Category Archives: Tyler McPeek

14
May

How the Yakuza Make Money: Introduction and “Cheating Pachinko”

-by Tyler McPeek

This is the second installment to my blogging about the yakuza organization in Japan.  I’ll preface this again by saying that what I write here is based on my personal experience with yakuza friends and acquaintances in Japan.  This disclaimer is important for two reasons: 1) my experience may very well not be representative of what experts and journalists have written about the yakuza as a national organization.  My personal experience is simply what I know to be true of the Hokuriku area branch and to a lesser degree other area branches of the Yamaguchi-gumi / 山口組.  2) This material is original and not based on any kind of research, but rather wholly on personal experience.  That is to say, it is meant as a piece of public interest and entertainment.  I’m not a reporter, and am also not trying to write a Wikipedia-type article.  Having said that, I should also mention again that while I’m not fictionalizing my material in any way, I am forced to leave out some details for reasons of loyalty to friends and for safety.

13
May

Yakuza and the Gaijin, My Experience

-by Tyler McPeek

People have been asking me to write about some of my experience with the Japanese mafia (better known as the “yakuza” / ヤクザ / 893).  I came up in Japan in the Hokuriku Region, specifically Ishikawa-ken.  Since I know a lot of these people very well (and some of them are notorious in my area), you’ll excuse me for declining to mention people by name and leaving out a few other details of specificity.  This article, and anymore that I may write in the future on this subject, are more for learning purposes and public interest, and not at all to upset friends and acquaintances–for obvious reasons, if for not out of loyalty and respect alone.  The reader may consider this and all other articles in this series to be "fictionalized memoir" or just plain "fictional memoir."  The "I" in these articles can be regarded to be the first person character that I am creating for this work, no more autobiographical than any other character the writer might create and write about, utilizing real world experience of the writer, to the best of one's ability, to give the fictional world texture, grit, and accuracy.

The crowd that "I" knew well (I’ll not use the word “affiliated” with) was a group of people from the Yamguchi-gumi / 山口組, or the ‘Yamaguchi syndicate’ for lack of a better translation.  It should be noted that none of the people I knew/know ever referred to themselves as “Yamaguchi” anything, but rather only by their regional affiliation, which was in reality an arm of the Yamaguchi organization (the biggest and most powerful in Japan–Wikipedia puts it at 50% of all yakuza in Japan.  I would put it at more than that, but it is a difficult percentage to define, for reasons that have to do with how you define “yakuza” at the fringe, which I will explain in more detail in another post).  In fact, the word “yakuza” was a word that was used more outside the organization than in.  The Yamaguchi syndicate’s crest is pictured below.

Yamaguchi-Yamabishi

22
Mar

First American Loss Confirmed in Tsunami Disaster

-by Tyler McPeek

Was just contemplating the apparent confirmation of the first American death in Japan as a result of the tsunami disaster, a lovely young girl from Virginia, a 24 year old college graduate.  Her name was Taylor Anderson, and she was an English teacher, likely doing the same job I did when I first went to Japan.  So many people were killed that it is not really surprising per say to have someone from your own country killed.  I guess I thought it might be worth noting that there aren’t any areas of any significant size or cities of even a low-moderate population in Japan that I know of, where at least one American wouldn’t be more likely than not to be among the fatalities when a major disaster strikes.  This realization can’t be entirely different than it must be for Japanese to be thinking of when they see reports of a tragedy in the USA, like 911, for example–where many Japanese were among the dead.  It makes it seem deeply personal and local.  Of course, this is not even to mention the economic and cultural shockwaves that might reverberate to one from the other in a case of chaos, disorder, and tragedy.  There’s a lot of tragedy in life, personal and distant, to varying degrees, but hope springs eternal…

TA on FB at 2011-03-22 at 4.08.00 AM EST
    I looked up Taylor on Facebook (above), wondering if she would be there, with a normal recent college grad page, with the little “add as friend” button alongside her profile.  It was there, seemingly normal, while people somewhere not to far away cry for her loss.
    Below is a link to the story on Fox:

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2011/03/21/missing-virginia-teachers-body-located-japan/

 

20
Mar

Tragedy in Japan

-by Tyler McPeek

Not much to say that can offer solace or great insight… but I feel compelled to say something about the recent tsunami and earthquake disaster.  I would encourage all of us who enjoy “things, ideas, and people Japanese” to think of something nice you might do for someone affected or even just maybe do something as simple as getting back in touch with an old friend in JP to talk about life in the wake of the human tragedy unfolding in Honshu.  Those interested in donating can donate to the Japanese Red Cross at the following address:

https://american.redcross.org/site/Donation2?idb=0&5052.donation=form1&df_id=5052

Our thoughts and prayers with the victims and their families,

~Tyler

3
Dec

Japanese Actress on ABC’s Fast Forward

-by Tyler McPeek

So there is a famous Japanese actress playing a character on ABC’s new series “Flash Forward,” based loosely on the science fiction novel of the same name by Robert J. Sawyer.  In the show, the entire world blacks out for 137 seconds, and each person sees a short glimpse of their life several months in the future.  One American man sees himself speaking Japanese (a language he doesn’t know) with a beautiful Japanese girl (played by Takeuchi) that he is in love with.. (I know that this is a vision of the future that many of you out there probably share!!)  His character spends much of the show learning Japanese and looking for the girl in his vision, and she does the same.  See, there’s hope for all you guys out there too! LoL

3
Dec

The Ten Colors Mission

-by Tyler McPeek

Hi, my name is Tyler.  You can read about me in the “PROFILE” section in the main menu, or on my personal homepage at tylermcpeek.com.  I became interested in Japan through its literature, while I was a university student.  It wasn’t until after I graduated and joined the JET Program that I had a chance to travel to Japan for the first time.  Since then, I have had lots of adventures in Japan, and I’ve come to love it.  Now, I’m studying Japanese Linguistics and Forensic Phonetics at the University of Florida, as a PhD candidate in the Linguistics Department.


This site represents a vision of mine to provide a forum for the sharing of resources related to Japanology (the study of 'things Japanese'), the Japanese language, the people, and, especially, for those people like me–people who love Japan and studying about Japan.  I post a wide variety of content here, including some material that is not directly Japan related.  I'd love to have your feedback or to hear from like-minded researchers and the generally curious.  Please get in touch and share your own insights and experiences with me and the TenColors Community.
You can read more about the title of this site and its general concept in the "ABOUT" section of the site, linked from the main menu. Among other things, the name "Ten Colors" is used in the title of my upcoming novel. In addition to this blog and my academic work, I am a publishing author of poetry and fiction, both Japan and non-Japan related. Some samples of my work can be found on this site, as well as links on where to find my full works.
Enjoy the site and thanks for visiting,
-TM

8
Mar

Tyler’s Master Cleanse (Lemonade Diet) Journal

-by Tyler McPeek

Introduction:

So, I decided I wanted to try something along the lines of a juice fast.  I can’t say why exactly, except that I was a little bored, I had the time to experiment, and it just seemed like a weird and cool thing to do.  In college, when hanging out with my alternative and hippie-ish, artistically geared friends (you’ll have many when you are circulating in the creative writing department of a small liberal arts college in the USA), it was often mentioned and practiced—the idea of vegan diets, juice fasts, water fasts, and the like.  So, since that time, I had always had these ideas in my mind, although I never put any energy into trying any of them in a serious way.


I went down to the local health food store and started checking out the supplements, juicers, and book section.   Of course, this was after I checked around on the internet a bit.  One thing I found out was that decent juicers, such as the pressure screw kind that press, rather than cut or puree, the fruit and/or vegetables, thus not creating heat, and therefore supposedly preserving the vitamin and nutrient content of the food—important when that juice is the only food you intend to eat for a prolonged period.  Still, I bought a book on juice fasting, that included different juice and smoothie recipes in its pages, and was prepared to buy a top of the line juicer for a few hundred dollars.  Then, I realized that there was a more extreme and intriguing option—the so-called Lemonade Diet or Master Cleanse.  One can easily research this diet oneself, but essentially it is a fast diet that dictates a person drink only water, an herbal laxative tea, twice daily, and a homemade lemonade (which is made from a strict recipe of organic, fresh-squeezed lemon juice, spring water, cayenne red pepper, and Grade B organic maple syrup).  There is also a certain procedure for preparing for it, set directions for how much and when to consume it, for how long to continue the diet (for a period of at least 10 days, and perhaps as much as a year or more), and how to come off the diet.  Some of these details might vary according to whose directions you read and what lemonade diet guru’s advice you subscribe to.  The diet has been around since at least the 1940s and the common theme is that you must drink only the lemonade and water, no food, no exceptions, for at least 10 days (with the possible and only exception being approved, no calorie, no caffeine, organic herbal tea at some points).

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