Life In Japan: Arthur the Celebrity Cat

As a novelist, satirist, essayist, political blogger, and someone who has not gotten beyond the I-want-my-oompa-loompa stage of human development, to say I crave attention is a vast understatement.

Of course I live in Japan, so while I continue my lifelong efforts to become a household name in America, I consider recognition here an important part of building my legend. Plus I’ve long been a believer that any press is good press, anywhere on the planet.

I can’t say I’m making much headway.  I’ve tried countless ways to breach the media firewall that keeps me hidden from the Japanese public eye.  A while ago I tried burning down the largest wooden Buddha in Japan.  I couldn’t get the damn thing lit.  Once I tried dressing up as a geisha.  All that happened was I got a lot of very strange looks and one comment from a young school boy in a baseball uniform — その醜い女性を見てください。– which my wife, Masumi, said basically translates as: “Look at that ugly woman.”

I even entered an octopus eating contest and came in last!  But not before I started to hallucinate giant sea cucumbers dancing across the stage like an entire chorus line of Rockettes had turned into wart-infested pickles.

Yes, I’ve tried everything except running through the center of town dressed as a samurai, carrying a bamboo pole wrapped with flaming kelp leaves, while yelling, ‘The Emperor has no oompa-loompa.’  I ruled that out when I found out he doesn’t.

My most recent humiliation occurred the other day, early one morning. 

We still get a newspaper delivered to our house every day — can you believe it? made of paper no less? — which mentions one or two major news stories but mostly focuses on news from around our prefecture — which is the equivalent of a state in the U.S.  Many human interest stories, local sports teams, city and school district events.

But . . .

There it was!  A brief mention to be sure, but no less humbling. 

My cat upstaged me by getting in the news!

Now I love Arthur to pieces.  And I have no doubt he deserves any and all the great press he can get.  But let’s be honest.  He didn’t do a thing to deserve this.  He’s just so cute, an old guy like me, regardless of how many books I write, web sites I put up, despite how funny I am, or “politically aware”, how can I compete?  Let’s be blunt:  I don’t stand a canary’s chance in a cat cafe.

Okay.  Okay.  I sound like I’m bitter.  I’m not.  I’m so proud of Arthur!  If anything, I’m wondering why they didn’t put him on the front page and do an exclusive feature story on the little guy, including an interview and a link to video footage of him being so darn cute!

At the same time . . .

That still leaves me in a quandary.  What do I have to do to get some press around here?  Dress up like an American soldier and fly an Osprey into the Tokyo Tower?

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