Friday, February 6, 2009

The grass is always greener on the other side.

A friend of mine works in a Hostess Club in Ginza: Tokyo's posh business district. She makes big money off of big businesses that are hoping her charm, intelligence, and quick wit, served with limitless and expensive alcohol, will help make seeming unbearable clients and contracts endurable. She offers a service that is unique to Japan. And a service that is now, in part to the current global economic recession, seeing less and less business every day. In light of this, my friend has expressed envy at my position here in Vancouver, home to the 2010 Olympics and with it thousands of (imagined?) job opportunities. I told her the grass may seem greener on the other side, but only because it is resting on top of a huge pile of shit.

I did not have the heart to crush her dreams of coming here and mingling with the big money that is supposed to pass hands here in our city. So instead, I asked her to Google around for a bit and crush them herself!

It seems that January has been a stellar month for depressing new related to the Vancouver Olympics. The best article I found for an awesomely depressing overview of the situation here at a Marxist-flavoured website called Fightback. Reading about how much the Olympics are going to hurt us, I was reminded of the good old days just before and after we won the bid, and of all the things then that made me think to mysefl "Oh, this is going to suck!".

  • There was groups of concerned citizens and politicians begging the visiting Olympic committee not to choose us because we would not be able to provide the proper infrastructure or finances

  • I remember the day we won the bid, and seeing the colossal wave of protesters swarming the celebrations downtown at the bottom of Burrard Street. The next day a carefully shot photo of the event appeared on the cover of The Province newspaper with some title like "Vancouver Celebrates".

  • Our mascots bugged me from day one: A Sasquatch whose name kinda sounds like it might be a dirty word for vagaina; a polar bear dressed like a killer whale (maybe); and a rodent like beast (that I hear is supposed to be a Thunderbird WTF!?!) who wears a helmet. I hear that these three mascots were picked out of over 1600 artist submissions! I still think this is actually a cover story, and that really they were pulled from the wreckage of a failed Japanese Anime.

  • Our amazing (made in China) Hudson's Bay Olympic clothing that represents a fake kind of multi-culturalism with a design that screams "this looks Chinese to White people!".

These days, I don't care about the past, so much as I worry about the future. Our new Convention Centre is something like 800 million dollars over budget (oh, I so wish that was sarcasm); the city has just been caught trying to bail out the near bankrupt construction company building our over budget Olympic housing with money that would have to be paid back by tax-payers; and I'm pretty sure that Premier Gordon Campbell has demanded that all Vancouverites must hand over their first born sons for a hundred years if they wish to continue to live in Vancouver.

It is funny that my friend cited the Olympics as a possible draw for her to come to Vancouver in the search of work, because it is actually because of the Olympics and all the looming troubles surrounding it that have tempted me to run off and try my hand at teaching English in Japan! I wonder what will happen if my friend and I trade places. Will we both suffer financially as we would at home, only without the support of our loved ones? Or is the grass really greener on the other side for those willing to believe it so?

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