Saturday, November 29, 2008


I saw two movies this month. The first was Red Cliff.

In Japan it is being released as two, two and a half hour movies. Whereas, for the American market it will be one shortened movie. It was in Chinese so I had to read the Japanese subtitles, which I don't mind but it got into some pretty technical historical discussions that I couldn"t follow. Afterward Natsuki said that there was kanji that she couldn't read either, so I don't feel so bad. It was a big movie and wonderful to look at though it isn't quiet at the level of being great. The costumes and sets are exquisite. The battles, while large an intricate, could have been better. They strayed into being a touch comical. Also, it had the Jon Woo sticking points for me. The main one being his tendency to dwell on one thing that he think looks cool and drive it into the ground. In this case it was horses literally being driven into the ground. Apparently he found out that some horses can be trained to dive head first into the dirt and that became his revolutionary film technique. I would also, at this point, like to see him make a film without a freaking bird in it. We get it. That being said, it is well worth watching if you get the chance.

The second movie was Tropic Thunder which actually managed to be much funnier than I thought it was going to be. Not that I thought it would be unfunny. Just normal funny.

Robert Downey Jr.'s performance has been talked about enough, but it really is excellent. I put it up there with one of my other favorite performances that will not get recognized by the Academy:

Lest anyone be confused, I am referring to Michael Caine.
But I digress. I could be wrong about this one, I often overvalue American comedies when I am in Japan but it was well made enough that I think there is a lot to why it is funny. Astonishingly Natsuki was laughing at many of the same parts that I was, which is very rare in Japan. I think the nuances of why "Being a dude playing a dude disguised as another dude" is humorous are hard to pick up on in another country. It was also painful and funny to sit through the fake previews amidst an audience who didn't realize that they were fake. Most of you guys probably saw the movie half a year ago so all of this is no news to you but it just came out here last weekend.

Thank you for reading my book report.

Haruka Kanata

Last night we went to see Kanji and Kota's band do their usual repertoire of Stevie Wonder covers. No insult intended. That is what they do. The band before them, who I see around the studio a lot covered Asian Kung Fu Generation's Haruka Kanata, which used to be in heavy rotation on my radio show. It has had a further boost towards fame by being included on the Naruto credits for reasons I don't really understand. Either way, I think it is a great song. Here are the lyrics if you are interested. The only small thing I would quibble with is to say that I would change "If it isn't you, than what's the point?" to "If it isn't you it doesn't mean anything." Which is only a little different, but is the way I always took it.

Buy Nothing Day

Wanna know what I bought? A lot of Maker's Mark. Take that Kalle Lasn. I regret my purchase 0 percent.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

My Spare Time.

Yup. This is what I do with it. Great highlight.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Fall on Shirakawa

koyo 2008029, originally uploaded by wwc photos.

Taiyo no To

Weird-ass giant art towers over bankrupt expo park.

Shirakawa Fall

It's Fall in Kyoto

Outside of Chion-in. There were lots of people.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Osuzu Yama 4

Nature's kinda rad and shit.

Osuzu Yama 3

Yeah, really, it isn't that beautiful at all.

Osuzu Yama 2

Not a bad swimming hole. The water is actually even more beautiful than it looks here. Natsuki, being Japanese said, "The fish in there must taste good!"

Osuzu Yama

Going back in time 3 weeks again. Before Junichiro's wedding, we went hiking behind Kawaminami on Osuzu Yama. I recommend it as probably the most beautiful place in Miyazaki. The leaves had just started to change. Much thanks to Ed for first tipping me off on this place.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

UFC 91 Recap

I know you are all probably wondering about my impressions and hankering for a reaction. Even though people were dogging on the card, I thought it was really, really solid. It was much better than last months kickbox extravaganza and shows a big difference in the European game. With the exception of the Gurgel (BJJ black-belt) brawl, it was a grappling hootenanny, which suits me just fine thank you very much. I now approve of Bocek. His showing against Robinson was good enough to raise my opinion of Mac Danzig even higher. Hazelett and Maia are now to of my official favorite fighters. There ground work is truly top-notch. Flawless almost. Can something be "almost flawless?" I don't think so. Am I disappointed that Couture lost? Yes. Would it be hypocritical for me to say before the fight that I thought he would win and then after the fight that it was a bad match-up for him? Yes. I don't believe in lucky punches, so I will say that Lesnar deserved the win, even if he didn't deserve the fight. I thought Randy was doing a really good job with him, up to the point that he got wrecked. Nogueira will destroy Lesnar. Mir is a 50/50 chance. Carwin would kill him. Vasquez would kill him. He wouldn't last a minute with Fedor. Sylvia I give a good chance to. Overeem? Probably. I was impressed with Lesnar's knees that he threw. He is obviously a talented athlete and looks better in each fight. I take him seriously, I just don't like him and don't think he is a quality champion. But, he beat Randy.

Also, I was wrong about dos Anjos, but I loved the way he fought. That Omaplata was the balls. I don't know what the F that uppercut he got knocked back in time with was though. That was nonsense land, straight.


You know what I'm really happy about? The Japanese recession!!!

The Couple

Finally down the aisle.


There's a horse in the hospital.

Free Coffee

Maybe the best thing about the wedding was all the free espresso. James and Sex Machine drinking. I should explain the nickname. Matt, who we used to train with, can't remember names, so gave everyone a nickname. I have no idea why he called that dude "Sex Machine" but it stuck. I should explain that he is small and a little dumpy and plain, but nice and so I have forgotten his actual name.

Junichiro's Wedding

Let's go back in time two weeks. This was Junichiro's and Ikuko's wedding in Miyazaki.

Ando in Action

Andy whopping up on that poor boy.

Otsukare Ramen Pt. 2

This was good after all that.

There it Is

Gee, it's hard to find my name.


These kids were bad-ass. I love the kid giving the OK sign. The lady on the ground next to them was somebodies mom and a really good grappler. As well as being foxy in her star grappling shorts.

Doofus Asylum

From left: Takuya Sato-Pro Shooter. Daisuke Nakagawa: One of my teachers. Kosuke Eda: Pro Shooter. All-Japan amateur champion. Purple belt. Grad student. Super doofus.

Otsukare Ramen

Job well done. That is Araki off to right. He had a win and a loss, just like me. But I hear he will get promoted to blue. He was fighting above his weighclass and won one on submission.

Mana's Last Bout

Rgnum Jam November 16th,107, originally uploaded by wwc photos.

Mana before her last bout. Her gi read "Yamato Damashi." "Samurai Spirit." I am very happy with this picture.

Purebred Crew

Ando (Andy), Murakami and Mana. Andy is a really sweet guy and is going to college studying fabric dying. Very Kyoto. Mana is the hot underwear designer. Murakami is a brown belt and very famous in grappling cricles. He is known as "The Human Triangle." I also think he has latnet autism and is very hard to deal with, while not being a bad guy in any way. Just odd. Both Andy and Mana won both their fights. Andy by takedown after takedown. Mana by armbar and points.

Dying on the Train

Rgnum Jam November 16th,003, originally uploaded by wwc photos.

This was me on the Hankyu after dropping 9 pounds in a few hours and not eating or drinking.

Monday, November 17, 2008


Pro fighters Takuya Sato and Kosuke Eda being doofuses. They can't help it.

Batting .500

Alright kids. Here it is. I weighed in, with my gi, at 78.6kg. The guy at the scales said, "Eh, whatever." I didn't eat all night or all morning. I rode the Hankyu, in misery to Takatsuki, where I found that I was in the same car as Mana, the jiu-jitsu hottie. Her job you ask? An underwear designer. Great. I'll put up some pictures of the match later. But first, to my matches.

I was up against a guy from Cobra Kai West, which is a pretty hard core gym. One reason I worked so hard to make weight is that being a 78kg Anglo-Saxon and being a 78kg Asian man are somehow different things. 78kg Asian guys are big. The guy I was up against was big. He looked like a wrestler or judo guy, or maybe rugby. I was ready to go, having spent an hour eating yogurt and grapes, and drinking Pocari. From the tachiai the guy grabbed me and was strong. Really strong. I fought off the takedown, but I got tired really quick. Well. You can see for yourself. (Caitlin was nice enough to show up and take the video.)

What the ref doesn't know is that I have really, really loose shoulders, at that sub was nowhere close to in. I was ready for the fight to start from there as, in sparring, I work from that sub attempt to work back to half-guard and guard. Anyway. It's my bad. I lost.

A lot of Purebred wins and more grapes and yogurt, plus onigiri and Pocari filled the next few hours until I was on again. It turned out to be a good match. Having two pro fighters yell at you all through the match makes you a little nervous but also does make you go as hard as you can.

It is probably hard to understand what went on in this fight and why I won. I won off of a small point in the scoring rules that I didn't know until Thursday night. I had been told that taking the back and doing a body triangle (wrapping your legs around your opponent and securing one of your ankles behind your other knee, forming a triangle and thus trapping your opponent) was sufficient to get 4 points. I always use this technique as I have long, flexible legs. However, competition scoring demands that you secure your feet inside of your opponent's thighs, not crossed over themselves before they will award the 4 points. With about 30 seconds left to go I am in the other dude's closed guard. Takuya Sato starts yelling at me "There is only 30 seconds DO SOMETHING!" Because I am losing. What I was working with was a very small battle to get my knee under the other guys ass so that I could bring my leg back and break his guard. When I finally did, he tried to armbar me. He couldn't get my thumb pointed up and I was able to yank my arm out, grab his belt and take his back. I shoved my feet down into his thighs and looked at the ref to make a call. Daisuke, one of my teachers, starts yelling for the ref to give me the points. He does. I secure the guy to keep him from sweeping me, look back at the clock and watch the last seconds tick off. I wasn't sure I had won for a few seconds. When I came back, Murakami, the main brown belt at our school, told me that if both my fights had been like that, he would have given me my blue belt. I don't know if that is good news or bad news. Anyway, it was a good time and makes me want to train even more.

I shaved the beard. I have a new scrape on my nose and my neck hurts.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

UFC 91: Division Street: America

As an ode to Studs Terkel, Dana White decided to put this bout on as an oral history/radio teleplay.
These will be quick as I am fainting from making weight. Trying to make weight. To the Batmobile.

Brown vs Thomas: Thomas will probably out wrestle Brown, but I enjoy Brown's folk hero status. His last fight was also quite impressive. Brown by a tough guy decision.

Robinson vs. Bocek: Most experts call Bocek. For some reason I am still not sold on him. Robinson is an underacheiver. Robinson by TKO in the 3rd.

Stephens vs. dos Anjos: I'm ignorant. Most people say Stephens. I say dos Anjos via TKO in the 3rd by being Brazilian.

Gurgel vs. Riley: Gurgel. Really? Jiu-jitsu master. Tough guy. You know how it seems like Fedor can think outside of the fight and always be in control of what is going on. Gurgel is not that. Riley by TKO in the 3rd.

Hazelett vs. McCrory: I am very very very impressed with Hazelett after his crazy armbar transition on Burkman. McCrory is a barn cat. Is McCrory really a pro-fighter? How did that happen? Hazelett by sub in the 2nd.

Quarry vs. Maia: I like Quarry but he isn't a great fighter. Maia is the BJJ bombtrack. Maia by sub is inevitable.

Gonzaga vs. Hendricks: Gonzaga has the skill set. He is a beast. Does he have the drive? Can he put it all together. He is good enough to win this fight by sub in the 3rd.

Florian vs. Stevenson: I like both guys. Both have great ground games. I think Florian is a little better on the bottom. Florian is a better striker, especially on the outside. Stevenson can take him down, but I think Florian holds on and sweeps. Florian by decision. Maybe some nasty cuts and bleeding.

Couture vs. Lesnar: Why has no one compared Lesnar to The Boz yet. He is The Boz. Maybe he is really talented. I don't know. He isn't the first person to outwrestle Heath Herring. He might be the real deal. I think Randy is going to be his Bo Jackson running him over at the goal line. Couture has some of the best head movement and boxing in MMA now. He is great stamina. He has the best game plans. He has a great clinch. He will hammer Lesnar out of the half-guard. Maybe Lesnar is better than I know, he will have to come out and prove it. I see Randy beating the tar out of him and testing his chin. Lesnar will reflexively shoot for takedowns until he tires out. Does he cut easy? I don't know. If he does, Couture gets the TKO in the 4th. If not...decision.

Tell Arash Markazi to buy me a sandiwch. Take it to the corner. I'm going to faint now.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Making Weight

I have to weigh 78 kilograms for my match on Sunday. I weigh 80 today. Yesterday I weighed 76.5. Crazy. I lost 4 kg (8 lbs) Just training yesterday. I also have a mangy beard, a black eye, a big red mark down my face a lingering almost cold and a school open house tomorrow morning. Donkey Kong you say? It is on.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Your Tune for the Day

What music aspires to.

This Week

Wow, It has been a week since the election. Sorry for the lack of posts, but I think everyone is still trying to process the whole thing. True, Roy Jones Jr. lost, but it is Tuesday and My new president listens to The Fugees and watches The Wire. I don't care how market tested that is, it was good market testing. Also, Alabama is #1 in the country and I am growing my Evan Tanner tribute beard for my jiu-jitsu match on Sunday.

I put all of this data into my computer to see if it could generate an image to better incapsulate my mood. Here is what it gave me, for better or for worse.

About My Kitchen

This is about standing in my kitchen, washing my bento box:

The crime is that you listen to Brittany Spears without Irony
Everything in the world is a rhyme to me.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Calzaghe vs. Jones

My boy Roy straps the gloves back on tomorrow to try to defeat the undefeated Joe Calzaghe in the last fight of his career. Calzaghe is a very good fighter, and Roy is well past his prime. However, he is from Pensacola, FL and ain't nothin count more than that. This promo is pretty well done and it being set against the backdrop of election day in NYC is worth the watch. RJJ talking about Obama winning made me notice the very real gap between what it was to be an American last week and what it means today. Go get him Roy!

Friday, November 7, 2008


Actually this is really interesting.

The Chiho Explosion

Now that the election is over I can get back to my real mission; documenting these nutty teenagers!

Wednesday after the bunkasai I was sitting in the office, at the computer, following up on election coverage when 1-3's resident time-bomb, Chiho, stormed in, grabbed the phone and began screaming, "Let me use the phone! I am going to use the phone!" It would be hard to describe the quality of her voice to those who have never spent a long period of time in an aviary or maybe a concrete pit dedicated to some of the lower primates. She has the strange tonal inflections, infectious in this neighborhood, that make panic seem like poise and rob all utterances of their gravity, leaving them with only their urgency. She kicked things, punched things and broke things while a loose circle of teachers told her that they needed to talk to her and she needed to calm down before she could use the phone. She stormed out of the office, kicking things in the hallway and screaming going down towards the locked doors of the gym and working her way back to the office. Being a member of the 1st year contingent, I ducked out to see if I could help. My main concern was her breaking something and hurting herself. As she made another circle from the locked gym back towards the office, I stood in her way to try to get her to slow down and stop trying to break things. She began shoving me in the stomach yelling, "Get out of here Gaijin! Gaijin!" I just said sleepily, "Hai, hai." Suehiro sensei told her to stop being insulting. In the middle of shoving me she explained hysterically, "Gaijin just mean gaikokujin so why does anyone care!" Her face redder than usual she ran back to the office. I gave up and then she took of downstairs. I decided to keep a loose watch on things and try to keep her from jumping a fence or breaking a window. She tried to go to softball practice but Nomura sensei stopped her. I knew she would go around the back of the gym so I went and waited. She showed up and I let her walk past me but kept an eye on her. Nomura sensei asked me to do him a favor and go lock up his classroom. It was between this that the "Yes we can!" video was taking. I found out, while locking up the room, that the reason she was angry is because they were trying to talk to her about the classroom window that was broken on Wednesday. Making sure the windows were locked, Chiho approached from the front of the school followed by Nomura sensei and Inoue sensei. I gave up caring and went back to the office. Not too much later Chiho came back, kicking the door and screaming. About 20 minutes had gone by. No one could really make out what she was yelling except that she needed to call her mom and then yelling something about her birthday 2 weeks ago and that Sakabe is her softball coach. Now a crowd of teachers, mostly female, were in the hallway with her. She had now gone beyond a normal freakout and was trying to break or wrestle anything in her path. She latched her claws into the sliding door. She was crying and her face had turned purple. All teachers not involved in restraining her were cowering in the office looking at each other puzzled. 45 minutes had passed. And some point she collapsed and was dragged to the conference room were she continued to scream. Her parents came to the school around 10pm, Chiho had since been sent home. They decreed, angrily, that the school was responsible as they couldn't control the students. Can't control their children. Their children who will scream and taunt you if you caution them. Their children who explode or run away if you get close to them. Their children who will do as much damage as they can before they are stopped. Their children who will scream "Violence! Violence! I'll call the police and tell my parents!" If you have to restrain them. Their children who will cheer on any other student who acts the same. We can't control them. I see.


I'm not a big Rahm Emaneul fan. I think he is establsihment all the way. I think he has a hard time not thinking establishment. It is important to remember that it was Howard Dean's approach for the party that won this election, it was Emanuel's failed ideas that were put aside. Of course, he might be very talented at managing the White House. I don't know. He isn't my favorite, but I am not President...yet.


A Japan Times article on Miyazaki's own monstrosity. As usual, I feel it could have been a lot better written and more informative. It mentions that canoeing and surfing are available, but I don't think any novice would find the surf off of Hitotsuba anything close to forgiving. It is a hard break and not particularly charming as scenery. The writer hits on the main point, if only accidently; Seagaia is better as a pine forrest and a natural beach. Which it was....before it was built. What a paradox.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

What Matters

Center Right Up My Ass

Tell me about what a "center right country" we are jack-offs. Looking at this map, how can you pretend that the current Republican Party is anything other than a regional phenomenon?

Eric Alterman on this before the election.

This was a point I wanted to make, but Think Progress did it better. To sum up "Obama is a terrible Marxist, Socialist, left-wing terrorist...He won overwhelmingly? Well that just proves that the country is conservative." Say what? So if a conservative wins, that proves America is conservative? Yes. If a liberal wins that proves that America is a conservative? Yes. The person who you decried as "the most Liberal senator in America" wins and that proves we are conservative as a country? Yes. Even though we control the House and Senate and Presidency, making gains in each? Yes. That's fucking retarded.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Still Stoked

Remember when this was all it was? Wow.

My Kids

november 2008099, originally uploaded by wwc photos.

Yuina, Kaho and Aina, help me celebrate the victory.

Not All of my Kids Suck

This is the student council. They are all pretty great. They were very excited that Obama won. One kid, not on the student council, told me that it was too bad that McCain lost as he was looking forward to seeing if he died in office. Odd.


NBC Calls Ohio!!!

NBC calls Ohio!!!

Something extraordinary would have to happen for Obama to not be president. It won't even sink in. I think we did it.


Fox News calls Ohio for Obama!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

McCain's only way to win? California.

That being said, only Fox news has made this call.



Shaheen (NH)
Warner (VA)
Hagen (NC)
Udall (NM)


Knock on wood. It looks very, very good. But it is Florida. Anything can happen. They could saw off half the state and push it off towards Cuba. Who knows.....


If Alabama is too close to call, which it is right now, that means something. It doesn't mean that Alabama will go Obama, it won't, it means that African-American turnout, and turnout in general, must be huge.


Is looking good, with Gary yet to report.


MSNBC calls Pennsylvania for Obama. If that holds up, which there is no reason to think it won't, then this is done. Virginia plus Pennsylvania does it.

Skipping the chorus contest.


VA went big. We got the senator too. Going by what I said earlier.... Watch Indiana and Pennsylvania now. If Penn goes, bust out the champagne.

Skipping the school band right now. I feel bad about it but....

Election Day

Amazing photo essay here.

What To Look For.

Virginia closes early. If it goes Obama this thing is over quick. If Georgia goes Obama, forget it, it's done. If Virginia or Florida swing McCain, we are in for a long, scary night. Day for me.

As I went to post this I found a diary on Kos that does a better job. Check it out.

My prediction is that the West cost will be delivered somewhat irrelevant after polls close in Virginia. But you never know.

Thanks For All The Hard Work Mom

I wish I could be there.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

That's Got To Be Rough

Yes We Can? Yes We Can!

It's here. It has crept up like Christmas, and like Christmas, I'm tired. At school we are having the bunkasai. Today was practice and I am so tired. I don't care about the bunkasai. I just want to watch the election.

I voted last week. I kept taking my ballot to class and telling the kids about it. 2-4 seemed honestly interested so I borrowed Nishioka-kun's pen and filled out my ballot on the chalkboard. It felt good. I have told all of my students that either way I will be crying at work tomorrow so they can go ahead and laugh at me. Some kids yell "Yes we can!" in class, which is strangely moving. Some kids just yell in class. I can't believe it is finally here.

I would like to make a suggestion. If Obama wins, we should begin chanting, "We done did!" It should at least go over well in Northwest Florida.

My prediction: Not an original one, but I think that the percentages will narrow state to state but Obama's win will be electorally broad. I think the win will be big. That being said, the news media and the right will try to convince us immediately that it is not a mandate and that the Democrats better not "overreach." Fuck 'em.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Ponyo Ponyo

I have spent the last week practicing this with the brass band for the school festival. It won't go away.


Let's finish up strong.

Weekend Wedding

So it's the weekend before the election and I am in Miyazaki for my friend Junichiro's wedding. I got a super cheap ticket and I am happy to see everyone, but I would rather be holed up in my room with a bunch of vodoo dolls, a ouija board and a live stream of Keith Olberman. To make it worse, the actual election is going to be going on while we have the school culture festival so I am going to have to dash back and forth, or skip out all together. It is like five NFL drafts and once. I can't take it. I need my fix.

By the way, I went as a Japanese fortune teller for Halloween. I wish I had thought of it when I was single. Oh the palms I could have read. I also played a Wii for the first time. That is some addictive ass shit right there.

Studs Terkel Dies

That really sucks. The end.

P.S. At least he won about 10 rounds of life by the socrecards, so he's got that at least.

attempting to silence the voices in my head.