I Love People Smoking Next to Me!



I Love People Smoking Next to Me

Originally published in The Vancouver Sun

Tokyo:Japan Living (JL)

God I love people smoking next to me! Japan is a great country for a guy like me. I love the smell on my clothes and my hair. I don’t smoke myself, I don’t need to. I get enough when I go to any movie theatre lobby, restaurant or coffee shop here. It’s a great place for smoke inhalation.

I may become a fireman because of this Land of the Rising Smoke. I miss the Marlborough man–he died of lung cancer long ago; too bad. His young virile image is here though–on many billboards and blasting from Sony TV’s throughout the land. Don’t tell anyone he died of lung cancer eh! Many people don’t seem to know. And many famous stars from America make great cigarette ads here. I guess people like Charlie Sheen agree with me, that Japan is a great country and that everyone should smoke.

I don’t smoke, and I never had asthma in Canada, I developed it here in Japan. Silly Canadians and their non-smoking cities. How could I ever develop a challenging disease like asthma in a largely smoke free city like Vancouver! And how do they expect to attract any new smokers if they don’t let the big tobacco giants advertise! How ludicrous! No I’m glad I moved here!

I think those Canadians are too health conscious! No smoking in public, come on! What will they do next, make Canadian store clerks polite? Make them get off the phones with their friends and actually serve the customers?

It’s neat going to the hospital here. The one I go to specializes in asthma treatment! The doctor is very famous and he smokes in front of his patients–yes that’s right, right in the hospital lobby.

Oh it’s great, I don’t even have to move, I get smoke blown in my face by my own doctor! I don’t even pay extra! It’s a free service.

And thank God he never runs out of cigarettes, there are two cigarette vending machines right in the hospital!!!! You have to like that!

I confess, I was so distraught that all the airlines here have wimped out and banned smoking on all international flights. Something to do with foreign pressure.

Oh well, I can still smell the stench in the elevators, taxi cabs,and on my friend’s clothes too. It’s great that the Japanese government feels like I do. They think,

“The people need their cigarettes!” So they own the whole company.They are kind of like a Bill Gates of Tobacco. They stare down from the Diet Building and are happy in knowing that Japan Tobacco is making cigarettes for the Japanese masses.

There is no discrimination here about smoking. They are available to everyone! Even children can buy them, as there are vending machines all over the country. No one can supervise it so anyone with the Yen to smoke can do so! Konnichiwa Tobacco!I see students smoking everywhere. The people hack on the trains, and it isn’t just from colds you know; Japan Tobacco can be thanked for that. Plus JT is reducing the population here. Japan is pretty overpopulated anyway–one study said that over 100,000 Japanese died from tobacco related illnesses in 1995 alone! Wow! It’s strange as that seems to go against the whole plan. Japanese always worry about the declining population but don’t seem to do much to curb smoking. I am forever grateful that the Japanese aren’t that health conscious!

They even smoke while holding their babies! Yes, life is good here!

Oh smell my sweater…I think that aroma is Lucky Strike!

“I Love People Smoking next to me!” was originally published in The Vancouver Sun, on Wednesday, January 17th, 2001

“Do you mind if I smoke? No. Do you mind if I fart?”

–Steve Martin


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