Tokyo Tantrums

Japan ~ Tokyo – 2015

Tokyo has a big city sort of reputation to it, an air of grandeur accompanied with a sense of mystery somewhere within the non-stop luminous glare of the lights and the 24/7 rush…

So many films have painted a picture that has made an impression on me, and because of this it was high on the list of places I wanted to see…so when I realised I had a long weekend coming up I didn’t hesitate and booked it up straight away! Just a couple of hours to get from my home in Korea to the unknown world beyond – armed with nothing but a friend’s recommendations (which proved invaluable) and a feeling I was soon to be in my very own Lost in Translation remake…

Lost Trans GIF

Sidenote: when travelling you really do need to think long and hard about who you will actually travel with. Well maybe not too thorough – nothing too ridiculous, but at the very least you need to see a clean bill of health (both physical and mental), a criminal background check, and dental records. Also check their voice and typical conversation topics as otherwise you may be locked in with the most boring groaner on the planet – which is never going to be fun. With this particular adventure I was meaning to go alone originally, and then at the last minute a lady friend of mine tagged along…which brought some erm, shall we say – complications? 

Anyway I mean this sincerely when I say that Tokyo is a marvel. So much to see and do, a far cry from the more reserved and traditional parts of Japan I had visited earlier in the year.  But oddly I found it manages to retain a fantastic balance between the two often conflicting sides; you see one second I’d be staring up at a 60 foot tall science fiction juggernaut in the form of the powerful Gundam, the next I was wearing a traditional yukata and relaxing in an onsen…then I’d blink and be back to the mad rush of the Shibuya scramble crossing! I was completely in my element, roving around searching for the weird and wonderful, straining my neck to try and see as much as I possibly could…it was everything I had dreamed about for so long, and so much more…

Shibuya GIF

But yeah: the ghost at the feast…the wasp at the picnic…the drunk and slightly creepy uncle at the family reunion. Hmm, that last one was a bit weird, but you get my point – this is the part of the story where I say what didn’t go so smoothly, and most of it had to do with my travel companion: hence my warning earlier. You see I try my utmost to remain as friendly and light hearted as possible during trips, as from experience I understand that it can be a pretty stressful period if you let the small things seep in and truly affect you…if you do that suddenly the foul smell of a certain street, the incessant honking of horns on the road, or perhaps even your friend’s breathing can have you suddenly enraged beyond all comprehension: like smashing an axe into a locked door screaming “heeeeere’s Johnny!”  sort of level rage. So it’s best to take a deep breath instead, and just let most hiccups roll off your back…

However, my lady friend didn’t share this ethos…which meant that any small thing became the reason for a monumental day-ruining mood. Juxtapose that dark rain cloud along with my attempted cheery sense of humour and you had quite a pairing; something like if Voldemort was to meet one of the Teletubbies. Well actually that’s unfair (to he who must not be named): it would only be like that if Voldemort had the emotional range to both grimace and groan about public transport, and literally burst into tears about the levels of salt in Japanese food…as it stands I don’t think he is quite on her level yet.

I can understand the frustration though, Tokyo is huge and it’s far too easy to become dazed and confused by the sprawling subway system: which I honestly think was designed by someone throwing spaghetti at the wall, and saying: “that’ll do just fine.” We took many wrong turns during our days there, and the hours were long and well travelled…but I don’t see how it helps remaining silent or dragging your feet along as if you are a pathetically non-threatening zombie, or almost defunct robot:

Robot GIF

There is an answer to such problems though, and one which I will gladly share with all of you…and that is; beer. Yes, you heard it here first! The golden elixir is the perfect remedy to all sorts of ailments, including the frustration you may feel when a friend (or something more) is becoming more than you can bear. Thankfully there was a so-called “English pub” just off a side street near to the Shibuya crossing…where for three times the normal price I could enjoy beer, ales, and all that good stuff as if I was back amongst the smoke and laughing guffaws of my homeland…“Wait, it’s how much?! Jesus tap-dancing Christ!? It’s not worth that!”

But yeah, that’s how things go! Ups and downs, smiles and frowns…you have to take the good with the bad, and try to carve out memories that will last: and despite all the issues we were still able to do that…pretty much.

However I must now look for an AA meeting in South Korea: so yeah, wish me luck. 

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The Rocking Chair Theory

Sometimes you see something and it sparks a whole chain of thought almost immediately…often it’s in things you don’t expect, and from places you wouldn’t have guessed – but despite this it feels central to your life in some way…as if it has always been a part of you, even if you hadn’t realized it before. I mean…if it wasn’t, why would you suddenly feel so strongly about it?

Safe Life

Anyway, that’s how I felt today when I stumbled across this photograph and caption on the Humans of New York Facebook page…

And no, settle down…it wasn’t because I saw the bit about STDs. It was just because I realized that despite also being quite a cautious person I am forever attempting to push myself free from those “hmmm, maybe I shouldn’t” shackles so that I can hopefully live a life well lived, rather than a one full of safe regret instead…

Mind I’m not calling this fella a square because he hasn’t ever had a battle with chlamydia…there’s every cause for congratulations in that respect – however it did sadden me that his words have such a final tone to them…even though I imagine his life is far from over…I mean, there’s still plenty of time for him to volunteer in Africa, develop a drinking problem, become addicted to crystal meth, and/or blow his  life savings on cocaine fueled hookers. So why the negativity? Stop wasting time, and get on with it! 

Seriously though…people often say things like: “that’s something to tell the grandchildren!” when they do something out of the ordinary, or have an experience that is half-way interesting…and I suppose it’s this miserable fear of sitting in a rocking chair at 80 years old with nothing interesting to say that motivates me to push on and fill my life’s tapestry with weird and wonderful stuff! You only get one life to live, and all that lark…right? And I don’t want my most thrilling tale to be something about how milk and eggs used to be a lot cheaper, “back in my day…” as I slurp on soup, and fill a plastic bag with pee…

With that said being a cautious person is not entirely a bad thing, and you certainly shouldn’t relinquish control completely, that could prove to be disastrous! In fact, it actually reminds me of a situation a few years back where I found myself cornered in a Sunderland bar in the early hours of the morning – you see a possibly (definitely) psychotic football hooligan had taken an interest in me and wouldn’t let me go…he was too engrossed in his life story, which included a penchant for stabbing police officers in the neck with broken plastic pens during riots – and a claim that he will never stop doing heroin because it is “too fucking great to stop”. And whilst I must concede his sounded like a very interesting life to live – this is perhaps not my suggestion with this rambled post.

I would in actual fact suggest a person can still live a wonderful life even without stabbings, and heroin. I know, a controversial view – but I’m somewhat of a radical I guess! 

All it takes is simply loosening your grip on the “what ifs?” every so often…letting your guard down to different experiences, and occasionally pushing yourself out of your comfort zone. After all it is here where true rocking chair memories are made…

So why not get started today?

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Up or Down? (THE TOILET SEAT CONUNDRUM)

Since the dawn of porcelain potties there has been a vicious global debate…no sorry, not a debate – in fact I’d say it’s closer to a war. An unholy battle that seems to have no end in sight…relationships have crumbled, families have been torn apart – and billions of toilet seats have been spattered with hostile revenge pee…and for what?

Toilet Explosion GIF

I’d say it’s pride and ego mostly; which has been the unmaking of mankind from the very start of our civilised existence – and just like most of these rifts we will never budge from our own separate barracks, instead telling ourselves over and over that we have it right, and they have it all wrong; in this particular case women want the seat down, and men want it up. It all sounds so silly, and maybe it is…but if it’s so moronic a quandary then why do we have so much trouble overcoming it?

Now this debate doesn’t really affect me as I live alone and poop standing up (I enjoy the challenge) – so I feel I am at a unique position to weigh in for both sides impartially. As we know the main argument from the women’s camp is that they shouldn’t have to touch the bacteria infested toilet seat just because men are too lazy to put it down after use…well this would be all well and good if men absolutely loved touching gross toilet seats that are painted in various people’s faeces – but research suggests they don’t. There have been numerous reputable studies that have backed this up; or at least there probably would be if it wasn’t so glaringly obvious…so alas it seems only a small section of society take pleasure in such exchanges, and they are banished to a very dark and peculiar cavern of the internet – the large majority however find the prospect of handling human waste stained plastic horrifying, and rightly so… 

Vomit GIF

But what can we do? How can we solve this age old dilemma? 

Well, I think like all arguments in life a resolution can only come by making admissions and allowances on each side; a toilet treaty if you will. So this is my proposal as an impartial adjudicator…I suggest from now on we make efforts to meet in the middle, that way things are fair for everyone. What do I mean by this exactly? Well what I’m saying is we should leave the toilet seat in the middle – not up, not down…strengthen those hinges so that it can sort of just hang there awkwardly…that way it is just as inconvenient and annoying for everyone – and no one (not man, nor woman) profits from acts of kindness or outdated versions of chivalry…instead everyone’s toilet time experience is equally as frustrating. This can be one more remnant of a forgotten age of good manners that we cut off, and do away with forever.

But actually…as I make this suggestion I can already foresee a wealth of problems…well one problem really – and that is men and their fondness for peeing on things. Because even if hypothetically we have a utopian middle of the road toilet seat situation…guys will actually see this is a little challenge, sort of like one of those game stalls at the fairground – except even more rigged…after all we don’t have a Super Soaker  as much as we may like to pretend – more of a leaky faucet if anything…better than what the ladies have for sure, but still no sharp shooter…

Cowboy GIF

So where does that leave us then? Well, right back at the start unfortunately. I am not sure there is one acceptable answer, as either side will never back down – if we wanted to blame something then maybe we could pin it on our ultra fast, ultra busy way of living these days…we are so wrapped up in our schedules that no one can afford the half a second it takes to put up/down the toilet seat…in fact it is completely absurd to even suggest anyone undertakes such an exhausting task! But yet, the saga rolls on – and a glimmer of hope remains, hope that someday some visionary like an Albert Einstein, Charles Darwin, or a Steve Jobs will come through and revolutionize things for us…but until that day the war will rage on.

Peeology man…it’s a tough one. 

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“Should I Be a MGTOW?”

Another video request…and a rather controversial one at that – but I feel it’s best not to shy away from these topics – otherwise how will we have conversations that can lead to resolutions?

I was asked what my views were on the relatively new ‘MGTOW’ movement (Men Going Their Own Way)…

I’d love to hear people’s (men’s AND women’s) views in the comment section…maybe you can educate me, I am rather ignorant of everything surrounding this movement, and would like to hear more from both sides…is it something that limits, or aids us as people on this earth?

If you have a video request you can leave a comment, or send me an email – if it’s a cool/interesting idea then I will get to it as soon as I can!

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The Dadbod Myth

Okay internet, we have to talk…and I think you know why…

The fabled “Dadbod” thing that seems to be doing the rounds recently…apparently it’s the new hot thing? That every woman cannot resist? Is…this…like, are you actually for real though? You mean to say that suddenly those Grecian demi-god types, those sculpted walking statues, those action figurine looking fellas… are now of absolutely no value or merit whatsoever? I mean…huh?!

Bothering GIF

I have seen a lot of commentary about Leonardo DiCaprio, and many articles appear to use him as a figurehead for the Dadbod movement…as if to say;

“Look! Leonardo DiCaprio is slightly overweight, and has a number of girlfriends! This Dadbod thing must be true!” 

Which would make sense, if it didn’t make absolutely no sense. It’s almost like people are looking past the fact that he is a multi-millionaire…who also just happens to be LEONARDO DI-FUCKING-CAPRIO! I mean come on! Get real for God’s sake.

The truth of the matter is that it’s an attempt by the media to square up the conversation of body-weight acceptance between genders. A few years ago the “big is beautiful” thing was rolled out for females, and it really caught on – and I can see why! Suddenly women didn’t have to feel marginalised or devalued just because they were not Hollywood slim…this led to many men nodding in agreement, claiming they actually prefer real women, and blah blah blah.

Now that’s all well and good, so please don’t think I’m knocking it.

But then along comes the male version of “big is beautiful” – the Dadbod

Dadbod GIF

…and well, simply put – I’m not buying it! I would argue males have NEVER had the same kind of pressure based around physical beauty that women have – so this little trend is almost like someone saying; “hey! I took off the shackles – run free!” when the individual wasn’t even chained up in the first place. It just makes no sense…sure men would love to look like Ryan GoslingHugh Jackman…or (PICK ANY GLORIOUS CHISELLED ADONIS OF YOUR CHOICE), but if we are not gym going types we just shrug our shoulders and accept our lot; aka pick up the remote and some sort of cheesy snack…

Reason being we don’t get the same body shaming tactics that I feel females have historically received – that’s why it’s hilarious to hear that the Dadbod thing is “in!” You mean to say that I now have permission to eat eight slices of pizza, and drink a few pints of beer whenever I want? And that I am allowed to have that inevitable extra bit of weight as a result?

THANK YOU SO MUCH, I WAS WAITING FOR YOU TO GIVE ME THE GO AHEAD! I HAD BEEN STARVING MYSELF, AND HAD BEEN STONE-COLD SOBER! BUT NOW…PHEW…WHAT A WEIGHT THAT HAS BEEN LIFTED! AND I FEEL HOT BECAUSE YOU HAVE TOLD ME I AM NOW HOT. WOOOO!

Homer Dadbod GIF

 Ridiculous. Let’s live in the real world. 

Perhaps I’m wrong though…well, I’m not for sure – but what do you think?

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Men are Dogs.

This may be one of those “is it just me?” circumstances…but honestly that just makes it more pressing that I get it off my chest! 

Crazy GIF

You see I often find that…well…that I regularly…erm…okay. I do that dog thing, the instinctual spin before doing stuff. Not all the time, but it’s there for sure. Sitting down, standing up, bathroom time…the list goes on! Well, actually no. That’s pretty much it, BUT STILL!

Like I was on the subway yesterday, facing a little to the right of the map board…and rather than just turning, I did a moronic 270° turn! WHY OH WHY?! It was made worse because it was a pretty cramped train, as per usual in Seoul, so this little bout of lunacy was a terrific inconvenience for everyone…it is usually half way through the spin that I realise I am doing it, and that it is dumb – but as I’m already in the process I just have to curse myself internally, and finish up…

Spin Sit GIF

Which is all well, and good when I am alone! But yesterday in that moment I felt eyes on me, inparticular a (now) rather unhappy looking guy surveying me up and down as if I was a scientific exhibit…

Naturally I tried to focus on the map, as if I didn’t have a care in the world, but the active trying to look cool thing just made me more aware of how socially awkward I really am. And as punishment my cheeks swelled with blood until stress droplets seeped from my forehead, palms, and everywhere else. I started to sweat profusely basically. 

I think it probably means that I am more caveman than most, right? That if we were in those times I would be the hero…the guardian of the clan – sworn protector of all…which is why my eyes never sleep, and I am always on watch! OR…well, hmmm…this isn’t as nice sounding – but I guess it could point towards me being far less evolved, basically a big lump who didn’t ever get past the neanderthal stage of it all – actually that totally explains the huge conk of a nose – but no, how come I can’t grow a beard, or thatch a roof using my excess chest hair?

Caveman Lawyer GIF

So many questions…so many questions…hmmm…

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