The Other Side of Lost in Translation


Meeting Tokyocooney

On April 26, I met Mr. Kevin Cooney aka Tokyocooney.

I do not remember exactly when I started watching his videos,
but at least like two years and half ago, I think.
At that time, still only a few Gaijins were doing
a vlog thing on YouTube though now there are too many to follow.
He is mosdef one of the pioneers of J-Vloggers
and still remaines as the very famous one
& one of the most popular ones if he is not THE MOST.

I am usually not the type who likes to attend this kind of meet-up.
However, I decided to do so as I have been a fan of his videos
and also because of not wanting to stay home
and be depressed that night
as my cat Maxi who had been my companion for 21 years
had passed a few days before this meet-up.

The place was a village bar called "Peculiar Bar",
which did not look peculiar at all to me
but looked like one of those
which had not changed for last 50 years or so.
and about ten people gathered there for this meet-up,
including three of his old friends,
and only one of them was female,
who Kevin claimed he had used to date.
I guess checking Gaijin's vlogs on YouTube
is a more male thing to do
or more like a male Otaku thing to be accurate maybe.

At first I felt like a little kid who met "Mr.Rogers" in person,
being puzzled about why he was not in sweet YouTube-land any more.
Actually the real Kevin talked & acted just like the one in YouTube
and told us many things about himself, Japan and J-vloggers.

Among all those subjects he talked about,
at one point, he fiercely defended Japan about whaling.
He said some kinds of whales were threaten to be extinct,
but some others were not.

Being an animal lover and anti-whaling person,
I simply do not believe there is any justifiable reason
for Japan to continue whaling.
Until like 150 years ago, a whale had been a gift from heaven
to poor fishermen villages in Japan.
And they used to catch one with simple woodden small boats
and very primitive tools like spears.
Naturally they could not
and did not have to catch whales more than that
since they did not have technologies
to preserve and transport them to distant city areas.

Now I do not know any Japanese who say that
they love to eat Whale meat at regular basis
as Japanese have too many other good things to eat
and as the matter of fact, they waste tons of food every day.
However, they still catch whales
because someone still can make money with them.

I wrote about this issue
on some Japanese magazine about two years ago,
and harshly criticised about their very low awareness of
political and social issues in general.
And one of my readers wrote that
I had been brain-washed by Americans, hahaha.

Anyway, I was actually more impressed by
how fiercely Kevin defended Japan about this issue
than his argument itself.
I could have a big urge to defend Japan
anytime I hear some U.S. media trashing Japan
and also I could have a big urge to defend America
anytime I hear Japanese unfairly criticising America,
as I feel I am somewhere in between of these two now.

Probably Kevin feels the same way as I do,
and also he wants to clarify some issues surrounding Japan
as he does not want his family and friends to wonder
why he is living in a horrible country
where people are not concerned about great animals like whales.
So for him, to defend Japan is really to defend himself
who chooses to live in Japan
which is still an odd place to choose to live
for most of Americans.

Also Kevin talked about how cruel American soldiers were
to Japanese soldiers during the pacific War,
and which cracked me up a little
because I saw a documentary just a few weeks ago on PBS,
which said the completely opposit things.

But again I felt his urge to defend Japan,
and he really was defending himself by doing so.

There were his two male friends,
one of them were his SKA band mate before he left for Japan,
and the other was the guy who lived in Japan for 8 years.

He said he did some odd jobs there
and one of them was a fake pastor.

Many young Japanese couples think that
getting married in church is romantic.
Therefore there is a demand and business for this kind of place,
a fake church-marriage hall, and a fake pastor.
Qualifications to be a fake pastor in Japan is

1) Being White
2) Looking like a pastor
3) Some acting ability

He said he made a good money as a fake pastor,
but I did not ask him then why he left Japan after 8 years
as I almost knew it.

Being a Gaijin means a being a novelty.
Most of Japanese are nice to Gaijins,
White or American/European Black people,
because Japanese see a glamorous images of
western cultures behind them,
which are exaggerated by irresponsible medias.

Some Gaijins learn to enjoy being a novelty,
but many of them don't.
That's why they leave Japan after a few years.
It is a simple fact that
we all have a desire to be accepted
as just a person by the society.

Then how come Kevin is staying there
even without being married with a Japanese girl,
which can be one big reason that some Gaijins stick to Japan.
I did not ask him but I could imagine that
one of the reasons is that he is doing well with his career.
while most of Gaijins are struggling
to go beyond teaching English and novelty type jobs.

Good for him!
and I am looking forward to seeing more of his fun videos!

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