What is this "true story" actually based on?
April 4, 2007 4:22 PM   Subscribe

This past weekend, my friend's boyfriend told me a crazy thing that happened to him that can't possibly be true. I believe that it may be based on a film/book/short story. Help me figure out whether he's lying. *Story inside is long but involves Japanese brothels!*

The story goes: 2 high-school or college guys go to Japan, unbeknownst to their parents. They promptly lose their passports and wallets in a cab, and then can't call their parents for help. They happen to get jobs washing sheets in a brothel. They befriend a motorcycle gang, and in order to get into the gang, one of them has to throw a brick through a glass wall of a fancy restaurant. The brick bounces off the building and lands on a car windshield, so the guy has to flee. The motorcycle gang has some pool cleaning racket, and so they get to live in the empty houses while the pools are being cleaned. The gang gives them a girl for "entertainment", and they teach her card games. The gang gives them passports and money so that they can return to the States.

Is this based on any short stories, books, or films that you know? Am I just mean for thinking that it is invented?
posted by unknowncommand to Media & Arts (32 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
 
It's also possible he just invented the story himself . . .
posted by treepour at 4:31 PM on April 4, 2007


I have a lot of dreams that follow similar patterns.
posted by croutonsupafreak at 4:34 PM on April 4, 2007


That is true. It just seems too detailed for someone to bother, and he's not that creative, in my opinion.
posted by unknowncommand at 4:34 PM on April 4, 2007


Well, it sounds preposterous. But that doesn't mean that it came from a book or movie. Regular people can come up with interesting stories on their own, and your friend's boyfriend may be as good a fabulists as any novelist.

That said, there are "motorcycle gangs" in japan. They're called "Bosozoku" or "speed tribes" and there is a great book about them by Karl Taro Greenfeld which is a fun read.

So it's not totally impossible, but it's much more likely that they would have just gone to the U.S. Embassy and gotten their passports renewed.
posted by delmoi at 4:36 PM on April 4, 2007


I am Japanese. I live in Japan. I ride a motorcycle daily, but not in a gang.

There are a number of aspects to that story that do not ring true to me but the biggest one is pool cleaning?

There are very few pools in urban areas of Japan. Most of them are in hotels or sports clubs or schools who have staff to clean them. These are businesses or governments who would not be hiring guys in motorcycle gangs who moonlight as pool cleaners. Even in suburban areas pools are very rare in homes due to 1) space constraints, 2) climate.
posted by gen at 4:44 PM on April 4, 2007 [2 favorites]


I'm trying to think of any family that I know in Japan that has their own pool and I cannot think of even one. That part is the most implausible part for me.
posted by gen at 4:46 PM on April 4, 2007


Sounds like Deuce Bigalow to me. With some obvious embelishments. Call it Deuce Bigalow, Yakuza Gigolo, I guess.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 4:50 PM on April 4, 2007 [3 favorites]


Is your friend related to tkchrist?
posted by Liosliath at 4:54 PM on April 4, 2007 [2 favorites]


I would simply say, "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence."
posted by teg at 4:56 PM on April 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


Yeah, the pool thing sounds ridiculous, even without any knowledge of pool incidence in Japan. Why would you leave your house to get your pool cleaned? (Unless that's the racket, I guess--convince stupid people that they have to leave while the pool's being cleaned, due to evil chemicals, and then steal all their stuff.)

Also, that must be one really elastic brick. And they must've been pretty dumb and/or horny to seek help from a brothel before trying the police.
posted by equalpants at 4:58 PM on April 4, 2007


I think it was that the pool cleaners knew when the homeowners would be out of town. Do really super rich people not have pools in Japan?
posted by unknowncommand at 5:00 PM on April 4, 2007


This guy is trying to impress you to get in your pants, besides being ridiculously full of it and you should have laughed in his face right there. You should tell his girlfriend about that story and see what she thinks about why he would be telling you such a schoolyard yarn...
posted by who else at 5:25 PM on April 4, 2007


I have not once ever seen a home with a pool here in Tokyo and the surrounding area. They may indeed exist, but I highly doubt it.
posted by nightchrome at 5:48 PM on April 4, 2007


"It's Raining Florence Henderson" is a genius!
posted by Marky at 5:53 PM on April 4, 2007


Why didn't he go to the US embassy after losing his passport etc?
posted by EndsOfInvention at 6:27 PM on April 4, 2007


Everyone has pointed out the holes, so I'll point out a new one. "unbeknownst[sic] to their parents." can't possibly be true. This sounds like it took more than a day. I'm pretty sure my folks would call the police if I was in high school and I just vanished for, what, a few weeks?

Now, if they were in college that'd be plausible. However, the teller apparently can't remember which so that too sounds completely ridiculous.
posted by chairface at 6:30 PM on April 4, 2007


Completely impossible? No.

Total bullshit? Yes. Of course.

Here are the things that stick out for me:

1) How did they both lose their passports and their money in the same taxi at the same time?

2) I can't believe any Japanese brothel would hire American men to wash sheets. They probably wouldn't want them near the place at all, except possibly to work the street to get some spendy westerners in the joint to get ripped off.

3) While there are motorcycle gangs in Japan, I again can not believe that they'd want foreigners as members.

4) Ditto what everyone else said on the pool cleaning. I have been to some ...very exclusive private property in Japan and I have never seen a pool. All in health clubs or hotels. And ditto on anyone who could afford one wouldn't touch a motorcycle gang with a thousand meter poll.

5) Does the guy speak any Japanese? Because while every Japanese kid studies it in school, they generally can't speak it in any real way. Having this kind of adventure would require a lot of language coincidents.

If they lost their wallets, they'd fall asleep on the street that night, get picked up by the cops within a couple hours. The cops would call the cab companies and get their wallets and passports back. Or, if not the US Embassy would take care of them.
posted by Ookseer at 6:32 PM on April 4, 2007


Pace croutonsupafreak, ask him if these adventures were accompanied by rapid eye movement and a really low aminergic/cholinergic neurotransmitter ratio.
posted by yz at 6:45 PM on April 4, 2007


Gah. I think that I just misused "pace"; it was not intended to express disagreement but the opposite.
posted by yz at 6:48 PM on April 4, 2007


<derail>Well, it might not strictly need to imply disagreement. So please assume a more general meaning. I just had to stop back in to say that.</derail>
posted by yz at 7:26 PM on April 4, 2007


the best way to catch someone embellishing is to ask them some strange question that they wouldnt think in advance (like someone's name or what they ate or something). Also, like has been said above, it doesn't have to be a complete fabrication. Usually the formula goes:

true semi-interesting story + embelishment for story-telling sake x time passed since incident = crazy f'ed up story
posted by menace303 at 7:32 PM on April 4, 2007


Tell this guy to stop using my life story to impress people!
(and it wasn't pool cleaning, it was house painting)
posted by papakwanz at 7:53 PM on April 4, 2007


I am also Japanese. I thought the exact same thing gen said above. And papakwanz, people here don't paint houses much, either, if ever!
posted by misozaki at 10:09 PM on April 4, 2007


The "pool cleaning racket" sounds to me like the sort of fabrication a provincial LA native would dream up. But the very beginning of the story sounds bogus to me -- two young guys just "went to Japan." A movie like that with instead of a pair, one girl (Carrie Hamilton) was Tokyo Pop from 1988.
posted by Rash at 10:49 PM on April 4, 2007


Total BS. For all the reasons listed above, especially: gaijin being welcomed (apparently, over the course of a few days) into the Japanese underworld? That's what horny white american boys dream about after watching The Fast and the Furious III: Tokyo Drift. Do as menace303 suggests and ask him for random bits of info, like street names where they rode their rice rockets or the prefectures where these "pools" were located.

Although, this guy's story made me laugh because of the "card tricks" part. Here's a true story from my (blonde-haired, green-eyed) friend whose been living in Japan for 6 years, which happened recently:
He and his Japanese friend are walking around town, piss drunk, looking for a bar where they've heard a certain friend-of-a-friend works, hoping they can score some free drinks before they call it a night. They have hardly any money left and end up stumbling into what looks like a small, nondescript izakaya. This is not their friends bar. There are many men in business suits sitting throughout. But they decide to sit down anyway, and order a pair of beers.

I'm a little foggy on the why, but one of them suddenly strikes up a conversation with an old guy sitting in a corner. He invites them to his table and offers to buy them a round. Accepting his offer, my friend starts showing the old guy some card tricks. My friend has some pretty frickin' cool card tricks. He entertains the guy for around 15 minutes, before he realizes something...

The old guy doesn't have a pinky. In fact, a couple of the dudes milling around are pinky-less. My friend starts sweating a bit, but maintains composure, since the old guy seems to be enjoying himself. He continues to shoot the breeze and do card tricks, and the old guys buys several more rounds of beer and a lot of expensive sashimi, which they are encouraged to enjoy. Finally, after some time, the old man gets up, bows briskly, and then simply walks out. At which point, everyone else in the bar leaves - all the other assorted business suits who were sitting elsewhere in the bar, they leave too, following the old guy speaking nary a word. Old guy has a posse. So now they are sitting alone, wondering what the hell just happened, and then the server informs my friend that the tab is taken care of, and to have a good night - they are now closed.
posted by krippledkonscious at 2:30 AM on April 5, 2007 [3 favorites]


Obvious bullshit, but can easily be the product of imagination rather than moviegoing.

Well, it might not strictly need to imply disagreement. So please assume a more general meaning. I just had to stop back in to say that.

Yeah, I'm afraid it does imply disagreement. It's pretty much the equivalent of "With all due respect to..." So your initial self-correction was correct.

posted by languagehat at 6:13 AM on April 5, 2007


Sounds like total bullshit. Two (presumable white or black) guys who speak no Japanese get a job in a "brothel"? Actually, a hostess club would be more likely, but if they didn't speak any Japanese it's dubious. Because the club staff almost certainly wouldn't speak English.

A biker gang befriending them? Again highly doubtful. I don't know if the insinuation if that it's connected with the yakuza or Chinese Triad, both groups wouldn't be down with befriending stranded gaijin. Again, the language thing alone would rule it out, but the fact that yakuza/lowlife types don't like foreigners as a rule in the first place, so..

And, yeah, the pool thing is a dead giveaway. Pools are a real status symbol in Japan, much more so than in the states. They're just simply not very common in Japan, unlike warm places in the US. On the truly wealthy/eccentric have pools, and very likely that wouldn't be in the city.

Sounds like a good fantasy. Go tell your friend's boyfriend he's full of shit. If he gives you grief, tell him to call me, I'll tell him the same!
posted by zardoz at 6:58 AM on April 5, 2007


unknowncommand's friend's boyfriend's story sounds like a load of bull to me, for all the reasons already mentioned, but for what it's worth, I believe every word of krippledkonscious's friend's story. Talk to almost any outgoing, sociable expat or long-term resident in Japan (not me; I'm grouchy and unlikeable), and they'll have an "and-that-was-when-I-realized-the-guy-was-a-Yakuza" story. I think a lot of Yakuza just get a kick out of messing with gaijin like that.
posted by Faint of Butt at 7:57 AM on April 5, 2007


I have a hostess club story like krippledkonscious tells, drinking well-aged whiskey after whiskey from the bottle keep while the mama-san grilled up all kinds of giant prawns and such just for me and I chatted with all the gregarious ne'er-do-well's, but the most memorable thing was the capo himself, probably 70 years old, singing karaoke love song duets with a teen-aged chappatsu hostess to the accompaniment of cockfighting videos.
posted by planetkyoto at 8:11 AM on April 5, 2007


Oh, yeah, and your friend is full of shit.
posted by planetkyoto at 8:12 AM on April 5, 2007


I know this doesn't directly answer the question ("where did this story come from?"), and the "Japanese don't have pools" derail has already been done to death, but just to add another vote to the tally:

unknowncommand writes "Do really super rich people not have pools in Japan?"

It's pretty damn unusual. I live a station away from Den-en-choufu, which is one of the places where the super rich live in Tokyo, and nobody there has pools (I just doublechecked with Google Maps, in case the pools were just hidden by the building itself, but sure enough, I can't find a single pool). If folks in Den-en-choufu don't have pools, I can't imagine a place where people would. Except maybe if they had second houses way out in the country.
posted by Bugbread at 6:25 AM on April 6, 2007


Is there any truth to that story? I doubt the friend even exists. Just to poke more holes. The result of the initiation task was that they instead damaged some innocent bystanders car and ran away. Ok... but for some reason the gang decided to accept these pair of screw ups anyway. Apparently this gang did not see a pattern emerging. They allow them to stay in the houses. Why? Even if they were there to clean pools or whatever living at these houses is going to create a risk for your business legitimate or otherwise. Especially if they are a pair of dickweeds.

Then they are given a girl. Why? As a reward? I believe the etiquette for gifts of this nature would be a girl each anything less would be kind of an insult wouldn't you think? If I were a brothel owner I'm sure I could think of no better use for one of my girls than to send her off to learn card tricks from two dickweeds that used to wash cum off sheets in my brothel and are now squatting in peoples houses.

As you may not be aware organised crime is another name for charity organisation so when they'd finished teaching the girl their card tricks this gang realised they would be too stupid to smuggle anything and just gave the lads cash and passports and sent them on home. What a load of hot cock.
posted by mu~ha~ha~ha~har at 6:55 AM on April 7, 2007


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