Playpen

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at 05:14 on 19-07-2018, Ichneumon
@Robinson: Pure pacifism is my ideal, but violence in a purely defensive capacity does not morally offend me so much as it strikes me as a depressing potential eventuality when dealing with violent outside actors. To that end, I think a military in the vein of the Netherlands’ former armed forces can have its uses. But ours would naturally have to be almost unrecognisably restructured to see that end result, so I suppose it’s a moot point. I do not, however, support the conventional definition of a standing army, let alone as it currently exists.

@Raymond: I knew there was another more common term, but the adjective jingai sprang to mind because of its use (last I could recall) in formal and official contexts where gaijin would be especially dated and offensive.

There are a lot of animal skeletons in Barron, but the decay and feculence is largely... semi-human, shall we say.

I’ve been writing something which will be some sort of hypertext novel/comic hybrid for the better part of a decade, if sporadically, in addition to reams of poetry and some short fiction in varying states of completion. The poetry tends to wind up married to music in some capacity, but the novel-thing is very much its own beast.
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at 20:30 on 18-07-2018, Robinson L
Ichneumon: I’m with Robinson when it comes to institutions like the military on an ideological level, I think ... Militaries are useful in specific circumstances

Perhaps not quite so close as you imagine, then.

@Raymond: Congratulations! Great news. Good luck pulling the driver's license info together; hopefully it's not too arduous.

Raymond: I should have made myself clearer though. Even if I don't get a job at Camp Zama, the high concentration of foreigners and Hafu children in the area indicates that landlords would be more tolerant of foreigner tenants than elsewhere, something that would be very valuable to me as I try to find my own place.

Oh yeah. I didn't understand how that point fit in with the rest of the military discussion, so I just sort of skipped over it.

Also though, student loans... paid in full... in two years' time, rather than ten or fifteen. You do not know the things I would do to get this monkey of debt off my back.

You've got me there, as I've gone to considerable lengths to avoid getting caught in the debt trap in my studies so far. I can definitely imagine how important it must be for you to get out from under that looming weight sooner rather than later.

That said, one thing I've learned growing up in a pacifist religious community is that a lot of those perks the military advertises don't actually come through. It's been a while since I heard about it, so I don't remember the details - I'm sure it's not a complete fabrication, but my impression is that it's a lot more complicated than the PR makes it out. Maybe you already know that, coming from a military family and all, but I wanted to give you a heads-up just in case. I'd prefer you don't get involved with the military at all, but if you do, then I hope you do some outside research beforehand so you know what you're getting into.

besides, I think any complaints one could have about my working an imperialist or neo-colonialist job would be just as applicable to teaching English as it would to being in the military.

You raise an excellent point, and it's actually one of the reasons I'm resistant to teaching English in another country, despite wanting to spend more time working or studying abroad. However, in my view, there's a fundamental difference between the colonial/imperialist role of the military as opposed to teaching English. (I could go into my reasons, but I think it would likely be boring and might raise undo acrimony.)

I don't know if you'd enjoy my novel though. As with most first novels, it's mostly just an amalgamation of stuff I was enthusiastic about, slapped together into a somewhat coherent story. There are definitely parts I'm still proud of having written, that I re-read and smile about, but there are also parts that I re-read and cringe over, even if I know I gave the themes and subject matter everything I had at the time.

Oh yeah, I hear ya. I've been plugging away at this stuff for nearly fifteen years, and I still haven't produced much material I'd consider good enough to submit around.

But really, what I'm trying to say is: keep pluggin' away, man. I dunno if I'll ever read any of your stuff - other than what you post on this site - but you've definitely got the way with the words, and I think you should keep at it.
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at 11:33 on 18-07-2018, Raymond H
I GOT A JOB!
Sort of!
Kind of!
I still need to produce either an International Driver's Permit, a Japanese translation of my driver's license, or some form of documentation allowing me to legally drive in Japan before I can officially receive a job offer, but the company has said that everything else is in order, and if I can show them the documentation before August 17th, the job is mine. Gotta get to studying!
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at 09:28 on 17-07-2018, Raymond H
But I found someone who can drive me to my friend's apartment in Tokyo, so I don't have to leave any of my stuff behind when I have to leave this company housing.
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at 07:28 on 17-07-2018, Raymond H
I didn't get the job with Berlitz.
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at 07:42 on 16-07-2018, Raymond H
"misused and bloated", eh? I think that just about sums it up perfectly. :) It's no coincidence my father retired from the military as the conflict in the Middle East became more drawn out and bureaucratic. Honestly though, looking at their site, about the only things I have experience with (libraries and teaching) require a proper license, which I don't have, so I think Camp Zama has few job opportunities for me at the moment.

I think you hit the nail on the head with HBG. His smugness sometimes irritates me, but then when I go back and think "Okay, but did you actually disagree with what he was saying?" I find the answer to be either "Not at all" or "Not really". I'm not a full-blown subscriber, but if he's gotten less smug, I may have to check his other videos out.

Oh no, do Barron's stories have dead dogs in them? God damn it man! I still remember Audition!

Oh. That...isn't quite the same kind of comfort I took from horror, but yeah, I smell what he's stepping in.

I...have never heard the word jingai until just now. Google and Urban Dictionary tell me it's mostly used to describe entirely nonhuman entities though.
The standard appropriate term is gaikokujin (外国人). Gaijin (外人)is, quite literally, a slur. What's funny is that, every time I've tried to explain the term gaijin to friends and family with no prior knowledge of anything Japanese, they always say "Oh, so it's like the word 'alien'." Which is...true, and fits better than any other word I can think of, and yet I don't know if I'd ever translate the term as that.
I personally though would say that gaijin is less offensive and more simply outdated. Also, it depends on the context. If I'm hanging out with other foreigners, we throw around the term all the time and nobody's feelings get hurt, but if an angry old man spat the word out at me it would sting. Keep in mind though, these are just my own feelings. As with any group of people, there's no real consensus on which words are appropriate and which ones aren't. As for other Asian immigrants, they tend to have a different set of slurs, as the sentiment against them has a different origin. The one I've heard the most is chosenjin (朝鮮人), but anything that makes fun of East Asian phonetics (like the English "Ching Chong") works. I guess, to make some broad, sweeping statements, really racist Japanese people think of other Asians as "Those filthy yellow monkeys that are fit only to lick our boots", while really racist Japanese people think of Whites as "Those fucking assholes who stopped us from subjugating those filthy yellow monkeys, who we're going to eventually overthrow but until then squeeze them for all their worth." Again, this is like, a cartoonish Klansman level generalization but those are the broad strokes of it. I think a more common racialist sentiment is "We should be on top, not second fiddle, but being second fiddle to the people that beat us in a war (America and the Allies) is better than being second fiddle to the people who we conquered and colonized (China and Korea)." Like, there is a power imbalance between Western countries and Japan, but the exact nuances of the relationship between them is more complicated than wicked imperialists and helpless victim. Also, perhaps the biggest thing to remember, interpersonal relations often don't match international relations. Loads of Japanese people may regard foreigners as big and scary and whatnot, but loads of them really don't give a shit either way.
I will say that the idea of African-Americans getting lumped together with other Americans here is sadly not true. Rather, when Black people here are discriminated against, it's the "Go back to your country mate!" type of discrimination, as opposed to the Dutchman Paradox type of racism most African-Americans face in America.
Perhaps the best way to put it is that, as a White man here, no matter how good my Japanese is, no matter how long I've lived here, no matter how many friends and family I make, there will always be people here who regard me as "other". And that's wrong. It was wrong when my ancestors were looked down on for being German, or Catholic, or Irish, it's wrong when immigrants and refugees are looked down on now for being Muslim or "illegal", and it's wrong when my students' parents are looked down on because they came here to work at factories or brothels just so they could give their children a better life.
I try not to get started on this topic, because ultimately I'm not the main demographic this problem affects, and I still have the option of going back to my "Old Country", even if I would never take it. But I know that if I ever marry a Japanese woman (which, considering the numbers, is pretty likely) and have kids, there's the question of what environment to raise them in, where will they be safest and most accepted? It's something I think everyone who chooses to make their lives in a different country thinks about, and while it isn't in my immediate future plans, I know it's something I'll have to deal with someday.
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at 06:34 on 16-07-2018, Ichneumon
Also, I thought jingai was the standard neutral term for “foreigner,” with gaijin being deeply offensive? Although I assume that’s your point here. And it’s not like you’re using it in the blatantly racist way such terms are wielded against Korean-Japanese folk and Chinese and Filipino immigrants, for instance.
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at 06:30 on 16-07-2018, Ichneumon
@Raymond H: I’m with Robinson when it comes to institutions like the military on an ideological level, I think, but by the same token I think that I would congratulate you should you attain the position, with reservations. Note that I say this as the proud grandson of an actual Naval spy during WWII, so to say I am conflicted on the military’s role in a civilised society is... well, plain facts. Militaries are useful in specific circumstances, but to call ours wildly misused and bloated would be beyond mild.

Harris (HBG) can get just a wee bit smug and arrogant at times when discussing people who he often rightly thinks are morons and just being a bit high-handed and presumptive in general, but I think especially lately he’s really made an effort to cut back on it, to the point of actually dedicating a fair chunk of one of his videos to calling himself out on it, and I feel that it’s largely been a smashing success.

Barron apparently trained sled dogs in his youth, which in combination with his clear erudition, psychedelic sensibilities and obvious love of horror fiction as an art makes for a unique and striking reading experience. The man understands tough guy masculine identity intimately, and is critical of it without being totally unsympathetic, and it pairs well with the rancid, hallucinatory fleshiness of his particular mix of body horror and cosmicism.

Ligotti’s central thesis is that the truest appeal of horror is not a visceral thrill or sadism or whatever prurient assumptions disapproving folks may make, but empathy with the fears implicitly expressed in the creation of such a work. In reading fiction that frightens, one is not alone in the world. Horror is a way for the fearful to huddle against the encroaching dark.
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