Saturday, June 14, 2008

When pimps attack!

Too funny.

Via FAIL Blog - Fail Pictures and Fail Videos: Failblog.ORG

The kind of advice I end up giving.

Overheard Everywhere | Nietzsche Was a Shitty Roommate:
"Boy housemate #1: Ah! I feel so sick, my tummy hurts.
Girl housemate #1: Do you want some soup?
Girl housemate #2: Do you want some toast?
Boy housemate #2: Do you want some 'harden-the-fuck-up'?

Gold Coast

Pepsi Blue Hawaii Pineapple & Lemon.

Summertime in Japan, and thusly seasonal soda beverage time.

Not as bad as last year's cucumber flavor, but it was NOT GOOD.

Tasted like, well... blue. With fake pineapple-ly sugary lemon aftertaste.

Despite the flavor of the last two years selections being, well, horrible... I totally look forward to what seasonal abomination they throw out next.

Cause difference is a goodness.

They also had [man I love Japanese konbinis] a guarana cola. Which I'd heard of, but thought they mostly sold in South America countries. Shows what I know. Wasn't half bad.

Friday, June 13, 2008

About food. Blog » Be Moderate In Everything, Including Moderation:
"...For every decision, there is a consequence. Ask yourself why you eat your food? Do you base your decisions entirely upon taste? Is taste all that matters? What about health? Much of my eating decisions are made with health in mind. Is it fanatical to take health seriously? I enjoy being healthy. What’s wrong with that? It’s an added benefit that the foods I eat happen to be tasty. I don’t live solely for taste however.

...I see people every day who complain about feeling tired, bitch about one ailment after another, and struggle to function in the world without a never ending supply of coffee. Does anyone actually strive to feel this way? Is it worth it? Is that what you want to be remembered for? Does junk food offer a hidden high that surpasses the crappy feelings (physical) that you experience the rest of the day?"

Great tips. Altering mindsets about food has been... interesting... the last couple months. I realize I used to, and still sometimes do, eat when I'm bored. And tired. And craving a sugar rush. And not paying very much attention. Very much emotionally based "comfort food" tripe. How you [and by "you" I obviously mean "me"] fall into these kinds of habits is almost an insidious thing.

So stupid it's painful.

Reason Magazine - Daily Brickbats > Works Every Time:
"Marnina Norys was trying to board a plane at Canada's Kelowna Airport when security noticed her necklace. It had a 1.75-inch silver replica of a Colt .45 on it. A security agent told her she couldn't board the plane with that on. She pointed out it couldn't actually shoot anyone. 'It's what it represents,' said the agent. Officials seemed unapologetic about the incident. 'How do you know it wasn't a real gun?' said an official with the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority when asked by the media about the incident."

Ready! Dodgeball!

Had a buncha elementary school classes this week, so I occupied myself during recess with some good ol' fashioned dodgeball. Well, not really "old fashioned" as the rules are different than in the states. There's all sorts of funky rotations and ways to get back in the game after you've been smacked with the red ball of death. It's a far more ... equitable?... game in Japan, as opposed to the winner-take-all-screw-you-American version. Preserving the "WA" from an early age, that's Japan.

Anyways, not entirely easy to snap a pic while playing, but I did get a couple decent ones.

I find, since elementary school myself, my game has improved. Adult coordination and all that. And I was happy that I avoided injuring any kids while playing. I seem to be on a tear with that kinda thing lately. But in three days of gameplay I only beaned one kid in the face. [Oh, he was okay.] Though I did catch one kid in the chest so hard it knocked him clean off his feet. That was kinda cool to see actually. [I'm sick and I need help.] I swear, the whole time I was aiming at their legs, but they've not a lot of surface area, these children. And they dodge, duck, dip, dive and dodge [That's a Dodgeball joke, people. Pay attention.] in odd ways. One time, I tossed a ball at a kid, it looked like it was going to catch him in the gut and he dropped straight down into a little ball and it passed over his head. Kinda freaky to watch.

Anyways, the point is dodgeball = awesome. I recommend you play it with Japanese children at your earliest available opportunity.

This is kid is gonna be a future yokozuna, I swear. We play "sumo" all the time. He's a strong little dude. I'm always playing with the midgets, demanding they "ombushite" [piggy back] me, and of course, because they are tiny and I am an entirely too heavy adult [despite going into my third month of getting my lazy ass back into shape] they cannot. Of course. Except for this kid. Yesterday he held all 200+ lbs of me on his back. Surprised the heck out of me. It was kind of awe inspiring actually.

[I, on the other hand, look like a crazy person in this picture. Ah well, these things happen.]

Lastly, here's a couple of the new 1st graders, who I taught for the first time this week. Japan does cute children like no other.

Training 68.

Coffee w/equal, cream - Shake w/3 eggs, cream, equal, inst coffee - 3 eggs, ground beef, cheese, mayo - Shake w/3 eggs, peanut butter, cream, equal - 2.4l water - 1l diet soda

Overhead press - 80x12/11, Row - 80x15x3, Pushups - 3x12, Curls - 60x10, Squats - 80x12;70x15, Pullovers - 20x20x2, SLDL - 70x15, Leg raise x 20

Kokusai Spirit Bus Trip #2 - Kuju.

So, last June the community group Sandy and Hisako started went to Akiyoshido. And two weeks ago they had their second trip to the Kuju area over in Oita-ken.

Kuju, in brief, via the wondrous - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:
"Kujū is a beautiful town, with tourism, beef, strawberries, rice and mushrooms all being produced by local small scale farmers. Mount Kujū is a popular local destination for hiking and in the spring, there are abundant pink flowering shrubs (miayama kirishima) which make the mountain look spectacular. The surrounding areas have many onsen or natural hot springs, and it is fun to go for a soak after a day of hiking. Kujū also has a Flower park, which sells lavendar ice cream and some great restaurants, including Kawano Tofu Restaurant and Izumiya cafe, which has great pasta and black sesame ice cream (which is delicious)."

[btw, most of the pics posted here are mine, but I gleefully stole a few from fellow bus trip member Anton, as his group shots were superior to mine.]

So after our bus ride, first bit on the agenda was a bit of a hike. This was actually much steeper than it looks. And this being Japan, our woodland hike was - part of the way, anyways - paved with concrete.

Nice view, though.

Antagonizing the former Marine with heckling about failing the 3 mile run. "27:55... 56...57... pick it up!" I'm clearly insufferable.

I've never actually seen a perfectly circular rainbow. I'm simple.

Group shot midway up the hike.

Beginning part two of the hike.

Sandy being Sandy.

Badly posed Spider-man wannabe pic.

PIC. OF. THE. DAY. [As Mike accepts the accolades of the universe.]

I have... issues.

After the hike we took the bus over to the Kuju Kogen Brewery, where we indulged in the hamburger steak set and beer.

You could say the beer made them do this, but they didn't have that much to drink. They're just that damn naturally genki.

At the brewery I had to pick up an "Alt beer" to take home. I've no idea what it actually stands for, but given I'm an ALT [assistant language teacher] and it's Alt beer, it was a purchasing must. I'm easily amused. Shut up.

Finally, there was shopping and onsen-ing for some folks... as for me, I took the opportunity to train in the long lost art of child-balancing. Oh, it's real.

Rest of my pics from the day are here.

Koto and Shamisen Mini-Concert.

A few weeks ago Sandy's friend Hisako had a "mini-concert" in the fine Japanese style, featuring shamisen and koto performances by her and some of her fellow musicians.

And her daughter on the flute.

[I think that's a flute. I suck at music.]

Anyways, it was very cool.

Some traditional Japanese style music and they threw in some of what I could've sworn was a jazz number, but what do I know?

Couple more pics here.

Koto and Shamisen Mini-Concert from Rob Pugh on Vimeo.

Taikusai Rehearsal.

I missed sports day at my Jr High school as that was the first day I went to the hospital with my jacked up eye from a few weeks ago. And then, when my computer died it's horrid death, I lost almost all the pics I had taken during the two weeks of rehearsal.

Except for these, and a handful more here.

But the kids rock, and here's some of the how and why.

Synchronized dance and performance is de rigueur in Japan.

Enthusiasm Gambaremasita!

Teacher's Meta-Picture.

Hey look, I'm kind of a teacher.

One of these things is not like the other...

The teachers and staff at Tsuyazaki Jr High.

America can still rock pretty hard.

First. Amendment.

Suck it, Europe. You too, Canada.

Reason Magazine - Hit & Run > Violating Human Rights to Defend Them:
"At a time when the U.S. government is often (and often justly) criticized for compromising civil liberties in pursuit of terrorists, New York Times legal writer Adam Liptak reminds us of one respect in which Americans are indisputably freer than other Westerners: They can speak their minds without fear of being prosecuted for offending people. In countries such as Canada, France, England, Germany, and the Netherlands, by contrast, freedom of speech can be overriden in the name of equality and multiculturalism. Mark Steyn, the Canadian writer accused of violating British Columbia's hate speech law by saying unnice things about Islam in Maclean's, tells Liptak:
What we're learning here is really the bedrock difference between the United States and the countries that are in a broad sense its legal cousins. Western governments are becoming increasingly comfortable with the regulation of opinion. The First Amendment really does distinguish the U.S., not just from Canada but from the rest of the Western world.

In hearings before the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal, the lawyer representing Maclean's noted that the province's law gives writers accused of hurting people's feelings little recourse:
Innocent intent is not a defense. Nor is truth. Nor is fair comment on true facts. Publication in the public interest and for the public benefit is not a defense. Opinion expressed in good faith is not a defense. Responsible journalism is not a defense.

An attorney with the British Columbia Civil Liberties Union (which is siding with Maclean's) explains the Canadian attitude this way:
Canadians do not have a cast-iron stomach for offensive speech. We don't subscribe to a marketplace of ideas. Americans as a whole are more tough-minded and more prepared for verbal combat.

For Sandy.

Via - riotclitshave: by cloneofsnake on Flickr

Gotta work on those metaphors.

How very not-Japanese this would be.

LDP lawmakers: Let 10% of Japan be foreigners | Japan Probe:
"The Japan Times reports that a group of 80 ruling party lawmakers have created a plan calling for a huge increase in immigrants and the creation of an immigration agency:
“There is no effective cure to save Japan from a population crisis,” the proposal said. “In order for Japan to survive, it must open its doors as an international state to the world and shift toward establishing an ‘immigrant nation’ by accepting immigrants and revitalizing Japan.”

Headed by ex-LDP Secretary General Hidenao Nakagawa, the group of about 80 lawmakers drafted a “Japanese-model immigration policy” that they plan to submit to Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda next week...

They are hoping that increased immigration would raise the ratio of immigrants in Japan to about 10 percent over the next 50 years. Immigrants currently make up about 1.0% of Japan’s population."

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Good call.

Balloon Juice:
"CNN is reporting that SCOTUS has ruled that the detainees in Gitmo have constitutional rights and can challenge their detention in civilian court. That sound you hear is six years of Republican bullshit being flushed down the drain"

In other words, "HA-HA, fuck you, fascists. RULE. OF. LAW. BITCHES."

Just the best ever headline.

"First, They Came for Michael Medved. And I Didn't Speak Up, Because Michael Medved Is an Enormous Douche."

Find out why here - Reason Magazine - Hit & Run >

Training 67.

Coffee w/equal, cream - Shake w/3 eggs, cream, equal - 4 eggs, ground beef, cheese - Lg tomato w/mayo - Ground beef w/cheese, mayo - 1l diet soda - 2.4l water

30m Rutten MMA wkout/thai boxing, 3m rounds

One of the office ladies at elementary school asked me if I lost weight [I think. Japanese is a crapshoot for me. But she said "diet" in an interrogative manner and made some appropriate gestures.] So that was kinda cool. Long way to go, but hey - progress.

This kid rocks.

And whatever your problems may be, they're nothing. And you have no excuse.
"Adam Bender, 8, is one of several kids who play catcher in Southeastern's rookie league at Veterans Park. What makes Adam stand out is that he plays one of the toughest positions on the field with only one leg. Because of cancer, he had his left leg amputated when he was one. Adam doesn't use a prosthesis, and only uses crutches when he reaches base for the Astros. by Charles Bertram, Lexington Herald-Leader"

Relationships are interesting.

Overheard in New York | Wednesday One-Liners Were "Working Late":
"[Boy and girl are making out on a bench.]
Girl, pulling away: You should really break up with her! [Make out session continues.]

--Entrance to Central Park at West 85th St

Overheard by: Bex

Man to woman, after kissing her for 20 minutes: C'mon, let's go find your husband and my wife.

--Bryant Park

Man talking to friend in hallway: And so he says to me: 'I never promised that I wouldn't try to sleep with your wife.'

--Basement, Mt Sinai Hospital

Overheard by: scrubs

Checkout girl to another: He said it wasn't cheating because I'm his favorite.

--Food Emporium, 68th & Broadway

Overheard by: David"

More useless, freedom infringing, retarded security theater.

Schneier on Security: New TSA ID Requirement:
Beginning Saturday, June 21, 2008 passengers that willfully refuse to provide identification at security checkpoint will be denied access to the secure area of airports. This change will apply exclusively to individuals that simply refuse to provide any identification or assist transportation security officers in ascertaining their identity.

This new procedure will not affect passengers that may have misplaced, lost or otherwise do not have ID but are cooperative with officers. Cooperative passengers without ID may be subjected to additional screening protocols, including enhanced physical screening, enhanced carry-on and/or checked baggage screening, interviews with behavior detection or law enforcement officers and other measures.

That's right; people who refuse to show ID on principle will not be allowed to fly, but people who claim to have lost their ID will. I feel well-protected against terrorists who can't lie.

I don't think any further proof is needed that the ID requirement has nothing to do with security, and everything to do with control."

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Training 66.

Coffee w/equal, cream - Shake w/3 eggs, inst coffee, cream, equal - 3 pork chops - 500ml diet soda - 1.7l water - Shake w/3 eggs, peanut butter, cream, equal

Chinups - 5/5/5
One arm DB snatch - 52.5x5/5/5
DB front squat - 90x5, 105x5/5
Overhead DB press - 90x5/5/5
DB RDL - 105x5/5/5
Neck nods - 50x5 directions
Bungee face pulls/dislocates - 20/20

Bit of progress... 60 days ago, I could only do a single chinup at a time... today I knocked out 3 sets of 5. Not completely sucking.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Training 62-65.


Free/Hi Carb day
1L water
Cup of coffee w/equal, cream
4 pcs fried chicken and french fries
2 mega sausage egg mcmuffins
1l diet soda

30m Rutten MMA wkout/Thai boxing, 3m rounds


1 large cup of coffee w/equal, cream
1l diet soda

Rest day


Coffee w/equal, cream
Grn tea w/equal
500ml diet soda
Shake - 3 eggs, cream, equal, inst coffee
Shake - 3 eggs, cream, peanut butter, equal
Steak and 3 eggs

Pushup - 10/10/10
DB overhead press - 90x8, 80x2/10 [push press for 2], 70x10 [push press for 2]
Single arm DB row - 52.5x10x3
DB front squat - 80x10x3
Single arm DB curls - 1x20/22.5/25
Shrugs - 105x15/15/15
Face pulls/dislocates - 20/20


Coffee w/equal, cream
Shake - 3 eggs, inst coffee, cream, equal
1.7l water
800ml diet soda
2 avocados
2 pork chops

30m Rutten MMA wkout/Thai boxing, 3m rounds

Monday, June 09, 2008

This stuff cracks me up.

Which is why I'm an evil person that's probably going to hell. Still. Too funny.

Warren Ellis » Rupture:
"I had a sort of infernokrusher/BRUTE! moment in July of 2005. A searing rupture in the sf paradigm: the certain knowledge that in fact what sf needed was both an upgrade and a retrograde. A science fiction dominated by obsession with penis size, an adolescent terror of sex, sickening violence and massive, random, senseless explosions. Written with the sort of ugly, naive bluntness with which a disturbed teenager might craft the self-produced pornographic material that just barely prevents him from going off the rails and fucking all the neighbourhood pets to death...

Luckily for everyone, I sobered up a day later because my family was coming home. The only products of that 24-hour fugue state were the following two sketches...

Planet Earth’s Control Room

Jesus Christ’s liver tasted of gin and semen. I gobbed it out on to the floor and looked around the control room. Somewhere out back, the Pope was still screaming. If I hadn’t punched the teeth out of the pirahna before I poured them up him, he might be dead by now. The only thing muffling his fucking noise was the mouthful of used condoms. The Virgin Mary came out of a side door with a shotgun. I bit off the end and spat it in her eye, laughing. “Virgin Mary my arse,” I said. “Any wife of mine coming home with that story would have been left out for the lepers before midnight..."

More at link. Oh, yes. There's much more.

Navy pulls some effective PR in Japan. That's right, I said effective.

Well done, swabbies.

U.S. Navy distributes manga to Yokosuka residents | Japan Probe:
"The U.S. Navy held a special event in Yokosuka yesterday, handing out free manga about the USS George Washington to Japanese residents:
The first hour was manga madness for “CVN 73,” the Navy’s 200-page comic starring the USS George Washington. The aircraft carrier is scheduled to arrive in Yokosuka this August and will be the first nuclear-propelled ship forward-deployed to Japan.

Sailors handed out about 800 copies of “CVN 73″ in three hours in the manga’s first day of distribution. More will be handed out at upcoming open base events, said Waterman, a spokesman for Commander U.S. Naval Forces Japan.

“The response has been phenomenal,” Waterman said. “People told me that if we passed out a brochure or a tri-fold, they wouldn’t read it. But with a manga, we’re speaking their language.”"

You can download a PDF of the English version here.

And the Japanese language edition here.

I don't care; I think it's funny.

Via Sinfest: The Webcomic To End all Webcomics

Sunday, June 08, 2008


But wow, is that some bad communication.

Via PostSecret: Sunday Secrets

Japan Defined.

Overheard in New York | Just Use Your New York Instincts and You'll Do Fine:
"Student: Um, would we really use the extremely polite form with random strangers on the street?
Japanese teacher, exuberantly: Oh yes, definitely.
Class: [Laughter.]
Japanese teacher: I'm not kidding, you don't want to make them think you like them or want to get close to them... they're a stranger! You want to keep as much emotional distance from them as possible.

--Japanese Class, Columbia University

Overheard by: Vicksburg"