Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Religious Compulsions

Let there be no compulsion in religion. 

Still one of the exemplary tenets that I have always recalled from school way back when and something I've always tried to serve best. Though our generally prejudiced social media occasionally tries to villify missionary schools by claiming they have a hand in miraculously evangelizing students there, I can tell you that's all utterly ridiculous bs since in all my years there, I never saw any such thing.

Unless someone out there can convince me that merely strolling by a cross on a wall can be tantamount to a miraculous conversion.

Religion should be something utterly individual - and personal faith should be something nearly unshakeable otherwise why hold on to it in the first place? State-sanctioned religious conversion aside - something I personally find preposterous, I never can quite understand it when someone I personally know undergoes a conversion just to marry someone else.

If they have been admirably drawn to the new religion because of their love, then I would heartily salute that particular conversion.

Not to mention a baptism would be less a holy sacrament and more an unwelcome dunk in cold water.

But most times, the one being converted is doing it purely because.

Which I find almost sinful.

Paul : So after all the months of religious classes, you have finally come to believe? 
Friend : No. 
Paul : You haven't seen any light? 
Friend : No. 
Paul : You're still converting?
Friend : Yes. 
Paul : Good God. 

Let's not kid ourselves about the entire romanticization of making that ultimate sacrifice for luuuurve. Has anyone wondered why any religion would want a staunch non-believer to even enter their halls to take up vows? Not to mention why anyone would force their loved one, someone they purportedly love above all else, to be a disciple of a religion they don't actually believe in.

Always remember this. The book is holy only to the devout followers because of their intense faith - but to anyone else who doesn't believe, it's not very much different from the entirely fictional Greek myth about their own gods.


 


Thursday, November 23, 2017

Back In The Days

Meeting up with a schoolmate and friend in Tokyo certainly brought back many bittersweet memories, and it wasn't long before Skinny Stacey and I started dredging up funny anecdotes from way, way back then. Seemed so fresh in our minds that it made it hard to grasp the fact that it actually all happened twenty years ago! All those wacky pranksters, smooth talkers and emo youngsters were already relatively grown up parents of their very own children.

And in all likelihood - confirmed and reiterated by many, many of my classmates - I wasn't as much of a shy wallflower as I would like to think. Apparently I had quite a fearsome reputation in school, something that I hadn't been entirely aware of back then.

The looks on my friends' faces when I say I'm a blushing blossom in school. 
Occasionally there are smirks and snorts. 

So drooping daisy I definitely wasn't.

Sometimes I do wonder how Charming Calvin and I would have been like if we'd both been in high school at the same time and place. Though never did it occur to me that Charming Calvin would think I'm some monstrous Venus flytrap with dripping green fangs out to catch the next hapless victim.

Calvin : You know I don't think I would have dated Paul in high school.
Stacey : Why not!
Paul : What the- 
Calvin : You probably wouldn't have seen me also!
Paul : Excuse you! Frankly I'm vaguely insulted.
Calvin : Anyway I'd be a little afraid of you. I mean I'd have admired you from afar but would be too scared to come close.
Paul : Eh.

Wait is this one of those inexplicably paiseh things? Turns out Calvin might be one of those timid Clay Jensens who try their best to discreetly blend into the highschool background, perpetually afraid of making the slightest disturbance in the force? Though I might not crave the spotlight as most would think, I doubt I'd be the kind to shrink back from making my opinions heard.

Loudly. Passionately. From the rafters if need be.

Think I've made quite a ruckus or two in the school canteen that stunned everyone once or twice even.


So yeah, that would probably make me stand out from the crowd - as it probably did according to my classmates. Odd since I always thought I was kinda invisible in school. So believe it when I say how you think of yourself doesn't always match up with the truth.


Saturday, November 18, 2017

Doing Nothing At All

Unlike most, I prefer to take my Netflix fix slow - so rather than frantically binge-fest over the newly streamed episodes, I basically drag them out painfully anticipatorily into a couple of weeks. An episode a week basically. Reason why it took me so long to finally see Clay Jensen figure out the entire thirteen reasons given by his tortured paramour on what drove her to put a permanent period to her life.

One specific cause of which is obviously our quietly ineffectual Clay himself. Hardly a spoiler since he received the iconic cassettes right in the beginning of the series. You would think someone like Clay would hardly cause a ripple, no?

Something I've noticed since high school myself; quietly reticent fellows such as Clay who tend to blend unobtrusively into the the general background without causing much of a scene. Unassuming, unpretentious, unnoticeable; till sometimes they don't even seem to be involved in anything that's happening around them.

Or prefer not to be.

Seems very little reason to irrrationally aggravate me but it does.

Maybe I shoulda done something.
Coulda Woulda Shoulda. 

Do they actually think doing nothing actually helps anyone? How many times have we seen people hang back from a potentially ugly situation, trying not to dirty their hands? Not realizing that backing away with their arms folded is almost as bad as causing the incident to happen in the first place.

Oft repeated statement that I've always found inspirational.
The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men should do nothing.
Sound familiar, David? 

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Ponponpon

Conservatively straight-laced they might all seem with their perfectly combed hair, impeccably pressed suits and excruciatingly appropriate behaviour ... but when you're a gay man like me, it's near impossible not to have a spectacularly warped idea of Japanese men; what with the dozens of raunchy Japanese gay porn where hitherto absolutely straight, impossibly beautiful college boys are titillated and seduced by a villainous handful of wickedly mustachioed men bent on getting their rocks off.

It's a thing. Really.

All the while the apparently unwilling victims of their pitiless ministrations whimper kimochi repeatedly under their bated breaths, inevitably followed by the final blissful surrender of an ikku. Hard to believe they are all so meekly amenable sometimes. Of course if you're foolhardy enough to try that out with any of the muscular cuties on the streets, I think there would be serious mayhem to follow.

Art by the amazing Silverjow
Doubt all of the boys are as amenable to having their banana played with as the porn suggests.

That's only the miniscule gay subset which is a teeny tiny portion of the entirely too open porn industry here. So you can imagine the thousands of titles available for the horny straight boys drooling wordlessly in the sex shops and computer dens of Akihabara. And we haven't even talked about the more peculiar underground fetishes brought to life by Japanese porn.

Though the majority of Japanese men look perfectly average like anywhere else in the world, still the beautiful boys are around if you keep an eye out; from the sleekly suited salarymen to the hipster collegiates. However one thing they all share, regardless of good looks, would be their tight butts. Really. Perfectly spherical with a dangerously sinuous curve that anyone would just want to slap just to get that wiggle. Easy enough to see where they get it since there's all the endless walking up and down the stairs practically everywhere.

Just like in Korea, they just want everyone to walk.

Makes it quite a pleasure to sit on their trains watching the men pass by.


An odd subset of Japanese boys that I can't quite wrap my head around are the shockingly deeply tanned boys; an oddity in these cool temperate parts. Quite a few to be found working as the amazingly sexy jinrickisha danshi, otherwise known as rickshaw boys, around the historical Asakusa area. Tall, attractive, well-built with friendly smiles and an intense passion for service, is it a wonder they have all become tourist hits. Lean muscular bodies I can understand since part of their job would be dragging the rickshaw around, which has to be a great cardiovascular workout if any, but how would that explain the deep all-over tan?

No tanlines I swear, and I really looked hard for them. Or are they all yankiis?


Friday, November 10, 2017

Candy Candy

Candy indeed! Impossible to miss the amount of confections and desserts in Tokyo; quite evident that they actually do have a specific, beautifully made wagashi for every occasion and celebration on the calendar. However despite the many namagashis and higashis waved temptingly in front of me at every confectionery store we walked by - and the numerous attempts at trying, I actually failed to develop a taste for them.



Perhaps it's a fondness that develops only if you've been brought up since childhood with these chewy sweet treats. For me, I found them... not much to my liking. And Charming Calvin, despite desperately wanting a quick bite, had to keep an eye on his precarious sugar levels.

That didn't mean we didn't love everything else since like everyone says, and rightly so, Japan is a food paradise, where it is nigh impossible to find a terrible meal. Even on purpose. In fact I am starting to believe those felons daring to serve a substandard, barely edible meal would probably be crowdforced to seppuku as an example to future restaurateurs.

Over here while Calvin has his tempura obsession, my weakness has to be ramen. Fortunately it's not that hard to find a ramen store just around the corner since they are quite universally ubiquitous here in Tokyo. Found one handily enough right opposite the hotel the moment we arrived.

Yes we did share meals - though in some sushi restaurants, it's definitely frowned upon. An understatement since we feared the stern sushi chef would throw the yanagiba at us.  

Ever the fan of super-maximising space, the closet-sized restaurant had diminutive seats closely spaced together squashed against the opposing walls with just enough manouevring room in between for the averagely slender Japanese gentleman. Fortunately with a bit of squeezing through, I managed to make that special grade.

If our space was uneasily tight, it had to be so much worse for the lady at the counter who had only enough room to stand at attention. If the unfortunate lass gained even half an inch around the waist, they would have to break apart the counter just to remove her.

Figuring that the austere lack of space would probably feel so much cosier with signs and placards, every available inch of the store walls, tables and chairs - heck, all the flat surfaces short of the ceiling - had to be covered with a shockingly wordy notice of some sort advertising the ramens available, the various stores nearby, the coming neighbourhood festivities in store, random sketches of note etc.

They even had a super mini washroom that suffice to say, the counter girl would find it hard to even manouevre in there!

It was fortunate they didn't have more staff since they could barely fit one there! As it was, the ramen shop had only two waitstaff with one cook; but as usual, everyone was hyper-efficient with their hands perpetually busy doing something or other. So even with a shop full of hungry customers outnumbering them by several times, bowls of steaming ramen still came out expeditiously with little commotion. Japanese Efficiency at its best.