Akashi Kaikyo Park

They have finally opened the grounds used for the Awaji Hanahaku (Flower Festival) in Y2K for public viewing again. It has been scaled down in size and now esists as a nice place to spend on a sunny day. The number of flower exhibits is much less than before, which is actually nice because it should keep down the number of tour buses trundling over the bridge during the summer. I took my girl and a couple of her visisting friends there today and fought against the dwindling sunlight to capture a few decent photos. I like how they turned out and have put them on a dedicated page because of their cumulative size. Click on the link below to see them.

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Naked Sweaty Fat Men

Last night, I ordered tickets to the Nagoya Sumo Tournament in July for myself and 11 other lucky peeps (You can order Sumo tickets for any of the Nihon Sumo Kyokai-sanctioned tournaments through English language websites by following the links on the official page. For unsanctioned matches, visit any university judo dorm after the mat-burned, caulifower-eared judo-ka are done with their circle jerks and herd into the baths for communal back rubs.).
It’s gonna be an OG-style Cosmic Buddha roadtrip! I think the last time we did one of these was back in college! Characteristically, we are still lacking a good bass player. No worries, though, we always find someone at the last minute. Since I only have 9 solid members for a total of 12 tickets, I guess I can bribe some random bassist if it comes to that.

From: sumo@chunichi.co.jp
Thank you very much for buying your Grand Sumo Nagoya Tournament tickets through us.
Sagawa Express will deliver your tickets to the address you entered.
Please pay the delivery person for the tickets at the time they are delivered.
Sub-total: 123,600yen (including tax)
Shipping fee: 950yen (including tax)
Amount billed: 124,550yen
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.

QUESTION!: Why the HELL don’t you have a different payment system going you stupid idiots? Ten years ago if you asked ANYONE IN JAPAN to hand over a grand in cash over to ANY EMPLOYEE of SAGAWA EXPRESS, you would be laughed off the World Wide Web. Aside from the fact that very few people keep over a hundred thousand yen in cash on top of their getabako (shoe box) next to their inkan (personal seal/stamp), WHY THE FUCK WOULD WE WANT TO HAND OVER THAT MUCH MOOCH TO THE EMPLOYEE OF A TROUBLED COMPANY KEPT AFLOAT BY ITS PRESIDENT BRIBING GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS WITH OVER FOUR MILLION DOLLARS IN ORDER TO KEEP BANKERS FROM COLLECTING ON THEIR DEBTS?
Actually, that doesn’t concern me so much as the fact that I have to prepare exact change. I hate that the delivery company guys never carry any change when they go out on daibiki (cash on delivery) runs. I mean, if the pizza boy can do it, you should be able to, too.
Disclaimer: The above rant about former Sagawa Express President Hiroyasu Watanabe was not intended to be critical of modern-day Japanese gangsters (who by the way, almost never cut off fingers), and yes I am aware that with the present day economic situation you could probably bribe a politician with Hello Kitty seat covers for his Toyota Prius and a twenty dollar handjob.

In Case of Emergency…

Work screed alert: If my writing about work at a large Japanese electronics company doesn’t tickle your fancy, please take a minute to bite me (I’m tired of e-mails dictating what I can and cannot write about, particularly ones from “Japan experts”. Go and kiss chrysanthemums somewhere else.).
Now then. Suppose that you were late for work on the first day of the new fiscal year, and that you walked into the office as your co-workers were halfway through the “morning exercise” routine. Would you:
A. Enthusiastically do jumping-jacks with the rest of the sheep while moving toward your desk
B. Sit at your desk and wait for normalcy to return while starting up your PC
C. Upon seeing the madness as you entered the room, quietly slip back out the door and lurk in the john for a few minutes
D. Run into the room, scream “FIRE”, and run back out
I am not a total ovine quite yet as I chose B. A guy who sits close to me opted for A, and another opted for C. Now that I have had my ass chewed off for choosing B, I wish that I had instead chosen D. A brand new senior manager made a point of getting in my face about not performing the exercises, which would be fine except that he did it out loud so that everybody could hear, a full-on drill sergeant dressing-down. Luckily, the general manager, who is a great friend, stepped in and squashed the whole thing, ending with “Anybody else who can do the work Justin does is entitled to ignore the exercises as well, hell I might stop doing them myself.” As flattering as that statement was, about 50,000 red warning lights went off in my head at once and all I could think of was getting out from between two duelists. The room was silent. Nobody in the office is coming over to chat today. It’s days like this when I really look forward to my future life in Thailand, perhaps tending a herd of water buffalo or chasing flocks of birds away rice paddies with the kids.
I wish I had kids already. I would go home tonight and sit with them at dinner and they would ask what I did at work today. I would say, “kids, today daddy became a pawn in an inter-office power play!”
“Wow, coooool” they would reply.
Then I would relate to them all that happened today in detail and what was to be learned from it all. Which is, of course, “if you ever walk into an uncomfortable situation, scream ‘FIRE’ at the top of your lungs and run out of the room as fast as you can.”