Friday, June 30, 2006

Friends don't let friends slice bread.

Or at least don't let me do it. Lest I somehow manage to grind into my own finger with the heavy duty serrated bread knife.



Sadly, these pics were taken 3 days after my mishap. Gonna take a little time to heal up, methinks.

More conventional folks would say it probably needs stitches [Hi Sandy!] and they wouldn't be wrong, but never a big fan of hospitals - it is where people go to die after all - and besides, the body is designed to heal itself, so... no worries. I'll just keep grittin' my teeth as I splash alcohol on it and wrapping it up with gauze and bandaids.



Frustrating though, in that it'll keep me out of the dojo for a bit... I must have needed a break or something, otherwise, well, it wouldn't ha' happened, now would it?

Monday Morning Blues, TGIF and the Japanese Days of the Week

Was engaging in a bit of cross cultural exchange with Nagano Sensei at school, talking about little phrases used in the US to describe days of the week - Monday Morning Blues, TGIF, etc - and asked him if there was anything similar in Japan. Not really, as it turns out, given the Japanese propensity to, well, pretty much be involved in work 7 days a week, but it lead to one Japanese joke/saying that I now will share with you, the unwashed masses...

What are the Japanese days of the week?

Answer:

gets-gets-ka-sui-muk-kin-kin.

For those of you puzzled, the actual days of the week in Japanese are Getsuiyoobi [M], Kayoobi [Tu], Suiyoobi [W], Mukyoobi [Th], Kinyoobi [F], Doyoobi [Sa] and Nichiyoobi [Su]. When you string a bunch of days together, conversationally, you just use the first syllable. For example M-W-F would be gets-sui-kin.

So the joke, for those of you still paying attention, is that the Japanese week has 2 Mondays and 2 Fridays, with no weekend days.

The Greatest! [Comic]

I love this comic. Denny O'Neil, Neal Adams, Muhammad Ali, boxing and space aliens. I had a copy when I was a kid, and then during the "I'm more grown up and won't need such things" phase I think I sold it off... and then of course picked up another copy a few years ago off ebay. It now patiently waits for me in NC, on occasion quietly calling my name in the middle of the night... GREAT comic! Everything that was good about comics in the '70s. The cover alone was brilliant.



Superman’s Greatest Opponent: Muhammad Ali | TheSweetScience.com Boxing:
"...the only other person to best the Man of Steel was the Greatest himself in D.C. Comics’ Superman vs. Muhammad Ali, released in 1978.

...In an interview with Comic Book Artist in 1999, [Neal] Adams said, “Certainly, when I heard it, I thought it was a great idea. I mean, just the concept... yet, at the same time, the logical question is, ‘How do you have a human being fight an alien – Superman – and how do you justify such a battle?’”

Writer Denny O’Neil was the first person tasked with finding an answer. He wrote the original script for the 72-page comic book. Artist Joe Kubert was responsible for the drawings, but both D.C. Comics and Ali’s handlers were not pleased with the Greatest’s artistic depiction. Adams was then brought in.

...The comic begins with the alien Scrubb from the planet Bodace threatening to destroy Earth unless it sends its greatest fighter to face Bodace’s champion, Hun’Ya. Since Ali and Superman are the planet’s finest warriors, they both agree to a boxing match to determine who gets the honor. In fairness, Superman will fight near a red sun, diminishing his powers, and Ali will teach Superman to box.

When the two face-off, Superman gets through the first round with ease. In round two, things go downhill as Ali’s superior boxing skills overtake the Man of Steel. The fight ends with a bloodied Superman on the canvas, and he returns to Earth in an oxygen tent."

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Class of 100

Due to inclement weather, PE testing and limited space at Tsuyazaki Elementary, on Monday my 3 classes of 30+ kids each got turned into one Super-Mega-Voltron class of 100 or so students. Yikes. Classroom management was not really the highlight of the day. Not nearly as chaotic as I thought it would be, and the kids seemed to have a decent time... though I'm sure they probably didn't pick up as much Eigo as they would have normally.







And take note, no elementary class [or many Jr High classes] is complete until many children feel the "tsuru-tsuru" [smoothness] of "hage" [bald] - sensei's head :)

It's a gift.





Thanks to Yuko for breaking out the keitei for the camphone pics...

In the long run, party more.

Follow the link for the, seriously, "Chart of Regret".

collision detection: Study: In the long run, we regret virtue more than vice:
"Hedonists, rejoice! A couple of Columbia University researchers have found that in the long run, people tend to regret having missed out on opportunities for pleasure -- and they wish they hadn't been so diligent about working. What's more, our attitudes reverse over time. In the short run, we're proud of our ability to work hard and delay gratification. But years later, we regret that choice.

...Of course, these findings totally violate how we're told about to behave. It also violates how we think about ourselves. When asked to define their values in the abstract, people regularly claim that delaying gratification gives you a better life. Yet when asked to think about specific incidents in our lives -- as these researchers did -- those values crumble, obviously."

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

You've brought everything in your life there because there's something you want to learn from it.

So, let's see... Sandy's in my life to help me learn -

+ how to genuinely communicate with someone in a healthy way - without sarcasm, snark, hurtfulness or maliciousness.

+ the importance of understanding that no one's path - absolutely no one's - [even those closest to you] is the least bit under your control. The only way you can influence someone else is by genuinely living your own life to the maximum extent possible, and perhaps influencing them by example. You can't "teach" anyone anything they don't want to learn. Just worry about your own development, and leave their development to them. [Of course realize that part of your development, and their's, may involve interaction and sharing of ideas and perspectives... a mutual understanding and exchange that both need. Nothing occurs in a vacuum.]

Once of learned these... really learned them... I'm sure other things she's in my life to help me figure out will become evident.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Kung Fu Monkey - Solid Gold

The hits they keep a comin.

Kung Fu Monkey: Lunch Conversations #349: And Sometimes, They're Non-Starters:
"John: I do believe George W. Bush wll be considered by historians as the worst American President.

Tyrone: That's hardly a controversial idea.

John: I am including Jefferson Davis in that list."

The monthly municipal ALT meetings are pretty useless...

So I must make entertainment for those around me.



Photo courtesy of fellow not-paying-attention-guy, Bobby Fujimoto.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Tsuyazaki Jr High Girl's Volleyball



I checked out some games from the Girls Jr High Volleyball tournament this past Sunday. Nagano Sensei, my ostensible supervisor/team teacher/buddy is one of the coaches... The team won one and dropped one when I was there, but the most impressive thing... just watching them play is positively inspiring.

I wonder when it is that we, as "adults" lose the spirit, energy and enthusiasm that kids have?

I mean, these gals are all 13-15 years old and they're running around yelling, jumping, chanting, diving, twisting... and the best is after every good shot they have intricate and complex hand slapping/hi-fivin'/circle running rituals. It was awesome. It left the 70's jive handshakes in the dust...

Growing up sometimes isn't all it's cracked up to be.





This was awesome. During the huddles, the junior girls would line up behind the senior starters and spend the entire time-out fanning them with towels. One the one hand, a sign of the strict hierarchy of Japanese society... on the other hand, it was just too cute. And while I couldn't hear what Nagano-sensei was telling them, their synchronized "Hai" reverberated throughout the gym. Too adorable.

Apparently I'm totally New Age.

I think a surprising # of these have some merit...



New Age - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:
"The following are some common — though by no means universal — beliefs found among New Agers:
# All humanity—indeed all life, everything in the universe—is spiritually interconnected, participating in the same energy. “God” is one name for this energy.
# Spiritual beings (e.g. angels, ascended masters, elementals, ghosts, and/or space aliens) exist, and will guide us, if we open ourselves to their guidance.
# The human mind has deep levels and vast powers, which are capable even of overriding physical reality. “You create your own reality.”
# Nevertheless, this is subject to certain spiritual laws, such as the principle of cause and effect (karma).
# The individual has a purpose here on earth, in the present surroundings, because there is a lesson to learn. The most important lesson is love.
# Death is not the end. There is only life in different forms. What some refer to as an afterlife does not punish us but teaches us, perhaps through the mechanisms of reincarnation or near-death experiences.
# Science and spirituality are ultimately harmonious. New discoveries in science (evolution, quantum mechanics), rightly understood, point to spiritual principles.
# It shares with many major world religions the idea that intuition or "divine guidance" is a more appropriate guide than rationalism, skepticism, or the scientific method. Western science wrongly neglects such things as parapsychology, meditation, and holistic health.
# There exists a mystical core within all religions, Eastern and Western. Dogma and religious identity are not so important.
# The Bible is considered by some, but not all, to be a wise and holy book. Many important truths are found in the Bible, or are referred to only very obliquely...
# Feminine forms of spirituality... are viewed as having been subordinated, masked, or obliterated by patriarchal movements...
# Ancient civilizations such as Atlantis may truly have existed, leaving behind certain relics and monuments (the Great Pyramid, Stonehenge) whose true nature has not been discovered by mainstream historians.
# There are no coincidences (see Synchronicity). Everything around you has spiritual meaning, and spiritual lessons to teach you. You are meant to be here, and are always exactly where you need to be to learn from what confronts you.
# The mind has hidden powers and abilities, which have a spiritual significance. Dreams and psychic experiences are ways in which our souls express themselves.
# A positive attitude supported by affirmations will achieve success in anything.
# Meditation, yoga, t'ai chi ch'√ľan, and other Eastern practices are valuable and worthwhile.
# The food you eat has an effect on your mind as well as your body. It is generally preferable to eat fresh organic vegetarian food.
# Ultimately every interpersonal relationship has the potential to be a helpful experience in terms of our own growth.
# We learn about ourselves through our relationships with other people by getting to see what we need to work on ourselves and what strengths we bring to the other party in order to help them in their life.
# All our relationships are destined to be repeated until they are healed, if necessary over many lifetimes.
# As Souls seeking wholeness, our goal is eventually to learn to love everyone we come in contact with.
# An appeal to the language of nature and mathematics, as evidenced by numerology in Kabbala, gnosticism etc., to discern the nature of god.
# Certain geographic locations are believed to eminate special energy, which may be male or female in character...
# Rocks and crystals have special psychic energies and can be an aid to meditation and healing."