May 31, 2006

You win this round, Japan

"You win this round, Japan." One can often hear me muttering it to myself, usually when I see what is for lunch. Recently, I've had to say it repeatedly while dealing with the Japanese DMV. They are notorious for not passing foreigners (racism), but I can't even get that far yet; I lack certain documents, and when I produce them, they say, "Oh we need more, and not the ones we said at all."
So yes, I say it a lot. And yet I like this place? Why? I think it is mostly because it appeals to my sense of aesthetics. The paradise I envisioned for quiet people such as myself doesn't exist for foreigners (i.e. no one will let me just sit and be myself--I'm always expected to be "on"), but moss, temples, the sea, and the mountains all seem to make up for it. Those things, and six year olds feeling my whiskers and shouting, "Kimochi!" (feels good!).
Oh and one aside: Today was apparently my birthday. At least that's what Tan told Lisa or something. So thanks for the "happy birthday" announcement, Lisa. But no presents?!

May 29, 2006


At long last I have the holy grail of cartoonists and graphic designers: the Wacom tablet. It was suprisingly big. I proudly showed it off to my girlfriend shortly after it came, only to discover in a chagrinned manner that it is not as simple as drawing on paper. "I guess I need practice," I said as we looked at my unclimatic scribble.
But today, I had a little more success, especially when I loaded the brushes into photoshop. Check it out; I call it "Demon heart."

May 28, 2006

It was dark. I was tired, but my train wasn't coming for another hour. So I started to wander around the tiny station that is Hizen Kashima. I spied a boat. A boat? The boat was full of mud. Mudskippers and crabs by the dozens had been trasported to this little habitat. A middle aged man approached and picked up a crab by one pincher. Encouraged by this, I started to tease a mudskipper. An old man saw us and started to play around too. This was one of the best parts of my trip to Kobe for the recontracting confrence, the three of us playing in the mud on a summers night. As I walked home later I spotted the first firefly of the year.

You may recall way back when I first mentioned my desire to do the Gatalympics. The boat was for promoting the Gatalympics. Here's some pics. Btw, I lost my event :( But out of my team, I think I got the farthest and dirtiest. Mud makes yor skin soft...Strange costumes were in abundance. Where do they buy these things?

When you ask a girlfriend to take pictures...

First trip to mudsville.

And the second. Yes, that's me.

"Why are you taking a picture of me eating?"

Liz drawing her stockings for the event.

May 21, 2006

For posterity and amusement

When the leaving class of 3rd years left one of my schools, they gave me cards. I have used them to decorate my walls. I'm surrounded by love. And some humorous English. Some highlights (names removed to protect innocent spelling mistakes):

In addition to the proclamation of love, the red string of fate with a heart, around the pinkies makes me really worried about this one.

Much less worried about this one. Because it's krean love.
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Well, he got the arms right.

It's true. I did think for half a year.

Ah, I see you have drawn yourself in your new highschool uniform, but...Are you flipping me off?

Another flip off?

Hard to tell, but they are imitating my art style (used for a worksheet I made) here.

A blast from the past

May 18, 2006

Top ways to die

Wow, I thought I would write a few, and the list got spontaneously long. Now, lest you think I'm morbid, keep in mind I'm not looking for death. In fact, I'm sure this list will show that only the best and most rare of deaths will do for me. I won't leave until I've gotten some satisfaction. By the way, asking someone how they would die is one of my favorite party games; it reveals someone's character, and a little of what they find interesting or humorous. And if you can convince them to make a list like the top 50 things to do before you die, well... bonus bonding I guess.
Top ways to die:

Whilst kissing at ground zero as a nuke drops. No seriously, that would be a heck of a tingling sensation. Keep your eyes closed.

Running into a crowd of zombies with lit dynamite, to serve as a distraction so the young couple can survive.

Right after giving birth. And you are a man.

While fighting the Russian from Rocky IV.

By having your senses overload by the perfect taste/sight/sensation.

Being so glad and content that you simply go, "Well, it's time," and you close your eyes and you are gone.

In space. In pretty much any situation, as long as your last breath comes while you gaze at the earth from above.

Riding on the back of a nuke. I mean, if you happen to be there anyway. Yeeee ha!

Disgustingly wealthy 80 year old man... 20 year old woman... and their honeymoon. We know the cliche. But I promise it would be better to be a 20 year old man dying of the same cause. The nuke picture works for this one too. Yeeee ha!

Having been part of a duo of galaxy-conquering evil, then becoming good at the last minute and killing your evil boss, then dying in your sons' arms after last minute reconciling. And then you get to be a force ghost, and be all young looking again (it will take 25 years for them to edit that part in, but hey).

As long as I'm mentioning Sci-fi, Leto Atreities II had a pretty cool death, spreading his consciousness throughout Dune as he broke apart into sandtrout.

With a sigh and a smile.

Sword fight. Mortal wound. Beheading the bad guy. Falling to your knees and stopping in that position statuesquely. In that order.

Getting struck by lightning and turning into a rainbow. Wait no, that movie sucked. Frickin' Powder. I want my two dollars for the rental back. Two dollars!

Jumping on a grenade to save your friends.

Whilst wrestling a Tyrannosaurus.

From laughing too much.

From the ultimate suffering. As long as you get to come back and spout ultra-quotable lines. Yeah, we gotta give Jesus props for this one too.

Getting killed by a god. Neil Gaiman's logic: you served the god's purpose and your belief in them is undeniable, so you're guaranteed a place in heaven. Plus, it's pretty novel to be killed by a god in this day and age.

Having a write-off with the zombie of William Shakespeare. He bites you, and you expire, but the judge still declares you the posthumous winner, cause your writing was just that good. Substitute things like "martial-arts contest" and "zombie Bruce Lee" and so on ad infinitum.

Honorable mention from history: I hear Charlemagne died on his throne, but he was so scary looking, no one dared to see if he was just sleeping or not for like three days.

Got some good ways to die? List 'em in the comments before I kill you. I hope I got a spit-take out of someone for the pregnant man one.

May 14, 2006

It's blurry, but this is what I can give you

No seriously, the photo we took was good, but I lack a scanner, and the picture phone was only able to get this...

If she complains, I'll have to remove it. I'll probably be killed for doing this much.

Also, it may be a bit early, but we've had a kid (or didn't you notice I was pregnant in the last post?) So this is our daughter. She is very precocious and has a way with animals...

They grow up so fast.

May 12, 2006

Pics! And I went crazy wild with the strike through joke this time.

Lots of pics today, but none of them are of the gf. Sorry, maybe later. Pics of camping and pottery festivals and misc. Clay time exists. Oh, and since the aforementioned deadline has passed, I can show you my real logo (that picture above). Much better, ne? I think I actually have a chance at winning an art related contest, which would be my first art contest win since my controversial 6th grade winning of the CFD poster contest.
So anyways, I went camping for three days with my junior high kids. It was more like being at a small city that happens to be at a high altitude than camping, but still. The kids did a show at one of the campfires, and I actually understood a manzai joke for once!Expand the post to see all the photos.

View of the fog-enshrouded resort campground. The place was a huge complex. It seemed a very cool place to be if when the zombies come. I mentioned to a teacher that I wanted to walk around the buildings in the fog that night. I figured he wouldn't understand that I like spooky places, so I just said fog is refreshing. Which it is. Visibility was at like 30 feet.
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About to cook our curry and rice.

The weather cleared up for about a day.

Who taught these kids Indian poker? Actually, they were playing a war-like card game, and the not-looking-at-one's-card element was completely unnecessary. I am so disowning proud of them ;)

I think I see three travesties of language here.

Did I mention I'm proud of them?

Here I made a wish-board-thing (no English word for it). I painted 夢 (dream) on mine. Crudely.

Inside a kiln/cafe

Some video-game accessories and a D12... at least that's what I thought when I saw it.

Mr. Former student of mine thought he could take a stealth keitai pic on the train. So I sauntered up and let him know he wasn't as ninja-like as he thought.

Hard gay is still around. It's amazing. And now he has a partner.

I had a kid. Did I forget to mention that I'm pregnant again?

A clean shaven Clay is a rare site. Thanks to the barber that decided to shave me without asking.

If I study these tiles, I will become a great sumo wrestler.

May 9, 2006

More on art school confidential

Now that I've found that Daniel Clowes is behind it, I want to see the movie even more. I found this hilarious article on what it's like to be a cartoonist in the fine art world, and how it relates to the movie. I was a little confused at the time of my own education, being an artist that was better at cartoons, and truly, in his soul, someone that should have been an English major. Add on top of that the fact that I was in the graphic design program, where I constantly thought that most everyone had bad taste, including the teacher, and you can see why I had a little career anxiety.
On a side note, I submitted an entry to the JET programme 20th anniversary logo contest. I think it's really good. So good, I can't show it to you until after the deadline, for fear that some ratfink might try to steal the idea. But I have uploaded for you the radically different logo that I didn't submit; I suck at logos and it takes a while for me to get professional I guess. Why? Because I am a cartoonist. So this example is crap, but still fun. What, is he massaging that J?
What's next? Maybe those miniliths I've always dreamed of sculpting.

May 7, 2006

Asian girls

I spent the better part of golden week in the company of several Asian American JETs, as well as with my new, native Nipponese girlfriend. Things were interesting; girls are usually much more chill to hang out with than guys of course. I learned that Asian Americans don't get a lot of my cultural refrences and jokes. One of them explained to me that this is because they are raised differently though they are in the same country. So things like Johnny Cash are a mystery to them, but I am sure they have things I am ignorant of as well. It kind of opened my eyes to a little world I never knew existed right in my home country.
As for the girlfriend thing: no questions are allowed. Not even by mum. Just know that she is funny, and pretty good at English, and we have agreed to sustain certain values that I have brought into the relationship, and her support in that was really refreshing. In return, I won't complain that she refuses kisses in public ("No! We can't do that here! This is Japan!").

May 3, 2006

Fish song to go with those fish kites

屋根 より 高い こいのぼり
Yane yori Takai koinobori
roof (more) than high carp streamers
Carp streamers are soaring above the roof
大きい 真鯉 は お父さん
Ookii magoi wa otoosan
big black carp as for father
The big, black carp is the father
小さい 緋鯉 は 子供たち
Chiisai higoi wa kodomo tachi
small colorful carp as for children
The small ones are children
面白 そう に 泳いでる
Omoshiro soo ni oyoideru
interesting look like swiming
Looks interesting, like they are swimming

I phrased my traslation with slight liberty, to make it how I think an English speaker would sing such concepts. More info on fish flags here.

Two wrongs make a... *proceeds to do a Costello impression with a lot of "gnaw-gnaw" and "hab-babab-bubabbbuba"*

Cosplaying is wrong. Nazis are wrong. And cultural/historical ignorance is wrong on top of all that. However...

Overall, I think this an exellent analogy of what is wrong with Japan's internationalization today. They do really offensive things sometimes; but they are so darn cute we forgive them everytime.
Credit to Linus and Mutantfrog for reminding me of these pics.

May 2, 2006

しまった (dang and blast)

It's like the last entry was a prophecy...
Well, I was late today. I am really worried that these nice employers of mine are going to finally snap one day and say, "That's it, you're outta here!" I realized the solution to my late rising is simple, yet I've neglected doing it for who-knows-what reason. So today, after making sure the head teacher has my phone number, and instructing him to call my house if I am ever late again, I went and bought a second alarm clock. It is in the far corner of my room. This will work. I will not be late. I will embrace the responsibilities of the real world.

With Japan as my witness, I shall never be late again!

May 1, 2006

correct thought

I am observing myself. I am wondering what will happen next. I wonder if some part of me has a vested interest in throwing a wrench into the works, just to keep things interesting. That part of me, if it exists, is a bit of a jerk, but I must accept the fact that I am not a bad person, and not undeserving of the good things that come my way. And the thing about jerks is, well, they have their purpose.