February 29, 2008


This is one of the movies that popped up on Midnight Eye's best films of the year list. They were right! It was gripping and funny. The climax had me gasping and laughing at the same time. Sato Eriko is much better as a villain than any other role I've seen her in. The Japanese was not too difficult to understand either. I hear there are *cough* ways to see it besides DVD.
Only thing is, the English title is a mess.

February 28, 2008

No, you can't do it.

What'd I tell you about those big words, boy?

As a non-native speaker of Japanese, I oftentimes worry that my vocabulary is too complicated. For instance, I used 肯定 in elementary school yesterday and after I got home I realized that the kids probably had little idea of what I was saying...

I had this problem when teaching in America too, come to think of it. My mentor teacher warned that I was talking above the kid's comprehension level. But on the other hand, she also complained I about me saying "stuff." I was at a pretty poor school. One of the first assignments I gave to the Art I class was to write a one page paper on their favorite artist. One student managed to turn in half a paper (filled with what seemed to be 4th grade English), and the rest flunked that assignment. It made me kind of worried about teaching highschool ever again; maybe if I catch them younger I have a chance to mold them into little Übermensch.
Übermensches? What's the plural on that? It's beyond the ken of my vocabulary.
Your words of the day are 花を咲かせる, to become animated (as in talking), or well known and successful. 彼は単語を教えることで花を咲かせている。美実先生くせに。

Super Monkey Death Car

Classic translation error scene from News Radio. The full episode is pretty easy to find on youtube as well. This takes me back...

February 26, 2008

Oh! Mikey

I've shown you some episodes of this before. This is a collection of all the 2nd season with English subtitles.

A scoosh more on charisma men

The response to yesterday's post has been interesting and dare I say fun. Japan Probe blogged quotes from both me and Shari and there are many comments and a poll over there in case you are curious about what people are thinking.

February 25, 2008

Sour Grapes

Before the article begins know this to get an idea of my bias: I am a tall white male with blond hair that has dated 3 J girls and 1 foreigner during my time here. One of the J girls was a 2 year relationship.
I do find that the J girls have more of a tendency to forgive my idiosyncrasies (read: awkward behavoir).
I've been hearing, during my time in Japan, about how guys that could never get a girlfriend back home are much luckier here. More accurately, I seem to always hear this in a way that casts aspersions against guys that date Japanese women. I hear this on blogs, from girls I'm friends with, and from the occasional guy too.

First off, let me confirm that it is pretty easy for a foreigner to find many interested girls in this country. That is as much a fact as a non-quantifiable thing can be. And I will also confirm that some ugly dudes get girls way above them on the 1-10 scale.

But it seems to be that disparity that bugs our foreign sisters so much. All is fair in love and war, unless your ugly, in which case it is cheating. That seems to be at the root of the sentiment. I also hear a lot of "guys come over here and get arrogant." I can hear the vitriol in women's words when they say it. I also recently read a woman blogger's send up of "charisma men," in which she seemed to think that these guys completely lack in all social graces and dis other foreigners in favor of hanging out with J girls. A type of guy I have yet to encounter here.

I keep hearing about these terribly awkward and rude guys, but I never meet them (it admittedly could be a factor of where I live: inaka). All the guys that I know that are dating J girls seem pretty nice and normal to me. So I am wondering where all the sour grapes come from. I hate to say it, but I think it's a racist and jealous thing. And that is going to hurt some feelings, but some people really need to take the time and reflect on why they would be bothered by an interracial relationship. I hear words like "yellow fever" and I cringe, because while I think fetishists exist in small numbers in all demographics, I don't think but a tiny portion of guys target specific races to date, and this term only exists out of hatred.

There are guys that use the J girls' tendency to jump into relationships to their advantage. But it happens back home too; they're called players and some are so proficient in America that they tutor other guys for money. So being a sleezy guy has nothing to do with Japan. Sleezy guys may end up here, but I think they are rare enough that the usual anti white/Japanese sentiments are still oddly numerous and shrill . It's a bias that some girls carry, like a chip on their shoulder.

And you know what's the silliest thing about it? If girls really are miffed that guys are asking out these very friendly J girls, they really should try asking guys out more often. Girls, how many guys have you asked out in your life? Think about that number. It's not hard to get a date if you ask; I hear all foreign guys in this country are sluts anyways; some girl told me that. Be proactive, or stop complaining. Take charge and quit looking for ways in which life seems unfair; for ways to tear down others.

But I express thanks to girls that have an open mind about international relationships, or are even in them themselves. That's brilliant! Your voices are too often drowned out by the others. And I apologize if I hit too close on this one with some of you; I hope it causes reflection and not anger.

February 23, 2008

Photodump: school, lantern fest, and ferry ride

After the "fight," the students started calling me a hero. I found this image when I went into the announcement room to do my show; they said it was me punishing. Well... they got the bright red eyebrows right...

Students have huge problems with creativity. So I thought this worksheet I made would be a failure (they choose the panel order and write the dialogue) but a surprising number came through on it.

A girl made this. Not only the first time I've seen a girl use a traditionally male pencil case design and make it into something else, but then she attached lucky charms like it was a cell-phone.

February 22, 2008


So a teacher ran to the window and said, "○-kun is in a fight!" We all rushed to the gym. I expected two boys to be fighting, but it was a bunch of boys holding one back from attacking no one in particular. Then it was the teacher's turn to hold him back as the students were told to go prepare lunch. He slipped out of their grip and I grabbed him, telling him in English to calm down. Then back to the normal teachers.

After that I went to go guard the door, with an odd amount of adrenaline in my system, making my legs quiver a little. The student was still kicking around and saying, "Let me go, damn it!" while crying. It reminded me of the Japanese movies I've seen. Later I told the teachers how that usually doesn't happen in American school fights. The kids get broken up and calm down fairly fast when a teacher shows up, unless they're crazy.

Later I handed the kid his slippers and gave him a there-there pat on the back.

Your word for the day is バイキング which does not mean one of those Norse guys wearing a pointy helmet, but rather buffet. 喧嘩の後、○くんが僕の側に座った。そしてバイキングの食べ物を膨れっ面をしたまま彼と一緒に食べた。

February 21, 2008

The February pandemic

February is everywhere this month, for reasons I have yet to ascertain. But I know this, around the second month of every year, we get stuck with something I and my friends call February. It brings with it cold and dullness of mind.

I think it would be a good time for me to take a break from the internet (which always gets boring when infected with Febs). I want to get that LOST video done and then be off into books or something for a while. But some jerk made me feel bad about reading because it's passive. So maybe I will study, but Februaries have gotten into my Japanese too. The other day I couldn't remember how to spell the word for 男. I tried おとく and just stared at the screen.
Today I forgot that 次 is not すぎ. Februaries up in my Japanese, verbin my nouns.

And I gots to write a resume.
your words for the day are 大学芋 with got it's name from popularity among college students, and すごい and すごく which are two words that are similar enough to kill me.
大学芋すごい人気である。 大学芋すごく人気がある。These may or may not be correct; have fun with that.

February 19, 2008

Wanna freak a kid out?

Just be a) a foreigner and b) the only teacher that answers when they open the teacher's room door needing something. It's a factor in the ritual of door opening they never are prepared for.

February 18, 2008

A couple JLPT observations

1): Nobody in Saga-ken seems to have passed 2kyu this year. I blame the dialect for the thousandth time. Luckily I got a girl that doesn't speak English and eschews Saga-ben, so I look to improve. Also, I think a lot of people I saw that came here with good Japanese may have rested on their laurels a bit. Whereas I had trouble reading even kana 2.5 years back and desperately tried to catch up, which may lead us into:

2): I scored better on reading (84) than friends that passed the overall test when I didn't. This tells me I was on the right track somewhere. So look for my old posts on passing the JLPT and my video on which books to read if you are interested. 1kyu looks pretty possible right now.

February 7, 2008

Shatner in Japanese

Nothing much to say, except this is a classic TV moment, in Japanese.

These gyouza are clean!

I never saw this promo before; I think other fans of LOST will dig it.
The parents came to watch as classes were conducted at the elementary school yesterday. I think I came off pretty well except for the boy that started crying during the "What time is it, Mr. Wolf" game and had to be comforted by his mother.
But the highlight of my school day was, while sitting with the 2nd graders for lunch, we heard the announcement "This food is not from China." We weren't having Chinese-made gyouza, which are in the news right now for having too much pesticide in them and making people sick, but a food called Shumai (thanks for the reminder on the name Laura). Anyways, I thought it was funny.

February 6, 2008


JLPT results came in today. Writing/vocab section was not too shabby, but the others were not so good. How did you do? I think I could pass it next time, but I might take 1kyu instead.

February 5, 2008

Rubber noses make furrowed brows

There may be some among you that have found my shared items on my blog, powered by Google Reader. It's a beautiful thing, this monolithic Google letting me share all kinds of weirdness, but what I'm trying to say is this: Don't judge me by what I share, if you can. I don't share just the items that I think are cool, but what I think will get people thinking or even yelling. Case in point: A Daily Portal Z article in which a Japanese man basically puts on black face to look like presidential hopeful (that may change by tomorrow) Barrack Obama. Oh and he has a big rubber gaijin nose too.
I'm a little conflicted; I like Daily Portal Z and I think this thing gets funny at times. Especially when Hillary shows up in the article. Then there is the politically-correct, and dare I say oppressed at times, foreigner side to me that always feels its a bad idea to paint yourself up like a black man, or a white woman for that matter. Then yet again, this could be political satire so sophisticated it goes over my head.
So yeah it's in my shared items. But I am ambivalent about it. Which is probably more than I can say for the people involved.

February 4, 2008

A change of gate

Had a lot of free time today so I went up to the giant sports grounds overlooking the school. I did four laps, which I figure is about a mile. It was enough to make my back hurt, this exercise after a couple months of slacking and sitting.
Halfway through my first lap the special ed class showed up. Why they have their class separate is beyond me. But I played a little soccer with the three of them and the teacher. I am quite frankly worse at playing than them.
Got a heads up today that I have gained some sort of a use em and loose em reputation among some people in Saga. Which was shocking, honestly, because I've only ever dated one girl in the entire prefecture, and she broke things off. And my last real relationship lasted two years; I'm not looking to play around. So I don't know who started this rumor or why, but it's disturbing, and there's nothing I can do about it.
This is the power of bad gossip. Could people be confusing me with another giant blond guy?
Without knowing the above, I went on that date yesterday. It was fun, and I was super chaste. So take that, rumor mongers!


Can't read? Click to zooooom!

Season 4 Episode 1

Surprises/things you may have missed in the LOST season premiere:

Lock gives birth to a marmot, as the island willed it.

Naomi sits up and pretends nothing happened. "This knife? Nah, didn't really notice," she says nonchalantly.

Shot of Charlie's corpse, with suspicious bubble floating out from his back end. Producers claim this is not an easter egg and will be edited out before the DVDs come out.

Time doesn't work that way, Mr. 90 seconds in one minute.

Oddly enough I wander through the background. I was pretty surprised by that, and am wondering where this plot point goes. Will I get a back story before the polar bear gets hers?

Jack does the cabbage patch. Then he waves his hands in the air. He exuberantly encourages others to join in "Like they just don't care." Nobody joins in and his whoops get quieter as he realizes he is alone in his celebration dance. Rose shakes her head.

Sawyer says, "Oh crap, who is taking care of the numbers?!" before embarrassedly remembering that the hatch blew up a while ago. "Well, I wasn't here..."

Doc Brown drives the van up to Hurley. "It's your kids! They're morbidly obese!"

February 1, 2008

The winter that killed me

The cold is so bitter and deep reaching. I have been useless all month. Has it only been a month since I went on a vacation? So much has happened, but even more that could have hasn't, because this winter has made me into a human slug.

A lot worse than the time I turned into a cockroach.