September 30, 2005

Today, I corrected a page at wikibooks in the Japanese section. I feel very proud of this. Also, I refered to myself spontaniously (without planning to) as "boku" (masculine version of I/me/myself) as I talked to the yakitori man tonight. This also brings me odd pride.
I always get two milks with my school lunches. The teachers know instinctually that I like two. Today, I was told I could also get one out of the fridge, so I did, and a teacher rushed over to me.
Teacher: < You get milk? >
me: yes
then she brings me five milks.
So needless to say I had a lot of milk and yakitory tonight. This is satisfaction.
A game I came up with for the students, where they fill in blank speech bubble on my drawing. If you enlarge, you may be able to see what I thought was a pretty funny one.
Panel 1: "What is this?" "It's a bird"
Panel 2: PLEASE ME
Panel 3: (Girl puts bird on head) "OK" "..."

Students cleaning the school. Can you imagine if American students were expected to do the same? Neither can I.

View from the third level of the school.

Primary children gazing in wonder at my splendor.

Another worksheet I made for the students. I thougth it was funny.

September 29, 2005

Today, I wrote out on a worksheet "Koizumi's re-election" for the students to give their opinions on. Much to my suprise, the JTE pronounced it "Koizumi's re-erection" in class. I about lost it and started laughing out loud. Apparently, I am 13.

Image of the day: Seeing a girl laughing way more than is necessary, then choking, then coughing up some projectile udon in my direction.

Runner up: Seeing students try to remember how to do the macarena.
And below I am re-posting the funniest blog from my week of conscription (originally posted September 21st for another blog):

So today was my birthday, and I celebrated becoming a quarter-century old in my usual subtle way by eating some chips and drinking melon-soda. I was surprised when a limo pulled up to my house and the prime minister of Japan, Junichiro Koizumi stepped out. I quickly threw on a shirt... (this post continues...)
Me: Oh! Uh, Mr. Prime Minister, what brings you here?

Koizumi: Herro. Roveree prayshe.

Me: What?

Spits out sunflower seeds
Koizumi: Ahem, sorry my good chap. Where are my manners? I am here for your birthday, my lad.

Me: Really? Um, aren't you kind of busy, what with being re-elected today and all?

Koizumi: Oh, I suppose, but it's always good policy to take care of our in-residence foreigners. We aim to be accommodating after all. So, how are you finding things?

Me: Well, I'm pretty happy here. It's always been my dream to boldly go to a far off land and I must say I've been pleasantly surprised with--why are you laughing?

Koizumi: Oh, sorry, it's just that you used a split infinitive. "To boldly go." How amusing. You're not talking like that around the students I hope?

Me: Hey, lay off, I speak the vernacular! Okay, anyways, I was just about to say that while I find Japan extremely pleasant, I do have a few complaints...

Gets grave look on his face
Koizumi: I see. I shall commit seppuku post-haste.
draws a small ceremonial dagger

Me: Whoa! No need for that! I just-- put the knife down! Down. There. Relax. I was just--Put it down, for heaven's sake!
Several minutes of wrestling ensue

Then George Bush poked his head out the limo...
Bush: Hey, Koizumi! Am I gonna have to drink all this sake* by myself or what? Let's celebrate your re-election already!

Me: What the? Bush is here?! I would totally arch my eyebrows in surprise if I wasn't a static photograph.

Bush: What's the hold up? Wait, I'm coming out!

Bush: Whoops! Guess I'm a little tipsy!

Bush: Wassup!
Koizumi: To use an American aphorism, You so crazy!
Bush: I'm totally buzzin here.

Bush: You know, I could swear this Clay kid wasn't Japanese at all. Hey, lets go already!
starts to drags Koizumi off

Bush:Hey, is that the one Al-queda guy hiding in that bush there?

disheveled Al-queda guy: Who, me?

Quickly dons a hat
disheveled Al-queda guy: Uh, its justa me, Mario!

Well okay then. Let's go, Koizumi.

The van drove off, and I went back to celebrating. It's a shame that I never did get to tell the prime minister my thoughts though, cause I totally could have turned this country around if I did.

*:Bush gave up drinking long ago. It's a joke, people.

September 28, 2005

Unforeseen transition from butt to mouth

"It must be beautiful future that people do not have to work while ROBOT work for them."--some Japanese guy in the Jref forum.

today's discovery: Be it on the head, arm or knuckles, gaijin hair fascinates elementary students and they are instantly compelled to pet it.
I got the dreaded koncho today (definition and description here), but it was a more of the let's-test-your-butt variety, and so it didn't hurt. I immediately turned around and tried to say "dame yo", but I messed up, so I said it one more time clearly, to get the message across.
Hopefully the kid will take me seriously, but I think it's hard to take me seriously because I grin so dang much. I don't even realize I'm grinning or smirking the vast majority of the time. I recall giving a crazy bum a ride once with Ben's cousin and before the bum went off into the night, he warned her that I was "too quick to grin."

The advantage of grinning so much: I think it adds to my ultra-forgivable status. People have developed counter-methods to combat this, such as refusing to meet me in person when they are upset with me.
Small photo dump
The cameraman that filmed me for cable tv

View of the town

Angry sea

Froggy w/pinky to show how small it is.

I'm surprised this is the only pseudo kanji I've seen in a country that is famous for adapting things from other cultures. The Japanese person I was with posited that it means tear (泣).

September 26, 2005

3rd times a charm

Alright, now that Clayisnotgay-gate has died down, I feel it's once again safe to post the hard gay content you expect of my site. In other words, go here before yet another person's bandwidth is overloaded and you miss out again.

September 23, 2005

This needs to be addressed

The man who would be queen
I hadn't planned to post on this blog this week, but I just got a rather disturbing email. The contents go as follows:
Hi, I heard a rumor and I've been thinking about what I want to do about it for quite some time now. My first thought is just to ignore it as a rumor but I'm not good at ignoring things so here I am writing an email. I don't know how to set it up nicely so I'll just say it, some mutual friends of ours told me that they found out you are gay. When they told me this information they seemed completely serious as though it wasn't a joke or anything, like they really believed their source for the information. They told me that some guy from the Cheyenne gay community claims to be a former partner of yours. I haven't spoken to this guy directly so I can't verify who it is or what they're supposedly saying or if there even is a guy...

And it goes on about how it's cool if I am gay and all that stuff a friend is supposed to tell you when he wonders.
Well, let this entry be the ultimate authority on the issue: I am NOT gay. In fact, I'm really suprised to hear people even could fathom me being gay. Anyone that knows me knows I was in love with a certain girl (not hard to tell who) for the good part of the last 4 years.
To put it in simple terms, boobies: Yes, please! Man meat: No thanks!

Oddly enough I find myself not mad about this whole thing. I don't even bear ill will against the rumor spreaders or their supposed sources. But I want to set the record straight, in more ways than one.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm gonna go listen to Barbra Streisand and paint my toenails.

September 15, 2005

A few Japan pics...

First, I just wanted you Clayophiles to know that I've posted a new version of my short story, En Passant, on my other blog. Take a look, and while you're there, relieve Kit a little (he's been the only one giving me suggestions on my writing thus far) by critiquing or discussing anything in das experiment.

This is an orange mikan. Yeah, what you're thinking right now, I was thinking that too. Anyways, that's what they look like in Tara-town. We're famous for them.

That creepy Kappa anime where the people don't have faces.

A Japanese McDonald's commercial with the novelty of a French kid.

Slam Dunk! The anime about basketball. And I think Americans as well, because all the main characters are really tall, and one is definitely black. So my guess is that it is set on Okinawa Air Force base. But My Japanese is not yet good enough to figure that out for certain.

September 14, 2005

Gatalypic hopeful

I was kind of disappointed today to hear that I won't be participating in a special "beat some thing with a stick and trip your opponents" type event in this year's matsuri, due to the fact that everyone is too shy to wear the requisite loincloths. My response: "Boku mo."
But at least the Gatalympics is still on, so you can bet I'll be there to represent for the gaijins*!

*:Not sure if I should pluralize a Japanese word or not, but it's in Romanji, so...
In other news, I started Karate. I have terrible posture, I've forgotten all of my skills, and I am so sore right now. Very happy.
And the first Japanese girl to develop a crush on me is, I'm guessing, eight years old. Kids like me. One cried when I left his house today.

"We're the Ottomans! And you're not!" [/obscure Earnest reference that stuck with me from childhood for no apparent reason RIP Jim Varney]
More interesting info about mudskippers/Gatalypics here.

September 8, 2005

"It studies more..."

So you may recall a couple days ago when I blogged about "Death of a Samurai." anyhoo, I left a comment on the site, 'cause I'm a comment whore, and the resulting corespondence amused me if for no other reason than the Engrish involved, as well as that typical Japanese I invite you, you come! thing I love. Enjoy.
This post continues...

I just saw the performance of Death of a Samurai on Skyperfect TV. I was very impressed with the show. My complements go to the cast. Misume was extremely cute!

Sorry for the English, but my Japanese is poor. Made, jozu ja arimasen nee...
Posted by clay at 2005年09月06日 00:43

Dear clay

Thank you for your message.
Because you saw our show, I am glad.
If it was good, I want you to see our show at this month 22th~25th.
I am waiting for you.

thank you!

Sorry my English is poor.
It studies more...
Posted by 斎藤 努 at 2005年09月06日 14:27

I would love to see your show live, but I live in Saga-ken which is far away, I think.

Oh, please wish 中谷-san happy birthday for me! It's a bit late of me, but I just saw the date on the members page...
Posted by clay at 2005年09月07日 05:22
p.s. despite being spelled the same, those are two different words "live" and "live" as in "live-action" sorry if that caused confusion
Posted by at 2005年09月07日 05:23

Dear clay

Sorry , I don't know you live in SAGA-ken.
It is far away.
It is difficult to come to see.
It is really regrettable.

> Oh, please wish 中谷-san happy birthday for me!
> It's a bit late of me, but I just saw the date on the members page...

Thank you very much!!!
I am telling your message to her.

> p.s. despite being spelled the same, those are two different words "live" and "live" as in "live-action" sorry if that caused confusion

No problem!
I didn't cause confusion.
Posted by 斎藤 努 at 2005年09月08日 03:03

September 6, 2005

Japanese Entertainment

Reasons why I stayed up late last night:
1)I'm an insomniac
2)My folks called and wanted to talk
3)Typhoons are loud
4)Death of a Samurai

Death of a Samurai is a post-modern, j-pop rock ballet set in a post-apocalyptic world where werewolves roam free and ninjas wear fatigues. At least that's how I would describe it. I would also use the word brilliant. You can see details about the show through this translated-via-google webpage. The google translation is hilarious btw. I got to see the show thanks to my satellite tv. Any other people living in Japan take note, it's showing at midnight on channel 239 of Skyperfect until the 15th, and there are two versions shown, one after the other.
I've totally got a crush on Misume (top left woman); I'm gonna keep an eye on their theater company, afro 13.
Okay, other Japanese entertainment I shouldn't keep to myself:
Gamar and Jobat, I think their name is. They entertain kids, and me.

One of the strangest things I've run across is the "How to Breed Kappas" anime/manga. This thing, the first time I saw it, came on and had me horrified. It was so creepy because none of the humans had faces. And the kappas, instead of being warrior-turtle-demons like in Japanese mythology, are pets that eventually grow into human-like creatures. And they seem to poop gumballs. Wouldn't you be terrified if you saw that?
Then I found the series again when I bought a manga publication. Totally creeped out/fascinated. The listedwebsite is not very illuminating, and filled with random pictures of dogs and such, though I did find the English version of their page hilarious, and I found this much more informative one.
Takeshi Miike time *malicious grin*
Yes, I love the world's strangest director. Here's a few of his flicks I saw recently:

Audition: You would think an audition would be a good screening process to find a new wife... but you might want to pay attention to your friend who checks her background and finds she's lying about everything. This movie has the most painful scene you'll ever watch, guaranteed. Not for the faint of heart...

Kooshoonin: A police negotiator drama with a twist. I particularly enjoyed seeing the foreigners. This movie is not an exemplar of the usual Miike weirdness, but it is full of usual Miike suprises.

Happiness of the Katakuris: The best musical/claymation/liveaction/suspense movie ever. You gotta watch this one if you have the chance.

September 5, 2005

Photocard arrived

The advantage: Having a thin phone and camera/video camera in one.
the disadvantage: I can't seem to set the camera to a higher resolution... take a look, I may post some movies soon.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I've got to get some supplies to wait out the typhoon. At least school is canceled tomorrow...

View from an enkai (partay).

Lil'uns doing karate.

Two girls that spent a lot of time, like me, on the massage chairs at the electronics store.

The kids from karate again.

I ate most of the fish, but stayed away from the eyeballs.

Some kind of mechanical bull that is supposed to be used like exercise equipment. You sit on top and move your arms in various ways. I can't help but wonder if it has the same appeal as horse riding and bike riding.

The junior high art teacher's house.

It's hard to see, but in the center of the pic there is a kitten hiding. It is one of a mischievous pair that have been hanging around my yard lately. I want a cat...

I'm... just not sure... Is there anyone living next to Hizen-Yamaguchi station that cares to illuminate me on what this is?

How is men's pocky different from normal pocky? I'm not sure, but it is somehow better to suck than regular pocky. Wait... that doesn't sound right...