'. But the truth is, I'm a pretty confident guy, and was willing to give it a shot. Then she said 'Weru, thinkuu about it ne?..Ahh. there is sam young ladies here, wourd you rike to tark to them about Engurand or something?'.. I was wondering what the hell she was going on about now, and I was thinking she was more than a little nuts, she had this habit of 'shifting' all the time while speaking to you, and I was just thinking of getting out of there, but, being a polite guy and all that I said 'Well, just for 5 minutes okay?'..hey, and besides, those girls were pretty tasty!
I sat down, and didn't have a clue what to say or why they were in there, I guess I'd assumed they were just waiting for the old lady boss to teach them some English or something. So I just turned on the charm and started talking about England, myself, love, whatever. We were having such a good time, before I knew it an hour had gone, and the old lady's coming back in. She said something in Japanese to the girls and they all left and waved good-bye to me. Then I was about to leave before I had to face the nutty old bird again when she came in suddenly and handed me an envelope with some cash in it. I said:
'Eh? What's this for?'
'First Engurishu lesson pay-cheque ne?'
'Sorry, all I did was talk slowly to them about life and that, I didn't teach them anything!'
'Ahh Yes! that is what we Japanese calru Engurishu Canvaasation Curass!'
I thought, nah, she is shittin' me, right? But it was all true, she was gonna pay me something like 12 an hour, just to talk crap, birds, beer, video-games, whatever. Oh man, what a job! So that's basically what I did for the next 5 months, although I did start to teach 'real' English from books too eventually. But more on that in the Becoming an English Teacher section.
I asked the old girl about the teaching, she gave me a few tips, but it really didn't seem too difficult, before going to Japan, all my friends had been foreign anyhow, as I come from a place called Hastings, which is, like, 40% foreigners. So, I was used to telling them slang, and teaching them words, but I guess I'd never think I could get a job which would pay me to do that. She told me she was happy that she'd found a guy who could speak with the 'nice Queen's accent'. I told her that in England there's quite a lot of 'queens' with different accents, but the joke didn't catch and she looked at me blankly.
So then, this old girl starts telling me about a place in Sapporo I could move into, called Happy House, which, although I found out later, was a complete dump (as pictured above), there were other foreigners living there, the rent wasn't too sky-high, and it was in my paradise, Sapporo. Id've sold my soul to the devil by that time to get there, so I asked her where to sign, apologised to Oto-san for having to move out of the flat he'd only recently found for me, and moved into the city this page is dedicated to, and I will truly never forget, and always aspire to getting back to.

Well, much as I'd like to say things really worked out with my girl, unfortunately she'd changed a lot in the months we'd been separate, sorted out her life, and was doing the whole 'career' thing..I guess I just didn't fit into the equation anymore, and she didn't have any time for me. We drifted apart. Personally I still had a lot of feeling for her, we'd been together for nearly 2 years, and I'd come all the way to Japan, mostly for her I have to say, but, alas, as she was far away, touring Japan, and I was in Sapporo getting beered up most nights with my new found house-mates, it just wasn't meant to be. And besides -- do you realise how INCREDIBLY HOT JAPANESE BIRDS ARE? Bloody hell!, it's like the Land that Time Forgot, with all these foxy, exotic looking Asian birds, I knew I could never look at an English girl the same way again after that. Although I didn't couldn't quite get over my lost true-love, it didn't take me long to jump off the wagon of lost true-love, and turn into Long Dong Studly, getting jiggy with all those lovely women, the best time of my life. If the whole playboy thing was some kind of insecurity-driven, nursing-a-broken-heart-on-the-rebound reaction to losing the only girl I ever loved, then I gotta say, it couldn't have happened in a better place!

You remember that nerd that was in your classroom when you where a teenager, that everybody used to insult, and you knew was a loser (oh, that's you is it), well over there he's a King, man! You're gonna see that loser with at least an above average sexy babe on his arm, no matter what a lame ass he is!. Japan is bizarre like that..Just take a look around at some of the ugly foreign guys with babes for girlfriends and you'll see what I mean!. Sapporo was choc-a-bloke full of hotties, and actually has a reputation for having some of the finest girls in Japan, which I reckon is true. Some dude even wrote a book about it!! Yes my friends, this site is about Japan and all the wonders they won't tell you about in those other pages. Are you sick of reading lines like "As I reached the peak of Mt.Fuji--", or even more original - "The izakaya was rather small and I had trouble shifting my gaijin shape into the tight seating place---"..good, because you came to the right place!! just the babes, just the clubs/bars, finding love or getting laid in the country that is as excellently cool as it gets!!

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Like any story worth it's weight in gold = like any good story
Dudes = cool people
Buddies/Pals/Mates = friends
She'd be up for a date = she would probably go on a date with me
Falling for her = falling in love with her
My bird = My girl (British only slang)
Mind-blowingly = really
Bum job = boring job
Got my ass fired = had myself fired
Kind of bread = kind of money
Kick you in = beat you up/attack you
Smacked that asshole = hit that guy
Got the shite kicked out of me = got beaten up badly (shite = shit)
Cops = police
Criminal Compensation = money given to you by the government for damages to your health if you are in an accident.
I wasn't fussed = I didn't care
Crap = bad
Or some shit = or something like..
Pops = Father
Caveman-esque = like a caveman
"Oi Kris-san, clean car, wax on, wax off!" = (watch the movie The Karate Kid)
Call me nuts but.. = maybe I'm crazy but..
Mucky.. = tastes like muck (muck = mud)
Went off in a tangent, didn't I? = changed my subject of conversation, didn't I?
Me and pop's gelled.. = Me and Father got on well..
Bloody = very
Babe = beautiful girl
Nutty old bird = strange old lady
Shifting = moving suddenly
Those girls were pretty tasty = those girls were babes!!
Didn't have a clue = didn't have an idea
She is shittin' me, right? = she must be joking!!
Just to talk crap = just to talk about nothing
Oh man! = wow!
Queen = also slang for a transvestite (transvestite = a man who dresses like a woman)
Complete dump = disorderly house
Doing the whole 'career' thing = just concentrating on a job
We drifted apart = we began to break up
Getting beered up = getting drunk
Bloody Hell! = Christ!! Damn!! How fantastic!! (British only slang)
Jump off the wagon = to stop doing
Turn into Long Dong Studly = start meeting new girls
Getting jiggy with = partying with
Lame-looking = ugly
Getting laid = having sex