Hey, everybody! This is Adamu. Up to now, we at MFT have attracted a wonderful audience without having to explain ourselves, and we are thankful for that. Not that anyone has ever asked, but I feel the need to tell you guys a bit about what this site is about and who I am.
Mutant Frog Travelogue was born one day when the MF and I decided that the countless links we send each other over IM might actually be interesting to strangers. The reason this is a “Travelogue” covering “Japan” even though none of the posters is actually in Asia or traveling at the moment (that will change soon) is because we all have lived there, speak and read Japanese, and feel like blogging about it. Saru is an economist who happens to also be a talking monkey. We brought him on the team in order to raise this site’s average IQ. The wonderful, salamander-poison-yellow design is all MF since I don’t have the patience to sit down and figure out how to use WordPress. If you sniff your monitor while Mutant Frog is loaded the fumes will get you high. Try it now!
While those readers with a keen eye will realize that I used to run Adamu’s Jappanica (and also that I was once fired from Walgreen’s), some of you might be wondering who I am and why the hell I have any authority to write about Japan. Well, the answer to the second question is I don’t, and that’s why I am writing a blog instead of working a full-time job somewhere. All I can offer readers are the ability to read and translate Japanese (though not nearly as well as the ESWN guy can translate Chinese) and my own brand of forced wittiness and garbled politics.
However what I lack in authority or talent I make up for in enthusiasm for my subject. Japan’s not a great place, but I spent the two most interesting years of my life there. Some might say two years is nothing, and for some it might be. I’m different. I skipped my senior prom to go to Japan. I turned both 18 and 21 there. Where some people have bittersweet memories of their youths, I have often fond, sometimes tragic memories of Japan. My first beer, my first girlfriend, my senior trip—experienced them all in Japan. When I say, as some may remember, that Japan “irrevocably damaged my psyche” I’m not joking. I am constantly shocked at the ease with which my fellow expats are able to return home and all but forget what they did there. My fate is unmistakably intertwined with Japan, boom or bust, mockery be damned.
Being away is not unlike leaving a bagel out of the package—I’m slowly going stale. This blog is one of my many efforts to maintain a connection to my “adopted home” and its language while struggling to make a living in DC.
That’s not to say that life in Washington isn’t interesting. Far from it! There’s all sorts of interesting people, like the fat homeless guy who spends so much time leaning on a newspaper machine that his gut has begun to droop down due to gravity, or the guy who spends all day outside the Vatican Embassy holding a sign that says “VATICAN HIDES PEDOPHILES“. A multitude of black homeless people and wacky protestors—two things that are rare even in New York these days.
I’ve had some interesting jobs as well—babysitting a Kuwaiti prince and the First Daughter of Kansas and doing corporate espionage for a “hotel research firm” among them—but nothing I’d call a career. Right now I work two jobs: 1) translating legal documents that I don’t actually understand and 2) teaching English to Japanese men who make way too much money to get away with coming all the way to the East Coast and speaking the crappy nonsense English that I am forced to endure daily. And no, they don’t really want to improve, so can it. I am also a part-time slave at a Japanese newspaper’s Washington Bureau, which lets me call myself an official member of the press (ask nice and I’ll show you my press pass).
That’s who I am, but what are my politics? I’d gauge myself a pragmatic anarchist. The cynical jerks in power have no business being there, but I can’t very well kick them out, can I? So I’ll continue to vote far-left and hope for the best. You won’t find much political commentary coming from me unless something is obviously out of whack. My primary moral influences are Noam Chomsky, John Stossel, Asahi Shimbun, Utada Hikaru, Mystery Science Theater 3000, The Onion AV Club, and Miura Ayako. I’m not religious but I do pray that I can keep my weight down. My hobbies include avoiding my coworkers, blogging, and hanging out with Mrs. Adamu.
That’s all for now and surely more than you ever wanted to know about me.