Sean Taylor's death sucks a lot. I think it bothers me because it is very similar to what happened to Kumar. Also the guy was young and played safety(I tried to play safety). Two things about his killing: 1. The way people get shot on TV is completely wrong. Taylor was shot in the leg and died. He didn't hop around and say, "Ow man, you shot me!" That is one reason I liked the accidental shooting in Pulp Fiction so much. You play around with guns people die, immediately. 2. When there is a dispute over police shootings and people say, "Why couldn't they just shoot him in the leg?" Because it is hard to 'just shoot someone in the...anywhere.' Also because people die from being shot in the leg just as easily as they die from being shot in the face. That doesn't mean I think it is okay for the police to shoot people, just that it is a ridiculous complaint to say that they just could have shot them in the legs and it makes your argument sound stupid. Anyway, no late hits on Lance Hahn's ghost or Norman Mailer will stab you. Oh, you gotta love that Taylor came out with a machete. Florida in the house.
Friday, November 30, 2007
Thursday, November 29, 2007
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
Last night I had a nomikai with the teachers from Mikuni. It was for the teachers of first year students. I teach all years but I sit with them. The old men like me now because I drank shyochu with them. What I didn't do was eat the whale necks. We got their early so they served us whale necks while we were waiting. I asked if they were really whale necks. "Yes." Fuck that. The old guys laughed at me. There is a new Japanese response. "In some countries they eat dogs." I told them that babies probably taste good, but I don't eat them. The old science teacher told me that the modern world is fucked. He said he smokes in front of his students and says, "That's my nutrition." Because everyone else tells them smoking is bad. That's kind of funny. I kind of respect that in a terrible, horrible way.
Sometime yesterday, I managed to injure my neck. A lot. Really bad. It hurts like a truckload of hurt hurts. I can't look left. I am not exaggerating. It is true and real pain. Help. I hope it goes away tomorrow. Getting out of bed is very hard. I had to kind of lift my head with one hand and scoot out. At Imaichi they are learning judo and I was helping out. That might have done it, but everyone yesterday was very weak. One kid was goofing off and Ohara sensei picked him up by the lapels and threw him into a wall. It was money. I taught a class by myself. The kids were so-so. I took one's tennis ball and threw it out the window and made another sit in a special desk at the front of the class. He said he wouldn't move. I said 'You don't way that much." He kept asking, "What does that mean?" I said that it meant that it really didn't matter if he moved himself or not. Then he moved. The problem with jr. high kids is they always have to try and save some dignity so they act sullen or keep trying to act like they are getting away with something and you either have to go over the top or ignore it. I didn't like them even when I was one.
Sorry for the no posting. I have been going to work and then falling asleep. I went to Fukuoka for the Kyushu Basho. Lots of drama as Asashyoryu is still out on suspension. Kotooshyu is still out. Kaiyo was threatening retirement and Chiyotaikai was pushing Hakuho for the championship. Takamisakari is still an f'ing nutcase. Chad and James came up. James got the bus up on Saturday and didn't have a place to stay. I left him at Jacky's- the Southern themed bar-after a shot of Wild Turkey and a beer. I got up with him after 9 phone calls in the morning to a response of, "Well I've been better." Chad actually beat him to the venue even though he left from Miyazaki and James was only 20 minutes away. It was nice to confront the day with no hangover. There were some great bouts in the lower divisions. The main events seemed a bit lacking as Chiyotaikai dropped out due to injury, thereby eliminating any play-off with Hakuho. We also thought it had robbed Kaiyo of his final bout in front of his hometown fans, but he announced later that he isn't retiring. The bout of the night, easily was Baruto and.....who was it??? Baruto and somebody going back and forth for minutes. Kotomitsuki upset Hakuho in the last bout, which was nice. It also meant we got to throw pillows! Yeah!
Thursday, November 22, 2007
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
This article also. The e-mail is fake, but pretty much what the real one would be.
I see the 'help prevent terrorism' signs on my way to work every day. Oh Japan, you are so big and important. Everyone wants to attack your bus lines. It wasn't looney Japanese people who gassed you subways. It was us crazy foreigners, no longer content to drink your beer and chat up your daughters. If they really wanted to keep out undesirable foreigners that would start handing out chastity belts.
Oh! I found a copy of her speech.
Monday, November 19, 2007
For the next class, 1-5, I went slow. I told them there were things called nouns and things called verbs. Yoshida-sensei freaked out because the word for noun and pronoun are different in Japanese. I said that I didn't care. That some things were people or objects or animals and others were things that are done. I would rather just teach them the words "noun' "Verb" and "Pronoun" in English and then work on short sentences everyday. But, no. They have to learn things they will never use and will only confuse them. Some kids understood, "Godzilla does karate." But class was largely unsuccessful.
Cut to lunch time. We have to record the listening test for next week. On the 4th floor is a very expensive language lab, with computers and headsets and microphones and dubbing equipment. Behind it is a store room, cold and grossly disorganized. Yoshida-sensei takes me to that room where an old tape deck sits on a cluttered table. She hooks a cheap microphone into the mic jack and hits record. She messes up the start of the script. She rewinds the tape with her fingers. (most teachers do this and I can never get a straight answer as to why.) We start again. She tells me to speak louder and get close to the mic as kids said they couldn't hear last time. I explained that when you yell in a mic you get tons of pop and static that makes it hard to understand. To much time in studios and recording has made this process painful to me. When we finally finish, pro that I am making no mistakes, we check the tape to find that the mic was cutting out during the whole process. Yoshida-sensei panics and runs off to class. I go to the Language Lab and spend 15 minutes with the system. I figure out how to record on the nice tape deck or the MD, with a set of monitoring headphones, a nice mic, and variable levels. I had to remove boxes of tissue and hundreds of copied work sheets to get to everything but...
I don't even need to make an analogy. That is the Japanese education system. Throwing sand at the floodwaters and wondering why they keep rising. When we finished recording, I tried to explain how to record on the system to Yoshida-sensei. She responded, "I can't use computers. Don't even show me. It's no good." I told her that 1-5 is her home room class, and that is just what they say about English. "Oh, you're right." She replied.
Absolutely-and pretty much- right: Gono, Aurellio, Lauzon, Parisyan, Herman, Evans.
Wrong....WRONG!: Silva, Edgar, Alves.
Lytle was voted fight of the night, and was begging to continue when the doctor called it so.... Edgar proved he is the real deal in stomping Fisher. Alexander derailed. Evans boring. Parisyan will only KO someone with a hammer.
At least I will own up to my mistakes.
Sunday, November 18, 2007
Saturday, November 17, 2007
Akihiro Gono Vs. Tamdan McCrory: Gono has fought everybody. He has won some, he has lost some. Tamdan McCrory is a barn cat. Gono by decision.
Luke Caudillo Vs. Marcus Aurellio: Aurellio is at the tale end of a carer that looked as if it would be storied. Caudillo has some nutty tattoos, a good record and fails to interest me. Aurellio by submission in the 3rd.
Jason Reinhardt Vs. Joe Lauzon: I loved Joe Lauzon. Then he went to train with B.J. Penn. Now I must super-love him. He looks like the crazy kid on the block who took his treehouse a little too seriously. He fights with a rare furry. Plus Reinhardt looks like a gross guy who hangs out at a restaurant down by the docks and has dinosaur arms. Lauzon by death whenever he feels like it.
Chris Lytle Vs. Thiago Alves: Alves is Brazilian and fights for American Top Team. I should be for him. But I will be consistent ; I have said that I think that Lytle can fight anyone to a decision. I say that still. Lytle by decision.
Frank Edgar Vs. Spencer Fisher: Edgar is an impressive fighter. I don't care for Miletich fighters, nevertheless; Fisher by 2nd round KO.
Ryo Chonan Vs. Karo Parisyan: This is the fight that most interests me. Chonan has always put on exciting fights. He beat Anderson Silva with a now notorious submission. Parisyan, despite his boorish appearance on TUF is one of my favortie fighters to watch...ever. He has made the smoothest transition from judoka to MMA. His use of judo throws without the gi is incredible. For being a powerful, explosive guy, he has little to no knockout power. Parisyan by decision.
Joe Doerkson Vs. Ed Herman: All of my better senses tell me Doerkson by submission. He has tons of experience and a solid sub game. Somehow I think this is the fight were Herman's strength and ability come together. Herman by bloody TKO in the 3rd.
Thiago Silva Vs. Houston Alexander: I have yet to witness the Houston Alexander phenomenon , but I believe in it. Alexander by 1st round KO.
Michael Bisping Vs. Rashad Evans: Bisping is a guy that you know that is very athletic. Rashad Evans is an athlete. I don't know if he is the real deal as an MMA champion, but he is the real deal as an athelte. Bisping won't be able to keep Evans off of him. Evans by 3rd round TKO.
Take it to the office.
Thursday, November 15, 2007
My mom has become strangely obsessed with her new dog. Hi mom. You have become strangely obsessed with your new dog. We had another dog. I think he was treated poorly as he was a product of a failed marriage. He died. Sorry mom. So my mom wants everyone to vote for how cute her dog is. She also called me to ask if she could throw away all of my old soccer trophies and my taekwondo belt and uniform. Interesting. Very interesting. Is this what April and I get for not giving her grandbabies.
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
Monday, November 12, 2007
Saturday, November 10, 2007
Friday, November 9, 2007
I loved Lance's music more than I love almost anything. We were lucky enough to play one show with him and I didn't talk to him because I dug the guy so much that I didn't want to sound like a fan. They didn't sound so great, as J-Church was prone not to, but they were still wonderful shining geniuses. Lance wrote the best songs I know. People write them off I think because they seem simple and they are about his cats, or a trip he took or a movie he watched. But they are all special. He was really special. I mailed him when I found out he was sick to tell him that. Maybe he read it. I think of all the strange little corners of Hawaii or San Francisco that I would never known about had Lance not sung them to me. I will miss hearing about overworked waitresses and lesbian high-school basketball team members. The best thing I can say about who lives and who dies is that at least he didn't get shot in the back. I want to write something better for him but I really don't feel like it right now. Maybe punk really is dead. Next thing you know, Greenday will be really famous and Jawbreaker will have a music video...wait...Spill a Corona for the mighty Lance Hahn.
So where's my sense of humor
My life is a disaster
No one's got a future
So let's all get there faster
In the morning the sun fills my room
I think I'll call in sick today and keep my afternoon.
Monday, November 5, 2007
I am the only foreigner in the crowded club and do not stand out at all. Autolock is MCing about the days of the week. I would be less than honest if I didn't say that he wasn't, in fact, somewhat better than bad. I think Japan manufactures vacuous attractive women, stores them, and then fires them out of cannons, like grape shot, at me. So that I don't pause and tell you throughout my story, I drank many Coronas this evening. Many. People bought them for me. I bought them for people. At the end of the night I threw somebody onto a floor. In between some other stuff happened.
One MC, wearing a camouflage jacket and sunglasses took to the stage yelling, "It is normal for a guy to like girls...you know what I'm sayin!" I was hoping I had misunderstood until he launched into a spiel in which the only discernible words were "Batty boy." I told Akko that I was going to shove a Corona up his ass. In typical Japan fashioned she explained, "People don't know what he is saying. These guys are amateurs, not pros." As we all know, rampant violent homophobia and its encouragement are acceptable as long as you aren't playing in the bigs, like chewing tobacco in reverse. I was going to confront him later but I gradually forgot what everyone looked like. Except for this one girl Kana who was wearing a white, long-sleeved sweater and pink hot pants. As a licensed representative of Miyazaki hospitality, I took it upon myself to speak with her. I came to understand that she was only interested in speaking to foreigners if they were black. Who ever accused the Japanese people of shallowness. Forsooth. I ask you dear reader, who is blacker than me? Really.
The drunker I got the more I felt it was my duty to spread my friendliness to the masses. Unfortunately the gift of language, so unique to us humans, had forsaken me. I ended up being driven home, possibly by a drunk person-although I certainly hope not, after wandering arm and arm with various people through the Kiyamachi sunrise protesting that I didn't need any ride home. I tossed myself into the shower and plunged into my newly bought futon sometime around 6. I see that there is a mail on my phone from 6:30. I am scared to look. What did I do? Did I drunk mail? Oh, I think you know that I most certainly labadid.
I awoke to a severe migraine inspired in part by the beer, but largely from my lingering sinus infection which had hardened into a tobacco provoked ball of hardened mucus somewhere amongst my brains. I took Excedrin, thanked God for its invention and went back to bed. What great sleep, I thought, and then remembered that it was the first time in a month that I hadn't slept on a piece of wood with a blanket. I also used shampoo and soap. The only thing missing from my familiar Sunday morning was the obligatory phone call from Ed asking, "Do you remember what you were doing last night?" "No. If I don't remember, then don't tell me." "Hahahaha." "Don't tell me."
Sunday, November 4, 2007
Saturday, November 3, 2007
Friday we had our bunkasai at Imaichi-chu. For those of you who can't read Japanese, that is what it says behind the band dressed like pirates. The bunkasai is nice , because it means that I don't have to work, but it is rough because it means that all of the kids have been exhausted for the last several weeks with preparations. Bunkasai, means culture festival. It is the Japanese education systems companion piece to the other big event of the year, the sports festival. Unlike last weeks bunkasai at Mikuni, which was held in a large hall and featured the best junior high band I have seen on any level, this one was held in the gym and the band was about what you would expect, except they were dressed like pirates. I felt bad, but I wanted to take everyone to see the Mikuni band instead. Aoyama-sensei accompanied them on the accordian and was just as bad as he was last time, but everyone had fun. The percussion section danced around with maracas and smiled, which was odd because they are not really outgoing kids. Sorry Susan, but the band always makes me think of you being uncomfortable but dancing around anyway.
These pirates were followed by a performance from the book club. I have no need to tell you how captivating that was. Books.
The chorus contest winers from Thursday came out and sang with more elaborate comedy skits featuring their home room teachers. Usually this involves yelling whatever is the catchphrase at the moment, which, if you live in Japan you know is the unfortunate, "sore ha kankene...opapi." Which is decidedly not funny and has limited me from saying, "Sore ha kankeneshi." Which was useful when teaching. Natuski has admitted that she thinks it is very funny. Not a good sign.
Then the English club went. Oh the English club. I had been helping them prepare their production of Little Red Riding Hood since I first came to the school. ABout a month ago I said, "You guys should really think about blocking this out pretty soon." "Hai." They responded meekly. Attending their practice last week I was assured that they had it blocked and had even thrown in a dance number. Little did I know this involved the grandmother, a pudgy girl who couldn't bring herself to yell raise her voice above a conversational drone even in the snug confines of practice, confessing to really being the grandfather which sets off a huge dance finale to the song, "In the Tiki Room." In which all of the cast dance around, do the splits and take their bows in character. Yes Ghost Dog, ancient Japan was a strange and interesting place.
The mentally handicapped school from across the street stopped by and did a song for us. I thought many things that I won't say and was very impressed that all 400 students sat through it very politely and applauded.
Last came the 3rd year chorus contest. Finally the class I picked one. It was 3-4. What a darkhorse. It turns out that crazy-ass Obata, the loudest girl I have ever met and with nutty pigtails and braces to boot, has a lovely singing voice. I had to listen to the song "Tabibito"-we are travelers through time, we are travelers through dreams-far too many times. To conclude that entire student body sang the song from yesterday, "Furusato." "The rabbit here tastes great."
After a very nice bento lunch, I wandered the school checking out the exhibits. The science projects were half-assed. American ones are better. No kidding. Don't believe the hype. There was some nice Ikebana and other artwork. I hung out with the girls from 3-2, as the boys at Imaichi are weird. I went by home ec. twice because the teacher is hot. Sneaking out early, I went home and fell asleep.
Thursday, November 1, 2007
Today was the chorus contest at school. I heard a song which begins "The rabbit here tastes good." 11 times. Every class I voted for to win came in second. I have a special talent. They let me go early and I weighed coming back to Kyoto and changing my address on my Alien Registration and insurance, but decided to finally go out to the Toulouse-Lautrec exhibit at the Suntory museum as it ends on Sunday and I didn't want to be there in a weekend crowd. Lautrec is one of the few painters that I can actually stare at and stare at and feel somewhat effected. His stuff is so amazing in person. There were a crowd of Australian people there uttering things like "I think I've seen this stuff somewhere." And, "I think these are just some sketches." When I looked up to see who the dumb foreigners were I realized they were all Asian so I couldn't immediately tell who the morons were. They weren't dressed like Australians; boots with shorts and a comedic t-shirt that isn't funny. There was a Japanese lady in black, high-heeled boots and a big black hat. That was rad.
attempting to silence the voices in my head.