Sunday, July 24, 2005

The Cause of—and Solution to?—most of JETs’ Problems in Japan

“Here's to alcohol, the cause of—and solution to—all life's problems”
——North America’s most original moral thinker (a.k.a. Homer Simpson)——

Clockwise, from top left: 1) pet bottles of whiskey, 2) four litre (one gallon) jugs of cheap spirits for about twenty dollars, 3) the alcohol section of a small super market in Hakodate, 4) four litre jugs of whiskey for a little over thirty dollars

Meditation I on Alcohol: A week before our wedding my wife and I were taking a stroll through downtown Sapporo when we encountered a marketing flunky handing out free cans of Asahi beer. I once got a free can of Pringles in Toronto from the Pringles Girls who were driving down Queen Street in their Pringles Wagon, but I have never seen anyone handing out free cans of beer on the street before. I can only imagine what would happen were the same phenomenon to occur on Yonge Street in Toronto.

Meditation II on Alcohol: The first JET video I ever watched was the classic My Slow Descent Into Alcoholism. As in the case of Springfield’s classic short movie Football in the Groin, “it’s funny because it’s true” . . . but also kind of scary. The statistics seem to indicate that the majority of JETs are not necessarily alcoholics per se when they arrive in Japan . . . . The same cannot automatically be assumed of JETs who have “assimilated.” (The actors performing in the short film sited in this meditation do not themselves suffer from this JET fate but they bravely sacrificed their bodies on a temporary basis for the purpose of illustrating the dangers face by other JETs in other places).

Meditation III on Alcohol: I have no more meditations for today. I have exhausted my summer vacation levels of meditative power.