Thursday, February 26, 2009

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

By the Way

I am going to Seoul from Friday through Sunday, if you are stalking me. Any suggestions?

Irregular Adjectives

This list of irregular adjectives is now my favorite thing in the world.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

UFC 95: Society is a Carnivorous Flower

The time change has me thrown off. The school violence has me shook up. The fights start in 5 hours so I am spitting this out now, like the flour I thought was sugar. Let's try to stay awake and here are the picks:

Dunham vs. Eklund: I don't know a ton about Dunham but, since he is American, I am assuming that he has better wrestling than Eklund and that that earns him a decision.

Ciesnolevicz vs. Grove: Ciesnolevicz is a 205 pounder fighting on short notice in the 230s. That being said, I have never seen anything about Grove that makes me think he can win this. Again an American will win by superior wrestling, although he will have to absorb some leg kicks before a TKO in the 3rd.

Kelly vs. Mandaloniz: I would like to pull for "Rude Boy" Mandaloniz as he is part of the BJ Penn camp, but Kelly is the larger, and more complete fighter. I think Mandaloniz is tough, makes it a fight but Kelly takes the decision.

Cobb vs. Etim: Cobb is the hip, "I told you so pick" as, yet again, he is an American who can wrestle. And he is good. However, Etim was very impressive in his last fight and showed good kickboxing to go along with his strong ground game. I think this could be a real battle, and close,but I see Etim taking the decision.

dos Santos vs. Struve: dos Santos came out of nowhere and fulfilled the legend of his pad hitting video by knocking out Werdum in his last fight. Struve wouldfind it hard to come out of nowhere as he is 6'8" and everyone would see him coming. I don't know how much Struve has to offer in this fight. He is a ground fighter with outstanding reach. If he could work a superior jab and dominate on the ground, he could take it, but I don' think he will do any of those things. dos Santos will get inside and KO him in the 1st.

Koscheck vs. Thiago: Folks have been searching the dark vaults of Youtube for the last few weeks trying to determine if this Thiago character exists. It is well known that Koscheck is one of the least liked fighters in the UFC. I have never made it a secret that I do like him and think he is one of the most talented fighters in the world. His effort to get Bobby Southworth to make weight on the 1st season of The Ultimate Fighter was one of my favorite segments in the shows history and showed what kind of dedication he has. I think Koscheck knocks Tiago out in the 2nd.

Maia vs. Sonnen: This is the fight that I am most looking forward to. And why not? Who doesn't love to watch a staunch Republican scream and cry like a baby. Sonnen is that baby. He is a good fighter but he is susceptible to submissions and, like a vampire, he never goes quietly. Maia is my new favorite fighter and I am sure that he will do something beautiful. I see a heel hook coming in the 2nd.

Gouveia vs. Marquardt: I think I have already said everything there is to say about Marquardt. He is completely complete and excellent at not being great. He does everything right and has stamina for miles. Gouveia has stamina for meters, though he is a threat from anywhere. He has rare power in his hands and can pull a quick submission on the ground, but he gets worn out and then just hangs in there. I think this is what happens and Marquardt gets a decision.

Hardy vs. Markham: I am pretty stoked on this fight. Markham is a brawler with power. Hardy is a technician with little power. If hardy can keep his range and use his kicks, he should be able to make his strikes add up. If Markham can suck Hardy into his fight, he has the ability to knock him out. On the ground I like Hardy's use of the rubber guard o stall the fight back to a stand-up. I say Hardy and his good choice in music for decision.

Sanchez vs. Stevenson: There is one main question to this fight; Is Sanchez's weight cutting something that will effect his fighting. It is easy for him to say that he feels great, but, since this is his first fight at his new weight, we have no idea if he will be able to keep up his insane pace for three rounds. Usually Diego puts pressure on from the start and keeps it up. I think he will be able to, but you just don't know until you see. As for Stevenson, I am starting to feel bad for the dude. He is a really great fighter. He is one of the best lightweights in the world. He just isn't good enough to beat the guys he is being matched against lately. There is always his guillotine, which is a lot like one punch KO power, but I don't think Sanchez will get stuck in it. Some people say that Stevenson has the better standup, but Sanchez's lat bout against Firovantti was an awesome display of improved stand-up. Sadly, I think Sanchez dominates Stevenson by striking form range and relentless scrambling on the ground. Sanchez by decision.

There it is kids. Take it to the vending machine in the middle of the rice field. A European card in the middle of the night with lots of decisions. Arash Markazi would stay up but he is in the emergency room from swallowing the beer bong.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Thursday, February 19, 2009

School

I have had a very strange, trying and unexpectedly emotional week at school. There are such a myriad of stories, I will have to try and summarize later. In the meantime; this.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Monday, February 16, 2009

Who Doesn't Love Valentine"s Reggae?

Did I go in thinking the event wouldn't suck? No. I knew it would. Did I feel a need to appease friends I hadn"t seen in a while? Sure. Do trashy reggae chicks do it for me? Possible. Kyoto, for being a city of 1.5 million people, has some really second rate celebrities. One of these F-listers has had me as a guest at his last to birthday blow outs. I am sure he is appreciative. To tell the truth, compared to most reggae in Japan Yujin, the character in question is alright. While I am on the subject, compared to eating poo, drinking piss is alright. Hark, through the wonders of Youtube, I have the evidence.

Yujin:



Most Reggae in Japan:



So the first few times I saw this guy, it was a welcome change. But do I really need to celebrate his birthday? But really, this is all beating around the bush. Yujin isn't the subject of this story. Especially considering I left about 5 minutes into his set, leaving Atsuko, who you may remember is so completely my type, although I am pretty sure she doesn't feel the same way. The real story here is the god-awful act that went on before our amiable Yujin. I almost wish I could remember their name so I could scour for evidence, but not as much as I wish I could erase all memory of them. It was five guys, in five hooded garments, screaming into microphones. One was a chubby American looking like he was there to sell copy machines or work on your tractor. He looked just young enough, and just completely clueless enough to have been in the Navy. Who knows, he might be. In any case, he sucked just as bad as his Asian compatriots. The highlight of the show, for me, was when the earnest, bald, chubby, Japanese lad who seemed to scream into the microphone a little more than the others, got the full-focused freak look on in his eyes, bald head shining and declared, as forcefully as he could- and I am translating here, except for the "yo"s:

Yo yo! Yo yo! We are reggaeton!
Yo yo! We have nothing to do with reggaeton!
Yo yo! we have a slight connection with reggaeton!
Yo yo! Do you get what I am saying?!?!?!

I got that deep inside somewhere, he wanted to say something. I can go that far.

Here is where I want to start laying it down for you in ways that those jokers never could. Japanese reggae, especially the dancehall variety sucks for two very specific reasons that also infect Japanese hip-hop, among other genres.

Reason one:

The stereotype that Japan imitates is true for a reason; Japan imitates. It is especially frustrating in music as there are unique Japanese bands, but, especially on the local level, people treat the music scene as a cover band talent show. Last time out I almost had to be restrained from going after the MC because he talked about how much he loved marijuana and hated gay people. In the end I realized that he hated gay people as much as he loved marijuana, which was zero. Those just seemed to him like what he was supposed to talk about. It is really kind of pathetic when you see it in action. And everybody plays along and it goes on and on like that.

Reason two:

This is the one I wanted to touch on briefly and come back to in more detail later. This is a cross over subject in that it goes into teaching English and understanding Japanese and all other kinds of topics. Reason two is that there is no such thing as rhyming in Japanese. Not only is there no rhyming, there is a complete and total inability to understand the concept of rhyming. Kind of puts a strange twist on Japanese hip-hop does it not? Strangely, there is some great Japanese hip-hop. In fact, I include this Rhymester song in my all time top 25:



But, without the structure imposed by a rhyme scheme, something else very interesting has to be going on in the song to make it even palatable.


I think Ripslyme succeeded on that one.

But when other elements fail, what you have is just people screaming nonsense into a microphone. What you lose are true MCs rocking a microphone. Just listen to the first verse of Wu-Tang's "Fast Shadow" and listen to what goes on with the rhymes. (If you have a low ODB tolerance, just tune him out.)


In Welcome to the Terrordome, which I consider to be the greatest hip-hop song of all time, Chuck D offers the simple proposition, "Here"s your ticket, hear the drummer get wicked." How badass is that line? It is great because of what Chuck D did with the wording and the structure imposed on him by the rhyme scheme. I don't mean to demean an entire population, but how many people in Japan can even get that line? And I mean that in a very real way. Today I was doing a listening lesson with a class and I was trying to get them to fill in the blanks on a kids song. They were incredulous. How could I expect them to understand any of that nonsense? I told them that the biggest hint was that it was a song and I had only cut out the last words of every other line, so everything rhymed. This helped zero-percent. No one could grasp what was similar about the words "good" and "wood." They couldn't even understand my explanation. I shouldn't have been surprised, this has happened to me numerous times. Sometimes someone will venture a helpful, "Oh, I see. They sound similar!" No...In fact, they rhyme. Something that is so fundamental to the way we think about English is completely absent. Maybe I am overstating the case, but I feel rhyming is essential to English education, if only for helping in pronunciation. Part of the roadblock are Japanese teachers who can't grasp the concept either.

It is frustrating as both a teacher and a musician. What you get is people content with wearing a jersey and screaming "lighter!" When what you are trying to bring them is:




Ah...I feel bad that I didn't mention Verbal, who can rhyme in Japanese. Bonus to you Verbal.

Been Stuck in My Head

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Bloodsport

Soccer's greatest blood feud continues on Wednesday in America when the USA Men's National Soccer team takes on Mexico. CNNSI has a great gallery of the 10 hottest games. My favorite would have to be Mexico getting whipped so bad in the 2002 World Cup that they lost their sanity, their captain kneeing Cobi Jones in the butthole while the president of their country cried on live national TV. I am not much for jingosim in the realm of politics, but in soccer? Suck on it Mexico! That was really funny when you chanted "Bin Laden" and threw bags of piss and batteries on our players. Now you get to go to Ohio and play in the snow. Have fun!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Anagram Generator

My new favorite thing. My name is an anagram for Lychees Week.

School Rocks

My Monday at school:

During morning cleaning I try to round up the 1st year girl's softball team who has been skipping lately and I could see behind the gym. I see the 3rd year boys on the steps. I usually ignore them as they only have a month left and then they are gone. However, I see Daichi, who you may remember as the captain of the basketball team and my nemesis from the long drawn out apology story, with a cigarette hanging out of his mouth leaning over to have it lit. Knowing that if I go over myself the whole story will be denied, I go back around the corner to see if I can grab Inoue sensei to go back with me. I get him and we go back around. The kids do their weak ass warning system. They drop the cigarettes amidst a cloud of smoke. Inoue yells at them to remember they are at school. Being vindictive, actually just being tired of their bullshit, I tell Daichi's homeroom teacher. Daichi insists none of this ever happened. I say that I saw what I saw. Later Daichi apologizes to me for smoking and for lying about it. Nice. I told him that I thought of him as a high school student and that smoking is his own business, just to not do it at school where the 1st years can see him.

Takuma, the 1st year shit who is getting worse and worse and his homeroom teacher come to talk to me because Takuma is claiming that I broke his thermos by throwing his bag back in December. I ask him when and what he is talking about. He proceeds to refer to in a manner that I have a hard time communicating into English. Let's just say he is excessively disrespectful. His homeroom teacher, who is the head of 1st year teachers, is being as useless as usual. I tell Takuma that he always has his bag, that he is always in trouble that I don't know exactly what he is on about but if he feels like having an actual conversation to come find me.

Chiho, who you may remember from "The Chiho Explosion" lost it. And when Chiho loses it, that shit be lost. She has the kind of stamina that marathon runners would envy. She can scream and cry for hours. Nomura, her homeroom teacher, who the students hate, told her to leave class because she was causing a ruckus. Her face turned purple and she rolled around screaming for the next 3-4 hours. Her parents were called. Her parents who were renowned for being he worst kids at the school 15 years ago. The mother complains that she didn't realize the teachers could kick kids out for class. After 3-0-40 minutes of standing there listening to Chiho scream about nothing, she grabs her by the hair and bashes her head into the wall. That was pretty much the highlight of our day.

Tuesday was exams. Makino and Taishi put their desks in the hall, ripped their tests to shreds and set amongst the garbage.

Feel the Crazy

If you don't find this stuff too disturbing the nut who shot up Knoxville plead guilty and will receive life in prison had his letter of intent released. It makes me a little ill to read it for the fact that he was trying to kill several of our friends, and managing to kill someone I know's father. However, nothing in the letter is anything I haven't heard down at the Waffle House or the docks or in school. This is the kind of garbage that floats around in lots of people's minds. This garbage is stirred up by right-wing media figures who will never take responsibility for their actions. Yes, I think this guy was a lonely old man who was to desolate to commit suicide by himself. But he also had a definite political outlook that was consistent with a major current of mainstream though. I have refrained from commenting on this whole affair as I was a little too close to those involved that I felt like a bit of a vulture mentioning it. I would hate to use my inside scoop to dwell on a tragedy. Read the letter if you have the stomach for it.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Folk Etymology

I've been thinking, and reading, about folk etymologies lately. Interesting stuff. It tells you a lot about how the brain works, and how people are willing to believe the most appealing explanation.

Here are some examples.

Are there any others?? I think there are new ones popping up, but I can't think of any right now.

Oh: There is the one about goofy footed coming from a Disney movie. Although some people insist that is true, and Goofy does surf goofy in 1937's Hawaiian Holiday.

Intriguing.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Street Fighting Man

This is some craziness. One of my all-time favorite fights too.


Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Long Time

Been listening to Bad Religion for the first time in a while. I wasn't wrong in junior high. They were good.

Gym Music

One thing I very much like about BJJ in comparison to other martial arts is that, from way back in Brazil, it has always been standard practice to have a stereo playing during training. I think it lends itself to the nature of the sport. The downside is I have no control over what gets played at Purebred. Sometimes I will be riding high because they play "Who's That Girl, The Blue Hearts, AC/DC or WU-Tang and it will transition into The Backstreet Boys or, as has been happening lately, Linkin Park, who are truly atrocious. My seething hatred for them grows. A quote from their live album: "Do you want more? I said do you want fucking more? Do you want more Linkin Park? What about more Jay-Z? What about Both?" What about neither?

What I wanted to bring up however, and I feel like I have before, is The Madcapsule Markets. This is what I feel like I have said, but wanted to say: If you told me what The Madcapsule Markets sounded like, I wouldn't want to listen to them. If you showed me video of them performing, I would have no interest in them. If you described what they were like as a band, I would not like them. If you played a few seconds from some of their songs, I would dismiss them. But...but....here is the thing... They are pretty freakin good. In my opinion. Good to listen to. Better to spar to. Tell me if I am wrong.



Kansai Fight!

If I haven't been posting lately, it's because I launched a new project. You can find it at kansaifight.blogspot.com. I started this site as I have been trying to find an outlet for my fight photography and an excuse to go to events and get press passes so I can watch for free and look like a bad-ass. It workedout okay as I got in free to Powergate last Sunday. I hope to keep doing it and I am pretty happy with my photos.

Oni Wa Soto!

Happy Setsubun. If you don't know what Setsubun is, you are missing out on one of the greatest holidays ever invented. Not that I have a great time celebrating it, but the concept in and of itself defies the normal. Let me break it down. Someone dresses up like the devil and terrorizes your house. You throw beans at them screaming, "Devil get out! Fortune come in!" Then you get a big roll of makizushi (this is the Kansai variation), face north-east, and eat it. I now have a big roll of makizushi in my fridge that I don't feel like eating. It is too cold. I want curry. I also didn't get to throw any beans as I was teahcing class as the principal of the elementary school ran around in leopard skins and a gaint mask with Predator dreads hanging from it. Way to go ancient Japanese. You knew how to do it up.

attempting to silence the voices in my head.