Posts Tagged ‘nihongo


One other thing I just LOVE about Japan: Speaking Nihongo part 2

…So, with Nanpa eliminated as a motivating force for study I moved  on to the motivation that has given me the lowest level of gratification. Nevertheless, the hope of doing it effectively someday still springs eternal: Retaliation!

In English, I have a whole arsenal of expletives at my disposal for use in those situations where I need to let some jerk know verbally that they’ve trespassed upon my good nature and crossed some line I’ve drawn that represents the boundary of what is acceptable and what isn’t. It happens from time to time here, to put it mildly. I mean, I’ve moved the line here several times to compensate for Japanese ignorance, but some transgressions I feel are, or should be, universal and thus unforgivable regardless of cultural differences. Like if a parent grabs their child and pulls them away from me shrieking “Abunai” (dangerous). Or if some asshole in an effort to push me without actually coming in contact with me uses his briefcase as a buffer, etc, etc, etc.

The Japanese version of profanity is often formed  by simply dropping the politeness, using the informal version of words, and maybe dragging out some of the tones and rolling the “R”s a bit. “Baka yarou” means stupid or fool. “Baaaka Yarrrrrou!” means something akin to “You stupid motherfucker!” “Urusai” means “Noisy.” Uruse!” means “Shut the fuck up!” That “ai” to “e” transition to strengthen the potency of words is used a lot. “Yabai” which means something like dangerous or inconvenient or damnbecomes “yabe” which can either mean great or super cool or seriously fucked updepending on the situation! “Osanaide kudasai!” means “please don’t push me.” “Osu na!” means “Push me again motherfucker and I’m liable to break my foot off in your ass!”

There are a shitload of bad words, of course. But, I’ve found they are not nearly as effective as the dropping of politeness! If you use the bad words, the assumption on the part of the listener is that you are a stupid foreigner, incapable of managing the subtleness of the Japanese language and only capable of being as rude as you were back home. But, if you show the listener that you are well aware of polite and formal Japanese as well as colloquial and informal ways of speaking, that you understand that the formality or informality of your words is the key to truly making insults that will linger, then you can cuss effectively here.

Even something as simple as the way you say “you” can be more potent than saying fuck. “Anata” is the formal way of saying you. More commonly the person’s actual name is used. which westerners will probably find extremely weird and it took me quite a while to start doing. “Ohashi san wa genki desuka?” “Genki desu, okage sama de.” “Is Ms. Ohashi feeling Well ?” Yes, I am, thanks to you and the powers that be!” But, if you substitute “Omae” which also means you, usually reserved for friends, then it’s a spat in the face to a stranger, totally disrespectful. Yep, profanity can be just that simple in japan. The downside is if you are unaware of such things, and most foreigners are, then there’s a potential of your being profane every time you open your mouth and Japanese are being tolerant because of your ignorance. Like Eddie Murphy said about foreigners in America, that only learn how to curse:

But, like I said, this is the least gratifying. I rarely use it. I don’t even cuss people out in NY that often unless they’re friends or family.

But, the ultimate motivation and feeling of gratification comes from using Japanese to accomplish everyday task I had no dream of accomplishing a year or so ago. From giving directions to a taxi driver, to ordering a pizza on the phone,  to joining a health club, to conversing with my co-workers about something other than the weather: The hits just keep coming and they’re music to my ears! For all you uni-lingual people out there…bilingualism is a friggin’ high that keeps on keeping on (so far anyway) I remember when i was a kid and most of my friends were bi-lingual. I was so friggin’ envious of them. Mostly Spanish, but there was also French and Jamaican Patois, and that Trini language, and other kinds of unintelligible broken Englishes. I even envied them.

Now, I’m practically one of them. (-:



One other thing I just LOVE about Japan: Speaking Nihongo part 1

7-Nihon-go-ing Loco in Yokohama! After I had been studying Japanese (Nihongo) for over a year and still couldn’t hear it if my life depended on it, as you might imagine, I started to get a bit discouraged. I worried that maybe my brain had gotten too old to take on the challenges of learning a new language. They say a child’s brain is like a sponge. I imagined my brain was more like a used Brillo Pad, all that pink soap used up, and all that remained were some rustingtatters of metal mesh with last night’s lasagna all trapped in the shreds.

Then, some time later- much, much later- it just happened, quite unexpectedly, for I was no longer stressing about it happening. I’d already conceded. I was convinced my brain could no longer perform the feats it once did, that I’d deep-fried so many brain cells over the course of my 35+ years that fluency in a new language, especially one as utterly different from my mother tongue as Japanese is, was impossible.

I was at work. I’d come in at 8:35am, a little late, which is fairly unusual. The Japanese are nothing if not punctual and I’d learned the hard way that when in Rome you had better make like the Romans…even if the reason you are rushing to work every morning is to attend a daily meeting you’ll likely emerge from having understood little to nil of what was said. Every morning this staff meeting takes place, 8:30 sharp. Sometimes the principal of the school says a few words, sometimes he doesn’t. I hadn’t really been listening for a while anyway…I used to strain my brain to the limits to catch what he was saying but a word or two per sentence was the best I could manage…hardly enough to claim comprehension.

But, this day, I came in whispering Ohayou Gozaimasu and Gomen Nasai…no excuses, just apologize is the Japanese way. The principal hadn’t even paused from his speech. He was talking about how one of the students, a third year student (all of 15 years old), had run away from home and how her parents were very worried about her and how if she should come to the school to be some kind of way- probably careful- around her because she’s been known to get some kind of way- probably violent-with teachers; even last week she’d done something to a teacher- I think struck or verbally assaulted- a teacher. And, unlike everyone else, I took a peek over at the  teacher that had had the altercation, and she was nodding her concurrence with everything the principal had said…

And that’s when I realized, with the suddenness of a crack of lightning, that I had surpassed some threshold of competency. Like a 4th grader listening to a Barack Obama speech, I had been able to follow most of what had been said…stumped only by a handful of vocabulary words. After the meeting, I was useless for the rest of the day. All I wanted to do was speak and be spoken to in Japanese, which is not such a good thing for an English teacher (-:

That feeling…that surge of competency, of having accomplished something that you’ve been told by everyone is very difficult, that you’ve even told  yourself  was not possible, is one of the greatest feelings that a person of a certain age, and a certain disposition, can have. Imagine Micheal Jordan dusting off his Air Jordans and coming out of retirement today, once again, for a one-on-one with Lebron James, trying to put them, now, old school moves on LeBron…the same ones Lebron was weened on, devoured and mastered by Junior High School.  It would probably get pretty ugly. Well, my efforts at learning and speaking Nihongo were pretty ugly too initially (Not that I’m the Micheal Jordan of language arts. Hell, I barely know English good) (-:

I mentioned in 10 ways NOT to go loco in Yokohama #3: Learn That Japanese that my motivation for studying Japanese had gone through several phrases. Allow me to expand upon that a little.

First I wanted to impress people back home. I know…silly, right? But, I did. Where I grew up you could count the people who could speak Japanese, that weren’t Japanese, on one hand, maybe even one finger. Sure, since the bubble burst over a decade ago Japanese ability in America had become about as useful as a Doberman with dentures, but I imagined it would give me a certain je ne sais quoi. The way I’d imagined French would which is why I had studied it for from JHS through University. But, as far as French is concerned, Je ne comprend pas was the only useful French I ended up retaining (-:

So, on my first trip home from Japan after a year of intense study, I was determined to put my newly acquired language skills to practical use and show-off a little in the process. I re-connected with my long-time friend with exceptional benefits to see what she was up to.

“Hey, you back from Japan? Let’s hang out!”

“Ii yo! I mean, sounds good!”

“Oooh, you speak Japanese now. That’s cool!” She’d said. I faux-blushed. “I’m hungry. Let’s go get something to eat!”

I saw an opening and made my play. “Have you ever had sushi?” A sushi bar was one of the two places I could think of where my Japanese ability might find the light of day without seeming like an overt effort to impress.

She looked at me cross-eyed. “Ain’t you had enough that shit yet? Stop playing and take me to Dallas BBQs! Fucking sushi…you funny!”

Okay, so that didn’t work out so well…

So the next night I wound up going to my favorite sushi shop alone,  over in Park Slope. I rarely eat-in there. I usually go through and pick-up my order to go. The owner had gotten to know my face and even what I liked to order. But, it had been over a year since he’d seen me, and only at the window, not at a table, so the warmth I’d been accustomed to wasn’t forthcoming. One of his staff, a cute Asian, approached me, pen & pad in hand.

“May I take your order please?”

“Yeah…I mean, hai.” I said and smiled. She didn’t. I started pointing at my favorites on the menu…”Kore to kore to eeeeto, kore wo kudasai.” This and this and this please. She looked at me like I was a patient that had escaped from the local asylum.

“Can you speak English?” she asked. Not like she hadn’t understood me but like she wasn’t about to respond to me like I was Japanese.

“Nihon-go dekinai no?” Can’t you speak Japanese? I asked in response.

“I don’t know Japanese well.”

I thought it was a bit of Japanese humbleness but I let it go and placed my order in English. A little later, while I was eating, I overheard the owner talking to a member of the staff…it was NOT Japanese…nor Cantonese or Mandarin. I was quite familiar with both. He walked past my table and I said hello! He turned, looked at me, squinted a bit like he recognized my face, or ought to, and said,” Yes, sir. Long time no see…”

“Hisashiburi desu yo ne.” It has been a long time hasn’t it.

He stared at me blankly…I was used to this. Even the Japanese in Japan tend to stare at me blankly when I speak Japanese. I think it’s because in their minds foreigner equals English so even if you speak Japanese they are anticipating not being able to understand anything that comes out of your mouth and thus, more often than not, they don’t. So I pressed this issue.

“Genki datta?” Have you been well?

He looked mildly surprised. “You speak Japanese?”

“Chotto ne,” A little, I said modestly, feeling pretty proud of myself.

“I’m Korean, but I can speak a little Japanese,” he said, like it would mean nothing to me that he was not Japanese. But it did. It meant…well, it meant he was a kinda fraud. I mean, his restaurant has a Japanese name, there are Kanji (Chinese)characters all over the menu (Koreans don’t even use Kanji) and he even had a Sake menu.

It also meant that I’d made an ass of myself.

The next stage of my nihongo development was fueled by Nanpa (picking up girls). Not being able to speak Japanese in Japan pretty much relegates you to a rather limited range of girls…not that learning Japanese expands your opportunities significantly, but every little bit counts here.

The English speaking Japanese girls are usually not so desirable, from my experience. They are usually pretty westernized which is a turn off to me. If I wanted a western girl I would have stayed in the west. Which is ironic because many of them learned English so they could meet guys like me. So, when you go to a bar or a club, the girls that gravitate your way or are open to your advances can usually speak at least adequate English. Adequate to the task of making their intentions known and understanding yours, at least.

But, if you set your goals higher, like i did, and go for the girls who don’t know a lick of English, well you had better know your Nihongo. Unfortunately, I learned the hard way that, as a foreigner, when it comes to speaking Japanese you fall into two and only two categories: You either can or you can’t. In other words, your Japanese is fluent and you can pera pera (Japanese onomatopoeia for fluency) your ass off. Or, you’re an English speaker. There’s no middle ground to hold…not in a conversation with a Japanese person, anyway.

I’m told they’re this way to avoid causing you any embarrassment. They’ll test your level, a trial by fire where they’ll speak naturally. If you don’t get it they might give you a second chance and repeat it in formal text book nihongo, but still at a level that you would have to have been well versed in the language to understand. If you don’t get it then, well, it’s official: you’re an English speaker! And every conversation you have with that person from then until you prove yourself otherwise will be stilted and awkward, filled with their efforts to convert every friggin’ word they say into something they believe your mind can digest. Basically the English rubbish they all learned in school, or a whole lot of Katakana English and/or Japlish where words you know well are pronounced with such atrocious disregard for their proper pronunciation that you don’t stand a chance of recognizing it.


to be continued…


10 ways NOT to go loco in Yokohama #3: Learn that Japanese!

This should go without saying but I’m gonna say it anyway: #3 Learn that Japanese!

I studied French for 2 years in JHS, 4 years in HS and 2 years in University, and if you asked me right now how to say anything in French except “Would you like to do the nasty with me tonight?” I’d be hardpressed to answer you. Btw, it’s: voulez vous coucher avec moi ce soir? Thanks for the French lesson Patti LaBelle (-;

Demo, Go-nen ni Nihon ni sunde ite mada perapera jyanakute mo kekkou syaberemasuyo. (But, I’ve been living in Japan for five years and even though I’m not fluent yet, I’m pretty good.) Listening is still difficult, my vocabulary is still embarrassingly low and the improper pronunciation of certain sounds persists despite my efforts (つ and す are my nemeses,) but I can get by until i can get there.

And, at the risk of overstating the obvious, it’s very useful, not to mention good manners, to at least try to speak the language of the people in the country where you live. Unfortunately, there are some people in the world who don’t agree.

“Why are you studying English?” I always ask potential students when I first meet them.

“I’m going to abroad so I want to communicate to foreigners.” (This is an exact translation of Japanese thinking. Notice that abroad is considered a place, meaning any place but Japan, and foreigners are people encountered in these places, meaning anyone not Japanese, no matter where they go the other people are foreigners, or rather outsiders.)

“Where are you going? I mean, which country?”


“Don’t you think you ought to study French?”

“France people speak English.”

I don’t push the issue. Last thing I want is ¥4000 yen an hour walking out of the door looking for Pierre or Jean to give their money to. And, he’s half right. I’m sure a good number of people in France can speak English. But, that doesn’t mean they want you to come there presuming they can speak English and totally disregarding their native language like it’s some kind of relic or outmoded or obsolete custom like slapping someone in the face with your gloves to indicate you want to have a duel (I’ll have satisfaction! swords or pistols? ah,the good ole days!) or wearing kimono on a daily basis. The statement you’re making: French is passe. English is the future! What country wants to hear that said about their national language?

Apparently, Japan does.

The Japanese, in general, do not care whether you study or speak Japanese or not, I’ve learned. I used to think it was because they considered their language a dead, dying or useless one. I later learned that, in fact, in most cases, the assumption is that we foreigners do not or cannot learn their language. Why? From what I could gather over the past 5 years they believe that our foreign brains are too limited to handle such a complexed language as theirs; accustomed, as our brains are, to the simplicity of (in the case of English speakers) a 26-letter alphabet and what not. So, of course we are forgiven well in advance for not even attempting to accomplish the virtually impossible. No offense taken. We understand. They’ll dish out offenses like these in heaping bowlfuls. And, I used to believe they were aware of how offensive this position is. It spurred me to study harder and prove them wrong, so i’m kind of glad I misunderstood.

But, you know what? They are oblivious….really…I’m not kidding, and I’m not exaggerating or defending Japanese. To them, obviously Japanese is more complicated than English…I mean, look at Kanji compared to the alphabet. Those little stick figures we use to make words as opposed to those perplexing pictograms they use. And, obviously that means that Japanese brains are more complexed than Foreigners’. Obviously moisture collects in the atmosphere and falls to the earth in the form of rain or snow. And obviously E equals MC squared.

And, obviously, other country’s people speak English and we speak Japanese.

This problem is not solely a Japanese one, of course. Americans are perhaps more guilty of it. They really expect everyone to speak English.

In New York, English is useful but not mandatory nor essential. Many Haitians, Latinos, Middle Eastern, Eastern Europeans, Russians, and other Asians can’t speak it a lick, but they survive, and even thrive in some cases. It can get a little annoying sometimes, like when you get a cab driver who can’t understand the words coming outta yo mouth, but usually it doesn’t cause any unresolvable problems. But, in other areas of the country, they get really uptight about foreigners living in their country and not deigning to learn their language.

I would not be party to that so I studied Japanese for a few weeks before I came to Japan. Got myself a little head start. Then, once I arrived here I continued studying. I nailed all the basics. I could kore sore are dare, kono sono ano dono, koko soko asoko doko, etc…greetings and salutations were mastered. I used to go shopping just to practice…

Sore wa nan desu ka? Ikura desu ka? Ah, so desu ka. Ja, kore wo kudasai. Arigatou gozaimasu.

Shopping is a great place to practice. The staff at most shops are always polite. If you make a mistake, mispronounce a word or two, no problem. They’ll praise your Japanese ability profusely, regardless. In fact, all Japanese will praise you the same way.

“Ohayou Gozaimasu,” you say to anyone.

“Oooooo! Sugoi desu ne. Nihongo ga umai desu ne!” WOW! That’s wonderful! Your Japanese is great!

Yes, the Japanese will applaud the tenor for clearing his throat. It’s their way. Flattery is like a cultural icebreaker. Ignore your feelings about this mannerism. It means nothing, You must learn to accept it and not let it distract you from your study.

Also, there isn’t much room for error in Japanese. Nihongo is fraught with subtlety so it’s a very delicate and inflexible language…especially for foreigners. All Japanese are linked almost symbiotically so instinctively they know one another’s thoughts and feelings. But, you, as a foreigner, start any conversation with two strikes against you. You’re a foreigner-a swing and a miss: STRIKE ONE! You can’t speak Japanese and they can’t speak English (the automatic presumption in any conversation with someone you don’t know;) A knuckleball on the inside corner of the plate: STRIKE TWO! If you do not say what you want to say almost to perfection you will definitely be misunderstood. Yappari! STRIKE THREE! you’re out!

It will feel like they don’t want to understand you, trust me. Like there’s a conspiracy to discourage you, and they’re all in on it. But, I implore you: don’t go down that road. You will quit! And with a good deal of anger and resentment to boot. I’ve quit so many times. Just hang in there. Sooner or later things will start falling into place. Don’t expect any encouragement, though. You have to be a self-starter and self-motivated, like with most endeavors that are worthwhile in life.

I’ve put together a list below of the 10 most used and useful Japanese words I know. If you understand and can use these words effectively you’ll find yourself well on your way to understanding Japanese language and people.

1-Sumimasen (sometimes contracted to suimasen)- It’s the magic word in Japan. It means…everything. Sorry, excuse me, pardon me, thank you, hey you, repeat that…it’s used in so many context that I’m still learning new contexts from time to time.

2-Gomen Nasai – Basically, it means I’m sorry. That’s the easy part. Knowing when to say I’m sorry is the tricky part. I still have trouble with this one. I use Gomen nasai when I should have used Sumimasen, and vice versa. You just gotta listen to Japanese people use it and understand the situation (which is more difficult than it sounds) and you’ll pick it up. It also depends on the relationship with the person you’re speaking to. Gomen nasai has more emotion that sumimasen so you probably shouldn’t use it in public. But, I hear it done all the time. It’s hit or miss, but if you use it in the wrong scenario, chances are you’ll never know.

3-Yappari – (Aka Yappa) Loosely translated it means: As I thought or as expected or I knew it (as in, “I knew you was gonna say that shit,) but in the cultural context of Japan it indicates a certain comfort. It’s only used with people you know. It’s kind of rude otherwise. I used to call Japanese the Yappari hito (The As Expected People) because they’re always looking for consistency, predictability or confirmation of their beliefs. Most questions begin with “Do Americans…” “Do black people…” “Do foreigners…” Every time I turned around someone was using Yappari in reference to me. I used to stop at McDonald’s most every morning and pick up breakfast, usually the same thing: sausage mcmuffin, hash brown and orange juice. My co-workers would see me when I entered, glance at the bag and the “Yappari”s would begin. At lunchtime the Yappari parade was for the Coca-Cola I wash down my bento with. With the students, in the gym, it was for my jump shot (it’s about 65% accurate on a good day). I still think it’s kind of rude. So, I started eating rice balls, drinking Green Tea and shooting bricks on purpose just to stump them. And whenever they say Yappari, I say, “Yappari. I knew you were gonna say Yappari.” It’s always good for a laugh. Usually I’m laughing alone, though.

4-Ganbatte / Ganbare! – I have short love affairs with Japanese words and phrases. I love them and I leave them. My first affair was with “Sumimasen.” It was a hot, steamy, tumultuous rendezvous, with no strings attached, that lasted about six months. Now, she’s just a booty call. The second was with Ganbatte! Loosely translated it means “do your best” or “hang in there” or good luck.” I fell head over heels with Ganbatte and her twin sister, Ganbare. But, she was a cruel one. In the end she broke my heart. I was in the hospital room with Aiko’s mother and sister while she lay in the bed dying of cancer. She had gone into a coma that morning and her lungs weren’t working properly, so they had to feed her oxygen. Death was en route. So was her father. He was stuck on a train, some kind of delay. We were all taking turns talking to her, not knowing if she could hear us or not. Her mother, hoping her father would arrive before she passed kept saying, “Aiko, Ganbatte…Ganbatte ne,” through streaming tears. I’d heard and used the word a thousand times before then but I never truly felt it until that day. I’d never felt Nihongo at all, until that day. it was like some kind of tool, or weapon, or parlor trick before then. It was never real to me. Now, it’s real, and Ganbatte is the most real word in the Japanese vocabulary to me. When I use it, I feel it. I understand it.

5-Sou desu ne / Sou desu ka- (Aka: Sou da ne, sou ka) The Japanese are all about synchronicity and avoiding confrontations and Sou desu ne / desu ka achieves this to an extent. It doesn’t mean you agree, but it smells like agreement. It doesn’t mean yes but it suggests a respect for the speaker. It basically translate into something akin to when Americans use right, or uh huh, uh huh, so basically it means nothing. But, it’s used in virtually EVERY conversation you’ll ever hear in Japan, so listen and learn. but be careful of the other sou desu which means I’ve heard or there’s a rumor going around, but that one doesn’t stand alone. it usually follows a verb.

6- Otsukaresama desu – (AKA Ostukaresama deshita, Otsukare, Otsu) Here’s one of those ubiquitous Japanese phrases that simply can not be translated accurately into English. But, you’ll hear it everyday, all day, and eventually you’ll get a feel for when to use it and what it means. It’s something like “You must be tired” or “thanks for being an active contributor to our great society…this Bud’s for you!” or “I’m outta here! Peace!”

7-Sugoi / Kawaii – (Aka Suge, moe, moeeee) Well, not a day will go by in your life in Japan when one or both of these words will not be heard. Sugoi translate as wonderful or terrific, or awesome. And, Kawaii might as well be the name of this country. I call it Kawaii land sometimes it’s such a cultural staple. it translates as cute or pretty. But, it’s a feeling attached to it that pretty much sums up the ambition of an entire culture. It’s pretty scary sometimes. Actually Moe can be used for stuff that is cute and disgusting simultaneously like Mickey Mouse or Hello Kitty.

8- Wakarimashita / Wakarimasen – (Aka: Wakatta, wakachatta, Wakannai, wakaranai, etc…) You got it? Got that? Understood? You with me? You there? Got it. Gotcha. I’m with you. I got it already. Alright already. I get it goddammit. I don’t know what the hell you mean. I don’t get it. I don’t know. Beats me. I don’t know anything about that!

9- Kanaa / Kamo / Tabun/ Deshou – The subtlety of Japanese is expressed through words like these. Basically they are ways of stripping anything you say of any directness or surety or accountability. Would you like to go to the movies with me? Tabun iku. Iku kanaa. Iku kamo. Maybe I’ll go, I might go, I’ll probably go. By the time you get a straight answer the movies on DVD.

10- Onegai Shimasu – You want something? Stick this at the end of your request. It’s hard to refuse. it roughly translates as do me a favor but it’s much nicer. I use it all the time. I probably overuse it. Wanna put a cherry on top? Change the shimasu to the more formal itashimasu.

Shitsurei shimasu – (Aka shitsurei shimashita) Also deserves honorable mention. It means something to the effect of Pardon my intrusion or forgive me for disrupting this harmonious gathering. It’s another veritable staple.

One more thing. I mentioned that you shouldn’t expect any encouragement. But, you need to find something to keep you motivated. I went through several stages. Initially I wanted to impress people back home. Then I wanted to nanpa (pick up girls.) Then I wanted to spit in the face of the Japanese assertion that their language is incomprehensible to foregners. Then I wanted to learn how to cut them down to size verbally in their own language. Then I wanted to get a better job. Then I wanted to improve my quality of life and gain some independence from the circle of Japanese people I’d recruited to assist me in all task that require a high proficiency in japanese. Then I wanted to…Well, you get the idea. It doesn’t matter what you use to keep yourself going, just keep going! Just keep going!

That’s about all the leads and incentive I can give you on studying Japanese. Hang in there and you’ll be glad you did. You’ll be smiling all the way to the Immigration office to renew your visa (I just got a 3 year extension so I’ll be smiling til 2012 (-:

By the way, that leads me into #4: Just keep Smiling (-:


Copyright © 2010 Loco in Yokohama / All Rights Reserved

Please know that this blog is my original writing and may not be reproduced in any way without the expressed written permission of the author (that's me!) Thanks!

Words I love…

Everybody is a star
I can feel it when you shine on me
I love you for who you are
Not the one you feel you need to be
Ever catch a falling star
Ain't no stopping 'til it's in the ground
Everybody is a star
One big circle going round and round

Words by: Sly Stone

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