a The Transit Lounge: June 2004

Back in the Day: I had a quarter life crisis, headed to Osaka, Japan for the unknown–only to discover that a passport plane ride are not necessarily a ticket to escape. Some Years Later: Settled back in Oz, the man of my dreams ended up in Tokyo for work–which is how a passport and plane ride showed me home is where the heart is. And Now: Well as luck would have it, we are about to embark on Japan Mark 3, with a baby in tow and another on the way...

Monday, June 28

Tortoise Island - An Introduction

"Welcome to Tortoise Island. A luxury 5-star resort, located in the tropical heart of the South Pacific, we are dedicated to bringing you a unique and extraordinary holiday experience, while showing commitment and dedication through ecotourism to the surrounding communities, their people and their environment."

Lacey couldn't believe her luck. Flicking through the publicity pack and reading this excerpt from Tortoise Island's press release, Lacey was still shaking with excitement at having just landed a job as the Personal Assistant to the Director of Tortoise Island - "an award-winning resort renowned the world over for its development and implementation of ecotourism as well as for its supreme opulence and exclusivity" (also in the press release). Why only 20 couples were permitted to stay on the island at any one time, and children were only allowed during designated times each year.

Okay, so she wasn't going to be based anywhere near the island itself - in fact Lacey was going to be working out of the resort's head office in Melbourne. But this young woman could feel that such opportunities would flow her way as a result of this position.

The Director, one Alexander L. Featherstoner, was a man, as he told it to Lacey directly, involved in a great number of projects that included directorships on University Boards, aiding and funding projects in rural parts of the country and still consulting at his former patent law firm. He also mentioned to Lacey during her first interview, held in the boardroom of the head office, that he frequently rubbed shoulders with the cream of society and could count the country's political leaders amongst his close friends. Alexander, for his name was always written and spoken in full - he had never been known as simply Alex or Xander, supposed that Lacey, herself an avid reader of all press, would undoubtedly know his name and face from the social pages of the local rags. While she sat opposite Alexander nodding as though this was indeed true, inside her head, Lacey was thinking that she had, in reality, never heard his name before this day.

In the course of their second meeting together, in which Alexander offered Lacey the position, she noticed that he reminded her a number of times that one of her smaller, but definitely not lesser tasks, would be to comb newspapers and cut out the numerous articles that were written about him - oh and the island - for scrapbook purposes. 'Obviously a man of importance,' Lacey told herself. It didn't matter to Lacey at that time, that she could not recall ever reading a piece about him or his work. Amongst other things, Lacey's duties would include co-ordinating Alexander L. Featherstoner's hectic diary, organising his travel plans, liasing with staff on Tortoise Island itself, as well as working closely with employees in the Melbourne office and occasionally assisting his wife with minor tasks.

If it ever occurred to Lacey at this time that Alexander seemed to posses a great deal of self importance, she certainly didn't entertain the thought for long.

Lacey was asked to start in her new role 3 days later. It was going to be a learning opportunity and a memorable experience, Lacey thought. And she was right. It ended being all of that and much more, but not for the reasons Lacey first imagined, nor for any reason she could ever have imagined.

To be continued...

Saturday, June 26

Lonely Hearts Club Land

Loneliness. If anywhere it is so apparent, it is Japan. In fact, I would not be surprised if Loneliness is in fact the driving force behind the economy. Never before have I seen such capitalisation on an aspect of life society generally tries to ignore.

You just need to look outside my apartment windows into the neon-concrete jungle below, and take in the bustling sights of the hostess clubs, drinking bars, the "rub and tug" corner girls and love hotels all competing against each other for the business of the lonely.

In a land that considers single ladies over the age of 25 past their use-by date, and with a male to female ratio ensuring that the are many local men who will never even have a girlfriend, it is no wonder that Loneliness equals big money.

Hostessing for instance, where women are paid good money to basically be drinking buddies to professional men who would never have contact with a woman otherwise, keeping in mind the majority work 15 hours a day, 6 days a week. (When do they sleep? you might ask. Well that is where the crystal meth factors in, so even the dealers are making their fair share of money from this social problem). Personally, I felt hostessing was a different avenue of acting. The women in their role as the lonely ones, who need the male company, the men as the playboys, who have different girlfriends around town (when this is simply a metaphor for the other hostesses they sit with at other clubs) because in the end they want to feel like someone cares for them, they want to feel special, and they want to feel wanted, even if it comes at a price.

Upon arriving in Japan, my first experiences with Loneliness came in the form of customers in the hostess bar, the Japanese salary man. Then little by little, hearing stories from male friends trying to teach older, single Japanese women who would go to any lengths to learn the Language of Love rather than English, I saw that the problem didn't just affect the male population here. However, I certainly never entertained the notion of a whole community of ex-pats out here, feeling exactly the same way.

Once again, working in a bar environment, I am confronted with Loneliness every night, but this time of the gaijin variety. Sure, gaijin bars are just like bars back home. Yet I have decided that while people are not directly paying for a companion to sit with them, in a sense with each drink they buy, they are buying the bar's time.

Whether it is another patron, the bartender or on occasions even their own drink they wind up talking to, that's not important. What does matter is that for a few hours they are surrounded by people and voices - and they can disregard the ones in their heads telling them to go home. The Loneliness that will inevitably come at last drinks, lights up, is held at bay. Even then you still see some linger, with looks of hope on their faces as they eye off the remaining members of the opposite sex, in a last ditch effort not to go home alone.

When it comes down to it, people across the globe have the same basic desire, the desire to be loved. I believe for a healthy mental relationship, this desire must be met - each of us needs to feel needed. But I am not sure if creating a false sense of this feeling, is necessarily the right way to go about fixing it. Still, I guess for the millions of people trying to survive in this Lonely Hearts Club Land, it is all they have.

Monday, June 21

The World Is Not Enough

Think glitz, think glam, think the good life. Add good looking people and great beats from dusk til dawn to the mix, and you would have found yourselves at our James Bond theme party at Freeza Saturday night. Organised by one of the djs to put a different spin on things at the bar (and also as a sayonara party for 2 other djs), it was by far THE best night I have had in Japan so far - I cant believe I get to work at this place!

The energy of the night was amazing, an absolute high, even though I was completely rushed off my feet - at the beginning of the night, I was a little shabby from drinking too much the previous night (I was like Cal, just tell me everything will be ok, make me fall asleep), and was wondering how I was going to pull through, but time flew so fast, despite the fact I vetoed alcohol for the entire evening. Even though I was technically working, everyone was so relaxed so we hammed it up behind the bar a lot, we danced as much as the crowd did, and we can chewed off a lot of ears. It was encouraged to dress up and get in the spirit of things. We served cheap martinis all night (though stirred and definitely not shaken since we lost the lids to the shakers....). Those of us that work there got into it - working behind the bar is basically me, Ibek - when he is not djing and he is the owner too - and his wife Chie. Then there are 2 or 3 other girls who come in to help out - clearing ashies, glasses etc and to keep the vibe genki - man can they dance. So we chickies got to be Bond girls for the night - They were all very suprised to see me in heels and fishnets, because I think I am the only bartender in Osaka who wears thongs behind the bar. The heels lasted for about an hour before the sneakers came out. I think the costume of the night has to go to one of the djs who was leaving - he came fully tuxed up and when he asked me to make him a strong drink, I couldnt go past the martini of course....he knocked a fair few of those back and Ibek showed me this trick with lighting lemon rind (who knew lemons were flammable??) to add a bit of flavour to the martinis - which as far as Im concerned are rocket fuel, and I like gin...If anyone actually enjoys drinking martinis, they need their heads read. Unfortunately, when it was time for Mr Bond to play, he got changed because it was so hot.

Freeza is not large by any stretch of the imagination - I am trying to think of somewhere in Melbourne to compare it to size wise but all I can come up with is it being at least half the size of that bar Orange in Chapel St. So yes TINY - plus being a bar in Japan, it is of course tucked away in the back corner of a building on the second level, and can be reached only through a maze of corridors. So we are FULL maybe with 30 people - we had about 70 to 80 people crammed in, so then anything that wasnt nailed down was moved out in to the corridors to make room. I had no idea just how many people were around until Pete fought his way to the bar and said I had to take a break and come outside and see what was going on. I was absolutely amazed at the sight before me - the corridors were jammed pack with smiling, happy faces of suited up people just getting down to the music and having one hell of a good time. The music was incredible, the best I have heard my whole time here (and of course none of the djs were Japanese - when it comes to djing, they play alot of stuff that makes your brain malfunction). The doors of the bar were flung open for the whole of Minami to hear and nobody cared for anything but the moment. I was told at the busiest point (which lasted for about 4 hours, from 1am to 5am) there were close to 150 people outside.

We would have kept the bar open til late Sunday morning, if Ibek had not have been playing at Nudic - The place Pete keeps getting thrown out from. So at 6am, the lights came up and it was really just a matter of venue change - everyone that was at Freeza, moved to Nudic and I finally got to relax in the corner with a much needed GnT. The problem was, everyone wanted to chat some but all I wanted to do was sit in the corner and listen to the psychadellic psycho babble tumbling out of Jeff and Cam's mouths - it was the funniest gacktalk I have heard in a long while. The truly amazing thing was that Pete had received a life ban from Nudic on Friday night and Jeff and Cam had managed to talk them into letting Pete in, on the proviso he was on his best behaviour. What really shocked me was that Pete really was on his best behaviour, even if it did involve him siting on his hands, and the bartender asking me to make sure he didnt move. What was really quite scary was that after about half an hour, I realised I was surrounded by the exact same people 24 hours beforehand - ie all the other bartenders and owners who have come in for the knock off drinks. What was even freakier is that another bar had put on a Superhero party that night - if you have ever wanted to know what would happen if James Bond ever met Mighty Mouse/The Greatest American Hero/Superman or some weird guy dressed in a yellow jump suit that I am fairly sure he put on voluntarily, then Nudic was the place to be Sunday morning.

Note - Bond-isms, Superheros and rocket fuel martinis are a dangerous mix for anybody.

The glorious night/morning was capped off with last drinks on the rooftop of this bar, B-Trip, in the hot sun with this light breeze - the great thing about Osaka is that in most buildings you can get to the roof somehow, and many have gardens on them. Its just a matter of having a looksee and exploring. I arrived home just before lunchtime extremely sleepy, but with a big grin, just so proud of Ange for pulling the night off and elated for Ibek that it was a roaring success.

Thank goodness I have today off!! Posted by Hello

Sunday, June 20

Party Favours

"This is my Polish friend. We just met him in a supermarket and told him we'd look after him - this is his first time out in the Big Smoke." Cameron, Freeza, June 04.

"We are wired for sound." Jeff, Nudic, June 04

"Have you seen the Polish Boy?" Cameron, outside Freeza

"Just tell them its a new day, the day after the old day." Cameron advising Pete how to get around his life ban at Nudic.

"Here's to music that makes you feel good." Jordan, B-Trip, June 04

"Where did the Polish boy go?" Cameron, Inside Freeza

"Let's sofa surf." Jeff, Nudic, June 04

"I'm going to find the Polish Boy." Cameron, Somewhere between Freeza and Nudic

"Im behaving myself tonight." Pete, Nudic 04

Jeff: "Where's Cameron?"
Liz: "Same place as the Polish boy."

"I think Jeff has finally woken up." Peter, Nudic

Thursday, June 17

And Now For The Age of Digicolour...

This is really a test to see how I go with posting photos on my blogsite.so I thought I would introduce myself (bottom of photo) with 3 of my best mates (going clockwise from me, Stella, The Divine Miss M and LeighRoy *my nicknames for them all). This was taken on my quickie visit back home last month. I love this photo because it sums up how I feel whenever I am with them - i can be myself, they keep me safe (like the big hug they are giving me!) and I cant stop smiling when I am with them. LeighRoy I have known for since I was about 9 or 10 - well forever anyway, but he was lost to me due to circumstances beyond our control between about the ages of 17 and 23. I remember LeighRoy and one of his mates teaching me to drive and stalling the car on the way to his parents house in the middle of Dorset Rd Mountain Highway intersection during a left hand turn. It was such a spin out catching up with LeighRoy again, and I wear THAT Dangerfield top with pride. He has the best sense of humour, and "Displacement" gets me everytime (that whole night in Hoppers Crossing makes me wonder in fact...) He is there for me in every which way a friend could be, even when it includes a teary phone call taking place whilst throwing up in a gutter outside a party in Elsternwick asking him to come and get me and take me to a place far, far away (or just put me to bed). He can wear red like no other. Inadvertently I met Stella through LeighRoy about 2 years ago - she thought I was cool cause I knew the DJ. The she realised I was just cool all by myself. What can I say? The rest is history. She knows how to make me laugh - like belly laugh til you wet your pants. In fact, I would never had met her at all, since I had misplaced my glasses at the time and didnt feel like going out, if Leigh had not have said "Taxi is coming by your house in 5 minutes, get in it." Eildon, David Bowie, rollerskating at The Duke, singing Dusty Springfield at the tops of our voices, or getting glammed up 80s style for a ripping NYE and rooftop action, and all the rest in between, this girl has it going on. And she just truly remains the gregging Stella chick she is. Paige I met at the Greatest Birthday Ever *my 24th, all its greatness owed to LeighRoy and Stella for making me realise friends are what counts, not the male of the moment in your life at the time. We clicked, and I introduced her to Revolver and the whole revolting revolution revival it reveals. Paige and I have this habit, which involves drinking absinthe, and telling tall tales - and just being hysterical. We also to used to Love Rocket down Bridge Road for reasons known only to us and lament over both the PEG-maker men in our lives, hers luckily all the way in Scotland, and mine unluckily as close as Richmond. We also have a plan to write a film. We used to get together to specifically write, meeting at the pub first, and then just drinking, hooking up and hitting the town. Not much writing got done but we did have many adventures that we would invariably say must end up in the film - ahhh Jarrad the homma, taking photos of Vaughan's blue jacket around town and THAT unspeakable night at The Lounge. I love these guys and miss 'em dearly. Posted by Hello

Wednesday, June 16

Call of the Night

J: "Are you gonna brush your teeth?"
L: "Why?
J: "Cause you just threw up!"
L: "Did I?"


No explanation needed.


B: "I'm going hooome."
Everyone: "The place that you reside?"


C: "I feel sorry for wankers. They have no genuine friends and no-one does them any favours."

Tuesday, June 15

Quick Catch Up

I just wanted to say quickly that I'm sorry for the lack of posting the last couple of weeks, a direct result of a fast 10 days back in Oz and a bloody hectic work schedule last week (ie about 40 hours instead of the usual 10!). Thanks for the comments and emails I have received, please keep it up - I really want feedback. Time to bust a move - I'm suddenly awake, after coming home from work almost dead to the world, and then deciding to sample this diet tea drink called "Healthya" that is so loaded with caffeine (it is a rare occasion I drink any tea or coffee), I am now bouncing to the moon and back. A few friends are out on the town - this is Japan afterall, dont let the fact that it is only Tuesday fool any of you - and since I have this energy to burn Im about to scoot off on my bike. Actually, I set the kitchen on fire before , and the smoke is choking me somewhat and stinging my eyes so I need to get out. Funny, I set something at the bar on alight on saturday night too without knowing it. I hope things dont always happen in 3s! Sayornara, it's time to burn. xo

PEGs Anonymous

"Got me looking, so crazy, my baby
I'm not myself, lately I'm foolish, I don't do this,
I've been playing myself, baby I don't care
'Cuz your love's got the best of me,
And baby you're making a fool of me,
You got me sprung and I don't care who sees,
'Cuz baby you got me, you got me, so crazy baby"
- Crazy In Love, Beyonce

When you reach your mid twenties, you come to a realisation that most of the guys you have dated over the past 4 or 5 years seem to have at least one common factor – besides the fact they have never really moved on from yourself - and that is the that they have all had a "psycho ex girlfriend", or PEG as I have abbreviated it to.

Think about it carefully. There will always be that one girl he refers to only as Psycho, and you hear countless stories that only reinforce to you that she was indeed a psycho and nothing less, to the point where you start telling your girlfriends about your man's PEG and her psycho actions with wide-eyed incredulity.

Maybe you spy a pic of her which starts you wondering. How did she pull off 'normal' long enough to get this lovely, intelligent man to fall victim to her ways? Who in their right mind would commit such acts? What could make such a gorgeous (bitch!), seemingly normal girl psycho? Because you have no doubt that what your guy is saying must true and not exaggerated in the slightest.

Where do these girls come from anyway? Surely born and bred in the trailer park, bound for nowhere but the set of a Jerry Springer show! Yet from the terrifying tales you have heard, you know she used to whack him over the head with her Prada hand bag, tried to gouge his eye balls out with Quick Brown Fox stilletos on several occasions and gave him that scar above his right eye with the back of a Tiffany brooch - and let's not get started on the mind games! This girl had style, not to mention class. Not a hint of trailer trash to be smelled anywhere (if you think about it, probably just the latest Giorgio Aramni fragrance wafting in her wake).

My God - she sounds just like women you know, maybe even just like you. But surely no-one you know would so this? Or would they?...

Stop and consider your own relationships and those of your girlfriends - as I was forced to as a consequence of some actions that shall remain vague to all apart from me and the man in involved, whose hair would have ended up red if I had not had an attack of the guilts *in my case, called sobering up the next morning* and sent him an SMS begging him not to use his shampoo (let's just say I was always got top marks in chemistry at university, but why I was carrying peroxide with me that night anyway is anyone's guess).

I became aware that we have all had a man, just ONE man (of those I remembered who had had more, it really was a case of the girl being on the very wrong side of neurotic) who had this crazy hold on us, sending us into a frenzy everytime he called and even more of a frenzy every time he didn't. As out sista in crime, Beyonce, so eloquently puts it: "I'm not myself, lately I'm foolish, I don't do this."

(If any of my girlfriends read this and think 'nah, not me', I made a list for research purposes, so yes, I will be able to identify yours if in doubt).

But next I began to ponder why I was driven to behave so abysmally, and make an outright fool of myself, and how every action causes a reaction, on both sides of the arguement. And I also recalled that in relation to the guy that would send me bananas, he referred to EVERY girl in his past as a PEG and even used this as an excuse when I caught him in bed with an ex-girlfriend.

Although I could not fully justify all of my deeds, nor would he be able to rationalise all of his, I came to understand that the girls in question probably weren't the pyscho biatches that should be straight jacketed and locked away in an asylum, as he made them out to be. In fact I was suddenly conscious of the fact that these so-called PEGs and I all had one thing in common - HIM, and that in hindsight, him labelling all the women in his past as PEGs should have sent the alarm bells ringing in my head, had he not had me so oblivious to it all. Afterall, these girls ARE just like you and me - perfectly normal (most of the time).

So before you start slagging off the PEG of your current flame to your girlfriends, ask yourself "What on earth did he do to drive this girl to such lengths?" and keep in mind that there’s every chance that you are in fact playing the lead role of PEG in a narrative for one of the fellas in your past.

There's a PEG lurking in us all.

Saturday, June 12

Quotes of the Time

You might not understand some of these, but it is really to make those involved laugh. The one thing about my mates here that I truly treasure is that they make me laugh and I do the same for them.

"I'm so glad football doesn't dominate my life anymore." Cal, as he was putting up Collingwood posters all around the house, March 04, Tennoji.

"Dumb and Beautiful - The way all men should be." Liz, March 04, American Beauty.

"What are you talking about Willis?" Peter constantly.

"Did she honestly look in the mirror and think 'F%*k, I look good tonight?'" Liz, constantly.

"I've got my Happy Mondays hat!" Cal and Liz, ongoing, Japan

"I am human and I need to be loved." Peter on the Freeza wall, March 04, Japan.

Liz: "Nah I'm not drinking tonight." March 04, Vinyl
Ange: "What do you want then?"
Liz: "Gin and Tonic."

"I always feel crook in the guts after a night on the turps. I don't understand it." Cal, April 04, Tennoji

"Australia, your chicken is ready!" Pete and Liz, April 04, Margarita Mamas

"Im not going out tonight. I'll be at Freezer til 3, then I'll head to Nudic." Liz to Jordan, April 04, On her way out.

"You can't call this work. This is where I come to relax after my weekend." Pete, Izumichuo, May 04

Akira: "That's the difference between you and me. I like staying on my throne."
Liz: "That's why they call me Diana - I'm the People's Princess." May 04, Freeza

Darbs: "But she was male."
Pete: "Yeah but you kissed her." June 04, Walking through Namba

"I just came back for a drink." Liz, in Melbourne on being questioned why she was in Oz, May 04, Hub Cap

"If you're Patsy, that means I'm Eddie....oh shite." Liz to Akira, May 04, McDonalds

"What do you mean beer is fattening?" Cal, May 04, Tennoji

"I'm worried that underneath all that fat, she has a really good body." Liz to Akira, June 04, Shinsabashi

Pete: "Moshi Moshi Mushhead, Im mushmush."
Liz: "Mushi mo Mushi To(e)" trying to say 'Watashi Mo' (Me too) feeling as equally mushy, June 04, Somewhere between .

Darbs: "Tell me to go home."
Liz: "Go home."
Darbs: "Tell me rudley."
Liz: "F%*k off, go home."
Darbs: "What was that for?" June 04, Nudic

"I dont think I needed that halfer." Pete to Liz, every weekend after being filled in on the events of the previous night, ongoing, Nipponbashi

Olivier: "The first time I met you...what was I saying again?"
Liz: "The first time I met you, I laughed." June 04, Nudic

Akira: "That's an elephant turtle!"
Lizzie: "Maybe beastiality is En Vogue here." June 04, Nudic

"I don't pour champagne, I just drink it." Liz to Onoda, upon overfilling the glasses with Moet (this is recycled), Nipponbashi

Rich: "Short skirts are back."
Pete: "Really?"
Rich: "You know you used to look good in a mini."
Pete: "Did I?"
Liz: "And then he woke up." June 04, Rooftop Drinks

"I woke up in the car, hugging a bottle of vodka." Akira, June 04, Driving home through Kita

"If you can answer this, you will have your solution." Liz to Pete, June 04, Tennoji.

"Bad Boys 2 - Too Bad....too shit." Cal, June 04, Tennoji

"Did her mother dress her?" Pete, June 04, Osaka FM

"She had one too many spoonfuls of sugar - to help the valium go down." Liz, June 04, Osaka FM

Darbs: "Happy Pants are back"
Liz: "Really?"
Darbs: "You know you used to look good in Happy Pants"
Liz: "How did you know I had pair?" June 04, Osaka FM

Darbs: "Melbourne I can take, but Sydney isnt good for tourists."
Liz: "Cause Adelaide is such a hotspot, isn't it?" June 04, Osaka FM

"Japan is the one place where it is acceptable for bartenders to get as paraletic as, or more than, the patrons - and no one cares." Jason, June 04, Midosuji Line

"Why...WHY are they so freaky?" Cal, June 04, Tennoji

Foreigner Fever

The following important health message concerns all male persons entering The Republic of Japan and staying for an extended period of time.

It has come to the attention of the administrator of this site that travel in Japan is no longer the carefree, safe practice it used to be. It is the duty of this site to keep the general public informed of what the authorities are trying to pretend doesn't exist, of what the general public should know by right anyway. The subsequent information won't be found in your guidebooks, can't be gleaned from your travel agent and would certainly be denied by any embassy. Please read carefully.

What is Foreigner Fever?
Foreigner Fever (FF) is an infectious brain disease caused by the virus Egotistus Ginormous, most commonly affecting foreign males residing in Japan. At first illness may pass unrecognised, but if left untreated can lead to serious and permanent personality disorders.

Symptoms of FF
At the onset of infection, symptoms are often subtle and may include a heightened sense of self confidence, a slightly unrealistic view of themselves and a tendency to give their phone number out to any woman that enters their prefecture, wanted or not.

As the virus progresses, a personality change so dramatic you could be mistaken for thinking the sufferer has undergone a fullscale lobotomy, will occur. A head so swollen that one needs to enter buildings sideways and the notion of going for quantity rather than quality will emerge. Phrases such as 'She's only human' and 'If she doesn't want me she must be a lesbian' will become a part of their venacular, along with frequent references to their bed, now known as 'the workbench'. Bars and clubs become 'hunting grounds'.

At the pinnacle of contamination, the sufferer will set out on 72 hour weekends fuelled by drugs and alcohol and stop at nothing to bring a female back to their workspace, even if the gender of that female is questionable (this type of action, upon interrogation, will be met with an off-the-cuff remark such as 'But she wanted it').

How is FF caught?
FF is caught by males from extended stays, or repeated visits, to Japan. Foreign men upon finding themselves in an eastern culture are often overwhelmed by the attention of Japanese women, who are more actually more forward than most of us think. These factors combined with a man realising how much he can get away with when dealing with Japanese women, as opposed to foreign women, and tales and tips from other foreign males as to how to handle himself to get maximum exposure leads to the virus imbedding small cells within the brain of the casualty. The more contact with Japanese women, the more the cells replicate and quickly take over the prefrontal cortext,which controls a person's decision making abilities, especially in social circumstances. FF is spread by encouragement, reinforcing to themselves that their actions are positive, rather than negative. This encouragement occurs in 2 ways - from the ego tripping of males when they act all blokey and do what men do, as well as the Japanese girls attending to every whim and putting up with their atrocious behaviour.

The first step is to immediately remove access to alcohol and recreational drugs, as these only worsen the symptoms tenfold, even if is means locking the sufferer in their house and taking their keys with you.

Follow this by asking them to tell their version of the previous night's events. When finished, stay silent for a few seconds, creating dramatic effect, take a deep breath and tell them what really happened the night before, and on all those other nights. Best
again to stay silent when finished, to let fully let the shock horror sink in. Some will demand proof of what you tell them. This is easy. Simply roll up their shirt sleeves and point out all the different club/bar stamps on their arm for venue confirmation. Open up their phone and scrutinise missed/received calls as well as emails and SMSs to verify not only who they were in touch with (or harrassing), but also how late they were combing the streets for prey.

If what you say is still being questioned, compare photos on each other's phones as well as digital cameras. Chances are he will have shots of him and his mates groping girls. You will have shots of him being ejected from numerous places, vomiting on the street or passed out in the doorway of his favourite club.

This should instill in him enough fear, shock and shame to make some major personality readjustments. Place the photo of him passed on a row of bikes, with spittle hanging from his mouth, on the screensaver and wallpaper of his mobile telephone. This will be his motivation to stay healthy and should prevent relapse, because everytime he opens his phone, he is sorely reminded.

If none of the above has worked, then the only option left is surgey to the brain - a lobotomy. Although this treatment method could leave the sufferer in a vegetative state, friends and family of those that have chosen this have often reported back that they prefer them this way.

Is it possible for women to suffer from FF?

No, not at all. In Japan, not even a remote possibility. Japanese men are so shy they are more backwards than forwards, and foreign males of any talent who aren't infected with FF either have girlfriends or are gay.

I suspect my best male friend is suffering from FF, but every time I bring it up, he always denies it. The problem is, we are always drunk or gacked off our heads when I ask him so I cannot tell if the denial is genuine or false. How can I be sure?

Follow this simple test and you will have your answer.

When the night is coming to a close, head to that one seedy bar that is always open, no matter what time of the morning (you know the bar, the one where bartenders drink when they finish work, the one where those who have nowhere to go go...every town has one). Talk to the local drag queen dancing on the bar and ask your friend what he thinks of them.

If he says "Fucking Fag" you have nothing to worry about. If he says "Great Tits" get the camera out.

Saturday, June 5

My Daydreaming Reality

Everybody's reality is different I believe. We all live in our own, small worlds that will only ever be intricately logical to ourselves so that we can make some sense for ourselves, even though most of the time we are sorting through the exact same facts as someone else. We are all individuals constantly interpreting data around in our own unique ways and I feel we perceive such information in a way to make it fit within the confines of our own understanding of things.

I know I live in my imagination probably far more than what is healthy. There is nothing I like better than daydreaming, and in the literal sense too when you see someone with their head on their hand, staring out the window (or at this computer screen), with a far away look in their eyes. In the words of Spinal Tap, if I wasn't a rockstar, I would be a fulltime daydreamer. Hang on, let me change that slightly. I am a fulltime daydreamer who thinks she is a rockstar (amongst other things).

While being fully conscious of this, it still doesn't stop me from running away with the ideas in my thoughts and getting hooked on them. It is like an addicitve drug in one way, because I can't stop. DJV tells me I think too much, which then becomes a dilemma for me because I don't know where to channel these thoughts and the energy I create from them. At times I have so much to say, and I don't know where to begin or how to start or even how to make it all sound coherent to the next person. As a result, I find myself change tack during conversations constantly.

People will often assume I am not listening, or just disinterested. The truth is, I am always off with the brain waves in the back of mind sorting through them and wondering how I can make them fit into my reality, so they are at least rational to me, before I unleash them on you. Yet, I do always listen and I am always observing everything around me, inevitably getting more food for thought.

Most of the time I do like the reality I generate for myself and live in. It is safe, it is familiar and reassuring, and it is mine and mine alone. In a place where it is difficult to get a moment to yourself, I appreciate my ability to lose myself in my daydreams even more.

I just need the occasional jolt to get back to your reality every now and then.

Friday, June 4

Moving On

Sleep is not coming easily. So I thought I would read through things on my laptop, pieces that I had written earlier this year, when I came across the following.

I remember writing it and exactly how I was feeling at that moment in time. But you know what really shocked me? The fact that I am able to sit here and read it now, almost 4 months later, and smile with a certain knowledge.

I am pracitcally delirious in happiness. Why? My happiness lies in the realisation I have finally moved on, something that could only happen with me re-reading this, and being able to see just how much my outlook has changed. I generally never re-read anything I write, so maybe my sleeplessness tonight was for a very good reason.

I still don't have all the answers, and most likely never will. But that no longer matters because I'm finally free.


21 Feb 2004

People like Jordan are really good for someone like me. She can see through the bullshit, she can see to the core, she can see my soul. And sometimes I need someone just like that because often I find it hard not to pretend. When I know someone else can say to me ‘Hey Liz, it is okay to relax, you can just be you’ then I breathe a sigh of relief – it is like 'well they know my secret anyway, so there is no point in trying to tell them otherwise or be otherwise'.

Sometimes I need somebody to tell me that, because I can’t seem to do it on my own.

Why I feel I have to pretend I am still not really sure why. Sure I know some reasons why and they are pretty major too. I am so afraid my heart will never heal, that I will never find a love as intense again, that I will never be drawn to someone like that again, or that I won’t have someone feel that way about me.

Jordan is right – I have to stop being afraid and just get it out there. Although she doesn’t know my whole story, and she is well aware she doesn’t, she is still able to pick up my source of my insecurities. She is so perceptive; I often have trouble believing she is only 21. But life experience counts for a lot.

I know I am not alone. But I don’t know how that helps. I feel broken on so many different levels. And I am still hurting so much. To even admit that to myself is difficult. It is like seeing it written here now means that my pain is real. I have tried to ignore it for so long, I even moved overseas for Christ sakes only to realize these feelings have not gone away or stayed put, but instead come with me. There is no avoiding it, I simply must face it. I just wonder if I am ready, because it means not only acknowledging what went wrong, but also what I did wrong. I can’t regret because I have learned so much, but I am not so sure I am going to be able to handle what I discover about myself in the process. Already, I am not entirely sure I am a nice person. I really don’t think I am. And I am scared that this will just confirm that.

I would have waited until the end of time for this person. In fact, I am certain a part of my heart will always be waiting for this person. In a way it is all a matter of time.

I just want to be able to love someone like that again, have that person love me back the same way. It is frightening feeling like that about someone, but that is the risk you take with love. And that is what makes the love so much more special. Knowing you would do anything for this person, to help, to protect, to simply let your love be the center of your universe. I’m not talking about losing yourself in each other, because it is still possible to be like this and still be your own people. It is wrong if you need someone to complete you, like I said the other night to Jordan in America Beauty, ‘You don’t complete me, but you relax me’. We were joking around about that line from Jerry Maguire and that is what I came up with. And I think that is what it should be with the person you love. You shouldn't need someone to complete you, you should be able to do that on your own standing. But to be able to relax with someone is on another level altogether.

I worry that perhaps in my quest, I am too desperate for this and therefore wont find it – you know the old adage, when you go looking for love you wont find it. It has to find you when you are totally unprepared for it.

At times I have so much emotion within me, and at other times feel so empty.

Why couldn’t it work? Deep down I know the answers but I am not ready to admit them to myself yet. Does he still think of me? Did he really still love me or was it just a remark he could make because he knew I was going? I guess all I want to really know is if he ever thinks of me.

I would have given my all for this person. I did give my all for and to this person. Why couldn’t he see that? Why did he see it too late? Surely it is, or rather it was, time to be with me.

I listen, I read, I think but I am still no closer to a solution for the riddle inside of me. Why can’t I let go? Why did I fall so hard? I see how it has affected other relationships in my life – like my friendship with DJV – and I hate that. But it has and I have taken a lot of my frustration out on DJV, punishing him and for what? Only for it to drive us apart. I certainly didn’t want that.

I have so much I still want to say to him and make him understand. And I have so many questions for him – he left so many questions unanswered and for me, things are not completely resolved. I’m worried that I will always be pining for him. And I am also worried that he will never pine for me. Where does this leave me?

At the same time though I realize what utter despair he put me through – how bad I ended up feeling about myself, and my reactions to that. He made me act like a completely different person, someone so not me. And you know did I really want to be with someone who put me through so much emotional turmoil? All I wanted him to see was that his actions had consequences, something he refused to realize and take responsibility for. I never felt like I could be myself, and I guess here is where the communication was bad, I thought he wanted me to be someone else and I acted accordingly. In the end as it turned out, all he wanted was me as me. But it was just too far gone by that stage.

I’m not ready emotionally to be with anybody else. But why am I craving that close attention and intimacy of having that someone special? I just have to get myself happy with me first before I can go and be happy with someone else.

I am just so over thinking about him and beating myself up over it because I know now it wasn’t just me, it was him too. But I can’t help but think back to certain nights and think ‘what if?’ – but I guess I had to do my own thing too. I just hope he learned something out of it, that it wasn’t in vain completely. , I cant help but feel shortchanged – like I put all this work into helping overcome certain problems but then another girl gets to benefit from it. I guess I should be happy that I did help him get past certain issues and I can only hope he doesn’t hurt this girl as much as he did me.

I have real problems comprehending that he states he didn’t know how I felt about him. I hope I will never put myself in a similar situation. But I am so scared of being alone. He totally destroyed me. I sometimes wonder if I have the strength to rebuild, and where this strength will come from. I wish sometimes I had never met him. Although I know I have being taught a great deal from the experience. Life is a big what if sometimes.

What makes a man so terrified of his own feelings? Well in this case there is a pretty fucking big answer and an obvious one too. I just wish I didn’t have to have been caught up in it.

I guess when I was with him, I thought I was happy. But I was the saddest I have ever been. He made me feel guilty for being happy and that wasn’t fair.

He made me question myself as a person. And no-one should be able to do that to you, least of all the person you love.


Thursday, June 3

The Name Game

Late last night, as I was weaving my way through the human traffic that clogs the Ebisubashi and Shinsaibashi arcades, I ran into this guy that I know through friends, Mark. No, wait a minute - Corey. Or is it Kelly? Shite. I can never remember his name. And that's the problem.

I really should know Mr. Watzisname's name by now. For one thing, I first met him when his band played in a fundraiser I had helped organise to raise money for a charity project I am doing PR work on. I was knocked for 6 by just how attractive he was, and although we had been chatting on and off all night, by the time names were thrown around, I'd had a few GnTs under my belt and his name was apparently trivial information. I recall asking a mutual friend his name, but by the time my mate had finished telling me, it had bypassed my short term memory altogether. Ironically, the only part of this conversation I do remember went along the lines of 'If you want anything to go further Liz, he won't be impressed that you have forgotten his name after 5 minutes.'

After a bit of shameless Degrassi Junior High style flirting at the end of the night, we went our separate ways, with me a lot drunker yet positive his name was Corey.

I had to cross Corey off the list, when 2 weeks later, we met again. I had taken photos of the band at the fundraiser and had promised to pass them on. As my luck would have it, I was greeted with a very sure and definite 'Liiiiiz! How you doing? You remember my brother Corey don't you?!' to which I responded 'Yeah course I do!', as my mind shifted a gear into shock horror overdrive.

At that point, in utter panic, I managed to drop my glasses down the gutter, spill somebody's drink and trip over the man in question in my new state of literal blindness (I am as blind as a bat without my glasses)...I was so embarrassed, particularly when Mr X, looking in the direction of the gutter muttered 'Hope you won't be needing those', to which, in order to save some face, I nochalantly replied'Nah, they're only for reading mate.' I then proceeded to (un)calmly wait for the band to go on stage and for everyone else to go inside to watch them, before pulling the grate off the gutter, and retrieving my glasses with a stick, then hightailing it out of there!

And then last night happened...as I was riding my bike, I spotted his face, stopped my bike, and yelled out 'Mark!' As soon as it came out of my mouth, I knew it wasn't his name. I hoped he hadn't heard, but sure enough, he turned his head and walked over to me as he of course said 'Liiiiz!' By now I was as red as a beetroot and I apologised profusely and mumbled something stupid about him looking like a Mark (well he does okay?). I had to admit I didnt know his name.

All's well that ends well you are probably saying to yourself. She got to find out his name afterall. Wrong. So wrong. As Murphy's Law would dictate, just as he began to say his name, I managed to somehow accidentally press play on my MD player, and with my headphones around my neck, got a burst of Donna Summer's I Feel Love in my ears, loud enough for me not to catch his name, but low enough that he didn't realise what had happened. He may have said Kelly, but that could have just been Donna belting out 'What'll it be, what'll it be, what'll it be.'

Which leaves me now in a state of absolute no excuses, especially seeing as he invited me to the band's next gig - that part I got loud and clear.

I pushed onto the bar I was headed for and weighed up my options. Do I ask the audience, take 50/50 or phone a friend? As it so happened a small amount of luck was on my side. The friend I phoned has her legs waxed by a chick who is good friends with the lead singer of the band He Who Shall Remain Nameless Though Not By Choice plays in.

Let the detective work begin.

Tuesday, June 1

Small Screen Love vs Real Life Love

Tonight it is just me, a bottle of lemon water and the Crunky chocoloate (yes that is the actual name of the chocolate I am indulging in). Oh and Carrie, Samantha, Miranda and Charlotte are in the living room. Did I forget to mention them?

The plan for tonight was to finish unpacking - okay start unpacking - and then go for a run, have an early night. Once I realised I had the house to myself, plans changed rapidly. Out came the video card, and in came Sex In The City. (If you must know, I am watching each episode in order, right from Series 1, Ep 1 - and this is the first time in 3 months I have had the chance to continue).

While I get a kick out of watching these girls savage Manhattan in their Manolo Blahniks, it is spooky to realise just how heart breakingly accurate their tales of love, lust and what occurs in between are to those of us in 'the real world' - including my warped reality, even though I am both literally and figuratively a million miles away from their world on celluloid.

A good friend tells me I cant possibly relate to the show the way she can, she being in the same age category as those portrayed on SITC, while me being in my 20s. She is under the delusion that I could not have possibly even come close to going through any kind of topsy turviness that love throws at you yet. But I beg to differ - why else do I watch it, hanging on every word, nodding my head in agreement and wondering when my Aiden equivalent will walk into my life so I can forget the Big that still haunts my heart?

Whether you are acknowledged or anonymous, or from Melbourne or Manhattan, the (mind) games of love dont change. At the core, feelings of mind, body and soul across the world are the same. Matters of the heart and all that goes with it - the euphoria, the pain, the good times and the bad - transcend all ages, all social castes and all nationalities.

The show's writers have hit the nail on the head. Maybe it is that I take some small comfort from the show knowing that I am not alone in my (ir)rational take on my relationships - yes the characters are fictional, but these spot on scripts could not have been written by somebody who has no understanding of the trials and tribulations of dealing with the opposite sex - and the baggage that weighs us all down.

Perhaps it is as simple as being conscious of the fact that during the more difficult times, times when you are adamant your heart will not recover, times when your love life is at a standstill, times when Mr Right changes his name by deedpoll to Mr Oh-So Wrong, you know that with a flick of a button you can surround yourselves with your old Manhattan buddies and know you are not the only one...