“If someone does something wrong they are expect to come clean and apologize. One of the worst sins is to deny guilt and not come clean in such a situation. In the past, issues involving loss of face were often dealt with by revenge or suicide.”
Tokyo, also known as the Eastern Capital, is a beautiful florescent empire in neon and plasma. As far into the future as the ever present technologies of their daily modern lives go, their traditions are based in roots deeper than the shallowness of our Western philosophies and arrogant appearances. There are as many temples as there are skyscrapers. One thing I learned that if you wrong someone else, the law doesn’t interfere as much if both parties can settle the dispute themselves. Another thing I learned was that when you hand a person an item you use both hands as a sign of fair play and transparency—even when a cashier would give me my change in coins, they passed it to me with two hands.
Apparently Tokyo is very model-friendly, complete with model houses that could double as out of state college campuses. I also saw the foreign women that came in from all over Africa and other 3rd world countries because Japanese businessmen spend fortunes on the touch of an “ethnic” girl, and how in some marriages a stop at the Blow Job Store before you got home was widely accepted and encouraged. I saw these mega video gambling malls where the prize was a basket of ball bearing, and pet adoption stores that kept the animals in what appeared to be vending machines. Every street had a confusing alley to go with it and the building numbers were based on the years the building was made and not on any particular grid order making getting around without a local a guaranteed fall into the rabbit hole. Basically what I’m trying to say is that Tokyo was as traditional and mysterious as it was very advanced, progressive, and very weird.
K*****s was the owner of Club Feria, located in the Roppongi District. He was about 5 ft. 7 with a real chill backpack rapper feel about him. He came to the live graffiti art that LOVE ME and M**F did as a guest of DJ LINO and Z**T. You had to love Z**T’s hustle; he’d had no problem negotiating a party for us complete with a flyer and enough bottles to stock up for the 2nd coming of prohibition. He also somehow also got Kiwanis to consider having our gang do the live art exhibition in his nightclub. You’d think that a bunch of New York graffiti writers – whose idea of a live graffiti show was to rag each other’s name until the wall was completely textured with overlaying colors and perceived disrespect – would graciously turn down someone with a pristine five-star nightclub and very gang affiliated, but no, we accepted. Kiwanis loved us. Being that he also studied and lived in New York City from time to time, he missed the hooliganism that decorated his East Coast neighborhood. In my life I had never seen a venue owner literally ask a bunch of vandals to tag up their bathroom, and here he was asking us to do that to his entire club. Did I mention that he was the Yakuza member that owned the place?
One day, while awaiting our host at And A, we bump into a friend of N**S. Yutaman was a born and raised Japanese kid that knew him from his stay in Florida during their “INKHEADS” days. He invited us out for some authentic Japanese barbeque in a tiny local eatery were we discussed N**S dismal situation. Japanese barbeque is basically anything you can grow in a garden – wrapped in meat. Even the meat was wrapped in meat and deep fried in vegetable oil. Instead of ordering from the menu we allowed our fiery lady chef to feed us her personal choices. Somewhere after the 4th course my heart tapped out but my stomach ignored him and continued to wrestle on.
Yutamans assessment of N**S’s situation was not a welcomed one. What we thought was going to be a night in jail was looking more like a couple of weeks. On top of that the Tokyo police where actively searching for his “co-conspirators” after arresting N**S with a flyer in his possession for the And A event. In what had to be our favorite “Lost in Translation” moment: when they investigated N**S’s scrawl they saw it as “N**S LOVE ME Art Show!” announcing the exhibition and not as 2 individual and separate tags. And A was immediately notified and they nervously called our host who then tore M**T and S**F an extra asshole to bullshit out of. And A was being accused of gorilla marketing and wide spread vandalism. The guys basically had to use embassy levels of diplomacy to separate us from N**S, signing papers and downplaying our connection to him to the point where we called N**S a deranged fan. The exhibition was still allowed to go on but LOVE ME changed his tagged and signed everything with “NEVER EVER”. S**F used a spray can like a blow torch and we all had our American rock stars moment. Then we were told that the police would be there by 10pm… We cleaned up and left by 9:59.
We didn’t see N**S until a month later in New York City.
When our conversation turned towards our art project in Club Feria and K*****s’s name was mentioned, everyone within eavesdropping distance gasped and N**S’s friend face went blank like a shaken Etch-a-Sketch. I wish this moment was made up. As soon as he drew his face again he told us a story of how K*****s got into a tiff with a sumo wrestler who tried to resolve the argument by punching him in the face. The sumo wrestler – realizing what he had done – then made a public apology, paid him like a million dollars and disappeared. Do you know how bad ass you have to be to make something as big as a sumo wrestler vanish? And we have to tag up his club?? Talk about your artistic anxiety.
I saw firsthand how bad ass K*****s was. After several members of his security team couldn’t control a drunk and unruly patron, he calmly approached the wasted guy, disarmed him of his 9mm, and then casually walked him out. This – mind you – was an ultra-aggressive drunk that was shaking down very single canopy on the roof, punching in walls, and grappling with five bouncers at once while screaming his lungs out- the veins on his neck bulging like any fighter in an anime cartoon. Now he was walking out with his free will, very relaxed and sedated as if he was headed towards his first communion.
But back to us:
Nothing scared us; we were too drunk to rationalize anything. Like a toddler’s first time playing with fire, one minute we were being cautious and the next catastrophic. One night in one of Feria many levels A**O and S**F thought it would be cool to play a game of “Why are you so pouty? Here, catch this beer bottle!” One bottle landed squarely on A**O face resulting in a black eye and blood shooting out of his cheek like a faulty water gun. We didn’t even as much as look for First Aid; we just hopped in a cab and went to what I found out was the freshest fish market in the world. A**O held his face together with bar napkins while N*W and I sniffed raw wasabi to the sound of Ghostface Killah’s “Fish” coming from Z**T’s iPhone. I even boothed (inserted into my asshole) some of it, and till this day I don’t know why. A better use of my time would have been volunteering to help a Japan still reeling from a major earthquake or at least trying to find some medical help for my friend’s battered face – maybe even some legal advice for my arrested friend…
I stole the cup I was served beer in and we got chased out of the first market. Even LOVE ME, whom I had met for the first time, got into the act. My impression of him was that he was more reserved and level headed than the rest of us, but how accurate are first impressions? He dyed his hair blonde, got belligerently drunk, and tore up the dance floor with the smooth moves he learned from that “Cornhulio” episode of Beavis & Butthead – complete with his army jacket pulled over his head. One night he spent the better half of the evening covering every M**F sticker his long arms could reach while M**T followed him covering LOVE ME stickers in some drunken competition in waste.
A**O’s bruised face and our crumpled sticker cakes was a perfect analogy for our trip. We were unkempt and faceless for six days straight, not one of us ever exercising any restraint or common sense at all.
Now let’s rewind back.
The lights of Roppongi started to shimmer during my minor panic attack. I was alone – and dirty. Everyone looked suspect. With S**F and his pursuer’s gone with the wind, my paranoia induced xenophobia was starting to set in. I felt like a child in one of those “I forgot my son at an airport” commercials. Every step I took was another one met with a vomiting Asian or an aggressive African who felt I really needed a blow job and knew just the girls with the skill sets for my ailment. In retrospect my anxiety made it feel like I was alone for an hour; in all honesty, it was about two minutes. DJ LINO and his Swedish meatball of a model where standing right outside to the left of where everything had just went down. They weren’t even aware of the malarkey S**F and I had gotten ourselves into and didn’t waste time in asking me questions as they quickly shoved me into a getaway cab. I wasn’t even being chased, but that didn’t stop me from ducking into the back seat when we drove past Club Jumangi.
The ride was what I could only describe as a couple of lefts and rights. My overwhelming “vandal on the run” fright night had me on blackout levels of drunken nervousness. How I got to White Room—another after hour’s club in the Roppongi district (every club felt like it was an afterhours)—at 6AM still eludes me to this day. How I randomly found A**O in front of a Japanese 7-11 also eludes me. I told him about S**F and he traded me a story about how he was at some club called “Club Asia” (racist?) and was chased out by security and escaped by wriggling out of his really cool shark swallowing a shark t-shirt.
The shark t-shirt anecdote broke my frozen in headlights anxiety (not really; I was too alcohol-dumb to be scared, which is a very necessary emotion needed for basic survival) and off to White Room we went. We said goodbye to DJ LINO and ping ponged shots with two Canadian girls till eight in the morning. A**O slobbered on one ‘til she evicted his fingers from her vagina, while I promised the other one marriage if she ever came to the States and needed a work visa. Finally I was just a jolly old wing man.
Both girls abandoned us with our liquor boners and we stumbled out into the eyeball-rape that was the Tokyo morning sun. We walked half a block until we reach a major intersection where we could catch a cab, then realized we were only around the corner from Club Jumangi. Before I could do an “uh oh” and turn the other way, we magically bumped into S**F and Z**T. That brought out the way-too-intoxicated, happy-to-see-you cheerleaders-in-high-school greetings from all of us. Except for S**F. Z**T thought this was hilarious, especially being that he’d slept twenty hours from when I’d last seen him the night before and was now in great spirits.
But S**F was definitely not amused.
Not in the slightest.
“Yo you motherfuckers look crossed-eyed,” he said, a disgusted look on his face.
“Son what happened?” I asked.
“I got fucking chased out because of you! Why did you even take that big ass tag in the bathroom?”
My eyes rolled back into my head like a turn on a losing slot machine and the letters ‘TILT’ popped up.
“Fuck this I’m out.”
“But yo where are you going?”
“I’m going back to the hotel with Z**T to get breakfast.”
He stops a cab; they both get in.
“Yo son hold up we going with you…”
I go to reach for the door, but S**F grabbed it and slammed it shut, punctuating the moment with a “FUCK YOU GUYS!” as the cab sped off. A**O and I just looked at each other, grimaced, then broke out into laughter. We grabbed some food and a couple more cans of beer and went back to his hotel room where we shared a bed and promised to never tell anyone.
Later, I woke up and walked all the way back to my hotel room. After sleeping for most of the day I dusted myself off and asked S**F what had happened, being I couldn’t recall our previous conversation or anything for that matter
“Motherfucker I got arrested because of you. I ran as fast as I could but then my legs gave out and that Nigerian fuck caught me. They held me in jail until the club owner accepted my apology or some shit. They me had in a cell for like four hours till DJ LINO and Z**T came and got me.”
“HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Wow, um, well how did you apologize? Did you say I’m sorry?”