The Musicks in Japan
Summary: We're an American couple who has been living in Japan since 2007. Kisstopher (she/her) is a mental health therapist. Chad (he/him) is a writer. We talk about most everything in our lives, from being disabled / chronically ill to money to friends, and the role that Japan plays in them. Mostly, we want to entertain you, even though we sometimes talk about heavier topics.
Japan and the United States have very different ideas about pain management, health care, and how people ought to feel. Both of us having medical issues means we’ve had a lot of experience with both systems, and we compare the two from our perspectives. Transcript K: So, lately I’ve been thinking a lot about pain management. C: Yeah? K: Yeah because I have a new pain guy. And, so, I have an endocrinologist and a general practitioner that I see. And my GP does my pain management for me. They’re not, like, officially a pain management guy. C: Because pain specialty is really rare here in Japan. K: Yeah. So, the last time we talked about pain management in Japan versus the U.S. it was really upsetting for some of our listeners, and so I wanted to dive a little bit deeper in that. It’s not a subject I’m really comfortable talking about, though. C: So, first I want to ask you: why do you have a new pain doctor? K: Well, because my old doctor has cancer and had cancer for six months before telling me. And he said, “I’m just going to go in the hospital for a month for some treatment, so here’s a prescription to get you through”, and then he retired. And continued to see me for six months after he retired. And, while he researched another doctor for me because he was also my hereditary coproporphyria doctor. I thought that was kind of sweet but also kind of strange. Like, okay, why didn’t you tell me you have cancer? He’s like “if they won’t see you, I’ll still continue to see you.” C: Which is nice, but… K: Yeah, so I had a really great relationship with my previous doctor, so C: I think that was the fourth or fifth GP you’ve had since we moved to Japan, and all of them have retired, and that’s why you’ve switched. K: Yes. This one’s younger than – usually, I like my doctors in their eighties. (laughs) C: Yeah, I think the first time that we went to saw – he came to Japan to do medicine after World War 2, so K: Yes. Right after World War 2. C: Right, so I think he’d be over a hundred now. K: Yeah. I hope he’s still around. I absolutely loved him. He was awesome. And then my second doctor, I didn’t like him as much because he would spank me. Like literally spank me on the bottom if my weight went up. C: Yeah, which is just no. Don’t do that. K: Yeah, I don’t like that. But, so, I don’t know why I tolerated that. And then I got sick of that, but he retired, and so I switched to another doctor, and then he retired. So, now, I’m with a doctor who I think is in his 40s, so C: Oh, that’s good. K: Yeah, so I think I can get like – I think he’s the one. C: I think we might have mentioned this before. So, we’ll talk about pain management, but one of the reasons that doctors in Japan tend to be older is because you don’t become rich as a doctor by default. K: Correct. C: Because it’s not prohibitively expensive to become a doctor, and medicine itself is not prohibitively expensive to receive because there’s no insurance middleman. K: Right. C: So, that’s a whole effect of socialized medicine. K: And we tweet a lot about the fact it costs like five bucks for me to go see my doctor. C: Yeah. So, a lot of doctors in the U.S. are horrified of a system like the Japanese one because you don’t get rich being a doctor in Japan. But it’s increasingly the case now that you don’t get rich being a doctor in the U.S. either if you work for Kaiser Permanente or something like that. So, total digression out of the bat, but pain management. K: (laughs) Yeah. So, I want to explain something about my pain management in the United States that I didn’t explain before. And that is the last time I saw a medical professional in the United States was ten years ago.
Japanese and United States cultures differ greatly in the amount of touch considered acceptable between strangers, among family, and in general. We talk about our experiences as Americans being touched a lot less in Japan. Content Note: Discussion of non-consensual touching Transcript K: So, lately I’ve been thinking about the difference in between touching in the United States and touching in Japan, and I get touched far less in Japan than I did in the United States. I feel like in the United States, everyone was always touching me. Like, touching my arm or hugging me. I feel like I met my girls, I hugged, there was just a lot of touching. C: Yes. K: Really? “Yes” is all you have for the people? (laughter) K: So, touching bothers me less than it bothers you. But being touched does bother me. C: Being touched at all bothers you, or just people you don’t know or people you – feeling the social obligation to allow yourself to be touched or…? K: Feeling a social obligation to allow myself to be touched and… so, I – we don’t do trigger warnings on this show, but… C: We put content notes on the transcripts, so if you just listen, you don’t get them, but if you check the transcript. K: This time I’m going to do a trigger warning because most of my life I’ve been touched inappropriately, and, so, if that type of thing is upsetting or triggering for you, you might not want to listen to this episode. C: Okay. K: Do you think that’s fair? C: Yup. Boooooop. K: Really? C: Yeah. K: So, like, that was the exit point was like the weird C: That was the exit point, yes. K: Okay. So, something that’s happened to me my entire life is aggressive hugging. And it’s only -0 there’s only been one person in Japan who’s been able to aggressively hug me, and they finally left Japan, and I threw myself a parade that they were gone. I cringed every time I would see them because we weren’t friends, first of all. We’re not friends. We did not like each other, and, I don’t know, maybe they liked me, but they didn’t talk well of me, so, they would, like, say how much they love me to my face then talk trash about me behind my back. So, maybe, personally they liked me, but professionally they didn’t would be the most accurate way? C: Or maybe they liked you so much they wanted everybody else stay away. K: Maybe. C: You’ve had that happen before. K: Yeah, I have. So… in the United States, this would happen to me quite often, and, in Japan, only happened to me once where somebody would hug me and then press their genitalia against mine. C: Mhm. K: And… in a hug, there’s never any reason that that should ever happen. C: Yeah. K: And… also, like, hugging me and then as you release from the hug doing a sideswipe on the boobs. Or hugging and mashing my boobs against them. And, like, sometimes people would give it a rock back and forth, and I just feel like… eww. Every time that happens. And, so, in case anybody’s wondering, yes that’s sexual assault. If you’re touching someone in a sexual way without their consent, that’s sexual assault, and I never consented to that. And it happened to me a lot in the United States, and I always felt guilty and ashamed every time it happened to me. Because I feel like, because it’s been happening to me my whole life, that I should know better and how to avoid it. So, I’m very good at the hip rock out… but, the problem with that for me if I do the hip rock out, I’m doing the protruding of the breasts. C: Yeah. Just because of the physics of it. K: Yeah. So, I try to do the side-hug, but then people usually kiss me. C: Mhm. K: And, so, I don’t know how to – like, now I
Beauty may be in the eye of the beholder, but that eye is shaped to find particular things beautiful. We talk about attraction, how it’s shaped, how it differs by place, upbringing, and how it’s tied into sex. Content note: Medical procedures and sex are discussed in some detail. Transcript K: So, lately I’ve been thinking about changing taste and attraction and all that good stuff. C: But your taste is me; don’t change it. K: (laughs) But my taste becoming only you is a change. C: Yes, it is. K: Because I think we started out as being open and poly and then over the years we became monogamous. And I think what people find most interested about that for us is you made the decision for us – that you always wanted to monogamy. C: Right. K: And I was in my fear place about monogamy. And I had a lot of sexist ideas about whether or not men can be monogamous. And I also, being pansexual, find myself being attracted to a lot of people. C: Right. K: And, when you and I go together, I was dating a lot of couples. And enjoying the couples I was dating. (laughs) C: Yes. K: So, I kind of feel like when we first met, my preference and taste were couples. C: Mhm. K: What do you think? C: That seems – well, it didn’t seem so much to be couples so much as people you knew couldn’t possibly try to take it monogamous with you without it becoming awkward. K: Yes. That is (laughs) that is a very good description of it. It’s awesome. And I find it’s really interesting that, like – so, I rarely talk about what’s current in my practice, but right now the majority of my practice is poly. And I have a lot of newbies to being poly. And… they’re finding out new attractions for themselves and new tastes, and I think the adventure into polyamory – and so what polyamory is, everybody defines it differently for themselves, but it’s consensual non-monogamy. C: Right. K: So, it can be open or poly, and what makes the difference for me between openness and polyamory is what the emotional roles are. I think, for me, being polyamorous means, I can love more than one person, and both people I’m in love with know that I’m in love with them, and it’s no secret. C: So, why isn’t polygamy the opposite of monogamy? K: Um… because that involves marriage. C: So, why isn’t it monoamory? K: I don’t know. Maybe it is. I’ve never looked that up. You know we don’t google on this show, though. C: It’s just a question that occurred to me here. I was listening to you saying, you know, monogamy versus polyamory. I was thinking feeling amorous – amor is one of the types of love. K: Yeah. And I call myself mono. C: Right. K: So, actually, I identify – personally, myself – as a cis-gendered polyamorous woman who’s pansexual. A pansexual cis-gendered polyamorous woman in a monogamous relationship. C: Yeah. I don’t identify that way. K: (laughs) How do you identify? C: If you substitute woman for man, then yes, I still don’t identify that way. K: You’re still not pansexual. Yeah. And… you did not enjoy polyamory. C: No. K: You did not enjoy open. You enjoy monogamy. C: Yeah. I’m a cis-gendered heterosexual guy – man – who enjoys monogamy. K: Yes. And I really enjoy it. I don’t feel like I’m losing anything being monogamous with you. C: Right. K: So, I feel very, very, very fortunate in that – and, sorry people who hate repetition I do repetition so much – um… you’re being sexy. C: I can’t help it. K: I know. I just looked over, and I felt like Chad was doing something sexier than he was before. (laughs) Chad sometimes does it
Talk about security and insecurity, both valid and not. How it plays out for different people, different issues, and different times. Transcript K: So, lately I’ve been thinking about feeling secure versus feeling insecure. C: Like turning on two-factor identification for everything? Because I’ve had to do that for work, so that’s on my mind. K: Sort of. Kind of. Because, in my life, there are a lot of sources that can lead to security or insecurity. Like, you know, with my job, with my PHD, with parenting, with wifeing, with adulting. And… just every aspect of me, there’s potential for security or insecurity, and I don’t know why I forgot to mention money, but money’s also an aspect of it. C: Because we hates it, we does. (laughter) K: So, what do you think when I say that? And that – and that was so therapy mode for me because I’ll say something and then I’ll ask a – I ask my clients “so, what do you think when I say that?” because I really want to know what their thoughts are to my opinions. C: I feel like you give a lot of people a lot of security. K: Thank you, that’s really sweet. C: Like emotionally security. K: Thank you, that’s really sweet. C: I think there’s a big difference between being insecure and feeling insecure. And they don’t always line up. So, I think some people feel really secure even though their life is really insecure, and they logically should not feel secure. K: Yeah. C: And then some people don’t feel secure no matter what. No matter how stable and good their life is, no matter how good everything in their life is they don’t feel secure. K: So, for me, I find that… when I‘m feeling insecure, it’s about worthiness. C: Mhm. K: Rather than actual security. Because I have core trauma from just lifetime of abuse and PTSD, and so, sometimes that – and I’m sure people can relate to this – that leads to me feeling just completely unworthy of anything good. And that’s kind of like – not kind of like – it’s completely the legacy of my mother was so abusive to me, and that’s supposed to be the person who loves you unconditionally and loves you more than everybody else. Like we have a running joke in our family, which probably isn’t nice, but I’m going to say it anyway because I can’t stop myself. But I always tell Rasta how much I love him, but I always tell him “see, their mother doesn’t love them as much as your mother loves you.” And it’s a joke, but sometimes it’s real talk. (laughs) And not – because sometimes he’ll be like – friends back home in the U.S. they’ll have issues or something, and I’ll be like “that’s because their mother doesn’t love them as much as your mother loves you.” C: Mhm. K: And, so, yeah. But it’s just something funny we say because I love him to the Nth. C: I think if you never have insecurity about whether you’re worthy of the things you’ve got, then you’ve either had a really good therapist K: (laughs) And even then. C: Right? K: Because I have a really good therapist, but even then. C: Or you spend your time reading books like “how to manage your second billion.” You might only have a thousand dollars in the bank, but in your mind, you’re on your way to your second billion. K: So, you think only delusional feel people never feel unworthy. C: I don’t think it’s delusional so much as people who don’t ever have to face the world. Like… there’s a mathematical theorem called “Arrow’s impossibility theorem” which says that if you have a system in which people vote on things, and people are rational, then there’s always going to be somebody who always gets what they want. K: Mhm. C: The conditions for that people generally agree
We talk about money, cash, credit, employment (and what’s considered a “real” job), and other money-related topics as they happen in Japan and the US. Transcript K: So, lately I’ve been thinking about money. C: Yeah? K: Yeah. C: Like money? K: (laughs) I was actually thinking of the song “money changes everything.” C: Uh-huh. K: And I think it’s by Cyndi Lauper, but that’s not actually the topic I’m thinking of, but when I said “lately I’ve been thinking about money” I was thinking of – I can’t sing it, so I’m not going to sing it, but money changes everything. C: Okay. So, we’re not going to make our money off of your recording of that. K: (laughs) C: So, what are you thinking about money? K: So, I was thinking about how in the United States, if I walked around with a hundred bucks in my… wallet, that that was a large sum of money to walk around with. And that I would never deliberately or intentionally walk around with a hundred-dollar bill because no place would break a hundred-dollar bill. Like, there’s signs everywhere “we cannot break a hundred-dollar bill.” And, in Japan, there has been times when I, and I’m not proud of this because Japan’s an all cash society, there have ben times that I’ve bought gum that was like under what would be a U.S. dollar with a hundred-dollar bill. And I used to apologize for that when I first came here. Like if I spend under twenty dollars, under ni sen, which is 2000. Which is about 20 U.S. dollars depending on the exchange rate. C: Yeah, it’s varied from 25 to… 18 U.S. dollars in the time we’ve been here. K: Yeah, so if I didn’t spend that, and I gave someone a hundred-dollar bill, which is a man en bill – ichi man, which is ten thousand – then I should apologize. And I would feel so incredibly guilty about it. And they would look at me like “what are you talking about? You’re being drama.” C: Right. K: Because people walk – people walk around in Japan with hundreds of dollars in their wallet. It’s really common to walk around with five hundred dollars in your wallet in Japan. C: Yeah, I was thinking about pizza delivery in the U.S. – if you needed ten dollars back in change, they’d be like “I don’t really care that much change.” K: Yeah. Because they didn’t want to get robbed. C: Right. Exactly. And I got a delivery her the other day, and the guy, like… tiny old guy, right? K: Mhm. C: Should have been – not should have been, I don’t hurt anybody – but size-wise K: In the U.S. would have been terrified. C: Visibly opens up his change things and displays to me, not like “look at this” but just not concerned that I should see it, that he’s got basically a thousand dollars in various bills there to make change for people because he’s doing COD orders. K: I never understood robbing pizza delivery people. They’re coming to your house. C: They know where you live. K: Yeah. Like, you’re going to get busted. So, how’s that working out? C: I’m not sure. K: Like, who’s the person that’s like “yeah, please commit a crime in my home.” C: Right? I don’t like the concept of robbery in general. Thievery, I’m not a big fan of it; I understand theft for necessity, but I think that that’s actually a sign of broken society. A whole other thing about money, but robbing people just… don’t. There’s so K: Oh, come on babe, we digress. C: It’s so easy to just steal money, why rob people? K: (laughs) C: Saying this, I have never even shoplifted. Like, all of my brothers were banned from the local drug store when we were growing up because they had been caught shoplifting multiple times. And I wasn’t just never caught I never actually did
Japanese furniture, flooring, and other things starting with F. Big question of the episode: Can you replace pleather with transparent tape? Transcript K: So, lately I’ve been thinking about furniture in Japan. C: That is not what tabling the discussion means. K: (laughs) Okay, I don’t know if that one’s funny or a surprise. What do you think? C: I think it’s funny. K: I think it was more of surprise with a ridiculous surprise. C: Yeah? K: Yeah. Because I often laugh when you say something ridiculous. (laughs) C: Which is also funny. K: Ridiculously funny. You’re ridiculously funny. I think we can both agree on that. C: Thank you. Yes. K: So, I’ve ben thinking a lot about furniture because 1) I need a new chair at the office, and I’ve been putting it off, but it sheds so horribly, and I feel just like oh my gosh, everyone must think I am so just hella ghetto because I have cello tape, scotch tape, on pieces of the chair that are shedding because it’s vegan leather. C: It’s pleather. K: Yeah. I call it pleather, but people like vegan leat- blegh, vegan leather better than saying it’s pleather. It’s plastic. It’s a thin film of plastic over fabric that gives it a leather look. And so… for me, I need to get a new chair, but instead of going and getting a new chair, I’m just putting tape where the pleather’s starting to fade. And in the United States, I would’ve used black electric tape, but I can’t find any black electric tape here, so I’m using clear scotch. Just plain old scotch tape. C: Okay, so not even three minutes in, I have a digression this time. Usually it’s you starting them. You’re usually the one that falls for digression, but K: What? C: Yeah. It reminds me of when your bag fell apart in the Tokyo airport. Your pleather bag. K: (laughs) That was horrible. C: It was horrible. K: It just happened all of a sudden, too. And I loved that bag. C: But you hadn’t used it in a while. It had been in the closet. And we were taking a trip, so you grabbed it, you were like “this is going to be my carry-on.” K: Yeah. C: And then it just started just shedding. It was like… it was like the old Peanuts cartoon. Just pig-pen levels of like stuff just flying off of it. K: Yes. I was like “what is this?” Because it was just falling everywhere. C: Just a rubbery black dust was covering everything in your bag. K: Yes. C: So we ended up buying your current bag K: It’s actually red. C: Right. But the outside was red, but there were black parts too because underneath the K: Yeah it was striped and everything. Yeah. C: So, we ended up buying your current bag at the Tokyo airport out of necessity because that bag was like a biohazard. K: Yeah. And so I wonder if I should just scrub the pleather off of it because it’s still a good chair in all other respects. C: I don’t know if there’d be anything left. I think what you’re looking for is reupholster it. Should you reupholster it. K: No. I’m saying what I mean. I mean just peeling it off. C: Horrified look. K: Yeah. I just want to peel it off, but right now I’m just using scotch tape because I was like “what is this black crap all over my floor?” Like every time I sit down, there’s black crap all over my office floor. So, Japan doesn’t really sell leather. It sells like leather belts, but it doesn’t – it’s not big on leather. C: Yeah. For furniture and such. K: Yeah. C: I think because the moisture properties because everything in Japan – home furnishing-wise – seems designed to deal with either your apartment being too humid or too dry. There’s no happy middle. It’s
More about PhD stress for Kisstopher, Chad starting a new job, academic publishing, and some details about Chad’s academic work. Transcript K: So, lately I’ve been thinking about dealing with the stress of my PhD and PhD feedback. C: I have not been thinking about my PhD. K: (laughs) I think you have been kind of, though. I mean because you’re finally working in your field. C: Yes. K: And so I think, does that – actually, I don’t know. Interesting question. We’re about to learn something new about Chad. Does working in your field make you think about your PhD more, or does it make your PhD feel more relevant? C: It makes it feel more relevant because when I was editing full-time, I was still working with the material. It was just kind of like my nose pressed against the glass. So I feel like K: With one sad tear rolling down your face? C: Yeah. I feel like I thought about feedback a lot more when I was doing that because I was literally seeing feedback. I was seeing the reviews from peer reviewers and that kind of thing, so I was dealing with other people’s feedback on their work. K: And you were giving feedback. C: And I was giving feedback, correct. K: So, something I was wondering that I didn’t ask – I don’t know why I didn’t ask you this. The five years C: You were saying it for the podcast. K: Obviously we save our best stuff for the podcast, man. Saved it for like five years, six years now. Oh my gosh. Seven years? No, six years. I don’t know. Don’t ask me about time. It’s confusing. So, when you were doing editing C: Seven years. K: Yeah, it’s really confusing. When you were doing editing, did it make you want to publish? C: Yes. K: Really? C: Yes. K: Oh, I’m sorry to hear that. Did it make you want to publish non-academic stuff? C: No, it made me want to publish academic stuff. Sometimes I would edit a paper and I would think “I could do this so much better.” K: Really? C: Yeah. But I didn’t have the remit to just rewrite their paper for them. It was just really limited. K: So did you want to publish your own original stuff? C: Um, yes. But… in math, it’s easier to publish as an outsider, but it’s still not easy. It still would have meant a lot of time at the university library to make sure I was caught up on all the papers and things. K: Mhm. C: So math you get like 80% of papers available through ArXiV, which is open-access pre-prints. But there’s still that 20% to check, so there’s a lot of stuff around publishing that’s different than the stuff around writing. So it made me want to do math. It didn’t so much make me want to do all the other stuff around getting published in peer-reviewed journals. K: Mm. And, really, sadly in the midst of that time – so you were working on a project, and then one of the project members passed away, and we still feel the loss of that loss deeply. C: Yes, that’s correct. K: And I feel like, for me, because your path to publication – to me, felt so involved with their loss that it just… I guess I just left it to you to come to me if you wanted to have those conversations. Rather than introducing that conversation because it was quite a big loss for you. C: Yeah. K: And quite the los of a big project, so I feel like it was a loss for the world as well. And so, it’s just a tragedy – and I guess it makes me feel really really sad, still. C: Yeah. K: And so I don’t venture there unless I’m feeling quite sturdy, and I don’t think I was feeling quite sturdy. As you can see, I’m still not feeling quite sturdy about that. C: Yeah. So, there are things – like I have one thing that I could put in the effort to get published as a
Stress management, especially around academic work, differences between expectations of PhD students in Japan and the US, and the culture of academia and stress. Transcript K: So lately I’ve been thinking about stress management and my PhD and how bad I suck at it. C: What could have brought that on? K: (laughs) So, every round of feedback, I just get so stressed out. As soon as I turn it in for review by anybody, it sends me through the roof. And I think that.. I don’t know what it actually – I don’t know what to think. I really, I need to do something to get a handle on it. It’s just – it can’t go on this way. I can’t do another couple years this way. It’s not tenable. C: Well, I think it’s – it’s always difficult to be judged if you care about the opinion of the person judging you. K: Yes. C: And you have to care about the opinion. And not only do you have to care about the opinion, you have to do something about it. K: Yes. Maybe that’s part of why I’m so stressed out because I super respect my chair. And I super, super like them. C: Yeah. K: I don’t really know my co-chair, but we’ve talked about it on other episodes where – at least, I think we have. Because I courted my chair before they agreed to be my chair for two years. C: Right. K: And so that created a lot of intimacy between the two of us because I was writing them once every – once or twice every two or three months, and there were some months where I was writing them once a month. And I think when I’m discussing my relationship with my chair, I don’t discuss above and beyond they went for me because under the rules of the university – 1; I’m not in- so, my PhD is in general psychology. And my chair is the head of all of psychology but also is from the school of social psychology. C: Right. K: So just on the strength that they’re from the school of social psychology, they had the right to turn me down. C: Yes. K: There was no expectation that they would take me. So that was one thing that made me feel super honored. The fact that they’re the head of the psychology department means that they don’t have to mentor anyone, and they’re super, super selective. I think they only ever have three at a time. And so… for me to be able to get them, I had to know the month – to the month when I was going to start the formal – so, at my school, there’s pre-courses that you have to take, then there’s the formal dissertation course shell that you have to go in because I’m doing it distance learning. So, I was sending them running updates of when I would be entering the dissertation course shell. So I had to do that, and they told me – and then this is so kooky, and it sounds so romantic. We met in Paris. (laughs) C: Yes, so you’ve met them in person. K: Yeah. So, we went to – for my school, we had to do residencies, and residencies are basically intensive courses – it’s a conference basically. And I have to attend four conferences to get my PhD. And conference one, residency one, is where I met my chair. And out of everybody there, my chair was the only person I felt could even come close to possibly being my person to be my chair. And then, by fluke, by accident, I had signed up for an advising session with them. And that just felt like kismet to me. Like it was destiny, like it was meant to be. And I asked them during the thing, and I made up my topic on the fly – because they were like “what’s your topic?” Because I’m like “would you be my chair” – “what’s your topic” I made it up on the fly. And they – we stepped outside, and we talked about it. And they were like “okay, here’s an article for you to read, let’s talk about it tomorrow.” And I read the article, we talked about it tomorrow, and they said, “I will agree to consider you.” C: Mhm.
All about our Christmas-in-Japan experience, with talk of our Christmas-in-the-US past. Transcript K: So, lately I’ve been thinking a lot about Christmas and, specifically, our family’s relationship with Christmas. And also my evolution into how American I am versus how Japanese I am. C: So you’re not thinking about my evolution from Chad into Santa Claus? K: (laughs) Which has surprisingly halted. How grey your beard is, I feel like it hasn’t become more grey this – in like 2019 at all. C: Oh you are so on the naughty list. K: It’s just real talk babe. C: You’re getting coal. K: Real talk C: Keep talking, you’ll get more coal. K: Real talk, babe. C: (laughs) K: You’ve got these really sturdy, staunch patches of – it’s either blond or red, depending on the season, because you have a seasonal beard. C: I do. ‘tis the season for what color of beard? I don’t know. K: (laughs) Red. It gets red in the winter, blond in the summer. C: It does get red in the winter. K: It’s not that hard, babe. It’s really not. C: It gets red in the winter for Christmas. K: And how would that be more Santa-like? C: Well, if I put green in it, then it’d be red and green. K: What are you saying right now? C: I’m saying in Japan, you know it’s Christmas because things are red and green. K: What are you talking about? C: I am talking about the way that Japan celebrates Christmas. K: Japan does not celebrate Christmas. C: Exactly. But things K: Well no that’s not true. That’s not true. I just told a big, fat lie. Japan, trip on this.. KFC is Christmas dinner. C: Yes. K: Kentucky Fried Chicken is Christmas dinner in Japan. I think I’ve talked about this before, I’m not sure. But like months in advance, you have to order your KFC Christmas dinner. C: Yes. K: And that’s like the thing they do on the 25th is they eat Kentucky Fried Chicken. Like how does that become a thing, Japan? That’s what I want to know. What’s going on with that, Japan? C: And go to work. I forget if Christmas is on a holiday this year. K: No. Because they changed emperors, and so the previous emp- in the Heisei era, the 25th was sometimes a holiday for some companies because it was the emperor’s birthday. C: The 23rd was always a holiday. K: Was the emperor’s birthday the 23rd? C: Yeah. K: I thought it was the 25th. C: Nope. Because when I was managing people, I had somebody ask me – and I think I’ve said this story before, so we might be performing a Christmas miracle and bringing back old stories. K: (laughs) Which is not miraculous for us at all. (laughter) C: They asked if they could have Christmas off. It was August, and they asked if they could have Christmas off or if it was too late, and everybody else in the company had already requested it. I was like no, K: Nobody requested it at all. C: Everybody’s expecting to work Christmas. Have it off. K: And I work Christmas almost every year unless it falls on a Sunday or Monday, and then I don’t work. And I take the first week of in January. C: Everybody takes the first week of in January, just about. K: Right, but all of my foreign clients are really tripped out by the fact that I’m open on Christmas. And it’s like… this is how the conversation feels because it’s like “Are… you… going to be working… on t he 25th?” and I said “yes, I am, but I don’t expect anybody to come and see me who celebrates Christmas,” and then some people are like “no, I really want to see you before we do Christmas with the family” and I’m like crack on.
Both of us have been self-employed at various points, and Kisstopher is now permanently self-employed. It brings both benefits and drawbacks. Note: Because of the lag time in recording (for transcription, art, etc.), Chad talks about being a freelance worker even though he now has a full-time job. Transcript K: So, lately I’ve been thinking about being self-employed. C: It’s a little bit too late. K: (laughs) C: You’re already self-employed. K: I’ve been thinking about the differences of being self-employed in the U.S. compared to Japan and the learning curve. So, in the United States – a little bit of work history for me, which might be totally boring – if you’ve read the Adjustment Guidance website, you already know this history. And if you follow us on twitter you probably already know this history. And, yes, shameless plug, follow us on twitter. Yes, I say it every episode. I do. C: Because you’re self-employed. K: (laughs) C: You can do that kind of thing. K: No because I have good agency. C: Oh, okay. K: And self-promotion. And I really enjoy promoting myself. I just do. C: Okay, so you were going to tell a work history story. K: (laughs) Which ties into self-promotion because to be self-employed, I think the number one key factor for being self-employed in either the United States or Japan is the ability to shamelessly self-promote. You have to be shameless in it, I think. C: Yeah, I think so. I think to be successful at it takes luck and resources but also just… keep on doing it. K: Oh, tons of resources. C: Yeah. K: So, I found that starting my business in the United States, I was able to start my business for free, so this is a major difference, and starting my business in Japan took grip. Like, a lot of money. Well, I guess I kind of started it for free as well. If I think of… so the difference between the United States and Japan is when I choose to start in re-investing to level up. I think I had to level up a lot quicker, and by level up I mean have my own office and have certain accoutrements for my clients. I think in the United States, because I focused mostly on children and families, that I was able to go to them a lot longer than I was here in Japan. C: Well, I think growing up, self-employed meant to me that you had your own business. K: Mhm. C: But now in the gig economy, self-employed often means K: In the what economy? C: The gig economy. K: What’s a gig economy? I always use gig, but I’m not using it the same way you do. C: It’s like driving for Uber or Lyft or doing things for Task Rabbit or K: Oh so you’re using it like I use it? C: Yeah. K: Like the gig. C: Yeah. K: Like just whatever you do for work. C: Yeah. K: Like a lot of people have side gigs or side jobs. C: Right, so this is being called the gig economy because K: Is it? C: Yes. K: I didn’t know that. C: You don’t read a lot of economic literature. K: I don’t read any economic literature. C: I read an enormous amount. I read way too much. Because of my self-employment. K: Okay, so go ahead on. Hit me with it. C: So in the gig economy, self-employed can mean anything from you’re an independent contractor who doesn’t get treated very well to you’re working for Uber, Lyft, or Dash, or Task Rabbit or whatever just doing gigs or finding things off Craigslist or it can mean you have your own business… K: Or you’re a youtuber or C: Yeah. It can mean that you have employees or that you don’t. Or that you have steady income or that you don’t. Self-employed I think now is b
What does it even mean to be an ally? We don’t know, but we have opinions. With surprisingly few digressions, this is a focused conversation about allies, both real and aspirational. Transcript K: So, lately I’ve been thinking about allyship. C: That ship sinks on a lot of people. K: (laughs) I should not be laughing at that. I am only encouraging you. I am only encouraging you. Oh my gosh. That is so funny. C: You always encourage me. You are an ally in my humor development. K: (laughs) Yes. I am your humor ally. So, the reason I’ve been thinking about allyship is because a lot of things come up in topics with clients. And a lot of times a client will think they’re an ally or somebody on social media will think that they’re my ally or your ally, and you have an interesting take on people who call themselves allies. C: Yeah, I think that it’s like calling yourself not a racist. “I am not a racist.” It’s a defensiveness. K: Yeah. C: And I think there are other words that some people will view that way, like feminist and things. I don’t view feminists in that way. K: I think feminist is an awesome word. I’m a feminist. C: Right. So I think there are certain words that are still highly political. Like ally is always going to be political because it is about politics. That you can apply to yourself. And I just don’t feel like ally is one of them. K: I feel like if you’re an ally, you don’t need to say it. Show it, don’t say it. C: Right. K: Although, I forget who – I think it was Courtney Act – okay, so I’m a huge Ru Paul’s Drag Race fan, which you guys already know. I really enjoy drag queens. I support local queens. I don’t just watch Drag Race. I’ve been going to drag shows since, like, whoa, before Drag Race was even a thing. I’ve been going to drag shows since before Ru Paul’s hit song Supermodel had come out, so I really really support the art of drag. Love drag kings, love drag queens. And Courtney Act, like, gosh I want to say maybe a year ago had a really cool, interesting tweet about what an ally does. And they listed the number one thing an ally does is listen. C: Mhm. K: and I always loved that, and I don’t agree with everything – I don’t agree with all of Shane’s – that’s Courtney’s boy name – political positions, but I do agree with that. That an ally should always start with listening because my lived experience – I find a lot of people want to be my ally without ever hearing what my lived experience is, and so how can you support me if you don’t know what support I need? What support I would actually value? C: Yeah, I think that’s the issue for me in people calling themselves an ally is what’s your purpose in doing that? K: Yeah, what are you on? C: Yeah. Why say that. Because if you tell somebody you’re trying to help and an ally, I see it so often related to disability stuff. That they’re like “I’m an ally, therefore I should get a pass on this behavior that I’m being called out on” or “I’m an ally therefore I don’t have to bother to put in the work to understand things “ or “I’m an ally therefore I should be able to just go and do this thing in your name.” K: Yeah. And – so, I don’t – so, I’m cisgender, but I want to support all of our trans siblings, and the first time I said that I said I want to support all of our trans brother and sisters, and you corrected me, and I took that correction. And so for me, I think of myself as wanting to use the privilege of being cisgender to raise voices on the gender topic because I have what’s considered “typical” and “socially acceptable” – widely as socially acceptable – gender definition. Like, I identify as she/her, and I have breasts, and I have a vagina, and therefore the whole world understands when I say I’
Groups form in Japan for all kinds of reasons, some good, some bad. We talk about our experience with group identity in Japan. Transcript K: So, lately I’ve been thinking about groups in Japan. Like expat groups and not even expat groups. There’s tons and tons of social groups in Japan. I feel like – well in Nagoya, Japan. I guess all of Japan. I don’t know. I’m thinking about meetups and meetups are everywhere all over Japan. So meetups is an app – do you know about meetups? C: I know about meetups. It’s actually a website, and they have an app associated with the website. K: Well, I’m calling it an app because Word has decided everything should be called an app, and you know I am a drone for Word. C: Yeah. K: I drone Word. I don’t stan Word. I drone Word. C: Okay. K: And I drone Word because hello, PHD, Word is my life. C: Yeah, it’s mine too. K: Word, Mendeley, and PowerPoint. C: Mmm. K: PowerPoint, okay. Okay, digression right out of the gate. I feel like I need to confess this, and why? Why do I need to confess this? Nobody’s going to care. Like, literally no one will care. So, okay, here’s the thing: I think no one’s about to care, well I think no one will care, anyway. I’m completely spacey today. If you cared about this, hit us up on Twitter and let us know. Be like “Kisstopher, yo, we really cared that you drew your diagrams in SPSS” – I mean, no, I didn’t draw them in SPSS. That’s what I’m trying to confess. “That you drew your diagrams in Word instead of SPSS.” No, PowerPoint. Man, get it together. (laughs) If you guys could see Chad’s face right now. I am so scattered because I am so busy, and I think I just need to take a deep breath and gather my thoughts. C: So, and I feel like that is the experience for me of working with PowerPoint. (laughter) C: It’s like I need to do it this way, no wait, the wrong tool, this… K: So yeah, I’m fresh off of working with PowerPoint. And I was rushing because I was like – because all day I’ve been telling you “just let me do one more thing. Just one more thing.” Which is the bane of Chad’s existence is when I tell him “give me ten minutes.” C: Yes. K: So, for years and years, Rasta didn’t know how long ten minutes was because I would – no mater what I wanted, it’s just like “leave me alone until I tell you I’m available” and my language for that is “give me ten minutes.” I’ll be done in ten minutes. C: Yeah, so you were drawing path diagrams, and I feel like if you’re drawing path diagrams, you really should be using either GGPlot which is in R or Graphviz. I know SPSS and AMOS and all of that can draw them, too, but K: Yes. C: But I’m a purist as far as how to draw them, but PowerPoint works in a pinch. K: and I’m in a pinch people. I’m in a pinch. C: But I’m only thinking about groups because you said you were thinking about groups. I was like “finally, we can discuss the group operator, we can discuss the commutation. Like 2:57.” But apparently you want to talk about social groups. K: (laughs) Yes, social groups. And I’m sorry to digress straight out the gate because I have been thinking about social groups, but I have also been thinking about guilt. And so I’m super, super guilty because I feel like I should be doing everything in SPSS but opening up SPSS when I’m working on a Word document just t do a couple of diagrams that go in my appendix, I feel like it is so much simpler to do them in PowerPoint. C: It really is, yes. K: And you sold me on that because I was like “aaaahhh, I’ve got to do this in SPSS” and I really have PHD brain, which is no surprise if you follow us on Twitter. And if you don’t follow us on Twitter, then go follow us on Twitter.
We discuss the state, looking at it from the perspective of foreign residents, of the LBTQIA+ community in Japan, along with our own experiences with those inside and outside the community. Some discussion of sexuality and sexual history. Content Note Discussion of childhood sexual assault Transcript K: So, lately I’ve been thinking about the differences and, for me, of being part of the LGBTQIA+ community in the United States versus in the Japan – in “the” Japan, in Japan, not the Japan. C: Well, there’s only one of them. K: Yeah, but it’s made up of 200 islands. C: Yeah? K: Yeah. Japan is made up of 200 islands. C: I didn’t know it was so many. K: Yeah, there’s- okay, now I’m not sure. Oh man, we don’t google stuff on this show so good ahead and – we’re coming out the gate with go ahead fact check me and hit us up on social media, tell us if I’m wrong, I don’t know, but in my reality Japan is made up of 200 islands. C: The people might like something to do. K: (laughs) C: I know there are a lot of islands. K: Yeah, and I know, you know, our peeps – everybody who is part of the Musick fam, and I consider everyone who listens part of the Musick fam, they do like to send us tweets about things I’ve gotten wrong or things, more often in my reality, you’ve gotten wrong. C: So feel free to send us tweets about things we’ve gotten right, too. K: Yeah, no, we love the positive reinforcement on Twitter, but I’m really super happy with our twitter life. They’re super supportive. Which, check out this, circling back around C: Okay. K: I feel like we have a large following that are part of the LGBTQIA+ community at large. Globally. C: Yeah, I feel like we do. K: So for me the difference – for me, being part of the community was a political act in the United States more so than it’s a political act here in Japan. And I think that has to do with the time of year that it happened. So, in the United States, all of- I didn’t really march, before we decided to move. I think I had stopped marching. I think since you and I got married, I stopped marching, but I used to go- prior to our marriage, I used to go every year to gay pride and live it up in San Francisco. And here in Japan, I don’t do any of that stuff for two reasons: one, the Japanese summer is brutal and I’m sick for 62 days from the beginning of July to the end of August, and I’m just crawling through the days trying to survive because of my lupus and HCP. And because I just don’t feel – and this might be because of the language or what have you, but I just don’t feel like there is an LGBTQIA+ struggle here in Japan. It doesn’t feel like they’re fighting for rights. C: No, it’s definitely because of the language. K: Okay. C: I’ve had coworkers – I had a gay coworker who definitely was part of the struggle for rights. It just takes a different form in Japan. Like, the San Francisco pride parade thing of making a lot of noise – while they happen here, are more about community celebration than political advancement. And I think that’s true now for the pride parades in the U.S. is that often they’re just for community celebration and not aimed at advancing political agendas. K: And that’s where you’re wrong. So, both pride parades in United States and here in Japan are marches for rights. And so they are marches. Like, there’s a parade and celebration connected to the march. And so some people march, and some people just do the parade. And in the United States, they combined the march with the parade, but the march sis a public statement and is very, very political. C: I knew it was a public statement of “look how many people we are. Look at how much support we have.” K: But it’s
We talk about timekeeping in Japan and Korea (even though we’re bad at the Korean stuff), pensions, and (not) speaking Japanese in public. Transcript K: So, lately I’ve been thinking a lot about the date. C: Yeah? Like our date? K: (laughs) No, like the date in Japan because I don’t know- some people probably know and some people maybe don’t know – but japan has two different dates. It has the Emperor date, and that’s the era, and then it has the solar calendar date. And so the solar calendar date is January through December and pretty much how we keep track of time in the United States. C: Yes. K: That’s the solar calendar. And then it has the emperor calendar, and I don’t know how to write Heisei at all. But that’s the previous era. I knew how to read it. And so, I don’t know, it was a trick of my mind making me feel good about my ability to read, and now the Reiwa era that just started, it’s Reiwa 1, I can’t read it. I know what it is, but I can’t read it. It’s not natural to me, and it’s making me feel like the illiterate person I am. C: Mmm. K: Yes, I’m illiterate. I’m just embracing that. I’m illiterate. C: But nobody knew how to read it until they came out and announced how it would be read. K: Yeah. And I watched the fanfare and all of that, but now everybody- it just like becomes a part of their thing. And I don’t know. The new era, there was so much fanfare, and it was a big deal, I thought it was going to be a year-long thing, and it wasn’t. It only lasted for a month. I- like- so I just feel personally let down by it. C: Yeah. So it was interesting- the issue with introducing a new era, which is supposed to happen when a new emperor ascends the throne K: Yeah. C: Which happened either the end of May or beginning of June. I don’t remember exactly the date. K: Yeah. C: And they announced what the name of who it would be about a month before that. But all of the government forms in Japan have the era names on them for like your birthdays and everything. And so you have to fill that out. So they had to reprint tons and tons of government forms and company forms. K: My phone interestingly enough for like three months had no date. (laughs) C: Mmm. “I don’t know what year it is.” K: Yeah, for three months it just didn’t have a date, and I thought “That’s weird.” C: Yeah, so for month and day of the month, Japan uses the Common Era system. Which in Japan, it’s called- they have a kanji for it. It means the Western system. K: But isn’t that the solar calendar? C: Technically, it’s the lunar-solar calendar. K: What do you mean? C: It’s got both the month- it accounts for both the moon and the sun. K: What are you talking about? C: Some cultures use a lunar-solar calendar that doesn’t align perfectly with the- a lunar-solar calendar that doesn’t align with Current Era. K: I thought that’s the lunar calendar. I thought that the Middle East and China use the lunar calendar. And that Europe, the United States, Canada, Southern Africa, and Australia New Zealand use the solar calendar. C: So China uses a lunar-solar calendar so that the year- one year is the time for revolution around the sun one time. It just doesn’t set New Years at the same time. So it’s slightly shifted. The lunar K: But what about Eid in all of that? C: Yeah. The lunar calendar rotates because they do twelve lunar months, and there are really about thirteen lunar months in every year. So, Eid and Ramadan rotate throughout the year. K: Yeah. C: So they occur at a different time of- a different season over several years. K: Yeah. I think something that’s really cool in Korea; yo
We talk about getting old. Kisstopher insists that because she’s 50 and Chad is only 44, they’re in different generations. Lots of talk about gray hair, and some about Japanese working and aging culture. Transcript K: So, lately I’ve been thinking a about aging because we’re doing this exciting new project called The Writers’ Triangle, which is a new podcast about writing. And it’s me, you, and our son, Rasta. And I feel like they get the benefit of hearing three generations discussing writing whereas you feel like they get two. So, explain and justify how you and I are in the same generation, please, because I am a woman in her fifties. I am a woman of a certain age. And you are a young man barely in his forties. And so, for me, that puts us in different generations. I am almost, like… if you round, now you could round my age to 100. (laughs) C: (laughs) I don’t know what to say to that. Yeah, I could round K: It was stunning. What I just said was stunning. It was so beautiful. It was stunningly beautiful. C: Yes. K: I literally stunned you with the brilliance of my logic. C: You did. K: Exactly. C: If we round your age to 100, we have to round my age to zero because we’re rounding to the nearest hundred. K: Yes. C: And then we’re like five generations apart. K: So why don’t you feel like you and I are in different generations? I feel like, when it comes to our educational paths and all of that, I don’t know. It feels like- I just feel like I’m in a different generation than you. I really do. C: So when it comes to our educational paths… K: Yeah. C: We met at college. K: (laughs) But that was not my first go-round. C: It wasn’t mine either. K: Okay, but I think that was like my third or fourth go-round. I don’t remember exactly which. Listen to the old episodes where we talk about education if you want to know how many times I went to college. But- I can’t think about it right now. Seriously, my mind is going blank. I think I went to college five times, but I’m not sure. C: Okay, I’m starting to feel more and more like you are a different generation. You just, senility is starting to set in. K: Yes, I do have signs of aging that you don’t have. Although you are way more gray than I am. And I have gray envy. I’m just going to put it out there because you’re almost completely graybeard. And I have a few strands of gray, like my temples aren’t even silver, although I am really happy with the color of my gray. Another reason- ooo, another reason I’m glad I don’t smoke anymore. C: I thought that when you said, “I’m happy with the color of it,” I thought “because they’re silver, not yellow.” K: Yeah, so I’m really happy that my smoking and living in a smoky environment hasn’t stained my gray with nicotine. So I’m really happy with that. And then I don’t even know if that’s true, but I have seen people with like yellow fingers from nicotine and yellow fingernails and yellow teeth. So I just assume that has to stain gray hair as well. C: Well, and you see it on paint on walls in places that people smoked, so. K: Yes, that is so gross. C: So yeah, I would assume that it would stain hair. K: Yeah, me too. And so I’m really really happy. Ooh, the other day, I was watching YouTube. I have one of my favorite YouTube channels, man I wish I could give her a shoutout. I can’t remember the name of the YouTube channel. But she had a hot press- so her flat iron broke, and she got a new flat iron and it discolored her gray. C: Mmm. K: I felt so bad for her because she had really beautiful, silver gray, and she had to end up dying her hair because it turned it yellow. So for all the beautiful ladies rocking their natural gray,