08
Dec
08

10 ways NOT to go loco in Yokohama #6: Avoid Gaijin!

The Japanese do it, and you should trust their wisdom. If you follow #6: Avoid Gaijin (Gaijin bars, Gaijin friendly areas and the Japanese girls who dwell there) it can do wonders for your sanity. You would think in a country where the natives avoid you like the plague you might find solace among people who share your fate. Trust me, you won’t.

My reasons for taking such a drastic action have changed a number of times over the years. I mentioned before what I was like when I first came here. How I wanted to be the Kokujin Anjin-san. And so I wouldn’t sit and listen to foreigners bad mouth my new home. Well, clearly I was being a little facetious. Of course I hung out with Gaijin quite a bit in those early days. That’s how I learned that they are to be avoided…at all cost!!!

THIS IS NOT A TEST!!!

For one, I’ve found that when Gaijin get together there are three constants: Alcohol, anger-resentment-complaints, and misogyny (in the case of the men…don’t know many misogynistic women). Not that I hadn’t encountered any of the above before. Hell, America thrives on all three. But, I didn’t come here for more of the same. I actually wanted to escape from it a while. Especially complaining. Why? Because, of the Gaijin unholy trinity above, complaining is my favorite vice. Or, at least it used to be.

Everyone complained back in Brooklyn so your own complaints would more than likely get drowned out in the sea of complaints around you. To be heard you had to complain louder (which was not attractive at all) or raise yours to the level of art form (which was potentially attractive.) The idea was to be creative by finding a fresh angle on the complaint, something that made it compelling to listen to. Or, find the funny in it. Make it clever and witty and make people laugh so hard they almost forget you’re complaining.

I wouldn’t say I was an artist but among my friends I could hold my own.

Complaining, for me, was like a drug: euphoria-inducing and difficult to kick. I thought I might go cold turkey here in Japan. But, in the company of Gaijin, that is not possible. Accessibility is widespread. I’d have to truly lock myself in a room. I can get my complaint fix in any Gaijin bar or Gaijin friendly area in Tokyo or Yokohama, any time of the day or night; occasionally I breakdown, fall off the wagon (in person and on the web)  and indulge myself.  Sometimes I go just to listen to complaints, without participating… Like an ex-smoker sitting in the smoking section of a cafe, or an ex-carnivore turned vegan, dining at Peter Luger’s Steak House in Brooklyn, nursing a salad, salivating over someone’s sirloin…

But usually I avoid them.

And misogyny…fuhgetuhboutit. Many Gaijin here are out of control! The worst I’ve ever seen. Perhaps there’s something about Japan that can make man’s respect of women really tank.  I’m still trying to put my finger on the reason why. The level of misogyny encountered here even puts the level I experienced back home to shame. Mind you, back home I lived in an environment where epithets like bitch and hoe get thrown around like confetti.

Personally I think it’s because foreigners get treated, in general, like shit by Japanese people. A certain level of resentment for the people and the culture develops, and these emotions need venting. Abusing Japanese women is one way to vent, and they’re such easy targets. So, I think it’s partially about revenge. However, this creates a cycle of resentment, distrust and fear that I really don’t see coming to an end in the near future. I’m a little pessimistic so I may be wrong on that tip. But trust me on this one: Avoid Gaijin.

Of course I’m not talking about all Gaijin…they know who they are!

One night back in my early days here I went to Gas Panic in Shibuya after work. It was still early so when I arrived there were just staff people and bouncers hanging around and a couple of customers sucking down Happy Hour drinks. One was black the other was white. They both looked cornfed and had low-cropped haircuts.

The black guy spots me and gives me a healthy welcome. YO! What up, man?”

His greeting made me feel a little homesick. Or rather it reminded me of the part of home I’d gotten sick of and thus it was not a deterrent in any way to my leaving it behind. Plus he had a country accent. Alabama, Texas, Louisiana, maybe. I couldn’t name that accent in 4 syllables  but I knew I was in the right region. Country black folk have a tendency to make me cringe a little.  Even if I listen to Nelly or Master P I feel it.

“What’s up?”

“Ain’t no girls here so might as well kick it with us!”

“What’s up, bro?” the white guy said. Bro? I cringed a little but let it go.

We shook hands, exchanged names (Jason and Jeff) I pulled up a stool and ordered a beer.

“Where you from, Loco!” Jason asked.

“Brooklyn.”

“That’s what’s up!” he said. “I’m from Houston. My boy Jeff here, he’s from San Antonio.” He smiled. I could tell he’d had a few already. Jeff too. Texas ain’t nothing to be smiling about. Texas used to conjure images of Ten-Gallon hats and Oil Wells. Now I think of James Byrd Jr. being bound and dragged around by white supremacist in a pick up truck. Unfair, I know, but it was the most gruesome lynching in my lifetime. Jason here was probably too young to appreciate it and Jeff looked like he could be the Pick up truck driver’s baby brother.

“You in the service,” he asked with a look on his face that said he doubted it.

“Nah,” I said and left it at that.

“Where all the bitches at?” Jason blurted suddenly. “Shit, I came all the way over here from Yokohama for the bitches! Right Jeff? I heard there be  a trailer load uh hoes up in here. Where the fuck they at?”

Jeff nodded his agreement. They were both looking at me like I was a pimp with the answers or something.

“Yo, I’ll be back…” I said and headed towards the bathroom. I passed the exit on the way and made a detour. Once outside I took a deep breath, and headed for the station.

Another day, I stopped at The Hub in Shibuya, again, for a beer. At the bar were a couple of white guys dressed in business suits.  I sat down not too far from them and ordered.

“How’s it going, bro?”

“Hanging in there, ” I said after pausing appropriately for station identification. I don’t know who gave white guys carte blanche to call black men bro but it’s a done deal. They seemed friendly enough though so I let it go.

“You see them girls over there?” the other one said. I followed his thumb to two girls sitting in a booth in the back chatting and giggling. They were awfully cute.

“Yeah,” I said.

“We fucked them two weeks ago, didn’t we Joe? Took them to a love hotel around the corner there and fucked the shit outta them…”

I didn’t say ‘that’s nice’ but I’m sure my face said it. What always bothers me is that some white guys tend to think it’s ok to use the worst fucking language when they talk to me. Not that the language bothers me. It’s just the presumptuousness that I would indulge that kind of vulgarity. Some black people do it, too, but I don’t get sanctimonious with black folks.

“How were they?” I asked cuz they were still looking at me waiting for a reaction.

“What the fuck you mean, how were they? They were fucking great!”

“Then why the fuck they over there and y’all over here? Y’all had enough?”

“We’re waiting for these other two babes now,” the other one said. “They meeting us here in about an hour!”

They grinned egregiously and gave each other some kind of secret pound and grinned at me as if to say, ‘how you like me now?’

I didn’t. Besides I’m not keen on having sex with other guys in the room. I’d only done it twice in my life and the second time I had debilitating performance anxiety. The first time I came in about 15 seconds.

“I’ll be back…”

Another time I went to TGI Fridays in Roppongi. There were three black guys at the bar. Definitely military. I used to be military right out of high school so I can smell a soldier like a fart in a sauna. Plus their conversation about the restrictions placed on them after yet another incident involving a soldier and some hapless Japanese girl was a dead give-away.

“Yo, come over here!” one of them practically ordered upon noticing me. He was drunk. I obeyed. They had a pitcher of something with a head and poured me a glass.

“Here’s to this fucking country!” another said.

“Fuck them!” the third said.

A Japanese waitress, who apparently could understand English a bit, was standing by, smiling. I felt her embarrassment.

“Yo, you restricted?”

“Me? I’m not in the military.”

“What you do?”

“I’m an English teacher.”

“That’s what’s up!” another said. “At a High School?’

“Nah, at NOVA.”

“Man, I would love to teach at a High School here.  All those fucking mini-skirts and…”

“NOVA? Man, you must be getting mad pussy! How the fuck you get that gig?”

“Just applied and interviewed and what not.”

“How they treat you over there?” another one said. They all just kinda blended into one. That’s the goal of military training and it was a raging success with these three. They were a unit. I almost said ‘can’t complain’ out of habit but I might as well have said ‘y’all know how it is’ cuz they reacted like I had.

“These fucking Japanese, right?”

“Make you wanna choke the shit outta them!” Another said.

“After you fuck the shit out of them!” the third added.

They all laughed kind of lewdly. The waitress was still smiling. 100  buttons all over her uniform. One read “Kiss me I’m Irish.” Another read, “English OK!” Our eyes met for a moment and I saw a flash of irritation, then it was immediately replaced by her ‘would you like to order some appetizers’ customer service smile.

“She’s cute right?” another said. “I’d like to choke her with my dick.”

They all laughed. I grimaced.

“You know what fucks me up the most? I can clearly see why we shoved two nukes up their asses! They’s about some arrogant mother fuckers, ain’t they?”

“Word!” another agreed. “And the only thing standing between the Dear Leader- Kim Jong- whatever the fuck his name is- shoving a couple more up that ass is us! And they got the mother fucking audacity to be putting on airs with me. When they should be worshiping my ass like the Buddha!” He looked in the direction of the waitress standing by. “That bitch there…you know what she did?”

I almost said ‘what’ instinctively, distracted by my musing about a trip to the “bathroom”. I looked at him and I could tell he was waiting for the ‘what.’ I’d fucked up his rhythm.

“I’m sorry. What?”

“Man, stop your fucking whining,” another one said. “Can’t you see the man ain’t trying to hear about your failed conquest? Nigga fucked one waitress at Outback’s one time and now he think he’s the fuckin’ mack. Motherfucker, it was luck!”

“And,” the other added, “As many bitches as there is up in here. you need to stop whining over that button chick and get back in the game, nigga. You embarrassing yourself, and us. Shut the fuck up about that bitch already!”

“You right, you right! But that was some foul shit she said!”

“Bitch don’t know English good…what the fuck? Cut her some slack!”

“She supposed to be the mother fucking ‘English Ok‘ bitch up in here! How the fuck they gonna claim they got English speaking staff while they got this bitch and she don’t even know the difference between mother fucking…”

I whipped out my cellphone and snapped, “Moshi moshi!”

“Ima doko?” Where you at?

Roppongi ni iru.” I’m in Roppongi.

“Hai, wakatta. Mata ne.” All right, got it, later.

“Well, fellas…booty, I mean, duty calls. Gotta run! Thanks for the brew!”

They bought my fake call, I think. I didn’t care. I left.

Another time I was in Roppongi, at some bar. There were two cute girls sitting at the bar chatting and giggling and looking entirely approachable. So I approached them.

“Hello…”

One turned, looked me up and down, winced a little like some foul odor had invaded her nostrils and turned back to the other without any further ado. What the fuck! I looked myself up and down, gave my underarms a quick sniff… No odor, nice suit, decent shoes, and I had a fresh shave and a haircut. The look she’d given me reminded me of the look some Japanese people would give me on the trains…a snub that wanted to be seen and felt. It also was reminiscent of the look club chicks in NY would give me. I’d accept it from the chicks in NY, but from these Japanese chicks? They had to be outta their fucking minds…

“Fuck is your problem?” I shouted. “Motherfucker say hi to y’all, respectfully and what not, and you give me your ass to kiss like you all that! Bitch, you ain’t shit!”

They were both looking at me, a bit stunned at my outburst. I wasn’t even sure what had prompted it. I’d never done anything like that before. I was more likely to walk away with my tail between my legs or pretend I hadn’t said anything to them. I’d never gotten aggressive with women in clubs before. Never! In NY it wouldn’t have been wise, anyway. Might get your ass maced.  Something about these girls just rubbed me the wrong way.

The bartender came over and said something to the girls in Japanese, they kind of offhandedly indicated in my direction as if to say but this one over here can’t take no for an answer…

The bartender was your typical skinny, friendly, perfect hair, half-gay looking Japanese guy. But the bouncer he’d signaled to come over to the bar was big and black and mean looking.

“Yo, is there a problem?” he said but it felt like he said ‘do YOU have a problem?’ His voice sounded like he had a zero-tolerance policy that had nothing to do with the bar’s policy. It was his personal policy.

Still, I didn’t like the way he presumed I was the problem and not these innocent fucking Japanese girls.

“Why don’t you ask them?”

He looked me in the eyes, deep. And he seemed to move a step closer to me, though I don’t think he did. “Cuz I’m asking you!”

I don’t know why – he was twice my size and obviously not accustomed to being challenged by sober people- but I didn’t back down. “Yeah, there’s a problem. You the problem solver?”

“That’s what they pay me for!” he said, but he had lost a little of his edge. “Why don’t you let me buy you a beer and we can talk over there.”

I liked his tone now. “Sounds like a plan!” I said. “Smells like rotten sushi over here anyway.”

We walked over to his station by the door. A waitress brought me a beer.

“Where you from, man?”

“Brooklyn,” I said.

“Word! I’m from Newark!”

“Fucking Jersey?” I almost laughed. New Jersey is a joke, and the punchline, to New Yorkers. But, Newark ain’t the funny part of Jersey. Newark is to New Jersey as Brooklyn is to NYC. “We’re practically neighbors. How long you been over here?”

“Too long!” he said. “But, ain’t shit happening in Newark so what the fuck!”

“I feel you, bruh,” I said. “What up with them chickenheads over there?” I said referring to the two girls I’d practically accosted.

“Man, don’t fuck with them. That’s this Yakuza cat’s daughter and her friend. They ain’t worth it. They like to come up in here, mini-skirts up to here, thongs showing, dancing like freaks on ‘X’ to Hip Hop and dick teasing motherfuckers. But, everybody know who they is except niggas like you just come through for a breather. So, sometimes I gotta straighten some niggas out, but, you seemed pretty real,  and you ain’t been drinking so…”

“Damn, yo!” I said. “Good looking out!”

“You lucky they don’t know English,” he said, and smiled.

Loco

Next up:#7: Escape fromYokohama!

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27 Responses to “10 ways NOT to go loco in Yokohama #6: Avoid Gaijin!”


  1. 1 ItAintEazy
    December 9, 2008 at 11:17 pm

    Damn, haven’t commented in a while, have I. Sorry bout that. But anyways, I can get why you should avoid foreigners, the expats especially. Couldn’t fit in their own society so they have to bring their baggage over there. I do sympathize with the army dudes, thought, come from one racist country only to arrive at even more of the same. Drive me up the wall too. All I can say is you better not hang out with me, I’ll only bring you down with my bitching.

    • 2 Locohama
      December 9, 2008 at 11:35 pm

      Yo Ez, Hisashiburi da ne. Okaeri nasai (-:
      Like I said, I have relapses occasionally, part of the venting process, so I can hang. Right about now anything that happens is just fuel for the blog so bring it! (-:
      Welcome back, missed ya

      Loco

  2. December 10, 2008 at 10:33 pm

    Yeah- I read all this, you seem like a smart guy, but I have to wonder- why let the two innocent girls have it with both barrels instead of the dumbasses in other bars you just walked away from? I’m thinking you’re not proud of how you spoke to them- especially in light of what you said earlier- you wouldn’t have done that in NYC, and people get too easily misogynistic here. Seems like you fell into that trap. But- at the same time how can I not understand the sting of that kind of rebuke- of course I can, and know how it would make me feel like shouting it back at them.
    Either way- a more interesting post than I expected.
    About complainers- the easy answer is just- ‘so go home then’. Anybody who complains but doesn’t leave, or even do anything productive about it, is just flaunting their impotency to control their own circumstances.

    • 4 Locohama
      December 10, 2008 at 11:07 pm

      Hey Michael, thanks for the reply! Yeah, I definitely fell into that trap, as I think many would thus I warn avoid the traps. They’re everywhere and most of us are vulnerable. I think complaining is a natural tendency for a good number of people all across the map, people who feel somewhat helpless to change their current situation and need to vent their frustrations. Misogyny I theorized is also a vent for those feeling a bit powerless to ensnare the women they desire or as a result of women displaying qualities that are taken ( by some) to be immoral or amoral or lacking in self-respect. Why should they respect someone who doesn’t respect herself, is probably their argument, but like I said I’m still working that one out…as I had been back in the US where it is prevalent as well. I was raised in an environment with a lot of strong, accomplished, and well-respected and respectful, talented and beautiful women (seriously) so misogynistic shit coming from me was kind of shocking. Maybe I shouldn’t fault the environment (Roppongi, etc..) or my fellow Gaijin. I try to take responsibility for everything I do and say.

      Wow, I love responses, thanks a lot! They inspire me to be more thoughtful and thorough, keep em coming,

      Loco

  3. December 11, 2008 at 11:40 am

    #1 I hope you just tell people when you think what they are doing/saying is wrong in the future.

    #2 White people don’t think bro=my strong, black brother. Some of them don’t even think brother= my strong, black brother. Now if you hear a white guy say “my brother” it may be slight eyebrow arching time, but you still can’t assume he is trying to talk on your level or slangy. People just talk how they do.

    3# A gentleman always keeps his classiness, even when ladies don’t. Try to pick up girls in Korea sometime and you will feel very thankful about how talking to girls is in general in Japan.

    #4 Stay away from military guys at all costs!

    • 6 Locohama
      December 11, 2008 at 12:01 pm

      Thanks for the shout Daytonian (-+
      1- If i did I’d be telling people all day…esp. Japanese people. A waste of energy mostly
      2- Eeee! Are you serious? Might have to put a poll in the field on that one
      3-I’m not a gentleman
      4- Ryoukai (roger that!) but they are the thing only standing between Japan (and our) survival and complete annihilation so cut them some slack (-:

      Loco

  4. December 11, 2008 at 2:47 pm

    I’m very surprised to hear two white guys would just say hi “bro” to a black guy, but I’d be surprised if two white guys even said that to me (a white guy). I didn’t know guys use bro so much. Then again, like you, I avoid other foreigners save for a small circle of friends and I don’t go out to bars, so maybe I’m out of the loop.

    You have nice skills for getting out of ill conversations.

    • 8 Locohama
      December 11, 2008 at 3:36 pm

      Hey Jason, thanks for the shout (-;

      in NY I usually found it was white guys who spent a lot of time with black people so it could never be misconstrued, or feel like they do cuz they listen to a lot of black music, also a lot of military white cats. In Japan I got hit with it so much I think it has nothing to do with color but more with we are all brothers in tribulation here. Maybe thats what it means in the military too. which is not such a bad way to see it, ne.

      thanks again
      Loco

  5. 9 jturningpin
    December 11, 2008 at 8:51 pm

    Wow. Thanks again for a great post. Real and honest.

  6. 10 jturningpin
    December 11, 2008 at 8:55 pm

    Just re-read my comment and realized it could be interpreted as sarcasm. It wasn’t at all. Seriously, thanks for sharing these anecdotes.

  7. 11 Locohama
    December 11, 2008 at 11:43 pm

    i didn’t feel any sarcasm jt, but thanks for your concern(-:
    glad u enjoyed it

    loco

  8. December 12, 2008 at 12:48 pm

    Ha yeah I gave up on lecturing Japanese people for the most part. I still refuse to tell them about my sex life.

  9. 13 Aka Gaijin
    December 22, 2008 at 4:07 pm

    I’m starting to think that single Navy guys, possibly all US military, trade conquest stories like we say hello. I’ve even met some long-time Navy contractors who, as soon as they discover that I’m single, tell me about their latest victory in the war against women and tact.

    • 14 Locohama
      December 22, 2008 at 4:18 pm

      Hey AG, thanks again for the shout! Yeah, military cats are something else…but the teachers and business guys here do the same thing. Don’t get it twisted (-:

      Loco

  10. 15 Aka Gaijin
    December 23, 2008 at 11:12 am

    Hontoni? Please tell me that there are a few gaijin out there who don’t mentally paint targets on every lady!

    I’m apparently the only Navy contractor in Nagasaki-ken that was never enlisted in the military. I was thinking it was my non-military background that made me feel like an oddball. Now… no clue.

    Anywho, love the blog! Ganbatte!!!

    • 16 Locohama
      December 23, 2008 at 11:51 am

      Of course, there are…and they’re teachers, and business men, and military and they probably avoid other gaijin (and the areas where other gaijin dwell) so they’re difficult to find. (-:

      Thanks again for the shout and love
      ganbarimasu

      Loco

  11. 17 Casey
    February 24, 2009 at 4:54 pm

    Loco,

    You’re writing has been by far the most amusing material I have come across in awhile. I laugh a good deal, I appreciate it. You should write a book.

    – Casey

    • February 26, 2009 at 10:55 am

      Hi Casey!
      Thank you very much!
      Yeah, I’m on it. Once it’s published I hope you’ll buy a copy and tell a few million friends to do the same (-;
      You made my day!
      Loco

  12. 19 Numbskullkeith
    March 8, 2009 at 7:36 am

    I am really enjoying your blogs, Loco. I haven’t been to Japan in 12 years, but it sounds pretty much the same. I totally agree with you on number six, here. I was lucky enough to have a big group of Japanese friends before I got there, so I didn’t have to spend much time with other gaijin if I didn’t want to. I did work in a Mexican restaurant in Osaka (big shouts out to PEYOTE< if it is even still there)with a regular mix of clientele both foreign and Japanese. I could understood enough of the language to have plenty of chuckles over the dumb-ass gaijin regulars who would spout non-stop about all the Japanese bitches they had fucked, all the while oblivious to the trash-talking that their Japanese dates were spewing about them. It never ceased to amaze me that the most socially retarded, pimply-faced, AV club president from school back home guy could have the smokin’est Japanese arm candy and not know that she was telling her friends at the table that she was only dating this guy to get back at her father or to accessorize her Gucci shoes and bag.

    Too funny. Keep your chin up Loco.

    • March 8, 2009 at 9:38 am

      Thanks Numbskull (-: I will indeed keep my chin up!
      Yeah, you know Japan pretty well, don’t you? (-: And it certainly hasn’t changed
      Thanks again for reading

      Loco

  13. 21 Aly
    March 16, 2009 at 9:44 am

    Loco, love your blog. Your “10 ways” series is very informative. Great job! I would love to visit Tokyo one day, and maybe Yokohama since it’s not far from Tokyo. I heard that Roppongi is kinda dangerous for forigners, according to the U.S. Department of State. Ha! Another reason to stay away from Roppongi. I’ll make sure to avoid that area, and to avoid other foreigners. Besides, I would be in Japan to learn and explore the country’s culture, not hang around with people who live in the same culture as me. Damn, are they that bad? I never thought…

    Keep up the great work!!

    • March 16, 2009 at 9:48 am

      Thanks for the shout Aly! (-:

      Some are pretty bad, but once you get here you can decide for yourself…I recommend if you hang with gaijin try to get with the pnes who have been here a while and have found some kind of balance (not too much love, not too much hate) because that’s the kind of balance needed to thrive here. Good Luck!

      Loco

  14. 23 JahC
    March 25, 2009 at 6:58 am

    Hey, Loco!

    Thanks so much for sharing your experiences, trials and tribulations…definitely write a book! I’ve been smitten by the Japanese bug and I haven’t even been there yet…I’m teaching myself Japanese (on top of consuming j-culture, history and food!)and learning as much as I can before I get out there. As a mixed (black, Irish, Hispanic) guy, I’ve been very concerned/curious to find out what kind of reception I would have in Japan. Your blogs have given me so much insight and emboldened my will to get out there soon and make the best of it:)

    Ganbatte!:)

  15. March 25, 2009 at 10:20 am

    JahC san, you’re most welcome! And thanks for the shout.
    Just keep in mind that your Japanese experience will be whatever you make it…don’t let anyone’s negative experiences taint your enthusiasm. Japan is a wonderful country with issues like any other country…But you sound like you have the right mindset. If you come here with a positive spirit, an open mind, a tough shell and a goal or two you’ll most likely do well.
    JahC san mo ganbatte kudasai!(-;

    Loco

  16. 25 Triky
    May 25, 2009 at 11:42 am

    Very insightful post regarding your experiences with foreigners. I’ve only been to Japan once and I thoroughly enjoyed it. While I can’t equate my experience with someone who’s living there I have maintained my interest in Japan and its culture for many many years, ever since college really. Your perspective on gaijin in Japan does resonate with a lot of truth though, from what I’ve heard, read, and seen. I can totally see what you’re saying. To hell with hanging with that negative vibe, man…like you said you didn’t raise up and go to Japan in order to deal with that ish. Stay up, man.

  17. March 22, 2010 at 2:41 pm

    very true about avoiding foreigners, for the most part that is. In my years here in Japan I’d say around 75% of the English speaking foreigners you meet in Japan don’t fit in in their home country somehow. The other 25% tend to be more solid than people you’d meet back home.

    Sorry to hear about your experiences in Roppongi and the like, but I’ve tended to avoid those gaijin haunts from pretty early on. I’ve never had many nights out in Roppongi and none of them were nice.


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