Sunday, November 13, 2011

John Belushi, Japan and Me - or How the Movie Animal House Changed My Life

John Belushi and I have a long running, very old relationship. Seriously, we do. I first "met" John Belushi in 1975 on the set of Saturday Night Live. He wasn't famous then but John Belushi would go on to influence my life greatly since that time. Of course, when I say, "met," I don't mean in person. We only met on the TV screen..


Let me explain the intricate details of how John Belushi influenced my life and how his life and mine have intertwined repeatedly over all these years... Mostly through excessive drinking, humor and an unshaven, slovenly lifestyle... John Belushi made me see that, if you want to do something great, you just can't follow the rules. You have to break those rules... And you have to be decisive in doing so... No matter what the bosses or "authorities" say, you have to be wild and outrageous if you want to do something really special and unique.


If you want to be special and do something really different, then you can't do what everyone else is doing. You have to go for the "gusto!" Watching John Belushi taught me to do that... Sometimes, it got me in big trouble with bosses, but the results have always been good. Like Francis Ford Coppola once said, "The things you get fired for at 20-years-old, are the things you are celebrated for at 50-years-old." I want to be celebrated. Who doesn't? Life is short.


Because of my former job producing and co-hosting the highest rated and most popular FM radio morning drive time show in Tokyo, Good Morning Garage (GMG) from 2006 ~ 2009, I still, to this day, sometimes meet people who know who I am and ask for my autograph. No! Really! I do! I'm not making this up. Honest! Please believe me! Really! Would I lie to you?


Had I never "met" John Belushi, nor been so influenced by him, this situation would have never happened.


ANIMAL HOUSE (1978)
Animal House came out in 1978. I graduated from HS in 1975 then went to city college and worked for two years before seeing this movie. Because of this film, I decided that I just HAD to go to university. I did join a frat too... But they kicked me out after a few weeks... Losers!


It is proof that that morning FM radio show was hugely popular because people don't usually know what radio DJ's look like, but that show was so popular that we were sometimes on TV and in magazines too! So some people knew our faces and what we looked like.


But let me continue the story...


One time, about a year or two ago, I was riding the train home and, across from me sat a young, pretty housewife. She looked at me and smiled several times. She even said "Hi!" I figured she was a fan of the former show and so I said, "Hi!" back. She kept on smiling and acting embarrassed and shy. I smiled.


"Gee!" I thought... I wonder if she is the type for some "randy" action? You never know about these radio-show-fan women! I wondered what it would be like to "Get it on, bang a gong, get it on" with her?" I mused like Marc Bolan on a majestic white steed. 


The train ride continued and she kept smiling shyly at me and I smiled back while imagining all sorts of "games." I kept fantasizing about me and her going on a whirlwind date and drinking and making wild love together... Even though she wasn't really my type, I supposed that she might be hot love in the sack.


When the train reached my stop I got up to get off. To my surprise, so did she. We both walked to the train door and, as we walked off the train she said, "You probably don't remember me..."


"Of course, I do..." I glanced her a impish grin. I figured she was a fan and, well, who knows where that could lead too? I leaned dangerously close to her like a lecherous cartoon fox so where we could have closer eye contact... My right eyebrow curled with menacing approval.... 


She bubbled, "I'm a good friend of Yuka, your wife. I'm in the neighborhood mothers association. I've even been to your house before. Remember?"


I immediately stood up straight and began rubbing my eyes. I sneezed. "Allergies, you know!... I, er, uh,..." One second I was within 1 foot of her, the next second I was six feet apart... Of course, I remember!" I gasped. "Your name is.... er...?"


She told me her first name (can't remember what it was) but I acted like I knew the first name. I asked her what her last name was! She told me that too, but I can't remember that either.... Oh well...


So, you see. I sort of have to be careful with what I am doing... For one, I can't have my wife's friend's gossiping about how I am having affairs with all sorts of women when I am not - excepting in my imagination... And for two, I'm so bad with names and faces that I think it might suck royally if I wake up in bed in some hotel with some woman only to realize it's my next door neighbor... 


Now that might be bad for public relations and neighborhood tranquility...


Now, you might ask, "Mike! What does this have to do with John Belushi?" Not much on the surface, perhaps, but it does have very much to do with him if you dig down deep into the past...


Here's why...


About an hour ago, I was at a supermarket buying a couple of bottles of booze. (Disclaimer: I was already a tad bit drunk). There, a young housewife looked at me several times and smiled. I smiled back.


She looked at me and smiled again at me several times. "Wow! She's definitely my type! The old Rogers magic is still there!" I thought. 


"Until we meet again!" I thought as I walked out the store. She smiled again as I walked out and looked back.


Then I came home and looked in the mirror. My eyes are bad. Maybe she wasn't smiling. Maybe she was laughing.


Or, since all gaijins looks alike, maybe that lady thought I was John Belushi.


(Left) John Belushi in Animal House: Unshaven. Hair fashionably a disaster. I've always liked that guy. (Right) Me: Unshaven. Hair fashionably a disaster.

This might seem like it has zero to do with Japan, but looks can be deceiving. This has a lot to do with me and Japan and here's why:

If I had never seen the movie Animal House, I'd have never gone to university. Had I never gone to university, I'd have never met all those hot Japanese girls at my dormitory. Had I not met them, I'd have never gotten interested in studying Japanese. 

Had I not studied Japanese, I'd have never met my Japanese wife. Had I not met her, I'd have never gone to Japan. Had I not gone to Japan, I'd have never moved here.

Typical Japanese University Student
(Yukie Kawamura)

Had I not moved here, I'd have not had my rendezvous with fate tonight with that hot young housewife who smiled at me.

Had our hearts not met for a few moments tonight, I'd have not have thought about John Belushi. Had I not thought about John Belushi, I'd have not looked in the mirror.

Had I not looked in the mirror, I wouldn't have immediately had a shave and now, because of shaving and showering, I look "normal" (well, as normal as I can look!) I have to look normal because guests are coming over.

I hate being normal.

I love John Belushi.

And now you know about John Belushi and me. When was John Belushi ever "normal"? I don't want to be normal... So that's why he is my hero and my life's inspiration.... And that's how Animal House changed my life...

Oh, and Repo-Man reinforced those changes...

"Look at 'em, ordinary fucking people, I hate 'em." - Bud (from Repo-Man)




*NOTE: Of course the stories about the women being interested in me and vice versa are all a part of any writer's (or drunk's) vivid imagination and artistic license... These events are not to be confused with actual events....



Thanks to George Williams, Taro Furukawa, Hiroko Wakana, Takatoshi Uchiyama, Megane kun and all the GMG fans

2 comments:

Marc Sheffner said...

LOL!! A blog-post that says absolutely nothing at all, and yet kept my interest right up to the end! (it wasn't the pictures. What pictures? I didn't notice any pictures...) Man, you can write! Or else I don't have a life. It's one of those two, anyroad.

Anonymous said...

Funny shit. Thanks.