about Japan, trans talk

Hot December

Hot december

makes me happy.

As does this:

“Who can be here every class to take attendance?”
“I can.”
No hesitation…what??
I would have never volunteered myself to anything that required 100% attendance, especially in college.  No way.  I study the individual who must either really like school or is one of those magical people who completes everything they set out to do simply because they decide to do so.

Let me tell you, Tokyo kids surprise me.  All the goddamned time.  And I love them for it.

I don’t know what I expected from the eager volunteer, but certainly not this lithe individual wearing a satin-back, black vest, formal white button-down with a very sharp collar, black slacks and black dress shoes.  His hair is andro and fashionably asymmetric, sweeping down over one eye and his skin— more immaculate than any I’ve seen yet, like soft snow cream.  As I take him in, I realize that he’s trans to some degree.  Call it living with S through transition or frequenting any number of trans joints on two continents or simply that my radar doesn’t lie.  Either way, I am in instant like with this volunteer (he volunteered perfect attendance, for fuck’s sake) and I wonder how free he feels to be him/herself.

Two weeks later, I walk into this snippet:
“Wow…this is you?  You know, I’ve worn makeup before.”
“Really?”
I whiplash to the male voices and it’s my sweet volunteer’s surprised reaction to the guy sitting next to him, a nice kid but not anyone that I would have pegged as being particularly sensitive or open to donning dresses and getting made up.
“Yeah…my sisters really wanted to dress me up then my friends in high school did, and I thought, why not?  By the way, it’s a cute pic.”
As he hands the card back to the volunteer, I peek at his photo, which captures the very essence of the ideal Japanese female (read: big eyes, soft features, small face = cute).
“Thanks…sometimes this is how I want to be.”

Sometimes a share about crossdressing or being trans can be that simple and without judgement.
I love this moment.

Neither of these guys lowered voices for this conversation as there’s nothing to hide, no reaction to fear if someone in the class happened to hear or see the trans talk or image.

For this easy acceptance, I love the younger generation.

Advertisements
Standard
about Japan, trans talk

Cut

cut

to S.
(surprise surprise.)

But seriously, the girl needs legal advice of a super specific nature.
Let’s see if I can get her need-list straight.

First, for those who aren’t aware, quick recap: we got married after we broke up because by doing so, my Japanese citizenship grants her a spousal visa which then enables her to live in Japan.  It’s hard to find an employer who will sponsor a visa and when you’re a transsexual the pickins are really fucking slim.

So this is where S’s recent questions come in.

She wants to change her passport to read sex: F because the M and tremendously male passport photo really hampers shit when looking for work.  Also, she gets questioned by authorities when she tries to clear immigration in Japan.

She can change her passport stat; she has a doctor who will vouch for her and that’s all that is required.

But.

Gay marriage is not recognised in Japan.  When it’s time to renew her visa, she must present her passport and if it reads sex: F, what happens to our marriage?  And her visa status as a result?

International living and sorting thorough visas are tricky.
A transsexual in a lesbian marriage isn’t something most countries accommodate.
Tricky gets trickier.

Things are never simple with S and I but I’m feeling doubtful of finding a lawyer in Tokyo who can answer her questions.
Of course we’ll try our damnedest.
And it’ll sure as hell be curious, frustrating and hilarious trying to pull those damn answers.

 

Standard
about Japan

Cats and shit

Cats and shit

on a walk.

I see various exotic creatures on a leash in Tokyo.  Especially in Shibuya, aka loud and crowded young kids shopping paradise.  Ferrets, bunnies, monkeys on leashes.  Or a random pet squirrel, perched on its owner’s shoulder.

The other day I’m walking, eyes glued to my phone screen when my peripheral vision spies a puff-ball on the ground.  Really?  My eyeballs scan and the puffs increase— there are five.  I focus my gaze and see three more in a stroller.  Fat, delicious Persians on shoestring (but probably more like crazy-luxe designer) leashes.  They’re all smoke-tipped cream puffs.  Scrumptious.  I peer closer to check out why the man leading this fuzz brigade is stopped in the middle of a fucking busy sidewalk.  I’m also about to take a shot of this curious and happy sight.

Until I see Cat-Nanny-Daddy wiping an— whoa, the smell hits at the exact moment I see the uncontrollable mess.  I hope he’s got so many more tissues than what I see in his hand.  Oh god.  The poor others in the stroller, trying to shy away from the unfortunate one and their wispy-long coats are brushing against the mess.  This is hilarious in its absolute hideousness.  I could take a picture but I can’t.  All I can think of is the poor undignified quadruped having lost its shit and getting cleaned up in such plain view, garnering some sympathy from passersby but mostly indignation.

Poor kitty.
Poor human.

Um also, the tissues— where’s he going to put that biohazardous crap?

Standard
about Japan

Don’t touch that

 

Don't touch

bush.

Seriously.

I’ve not been a lesbian slut-puppy (I mean with a natal woman) in Tokyo so I mostly hear pube-chat from my het-guy friends and there are many a reference to Japanese women not shaving.  This strikes me as odd since all other body hair must go.  Really.  Laser is the norm for arms, legs, face.  Get rid of that forever.  BUT.  Don’t touch the snatch.

Recently, S and I have awesome ōnsen (hot springs) time and we are getting major once-overs by the slew of naked ladies around us.  Correction— our muffs are because they’re the only clean-shaven bitches in this bathhouse.  So I stare back and…trimming is nonexistent.  We’re talking super voluminous-natural, like need to blow dry that shit so your panties aren’t sopping.  Very curious.

It’s such a phenom to be clean-shaven that S’s student asks to see and touch her because it’s so unfathomable.  S obliges and her student delights in the novelty.

Caveat: if you’re a t(w)een with a mother who thinks you’ve got the goods to be a model, everything— yes, your crotch— is getting the laser treatment.  Truth and ouch.

Also, hooray to S’s first ōnsen on the girls’ side!  It was great fun.  Definitely nerve-wrecking but the first time usually is, yes?

Standard
about Japan

東京 road rage

東京 road rage

is curious.

I’m high up in a memorable Tokyo landmark…the Cocoon Tower in Shinjuku.  I sit in front of my glowing screen in a room with many bare, fluorescent bulbs amidst a very typical-for-an-office, dropped ceiling.  We don’t sit in cubicles but our work stations are divided into open cubicle-like sections.  I like my neighbor because he has a cheery, chubby face and his snacking habits make me feel at home.  The 30th floor is nice; I have a great, 360° view of the city and that alone makes me smile every time I’m here.  I’m a tourist in my workplace as I click my camera as the light changes, natural warmth disappears and electric candy-show-time starts blinking.

Blink-blink, red and blue neon.
Blink-blink, orbs of white.

Today, in this fun tower, I learn what 20-something Tokyo boys consider rude-ass behavior.  I should qualify that they love cars, driving and racing so they really only care about what gives them road rage.

Which comes down to:
1) Jaywalking.  No matter where you are in this world, pedestrians always win and jaywalking families in the ‘burbs that jump out from nowhere makes these boys’ blood roil-boil.
2) Not yielding to allow passing on a slope.  Basically, the driver going uphill has the right of way on a one-lane road but apparently many a time, the downhill driver will just sit there, and a game of chicken starts.  It’s particularly en-fucking-raging at night when the downhill driver is in a van or other high vehicle because they fail to turn off their lights and end up blinding the driver who has the right of way.  One dude slams his fist on the table; this shit behavior really makes him mad.
3) No hazard light click-click= ‘Thank You’ after they slow down to let a car merge into their lane.  Not doing that is “fucking rude“.

There’s plenty of other shit that pisses them off, most of it revolving around people who have zero spatial awareness and/or consideration for others.  These guys can seem rough around the edges, as their language is rough and their body language discourages approach but actually these guys are rather old-school-gentlemanly.  They’re judgemental as fuck but it’s rather endearing because they simply want people to care about other people.

Makes me go aww…

 

Standard
about Japan, random love

Happy Birthday!

My little blog is a happy one-year-old.

Woo!

Which means changes lie in wait, which then excites me as I wonder what the buildup of my present actions will bring.

Throughout this year, I’ve maintained that change is a constant and while that will always be a truth, I am so damn grateful for my other constant— my people.

Because I have the best people surrounding me; they burst with love, weirdness, smarts and all kinds of beauty.  And it’s so fucking awesome when my incredible friends from the States meet up with my great Tokyo peeps and they just get each other; the language barrier crumbles when people instantly see and appreciate the core of the other.  Also, a hardcore food challenge (horse sashimi? sea anemone? unnameable prehistoric baby snake-dragon lookalikes?) and delicious alcohol cuts through niceties and enables us to get real…so nice.

And you, lovely reader, thank you for stopping by and even more for following.  I started this blog as a way to process anew all of the dramatic changes the previous year had brought; all of my processing couldn’t stay in my head because…well, it just couldn’t.  What started as an outlet has become a deliberate and active sharing.  I’m automatically held more accountable by your presence which, in turn, makes me a better writer; a most sincere Thank You for that…what more can I ask for?

I don’t know what the future holds exactly.
My inner compass alerts me when it’s time to change but I don’t have a rigid plan.
This being vulnerable thing is a constant challenge but the results are usually affirming.
And when they’re not, my bitches know just what to say to calm me the fuck down.
Then I write some shit because a post-neurotic calm brings fun clarity.

So.
It’s been a year.

All I know is:
My time in Tokyo isn’t up.
My various relationships will continue to evolve in their own way.
I will continue to rely on my friends as they make life so, so much better.
And this blog will continue.

Seriously, thank y’all for reading.
∼xoxo

 

 

 

Standard
about Japan, random love

Beautiful strangers

undo me.
Every time.

I don’t mean some random hot person that conjures feelings of doing it because they look at you just so.
I mean…

Two images keep rising through my swirling, sedated thoughts:

1) a collapsed woman and her husband, helpless before her barely conscious and very drunken body.

Most keep walking, some slow their pace, still others stare or shake their heads, even.
No one stops.
Time passes.

But.
Someone does stop.
The best kind of full-brake stop that starts by demanding of the subway attendant, “what the fuck with the help that was supposedly called?”
Followed by waiting with the woman while husband goes to buy water and kleenex as she’s a snotted mess, but if anyone can be a delicate and endearing pukey mess, it’s this woman.  Finally she is coax-forced to a standing position and pull-carried up steps to street level.  (By the way, taxis can take forever to catch if you need them to pull a u-turn because that’s against the rules and lord knows Tokyoites stay cozied up to a damned rule.)  Hooray for a rogue driver!  As the beautiful stranger negotiates with the driver, the husband marvels at this incredible show of kindness; there are no kinder people in the world, he tells his pouty and apologetic wife.

2) a broken-hearted man on a train; there’s no containing the tears and snot strings that such hurt brings.

Most don’t notice his grief; he’s not a loud crier.  But every stop after the one where she bolted cements the three, five, seven minutes that will turn to hours— agonizing hours— of a sinking in…ex-girlfriend.  And with each stop, he gets more frantic; he’s beyond giving a shit about hiding his tears because he’s hit a high wall of pain.  People next to him start to look away, shift their bodies away from his sad direction.  Except the girl standing directly in front of him; she studies him, his hands dripping tears and salt-mucused sleeves.  She looks thoughtful as she turns to exit but not before tossing a mini-pack of kleenex in his lap.

Four days, three nights and counting.
Weird sleep patterns, damn strong meds and forced quiet time makes for interesting processing.

Who knew I cared so much about random acts of kindness?

It’s what floats to the surface and cuts through my sleepy, painful coughing fits of late.

As our experiences are our constant, a thread of kindness is a nice binding agent.

 

 

Standard