I Can See Japan From My House

I read an article the other day that stated the earthquake in Japan not only shifted the earth’s axis, but actually moved the island nation thirteen feet closer to the United States. Because the planet’s axis shifted, the earth started spinning faster, which shortened the day by 1.6 microseconds.

As if Daylight Savings Time wasn’t insult enough…

I’m kind of glad Japan and I are practically neighbors now. Or, I would be glad if there wasn’t the potential for a gigantic radioactive plume to sweep across the Pacific. The last thing in the world I want to see is two-headed salmon spawning upstream in the Columbia River. Or, you know, cancer. That’d be a real bummer, too. On second thought, Japan, why couldn’t you have shifted in the other direction?

On the one hand, I feel prepared enough for any possible radiation. I don’t have potassium iodide tablets, but I do have salt. Same thing, right?

What do you mean, no?!

I do, however, have an escape plan. It involves loading up the ol’ Santa Fe and trucking it across country. Now’s the perfect time for an East Coast road trip! I haven’t decided on a final destination just yet. I’ve got family in Trenton, New Jersey. I suppose the polite thing to do would be to stop in and say hello; I haven’t seen most of them since the late 90s, after all. But I can’t see myself ever living in the Garden State, even though their pizza is phenomenal. Massachusetts might be doable, if I could master the Boston accent. Or maybe Vermont. My dad – born and raised in Trenton – says there’s a different mentality on the East Coast. He’s not saying it’s “worse” or “better” than the West Coast vibe, just different. I’ve only ever experienced the Northeast in small doses, a week here and there while growing up, so I honestly don’t know what it’s like. But it does have one thing going for it (two, counting that pizza): Studio 8H, 30 Rockefeller Plaza, NYC. Home of the Not Ready For Prime-Time Players. Saturday Night Live.

Saturday Night Live
I want to be a part of it...(Courtesy of chicgalleria.com)

You see, my dream job is to write for SNL. How totally bitchin’ would that be? Meet a bunch of famous people, make some serious bank, hang out with Seth Myers and Bill Hader and Fred Armisen. Central Park in the fall, Coney Island on summer weekends, the possibility of chancing upon Benjamin Bailey of Cash Cab anytime I hailed a taxi. Sign me up! I’ve always thought it would be really cool to live in New York City for awhile. Not forever – just long enough to get to know the city and experience all its quirks. Maybe a year or two. Then I’ll hightail it out to Long Island. Maybe buy a house in Montauk or Oyster Bay. Or Amityville. Ooh…maybe the house in Amityville…

My SNL writing dream began soon after Obama’s election. A coworker told me that one of the President’s speechwriters is named Jon Favreau, and there’s been a lot of confusion between him and the actor/director with the same exact name. The guy who did Swingers and Iron Man and Elf. By the time I’d returned to my cubicle, I had this awesome sketch worked up in my head, one in which Obama is addressing the nation and reading off a teleprompter. He calls Kim Jong Il a “cotton headed ninny muggins,” describes his health care reform package as “totally money, baby” and discusses how the tide is turning in our favor in the war on terror because we’ve got Tony Stark on our side. Hey, it made me laugh…

Even if the whole SNL gig fell through, I’d still be smack dab in the center of the publishing universe, so I’d have a better shot at selling my novel.

OK, never mind. Japan can be thirteen feet closer now.

Lest you think I’m making light of the situation, this is not the case. My heart goes out to the people of Japan and all the crap they’ve had to deal with. My first “real” job out of college was working for a Japanese corporation, and I have acquaintances to this day over there whom I pray are okay. My boss was Japanese and “on loan” to our San Jose office. He was the kindest, sharpest man, and had a quiet wit about him that often caught you by surprise. In fact, Yokomura-san is the main reason why I am living in the Pacific Northwest today. He believed in me, gave me a chance (and a promotion), and allowed me to follow my dream. I’ll always have nothing but respect for him.

It took me two tries to appreciate raw fish. (Courtesy of misconceptionjunction.com)

Yokomura-san also took me out to lunch one time for my first-ever sushi experience. I had mentioned to him that I’d like to try it, and his eyes lit up. He took me to a restaurant close to the office one day, and insisted that he order for me. Ten minutes later, the waitress placed a giant platter of sushi before me. It contained everything, from California rolls and hamachi to eel, octopus, and sea urchin. It was a bit much for a newbie, but I choked it down out of politeness. I walked away from that experience thinking I wasn’t too fond of sushi. The second time I tried it, however, I loved it. Then again, there was a girl involved, but that’s another story. I remain a big fan to this day.

Of the sushi. Not the girl. Although I’m sure if I saw her again, I’d be a fan of her, too.


Published by Mark Petruska

I'm a professional writer and editor living my best life in south central Wisconsin.

12 thoughts on “I Can See Japan From My House

  1. fun post, Mark–and wouldn’t that be the awesomesauce to work and write for SNL?
    I loved New York–quick trip though it was…

    thoughts and prayers for Japan from up north of you, too…
    I can’t believe what they are facing–and with such stoic strength.

    I know, I KNOW we in America would not stand the strain as they are.



    1. Before tonight, you were the only person I’d ever heard use the term “awesome sauce.” This evening, it was featured on Parks And Recreation, and I am officially adding it to my vocabulary forevermore.


  2. This post is hysterical! Too damn funny! I loved Carl’s idea that Palin could direct Nasa since she could also see the moon from her house!

    Brilliant title on this post! I’m sold. Gotta subscribe!


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