by Robert J. Collins

Tip #399. You will notice quite a few people walking around with decidedly Japanese features but sporting hair the color of a field of wheat in Sep­tember, a plate of spaghetti or oxidized brass. “Why would they do that?” you ask, making the mistake of a first-time visitor. “Aren’t Japanese supposed to have straight black hair?”

Yes, of course Japanese have straight black hair. They’re out there, usually in the background. The people you see with the peculiar hair are not Japanese trying to look foreign—they are foreigners trying to look Japan­ese. You can test this by walking up and speaking to them in any of the Scandinavian tongues, or Gaelic, and they’ll reply as if you’re all sitting around a bog back home, staring at the North Atlantic. Trust me.

Tip #400. There is nowhere on earth where picking up a hooker for commercial sex requires the tact and sensitivity that is required in Japan. I mean, the sidewalks are full of bouncing young females in tiny little skirts, killer make-up and the swaggering but oh-so-coy behavior of Everyman’s Lolita. Oh boy, says the roue, died and gone to heaven.

The problem is that 90 per­cent of these girls don’t see themselves as sex objects, exact­ly. They may dress and behave in public like hookers in other countries, but here it’s sort of the thing to do. All the girls do it. And comparisons are made with other girls’ outfits, not what’s driving the guys mad.

Yet, an increasingly large number of youngsters are sup­plementing their high school allowances by “dates” with older men who provide them with the cash to stay up-to-date with whatever’s faddishly hot. That makes them hookers, but very amateur ones at best.

The problem is sorting them out from the majority of girls who would be genuinely shocked by a direct sexual over­ture. (It would send them home to their teddy bears disillusioned by the whole foreign/Japanese thing, and they really would not know why “harsh things hap­pened” anyway.) Tact and sensi­tivity, tact and sensitivity. Don’t ask me. Look for pimps.

Tip #401. One can say, in fact one should say “No” to food that moves. I’ve been offered down through the years food that moves. (“Look at the foreigner. We’re now going to give him food that moves. Watch his face.”)

The thing is to refuse to eat food that moves not on aesthetic grounds (worms crawling through fish entrails can’t taste good) but on the grounds of experience. “One of my favorite things when growing up was worms crawling through fish entrails, but I bad to stop eating ’em. My mother, aunt and little brother died as a result. The eat­ing-worms, crawling-through-fish-entrails virus wiped out the entire village.” It’ll give folks here something to think about.

Tip #402. Two countries, South Korea and Japan, co-host­ing the World Cup is certainly unique. With that in mind, which of the following two state­ments more accurately fits the situation:

A. South Korea and Japan have had a friendly, cooperative relationship for more than 100 years, and co-hosting the games is a natural outgrowth of that situation, or

B. South Korea and Japan have had a friendly, cooperative relationship, on the surface at least, for less than 1,000 days.

If you chose B., you might keep your eyes open for intra-host hooliganism. (But if it works, who knows what the future holds. India and Pakistan co-hosting? Palestine and Israel?)

Tip #403. Neither of the co-hosts will make it past the second round. Things will more or less return to normal around here—baseball in Japan and fishing boat adventures in the Koreas. There’ll be a lot of World Cup tickets floating around as the finals approach. I’ll see you on the pitch.