June 29, 2006

Give that girl an A!

So I saw a junior high student at the supermarket and told her mom how she was a good and kind student. Her mother said, "Not in OUR house!"
As I was baggin my groceries (you bag your own groceries over here), the student came out of nowhere and handed me an icecream cone. Nice.
--
Unrelated to the kindness of the student...
Isn't it funny that some of our most altruistic desires are simultaneously our most selfish ones?

June 27, 2006

踊り (dance)

So picture it: I am doing the English lesson for cable TV yet again. This time we are shooting in the school library for I don't know what reason. The rain is pouring. We come to the final part of my speech, where I explain in Tara-dialect about practicing dancing for summer festivals. I get a gleam in my eye, and tell my translator a good idea I just had.
So the final shot is me and two cable television workers dancing matsuri style.
But the funniest part, and the highlight of my day, was when we were waiting for the sound of the rain to die down so we could film this scene. I spied one of the men, tall and lanky, walking through the shelves of books, practicing his moves with a kind of mock-seriousness.
I suppose you could say it was kind of like this.

June 26, 2006

Sparing you the tag

No one responds to meme tags anymore (they probably don't read them either), so I'll just skip that part. I am still too polite to refuse myself, so here is what Mandy ordered me to answer:

5 Things In My refrigerator
- 2 quarts of milk (more milk than in any other fridge in Japan)
- bread ('tis the moldy season)
- Various sauces left by my predecessor. I should throw those out...
- Champon noodles
- A Natto slime-stain

5 Things In My Closet
- Clothes, duh.
- Giant suit cases. Hmmm, running out of stuff, better make it up...
- A vampire's ashes.
- An illegal alien.
- My black-as-coal heart. This makes me effectively immortal, unless someone were to find my heart and destroy it. But no one knows where it is so no worries...

5 Things In My Workbag/Backpack
- New Nintendo DS Lite.
- iPod mini.
- Moleskin sketchbook.
- calligraphy pen.
- 6 ten-sided dice.

5 Things In My Car
- Gym Clothes and shoes.
- Lots of change.
- A fake pearl necklace.
- A sack of good smellin'beeds.
- Look, I'm really not into material possessions...

June 24, 2006

Arabian humor

First, I must direct you to The Thief and the Cobbler. A lost animated movie that thankfully ended up on the net. It's pretty impressive, considering it started production in 1968, and some scenes are unanimated. The animator definitely had an appreciation of the oriental pattern-art. And Vincent Price voice acting for the win.
--
On a certain day, some of Nasreddin's disciples asked him "Master, tell us about the end of the world."

Nesreddin asked "Which end of the world, the greater or the lesser?"

This perplexed his followers and they debated among themselves. Finally they asked, "Master, what is the lesser end of the world?"

Nesreddin replied "The lesser end of the world will be when my wife dies."

His followers then asked "And the later end of the world?"

"Oh," said the master, "that will be when I die."

June 20, 2006

The mystery of the Tara crab men

So this is one of my photodumps, but I have a creepy mystery for you too. A couple weeks back, me and the girlfriend were driving through the dark, coming back from the equivilent of Tara-town's own Joe's Crab Shack, when we spotted a guy. Now the odd thing about this guy was, well, he was lowering himself into the space between the road and a bridge/walkway. His back was to us, and as we watched he dissapeared to an unknown fate below! We both went, "こわい!" (scary) at the time, but we rationalized that it only looked like he was jumping into a casm and possibly commiting suicide. Also the news around town didn't mention any suicides. But I wasn't sure, so I went back in the daylight. The photo clearly shows that there are no stairs nor a ladder, and the straight drop is like 20 to 30 feet. So even if he had, say, a boat waiting below, it would be a risky drop to say the least.
That is, if he was human. But what if he's not? What if he is fact a member of a secret race of crab men? Think about it. Tara is full of crabs. Crabs have exoskeletons, therefore they can fall great heights. So I think the only rational explanation is that he was a crab man dropping back into his normal habitat. He probably came out to feed on the flesh of humans.
Crab man gonna getcha.


So anyways, there are more photos after the jump to an expanded post.




Face-hands amuse the Japanese to no limit.




This guy liked photographing his cute son.



Meg Ryan's uh... unique smile was a landmark we used to coordinate meetings in Kobe.


Tricks with sticks at a Takeo show. You'll have to zoom this one.


Family shrine deep in the mountains. I sure suprised the family by showing up.


Aforementioned walls of happiness.




View of Kobe.


Inside a 4 star hotel.

Stuck here till four, might as well blog out my epiphany

So my epiphany, the x-factor as it were. Something that has be thus far missing from my loving-hippie style repetoir: Don't point out when something is doing or saying something you disagree with. It's so simple, I don't know why I didn't see it before.
Of course there will have to be exceptions. Times when you can't just lay back and let any crazy stuff be said. For example, I remember a movie I watched in school once about Neonazis. The Jewish people said amongst themselves, "Maybe we should just let them have their Nazi demonstration. Nobody will listen to them."
But then another said, "That's what we did in Germany. And we know what happened with the Nazis we tried to ignore there."
But the exceptions should be few and far between, as Nazi-types are out of fashion. Besides, as virtue is its own reward, so too is bigotry its own punishment. If I have time to complain about someone else, there's probably something better I could be doing.
The other challenge will be to be assertive while trying to hold to this.
apologies if the blogs have been angst-filled the last few days, I'll try to bring the funny tonight.

June 19, 2006

Negativity sucks

Am I hypocritical to hate negativity? I'm not sure. On the one hand, I want to send love out to all that I meet. I've even refrained from saying bad things about people pretty well since I made the promise to myself in spring. And yet, I still face conflict when I deal with some people. Why must this be? I guess I choose my own reaction to people, and they choose their reactions to me. So, I think an attitude of "nothing is wrong, everything is beautiful" might get me through these prickly times.
Besides, as the girlfriend advised me, you can't be friends with everyone. Danged if I aint obsessed with trying though.

June 18, 2006

Screw it

Materialism is where it's at. Why did it take me so long to realize this?
--
This post may be a result of watching Buckaroo Banzai this weekend.

June 16, 2006

Sudoku

I am not so much into Sudoku. You would think it would be the perfect thing to appeal to a boy that had a mathematician grandfather on one side, and a pair of artist grandparents on the other. But I know a lot of friends and family, not to mention someone's fiance, likes Sudoku. So I thought I would share with you what is, in my opinion (which is right 88.965% of the time--and scientists are working on the remainder) the best Sudoku on the net. You will see why when you try to play it.
So go here. Thank me later, over some hot cocoa, as we laugh about our adventures in the lands of the Serengety. "But Clay, besides that not making sense, I've never been to--"
"Oh you will, my friend. You will. You can't even imagine the doors that open for you when you play Sudoku on the web."

Man I'm bored at the moment.

June 14, 2006

New English textbooks

Fellow Saga JET Adam altered some scans, pulled from the very same textbook that I myself use to teach. Click the picture to see them all.

Our Little Secret

June 12, 2006

Patriotism

I would do some proper update but I'm still recovering from food poisoning. Apparently, every Japanese person knows "you must be careful during this season." Why the change to a hotter climate is dangerous I don't know. Anyways, check out this guy's language practice. He really get's into it.

June 11, 2006

dohmo dohmo

Wow, most horrific Japanese/aerobics lesson I've ever encountered. Come to think of it, the only one.

Japanese dictionaries

Someone got me ranting about these. Anyways here's my recommendations. For more useful Japanese, see the links (scroll to the far right if you have a small screen and/or resolution.

WWWJDIC
This one will let you do romaji, but you gotta remember to click the box. I recommend starting to type in hirigana asap anyways; it helps out more than you can imagine.

ALC
This one is intended for Japanese people who are trying to figure out american idioms and such. But it works even better for us. Now you can look up crazy phrases like "TGIF" (Yareyare yatto kinyobi da!). And it also works as a good dictionary and example sentence finder

But Clay, ALC uses kanji! Well, I recommend getting Firefox and the rikaichan plugin. Wiki firefox if you haven't seen the light, the wiki Firefox plugins too. BTW, Rikaichan is a dictionary in it's own right, and a powerful one at that,just don't forget to download the appropriate dictionary file too, or it's useless.

June 9, 2006

June 7, 2006

♪ Faaaaaarm livin is the life for me ♪

The fields are burning as my train rushes by. A slideshow of a little, agricultural apocalypse. Whatever was the crop before this season, it is being cremated. I wonder if the farmers say a little prayer. Goodbye, sweet smelling friends. Hello new friends.

Did some rice farming yesterday. The Japanese family I was with no doubt had been working all day; I showed up at about an hour to go. They insisted I wear a farmer's hat, boots, and overshirt. I thought this made me look remarkably like grandma, who was working alongside the family. They let me drive the tractor. I was amazed by the ingenious wonder of a machine than can grab a few sprouts and plant them with stacatto precision. I also did some planting the old fashioned way (by hand) in the corners of the flooded paddy. I learned how the irigation system works, it's brilliant simplicity. I helped create a dam to level the water in an unlevel paddy. I felt proud.
Later, there was obligitory dining. Table-top grilling of meats and vegitables, plus sashimi. I ate the most, but there was still plates of uncooked food when I gave up.
The girls of the house first regarded me as monster, then in gradual stages something to hit, yell at, then finally play with and read to. I learned a lot about beatles and magical princess comunicators.

I walk along the street at night, as I have done so many times before. But this time, a field to my left is flooded, As the train passes, the lights from inside it are cast in reflection upon the water's surface. It is utterly picturesque, yet I don't have a camera. Even if I did, this instance of phatasmagoric beauty in the night is much too swift for me to capture.

Cut the Drama

I want to keep in mind some principals from my Buddhist studies (yeah I'm one of those trendy people that's all into zen and junk).
  • Right speech: Speak only good things. Don't gossip.
  • Karma: Action begets consequence. Everything is connected.
  • Right thought: Don't dwell on things that are of no value. Move past.
  • Right Action: Do not hurt others.
    And from the Four Agreements (Incan, I believe, and I've messed these up a bit):
  • Don't cast black magic (right speech)
  • Don't take it personally
  • Give everything your best effort.
    From the Book of Mormon:
  • Contention is of the devil.
    From the Book of Clay:
  • Be impeccable.

    If you comment on this post, please keep these prinipals in mind. And try not to assume it's something you did that brought this post on if you know me; it was a lot of things. We all need to vent and reafirm convictions sometimes.
  • June 6, 2006

    The Takeo Crew


    This is for a yearbook project someone in the prefecture is throwing together. These are the people I annoy hang out with the most. Keep in mind caricatures are in the spirit of fun, Takeo people! So no complaining I made your head fat or something. Angus.

    A Message from Batman

    Agnostic FAQ

    Questions and answers on the agnostic faith. Because someone requested one. Keep in mind I am not agnostic, though I may be antagonistic.

    Q: Is there a god?
    A: Maybe. I'm not sure.

    Q:Is there an afterlife?
    A: Maybe. I'm not sure. I think I saw a ghost once, when I was six.

    Q: Is pre-marital sex okay?
    A: Maybe. I'm not sure. But I sure hope so!

    Q:Why are we here?
    A: Maybe. I'm not sure.
    Q:That wasn't a yes/no/maybe question.
    A: Maybe. I'm not sure.

    Q: Why do bad things happen?
    A: Maybe there is no god or some junk? I'm not sure.

    Q: Do you believe in reincarnation?
    A: Maybe. I'm not sure. I think I might be Napoleon sometimes.

    Q: What do you believe?
    A: Let me get back to you on that after I'm dead...

    Q: Can't you commit to anything?
    A: I like my cat.

    June 1, 2006

    A request to you, my quiet readers

    The request will come in a sec, but first, as usual when dealing with Clay, you will get a little story. Then maybe you will get an idea of how my mind works, which reminds me that I once said to Rachel, "I'm not really that random, and you would see so if you could follow my 'seven-degrees of Kevin Baconesque' mind set." Confused yet? Anyways...
    I've discovered some really interesting audio study aids for Japanese lately. Today, I found Japanese101. In addition to being a good study aid, it is a hilarious podcast. These people have chemistry that makes studying fun. So check it out, especially if you have an interest in learning Japanese. BTW-- I had another subpiphany today. By subpiphany, I mean I realized I was suddenly just that much more better at Japanese. It's strange to notice this sort of thing. "Wait, I can understand the conversations better today!"
    You can find more good study aids in my links to the right; I use them all day between classes to study.

    And on to the request. I think I have a lot of readers that don't comment. While I don't have a problem with this persay, it's somehow disturbing. It's like you feel like you are being watched. You know someone is around the corner back there, but you don't know who. So, my request is simple: If you read this blog, take the time to comment and tell me who you are. While you are doing that, let me know if you find it boring when I blog about Japanese studying (see the connection now?), or what you would like me to blog about more often.
    Also, while your there, try to give a guess as to what movie is featured in the photo up there.
    This request goes double for the people that live in Saga. It's not hard, click the comments link and write your name. Pretty please.