Japan's Must-Read Magazine

Kazuhide Vs. the Hostess

Last month saw the publication of Lea Jacobson’s wonderful insight into the modern floating world, Bar Flower (now available from all major stores). To commemorate, we pitted her against Japanzine’s very own intellectual megaforce, Kazuhide Otani. Baton down the hatches; this is what ensued.

So please telling me, why did you stop to being Engrish monkey and become blonde cigaretter lighter monkey?

English teacher monkeys have to wake up in the morning to entertain all the visitors at the zoo by jumping through hoops and wearing little suits. Blonde cigaretter lighter monkeys, on the other hand, get to sleep through the morning charades and get as drunk as possible before entertaining the nighttime visitors. It was the cage where all the cool monkeys were hanging out. I wanted to be a cool monkey.

Are you amazed the fantastic gender equality Japan is having? What part of our enlighten culture you enjoy the most?

I’ve always been impressed by the amazing opportunities women in Japan have to capitalize on their looks alone. This would never be possible in less fantastic countries like America, where if you don’t want to marry a sugar daddy then you are actually expected to use your brain for a living.

I notice you are currently Japanese/English Translator. So you must understand a lot of Japanese cultural things. My question to you is, can you use chopstick?

Well…you see Kaz, that is a very complicated question. Although I majored in Using Chopsticks in university, and subsequently lived with a Japanese homestay family for one year – for the sole purpose of learning that skill – I`ve twice failed the ikkyu test of the ohashi noryoku shiken (the one that’s conveniently offered once every year) by narrow margins. And yet I trudge on, determined to pass that bitch of a test eventually. This is such a sensitive and shameful subject for me, which is why I get so irritated when Japanese people ask me this question every five minutes.

I read first four pages of your book on Amazon. It was very interesting. You must to be first foreigner to write about their experience in Japan. Does your book have chapters on using chopstick?

Shut up.

I think I see you at hostess bar before in Tokyo. You were drunk, blonde, foreign girl, and I was wearing old-style salaryman suit and singing karaoke. I drank whiskey mizuwari and tried grope your thigh. Does it remembering?

It was a night like no other…

You:  Looking dapper and totally unique in your salaryman suit. 
Me: Drunk.
You: Lecturing me about the samurai spirit and drooling on my dress.
Me: Very, very drunk.
You: Monopolizing the Karaoke machine by singing jidai okure no otoko, sake to namida to otoko to onna, and Kyuutii Honii…..
Me: Ordering more drinks for myself on your tab when you’re not looking.

You asked me if I could use chopsticks three times, then requested a detailed explanation of dangling modifiers in English grammar. I had no idea what you were talking about, so I just made something up. We then spoke in Japanese for the remaining 55 minutes in the hour. (All the while you were congratulating yourself on how good your English skills were becoming, being able to communicate so fluidly with a foreign person and all.)

You told me that you were a secret spy agent, only disguised as a salaryman. And I totally believed you. We were going to run away together, get married, and spend the rest of our lives educating the ignorant masses about intercultural understanding. But the waiter came over and informed you that your time was up. I half-assedly begged you for an enchou, but you had no more money left in your wallet after my seven tequila shots at 2000 yen apiece.The next day, you told all your friends at work that we had three whole seconds of hot sex whilst riding the elevator down to the street, where I saw your broke ass off. And they totally believed you!

As a translator you having experience of word that exist in Japanese, but not in Engrish, for the example, gochisousama deshita. However, I see words in your book that do not exist Japanese, “alcoholism”. Is this new kind of drinking game or kyabakura bar?

Well…both really. It is a drinking game that is commonly played at Kyabakura. Here are some basic rules for the kyabakura drinking game “Alcoholism”:
1. Get drunk.
2. Act retarded
3. Pass out
4. Repeat steps 1-3 until all your money is gone and you’re living in a blue house on the Sumida River.

Is your book exaggerate non-fiction or finishing with the heavy climax?

Umm…the heavy climax? Well I did have to quit drinking by the end of the story. I forget if that’s sexy or not. Probably not. Sorry.
Why you write this book? Bored?

I wrote the book in the hope of someday being interviewed by the legendary Kazuhide of Japanzine. Can`t you see? Every step I have taken has been to bring myself closer to you, Kazuhude.

What kind of next book you planning to write? Can you give advice to me regard my memoir book I am writing?

For my second book I`m working on a historical fiction project about Japanese prostitutes, Christian missionaries, and the deep intercultural understandings that ensue. At the rate my research is going, the book should be completed somewhere around never.

Here are some easy steps to publishing your first Japan memoir.

1) Write a one page query letter. It must be irresistible. Every sentence has to be a subtle poem about how much money everyone else could potentially make off your happily exploited ass.

2) Send this letter to every one of the million literary agents who have listed their addresses in Writers’ Market or wherever.

3) All of these agents will reject you and drag your dreams through the mud. Agents do this for fun, it seems. But if you keep at it long enough, one of them will finally feel sorry for you, for trying so hard.

4) You sign a contract with this agent, whose job is to change around your style as much as possible, so as to make your memories the most marketable.

5) In a few months time, you and your agent will have written up a long ass 60-page proposal. (It is important to write the word “geisha” as much as possible, because it is magic. When westerners read this word, they suddenly want to spend as much money as possible.)

6) Your agent sends this proposal off to the editors. Editors are very special god-like entities to whom only agents are allowed to speak directly. Most of these editors will reject you as well, seemingly for fun.

7) Just as you are wondering just who you might have to f*ck  so as to get anywhere in this business, an editor from a major publishing house buys your proposal. Suddenly, you are bestowed with more cash than you’ve ever had at one time in your life. Spend it all! 

8) At long last, write your book. 

It has been a pleasure interviewing with you. I feel we reach mutual understanding of culture and respect. Now that we are comfortable talking, please tell me, can I buy your panties?

Kaz please, you’d have to spend years selling your body to lonely Japanese housewives before you could have any hope of ever affording my panties.

For more information on Lea Jacobson and Bar Flower, check out her blog over at www.geisha-interrupted.typepad.com.