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Culture Shock: We Love Balls – Column


Culture Shock: We Love Balls

Photos and captions by Chad Van Wagner, our man in Japan

Two years and counting, and I’m still in the middle of what appears to be absurdity.

Emphasis on “appears.” It’s easy to slip into arrogant mockery when surrounded by the unfamiliar, particularly when the unfamiliarity in question is one that is as wide-eyed and bushy-tailed as Japanese Culture. The willy-nilly embracing of English, regardless of actual comprehension, is bound to lead to the inevitable silliness, but who the hell am I to laugh? Seriously.

Who am I? I’m a smartass, that’s who. And God only knows what atrocities I’ve visited upon the Japanese language in my recent excursions in bilingual communication. Case in point: The words for “tits” and “full, because I ate too much” are remarkably similar, so I’ll just leave it to your imagination what transpired on one fateful evening.

Which doesn’t stop me from snickering. Shit, I laughed at Americans all those years ago, what, should I stop just because I moved?

Toilet paper DOES have a shitty job.

Coming to a College Campus near you.

“Lost flatulence? Worry not!”

What could I possibly say about this which you haven’t thought already?

Don’t mind if I do!

No Comment.


“But Mom, you said swallowing sunflower seeds whole was harmless!”

The headache the next morning will be SO be worth it…