Archive for the ‘barack obama’ Tag

Marcus Bird’s “GAIJIN GIRL” Ebook, Great in-flight reading   Leave a comment

This is a collection of short stories that span the globe from Jamaica to Japan. Please read the story when you get a chance, and feel free to e-mail me feedback at the address included in the ebook sampler. Thanks in advance.

http://www.scribd.com/doc/28255995/Gaijin-Girl-Ebook

Chinese Prostitutes, Strip Clubs and Jason Schwartzman   3 comments

I’m standing on a street corner, and a small Chinese prostitute is grabbing my arm.

“Do you want massage?” she asked.

“No thanks.” I said.

“Only two thousand yen. Come now, we go to second floor.”

“Seriously I’m good.” I replied.

Beside me, the same thing was happening to Rob. The two ladies were tiny, with intense eyes and relatively cute features. They were very aggressive, but finally we got away.

This is how the night started to wind down in Roppongi.

THREE HOURS EARLIER:..

I’m sitting in a pasta shop somewhere in Shibuya, chatting to a dancer that looks like a perfect ten model. Her name is Jeri,  and she’s in town for a dancing gig at  a club later on, somewhere in Roppongi. She is easily the hottest woman I’ve met since I’ve been to Tokyo.  She’s very friendly, and chatting to her is a pleasure. She reminds me of a dancer I saw when I went to club Womb a few months prior, but this is her first time in Japan.

“I’m from L.A, but the scene is really good here. I might come back.” She says.

She’s wearing a summer straw hat, a white skirt, and a tank top that reveals her voluptuous figure. She’s tanned and unblemished. Later Rob would tell me she’s mixed with a few things, but he couldn’t remember what exactly.

“I did this show,” she said. “With a  Japanese group called the MANEATERS.”

“Sounds bizarre.” I said with a laugh.

Jeri, Rob and I chat about traveling and our adventures, for a few minutes. “What are you guys doing tonight?” she says. “Maybe Roppongi or here in Shibuya.” Rob says to her. “I’m performing tonight at the Gallery in Roppongi.” She says. “You guys should check it out.”

Jeri was a professional Go-Go dancer.  Initially, Rob was confused.  “Is Go-Go dancing stripping?” he asked.

“No, its not.” She said.

I have to admit, I didn’t really know the difference either. But I was guessing Go-Go dancers were the hot girls who danced on elevated platforms in large clubs all over the world.

I got her number and she left. As she stood up, I was surprised to see how petite she was. She disappeared soon after, as Rob and I talked about what to eat. “Wow, what are the odds of meeting a girl like her randomly like that?” I said.
“I guess that’s  Tokyo for you.” Rob replied with a laugh.

Rob had come to Tokyo on a mission. To see the sights, go to a few museums and eat at a revolving sushi restaurant in Shibuya. We had no idea where it was. To describe Shibuya is to try and describe an endless concert with thousands of fans roaming the streets all the time, every day. Each time I travel to Shibuya, for a few minutes I feel a buzz in my head. So many people, so many lives and so many things happening at once really aren’t a part of my basic biological makeup I believe. When I’m there, I want to be a hunter-gatherer again, farming in the mountain with a gang of scruffy kids behind me gathering wood.

Rob asks someone where the restaurant is. The guy he asks is African, and like almost all the West Africans I’ve seen in Tokyo, he works in the area, promoting clubs or bars. He tells us where the restaurant is, a place where all the Sushi costs one hundred and twenty yen a piece. We step in, and Rob squeals with excitement. “We doing it son! Tokyo!”

A man in a chef’s hat points to a sign at the reception area. “You must eat at least seven dishes.” It read. “That’s cool with me.” I said.

We were ushered to a few seats around the back, and as we walked past the crowd a face stood out:  A small guy with a thick head of black hair and a very scruffy beard. I immediately recognized him as Jason Schwartzman, the actor. As we walked to our seat I rested my hand on his shoulder. “Hey man, are you a professional actor?” I said. “Why yes I am.” He replied. “Awesome, I love your work man!” I said while walking away. “Thank you.” He said with a smile.

The sushi at the bar was wicked delicious and I ended eating eight plates. Rob had nine. Beside me, a few feet away, Schwartzman was still hanging out in the restaurant. He was with  a slim blonde woman with delicate features; his wife. I went over. I chit-chatted with them for a while about Tokyo. He was in town to check out the opening of “Opening Ceremony”, a large store that has branches in New York and Los Angeles. “It’s opening Sunday. You should check it out, the store is going to be pretty amazing.”

Rob, who was behind me said: “Opening Sunday? Is that the name of the store?”

“No.” Jason said with a laugh. “The store is Opening Ceremony and it’s opening on Sunday.”

“Wow, the opening ceremony for Opening Ceremony is on Sunday when it opens.” I said.

We all laughed. Schwartzman was cool, and I snapped some pictures and got a video shout out for my webseries Marcus Bird :Jamaican in Japan . He was there with this wife, designer Brady Cunningham founder of eco-friendly clothing line, Souvenir.<>.

We said our goodbyes and he told me he’d checkout my website. This is one of the moments when I realized I needed a business card. I said peace, and he left the restaurant.

ONE HOUR LATER

Rob and I are in Gas panic. Blood red lights flood the room and people dance in the shadows. I explained to Rob that I’m a night owl, and that I feed on the night energy of Tokyo. He told me that since there are language barriers and it being a new country, he thought he’d rather see more terrain and sights that necessarily try to chat to women. This opinion changed rapidly when we started clubbing.

Inside GAS PANIC, cute girls were dancing, but it was the music that really set things off. Contemporary hip-hop blasted through speakers I couldn’t see, and the place was jumping. Cute Japanese girls with hair processed to look curly did Atlanta dances like they were born in America. Rob watched with amazement. One girl in particular, in pink overalls really understood the rhythm. I had seen Japanese girls dance before, to reggae and hip-hop, but I could understand Rob’s feelings. This was his first time EVER seeing Japanese people dance like black people.
“It’s sad man.” He said to me.” That these people try so hard to look like us, and so many black people don’t even love themselves.”

I looked at the girls as he said this. One wore an Atlanta cap with hip-hop jeans on. They all had curly hair and sang along to every T.I song that came over the airwaves. But they barely spoke English, if any. It was amazing. We hung out for a little while longer, getting the vibe started. Then we headed to Roppongi.

TWENTY FIVE MINUTES LATER

Tokyo has an endless stream of beautiful women walking the streets. Every minute or two, Rob and I would see women that made us stop, or at least take a peek. He was starting to see what people were talking about in regards to Tokyo.  It’s one thing to see a cute girl every now and then, but in hours we had seen thousands.

We are on the train, and two girls in front of me are looking at my feet and saying something about my shoes. “Big eh? “I say in Japanese. One giggles but pretends not to hear me. She’s been eyeing me since we got on the train in Shibuya. Our stop isn’t far away and it seems the girls aren’t going to our stop. I exit the train terminal and see a face I recognize. It’s a tall, gorgeous woman I met two weeks before. Miki.

I walk over to her and she greets me with a squeal of excitement. Her long, gorgeous arms wrap around me for a moment. I feel her strength. She immediately decides to come with us wherever we are going. We dump our stuff in a locker and head out. Club 911 is the next stop.

In minutes, Rob takes over a little corner near the top bar. Ladies are dancing and smiling, and I’m watching Miki do Samba to a Justin Timberlake song. She is really, really sexy. She sips on a drink and flashes a quiet smile at me every now and then. She’s the kind of woman that I like. Tall and strong, beautiful and fearless on the dance floor. The club is packed, but after a while I start to get antsy. 911 is really small, and in an hour, it starts to turn into a sausage fest. I want Miki to head to a spot called Bar 57 with us, but she says she has to surf in the morning. A little guy the size of her drink hanging beside her says otherwise to me, but I decide to leave. An older Japanese woman was feeling Rob.

“One more drink, and that’d probably be it.” He said with a laugh.

“Well I’m glad you didn’t have that drink.” I replied with a  smile.

Bar 57 was closing when we reached. It seemed like a hot spot, with expensive drinks, a nice interior and high ceilings. The stragglers were all in designer dresses and high heels. I liked the feel of the place. Maybe next time. We went back to the strip.

FIVE MINUTES LATER

We headed back down the strip. Every few feet a young African man would come up to us, offering us exclusive admission to a club or a strip bar. We went to Club 99 near Odeon and went upstairs. Drunk Japanese girls were dancing on the bar top, but like most places in Tokyo, you get ushered towards the bar first. They say free entry, but if you don’t buy a drink you get kicked out. The spot was a bit lame and we headed out.

The prostitutes found us again somehow and kept pleading with us to get a massage. “Jesus Christ.” These women are persistent.” I said. One of them was actually pretty cute, but knowing what her day job was…

TEN MINUTES LATER

We are hanging in front of a bar near the McDonald’s. I’m on my phone, trying to find out where The Rippongi Gallery is to see if I can catch a bit of Jeri’s performance, but none of the Africans on the strip seem to know where it is. It feels like a put on. “Do you see that?” Rob says.

I glance up and the two girls, now about twenty feet away, are looking back at us.

“Should  we talk to them? “ I said.

“You better take one for the team because I’m not.” Robert said.

I saw what he was talking about. Of the two girls, one was blimp-sized. I took at deep sigh and waved for them to come back. They giggled and kept walking, but as they got further away looked back more. Eventually, they returned. They wore matching black and white outfits and wore gray backpacks. A little odd. The bigger one started asking us a range of questions. “You guys kept looking back at us, so we were wondering what was going on.” I said to the larger one. “I’m sorry, my sister here was interested in you, but she doesn’t speak English.”

“Oh?” I replied. “What language does she speak?”

“Greek.” The girl replied.

“Do you need Windex?” Rob said immediately.

The girl gave him a strange look.
“I’m joking, I’m joking. I know that statement was mad ignorant.” Rob said with a laugh. I started laughing too, but it would be an entire day before I remembered that Windex reference came from the hit movie My Big Fat Greek Wedding.

The girl introduced herself as Athena and her sister as Mina. What was weird about Mina was that she progressively got better at English within minutes of meeting us. Rob made a joke about Atlanta and she laughed. I made a joke that required certain knowledge of American pop humor and bad English grammar and she laughed. Then she started speaking.

“I’m thirty-five.” She said.

We balked.

“Impossible!” I said.

I paused as three tall, leathery Japanese drag queens stormed past. The sisters asked us If we wanted to hang out. I said okay, but I really wasn’t feeling like taking one for the team. We walked towards a bar called Vi-bar, a bar I went to the day before. The girls became quiet, and it felt a little weird. After we stepped inside, a man came to me and asked me what I’m drinking. “One minute.” I said to him. I turned to Rob.

“Dude, you think these girls are hustling us?” I asked.

He shrugged his shoulders. Their accent changes, the weird backpacks, the greek names and everything felt wrong. “Let’s bounce.” Rob said. “Cool.” We headed back out to the madness of Roppongi at four thirty a.m

At the top of the strip, a smooth talking guy named Joe came up to us. He spun a fabulous tale about a strip club where we could drink all we want for thirty bucks and be dazzled and dazed by exotic dancers. I’m not a strip club guy, but the night was going so many places I said, “what the hell.” Rob was in agreement but we entered under a simple condition. If we didn’t like the spot, we’d leave, if we did we’d have to pay.

We walked back down the strip and stopped at a bar. I laughed. It was the same place the two “greek” girls had taken us to before. This time we went upstairs. A shady looking poster of a naked woman was at the door. We walked in, and it was empty, save a line of strippers standing in file facing us. It was a weird feeling, coming into the small, empty strip club with all the dancers watching us. One of the strippers was really hot. She had some sort of brazilian look about her. The rest weren’t so appealing. We thanked the staff and left.

Back outside, we walked back to the top of the strip and sat on a road barrier. The streets were still packed, but we knew the night was over. As we waited for the light to change, a pair of small hands grabbed me. It was the prostitute! Rob and I started laughing again. “Sorry, we go now. Back to hotel.” Rob said. We started crossing the street and one of them said, “I come to hotel with you!”

We laughed and turned around.

The night was over.

:::FRIDAY NIGHT GUITAR HERO-INES::::   1 comment

medium_guitar_hero_babe-712408

I’m looking at three hands protrude from a lamppost.

It’s a photograph, and I’m guessing its somewhere in Adams Morgan, that proverbial mish-mash of frat-boy meets sunshine Blond girl, that place where a hot summer night ends up with streets lined with wet slices of pizza and guys fighting police. I’m a little chilly, and I chuckle, remembering that in my Jamaican-ness I still haven’t figured out the proper technique for dressing for moderately cold weather. In Jamaica we just wear what feels comfortable, as opposed to what’s necessary. In a cold climate there is so much structure to what one wears. Tonight I’m wearing thin pants, a long-sleeved white t-shirt and a pink and blue shirt (can anyone say Gay Euro?). I also have a track Jacket, which luckily isn’t a bad choice. There was one winter night I wore the track Jacket and the temperature dropped ten degrees. That night, I hated being typically Caribbean.

I’m at an art exhibit, looking at photographs from DC’s budding geniuses. The picture I’m looking is by a photographer named Joshua. He is a part of the Ten Miles Square group, which I’ve never heard of. Around me, people float around in various states of distraction. I say distraction because few people are reading the short blurbs of the photographers. Instead they are idly gazing at the pictures, occasionally pointing and smirking and then going outside. There is free beer outside, and I don’t blame them. Most people are dressed for colder weather, which I’m guessing is necessary. I’m being 100% Jamaican tonight, comfortable.
There is only one cold night I remember in Jamaica, and it was when I had a 103 degree fever, and my mother was dousing me in alcohol and cool water to bring my temperature down. It is also the first time I remember being delirious, and later I would hear I was rambling about video games and women with small breasts. (Okay, this isn’t true, but I wish it was, I was twelve).

Tonight is warm. I’m at Fight Club! A spot betwixt two large main roads in a back alley. This place feels like the scene from a really cool indie movie. The door to enter is a huge piece of Zinc, and inside has skateboard ramps, junk and lots of people that wish they were artists. DC people don’t dress artsy, nor do they act it. I talk to two girls while looking on a series of photographs that depicts people in different perspectives of distance. “I’m weird.” One of them says. I ask her why, and she tells me she is weird simply because it is, like the Gulf War happening and socks always smelling bad at the wrong times. Her friend, who is at least six foot seven, agrees that she too is a bit weird. Actually, she said she felt like the person in another photograph parallel to the exhibit we were looking at. It was a clown in various areas in DC. She said she felt like the picture where the clown was sitting by himself in a train.
I didn’t get it.

I go outside to get some beer and schmooze with the attendants. The kegs aren’t working, and the beer is mostly foam, but I smile and make sure to tip them each time I come for another beer. Like dressing for the cold, tipping is something I learned in America. Tipping in Jamaica isn’t comfortable, or necessary. The value of tipping works out later on. At the bar, I get smiles from three average looking blonde girls, and this guy who looks like a German trapped in an American’s body.

There is a skating room in this spot, a semi-cavernous area with ramps that allow boarders to skate on walls, the ceiling and wipeout in glorious 3d. Several of the very distracted photo exhibit patrons aren’t distracted in here. They are fixed with generous aplomb, watching skaters with tight pants threaten their skulls with possible concussions. I have a fond relation to skateboarding. A few years ago, I decided to become a professional skateboarder. I tried this for two years and then my knees began hurting unforgivably anytime I tried to Ollie. Now, like the distracted herd, I just watch.

By the wall is a tall girl, with a Winona Ryder hair cut peering through a set of bars into the skate room (yes there is a window with prison style bars erected). I ask her a lame question, somewhere along the lines of: Are you a photographer? She laughs and says no, and I can see her features more clearly. A strong face, with high cheekbones, a straight nose and thin lips. I peg her to be European. “I am no a photo-grapher.” She says with a slight accent. I smile, my international travels haven’t failed me.
“Let me guess where you are from.” I say with a wry smile. Her eyes open slightly wider, and I can see her brain sending calculations my way:
1)    Who is this guy
2)    How does he know I’m foreign
3)    Why is he wearing a gay Euro shirt.
“You are from France.” I say.
I actually think she’s German, but I say France to throw off the scary factor pegging her might bring. “I’m from Germany.” She says with a smile. She laughs, and shows a row of very straight teeth. Germany has good orthodontists.
When I ask her what she’s doing in DC, she says, “Oh, I make marketing for a large car company.”  I raise an eyebrow, feeling my playful side emerge like a rude kid in a unsupervised environment.
“You ‘make’ marketing?” I say. “Did you ‘create’ industry as well?”
Before she can respond, I grab her and laugh. “I’m just kidding!” I say with a big smile.

Four more times that night, I would say she “makes marketing”. Its no longer just a playful jab at her English, it becomes our joke. A little insider thing that we’ll laugh about in a year when I meet up with her in Munich. I don’t know how, but it will happen. I already see myself at the Schoenfeld airport (or wherever takes me close to Munich).We will hug, drink strong beer and take a tour of the city, then when we become intimate, I will stand up in my underwear and proclaim “LET US MAKE SEX!”

Her English is actually very good, and a tall, intense German guy behind her seems very displeased that we are speaking. At some point, I go to get another beer. For a second, stepping outside feels like being in Jamaica. It is relatively warm, the sky is over head and I’m drinking in the presence of a lot of people. Back home we call these kinds of outings Sessions, sans the psychiatrists and immediate diagnoses of Bi-polar disorder.

I’m determined to get my money’s wroth (its ten bucks all you can drink ) and I’m starting to get a light buzz. A slight drizzle comes down, and a girl in front of me says: “ Hey, do black girls drink beer?” (She is black). She is surrounded by five cute women. “Of course not! Black women drink mixed drinks!” I say with a laugh. Her friends laugh. Conversation ensues and I find out these ladies all went to school in Texas together. Like most conversations in Washington D.C after the first three questions, people start asking what each person does. The sequence is usually:
Hello how are you?
Where are you from?
What do you do?

I tend not to speak like that. I tell the girls that I don’t like asking people what they do seconds after meeting them, so one of them, a statuesque Mexican girl, improvises. “What’s your favourite color?” she asks. In the light drizzle, I’m temporarily taken back to high school, when things like “favourite movie”, “favourite color” and “what did you do today” plagued my phone conversations with girls. Everyone in the group chats about their favorite color. I initially say my favourite color is light blue, but after two minutes I realize currently its light purple. At this point, all five girls begin chatting about my shirt. “Purple would look great on you,” one says.”Thanks.” I reply.

The conversation goes in and out for a while. Everyone is lightly buzzed, and we are all talking about nothing in particular, and certainly nothing important. I tell the ladies I’ll be sorry to leave soon because I’m heading to Wonderland. “Wonderland? That’s where we are going!” they say with a twinkle. “Ah, it’s settled then, we are all going there.” At this point, a guy I know, Patrick comes in, and entertains the group with hilarious dynamics regarding African parents and the pressure that comes with Barack Obama being the President-elect.
Putting on a faux Nigerian (or proper depending on how you look at it, he is Nigerian), he says. “My mother would say, ‘Obama is now the president of the United States. You need to be President of a company.”

His voice is hilarious, but I realize now that in typewritten form these things might not come across as that funny. I run upstairs to take a tinkle and run into the roommate of a girl I once hooked up with. “You know,” she says. “Mercedes went back to California.” (of course her name isn’t Mercedes!). “Oh.” I said. (Mercedes fell off the map several months ago, this revelation is news to me.) I chat to her for two minutes then run upstairs. There are about fifty people in line, and they don’t look distracted, but intensely focused. I have to find an alley. I run outside and find a little spot between two huge Garbage bins.

In the near distance, I hear the chatter of a large group of girls. Its my crew. They are a little drunk, but still cute. Out of five girls, four of them are roughly five foot eight. They almost start walking in the opposite direction of the metro, but I tell them the correct way nicely. I’ve learned that some girls get unusually angry over trivial things if they are corrected, like the day’s date, their name and the location of obvious places. We play little games in the metro station while we wait for the train to come. It’s a thirteen minute wait, and we end up snapping at least two dozen pictures from two different cameras and I pick up two of the girls and playfully spin them around.

On the train, we walk in all beer breath and loud laughs. The train is filled with people, and they all give us the “these people are drunk” eye. In a way, I probably was a little drunk. We take more pictures, with me lying in the laps of three of the girls, one girl danced on a pole, and another took a random picture with two guys chilling in the back. When we reach the Columbia heights metro stop, I speed up the escalator and run outside. Time to tinkle again. I find another quiet area between two large garbage pans again.

Tonight is quite random, but somewhat normal for me. I am a floater, like a little piece of flotsam on the sea. I head back to the metro station and take a quick look back down the steps of the escalator, but I don’t see the girls. I do a light jog to Wonderland, and I don’t see them in line. The bouncer knows me by face, and I try and break the line, and he forcefully (but in a friendly way) tells me I can’t cut the line. Its okay, and I go to the back, then see the girls appear in the distance.
“Where did you go!” they said. “You ditched us!” the tall Mexican says.

In the line (as always), one of the girls sees someone she recognizes and they start talking. I’ve been in the line for five minutes before I realize that there usually is never a line at Wonderland. When I reach inside, the place is like a tiny rugby locker room with a full team inside. I’m holding the hand of one of the girls, the only one under five foot eight. She’s never been to Wonderland and I’m leading her to the bathroom to show her where it is. I exchange strange pleasantries with a guy in line, and the little one goes in. I see the others come inside, and head straight to the bar. In the line, the tall Mexican kept mentioning going back to her place and playing guitar Hero. It sounded like fun. Five girls in their jammies, playing Guitar hero till five in the morning, good times.

There were endless people upstairs. The music was good and everyone was dancing. I rarely dance these days, but tonight I danced with everyone. I had a moment with the tall Mexican against the wall on the stage where the DJ was. Dancing with the girl who asked “Do black girls drink beer”, we hit the DJ deck and cause the music to stop for three seconds. I danced with the little one somewhere near the staircase. I did drunk Salsa with the other tall one (the third of four) somewhere near a coat rack. In the mix were several random (and oddly, short) girls. I ran into a few friends that I see every other week. These are people that pop up like the Men In Black. I could be in Dupont, Adams Morgan, George Town, or Kayaking on the Potomac. They would always roll by and say, “Wow Marcus, I see you everywhere!”

The rest of the night goes by in the usual blur. I am having a relatively good time, but I’m not ecstatic. My plan is working perfectly; that is, I planned to go to a photo exhibit and then probably hit up Wonderland afterwards. These girls were incidentals.

The girls say they are leaving. The Mexican mentions guitar hero again and her place. We leave, and I realize there are nine people now. Two very tall blonde guys are walking with us, as well as a short, strange-looking Ethiopian fellow. I don’t’ know where these guys came from, and what makes everything weirder is they aren’t’ speaking, just tagging behind. I found out the Ethiopian looking guy was a work colleague of the Mexican (or was it another one?) So he was in.

Its raining now, and a friend of mine is trying to get the play by play via phone. I foolishly keep texting him while rain drops are hitting the face of my phone. In a few minutes, the 4 and 9 button my phone stop working. Then, the phone starts mysteriously displaying random numbers on screen. Bad news.
I can’t text, and the phone shuts off a few times. We have been walking for about fifteen minutes, when the Mexican says, “I hope you have a way home, I’m not bringing you home with me.” I almost paused (if it wasn’t raining and I hadn’t walked god knows how far). “What do you mean?”
“You can’t come home with me,” she says in a sing-song voice.
“It’s raining…” I say.
“I’ve walked home in the rain before.” She replies, with an almost sarcastic smile on her face,

For a second, I wonder what’s happening. I wasn’t even interested in the Mexican, from early on she said she had a boyfriend. A few seconds after she makes her declaration of No guitar hero and pillow-fighting with five cute girls, we cross the street and everyone (except me ) goes into an apartment building.

I get upset for three minutes. I am upset mostly because my phone is not working, and it is raining and I don’t see any cabs. After three minutes, I laugh to myself. I’ve been in worse situations. Getting ditched by a few drunk girls a few steps from their doorway is child’s play. But I really wanted to play some guitar hero.

%d bloggers like this: