Saturday, November 29, 2008

Tiki Bar TV Trailer - "Forbidden cocktails in a swank pad." Plus, perhaps, the greatest drinking game ever.

I've only shared it with the internets once before [not that it need me]... so here we go again.

Tiki Bar TV
is awesome.

Tiki Bar TV Trailer

I'm stone sober and can't keep up with the rules here.

The ultimate drinking game. Tiki Bar TV - Bunnies

Complete rules here -

[I have got to try this game.]

Yeah, you are.

This, otoh, doesn't strike me as too strange, which means I may have stayed in Japan too long. [Teachers marrying former students not really that uncommon here.]

Via PostSecret: Sunday Secrets

Any WHAM! reference will do, really.

Overheard Everywhere | A Valid Alternate Plan.:
"Mother: What time do you need to get up tomorrow?
Teen daughter: 8.30.
Mother: Well, I'm going to be leaving a little before that.
Teen daughter, offhandedly: 'Wake me up/before you go-go.'
Mother: I will kill you.

Aurora, Colorado"
's funny, as I first remember WHAM! from a 6th or 7th grade P.E. class. In hindsight, I think maybe the P.E. teacher fit the stereotype. [You know, of female P.E. teachers?] I remember her being really cool tho'.

Random JET Programme Mid-Year Conference Ruminations...

This past week I had to go to a two day seminar for folks in the Fukuoka/Kitakyushu area on the JET Programme.


- 2 days at this thing is far too long, with too much padding, too much dead time, and no efficiency whatsoever. The conference is about 2-3 hours of worthwhile material stretched out over 2 days. And yes, I actually did fill out the post-seminar feedback eval, and pretty much said the same thing. So I'm not just whinging. With better planning, it could easily be knocked out in day. Especially if you cut out the workshops by JETs who were clearly coerced into doing a presentation about something they really didn't care about and didn't know that much about.

- while, otoh, I can admire and respect those ALTs filled with both enthusiasm and optimism for improving and changing some things about the ways English is taught in Japan, there gets to be a point where it strikes me as hubristic arrogance. Of, almost, the culturally imperialistic kind. It's that fine line between "Let me help to make this better" and "Let me show you what you're doing wrong in the two years I'm here in your country. Then I'll return to my nation, having fixed yours."

That might be a slight overstatement, but at one point, walking around during lunchtime, I heard this winner of a quote - "Well, if they really understood what education is for, then they'd change things."

And see, in theory, I agree with a lot of the criticisms of the Japanese educational model. It is overly rigid, overly structured, and too reliant on by-the-book memorization and testing skills. And actually learning to speak the English language is hamstrung by a lot of the teaching methodology.


See, the thing is... it's their country. And their system. You are just visiting. You, in your role, are never going to be able to effectively institute systemic educational changes in your role as an ALT. Your place, for lack of a better term, is culturally defined to prevent that.

Again, do I think that's a good thing? No, not really. But it is what it is. And to try and change that, is, like pissing into the wind.

But a lot of that perspective is something I've probably come to over my own 3 and a 1/2 years here. And I've felt for a while that the most effective thing you can do as an ALT is try to make genuine, individual connections with as many students and teachers as you can. That's how you actually make any kind of change, person by person, individual by individual...

But what do I know?

And in the very cool Japan category, coming home from the conference on the 2nd day, the JR train station had put up their Xmas tree, and a bunch of yochien [kindergarten] students were singing Xmas carols in Japanese. Too unbelievably cute for words, and I wish I'd had my camera. Plus they had a Santa Claus give out presents, and some of the yochien kids were apparently the younger sisters and brothers of my elementary school kids, as I saw/played with a bunch of them while waiting on my ride.

But hands down, the best thing of the two day seminar was having to take the train out to Sasaguri both mornings. Why, you ask? Because both going to and coming from, I ran into a bunch of my former JR HS kids, on their way to [and coming home from] high school. And to a person they were all tickled and delighted that not only did I remember them, but that I'd come over and say "hi."

Even with my paltry Japanese, I can't even express how gratifying it was to hear one girl talk with her friend [in Japanese] after I'd briefly visited with them - "Hey, he really remembered us! That was cool! Yeah!"

Just spending a few moments to say "Hi. Long time no see! What high school are you at? Do you like it? Is it hard? How have you been?" and letting them know that YES, OF COURSE I remember you. And you mattered to me. And it was really good to have known you. THAT's the JET Programme, I think. Really. Not the whole English teaching part. [Though that's good too.]

"Naval Academy- This is Home."

Must be feeling kind of nostalgic this morning, as this was pretty cool.

montage of Navy photos set to switchfoot's "this is home"

The irony, of course, and not lost on me at all, is that while I was the Academy, it felt pretty far from "home." But then, most places did. And while "where you're from" doesn't change, I did stop thinking of Jacksonville - where I grew up - as "home" pretty much from the time I left for college. The added bit, obviously, is that the military mindset/culture treats "where you're stationed" as far different than "your home." It took me a few years to come to my own conclusion that "home," like most things, is only a state of mind, and that "home" really is wherever it is you're at. If you can't be at home wherever you are, what you feel for some other place is just a finely tuned sense of longing and nostalgia for someplace and something that probably never was quite what you think it may have been.

Still, good video. Tugs at all the right heart strings.

"...who, in one fell swoop, cast serious doubt on the practice of field drug testing, expose the lies of commercial soap producers..." [And more!]

Too funny.

Conscious Choice: Dr. Bronner’s Magic Media Soap Opera:
"Another film — this one hitting the small screen...

Entitled Soap, Drugs & Rock and Roll the seven-minute short is an original and effective use of the media as a PR tool — with our heroes the unassuming soap makers who, in one fell swoop, cast serious doubt on the practice of field drug testing, expose the lies of commercial soap producers, advocate for organic products and educate the viewer on yet another layer of our culture’s dependency on oil.

The circumstances laying the grounds for the story have already become the stuff of legend:

On the night of April 4, Don Bolles, eccentric 51-year-old drummer for punk outfit The Germs, was driving through ├╝ber-conservative Newport Beach, Calif. on his way to an AA meeting when his tricked-out van was pulled over, allegedly for a broken taillight. Bolles gave consent to search the van, and the presiding officer found a bag of legal medical marijuana sitting next to a bottle of Dr. Bronner’s soap. For some reason (perhaps because the bottle was clearly labeled as hemp soap) the officer decided to apply a NarcoPouch® 928 field test to the soap to assess it for drug content. The test came back positive for GHB, and Bolles was arrested and taken into custody.

Upon hearing this, the Dr. Bronner’s company immediately paid Bolles’ bail and legal fees, and stepped up to defend their brand publicly. David Bronner appeared before California media denouncing the charges as “totally absurd,” and suggesting that Bolles was pulled over for the offense of “driving while weird.” They then ordered the same NarcoPouch® 928 test and began testing their soap products. What they found was astounding

“It was a gift that fell out of the sky,” Bronner says with a measure of incredulity. “We saw a golden opportunity to address greenwashing in our industry head on.”

The “gift” to which Bronner is referring was the discovery that his — and in fact any natural organic soap — will always test positive for GHB using the NarcoPouch® 928 or other similar field drug tests, which makes the false-positive a good indicator of real organic vegetable oil-based “castile” soap. What the Bronners then learned, in another seemingly pre-ordained twist, was that commercial “liquid soap” products made by companies like Dial, Softsoap, Kiss My Face, EO and Nature’s Gate, all tested negative for GHB, indicating that they contained no real soap in the recipe. In voiceover, David Bronner then explains that the “soap” in these products is really a collection of petrochemical detergents.

Thus, the NarcoPouch® 928 is outted as a lousy drug test, but a really great soap test.

“It’s not the most glamorous battle we’re fighting, but it’s our backyard,” adds the tall, quiet and unassuming David Bronner. “Our grandfather was a radical, and we’re just trying to keep pace with the standards he set. He used to quote Hillel: If not now, when ? Well, we have enough strength and visibility to speak to these issues and change them in the long run. We just call things as we see it, and in this case, we saw injustice, and we came in to clean it up (no pun intended).”

“Yeah, you can use our soaps for pretty much everything,” Mike Bronner adds, “except getting high.”"

Black Friday, summed up.

Another USNA YouTube spiral.

More videos in addition to the bunch I found a couple weeks ago.

Surreal, funny, nostalgic... and the "Thriller" video was spot-on. Coolness.


Soulja Boy

Gold Digger

"Chippin' In the P-way" Spirit Spot

[This was actually as good a summary of life at the Academy as you can put in a parody comedy vid.]

Annapolis High Five Navy v Rutgers 2008

Sometimes I hate humanity with a pure, fiery passion - "Disabled boy to lose his tiny pony because the neighbours don't like the smell."

Honestly, people, WTF? But hang with me, because I take it all the way around the bend until I get optimistic again.

Disabled boy to lose his tiny pony because the neighbours don't like the smell - Boing Boing:
"A disabled boy in a rural Ontario town may have to give up the miniature pony that he rides as part of his therapy and for his basic mobility.

The family's neighbours (who border on a friggin' cow farm) have complained about the smell."

Seriously, how in the hell... I mean... WHAT. THE. FUCK?


A few days after, you get this:

Family of disabled boy whose pony is to be taken away starts a fundraising drive - Boing Boing:
"The mother of the disabled child who may lose his miniature pony -- his only means of moving independently -- because his neighbours (who live next to a cow farm) complained about the smell -- has established a PayPal account to fund the legal work of keeping the pony. That address:"

If you click through, you find that the outpouring of offers and support since the story broke has been pretty overwhelming. Which is awesome for her and her kid. And as a bonus, keeps me from further wanting to massacre all of humanity for their venality and cruelty.

So if you want to help out you can make a donation to at you'll feel good. Trust me.

And then, in further evidence of man's inhumanity to man, the rich and well off screwing over the less advantaged, and just a basic freaking betrayal of the social contract...

Balloon Juice » Blog Archive » Patriotism:
"Right here:
Marine Cpl. James Dixon was wounded twice in Iraq—by a roadside bomb and a land mine. He suffered a traumatic brain injury, a concussion, a dislocated hip and hearing loss. He was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.

Army Sgt. Lori Meshell shattered a hip and crushed her back and knees while diving for cover during a mortar attack in Iraq. She has undergone a hip replacement and knee reconstruction and needs at least three more surgeries.

In each case, the Pentagon ruled that their disabilities were not combat-related.

In a little-noticed regulation change in March, the military’s definition of combat-related disabilities was narrowed, costing some injured veterans thousands of dollars in lost benefits—and triggering outrage from veterans’ advocacy groups.

The Pentagon said the change was consistent with Congress’ intent when it passed a “wounded warrior” law in January. Narrowing the combat-related definition was necessary to preserve the “special distinction for those who incur disabilities while participating in the risk of combat, in contrast with those injured otherwise,” William J. Carr, deputy undersecretary of Defense, wrote in a letter to the 1.3-million-member Disabled American Veterans.

And while this may make your blood boil, and it may look to you like the Bush administration is doing their best to screw vets out of money and care, what you fail to realize is that most everyone in the Bush administration has a yellow “We Support Our Troops” sticker on their car, so there...

This is utter bullshit. Notwithstanding the fact that they should get every penny they deserve, failing to pay these folks will hide the true cost of war. These people are injured and scarred for life because of our desire to wage pre-emptive war. Failing to account for the costs of our actions will just make it easier to engage in this sort of stupidity again. So quit screwing our troops, Pentagon. Quit screwing our troops, Bush appointees. These guys were hurt, in combat, and your post hoc redefining doesn’t change it.

I should probably also add, this sort of thing is nothing new. The brass and the bean-counters have always been screwing our troops this way..."

Fucking despicable.

But, some small ways you can help:

Balloon Juice » Blog Archive » Project Valour-IT:
"A little about this charity:
Every cent raised for Project Valour-IT goes directly to the purchase and shipment of laptops and other technology for severely wounded service members. As of November 2008, Valour-IT has distributed over 2700 laptops to severely wounded Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines across the country, and is now expanding its mission to include other technology that supports physical and psychological recovery.

Originally Valour-IT provided the voice-controlled software that accompanies the laptops, but now works closely with the Department of Defense Computer/electronic Accommodations Program (CAP): CAP supplies the adaptive software and Valour-IT provides the laptop. In addition, DoD caseworkers serve as Valour-IT’s “eyes and ears” at several medical centers, identifying patients in need of laptops and other technological support for their recovery. Wounded military personnel can also directly request a laptop through the sign-up form or through the Valour-IT/Soldiers’ Angels representatives at the following medical centers:

* Balboa Naval Hospital

* Brooke Army Medical Center

* Madigan Regional Medical Center

* National Naval Medical Center (Bethesda Naval Hospital)

* Naval Hospital, Camp Pendleton

* Robert E. Bush Naval Hospital (29 Palms)

* Walter Reed Army Medical Center

Thanks to the efforts of the Military Order of the Purple Heart, Valour-IT is also able to reach patients in VA hospitals who would benefit from a Valour-IT laptop or other technology to support their recovery and independence.

Help, if you can."

The link to donate is here - Valour IT.

And this:

Survivor Corps - Programs - United States:
"Since October 2001, more than 1.6 million Americans have served in military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. Over 30,000 have returned with physical wounds, but many more return with invisible injuries, including an estimated 620,000 men and women with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), traumatic brain injury (TBI), and/or major depressive disorder. Recent reports also suggest an increase in rates of alcoholism, substance abuse, domestic violence, homelessness and suicide among returning servicemen and women. These traumatic effects of war, left unaddressed, will have far-reaching negative consequences for service members, their families, and their communities.

Survivor Corps launched Operation Survivor in 2008 to help American service members returning home from war. This program enables these brave men and women to overcome the debilitating effects of trauma and to reintegrate into their families and communities.

Donate Today to Help Our Returning Troops! Donate Now! Survivor Corps

Operation Survivor currently includes three initiatives:

* Community-based Partnerships in Peer Support –We are training organizations to connect those affected by war so that they may better overcome trauma and injury, reconnect with their families, and contribute to their communities. This approach, known as peer support, is based on the understanding that the best help comes from someone who has been through a similar experience.

* SurvivorNet – We are building an online community of support that will connect service members to peers with a shared experience, using survivor hosted blogs, innovative social networking, and links to additional resources.

* Convene Government, Business, and Nonprofit Institutions– No single organization can fully address the homecoming of so many. A collaborative approach is needed. Survivor Corps is bringing together, for the first time, leaders from across sectors to work together on a better approach to the healthy reintegration of returning troops."

Click the banner above to find out more and contribute.

See. There. Now I don't hate everyone anymore.

Friday, November 28, 2008

What I've Read - another Alex Delaware psychological thriller.

I first got hooked on the "Alex Delaware" series of novels by Jonathan Kellerman waaaaaay back in high school and college. Dad would always pick them up and I'd get them second hand. Haven't read one in a long time, but they had a few at the book sale at the JET mid-year earlier this week, so I snagged one in the name of charity. Along with another half dozen books or so...

The Kellerman books are like novels of comfort food for me. The same intriguingly dysfunctional mysteries, the good character beats, the twists and turns to the last page that shows you that yes, all along, everyone was actually far more screwed up than they seemed. Yes, even the guy who killed and stuffed people.

Good read.

Gone (Alex Delaware, No. 20): Jonathan Kellerman: Books:
"From Booklist
In "a reality show episode that backfired," two twentysomethings fake a kidnapping to jump-start their acting careers. When criminal psychologist Alex Delaware is called in to evaluate one of the pair, Michaela Brand, he learns a few details that come in handy later, after she's found brutally murdered, and the case has fallen into the lap of Alex's buddy, Lieutenant Milo Sturges. The murder trail leads back to an acting studio operated by wealthy, drug-addled Nora Dowd; a steady stream of starstruck would-be thespians arrive at the studio--and then sometimes disappear. Gradually, the pool of suspects widens, as more people turn up missing and dead. As usual, Kellerman maintains a tight balance between suspense and characterization, using dialogue to push things quickly along: Delaware and Sturges bounce theories off one another in rapid succession--as much from habit as necessity. Neither gets everything right; the truth is much more horrifying than either suspected. As number 19 in the long-running series, this fast, clever thriller proves again why Kellerman's books reside on best-seller lists. Stephanie Zvirin
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition. "

Listen to no one, really.

Via Dedroidify: I'mPossible

Thursday, November 27, 2008

"Our full day's work comes over the next four years..."

Symbolism and practicality.

Well fu*$ing said.

The Yakuza threatened *somebody's* family, is all I'm saying...

Russian sumo wrestler lied about match rigging | Japan Probe:
"Former sumo wrestler Wakanoho (Aleksandrovich Gagloev) has admitted that the allegations he made about match rigging were untrue"

Demolition Man is a vastly underrated Stallone movie.

Plus, it tells the future. Clearly.

Demolition Man (film) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:
"In a bizarre coincidence, when Huxley is accessing the daily parole files following Simon's escape from the cryoprison, the name Scott Peterson comes up. Scott Peterson was convicted of murdering his wife and unborn baby in 2005 and was sentenced to death by lethal injection and is currently at San Quentin State Prison while his case is pending appeal with the Supreme Court of California."

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The world can be strange...

...and everything is relative.

Daily Brickbats > Smoked Out - Reason Magazine:
"Dutch police cited a 27-year-old man for smoking a joint in one of their famous coffee shops. Smoking pot is legal there, but the man, who was not identified by local media, mixed the pot with tobacco before rolling the joint. That broke the Netherlands' zero tolerance policy on smoking tobacco in public."

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

What I've Read - Superhero soap opera.

Noble Causes Archives Volume 1 by Jay Faerber.
"Normal girl Liz Donnelly marries super-hero Race Noble and gets a firsthand look at the inner workings of the celebrity super-heroes. Behind the glamour and wonder lie dark secrets, ruthless ambition, and twisted desires!"

Picked up this at the JET Midyear at the book sale... entertaining, diverting, fun. Superhero soap opera-y type stuff.


The Art of Nonconformity » A Short Collection of Unconventional Ideas:
"At all stages of life, people will gladly offer you unsolicited lists of things you “must” do, be, or have. Most of the time you can nod your head, walk away, and ignore them."
More at the link.

Why does no one else seem to get this?

To quote the immortal Bill Hicks:
"A lot of Christians wear crosses around their necks. Do you think when Jesus comes back he's gonna want to see a fucking cross?"

Monday, November 24, 2008

Training Update.

Yesterday was day 84 of 84 of my 12 week BFL cycle. I ended up dropping 11 pounds and an inch off my waist. Not horrible results, and nothing to sneeze at, but not really the drastic changes I was hoping for. Certainly no fault of the program itself, as it's the second [and a half] time I've done the BFL routine.

Last time was at the tail end of my time in NC, and while I can't remember the #s or whatnot, I had pretty good results. Of course, after that, with the move up to VA, for a variety of reasons, I let all that progress go to hell. And the first time I psuedo-did the program was way back during the first time we were in Japan. Sandy and I both were both doing it for a bit [and there's a kick-ass uber-cute/hot pic of Sandy somewhere flexing her shoulder and arm muscles] but it fell off about halfway through because of scheduling-and-holidays-and-god-knows-what-else I can't remember.

I there were a few reasons I didn't get better results... first being that back in NC, I was working nights, and would end up doing my cardio and workouts right after I woke up, in the afternoon. PT in a fasted state leads to greater fat loss, according to a lot of sources. Second, this go around I didn't have any supplements, whereas the last go around I used a lot of MRPs and RTD shakes. And some others I think. Supplements aren't absolutely necessary, but they do make balanced nutrition a lot easier. And then this time around I've been low carb/anabolic dieting as opposed to the recommended BFL diet.

Which has only been a problem because I've been thinking of low carb as cure-all, which it isn't. It's a better plan that the standard diet, but still, a lot of the standard low carb items - butter, cream, mayo - are calorically dense. While I can't be a calorie counter like Mike I do need to be more aware of how many calories I'm sucking down if I want to maximize my results.

Along those lines, while the 'free day' is a much needed psychological and dietological [yeah, totally not a word] respite, I tended to go a little nuts on my free day. Eating so much junk to the point where I'd feel a little ill, even into the next day.

7 and a half months in and I'm 22lbs and 6" down on my waist. Not bad, but objectively, that's only about halfway to being where I want to be. Another 3-6 months of busting my ass and hard work and I should be approaching, not completion, but some sense of satisfaction and accomplishment. A place where I won't be dissatisfied, at least.

Originally I had planned on rolling into another 12 week BFL cycle, even bought a brand spanking new training log, but I think I'm a little burned out on BFL right now, though I'm sure I'm gonna come back to it.

So what I'm going to do is take this week off... rest and recoup.

And then starting next Monday I'm going to start into the P90X Program. Yes, the P90X of late night infomercial fame. I had ordered up the DVDs back in VA with a view towards getting back into shape. Because, clearly, I don't pay attention. The infomercials themselves say they're for folks in shape, looking to get into better shape. And while in VA I was far from being in shape. But in my former-Marine-what-can't-I-do? mentality I ordered them and then proceeded to be embarrassed and have my ass kicked by not being able to keep up with them. So the answer to the what-can't-I-do? question is apparently a whole hell of a lot when you haven't worked out in couple years.

But I think that after 7 months of kicking the absolute worst of the rust off I'll be able to hang with them, and I did bring them here with me to the land of the Rising Sun when I came over. Too bad it took me 3 and a half years to use them.

So sometime this week I'll take the Fit Test [PDF] and make sure I'm up to snuff, and then next Monday I'll kick off a 90 day cycle.

I think it'll be good in that in terms of sheer volume, it's a lot more work than BFL and I think that's kind of what I need right now. And while it is a 7 day a week workout scheme, it has built in yoga and stretching work, which'll ensure I start adding some stuff to my workouts [flexibility and mobility] that I've been meaning to, and failing to, for a while.

And also, it has more of an emphasis on fat loss and muscular endurance rather than size and bulk. So while visions of the Incredible Hulk may dance in my head, what I really need to do first is get lean and lose all this flab. While it is possible to add muscle and lose fat at the same time, it's easier to pick one goal and put more of your eggs in that basket, to torture that metaphor a bit.

But to continue my obstinance, I won't be following the P90X diet. I'm still gonna go mostly low carb/low glycemic/anabolic 6 days a week with one free day. But I'm gonna shoot for 5 meals a day, vice the 6 I was doing, plus I'm gonna pay more attention to the calorically dense low carb "go-to's" like butter, cream and mayo and I'm going to attenuate the free day. And still 2-3L water per day, at least.

Rough outline, starting from Monday, December 1st -

Weeks 1-3: Day 1 - Chest & Back, Ab Ripper X, Day 2 - Plyometrics, Day 3 - Shoulders & Arms, Ab Ripper X, Day 4 - Yoga X, Day 5 - Legs & Back, Ab Ripper X, Day 6 - Kenpo X, Day 7 - Rest or X Stretch
Week 4: Day 1 - Yoga X, Day 2 - Core Synergistics, Day 3 - Kenpo X, Day 4 - X Stretch, Day 5 - Core Synergistics, Day 6 - Yoga X, Day 7 - Rest or X Stretch

You can't make this up - "Guard fatally shoots man armed with swords at Scientology building."

Guard fatally shoots man armed with swords at Scientology building - Los Angeles Times:
"A security guard at the Church of Scientology's Celebrity Centre in Hollywood on Sunday shot and killed a man wielding two samurai swords, police said."

While not school pictures, these are probably the best photovisuals of what my life is about in Japan.

From 2008-11-15

From 2008-11-15

From 2008-11-15

From 2008-11-15

From 2008-11-15

Much thanks to Anton for the pics.

Kujukushima Kokusai Spirit Trip.

Another rousing success for Sandy's international group.

Trip preparation requires socks of an enormous magnitude and capability.
From 2008-11-15

A full busload of participants.
From 2008-11-15

Rochelle fails to grasp the essence of UNO.
From 2008-11-15

Beer in the AM, perfectly acceptable. God bless Japan.
From 2008-11-15

Our cruising vessel for the Kujukushima [99 islands] boat tour.
From 2008-11-15

We had a group of Nepalese students come with our group, which was really cool.
From 2008-11-15

From 2008-11-15

Fellow reprobate/former Marine does weird things with the camera. It's best not to ask.
From 2008-11-15

Hark! [The Michael Morikawa Memorial Pose.]
From 2008-11-15

From 2008-11-15

From 2008-11-15

From 2008-11-15

From 2008-11-15

From 2008-11-15

From 2008-11-15

From 2008-11-15

From 2008-11-15

It's lunchtime.
From 2008-11-15

Blame the wife.
From 2008-11-15

You never forget. [Upper arm at 90, lower arm at 45, fingertips to the brim...]
From 2008-11-15

Sandy was clearly a saucy 1940s pinup model in a previous life.
From 2008-11-15

When debarking, it's important to maintain a serious demeanor.
From 2008-11-15

Our group for the day, minus me on the camera.
From 2008-11-15

Lunch, with mini-sasebo burgers...
From 2008-11-15

...which paled in comparison to the one I brought home.
From 2008-11-15

And finally, remember, when using the bathroom in Japan, never drop or leave your baby behind.
From 2008-11-15

Elementary school festival coolness.

The kids begin performing at an early age in Japan... This is from a local community festival held at one of the elementary schools I teach at. Kids are well rehearsed, and too adorable.
From 2008-11-16

From 2008-11-16

From 2008-11-16

From 2008-11-16

Local entertainment.
From 2008-11-16

From 2008-11-16

Japan=Synchronized Dance.
From 2008-11-16

Occasionally, I have to amuse myself with my students.
From 2008-11-16

The throwing of the mochi.
From 2008-11-16

Games aplenty.
From 2008-11-16

This year's festival had a really kick-ass taiko group.
From 2008-11-16

For one of the numbers they had folks from the audience come up and play, including one obvious-stands-out-in-a-crowd gaijin.
From 2008-11-16

With no music talent to speak of, I reverted to eskrima striking patterns I learned back in Hawaii.
From 2008-11-16

Bonus: it's a small local community, so the farmers were selling fresh veg. For cheap. Tomatoes, broccoli, sweet potatoes...
From 2008-11-16

I had to buy extra because they cleverly had the munchkins selling some of the goods.
From 2008-11-16

From 2008-11-16

Try to not find this adorable. I dare you.
From 2008-11-16

That's "L-O-V-E" if you ain't paying attention.
From 2008-11-16

Elementary schoolkids dancing and lipsynching J-Pop. God bless Japan.
From 2008-11-16

From 2008-11-16

From 2008-11-16

The kid in the yellow and white was pretty good. He got funky.
From 2008-11-16

From 2008-11-16

From 2008-11-16

From 2008-11-16

Video Highlights of the day [click the image.]
From 2008-11-16