Maguro no Magure

TUNAKARE.jpgTo me, this picture is more ironic than funny, but let’s try you first: This is a reheatable foil pouch containing a single seving of Tuna Curry.
There. Get it? I’m a loser who spends time taking pictures of every strange package in the supermarket on weekends instead of being productive. Funny, right? Yeah, go fuck a duck, pal.
(Inside my head, the taunting voice recedes.)
Well actually, this photo is a memento of sorts. You see, Nam and I are trying to eat more fish, which I am morally against since I am a strict vegetarian when it comes to most fish… Well, it’s not that bad. We eat fish at least 2-3 times a week. But we wanted more variety, so I suggested trying to make curry with fish instead of meat, since I had eaten good fish curry in Bangkok before. It was a yellow curry with a nice non-oily fish (my favorite type). Not as good as a meat curry, but probably healthier. Well, Nam ended up making this masterpiece which scared the hell out of me when I saw it, but tasted pretty good. She made a red curry with SALMON. When I first saw those pink chunks in our curry bowl, I thought “sacrilege!” and “thoughtcrime!” But it turned out tasting pretty good (Kinda gross for brekky, though.). Nam said we should try making it next time with tuna or some other “meaty” fish.
Lo and behold! Some company already thought of it. A miracle. But not miraculous enough for me to buy it at 490 yen per package. We’ll make our own fish curry, thank you very much.

The Italian Job

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The Italian joint inside the hotel had an all-you-can-eat deal for 1600 yen. On the expensive side for lunch, but there was a good looking spread as viewed from the cash register where we Please Waited for a Hostess to Seat Us.
Now, I should have been dismayed at the fact that the first three entrees in the buffet line were markedly un-Italian (chow mein, fried rice, egg rolls), but I have been in Japan too long for shit like that to faze me. I piled up heaps of “Me Chinese” food next to pasta, salads, and sea bass cause I had built up an appetite making fun of posters in the elevator ride up (no pics, unfortunately).
The food looked pretty good and my stomach was rumbling as I raced to our table with my spread. Taro and I ate pretty much in silence, because we were still slightly hungover and we were stuffing ourselves. It was a full five minutes until we both remarked on how flavorless the food was. We had been fooled by the presentation of the buffet, nice decor, and efficient staff, and unwittingly stuffed ourselves with the Japanese equivalent of Shitty Buffet Food. The photo shows a plate of mini cheesecakes that I arranged nicely on a plate. This unfortunately did not disguise the fact that they tasted like sawdusty cream cheese lumps.
I would stretch the rant longer, but I am working on self-control recently, and really, is there any better revenge than letting the Shitty Italian Restaurant in the Mitsui Garden Hotel (Nara Branch) underspice its pathetic, bland way into obscurity with much help from its obviously inept, untalented, and most definitely un-Italian chefs & planning staff? Oh yeah, I guess I could always SLANDER IT ON THE INTERNET.
Props out to Al Gore for inventing this shit.

Calamari

An excellent article on Architeuthis in the New Yorker:

“There was this big thing hanging off the front of the net,” Robison recalled. “The suckers were still grasping.” Robison’s discovery offered the most accurate recording yet of a giant squid’s depth in the water column. “Until then, most people thought they were only near the bottom,” he said. Robison later dissected the tentacle and performed chemical analyses; the consistency of the tissue, and its high level of protein, led him to speculate that the giant squid was “a relatively strong swimmer.” Robison told me that he had taken a bite of its raw, rubbery flesh. “How could I not?” he said, adding, “It was bitter.”

Wax on

The Japanese title for “The Karate Kid” is “Best Kid“, which is kind of funny if you think about why they felt compelled to replace a perfectly understandable title (to the average Jiro or Hanako, anyway) for one that makes a hell of a lot less sense and sounds, well, kinda gay (You the bestest, Daniel-san! Done waxing the floor? Time to wax that a**!). But there goes my homophobic reflex again, soiling an otherwise pristine musing. Speaking of gay, the soundtrack for this movie is so synthesizically enhanced it makes me embarassed to have grown up in the same era. Otherwise, I find it a pleasure to watch once every few years or so.
Imagine my surprise when I found the Cobra-kai in real life. They have high-ranking fighters in the Japanese PANCRASE “hyper-wrestling” league, and they live up to their movie reputation. Basically, they all wear black short-sleeve gi and act like assholes during the tournaments, especially after they win.
What is our motto, ladies?
Strike First! Strike Hard! No Mercy, Sir!

OLD OR VERGIN

WOOOHOOOO!:
LOTTERIA LA PRIMITIVA.
AVNIDA DE AMERICA 137, MADRID – ESPAムA
FROM: THE DESK OF THE PROMOTIONS MANAGER,
INTERNATIONAL PROMOTIONS/PRIZE AWARD DEPARTMENT,
REF: LP/26510460037/03 BATCH: 24/00319/IPD
( CONGRATULATION)
DEAR SIR,
AWARD NOTIFICATION FINAL NOTICE.
We are pleased to inform you of the announcement, of winners of the
LOTTERY PRIMITIVA SWEEPSTAKES/INTERNATIONAL PROGRAMS held on 4th
december,2003.the late release of this result was due to difficulties encountered in sorting out mixed up numbers and email addresses,thatエs why we have been working 24 hours to see that everything is ok.
Your name is attached to ticket number 004-05117963-198, with serial
number 99375 drew the lucky numbers 31-33 -34-35-36-42, and
consequently,won the lottery in the 3rd category. You have therefore been approved for a lump sum pay out of (€uros 847,824,) EIGHT HUNDRED AND FOURTY SEVEEN THOUSAND,EIGHT HUNDRED AND TWENTY-FOUR EUROS. in cash credited to file No:LP/26510460037/02.This is from total prize money of EUROS (€80,400,000.00,)EIGHTY MILLION FOUR HUNDRED THOUSAND EUROS, shared among the twenty two international winners in this category.
All participants were selected through a computer ballot system drawn
form 25,000 names from Australia, New Zealand, America, Europe, North
America and Asia as part of International Promotions Program, which is
conducted annually. CONGRATULATIONS!!! Your fund is now insured to your
name. Due to the mix up of some numbers and names, however you are please advise to keep this award away from public notice, until your claim has been processed and your money remitted to your account.
This is part of our security protocol to avoid double claiming or
unscrupulous acts by participants of this program. We hope with a part
of you prize, you will participate in our end of year high stakes
Euros 1.1 billion International Lottery. To begin your claim, please contact your claims agent, Mr Michel Sarda (FOREIGN OPERATION MANAGERS)
at TEL:00-34-666904261,EMAIL:DIRECTSTRIKE@EMAILACCOUNT.COM. and dont forget to send the following information because is very inportant.
YOUR NAME:
YOUR ADRESS:
YOUR TEL AND YOUR FAX:
YOUR BANK NAME:
YOUR BANK ADDRESS:
YOUR BANK TEL AND FAX:
YOUR ACCOUNT NUMBER OLD OR VERGIN:
All this areFor due processing and remittance of your prize money to a
designated account with our bankers. Remember, all prize money must be
claimed not later than 27th july, 2004. After this date, all funds
will be returned as unclaimed. NOTE: In order to avoid unnecessary
delays and complications, please remember to quote your reference and
batch numbers in every one of your correspondences with your agent.
Furthermore, should there be any change of your address, do inform your
claims agent as soon as possible. Congratulations again from all our
staff and thank you for being part of our promotions programm.
(CONGRATULATION)
REGARDS
MR RUBEN GARCIA
DIRECTOR
//
I guess this means I don’t have to go to work tomorrow.

Chloraseptic

An absolute lifesaver. I must be spraying an equivalent of a full shot of the cherry-flavored stuff every night. It’s the only thing stopping me from scratching the inside of my throat with a wire coat hanger.
I don’t take it to work with me because I’m afraid I’d accidentally leave it there, and then I’d have to go a whole night – or in the case of today, a whole weekend without it. I already suffer (and make those around me suffer) from apnea, so without my trusty blood red Chloraseptic spray, my girlfriend would probably smother me with a pillow halfway through the night. On a related note, last night we slept under a mosquito net that she brought back from Thailand as a sort of joke and rigged up on in our bedroom by hanging from cheap resin string attached to the curtain rods, door stops, and the ceiling light. It was kind of fun at first since it added an Indy Jones-ish mystique to our typically Japanese tatami-matted room, but sleeping under it can be described aptly in a single word: Claustrophobic.
It may have been psychological, but it felt ten degrees hotter under that thin netting than the rest of the room, and I spent all night dreaming of being a female replicant being chased by Harrison Ford and wearing a wedding veil in a stuffy old warehouse – a true testament to the power of movies! Anyway. I woke up this morning to the sound of my alarm clock ringing (it really rings when you have a headache, doesn’t it?), and did the good old “blind wild cougar swipe” in the general direction of the evil sleepkiller… And brought the ceiling light crashing down on my leg since my swipe thrashed the so-easily-forgotten mosquito net just hard enough to pull the string attached to the light etc. etc. and so forth (compliment The King and I, Yule-not-Chow-Yun version). But all was not lost cuz the bulb Did Not Break.
Girlfriend wakes up, covered in limp netting yet in all her morning beauty, and sweetly asks, “WHAT IN THE HELL ARE YOU DOING?”
If you ask me, who am I supposed to ask?

Synergistic Counter-Strike

So it turns out that my girlfriend brought back more for me from Thailand than met the eye. I inherited this Bangkok bug that is just laying me to waste. For starters, a 24/7 splitting headache that can only be fought off with the Big Green Pills (Nyquil). Sore throat. Sporadic coughing and lung-boogers. General shit-like feeling and soreness of joints. Compounded by the crappy weather today – rainy, hot, and humid – and the screwy air conditioning in our office which means I suck down cold humid air instead of hot humid air. As you can imagine, the overall effect this bug has puts me in a foul mood, which is kinda irritating since I’m normally such a rosy-tempered motherfucker.
So I was killing hordes and hordes of Koreans and Chinese playing Counter-Strike last night (154 kills – 28 deaths!), when this guy “[hxr]Chiang” starts accusing me of cheating and initiates a kick-vote against me. I didn’t get kicked. But I stopped playing for a while to take the Big Green Pills and found I was out of soda water (tap water in Sumoto has started to taste moldy; it will return to normal in the fall again). So I popped the pills with a beer, some designer pilsner I bought on our trip to Gifu last year that cost 800 yen per 500 ml bottle (which seemed like a good deal at the time since I was wasted on hot sake and paying for 10,000 yen Matsuzaka steaks – but that’s another story).
When I joined the server again, Primeiro Comando (run by nikkei-Brasilians up near Yokosuka), the Terrorist and Counter-terrrorist teams were split by country, which is a pretty common occurrence these days. Basically, Americans and Japanese players typically play the CT role and all other nationalities gang up on us, planting bombs, killing hostages, and trying to smoke our yankee asses in the quickest ways possible. As I said, this is all just the usual shit playing CS in Japan. I never take the bait when these fools bait me in the in-line chat saying shit about how fun it is to see Americans and Israilies beheaded by ragheads and how if it were them, they’d have shit down their necks and stump-fucked them, etc. etc. etc. (it really is a wonderful game, you should try it sometime)
Well, as it happens, the Big Green Pill and Mr. Pilsner decided to put me in an altered state of sorts, and while William Hurt never appeared and I didn’t climb into my furo, close the lid, and declare it an isolation chamber in which I could de-evolutionize, I did manage to knife in the head the previously mentioned [hxr]Chiang even though he was spraying at me wildly with an AK, win the round, and then type in the chat before the next round, so everyone could see, “0wnz0red.”
Oh my. I’m afraid I singlehandedly started WWIII online because the racial epithets, cheating accusations, and high school level political commentary got quite thick, and ended with somebody crashing the server with a DDOS attack. I just signed out for the night and zonked out, dreaming of the valley of Big Green Pills. I only woke up because mosquitoes were biting the hell out of my ass, literally, and I had fallen asleep with the sliding glass door open, not knowing about the mini-typhoon which blew rain onto my tatami and reminded me of monsoon season on faraway exotic beaches.

Leave the Goddamn Chihuahua Alone

Oh great. As soon as I give props to a band, they turn around and insert shiv directly in my spinal column. The MTV page I linked to in my previous post has a link on the right side:
Audioslave’s Tom Morello To Protest Taco Bell
Hey Tom (or is that Mr. Nightwatchman?), stop quoting Cesar Chavez and shut the fuck up! The fucking chihuahua loves Cesar Chavez, but if you bring down the Evil Empire and leave us with nothing but Green Burrito/Carls Jr. franchises and Delfucking Tacos, I’ll be really pissed.

Ex-Civilian (Audioslave)

A mix between Back in Black and The Joshua Tree would be interesting but the only thing I really care about is that it doesn’t SUCK. This is one of the only recent bands worth listening to. Period.
I may have a line on some studio recordings for the second album. I will update on this later. Just remember, I had the full Battle of Los Angeles CD in stere-ereo a full month before it went on sale (of course, so did half of the other Hotline haxxors). But that was a long time ago. Let’s just say that an old friend happened by the other day.
Here is a good Audioslave bio, including a bit that my brother and I disputed often regarding the rumors of a break up before their first album.
Note: If you are a hit parader, you have no right to comment on this post.

Buddhism Wireless Life ???

There’s this really weird GoogleAd on the Blogspot banner over at the Big Ho’s right now. The link says “Buddhism Wireless Life” and links to http://www.wiphi.net/. No link, because there is something sinister about the site. Like the webmaster is watching the hit logs in realtime, tracing your IP, and watching you surf his site through your own monitor as he masturbates with Pringles-greasy fingers. Brother J says Yuck.
I’m not surprised that comment implementation for Blogger sucks big hazelnuts, but I’m kinda bummed I didn’t get to troll the Ho at least once. Dammit. Sending E-mail is so non-whorish. Plus, you gotta click like five times or something. Too much effort!

Festival at Miwa Shrine

Following their animistic roots, Cosmic Buddha went to the Miwa Grand Shrine as first documented in this post. Since then, I repeatedly forgot about some of the other photos waiting to be uploaded, but suddenly remembered today. So without further ado:
temizutukaikata.jpg
This lovely illustrated guide tells you how to cleanse yourself before entering the sanctuary.
redhelmet.jpg
This is one of the five samurai on site for the celebrations. He was smoking a short Hope (US equivalent: Camel straight). There were supposed to be 300 samurai. Kansai Timeout, you suck (unless you published a link to this site as one reader reported, in which case you rock, doodz).
lastsamurai.jpg
This old guy cracked me up. He had more energy in those old bones than anyone else at the festival.
mikoshistairs1.jpg
The moment of truth! The mikoshi is carried from the shrine to the outer sanctuary in a flurry of oioiois and yoshas.
mikomaddog.jpg
OK this is classic. I thought my picture taking went unnoticed but look at the ” what a perv” expressions on these miko. I tell you, real virgins wouldn’t have such fire in their eyes. The one on the left is straight out of a Tale of Genji woodblock print. Now that’s a virginal pose…
platformshooztengu.jpg
I have this strange obsession with wooden footwear… It’s just so cool.

Top 15 Names for Wal-Mart Wine

15. Box O’ Grapes
14. Chateau du Crack Chardonnay
13. White Trashfindel
12. Big Red Gulp
11. Grape Expectations
10. Domaine Wal-Mart “Merde du Pays”
9. Sam’s Dog 20/20
8. Chef Boyardeaux
7. Trucker’s Choice
6. Blue Light Special Nun
5. Chateau des Moines
4. Mogen Darryl
3. I Can’t Believe It’s Not Vinegar!
2. World Championship Wriesling
and the Number 1 Name for Wal-Mart Wine…
1. Nasti Spumanti
Courtesy of my reader, Jen

Vendor Problems

It’s never a fun thing to have to deal with yakuza because of a fuck-up created in your own procurement department.
Before Golden Week, the stupid noobie manager in Procurement, down the hall, decided to use a local company to mold parts for our products and went by their office yesterday afternoon for a friendly chat because the parts never arrived. He ended up coming straight to our office crying and about to wet his pants after noticing matching Ferraris and a Bentley in the car park of their gated office complex.
Fuck. The dumbshit picked, out of all the experienced vendors located in and around Kansai, a goddamn money trap. My manager is determined to get out of any situation we may find ourselves in without paying a single fucking yen to these guys. I find it ironic that I know otherwise and will have to explain to him why at some point in time. They hired me for my overseas business skills, but this time it’s as local as it gets. Man, they really lit a fire under my manager’s ass. He’s been in meetings with higher-ups all day. These corporate mafia types know how to threaten big companies, because that’s how they make a living. These guys are small time, though. This can be squashed at the lower levels.
I am so sick and tired of these petty mafia fucks popping up all over. Always gotta be on guard out here on the island. It’s a goddamn yakuza retirement community. One accident with the wrong car, and your ass is seaweed fertilizer. Hell, I joke about it, but another manager in this room is still making monthly payments to a yak his daughter bumped into at a nearby intersection more than five years ago. Goddamn it.