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Friday, 23 September 2011

Russianisms !

Russians, dontcha love them. The Latinos of the North, drinking and dying and divorcing their way to total self annihilation. Corruption that would make an African Dictator green with envy. A democratic system to rival that of North Korea.

Here in Estonia, they are generally thought of as amusing but very dangerous neighbours and infiltrators. Like a hungry rottweiler that lives in your back garden. So anyway, here are some interesting anecdotes i picked up (mostly from people who live in Rakvere, the front line)

 When a Russian man opens his mouth its part of his scheme to trick you out of all your money.
 When a Russian woman opens her mouth its part of her scheme to trick you out of all your money by marrying you.

 Russian men dress like gangsters and thugs, because they are gangsters and thugs
 Russian women dress like prostitutes because.....

 If your Russian wife hits you, its because she loves you.
 If your Russian husband hits you, its because he loves you.

The tragedy is all the above are true, but any additional 'Russianisms' are welcome

ps Of course these don't apply to Russian female freinds of mine. It does apply to men of course since i don't have any male Russian friends.

pss I would be willing to bet that some smart American reader has just thought that they could have a cheap shot at Russian peoples acceptance of dictatorship as thinly disguised democracy (my moneys on Putin!). But hush, you can't really criticise since you think that 'terrorists' blew up your twin towers despite obvious evidence of controlled demolition and so can't really be taken seriously in any argument. So shut up.

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Tokyo, Part 1. Transvestite Cabaret and other mainly food related Japanese Perversions

They can't put a woman in a photo without dressing her as a schoolgirl, nun, or a silly doll

One of my most surreal moments in Tokyo was one time with dear Yuki, Kanazawas most beautiful nurse, and we ended up in a red light district in Shinjuku, Tokyo, sat down at a table and watched blind drunk salarymen drool over transvestites dancing and singing in some kind of pantomime, then one of the salarymen decided to tip up the whole table full of drinks, and so they all spend the next 20 minutes, sternly and politely (but so drunk they were dribbling) cleaned up the whole mess themselves.
Im not sure how this Japanese childrens clothes shop wen't down in Ethiopia

Anyway, this is the wonder of Tokyo.

I dont really know where to start to explain the insanity that is Tokyo, so since its breakfast time, lets start with the food.

Tokyo I understand there are well over 100 Michelin Starred Restaurants. And from some of the prices you would think they all are. But generally food is both good quality, tasty, diverse, healthy, and caters for all tastes and budgets.

I was once at a private restaurant club where the waitresses were all Japanese speaking Russian models, we had our own chef (who dutifully killed the seafood in front of us) and for some reason Jude Law was there having a drink at the bar. But my business partner paid, I don't think I would want to see that bill and I don't recommend you go there. Just don't be surprised by ANYTHING in this city, even if the food starts talking to you.

There are a few things i do recommend foodwise

1. Katsu Curry. This is Japanese fast food. You can't beat it, seriously. Breadcrumbed Pork (or Pok if you are Japanese and can't pronounce 'r') boiled rice, pork, and brown japanese curry sauce. There are loads of cheap Katsu Curry joints all over Japan and are just the ticket if your broke, and hungry, and want some free water.

2. Kobe Beef. The king of beef. If you go to Kobe, its about 50 Euros for a plate of real Kobe beef, which i'm afraid makes American pretend Kobe ($100 a pop) beef taste like MacDonalds. As usual the locals keep the best stuff for themselves. All over Japan though, Wagyu beef is quite amazing and will ruin you for steaks for the rest of your life.
This was a lunch of Kobe Beef which we cooked ourselves and random seafood. All for 50 Euros

3. Whale meat. Ok ok i've discussed this, and although it's actually nothing special to taste, I suggest to taste it one time when in Japan, if anything just to sock one to the ignorant po-faced idiots who would criticise you for it back home.

4. Turtle. Can you imagine that you just cut up your scrawniest friend and started eating his spinal column? Well thats a bit like what sea turtle tastes like. As a foreigner i was forced to eat the heart (quite tasty) and had the fun of watching the chef kill the poor thing, pour his blood out in a cup (which we drank with saki) and pulverise into something we were supposed to eat. I had to get so drunk to eat this that I met a Japanese girl who spoke fluent Gaelic, got lost walking home and woke up on a park bench, then woke up again on a sofa in my hotel reception, but miraculously kept the whole healthy thing down.

You also eat the shell, which is full of the stuff that they make botox from, and so im assumng is very good for your skin.

You can watch the chef dancing with this fine creature here

5. Shabu Shabu. Its called this because you get this thin meat, and 'swish' it in the hot fat/sauce and voila! its cooked and tasty, and it probably made a kind of 'shabu shabu' noise.

6. Tempura, Sushi, and Japanese noodle bars. These are more like the Japanese food you would see all over the world. To be honest, you may as well just forget it, you can get the same stuff (not as nicely made admittedly) all over.

7. European Food. This is actually pretty funny. I suppose it must be like a chinese person getting chicken chow mein from the local takeaway, or an Indian guy getting Tikka Masala (a dish invented in Croydon if i'm not mistaken) It looks like pizza/pasta/fish and chips, and it kind of tastes like it. But somehow in the teleportation, something is different. It's actually never very nice but still its worth doing once just to say 'yea i had a mexican last night' to throw people off the fact your'e in Tokyo. Sadly Macdonalds still tastes the same.

Green Tea Ice Cream is popular, but disgusting. Especially if you make it into a hamburger (this is in Kyoto)

Monday, 12 September 2011

Another Shot at the 60's - The New Beat Generation

Unemployment among young people in USA stands at over 20%, and that doesn't even count part-time people who are freelance website designers (about 40 million people). Here we are faced with a whole phenomena of permenantly irresponsible people drifting from place to place, party to party, gallery opening to gallery opening, looking for something to actually do with their lives except quote Jack Kerouac or tell people they are 'freelancing'

So while Asians Blacks and Mexicans are busy actually doing all the work, a whole generation of 20's-40's white people have nothing to do except join a retro band, whine, and try out tantric sex. 

Instead of working, more and more people are thinking about things (because they have time) People espouse 'sharing' (because they have no money themselves) People talk about 'a new Paradigm of living', as we hurtle towards December 2012 (because like me, they themselves are rapidly hurtling towards unemployability) 

'Those nasty damn exploiting capitalists' they say. 'The system must change'. 

But really guys, it will, but it's going to get much worse before it gets better so may as well buckle up and if you really want to change things, like Ghandi - take action, don't just take yoga classes.

This new beat generation is here to stay, but the whole 'new paradigm' is fatally flawed. It's all well and good to moan about ruthless big business, exploitation, and control of the general populace by a small number of rich people, but whats the viable alternative? making beads? It's been suggested that barter systems can work too. Of course they can but only on a small scale. For beads, beans, car repairs, that sort of thing. But what about airplanes and ships that actually bring you those sweatshop built shoes and hats? or the trees that go to make your vegan cookbook? Yes yes. Im afraid theres a big difference between the wishful thinking of armchair hippies and the reality of life, dear friend. Socialist ideas do tend to go pear shaped due the general fuzziness of the bearded fellows espousing it and real human nature, which, like it or not is like all mammals - competitive and status oriented. 

One trend that I do like is the fact that people do seem to be having another shot at the 60's. Again in a really bad way, but the thought is there. Either i'm hanging about with more freaks than I used to, or spiritual awareness is growing at a rate of noughts. The population is split down the middle, with materialistic rational scientific non spiritual people on one side and, on the other, people for whom this simply isn't enough. 
They, like me, seek answers. Rational Science takes an objective outside observers viewpoint. But this is impossible viewpoint, because like it or not, we are part of it all. It also doesn't fully explain the big bang or evolution for that matter, despite the possibility that they are correct. Is the spiritual truth simply hidden for us until we, as humans, are ready for it? Is it that guys like Moses, Jesus, all these kind of guys were ready, so they got the necessary info for the meaning of life ? Is the answer really 42?

I'll write a specific article on this later, meanwhile take a look at this series (its about 60 episodes long!) but quite an interesting take on the subject. And enjoy yourselves. Get used to being skint, being 'freelance' and being 'spiritual without a clue what it means ' . You aren't alone

Friday, 9 September 2011

Ten Things That Make a Place Civilised

So what makes a city/town/village/row of houses civilised?

Here's my top 10

1. Free Water in Restaurants and Cafes - massive fail for greedy Tallinn Restaurant owners who make sure the staff bring you some expensive Evian when you specifically ask for tap water. But full marks for UK, Japan, USA and even the humble Kanooks for always giving you free water when you sit down.

2. Free Wi-Fi everywhere (including airports) - And the opposite applies. UK especially must be the most backward country in the world regarding this. Most people still call it the 'Interweb' or if you are with BT broadband 'Interwait'

3. Real Originality - Ok im not talking about hipsters walking around looking like zombies and making ironic remarks like on Broadway Market, London (I'll find out if its the same in Buffalo's Hipsta Allen Street tonight)  But a real unique local creative hub that doesn't look to other cities to copy is priceless. Seems to me that smaller cities have this original 'feel' like Osaka, Glasgow, Toronto, Amsterdam, even little old Tallinn, know what i mean?

4. Cheap Living and Tasty Cheap Food - What is the point of a 'cool' area being a place where it costs $500,000 for a studio apartment? All that means is the trend is DOWN. Thats why London and New York are decidedly mediocre these days. If you're in a place where its too expensive for a struggling creative genius to eke out even a meagre living then guess what...all your neighbours are shyster lawyers and dull bankers, and your life may as well no longer exist.  Tokyo has 119 Michelin Starred Restaurants, but...its damn expensive. Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok and Singapore all have great food choices for a quarter of the price. I would get a better steak for a tenth of the price in Buenos Aires than London, thats for sure. And the waiter wouldn't be Eastern European either.

5. Good Bookshops - to spend afternoons in. No further explanation needed.

6. Good Weather - Look, i don't care what you say, but what the hell are these 'lifestyle surveys' thinking of when they put the crappest coldest wettest cities in the top ten? - (here) Helsinki, Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto - why not throw in Anchorage Alaska while you're at it?  All the South East Asian Cities are too humid. Vienna, Glasgow, Copenhagen and Seattle rain all the time. And all the others in the top lists (like Geneva or Barcelona) are too expensive to consider.  So that leaves us with a couple of nice weathered South American Cities like smog blessed Buenos Aires who really deserve to sneak in there.

7. Mixed Race and other Beautiful Chicks -  Ok this maybe a personal bias, but it seems to me that mixed race chicks are almost alway smoking hot. And that adds to the good vibe. Everyone is happy when a beautiful girl is around (hint for beautiful girls - especially if she's making breakfast)

8. Positive Vibe  - Well you can say its just who you hang around with but really, overall some cities just have a good energy. London and New York are great but have a negative grinding vibe, probably due to the massive expense of simply existing there. You know what i mean? Weather says a lot here too.

9. Low Redneck/Bro. Count. - But directly connected to this is the redneck count. I mean don't get me wrong i've been accused of defending rednecks in the past, and in some ways, i do feel for them. I mean we're all white trash when we go far back enough aren't we? But of course to be in a city where the weekend'scene' consists of drunk fighting or thumping hip-hop and DJ's are considered talented isn't civilised. You can tell the redneck/bro count by the number of fast food outlets in a neighbourhood. Hackney used to be a 'Bro' neighbourhood (Black youths looking to relieve you of your wallet/life) and even without seeing anyone you could tell because every shop on every street was either a fried chicken place or barbers shop. Now white English twats called Tarquin eat in the same places when drunk, parking their stolen supermarket trolleys outside. Dickheads are also not civilised.

10. Plenty Sports around.  Ok I know I abuse fat people possibly more than any other group in my blog. (forgive me, I try to abuse everyone fairly and evenly) but really its more because its their own fault. My friend showed me a video today (where she is now a TV presenter, well done!) of Tallinn, and i noticed how everyone is normal looking. Because almost everyone does sport of some kind (or at least the girls live on coffee and cigarettes to stay slim) and they eat normally, and there are few fast food outlets. Then I looked around in Buffalo as a typical US place outside California, and the average person is overweight. Its about 40% diet- since its full of sugar and additives and prozac here. But the most important thing is at least the Opportunity to do some sports. Beaches are good, lakes, mountains, or even non-crappy weather. Then we can all stay outside instead of sitting home playing online poker.

Ok on this basis, i'm packing my bags for Honalulu !

Saturday, 3 September 2011

Syracuse. Home of average looking and slightly chubby girls.

Well well. Whats going on? I hear you ask. What exciting part of the world did you wake up in this morning?

Well, i'm afraid I woke up in Syracuse.

I don't know if any of you have been there (more likely passed through) but Syracuse is the New York State equivalent of Birmingham, UK.

No one enters (except for University, after which they leave) no one leaves. And everyone believes whatever rubbish the American mass media pours into their little minds, because nothing ever happens here, and nothing actually matters anyway because nothing is likely to change.

Maybe i'm just allergic to small towns.

The tragedy of it all is, i may end up living here one day.

Anyway, what else can i tell you about Syracuse. There are no really good museums or art galleries. There are no big or funky or interesting companies based here. It has a decidedly average shopping mall. There are no sports teams of note, except maybe the University American Football Team which wears Orange. The University itself is quite well renowned actually, and it full of Asians for some reason.

And at least students means drinking, so there is a little bar area, which I explored since i was here (Uni has just started back so it was busy) Hoping in vain that my Scottish drawl and devastatingly average looks would mean id be smothered by nubile 19 yr old cheerleaders, i was a bit disappointed to see that

1. All girls with pretty faces are fat
2. All the girls who look after their bodies are ugly.

The reason i'm writing this blog post is to confirm to myself that i haven't actually died and gone into some kind of impossible choice purgatory. Maybe you are right, friends, Estonia has spoiled me for the more real hell world which, consists of chubby boring and average looking women, and chubby boring men with no imagination or inspiration (would you be inspired if your woman was pasty and fat?)

Ok enough abuse about Syracuse. My real estate agent there is a good guy. And i spoke to a nice girl who works in the Zen Bhuddist centre too.

 But i had to just get it out there - Syracuse! Get some Ambition !

ps if you do happen to be in Syracuse and want to rent a dumpster, here is the link!!

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Kyoto - Home of Yoda, Green Tea Ice Cream, and countless Almond Eyed Beauties

Do you know what this means? why not?

So here I sit, waiting for my hotel check-in, at 7.30am, in Akasaka Macdonalds, Tokyo, surrounded by overworked salarymen eating breakfast and working like crazy to prepare for the day ahead, and homeless teens snoozing before they head off and do nothing, and I can say I’m very glad to be back here in Tokyo. Apart from the stressed out guy next to me cracking his fingers in frustration. (very bad habit,  by the way, you know who you are!)

I spent the last week in the Kansai region – known as the ‘heart of Japan’. Mostly that means Osaka, Kyoto, and a whole bunch of medium size cities in between.

We started off (myself and my trusty Japanese Sensai) on the overnight bus to Osaka.  I think for trips outside of the Tokyo region you either should

1.     1. Speak a decent bit of Japanese
2.     2. Buy Lonely Planet as it does have good transport guides and hotel stuff (despite my usual slagging it off)
3.     3. Get a Japanese friend/girlfriend. I think this is the best fun way.

So i'll tell you about the craziness that is Tokyo later, meanwhile here's some inane blethering about the rest of Japan....


This is the Zen Bhuddism capital of Japan, and maybe indeed the world. The force is strong here.  It’s the only city where I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see Yoda walking out of a curious alleyway in Gion. 
Street Scene in Kyoto

The main thing to see here are temples, shrines, Zen schools and monasteries, but the whole city has a different energy. If you’re lucky, you’ll see a young Geisha (Meiko) running to class, or a few walking to entertain clients up these interesting little lanes and private doorways that litter the old part of town (Gion) Even the rivers look civilized here. Zen permeats and civilises the whole city. To put things in perspective, I got a bit annoyed when a western girl blatantly walked in the side door of the Kenin-Ji Zen Temple without paying (I’m sure if she really was broke, she could have asked at the front and they wouldn’t have charged) which both makes me embarrassed to be western here with crappy dishonest people like that around, but more to the point,  its against the whole spirit of Zen – I mean she was visiting a Zen temple after all, surely she should get the karma thing? Anyway, she’s probably got food poisoning right now and it’ll serve her right. 

I always wonder what adventures lie down these mysterious little lanes...

Putting the whole thing in perspective, I had a good laugh about the fact I considered that a big issue here in Kyoto, when I checked the news this morning and saw the riots all over London. No wonder the Japs think we’re dishonest, rude and violent – its actually mostly true.

Little Meiko running to singing class
Why does this arsehole keep turning up in my photos?

Anyway, there are more than a dozen world heritage sites here. Some of the most beautiful places you’ll ever see on earth. Two places really stood out (for me at least)

One was the Golden Temple. When I took pictures, it just looks like a postcard. The gardens are pretty good too.

The golden temple, Kyoto, looking suspiciously like a cartoon

The other was/were the Zen gardens. I went to two but there are a few so just look it up. Really peaceful places to spend an hour or two in the sun. The small one at a temple complex (i'll add the name later) is quieter, while the bigger nicer (and more famous) one in the photo below was so crowded with American twats talking about Britney Spears (or whatever they talk about so loudly all the time) that it was difficult to appreciate.

Another good fun thing to do is walk around the nightlife area at night in Gion. Lots of bars, pretend Geishas to chat up, and it looks like a lot of naughty stuff (but only If you speak Japanese as no-one speaks English!)

To get around Kyoto I hired a bike, which I recommend. Cycling around keeps you in a cool breeze, on a sweltering humid day like today.  I left my books and hoody in the basket and no one stole it all day when I went into museums and temples etc. Zen Bhuddism in action!

It must be a Kyoto thing, that almost half the girls were wearing Kimonos. These almond eyed beauties are a sight to behold, I think I lost count the times I fell in love. I suggest getting insurance for your bike in case you crash into a lamppost after losing yourself in a lovely daydream.

Ok, onto Osaka tomorrow....