Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Japan's ¥100 Bullet Train Coins


Did you know that the Japanese mint released 300,000 new ¥100 coins into circulation to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Shinkansen Bullet Trains the other day? No? Well, it doesn't seem like most people knew about it, either.

My wife's mom just came over and gave a set of the coins to my son. That's how I found out about it

Here's what the Japanese mint says about these coins from their webpage: (http://www.mint.go.jp/buy-eng/international-eng/eng_shinkansen_coin_program_index.html)

"A bullet train Shinkansen, which was developed for the 1964 Tokyo Olympic Games, has been widely known for half a century, domestically as an important infrastructure supporting the lives of the Japanese people, and internationally as one of the symbols for Japan’s high technology. On October 1st, 2014, the Shinkansen marked the 50th anniversary of its opening. We release a series of commemorative coins featuring Shinkansen to commemorate of this anniversary between 2014 and 2016. It will include one 1,000 Yen silver proof coin and nine 100 Yen clad coins."

Since the mint only released 300,000 of these, I guess that's why not too many people had heard about it; the mint might have intentionally tried not to advertise too much because people go crazy over stuff like this. 

I know I would have. I collected coins and stamps (and baseball cards, comic books, etc.) when I was a kid.

As it was, according to my wife and mother-in-law, people were lining up at banks and post offices around the nation on the day of release to try to get a set. I'll bet you half a donut that the people who did line up - and were lucky enough to be able to get a set - did the "Apple Store" thing; they must have lined up from the night before. And, since each bank and post office only received a few sets, the sets were all gone within the first one minute on release date.

There's no way I would ever do that for computer stuff... For commemorate coins for my kid? Or for my own collection? OK. I suppose so.

It seems that there were lots of disappointed people who tried to get a set but couldn't.

These sets were virtually impossible to get if you were in Tokyo, but I hear they were a bit easier to obtain if you lived out in the country... Like my in-laws do. My wife's family has been living in that area as farmers for well over a hundred years, so all she had to do was call up the bank and tell them to hold a set for her. They did.

In the west they say, "The customer is always right." In Japan they say, "The customer is god."

It's especially true if you've been doing your banking with the same bank as your family has been doing for 100 years. That's how she got the coins. If she calls, there's no way they are going to tell her, "No!"

hokuriku shinkansen
Hokuriku Shinkansen 100 yen coin
joetsu
Joetsu Shinkansen 100 Yen coin
Tokaido Shinkansen 100 yen coin
Tokaido Shinkansen 100 yen coin
tohoku shinkansen
Sanyo Shinkansen 100 Yen coin
Sanyo Shinkansen 100 Yen coin
Shinkansen 100 Yen coin reverse
Shinkansen 100 Yen coin reverse

My kid seems to like them. I reckon the little boy in all men would like them too!

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Grandfather Dies. Father Dies. Son Dies. Grandson Dies: This is True Prosperity


An ancient Zen Buddhist story goes like this:
A very wealthy family in China bought a large farm and built a beautiful palace upon it. They wished for good luck, health, and fortune, so they decided to ask a famous Zen priest to write a scroll for them to hang in their den. The priest accepted the job and went back to his shrine to pray for enlightenment.
After a few days, the priest returned with the finished scroll and the entire family gathered around in great anticipation to see the words that the priest wrote for them. The priest said a short prayer and opened the scroll and hung it on the wall.
The scroll said:

Grandfather dies. 
Father dies. 
Son dies. 
Grandson dies.

The entire family was furious at the priest. They shouted and demanded that he go back to the shrine and rewrite the scroll for them.
As the priest was rolling up the scroll, he sighed and said: “I will rewrite the order of names on the scroll in anyway you wish. But I think there can be no other sequence. If all die in this order, I think that is true prosperity.”
My own mother died in a freak car accident in 1994. Of course, I was crushed. I was in Japan and she was in America.
After the car accident, she was taken by ambulance to the hospital. I understand that she floated in and out of consciousness before she died. Since I was so far away, I had no way of seeing her, holding her hand, and saying: “I love you mom. Thank you for everything.” But at least I can be thankful that my father was there to do so when she went away. Many people who die are not fortunate enough to have a loved one with them, to hold their hand, to whisper in their ear: “I love you. We all love you…. Please rest. You may go now.” And with words like these, my mother “let go” and passed away. I will always regret that I couldn’t be there with my mother in her time of need. I thank God that my father could be.
There are too many people in this world who die alone. Could there be a more woeful way to die, than when loved ones cannot be there by your side to say their last, “Good-bye”?
After my mother died, though, I was angry. I was angry at the world and I was angry at God. For months after my mother’s death I had recurring nightmares and the most bizarre dreams. Many of the dreams involved times when I was a boy. I would be playing in a playground and I would see my mother on the other side of a fence. I would cry out, “Mom! You’re back!” And I would begin to sob uncontrollably. My mother would grow angry at me and she’d start to leave. I’d cry out again, “Mom! Come back!” As she walked away, she would turn around, look at me, and always say the same thing: “I cannot come to visit you, if you are going to cry every time I see you.” And with that, she’d disappear into a field of tall grass.
I would always promise not to cry the next time. But I couldn’t keep my promise. I think I saw this same dream just about every night for at least six months.
Then one night, I had the most bizarre dream of all. My mother, as usual, walked away because I was crying, I was on my knees. I had my head in hands to try to hold back the tears. And then suddenly, I found myself in a huge chamber. It was like a colossal courtroom. I looked up and there was an old man sitting in a chair, looking quite frustrated and irate at me. He was massive in size. He was huge, at least 40 or 50 feet high and he was sitting down! He was brushing his beard and looking at me as if he was considering what to do.
I knew exactly who he was, yet I was not afraid of him; I was furious.
I shouted: “It’s not fair! It’s not fair that my mother died in an accident. My mother was still young and healthy. She should still be alive you bastard!” The old man just stared at me. I continued to shout at him. And I began to cry.
Then he calmly said: “So you think it is unfair that your mother has died?”
“Of course it’s unfair!”
The old man sighed and said, “Very well then, I shall allow you to be reborn and I will give you a different mother, and that mother will still be alive today. Would you find this acceptable?”
“A different mother!?” I said. “No… No, thank you.”
I suddenly awoke from my dream. I was in tears.
I pondered this strange dream for many weeks after that. Then it dawned on me: Instead of being angry that my mother died in an accident. I should be thankful for all of the wonderful times we spent together, all the hugs and bedtime stories. All the laughs and the great dinners. All the special times that my mother made me feel special, and all the other times she cheered me up when others did not. I should thank God for all the wonderful memories I received from being the son of this loving woman. She was always there for me when I needed her. And now, whenever I see her in my dreams, I do not cry. In fact the dream I often have with her now is one where I am on her side of the fence and we are sitting in the field and having a picnic and smiling together.
I haven’t seen my mother in a while, but I look forward to the next time I do.
I told this story to a priest who has become my friend. He asked me to show him a photograph of my mother. I did. He said: “Your mother was a very beautiful woman. Always keep this image of her in your heart. You are most fortunate that it is you, and not her, who has but memories and a snapshot.”
“How profound!” I thought. And I have always kept his words of wisdom in my heart. I share these words with my friends whose parents have passed away.
If only I could have been lucky enough to be there to hold my mother’s hand and be able to say, “I love you” when she passed away. How thankful I would be; thankful for that moment that I could be there. But I wasn’t.
But she was there to share and be a big part of my life.
I wouldn’t trade those photos or memories for anything in the world.


Would you?
My mother and father sometime in the very early 1950s.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Today! 今日4月26日「すき家デー」Free Gift Coupons!


「すき家 デイ!」フライング?今スタート!リクエスト曲もOK! 誕生日もOK! 全部のメールに「すき家!」書けば、プレゼント当たるかも!Twitter: #wtfすき家 メールは wtf@interfm.jp



Friday, April 24, 2015

今週日曜日!インターFMのWTF? X すき家 = 美味しい牛丼プレゼント!


4月26日(日)インターFMのWTF? は...みんな大好き!お肉たっぷり新サイズになった’すき家’から「牛丼()無料お食事券3枚+赤さじ3本」をセットで10名様にプレゼント!受付は今から!メール(wtf@interfm.jp)に「すき家」と書いて送信してね。(WTF? InterFM 朝8時〜11時)

Sukiya Rocks!

すき家の牛丼は 4/15 より、お肉たっぷりの新サイズになっています!ご来店をお待ちしております!

すき家ってどんなお店?

・牛丼店といえば、安くて、早くて、そしてしっかり食事ができることから、男性サラリーマンを中心に人気と

なりました。

・最近は、ファミレス感覚で捉えている方も。

すき家が先駆けてテーブル席を導入したり、女性や子供向けのメニューを取り入れたりしました。それにより、

老若男女に親しまれ、牛丼は今や国民食と言われるまでになりました。

女性に人気の秘訣は?

・細かなサイズ設定!

ミニからメガまでのサイズに種類豊富なトッピング。

ミニ丼は女性のランチに人気

女性にとってはミニ丼の満足度は充分高いようです。サラダも一緒にお召し上がりいただければ、さらに満足。

・赤さじで食べる牛丼!

すき家の赤さじは、女性や子供でも食べやすい幅・大きさに設計されているので、デートでも安心。上品

な赤色で、口紅がついても目立たないところもポイントです。

・牛丼は意外にヘルシー

余分な脂質を落としていますし、良質なたんぱく質を取ることができるので意外にヘルシーなんです。

元祖トッピング牛丼!

・今や牛丼にトッピングは当たり前...元祖トッピング牛丼はすき家の「キムチ牛丼」だと言われている。

・すき家の屋号は「すき焼き」から。だから、すき家の牛丼は、たまごととても相性が良い。

ほとんどのメニューは「お持ち帰り」OK!

・鮮度管理上、一部、お持ち帰りいただけないメニューはありますが、ほとんどのメニューは、お弁当として

お持ち帰りが可能です。がっつり食べたい家呑みのお供にもご利用ください。

ドリンクやスイーツ、サラダも!

・食後のコーヒーやスイーツのお取扱いがあるため、家族連れの方などに喜ばれています。

すき家公式ウェブサイト


http://www.sukiya.jp/

4月26日(日)のWTF?は...みんな大好き!お肉たっぷり新サイズになった’すき家’から「牛丼()無料お食事券3枚+赤さじ3本」をセットで10名様にプレゼント!受付は今から!メール(wtf@interfm.jp)に「すき家」と書いて送信してね。

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Vote! Hot Sexy Babes and Hot Picks In the Japanese Local Erections!

"I'm lucky. You're lucky. We're all lucky!" - Magenta (from the Rocky Horror Picture Show)

I live in Tokyo. It's peaceful here; the cops never bash in people's heads; the Japanese police haven't shot anyone in 3 or 4 years and there's basically no crime to speak of. And, if you are a foreigner, then you are probably the most dangerous person within a 500 meter radius of yourself.

So it's pretty safe, quiet, chilled out and and nice place to live. Tokyo rawks! 

Poster Board thingy by my house that shows all the folks running for "guvner" of the local area as well as other cogs in the political machine.

Every once in a while, though, the locals get restless and they hold some rituals. Some of these rituals are contests for the central government that resides in a giant underground cavern downtown (kind of like the Morlocks) and then there's the local rituals where you see people standing around the train stations talking about something or another into megaphones to people who all walk by and seem to pay no attention at all to their antics.

These ancient rituals, whose beginnings are dark and murky and unbeknownst to the average local, are kind of the same as when you foreigners in the west hold your modern versions of Rain Dance to open the heavens and bring prosperity and a bountiful harvest in the coming year. 

These "Pagan rituals" (hereinafter referred to as: "elections") are organized and ran by the local witch doctors so the local herded mammals feel empowered to vote some people - people of whom they will never meet, nor would they even wish to - to rule over them; so, when it comes to tax time, they feel like they can't complain; for it is these very special individuals (who the herded mammalia 'voted' for), who have the right to spend other people's money lining the pockets of their friends for some reason or another. 

How lucky we are to be able to vote in these facades of democracy that modern societies hold! No bread and circuses for us! No! No! 

Anyhow, there's some sort of election going on. Since one politician ain't much different from another, I thought I'd share my insights with you, dear reader, on whom you should vote for... I mean, if you could vote, but you can't. What I mean to say is that foreigners are not allowed to vote. But we can look at sexy babes, right? 

Hey! Didn't we have a revolution about this "Taxation without representation" crap? We did! Never mind. Either way, I can't really imagine bothering to hold a revolution demanding the right to vote when:

a) I don't vote anyway.
b) Voting is a waste of time.
c) "It matters not who casts the votes, but who counts the votes." - Joe Stalin

What I want to say is that I don't vote. But I do look at hot and sexy babes. And if I did vote, the following is who I would vote for. So, get your "pencils" out guys. 'Cause I'm about to give you the "Hot Picks" in this erection!

OK. Let's get the rules straight: All of these people are politicians which means they are lying sacks of dog doo-doo. That being a given, then, we know that voting for some sort of 'moral character' seems a dodgy proposition, if not laughable, at best. And since most of my picks are hot women, we want them with questionable moral fortitude! Also, since politics are all a scam and a farce, the only beneficial part to the entire political process for the drinking man is the entertainment value. This being true, then I say we vote for the best looking or most interesting looking people.

As the great Will Rogers once wrote: "Politics is the best show in America. I love animals and I love politicians, and I like to watch both of 'em at play, either back home in their native state, or after they've been captured and sent to a zoo, or to Washington."

So now onto my recommendations on how you should vote! I only chose a few from the huge billboard because most of those people are olde pharttes and, like I said, "they's all 'bout the same."

Miss Fukuda (Miss Lucky Field). She wears the white jacket with the pink pink sides and is carrying an extra four pounds. She is also one of the older mares in today's race. But, what the hell, she's much easier to look at than the other guys who all seem to have evolved from male toads in the Pleistocene Period. Outside chance of surprising many. 8 to 1 odds. 2 1/2 votes.


Miss Sato is definitely a contender in this race. Get her all liquored up and I'll bet she could make most guys stand up and vote! Wow! Not bad! She's a hottie! 7 1/2 votes!


What's this? Some guy? You kidding me? Well, OK, Yamamoto gets a long shot 30 -1 chance. But he is in there because he is only one of two people in the race who have beards (well, some of these ladies might have beards too - haven't you ever heard of Photoshop?) I figure that since Yamamoto has a beard he must be kinda cool and likes Jazz Music. His minus points are because, for some reason, I suspect he might have been a hippie in his youth and wore flairs. 3 1/2 votes.


Ah? Hold the presses! Miss Hiuchi. She's still looks the same after all these years! My wife says she's been using the same photo for her posters for at least ten years or more. But, with the lights out, admit it, you'd still hit it! I still see her on these posters because I have no idea who wins or loses these elections, so I am assuming she is like a relief pitcher; you know, 8 wins and 6 losses with a 3.78 era. So what if she's much older than these photos show! I can still dream, can't I? Anyway, she's much easier on the eyes than 95% of the others, so she gets a nod and is currently at 12 - 1 odds.  7 votes.


What's this? Another stupid dude? Tell me it ain't so, Joe! But it is. Mr. Kuroki is here for two reasons: Not only does he have a lot of hair like our (suspected) former hippie, Mr. Yamamoto (above), but he's got a dammed human with him holding him up! Let me explain; everyone around here has a dumb dog. These dogs are treated in this area as the highest order of the animal kingdom. Humans second (back of the bus with you, stinkin' foreigner!) So, dogs in Setagaya are of a higher social strata. Dumb animals like humans, follow them around and wrap up their poop in plastic bags then take it home as souveniers (go figure!) So this is, I suspect, actually a trick poster. The dog is running for office, the hippie with the white beard is merely a handler and cleans up after him. That being the case, and this being Setagaya where dogs are of a higher social order than even the local landowners, then I give this dog a 3 - 1 chance of being elected. 8 3/4 votes.

...Folks, it is what it is. I didn't create society. I just live here.


Woah! This is it! Miss Shaku! Break out the baby oil! Hold the mayo!

♬Miss Shaku! Miss Shaku! ♬Miss Shaku! Oh, baby I love you!♬

Miss Shaku is hot! Hot! Hot! Hot!!!!!! 

Do I need to write more? Judge for yourself! Here's her qualifications:

1) I wouldn't kick Miss Shaku out of my futon for eating rice crackers in a million years! 
2) She is babe-licious! 
3) "If she were president of the United States, her name would be Babe-raham Lincoln!" - Garth

I'm in love with Miss Shaku! 

Can you tell that I dig everything about her platform? I'm voting for her to not only be my local representative, but mayor, queen and Dominatrix Sex Goddess of the entire nation of Nippon! 

Wow! She is the best! 

20 - 1 odds (because the people I like never win) but 10 out of 10 Stars!

Wow! Have you noticed how this room has gotten all hot and sweaty? Time to take a cold shower!

---------

Well, that's it for this time folks. I've picked the best of the field for you and hope you make the right choice if you vote (or be smart and just stay home because if voting could change anything, it would be made illegal.)

Like I said, it doesn't matter who wins, because nothing changes. The only thing I really care about is if the new people fix the pothole in front of my house. Besides that, I want them to just leave me alone... 

Or to make the next election cycle posters in bathing suits.

Pothole in road by my house. Been slowly sinking for months... Different sections of the local government have all come out to see it; they all claim it is the duty of a different section to repair this. Talk about a run around!





Thursday, April 16, 2015

Ninja Slayer From Animation, the TV Show, and Sexy Ninja Girls! Starts Tonight on Niconico April 16, 11 pm Japan Time.


Ninja Slayer From Animation begins tonight April 16, 2015 at 11 pm Japan time. (Check what time that is in your local time here: http://www.timeanddate.com/worldclock/japan/tokyo).

Ninja Slayer manga has been a smash hit in 15 countries but now the animation begins! And, yes, you can watch it all over the world!


Here's the link to click to watch tonight April 16, 2015 at 11 pm Japan time



Here's the basic story: 



Also, with Ninja Slayer, begins "The TV Show" (ザ・TVショウ). The TV show is created by yours truly and my partner in crime, Ken Nishikawa with Motoyoshi Tai (as the bad guy producer).



The TV Show is a short variety show that begins immediately after the first Ninja Slayer anime ends. It is wild and has back information on the musicians and making of the theme tracks for the animation. It's also full of sexy ninja girls!

Here's the trailer for the TV Show:


Check it out tonight! Ninja Slayer From Animation begins tonight April 16, 2015 at 11 pm Japan time. Here's the link to click to watch tonight: 


Oh, and I did mention sexy Ninja Girls? You bet!



Trust me, you'll want to watch this show! Here's Mina Shirakawa, the co-host.... There's more of this on tonight's show!



(Check what time that is in your local time here: 
http://www.timeanddate.com/worldclock/japan/tokyo).

Monday, April 13, 2015

The Argument at the Grocery Store: Why Living in Japan is Better Than Living in the West - It's a Part of the Culture


I just came back from my second trip tonight to the grocery store to buy booze. I'm kind of drunk now. The grocery store is a 3 minute walk from my house.

I've been drinking booze. Did I say that I'm drunk, now? I did? OK.

As I walked out of the store, there was a couple arguing about something.

But, in Japan, when a couple are arguing (outside a grocery store or wherever), it isn't anything like what happens when a couple argues (outside in the parking lot of a grocery store or anywhere else) in the USA.

People in the USA and the west argue and they like to scream.

In Japan, people are reserved and they aren't wont to make a scene; there's no shouting or making a "scene."

Making a "scene" in Japan just won't do, you see.

The couple that were arguing outside the store I just came back from were arguing in hushed voices. I couldn't understand what they were arguing about. But they were definitely arguing about something.

The last time I was in America, I was at a Ralph's supermarket grocery store parking lot, I saw a couple arguing in the parking lot; they were screaming at each other and throwing stuff at each other out of their grocery cart.

It was like bloody murder! 

The guy (I guess he was the husband) was screaming at the top of his lungs about something to do with a 25 pound bag of dog food versus a 50 pound bag of dog food.

Not exactly a life-ending crisis, but screaming bloody murder they were. People there must be quite stressed out (or drugged out)

He was shouting, "You didn't tell me to buy the 50 pound bag!"

I think you could hear him screaming at the top of his lungs from a mile away! He seemed furious over such a trivial matter.

That would never happen in Japan. It seems to be normal in the west.

The couple I saw who were arguing at the grocery store near my home in Japan, were arguing in hushed tones. That's because that's how Japanese people argue; they never scream and shout.

In Japanese language (and culturally) there's no reason to shout and raise one's voice. 

It's just not a part of the culture.

And, as they say, if you want to understand the culture, you have to understand the language. 

In Japanese, you never know what someone is going to say until you hear the last word in a sentence.

For example (in Japanese): "To the store to go buy groceries I go not."

In English, "I'm not going to the store to buy groceries."

In English, I know before even half way through what you are saying if your intention is negative or positive.

In Japanese, you have to listen to the last word to know one's intent.

This is why there is no "ping pong effect" in Japan where people interrupt each other mid-sentence and start arguing. In the west, whilst speaking English, you can interrupt because you already heard the intent halfway through any sentence...

"I am not...." and so forth.

This makes for Japan to be a much more peaceful place. That's just the way it is.

That's one more reason why Japan is a better place to live than the west if you want to have some peace. It's also why you never hear Japanese people interrupting each other and screaming - whether they are speaking Japanese or English.

It's just not a part of the culture.

Hopefully, it never will be.


Trust me. It is inconceivable that this guy is going to raise his voice and yell about anything! It's just not a part of the culture. Ain't gonna happen,

Sunday, April 12, 2015

‪Su凸ko D凹koi 「ブス」PV‬ - Japan's Hottest New Girl's Band!



We just made the new video for Japan’s Hottest New Girl’s Group! Su Ko D Koi! These girl’s are fantastic! Su凸ko D凹koi 「すっとこどっこい」. The song is called, “Busu” which means “Ugly.” It's amazing that these three girls can make such a powerful sound. Check it!



Su Ko D Koi - Busu (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SE0s_D8G5hc)


Here's the lyrics: 

(Chorus)
Ugly, ugly, ugly, ugly
I wonder if I am ugly
Ugly, ugly, ugly, ugly
I know that I am

I've been living with the face for 20 years
I've come to realize that I'll never be a princess
I am not the only one who thinks so
I could never work as a hostess at a bar

(Chorus)

But I got a boyfriend one day
I think he also thinks I am ugly
That's what I think, but I'm not sure
But for the first time, I thought, "Oh I'm glad to be alive." 

For the first time in my life
I thought from the bottom of my heart, 
I am happy to be alive
I was really happy

(Chorus)

After dating for about six months
He suddenly hit me
I didn't do anything to deserve it
When I woke up in the hospital
with a transfusion in my arm

He had his head in his hands
Then he was gone
But I wasn't angry at him
Because it was the first time he really made me feel like a woman

I was happy!

(Chorus 2x)

Thank you!"

---------------------------

It’s kind of like the old 1950s song, “He Hit Me, and It Felt Like a Kiss” by the Crystals but with a 2015 twist!

Cool! 

If you like this, please go "Like" their Facebook page: http://on.fb.me/19e1HCn

-----------------------------

This video was made by me and Ken Nishikawa at Robot55!

Saturday, April 11, 2015

すっとこどっこい ー 「ブス」のPV


Gang! We just made the new video for Su凸ko D凹koi 「すっとこどっこい」. The song is called, "Busu" which means "Ugly." Check it!




She says,

"Ugly, ugly.... I know I am ugly.... 

But I got a boyfriend and we have been going out. 

But one day, out of the blue, he hit me. 

I woke up in the hospital and he had his head in his hands. 

Then he was gone.... 

But, I finally was able to realize that he treated me like a woman!"....

It's kind of like the old 1950s song, "He Hit Me, and It Felt Like a Kiss" by the Crystals.

Cool! Isn't it? (If link doesn't work, click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SE0s_D8G5hc)




———————–

At Robot55 we make video productions for businesses and services and products, but we also pride ourselves on making videos for art and music. Our starting price is ¥70,000 and we are sure we can work out something that fits your budget. Oh, and we love making band videos too! Contact us! contact@robot55.jp


Friday, April 10, 2015

I Was a Teenage Stand-Up Comedian in Hollywood!

“There is a thin line that separates laughter and pain, comedy and tragedy, humor and hurt.” ― Erma Bombeck

“Life is a comedy to those who think, a tragedy to those who feel.” ― Jean Racine

-----------------------------

I really have worked as a Stand Up Comedian in Hollywood and around in small venues in Southern California when I was a teenager. I did this gig, off and on, from 1979 until early 1981 or so. I was very popular and got paid... 

OK. That's not exactly true. I wasn't a teenager, I was about 21 or 22 years old when I was a stand-up comedian; and it's probably a bit of a "stretch" to say that I was "popular." I did get paid a couple of bucks each time too (which was often more than I got from being in a punk band!)

Months before I became a Stand-Up Comedian, I was playing in a punk band and, from that, I got to see how the stage set-up was done for concerts. (I wrote about my punk band in: The White Stripes Jack White and Me (A True Story) (robot55.jp/blog/jack-white-and-me-a-true-story/) I saw an opportunity to be able to go on stage, tell off-color jokes and actually get paid a little bit (plus it was a great way to meet girls!) I figured that, in between the bands - while the Roadies were changing equipment on the stage - I could go up on stage and entertain the troops. 

I actually went to clubs and owners to sell myself and my routine. For a while there, I got jobs; a lady from the department store I worked at actually got me lots of jobs too. She got me jobs at some sort of social events! She could have been a good manager! At that time, I was telling jokes in front of crowds of 50 ~ 200 people, one or two weekends a month for a short while!

Sometimes I did so well, and the crowd liked my jokes so much, that the fans were crowding the stage and throwing coins at my feet. I am not exaggerating!

Other times, with the very same act and original jokes I wrote, even the next night in front of a different crowd, it was like I was giving a speech at a funeral; it was dead. I definitely am not exaggerating about that either.

I was always confused as to why I was such a hit one night, then the next night, it was terrible! The difference was like night and day!


(Photo of me, as Nigel Nitro, circa 1980 - I would later write under the pen name "Ricky Zipp" using this same photo)

The first time people threw money at me, I was mad because I thought they were throwing stuff at me to get me off the stage. That was until a friend told me, "Wow! You were great! People were even throwing money at your feet!"

Getting up on stage, by yourself, is much more difficult than people can imagine; you are completely alone. If you are in a band on stage, that's scary enough, but, with a band, you have your band members and instruments to hide behind. Being a stand up comedian is just you, naked (figuratively speaking), on the stage with a few dozen or, even hundreds of people just staring at you. Their eyes pierce you and their expectations are quite high (or incredibly low - which can be a problem too!) Their eyes and faces are saying, "Entertain me! Make me laugh or get off the stage!"

Being a Stand-Up Comedian is a very rough job.

My very last stand up routine was at my university at a talent show; I was MC'ing the event. People were roaring with laughter. I couldn't figure it out. They were laughing in all the wrong places! I later asked a girl why people were laughing so much and she said, "Your facial expressions were hilarious!" I couldn't figure that out either. If anything my facial expression were of confusion because I couldn't figure out why people were laughing at my jokes in weird places! It was then and there that I decided that I wasn't good enough and didn't have what it takes to be a Stand-Up Comedian.

But I'm very glad I tried my luck as a Stand Up Comedian. Being a Stand-Up Comedian is a great way to become a great public speaker. It is also a good way to overcome inhibitions and to learn how to control a crowd's behavior.

How and why did I ever first become a Stand-Up Comedian? Let me explain further...

In about mid 1979, a few months after Sid Vicious of the Sex Pistols died, my punk band broke up. I was quite disillusioned with the entire "Punk Thing" by then anyway. Sid dying (he was my hero) was the last straw for me. (Well, I had lots of "last straws," actually.)

But, I had loved being on the stage as a Punk band vocalist and wanted to stay and hang out in Hollywood. So I decided try try my hand as a Stand-Up Comedian. It made sense to me at the time.

Being the front of a punk band was powerful. It was also a lesson in crowd control. When my band ended, at first, I wanted to start another punk band but everything I tried just didn't work out to my liking. Also, I had learned a lesson from playing in a band with other people who weren't so dedicated; having to depend on other people sucks!

Being a Stand-Up Comedian is really just you against the world, it seems. It's a great experience and, no matter your age, I think everyone can benefit from having to stand up in front of a bunch of strangers and give a speech.

After all, giving a speech and doing stand up comedy are first cousins in the public speaking world.

In Japan, you can sometimes see young people standing at a busy train station and giving speeches. I hear it is a kind of initiation at some companies to make their new young employees overcome their inhibitions and become better representatives and salesmen. I think it is good.

I will always fondly look back to my 20 or 30 times as a Stand Up Comedian. Sometimes I was the funniest guy! King of the hill! Other times I was a pathetic little loser standing butt-stark-naked in front of a crowd of people without a friend in the world!....

Both are great learning experiences.

Everyone can benefit from public speaking exposure like that.

Like they say, "Don't dream it. Be it."
















This blogpost reprinted courtesy of Robot55