Instant Kaedama

So it seems I missed out on one of the great new inventions to hit the market after I left Japan – refills for Cup Noodle.
I must point out that this new product is hardly an original idea by its manufacturer, Nissin. In college, we routinely used empty Cup Noodle cups as bowls (mostly for regularly-packaged instant ramen crushed to fit), ashtrays, pen holders, a container for my cut-in-half-with-tin-snips 1-yen coin collection, and in a pinch, even as beer cups (curry flavor cups were best for this purpose).
But wait! I titled this post before I read what’s actually being sold – it seems that the actual product isn’t just noodle refills, they also include a non-disposable bowl! Now is that defeating the entire purpose of a Cup Noodle, or what? (from a business standpoint, isn’t this blurring the product lines?)
Since a bowl and a clump of freeze dried noodles isn’t really new, perhaps this isn’t such a hot idea after all… and it sure as hell doesn’t qualify as kaedama. The title above stays, though. I like kaedama, even just in print.

Goose Steppin'

I have only one class on Fridays, in the morning. Today they were supposed to do presentations, but only a small fraction of the class showed up. When I asked where the absent students were, I was told they are participating in a parade for the military and local politicians this morning. I had to cancel.

This has only served to confirm my extreme dislike for all three – parades, the military, and local politicians (but not necessarily in that order).

A Wedding in Ratburi

You know you are in for one fine shindig when you wake up at 5:30 AM to speaker stacks from hell:

A few weeks ago, we took off for our friend’s wedding in Ratchaburi (short: Ratburi), located a couple hours southeast of Bangkok and famous mostly for its floating market. We boarded the Friday night VIP bus in Sarakham and arrived at Mo Chit station on Bangkok at 3:30 AM, and proceeded directly to Nam’s aunt’s house in Lad Prao via taxi.
We spent the next day shopping for the new house and swimming in Bangkok smog, which is quite exhausting. (Note: We managed to satisfy some Mexican food cravings at Sunrise Tacos, finally – scroll to the last comment in this post for a short review)
Sunday afternoon we rented a gutless Toyota Altis and my sister-in-law, Nok, drove us out to Nutty’s house, charming and pastoral as hell, but as such, way out in the sticks. Asking locals for directions eventually got us to her house. Nutty and her relatives were in Pre-wedding Day Overdrive, so we helped out where we could. For me, where I could was in a plastic lawn chair, sipping on cold beer Chang, and getting eaten alive by monster mosquitoes, but I was just happy to see Nutty again after so long… I went through photo albums that she had put together in Japan, and saw all of the old gang hanging out at Tenri dam, at the beach in Wakayama, making the fake humpy humpy with deer at Nara Koen. It was hard to believe it was so long ago, and I started to feel really old, so I crashed out on the beautiful wooden floor.
A few hours later, the speaker stacks from hell started blaring molam and Thai golden oldies loud enough to hear at least a few miles away. I mean, it was so loud that it made the fish in the river next to the speaker stacks jump every time the speakers popped or crackled. I had to get up at 5 to move the rental car, which we had locked in the yard in front of the house the night before. By 6 AM, things were in full swing and much bridal preparation was afoot. I have long since stopped trying to make sense of the actions or reasoning behind soon-to-be-wed females, and just tried to stay out of the way. I didn’t have my Nikon, but I tried to take a few photos before, during, and after the wedding with Nam’s digicam.
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All in all, it was a great day and a wonderful wedding – here’s to the new couple!

LANGBA – PenesamiG

In my previous post, I spoke of “fake brand name knockoffs that are loosely based on a famous item but a little too ironically so, giving you the impression that the person who designed it did so as an inside joke or something…” This is more precisely what I meant:
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This is not your average copper top.

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These crappy and frankly, dangerous (look at the insane bulging on the rightmost one – they came this way!) Chinese knockoffs were bundled with a couple of LCD flashlights I took camping a few weeks ago.
The term “mutant knockoffs” has been coined for products like these.
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LINKAGE: Fake Products: Mutant Knock-offs on flickr

Justin of America – Justin Jeans?

Sometimes, a sign just hits you in the face:
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Spotted in Khon Kaen, Thailand

Somebody painted my ass on a sign!
We’ve actually spotted Justin Jeans apparel – mostly t-shirts and sweatshirts – at cheap night markets, but not the actual jeans. The clothes we saw were of the extremely cheap variety, made of the thinnest cotton poly blend, designed so badly as to be unappealing anywhere but the poorest corners of the third world. Kind of like those fake brand name knockoffs that are loosely based on a famous item but a little too ironically so, giving you the impression that the person who designed it did so as an inside joke or something… Anyway, this got me to thinking and I half-assedly searched for the brand name of origin since I had never heard of Justin Jeans back in the states. I found this:

South Beach, a division of Sweat Shirt USA, Inc., will design, manufacture, market and sell the Justin Jeans line. The collection will debut for fall/winter 1993 and is described by Justin as a “contemporary line of American sportswear with a Western flair.”

1993? I assume from the lack of obvious search hits that Justin Jeans is defunct in the states… What if Justin Jeans live on only as tragically poor knockoffs in SE Asia? That’s like the coolest thing I’ve ever heard.
I also like the fact that my ass is famous now. Does that qualify me as a sex symbol? Justin Timberlake has nothing on me… I’m the Big Papa of Asian Americans teaching English in SE Asia, bioootches!