This post can also be found at The Art of Laughing, my blog on poetry, politics, legal history, legal theory, assorted randomness. I kept it here for reasons of Google search optimization.
It was about 10am last Monday when I received the first call on Skype. I had just turned on my computer. It was from SUZUKI999.
“ もしもし、あの、アダム マーカスさんのお宅ですか？“
(“Hello is this the honorable Adam Markus?”)
(“Yes, this is Adam. Who is this?”)
(“This is amazing. Your Japanese is so good. I am your fan.”)
I understood what the guy was saying up to this point then it all became a blur of words. Some I could pick-up: ジェイソン (Jason, he actually saying this over and over again) ホラー (Horror) 、シリーズ（Series)、監督（Director)、１３日の金曜日（Friday the 13th)、すずき (Suzuki, a last name). To be honest, I was in a bit of a haze when the guy called. I was just waking up, had not even had my first espresso of the morning. I rarely work on Mondays and this was no exception. So this guy kept on talking for a couple more minutes before I said that I was sorry, but had no idea what he was talking about. I asked him if he spoke English at which point he hung up.
I really had no idea what to make of this. It did not sound like the usual sales call that I either treat as Japanese practice or end as quickly as possible. I felt in some sense violated: Where did this guy get my skype address? From my blog? What was he talking about? The whole thing did not make any sense to me. It kind of made me nervous: There is some freak in Japan, possibly even in Tokyo, who wants to talk me. It was a bit scary, really. I decided to drink an espresso and try to prevent myself from descending into paranoid worry, but I checked the front door to make sure that Akiko had locked both locks when she left for work.
It must have been about half an hour later when I received the second call. This one was from NaomiT. “Hello, I’m sorry to bother you, Mr. Markus, but my friend Toru Suzuki can’t speak English, so he asked me to call you. My name is Naomi.” She sounded a little nervous, but her English was close to native level. She sounded young, but that may have been my imagination.
“Hi, ah, can I ask what this is regarding?” I was not about to say much till I understand, what was going on.
“Well, my friend Toru really liked JASON GOES TO HELL and when he discovered your blog he found you were living in Tokyo and just wanted to talk to you. He wanted to let you know that JASON GOES TO HELL is his favorite Friday the 13th Movie.”
At the time, I was not sure which phone call confused me more. All I knew is that both of them talked about Jason and Friday the 13th. I was not really sure what my blog had to do with that. I decided to say nothing and let her do the talking.
“Yes, I see.”
“He is very sorry for calling, but you are his favorite director and was just so excited to find that you were living in Japan and on skype. I guess many of your fans must bother you.”
At this point, I realized Toru was either confusing me with someone else or Toru and Naomi were scam artists of some sort. The scam angle did not make sense. Confusion did. This lead me to make one of those split second decisions, play along or clarify. I decided to see where this was going.
“Actually no. The fans of my blog occasionally send me an email, but no one has called me before. Did you like my blog?”
“Well to be honest, I have not looked at. Toru called me and sent me your skype address. Sorry, my boss is coming, I have to go.”
NaomiT was gone and I had a small mystery.
Google is a wonderful thing. It took me about a minute to figure out what had happened. I did a search on the film JASON GOES TO HELL, and discovered that Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday (1993) was directed by Adam Marcus. I then did a google search on アダム マーカス and discovered that both of us came up. There is no fundamental difference between Markus and Marcus as a last name ("Marx" is a Germanized form of "Mordechai" (and so are "Mark", "Markus", "Marcuse" etc.) and could be either the father's name or a family name). In any event, Adam Marcus and I shared a similar name that becomes the same in Japanese.
For a moment, I thought about the possibilities for taking advantage of this with Toru and with Naomi, but such juvenile impulses, while no doubt amusing, were not worth the risk. After all, as Adam Markus, graduate admissions counselor and all around mostly responsible and honest guy, I had my reputation to think of. Instead, I decided to chat with Toru using skype’s instant messenger functions.
ADAMPREP: HI TORU. I TALKED TO NAOMI
SUZUKI999: HI ADAM. SHE TOLD ME.
ADAMPREP: I AM NOT ADAM MARCUS.
ADAMPREP: MY NAME IS ADAM MARKUS, NOT ADAM MARCUS.
ADAMPREP: BOKU WA MARKUS DESU, MARCUS JA NAI
(I am Markus, not Marcus)
ADAMPREP: ADAM MARCUS TO BOKU WA CHIGAU HITO DESU
(Adam Marcus and I are not the same)
SUZUKI999: WAKARIMASHITA. GOMEN NASAI. HAZUKASHII DESU.
(I understand. I am sorry. This is embarrassing.)
ADAMPREP: TONDEMONAI. OMOSHIROI DESU. MAE NI DENWA O MOTATTATOKI, ADAM MARCUS GA DAREKA WAKARIMASENDESHITA. DEMO IMA WA WAKARIMASU.
(No problem. It is interesting. Before you called, I did not know of Adam Marcus, but now I know.
We kept on chatting for a couple of minutes and that was the last I heard from SUZUKI999, not to mention NaomiT.
After we chatted, I decided to investigate Adam Marcus a little bit. To be honest, my "namesake’s" career did not really appear to be flourishing at least if measured by films made. In addition to JASON GOES TO HELL (1993), he directed his big movie Let It Snow (2001) and appears to have something called Black Autumn under development. He appears to have some development deals, but this guy’s career seemed to reach its pinnacle in 2001.
I also discovered, and this is truly odd, that we were both born in 1968.
I thought about his dates and mine and wondered if there was a deeper connection.
1993 was not particularly good year for me. In fact it was the worst year of life. I took my MA from the PhD program I was in and had no idea what to do with my life and was adrift. On the other hand, 1993 was a great year for Adam Marcus.
2001 was a good year for both of us, I returned to Japan and began my career as a graduate admissions counselor and Adam Marcus released his greatest film to date. However there is a difference, I was entering my career that has continued to develop and he appears to have been (at least at this point) at his zenith. I can’t imagine spending the last six years working on film development deals as particularly joyful, whatever its financial rewards might be.
Could it be that some unknown principle was at work. Though our names are not the same, is some sort of karmic distributive scale in operation? If he releases Black Autumn and it is a big hit, what happens to me? What difference does a k or c make?
There are, no doubt, other biographical factors to consider other than those I know of, but the whole things leaves me a bit worried.
Additionally, he appears to not exactly be a thin guy either:
The Photographic Evidence:
Me (Adam Markus):
Finally, for the record, I have seen neither of his films. Actually, I don't like horror movies. I might try to see his other movie though, actually Elvis Mitchell kind of liked it.
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