September 30, 2006

Internet cafe

So, about a year ago, I made the $1.80 post, if I recall correctly, where I got tricked into staying at an internet cafe. This time I am here by choice, and it's much better. I danced/took care of sleepy until about 5 and then made my way here. These places are great! Showers, massage chairs, internet, manga, dvds, and drinks all for about $15. The downside, I have to find a way to sleep in an office chair; all the sleeping rooms were taken.

September 28, 2006

Night mare

(dreamlike, but this one actually happened)
I've been hungry lately. I don't know why, but I can't get enough sustenance. So I was wandering through town under dim starlight, looking for the next yakitoriya of the night or whatever. Then, out of the darkness... hoof beats.
I looked to my left and, under a barely opened garage door, I spied a horse's muzzle.
I uttered "heee?" lowly, in Japanese, a word of disbelief and bemusement. The horse seemed to want to come to the outside world.
Then I noticed the boots, complete with spurs. Someone was standing next to the horse. The boots kicked angrily at the horse. The muzzle disappeared. The scene was so weird, so dark, so quiet, and so unexpected, that I starred for another thirty seconds. The muzzle came down again, and pushed against the opening. The boots kicked again. The impatience in the kicks told me that their owner was not a nice person. Then the boots were joined by a knee, and hands dropping to the ground. I was walking briskly away, and never saw the face coming out to scowl at me, by the time it came into view under that door.
Who keeps a horse in a garage? In Tara? And aren't spurs for riding?
Anyways, if you want a quick and engrossing mystery webcomic, I suggest Fleep . It will only take you 15 minutes.

September 25, 2006

I still got game... right?

At some point I turned 26 last week. There was little fanfair, but a nice message on the answering machine. The next day my girlfriend turned 24. I wanted to give fanfair, but was blocked by the after-work-party. We finally got together on the weekend and spent some time together over Indian food.
I would threaten to get angry at anyone who forgot about my birthday, but turning 26 makes you realize life is too short.
I'm off to water-aerobics at the senior center now...

September 18, 2006

I survived

Well, my computer is still randomly shutting off for indeterminate periods, and my modem cable randomly snapped, but this weekend I couldn't have a computer anyways, because a typhoon knocked the power out. I'm at the junior high, helping to clean things up. So this blog may be slow till things get normal. But I'll leave you with the knock-knock joke my girlfriend made up after I taught her how this distinctive joke-form works (joke after the jump to fullpost):

Mai: Knock-knock
me: Who's there?
Mai: You need to lose weight!
*punches me in the stomach lightly*

September 15, 2006

What sushi sees

Did you ever wonder what life is like on a conveyor belt at a sushi restaurant? Well...
Also, this was already linked to long ago, but it's so good...

September 13, 2006


Sometimes I ask Japanese people if they like the rain, cold and fog. They invariably answer no. But I do, and so I honestly respond when they invariably ask me in turn.
There is something about the feeling I get on rainy or cold days; it's hard to put into words. That sit in your house and drink hot chocolate laced with nutmeg, as you play chess (these days go is the game of choice) and maybe watch a scary movie kind of feeling. The autumn leaves being crushed under-foot, and rotting old shrines, covered in tenacious moss, as the mist obscures the mountains kind of feeling. I love it. It's part of the reason I was attracted to Japan. Many people think of this as a hot place, but I think it's at its best when it's cold.
I do my best to tell this to Japanese people. They seem to agree. But that's probably just politeness.

September 12, 2006

Aw crap

The computer shut off suddenly last night and will not even consider turning back on. The blog may be a little barren for a while...

September 10, 2006

Shinto stuff (media dump)

The shinto festivals have been everywhere this weekend. Today, the oni-mask boys were drumming it up in front of the fish mongers' place. They finished by marching inside, no doubt to bring prosperity. As they stopped and ocha and juice was offered to them by the wife of the monger, I realized that the scene was an interesting reflection of Christmas carols.
Sitting under a waterfall is called Misogi(禊). It's quite a rush. I wanna do it around here.
I went to the giant shrine in Kashima (Yutoku I believe?) yesterday. As I was exploring around, I found an old path, littered with fallen trees to suggest it wasn't the way to go. Being tall, I equiped myself with a branch to swing back and forth to preemptively knock spider webs out of the way. But I was stuborn as usual, so I didn't turn back until the warthogs. I was pretty suprised when I saw them. Most wild animals leave long before you get there, but I somehow got an entire family of warthogs in view. Knowing how dangerous they can be I did the only thing I could: I started to wip my spider web branch back and forth as fast as I could, making a swishing sound. It payed off, perhaps because as I suspect, animals instinctively are afraid of that sound. Or it may only be domestic animals that fear the sound and I only got lucky. In any case, I am not gored and here to tell the tale. And the 山が生きている.

Many pictures after you expand the post.

These should have been posted last photodump

A couple more movies:

This one is from the Kind of Thailand's birthday in Bangkok:

September 6, 2006

How long have you been carrying that funny money?

Old man stopped me on the street today. Actually a few of them did during the course of the day. But this one claimed to have been to America. He produced out of his wallet some bills. "These are Canadian money." he said. I looked at them. They said "nippon" (Japan) on the front, and "peso" on the back. He had a lot of those spurious notes. And I wondered how long he had been carrying them out of this 75 years on earth.
I've been having the most elaborate dreams lately. And at least one person thought I got married for real to Gina when
I mentioned my last one. That was funny.
My nose feels like it is made out of woven-metal super-helixes on the inside. Not pleasant. I hope they get softer as I heal.
Choco-mint icecream on a stick is my savior.
I finally got a video store membership. This means I can catch up on my Trick. That show has the most charming crazy woman...
But these stills are from Takashi Miike's Great Yokai War.

Lost in translation

after 30 minute conversation in which I wish he had just tried to tell me the details in Japanese so I could of understood it better...
me: So your daughter auditioned... for gabai-baachan* tv show?
fun teacher: Oh yes! That. Audition. But too young!
me: Wow. A tv show in Takeo. I wonder if they have roles for foreigners.
him: Foreigners?
me: Like me. I would love to be in such a show.
him: Oh wow!

I thought his enthusiasm was just Japanese over-enthusiasm. But another half-hour later, I discovered he had told everyone in the office that I had already auditioned and won a role on the tv show.

*Gabai-baachan is a movie set in Saga, using saga-dialect. It looks surprisingly good. You can see a preview here.

September 5, 2006

Disproving the stereotypes

I like this video because it proves: White guys can dance, little bald guys with glasses can be cool, and dork suits can be the height of fashion.
I went to a profit-shinto-festival in Northern Tara. I was very honored, and am trying to get the videos for that and other things together, but the internet be gu-gu-going nuts, so hang in there.

September 2, 2006

Thanks for your donations

Belated thanks. You've brightened the cockles of my heart. I think there are cockles there. Anyways, a nice sum of 160 dollars is going to baan unrak childrens home. Good work, people. If you wanna check on the orphanage, I suggest Steve's blog to the right there; its always interesting, as Steve doesn't fit the stereotypical volunteer image at all.