For Monks Only

MonksRedux.jpgThis was taken at Phuket Airport. These monk only-designated seats (3 in total) were next to the benches for people who take showers and don’t beg for money at airports (I’m not being mean, monks really are smelly leeches!). I really wish I had taken the time to use my Coolpix for this photo, but it was hot and humid, and I was on vacation. What else can I say?


HALVES.jpgOK this is Japanese Translation humor, so it may not be of interest to 99.999% of the world, but I have 100Mbps FTTH so here we go:
Setting: Terminal for high-speed ferryboat (hydrofoil, to be exact) in Sumoto City, Awaji Island. (The ferry shuttles between my island and Kansai International Airport and the terminal is a 10 minute walk from my front door. 45 minute ride to KIX. Convenient as hell.)
Photo is of a button on a vending machine for buying a ferry ticket for children. The kanji characters are pronounced “kobito”, literally, “small person”. It’s more commonly used for “dwarf” than it is for “child”, which is the first reason I think this is funny. Can you imagine a ticket machine with a button for “midgets”?
Secondly, whatever Einstein decided on the kanji also decided to make a stab at the English labeling. Instead of “child”, he decides on “HALVES”? Hmm…
Just in case you were wondering, the smaller kanji in the greps reads “katamichi”, meaning “one-way”. However, the “HALVES” probably does not refer to “half of a round-trip ticket”, because on the button above this one it says “ADULTS” in the same location.

Romance that ass

Romance, the toilet paper for discriminating wipers.
Do your “rhoids” scream at the sight of the sandpaper-like rolls stocked in public bathrooms?
Do you enjoy reading on your “throne” long after “making a deposit?”
Have you ever fantasized about alluring encounters with strangers -in the (water) closet?
If so, you may be in for a surprise… Introducing: ROMANCE Toilet Paper with Silky Smooth Aloe Vera treatment and Tiger Balm Infusion!
– Available soon at your local drugstore. –

Fido’s Assmaker

The main reason I didn’t feel like posting until today was:
This isn’t me by the way, I just took the picture. As you can see, I must have made a fine pinhole camera out of a beer can. Not that I remember it that well. As a week early birthday present, we took Bill away from his bar in Nara in order to take him to, you guessed it, another bar. Tramp’s bar in Osaka, where I hadn’t been to for years, but where happy hour is still 180 minutes long. It was a great night, but reminiscing about it in detail still makes me slightly ill. To make a long story short, I think we discovered a shit hot way to feel like Fido’s ass for days on end. A recipe for it would look something like this:
Official Recipe for Fido’s Assmaker
Mediocre beer (we used Asahi Super Dry, the MGD of Japan)
Cheap tequila (they only had Cuervo, but anything will do as long as it’s warm – this is important!)
Ouzo (also warm – not that it matters with this shit)
B-52s (no comment)
Baked cheese fries (sprinkled with paprika, no garnish – this is completely irrelevant)
Show up late for happy hour with an empty stomach.
Pacing yourself against the end of happy hour, after which prices double (not a joke in Japan), inhale as much beer and tequila as possible in a 1:1 pint-to-shot ratio. Note that lack of refrigeration multiplies the nastiness factor of cheap tequila to the point where you can almost forego the salt and lime (heresy, I know). At the halfway point of the evening, pound the Ouzo. Regret it, both instantly and for days hence. At this point, cleanse the palate with cheese fries and beer, and allow the walls to blur quite nicely.
If you are sitting next to guys who insist on staring at your group and making loud comments about you because the possibility that you just might understand their language hasn’t entered their minds, try ignoring them for a while. If their voices rise to more irritating levels because the noise in the bar is getting progressively louder, give them them the look. You know, the crazy gaijin’s gonna stick his foot in your ass and make you his little geisha boy look. Even racist fuckwits deserve fair warning, after all. If they persist, however, and you start fantasizing about escalation and how nice it would be to “accidentally” elbow them in the face on the way to the pisser – sit back as your friend takes the initiative and starts an ad hoc lesson in foreign affairs. Note their shock at your friend’s fluency in their language with smug satisfaction. Prepare for some serious entertainment because you’re just sure that he’s gonna take the piss out of them (it’s time for PAYBACK, baby)… Then watch in utter amazement as he chooses not to do so, and ends up chatting with them like old friends for the next couple of hours. In retrospect, that was the right thing to do, of course, but it would have been so much more fun to write words like, “hamlike fist,” or “smashing right hook,” or the time-tested “tiger uppercut.” Ah, well. I didn’t have my camera, anyway.
Additional Tips:
If you try this recipe in Japan, like us, make sure you hit the bar on open mic night. It’s a whole new world of irritation to hear a guy alternatively moaning “hey mannn,” “oh maaaaan,” and “hey maaaaaannnnnn,” with a Japanese accent into the mic for thirty minutes, but luckily, the tequila should help take the edge off your nerves. Speaking of which, I must reemphasize the importance of using warm tequila. I am fairly sure that this was a major factor in the earth-shattering headache I experienced the next day. And of course, the Ouzo did its job by making me feel sickly for a few days.
I may have gotten off lightly, though. I received the following mail to my phone the next day:

From: xxx
Date: Sun, 18 Apr 2004 10:40:35 +0900(JST)
To: Justin Yoshida
Subject: ouch
woke up in an alley behind my local train station..must have taken a cab…

The poor guy doesn’t remember that I put him in it, and that he couldn’t tell the cab driver his whole address because he kept falling asleep after reciting the city, Higashi Osaka. After the third try, the cab driver agreed it would be best to let him sleep it off some and ask him again after getting to the general vicinity. Guess that didn’t work out too well…

Long recovery

To William Gibson, who I have never met but who may find this post while vanity googling for, say, “mnemonic osaka blackice bbs standover tokyo burningchrome nagoya underground fleshpuppet keiretsu pattern blackmarket translation monalisa oyabun”: I’m back.
Last week was a milestone of sorts for this weblog, the product of several weeks of consistent posting and increasing traffic from other sites, so I would like to thank all of you for reading. I wish I could keep up what other bloggers consider to be a normal pace – posting at least once every weekday – but I just don’t have the time, and I will not post for the sake of posting. That would make it seem like work, and believe me – I already have enough of that.
Speaking of which, every day this week I have come to work in the morning and ended up feeling like wilted produce – harvested by migrant farm workers and then left in the back of a truck for hours under the glaring midday sun as the driver impatiently chews a toothpick and waits for clearance at the border. That is to say, it is hot enough for crotchpot cooking, with no relief in sight. The building managers haven’t turned on the air conditioners yet, and I can’t help but wonder if they receive some type of bonus for every day they put off flipping the switch. Or maybe they just don’t get out much from their offices in the basement, where it’s ten degrees cooler. I might collapse with heat stroke if I keep ranting much longer, so I’ll switch gears and tell you another reason why it took so long for me to post again.

Proper Forum

The other day I wrote a fairly long reply in the comments after derailing my own train of thought and forgetting whatever it was I originally intended on saying. It was in response to something my mom wrote in the comments about cleanliness being next to godliness. Since a couple friends and I have since hijacked that comment thread for a debauchery support group meeting this weekend, I figured it was only fair to bring that long comment out and let it stand on its own out here in the light:
Cleanliness: Diligence in keeping clean
Godliness: Piety by virtue of being a godly person
I can say with some confidence that these are fairly inaccurate descriptors for me. Need proof?
I’ve forgotten to dry the same load of laundry for two straight days now; I go home after work and upon tossing my sweaty clothes in the washing machine, I see that there is still a damp load in there from the night before. Not knowing the proper course of action, I simply start the washer again.
I can hear the merry sounds of rinse, spin, and drain cycles in the background as I make dinner or watch the news on tv, but by the time the machine is finished, I have invariably forgotten about it again. Not just for a few minutes, though. Not even for a few hours. No, I generally remember that I have to hang the clothes to dry right before I step out the door the next morning – by which time I am in a rush to get to work and will stop for nothing. So I curse and go to work and think about the ball of damp clothes fermenting in my washer at home periodically throughout the day. And I go home and the cycle starts anew…
This is not a big deal as of yet this time. My girlfriend has been gone for only two days, so we are not into a scary duration or anything – YET. Last time, she was gone for 19 days and I finally remembered to dry the laundry on the 18th day. I know what you’re thinking, I only remembered because I ran out of clothes, right? Wrong. You forget that I am a man. A normal man. And as such, if there are no clean clothes, I will recycle dirty ones for multiple uses without washing and never think twice about it.
The truth of the matter is, I only remembered on the 18th day because she called and specifically asked if the house was clean, the plants watered, the laundry done, etc., etc., etc.
Now, any man in his right mind would answer “yes”
in this situation:
– A cleanly man could truthfully say “yes” (but probably wouldn’t be asked in the first place.
– A godly man would have said “yes”, but later may have whispered “help me lord, I need a miracle.”
– I lied quite bluntly by saying “yes”, and in a total frenzy, attempted three weeks of laundry, dishes, and cleaning in one night.
She wasn’t fooled for a second. I guess it must have been pretty obvious with closetfuls of clothes hanging out to dry. This time, I know better. I am prepared. I will answer, “no.”


MOTHRA.jpgTaro always goes on and on about this movie we saw about moth-monsters killing people in abandoned subway tunnels; he used to run around saying “Mimic-san, mimic-san”whenever a moth would fly in the house… Hence the title of this post; the movie title was MIMIC here in Japan, but maybe went under a different name in the states (Country-specific movie titling is common in all countries. Well, maybe not in Luxembourg.). The title stemmed from the young autist who used spoons to create moth-like sounds to attract the monsters.
Obscurity of the day: The moths might have gone aggro if someone played track 8 from Soundgarden’s SUPERUNKNOWN album. (Google it you lazy bastard!)
This photo was taken at a highway rest stop at night, when 2 moths of the type shown were attracted to the white glow of an Asahi Beverage Co. (non-alcoholic) vending machine.