Tuesday, January 29, 2008

The Part I left Out

In my cold riddled delirium, I left out an important element of my bad day story. In between the crying girl drama, this was happening: I have been playing a game with the kids all week. While I am setting up the game on the board I have them make up names for their teams-a tactic I recommend as it uses the time and they same to enjoy it-. One of the teams says that there team will be "Futori Japan." Sometimes I write the names they tell me in kanji, either as a joke-getting them intentionally wrong-or trying to write them correctly to show them that I am trying too. So, in Japanese there are two last names "Futori" One is 太。  It can mean "fat or "big" or "thick." The other Futori is "肥”。  I don't know what it means. I know I have a student named 太 so I wrote that one on the board. Yoshida-sensei, who looks like Mo from the three stooges and a frozen turkey had baby, and whom I like, got panicky and said "No..No!. That is something different but.....okay...uh...." All of the kids were laughing. They seemed to be having fun to me. After class, Yoshida-sensei got upset with me. "You wrote 太 on the board. It means fat. All of the kids were laughing. You were making fun of his name!" "Is there not a name ”太”? ”No." "Yes there is. I have a student named "太” "No. There is no one named that." "Yes there is." "NO! Absolutely not at this school." "I have 1,000 students and I know there is a 太。 Why is that bad." "Okay, maybe you think it is okay, but..." She fades out as we walk into class.

My Bad Day

After being proud of myself for not catching a cold yet this winter, it has finally happened. That explains my weekend bought of lethargy. Mondays I don't have to be at work until 9:45 and today my first class wasn't until 11:45. I was dragging a little this morning, as well as still having a swollen knee that doesn't allow me to walk like anything less than a pirate or war veteran, but I didn't really care since no one at school really notices when I come and go. I wasn't running super late but in the train system if you miss one train by a minute it can make you 10-20 minutes late down the line. I wasn't worried however as no one ever cares. As I approached the school I noticed a mail on my phone wondering where I was. When I got to the teacher's room, everyone was saying "Where were you? Yoshida-sensei is looking for you! Run to 1-2! Go to 1-2 now! It probably isn't your fault."

Have I mentioned Yoshida-sensei? I think there is someone like her in every Japanese school. Her management style is panic. Her personality is panic. Every moment of her life is confusion and desperation. I, on the other hand, am the Ken Griffey Jr. of teaching. She is also a very nice lady and lobbies on my behalf to the Board of Ed. Her English is okay, but not great. She freaks out about absolutely everything, reminding me slightly of my former, hated boss, who I still have bad dreams about. If I am teaching and include a word that the students don't know she looks horrified and runs up saying "No, no! They have never learned that word!"

When I got to 1-2 she was mid freak-out. She was angry. She was panicking. I should mention that these are my last lessons with the 1st years. I had a game planned. I went in and executed it in time and everyone had fun. I told Yoshida-sensei I was sorry. She kept saying, "But I told you!" And I tried to explain that I am sure she did but that I teach at three different schools with 11 different teachers who tell me lots of things and that I go by my schedule which list no classes. She showed me her schedule where she had written in the class and said, "But it says it right here!" On her schedule. Marked in in pin. I got a little pissed and she made a peace offering of anpan. And asked me, "Which is better? 'All dogs are faithful?'" "What?" I asked in response. "Yes, I think so." We often have conversations like this. I don't have a clue what the question is but she takes my response as some kind of answer and moves on from there. She keeps speaking under her breath and I stop listening. She tells me that if I am sick I should take a nap and that I can get 20 minutes of sleep between classes and, and, and....But she won't stop talking. I should point out than I don't like people when I have a cold. I have no patience. She goes to the copy machine and comes back. "By the way....You never said, "I'm sorry I was late." "Yes I did." "I must not have heard you." The anticipation of me saying it again hangs in the air for a while and it probably still is because I didn't.

The day goes on like this. I think everyone knows how she is and sympathizes with me. We return from a class and there is a girl, a first year sitting at the empty desk in front of mine crying, with her face in a towel, refusing to listen to anyone try to calm her down. "Don't go and die on us now" I say in Japanese- which is a different approach from most teachers who will either mob someone or ignore them. Yoshida-sensei goes to hit me on the head and say, "Don't say that!! You can't say such things! It is an American joke! Many Japanese teachers can never say 'die.' Japanese people never say it." "Some Japanese people." I correct her. "You can't say that in Japan." "I live in Japan. I have lived in Japan for 8 years." The girl is still crying and no one seems to care. I was going to give her a plastic Halloween pumpkin, but the mood has now passed, and turned so I pour some tea, try not to throw my mug across the room and get up and leave. My I speak truth? This shit makes me nuts. It is a very Japanese thing. I think the prevailing belief in Japan is that everyone in the world is trying their hardest to be Japanese and somehow fail along the way. If only true Japanese people can correct them and learn them up right. Teachers, of course, are the most Japanese of Japanese people (Followed by....Ed-who, before you protest Ed-takes pleasure in correcting Japanese people on how they wrap packages or make change.) I know that the word "death" is supposed to be unlucky, but I also know that I don't whistle past graveyards and am very far from giving a shit. I also know that not "every Japanese person" cares. I use this line all the time to kids and it often cheers them up. If they are crying and I ask, "Should we call the ambulance? Are you dying?" They will usually laugh, or stop, and they don't care about words like that.

On the way to the next class Yoshida-sensei asked me, "Which is better left or.....?" "What?" I hid in the language lab until it was time to go and was walking through the back-alleys muttering about how America has insulation and dryers when Yoshida-sensei rolled by on a bike. "See you on Friday."

But I do rather like my job.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

For Your Consideration

I am going to put these two Japan Times stories here side by side as an illustration of why I could never support capital punishment.

Case one: Mother in Akita who, in typical Japanese crazy crime fashion-threw her daughter off of a bridge and then murdered a neighborhood boy, either to cover up her guilt or out of sheer looneyness.

Case two: A taxi driver freed after serving two years in prison for rapes he clearly didn't commit, but confessed to in custody and under duress.

Now, the lady in Akita pretty clearly committed the crime. She is also pretty clearly out of her mind. But if we allow ourselves into the dynamic of "pretty clearly" so it is okay to kill her. Then we start overlooking little things like case two, in which there was really no evidence at all but the process has a momentum of its own and people just roll with it. The taxi driver was only freed after the actual rapist confessed by the way. I rare act of providence. If we buy into the argument that it is okay because it is clear, how long does that take before it becomes, it is okay because it is easy? Who is going to listen to the killer on death row who now tries to recant his forced confession? Capital punishment is just a bad idea all around. It allows no room for weakness in the system, when the system is clearly flawed through and through.

Australian Wave Porn

Shipsterns, Australia. Taken on the 14th. Photo by Andy Chisolm.

What a strange looking wave.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

I Finally...

...Made it out of the house to go to the grocery store, which is a 5 分 walk away. Doing so I compiled a list of things I like about walking around in 0 degree weather:

The end.

By the way, there was an abundance of hot chicks at the grocery store. I'm not saying anything...I'm just sayin'.

I Am Not Posting About...

...Heath Ledger being dead. I think it is morbid to watch the uproar. It reminded me, however, of something interesting I had found when I was a lecturer at the hospital (Yes, I was. Sort of.) Apparently the rate of accidental deaths due to misuse of medication in the U.S. is exploding. 6.7 out of 100,000 deaths in the U.S. are attributed to accidental overdose. If I may get on my soapbox for a minute-not on a blog, forsooth- I would like to make a connection to our criminal lack of a national health care system. So many people, unable to gain access to the medical system, must resort to self-medicating. Whether this is for physical ailments, or untreated mental illnesses this must be a serious contributing factor to the growth in numbers. I can't find any research on this, but if you come across any numbers, please let me know.

In Case You Didn't...

.......catch that The KLF reference:

Your Tune for the Day

I realized I hadn't posted music in a while so I was going to put on The KLF because they were so weird, but I found this instead. 1.6 Band are one of my favorite bands ever. They never got much play. For the last decade it has been killing me that I can't find people to play this kind of music with. Somehow, I think I am programmed to play it and no one else seems interested. Poor me. The KLF, on the other hand, everyone be into that shit.


I have a job interview on Wednesday.
My company says they will find out about this year's contracts in February or March.
Duke's East Asian studies program encouraged me to apply.

Here are the factors I am weighing:

I really love my job, the Mikuni part of it anyway. The Mikuni teachers have called the Osaka Board of Ed. and requested that I come back. The contract is odd though and doesn't start until June. The good part of that is that I could go home for April-May, which would be nice. I already know the teachers and students and I really enjoy the work.

The new job, if I got it, would start at the end of March. I could go home for the month of March. It seems like a more stable contract and I have the opportunity of working at a high school, which I am interested in. I think it is also for Osaka prefecture which is more economically sound. I don't really feel like starting over, however.

I would really like to go to grad school. I think I could get in. I have no idea how I would begin to pay for it but Jake and several other people have said that, if you get in, grad schools will find a way for you to pay for it. Through the nose probably. I would like to do that though. I would like to go to Duke. I am anxious to work on something.

The thing about staying here in Kyoto is that I am rather exited about starting training at Purebred-even though I am trying very hard to skip right now. I would like to work on moving up and getting a belt-which, if you didn't know, is really, really hard in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. It takes years. Which means I might get stuck here. But there are many nice things about living here.

What to do, what to do.

Interested in Russian Prison Slang?

Then here you go.

Is it Wrong...

....that it is 0 degrees out so I am having a hard time leaving my house even though it is sunny and the gym beckons? It has been around 0 and snowing all week. I was going to write a post on Wednesday about how good my knee had been feeling when it all of a sudden went to shit-while I was laying in my futon. Yesterday the streets were iced and so I trudged to Omiya-eki with two bags, my hiking boots and a lame left leg. Err. Don't want to leave the house.

It's Nice...

sometimes when sports figures are actually decent people. Good for Majerus.

Edit: Also, props to ESPN personality Dana Jacobson who has been suspended for saying "Fuck Jesus" at a roast. Now, First, it is a roast. How do you suspend someone for being offensive at a roast? Two, the joke cannot be funny if you believe that it was actually 'anti-religious' whatever that may mean. There is a whole industry, and a whole culture in fact, out there that centers around manufactured, ginned up outrage. It is especially to be found in full force over deliberately misunderstood jokes. What Jacobson said, to take the piss out of Notre Dame grad Mike Golic was, "Fuck Notre Dame," "Fuck Touchdown Jesus," and "Fuck Jesus" There is no way to understand it as a joke if the underlying assumption wasn't that Jesus was someone who was beyond reproach. It is like the people saying that one of my favorite Sara Silverman routines, the one I posted about MLK, was racist. You can only see it that way if you refuse to understand the joke. In both these cases, the crux of the joke (no pun intended there Jesus) is that the subject is unassailable. Thereby, in making fun of them, you are making the joke about yourself. So saying "Fuck Notre Dame: sounds like idle sports trash-talk. "Fuck Touchdown Jesus" sounds like the same, but more refined and specific. "Fuck Jesus" catches everyone off-guard because it sounds like someone who has gone completely off-track and off the subject. If you actually felt Jesus to be a figure worthy of criticism, saying "Fuck Jesus" in public would just seem like a moronic way of expressing your opinion. That will not stop the fonts of false outrage however.

Since no footage of Ms. Jacobson's speech can be found...this:

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Japanese Words of the Year

Here is a list of the Japanese words of 2007. Number one is from Miyazaki. What's up? I leave and everything blows up. Of course I have heard "sen to ikan" a million times. I must confess, I never really heard "dogenka" used. Natsuki said that her dad in Kagoshima says it all the time, so it is probably used more out towards Miyakonojo. (I imagine this is your number one English speaking blog for information on the geography and vernacular of rural Miyazaki.)

"KY" I hear all of the time now. Especially at school. I also hear "Kuki yomenai otoko." (Especially in reference to one friend) However, I didn't think they were related. I thought the "K" in "KY" was "Kangae" and that it had to do with rethinking your actions. And "Kuki yomenai" just means that you can't follow social situations.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008


Here is a crazy and terrible story about a young fighter who has a 30% chance to live after, apparently, being beaten and tasered by the police this weekend. I first read about him and thought he had some illness. Strangely, no.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

School Days

Oh 2-4. Oh 2-1. Is tormenting me your primary function?
Or are you there to test my gumption?
Sit there silent in repose,
or shove you bullshit up my nose.
When I yell, "Say something!" 2-1 draws a blank.
2-4, on the other hand, should be beaten with a plank.
And when it comes to smartness, yes,
2-1 is without question the best.
Why must they sit in silence so
as I challenge the sleepers to feel my judo.

They make me f'ing nuts, these kids. They aren't bad kids. They are just retarded-to use the vernacular, not really retarded like the woman crossing the street today who was mentally handicapped and wearing a surgical mask and a brown hooded jacket, looking suspiciously like a Jawa. 2-4 was actually OK today. They were still unruly but I focused it and made it kind of fun, screaming, "How much is the blue dress!" 2-1, who does very well on their tests, sits in silence and stares at me. I was trying to explain that "may I" is for something you want to do but don't know if you can, but "shall I" is something you don't want to do, but know that you should. I was asking, "May I turn off the lights." Dead silence, except for the two boys in the back talking and hitting each other over the head with their folders. I kept asking. Finally I threw my chalk and scored a direct hit on the desk between the boys, the chalk exploding all over both of them. Score. Everyone got all freaked out. I am the scary teacher.

Also, I have hit a point where my seriousness about linguistics and my seriousness about teaching are at odds. Is anyone else there with me? It is tricky to work with the kids on the pronunciation but believe that a huge variety of pronunciations are okay. Or to tell them the rules, and know that there are really other factors governing them that you can't explain it all to them.

By the way, here is some video of me -in the purple hair-teaching class today.

Quick Picks for UFC Fight Night 12

Saturday's card was surprisingly fulfilling. Wednesday brings a card with possibilities.
UFC Fight Night 12: Good Judge of Character

Hill vs. Veras- Hill by decision. 6'5" fighting at 155 is ridiculous. Don't know what he has, but he must be hard to beat unless you are a big time wrestler.

Wiman vs. Bucholz- Calling the upset here. Bucholz KO 3rd. Guy has a lot of KOs. Still not sold on Wiman.

Miller vs. Stephens- Miller decision. Speaking of guys I'm not sold on: Miller. Summer wants to jump his bones though

Maynard vs. Siver- Maynard by decision. Big strong guy. Decision.

Pellegrino vs Crane- Calling an upset. Crane by sub in the 2nd. I would usually go with Pellegrino. I saw this ridiculous video of Crane training. It probably won't matter but I am giving him the credit. Plus he is a world class grappler.

Diaz vs. Robinson- Never bet against a Diaz. Love watching either brother fight. Diaz by decision.

Tavarez vs. Omigawa- Don't know much on these guys. Tavarez by sub in the 3rd.

Cote vs. McFedries- I usually root for both of these guys. I like Cote. He is a solid fighter. But I am calling it for McFedries by KO in the 2nd because he hits really f'n hard.

Swick vs. Burkman- Burkman is a fighter I have kind of missed out on. Swick is a fighter I underestimated. I stopped doing that a few fights ago. Swick by 1st round KO.

I got 6-9 on the last event so take that for what it is. Pretty good. Not pretty great. Arash. Arash Markazi. It's not the same without you buddy!

This is....


Pretty Good Preview

If you care about that kind of thing.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Martin Luther King Day

I almost forgot. I usually do the special radio show for today, but I don't have a radio show anymore. Here is RFK's speech on Dr. King's death. It is one of my favorite speeches. It is pretty alright on its own, but when you consider that he was breaking the news to a crowd of supporters who were all fired up and excited and hadn't been told yet it becomes more extraordinary. I also like it because he refers to Aeschylus as his favorite poet. Are candidates even allowed to say things like that anymore? Mitt Romney said his favorite book was "Battlefield Earth." I think it is also nice the way he talks about his brother's assassination in a very understated and personal way without sounding maudlin. It seems very honest and real. (although this video montage makes the point a little to loudly.)

Also, here is Bill Moyers, excellent as always, on MLK and LBJ.

It's Cold as a Mountain Peak

Kyoto is freezing, but the U.S. soccer team beat Sweden 2-0 with a collection of players I have never heard of.

In addition, BJ Penn, took the vacant UFC lightweight title.

Yesterday I went to the gym to lift weights and found I have been getting progressively weaker and weaker. Which is strange. I have lifted weights pretty seriously since I was in junior high and I am probably weaker now than I was then. In any case, I lifted weights for an hour then some guys showed up and were grappling so I grappled with this joker off and on for an hour with 7 minute rounds. Don't let the picture fool you. He is a pro fighter and was the 2007 All-Japan Shooto amateur champion. The Judo class, which I had been planning on going to started. I was so exhausted I barely got through warm-ups and was exhausted. Embarrassing. Embarrassing. We sparred for 30 minutes with 3 minute rounds. The teacher was this guy , who is a 3rd degree black belt and possibly the strongest human I have ever met. He says that, when he did judo, he fought at 130kg (286lbs) I was like a toy. He was laughing. It was terrible. Today, I haven't left the house.

It is raining and freezing and I don't feel bad about staying inside. Wonder if it will snow tonight?

Backdoor Pipeline Jan. 18th

That's a person on the bottom right for scale, by the way.

photo: Tungsten

The Fights

BJ Penn, my boy, is headlining "UFC 80-Why I liked Bikini Kill." To get you warmed up here is video of BJ Penn's cheat meal. If you don't follow this kind of thing, when you are in training camp and trying to make weight-as BJ is, coming down to 155-you have to keep to a really strict diet. However, your body can do with one day a week of eating whatever. This was BJ's day.

As usual, the betting has closed before I write this so I am not able to go back and look at my actual picks to give you. So I will think it through again.

Eklund vs. Stout- I think I picked Stout, but Eklund is a sub machine. A toss up. I go for Stout of a flash KO coming out of the clench. 2nd round.

Kelly vs. Taylor- I am calling it for Paul. Wait, they are both named Paul. Taylor in the 3rd by more experience. Maybe a decision but I see Kelly getting tired in the 3rd.

Lee vs. Sakara- A lot of people are saying Lee by submission. I don't care how many times he loses, I love Sakara. He also has really decent tattoos-a rarity in this sport. Sakara by KO in the 2nd. If he loses, it will also be in a really exciting way.

Hardonk vs. Robinson- Kickboxing. Kickboxing. Hardonk by KO in the 2nd.

Rivera vs. Grove- I really dig both of these guys. I give the edge in personality to Rivera. I give the slight...slight advantage to Grove in fighting. That edge might not be slight now though. Grove is a wealth of potential. I have Grove by sub in the 3rd. I wouldn't be surprised by a tough and game Rivera getting a KO out of the clinch on Grove who has a suspect chin.

Gouveia vs. Lambert- Gouveia, because he fights out of American Top Team. Lambert is no slouch. Gouveia by sub in the 2nd. Hard fight. Lambert could KO him at any time.

Davis vs.Liaudin- Davis is "The Irish Hand Grenade." He wins. By explosion. This should be a nice fight. They are both on rolls. Davis can KO or sub. I see a KO off a body shot in the 3rd.

Gonzaga vs. Werdum- Hard to call. Werdum must have but on 30 pounds for this fight. Will this help him in the clinch and maintaining top position or will this slow him down? I don't know. Gonzaga. Strikes. TKO. 2nd.

Penn vs. Stevenson- I think Stevenson is a really, really impressive fighter. He is crazy strong and fights with his heart and his head. BJ Penn is the MMA Godhead. He is my favorite fighter. He orbits above our world. He wins by whatever he wants. Most people are saying sub. I think Stevenson is a hrad guy to sub. Of course, BJ can sub anybody, but. I see this being a KO for BJ in the 2nd. The 2nd has always been his money round. Do people forget that he was out striking GSP? Now he moves down in weight and still thros with the same power. It is going to be an awesome fight. Now watch it be a DQ on a cut or something.

There it is. Take it to the bank. Arash Markazi, just cut and paste it into your CNN article. I'll never tell.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Looky What I Found!

It's On!

My boy is fightin'!

Joe Stevenson (right) and B.J. Penn

predictions here, later.

Friday, January 18, 2008


Everyone please play this game. It cracks me up. My team is called "Pain Hurts." One of my fighters wears red man-panties. Too funny. Ed, it counts as 'revising my resume.' I promise.

Further Insomnia

It is 3:30 and I have been trying to sleep for 3 hours. Do you think this could have anything to do with my job going away? Hmmm.... Now I remember why I never apply for graduate school. It is the same reason I barely made it out of high school and had to beg to get out of college despite sporting a hefty 3.98 (I think, but it might have gotten a little lower.) The reason is that I have a learning disability that prevents me from performing math on even the most basic level. It is crazy because that sounds like an excuse and the professional diagnosis was nebulous. They told me something to the effect of, "Yeah, you clearly have a problem. We don't have a name for it." So I have to beg out stupid to anywhere I apply because they will notice that my GRE looks like I lost half my brain hammering rail-road spikes until one exploded. In the meantime, I shy away from even trying because I feel like I have to scam and plead and beg, just like everything else with school. Now I remember why I hate this. Plus, I could never pay for any of it. Thank you FSU for not taking me when you had the chance. Thank you Osaka for firing me. I got a mail from my new supervisor today asking me when I would move out of my house. Great. Another teacher that I work with told me today, "All of my friends just got cheap online degrees and now they can teach at any college and make lots of money!" Silly me, I took education seriously and lost out again. Maybe I can get two hours of sleep, go through my day exhausted, and start over again tomorrow.

Further Whaling Craziness

Here is some whaling nuttery. While I can understand the Australian government not wanting to have to arrange a rescue in the Southern Ocean, I still think the Sea Shepard is in the right. Japanese whaling is crazy and the Japanese fishing fleet regularly flouts international law and catches whatever it feels like where ever it feels like and then says, "Japan eats a lot of fish. Whadda ya want?"

Two things: The boat is now the "Steve Irwin"? Rad. Who is Glenn Inwood "a spokesman for Japan's Institute for Cetacean Research" dubious at best. A hired hand? A PR flack?

All in all I would rather be aboard the "Steve Irwin" right now than begging for a job.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Holy F'n F!

Look at this! Look at this! This is where I grew up, but in 1973!!! And we thought we invented sand surfing. Mom! Look! It's Tim Quigl(e)y! I don't know who made this, but it is so great. Makes me wanna go home.

New Words

Since I am rereading the first nine Master and Commanders I am trying to take down and look up words I don't know. Here is today's list. If you already knew them, please tell me. David.....David, I'm looking at you here. Mom, you too.

Enemata. (of course. now i see.)

Paturient and Tormina were kind of easy to guess at. I didn't get Enemata. I guess my brain isn't programmed like that. But I know someone's whose is, and I am programmed to kill him on sight. Read these books!

If I haven't convinced you to read these books yet, here is an excerpt from HMS Surprise pg. 265 in the Harper Collins edition:

'It is clear you have been a great while at sea, to call those sandy-haired coarse-featured pimply short-necked thick-fingered vulgar-minded lubricious blockheads by such a name. Nymphs, forsooth. If they were nymphs, they must have had their being in a tolerably rank and stagnant pool: the wench on my left had an ill breath, and turning for relief I found her sister had worse; and the upper garment of neither was free from reproach. Worse lay below, I make no doubt. "La, sister," cries the one to the other, breathing across me- vile teeth; and "La, sister," cries the other. I have no notion of two sisters wearing the same clothes, the same flaunting meretricious gawds, the same tortured Gorgon curls low over their brutish criminal foreheads; it bespeaks a superfetation of vulgarity, both innate and studiously acquired. And when I think that their teeming loins will people the East...'

New Japanese Names I've Never Heard

出向井ーでむかい ーDemukai
本坊ーほんぼう -Honbo
乾ーいぬい -Inui
芦刈ーあしかり -Ashikari
有働ーうどう -Udo
金剛ーこんごう -Kongo
権田ーごんだ -Gonda
羽屋戸ーはやと -Hayato

Japanese speaking readers, please tell me if I am completely wrong and these are perfectly normal. Some of them are easy readings but odd. Some are easy kanji with odd readings. Susan, are these totally not Chinese? Are there any similarities. I like Ashikari. It means, "Cutting the grass." I think that should have been my name in elementary school.

Today at Shinikuno (新生野) I went to 1-3 for the first time. The teacher couldn't find any of the boys. After a few minutes heads began to emerge from behind the shelves in the back of the room, and the cabinet with the brooms in it. Someones head dropped from a hole in the ceilings. Awww, kids, you done fooled the new guy. It was almost charming. At least I am getting fired. Did I mention that I really love my job and I really am not happy about being fired for no known reason?

School Connections

Yesterday morning at Imaichi-chu the first year boys had started doing judo for P.E. again. I noticed that the girls weren't, again. I said to the English teacher, "I think the girls need to be doing judo." He kind of put his hands in the air and shrugged.

Later, after lunch, all teachers had a special meeting where we discussed the events of yesterday. Apparently two female students, second years, were meeting in the park, next to the river, behind the school when a man in his fifties wearing a black track suit began masturbating in front of them. They ran back to the school and got the rugby teacher to call the police.

Are these two stories connected? Should they be? I throw my hands in the air and shrug.

Lightly connected, my impending loss of a job is starting to weigh on me. If I had an American teaching license I could get a job at Ritsumeikan junior high school making over $4,000 a month. Instead I find myself scanning the want adds and wondering if I should go for part time or full time at New Bar Nasty House. Thank you Osaka Board of Ed. for not letting me do my job.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Friends Write In!

Since I have this site to keep up with you guys-as I can't remember birthdays or how to email-it makes me very happy that people send me stuff.

Jen in A-Town let's us know that Genarlow Wilson will get a chance at going to college. I am very happy for him and hope things work out. He can't get his two years back, but neither can the rest of us I guess.

David has new stuff on his blog. If you care about smart talented people, read it. If you don't, join the rest of the world.

And Summer sends us some pure Summerness:


If you had an acquaintance who fancied themselves into lifting weights who sought at every possible moment to demonstrate their physicality yet only revealed their bumbling weakness, what would you do with them? I am presenting you with an analogy but it is not far from the truth of my current situation. Suppose you spent your time with this person worrying about how to stop them from accosting people, and, in your brief moments of success, you found yourself challenged to arm-wrestling contests. When you decline you are called a coward, when you participate-and win-you are told that you are cheating and threatened with the rule book. Would you waste your time on an acquaintance such as this? Someone whose world they had constructed around themselves was so absurd that you felt bad or them yet they felt superior to you? Probably better not to waste the time.

Contemplating this reminds me of a story about Jesse, whom I like, but reminds me of my analogy situation: Jesse starts joking around sparring with me. I am used to sparring. Any attempt at head movement or parrying-normal movements among fighters, but somewhat goofy looking- is laughed at by Jesse who declares, "Man I got you flinching." Tiring of this I go for a fairly soft take-down on him and he says, "Oh, no. I don't go in for that wrestling shit." So I stop. He then regales me with how he has just kicked my ass. Oh......

If You Didn't Know...

Maverick's and Pipeline are going off right now. Pipeline is so huge that 3rd reef is breaking but it looks like nobody can get out. Maverick's was so good that The Mavericks Surf Contest-which only happens when the surf is good enough-was decided this weekend. Check it out. Crazy video. Great weather.

Hiking Higashiyama

Cam came to visit this week on his way back from Australia. Being British, he forced me to drink beer and tea for three days straight. He also uses the toilet more than any human being I have ever met. Fortunately he likes hiking so we did the Nanzenji to Ginkakuji via Daimonji Yama trek. It is a very nice hike and I have done it, or variations of it, about four times. It was a very cold day, approaching freezing when we set out. On the steep ascent out of Nanzenji, the chill abated. Cam, a Scotsman, dropped down to a t-shirt. At the summit, looking over Kyoto down to Osaka and over to Yamashina, Cam remembered that he had done a version of this hike with Kumar eight years ago. It was sunny and beautiful but we could say bad clouds dropping in over the mountains from Biwako so we started down. Losing part of the trail in the woods following an old lady with an umbrella who was moving among the trees at a spooky pace, it began to snow. Finding the trail again, the snow turned into a flurry. Cam gloried in the fact that he was only wearing a t-shirt. It was beautiful. The snow that is, not Cam in a t-shirt. Descending back into town there was no sign that snow had taken place. It was cold and sunny.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Camden Yards Circa 1995...Reboot?

Summer, Mom: for you!

Go Giuliani Go

Sam Seder in the heart of the beast. I finally heard a few minutes of Lionel the other day. They replaced Sam with that? Absurd.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

New Japanese Names I've Never Heard

New students today. 屋比久 (やびく)  社務 (しゃむ)  領内 (りょうない)

Yabiku, Shamu, and Ryonai, three last names that I've never heard...until today.

I started teaching at Shinikuno-Chu today. It was pretty nice. I had about 2 hours sleep. I only had one class. The kids were actually terrible. I think I have bought into the strict Japanese teacher mindset. Kids who don't do the proper greeting before they come into the office make me nuts. Kids who sit on their desks and don't face the front make me crazy. For some reason there are 2 teachers in the class. I make three. So, I can't really tell the kids, "You're behaving terribly." Because that means the other teachers are failing.

You know what never gets old but always rings hollow? The inevitability of the 15 year old girls coming around to the office to peak in the window to yell about how hot you are. Yeah, I know. I got it like that. They got it right this time. But I know that if I was any other foreign guy they would come by and say the same stuff...so.

On a similar note I saw a giant fat white guy with a big beard wearing a Washington Redskins jersey and riding a small bike around Ikuno-ku at 8 this morning. Hmmm?

On the train ride home I saw a really thin dude, with sharp features and a pony tail wearing big, frosted sunglasses and a floor length fur coat, with leopard spot slacks.

On the same train was a guy with these big, neon, Flavor-Flav yellow glasses, a pierced (what do you call that...under your lip??) A strange bright yellow jacket that had hard, plastic bits and regular jacket bits interspersed, a bright yellow hat, big stupid pants, a vacant expression and a stupid hot girlfriend.

In case you didn't know, Ikuno-Ku is like the Magnolia Projects of Osaka. Which is why I requested it. Of course, calling it "the Magnolia Projects of Osaka" means that it would be the safest neighborhood in any American city I have ever lived in.

Speaking of Ikuno....this

Not to Keep Harping On It.

More on the fingerprinting. Maybe this provides a little context on why the current alien registration process pisses some people (me) off. I don't mind my paperwork being in order. I mind being told to suck on it because I'm a foreigner. We need your specialized labor. But we can fire you and won't give you a contract. We need to internationalize, help us. Give us your fingerprints and carry this document around all the time, we might need to round you up in the event of a disaster.

Florida, Baby, North West Florida

How can I stay away?

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Interesting. Disturbing.

A little while back I posted about Japanese whaling. I thought it appropriate to title the post "Motherfucking Cocksucking Bitches." If you have a blog you probably know that there are ways to see who is viewing your site, as well as what keywords they are searching that bring them to your site. Interestingly, disturbingly, this post is getting a lot of hits. Today, in fact, was someone searching for "little kids cock sucking." The other day it was "cocksucking bitches." Before that it was "young cocksucking bitches." Oh internets, why are you so virile and diverse? Again by 'virile' I mean infected. At least I now know what will get your website viewed.

Can't Sleep.

At night anyway. Slept for about 2-3 hours. Now up. Think I will stay up. Applied for three jobs online. Thinking hard about grad school again... But then again. I started training at Purebred Kyoto this week. It would be so nice to be in one place long enough to get a belt in anything. I would love a belt in BJJ but that would take about 10 years of being somewhere. Errr..The situation is making me nuts. Nuts I tell you. Back to work tomorrow. In this photo, Sakuraba is the world at large stomping on me and my dreams. Or maybe it is me, rallying and making a comeback and stomping the larger, controlling forces, gathering to destroy me. Or maybe it is just Sakuraba jumping on Funaki because the crowd wanted him to and I was in the crowd and I was happy and sometimes trying to live your life the way you want to is a hassle and will never be easy, but some times Sakuraba does things like this because deep in your heart you really want him to.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Welcome to My Life

This is 100% correct.

Best ...Show ...Ever

The Wire starts its last season on Sunday. I am kind of excited because that means a new season of the greatest show ever made, including The Simpsons. I am mostly sad because it means the last season of the greatest show ever made, including The Simpsons. Oh, The Wire, you are like 4 years of FWBHS plus 1 year in the Jackson Ward all rolled into a TV show. Mainly the 1 year in the Jackson Ward. Next to a crack house. You are like getting lost in NOLA but not actually having a gun pulled on you for real. I think I am going to get a bullet-proof vest and go stroll around the neighborhood.

Let Ron Paul Debate

Don't get me wrong. Ron Paul would be a terrible president. Really, really terrible. He doesn't believe in the IRS or in the Department of Education. He is a racist. Or allows racism to be promoted in his name. Nevertheless, he should be in the debates. He is bringing in as much money, if not more, than the other candidates. He got more of the vote in Iowa than Giuliani, moreover he is running circles around these other clowns in the debates. He does one thing that can't be allowed on TV, he resets the frame. Behold. His point is absolutely correct. He goes too far in the point saying that the U.S. military should never be involved anywhere ever, but at least that is a logical stance. It just isn't one that I agree with. But on Fox News, that viewpoint can not be allowed to stand. So they won't let him on. That is how the media works. Just don't allow people you don't agree with to participate and then pretend they don't really exist. That they are a joke. If you opinions are sane enough and strong enough, they should hold up to scrutiny, but this crop of Republicans are so looney that they can't stand up to any criticism.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

This is...

...very, very sad.

Everything You Need to Know About our Media

Read this. It is sad and discouraging and the truth. It does a lot why it is so hard to change anything. It is valuable on understanding how this election will unfold and what governs the coverage. As I have been saying about everything, the wrong people are in charge...everywhere.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Year of the Rat

In case you were wondering.

photo from Japan Times: Satoko Kawasaki

The Iowa Caucus

The Young Turks had caucus coverage all night. I got up at 9am here to watch as I love this stuff. I couldn't stay awake. Obama was the big winner. Clinton was the big loser. I haven't really picked a candidate yet. Edwards is saying most of the right things right now. A lot of people say he is phony. I don't really care. If he is picking class issues because he thinks they will help him win, then run with it. There is a lot to like about Richardson. He certainly has the best record of achievement. He is also and old-school DLCer. I agree with most of Kucinich's positions by I don't find his goofiness endearing. There is something deeper about it. I don't mean that to discount him or make light of him. I am not always sure that I believe the same things as him. I supported Dodd for his legislative seriousness of late. I see Clinton, much like I saw Bill, as the best Republican candidate out there. Obama. Obama. You delectable cipher you. Let me say this as non-patronizingly as I can; Sometimes a cosmetic change that is obvious and exists mainly on the surface is good in and of itself. I think that Obama being a black man elected to the highest office would change something fundamental in America, regardless of his policies. That being said, his policies wouldn't be bad. I think his judgment would be good I think it would help our country overseas enormously to have him as president. I think it would help us enormously to have him as president. A lot of the same could be said for Hillary Clinton. I give her credit for trying to bring us insurance low those long years ago. It would have changed a lot about my life these intervening years. I don't know. I do know tha the country will be 100 times better with a Democrat in office.

My New Year's Soba

New Year 2007-2008147, originally uploaded by wwc photos.

Good Stuff at about 2 in the morning after Kiyomizu Dera.

Happy New Year

Super busy first of the New Year. Only New Year song I can think of for you. I meant to post this leading up to the 31st, but I was putting up too much stuff. Mine and Josh's secret during the band years was our secret affection for Counting Crows. They write good songs...sorry.

I have been seeing a lot of "Best of" List for the year. I used to like these, but, living in Japan, I have no idea what happened this year or what I am just seeing or reading or hearing. I would have to say that, for me, This is England . I didn't think it counted as coming out this year, but I saw it on other lists. Runners up? Sicko . The Bourne Ultimatum.

Book of the year? I have no idea. Best book I have read this year? Probably Master and Commander: Post Captain. An insanely good book featuring English country romance, detailed descriptions of ship's rigging, a swarm of 60,000 bees and an ape in a sweater, often on the same page.

Wave of the year? Last day at Tenjikan. Saturday. I waited way outside and caught a left all the way in to ankle deep water. Almost blew the takeoff, got my balance on the bottom turn. A little over head high. Nobody saw it.

Fight of the year? I liked Diaz Vs. Gomi, but many say it was over rated.

TV of the year? Was The Wire on this year? Battlestar Galactica is pretty f'ing good.

Song of the year? Anything I wrote..Naturally.

attempting to silence the voices in my head.