Why a Pet Raccoon (arai-guma) is Better than a
Good evening, ladies.
And good evening, you guys.
In fact, it’s all
these guys… that I want to talk about this evening.
Who are these white
Well, ladies, you’re
probably thinking… “Well, those ones are American. That lot is English. The guy
talking, he’s Canadian. And there’s even supposed to be a Rhodesian here. You
could look at their passports… but that would miss the point.
The reality is … these
guys have been in Japan so long – some for 30 years, half their worthless lives
– that they now have more in common with each other… than with their fellow
So they’re no longer
really American or Australian or Lower Slobovian.
They’re not Japanese
either. Even after a hundred years, they won’t become Japanese. Ladies… these
guys are perma-gaijin.
They’re too heavily
invested here to leave. By now, they’re too weird to fit in back home. And when
they do go home… they’re bored out of their wits in a month. For better or
worse, they’re stuck here.
I’ve been watching
this species since 1989, when I analyzed them in a series of magazine articles.
I identified several evolutionary stages of the Tokyo gaijin male.
They start as
nama-gaijin, straight off the plane – geeky, puppy-like, easily amazed, eager
to ingratiate themselves… and utterly helpless.
questions irritate the hell out of veteran gaijin: “Why? Why? Why?” Why?
Because it’s Japan… that’s why.
These same qualities…
are, however… irresistible to Japanese women. Nama-gaijin are like baby
raccoons – arai-guma… cute, cuddly and helpless. Look at their big, blue eyes!
So 25 years ago many
naïve young Japanese women took them in as pets. What a mistake!
Like baby raccoons,
they start off cuddly and obedient. But after three years, they get cocky and
In typical raccoon
fashion, they annoy the local gomi-obaachan… mixing moeru with moenai.
If they think they’re
being cheated, unlike Japanese, they refuse to submit meekly. They argue loudly
in bad Nihongo… and it’s so embarrassing.
Some Japanese women
made the mistake of actually breeding with these creatures. The children are
lovely… and they often fit into Japanese society.
But once the kids
reach school age, you have to take their fat, old raccoon fathers to the
undo-kai. And this is embarrassing. They yell – Go! Go! Go! – during the races.
They ogle the cute young mothers without restraint.
Japanese women who
took in these baby raccoons were usually a bit wild and rebellious at the time.
So having a gaijin pet was kind of a fashion statement.
By the time these same
women joined the elementary-school PTA they were very, very anxious to fit in
with the other mothers… and the rules. They became Japanese adults.
gaijin men are not really part of Japanese society, they don’t age as quickly…
well… at least on the inside.
So they reach an
evolutionary stage we call… “The Peter Pan Gaijin.”
When they come back from
their high-school reunions, they say… “Y’know… all my friends back home seemed…
They’re 48… going on
29… and they still imagine women find them… irresistible.
So like any old
raccoon… every waking thought goes to devising new ways to make… mischief.
Even now… who knows
what mischievous midlife fantasies are going through these minds?
OK, fess up: who in
this room has Viagra in his pocket?
Sure, you can ridicule
their conceit. You can shake your head and say… “I mean really… grow up, already.”
To that… I say: So
what! Once you give up your boyish playfulness… your spontaneity… your
irrational romantic hopes… once you think like an old man… you’ll be an old
In Japan, you find
lots of men who’ve have had all that stuff beaten out of them by 45. They’re
mature and obedient… and somehow lifeless. They will never embarrass you by
yelling across the room “I love you.”
These guys here… for
all their faults… they’ve still got a spark… they’ve got life left in them. You
can imagine one of these guys leaning in close and saying… “Baby, I love you.”
And if he says that, he will mean it… at least for the next hour.
Let’s be fair, though.
Not all the men here fit this description. So please give every one of them
benefit of the doubt… if they say, “well, y’know… I’m not like that.
That said… don’t even
dream of marrying any of these guys. Bad idea!
But if it’s fun you’re
after… these guys know how to make it happen.
As The Beatles told
us, “If you want some fun, take ob-la-dee-bla-da.”
Rock on, Rocky