Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Gomi & Cults in the Tokai City of Concrete

Pictured: Sake barrel, courtesy of Fuji Film staff

by Kevin Burns

Nagoya, Aichi
My friend John, had bragged of furnishing his whole apartment with garbage, during his stint in Japan. Maybe that was why I preferred not to introduce him to close friends. Not without a warning anyway. "I'm going to introduce you to my friend John, you know the one who brags about garbage?" John had worked for a securities firm in Tokyo for a couple of years called Marui Securities. He was the editor of their English newsletter and the company English teacher. He had left for other lands in Asia after that commenting, "The Japanese are some of the most tight-assed people in the world." I got the impression that he didn't like them much.

Because of my friend's love of Japanese trash, we decided to try our luck. It was tough though as there were others out to do the same. A couple of Japanese guys went around in a van and often took the pickings before we could get there. Apart from free porno magazines we didn't find much of interest. (About the porno magazines--I just read the articles).

Brian and I did find two beautiful pots, that turned out to be the old Japanese hibachi, or heaters. I now use them as pots for plants. I am still surprised that someone had thrown them away!

One day Jeff came to my place and first having me promise not to breath a word about what he was going to say, he told me his story. Soon after Jeff started working at Simpson, he noticed that all of the secretaries spent long hours at their desks studying Korean. When Jeff asked why they were studying the language, they replied that they would soon move to Korea and get married. Every few months it seemed, a new group of secretaries would start work, to replace the others who had left for Seoul. This bothered Jeff. What was going on?

He was convinced his school was owned by a cult. He wasn't very comfortable with the thought of working for a cult owned school. Neither was I! The thought of a group of hooded members taking Jeff away in the middle of the night, entered my thoughts. I quickly thought of cockroach hockey games to take my mind off of this nightmare Jeff was in. I locked the door after he left.

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