Shiro Ameko! (White American)

One of the first people contacted after starting, was our writer known as D.W. Patton. It may have been the last time that I saw him face to face when we were sitting at the China Town bar in Olympia, Wa. We traded manuscripts. I gave him a 19 page paper I had written about my theories on time travel and Satan while he gave me a copy of a play that he had written entirely of Elizabethan dialogue involving a half-man/half-woman Brian Bosworth separated vertically down the middle. He is currently teaching children in Japan and has written 3 articles for the site about his experiences living in the Island Country. He has covered such topics as spending the 4th of July in a foreign land, Japanese Porn, and even cultural transplants such as McDonalds. I had hoped to receive more content based around these observations from an outsider and have had occasional emails with Patton pertaining to such aspirations. He had planned to send an article to me about the bar scenes and drinking in his current location but it has yet to happen for one reason or another. There was even hope that I could get the Zomba group to grant him free access to a Backstreet Boys concert in Japan so that he could report on the continued boy band frenzy and the juxtaposition of the two pop cultures coming together, but that didn’t work out either.

D.W. has been very busy with work and other responsibilities as of late. I was recently thinking about him and his work. I had thought to contact him about possibly writing some more facinating content for us when I noticed a message in the MonsterFresh email account. Somehow during a correspondance with a friend of his, their email conversation was accidentally forwarded to me. Although I still hope to receive some material tailored specifically as an article and/or to work with him more in the future in one form or another, I quickly realized that the email that I had in my posession was a genuine article that represented some very deep and honest feelings for him at the time it was typed. It was written from a sincere place of evaluation for both his environment and his place within it. I know that he holds his time and experiences in Japan very dear, and that he truly does have respect for the culture and opportunities that he’s had over there, however, if I plan to print honest unfiltered material on this site, and I do, I felt that I could not overlook what I had read. I contacted him and Patton agreed to let me post his letter without hesitation.

I hope, as I’m sure that he does, that this is read, not as a document of slander for a place and its people and culture, but as a look into the effects of culture shock on one’s psyche and emotional health and well-being. He has confirmed that this letter accurately represents his recent feelings as a foreigner living in a distant and very different land. Hopefully, this will further help those of us who read it, to re-evaluate the way that we too treat and view people around us who have ventured outside of their own cultural safe-zones with adjusted and more conscious approaches to what they may be experiencing. Below in bold type is that letter.


The amount of lying and cheating and dishonesty that lies beneath the superficial cosmetic complexion of the face of Japan is great.
I wouldn’t even know where to begin to explain where that thought came from, but I have learned it to be truth.
Sometimes I find it harder in Japan than in America to retreat behind a mask, because people look at me as if I am in costume just because of my skin, eye, and hair color.

I even smell different sometimes. And any difference I have is magnified because of my racial and national differences.
I hear that
whores are cheap here and married women throw themselves at me for free, but it’s hard enough to look in the mirror in the morning without a bag of adulturey around my right eye and whoring around my left.

But the food is good here and people don’t kill each other.
They’re too busy with suicide in one drawn out form or another.
Three dollar tabacco.

Just walking by the pachinko parlours makes my ears ring.
Australian accents are more a part of my Japan than sushi.

A shower, a shave, and a tie around the neck in the morning hides the individuality, the pain, and dampens the enthusiasm of myself and prepares me to go to work where I am a well payed and quite respected clown singing the ABC’s.

Racists hate me and I flex my tattooed muscles at them because I think it’s funny because it is.

The nights away from the bullshit, for example at a dinner with a friends family are welcome. Normal people are great here. Nice normal people with good senses of humor, but it’s hard to meet them when people don’t talk to strangers and most people who want to speak English or meet foreigners either want to get laid or have a foreigner obsession. But the families I know are nice. They speak to me in their language and I can speak a little back.

So when I can’t do that I go to the vinyl bar and hang out with a couple Japanese guy friends. Sometimes go to the studio and scream heavy metal in to a microphone with my friend who plays guitar. We have to take our shoes off to go in to the studio and we can’t bring beverages that are more than 500ml in size and we can’t bring alcohol because Japan won’t let us, but I can scream as loud as I want to behind closed doors which is almost like escaping Japan.

Sometimes on the weekend, I play tackle football on a dirt field with no pads and Australians. We walk away a little bloody, then wash up and go drink beers.

Temples and Shrines are as abundant as the lies and the masks.
Drop ten cents and pray for good health and world peace
Then stumble home a few hours later
wake up hurting
and tie the noose again

“D.W. Patton”