Tomorrow in Pink

And so it shall be. Tomorrow, July 1st, is the beginning of my end. Yes, tomorrow I will be wearing light bluish-gray trousers with elastic waistband, and a short-sleeve pink button down shirt w/red accents. It is unfathomably bad.
Yet I know you are all with me in spirit, yes?
Apparently so, for I have heard requests for pictures of the new duds from around the world! You are all bad people, and will burn in hell for teasing me. And yet, it somehow seems fitting (the hell part).
The thing is, I have never actually revealed my company on this blog – you may find it interesting that I made writing about my work experiences permissible part of my contract, back when I started the job 5+ years ago (although I only started blogging a couple years ago, I started writing the Salaryman Adventures in late 2000.) They basically told me to use discretion and not sell any blueprints to the Soviets, and I have honored those conditions. Posting a uniform is a gray area in my mind, insofar as that if you don’t know what major electronics company has a manufacturing base on Awajishima, neither should you be able to guess by our new metrosexual uniforms.
Plus, what am I? Your puppet? A dancing bear? Your biiiiiooooooootch? Must I heed your every whim and post humiliating photos of myself for your pleasure?
As a Japanese Yoda would say, “pondering, I must.”

Random Osaka Photos

Some snapshots from this past weekend, taken with my keitai:
Kinda funny about the cage thing, because the Japanese simply states, “no pets allowed.” Found @ Bic Camera in Namba.
BUBBLE MAN! New competition for the grape Fanta market, with a retro cartoon design that just screams, “designed by someone’s 14-year old nephew in MS Paint.” Seen here in a vending machine near Sankaku Koen.
Now we get to the creepy stuff. CUT FACE!?! If you are stupid enough to go to this barber shop, don’t some crying to us – remember, they still shave you with straight razors in Japan. Taken at a crosswalk on Nagahori-dori.
FAMILY LOVER! Another nomination for Engrish of the Year award. Yes, that is a painted rock. On sale at Tokyu Hands for 580 yen.

Samurai Racing

Personally, if I were promoting a racing team I wouldn’t use the name “Samurai” (the guys just don’t fit the part), and I wouldn’t drive around in a minivan with portraits of a bunch of pretty boys smeared on the windows and panels.
I have to mention something that I have found very ironic. In Asian American Studies classes, the professor always lectures about the feminization of Asians in Hollywood, and I agreed completely with them. It’s complete bullshit that Asians haven’t gotten many roles where they have balls or where women find them attractive.
But over here, as well as other Asian countries from what I have read, the younger generation plucks their eyebrows, dye their hair whimpy colors and get haircuts that should have stayed in the 80’s, wear berets and hair clips, and sometimes even use cosmetics. It’s not subtly effeminate, it’s straight up flamin’.
And no, I don’t think that all men can pull off a pink shirt (or most for that matter). It’s OK to wear, but it should also be fair game for those around to poke fun.
I wonder if the effeminate proto-Asian character appeals to the testosterone-challenged generation over here.

For Nairimas

This one is for our Tenri University classmate, now First Secretary at the Kenyan Embassy in Tokyo:

Peasant farmer Daniel M’Mburugu was tending to his potato and bean crops in a rural area near Mount Kenya when the leopard charged out of the long grass and leapt on him.
M’Mburugu had a machete in one hand but dropped that to thrust his fist down the leopard’s mouth. He gradually managed to pull out the animal’s tongue, leaving it in its death-throes.

I, myself, would have tried appealing to the leopard’s sensitive side and pleaded for my life, and that having failed, wept pitifully. He ripped out a leopard’s tongue with his bare hands. That’s a REAL man.
Read the full story here: LINK

The great gas/electric stove debate

Following along the culinary lines of yesterday’s show-and-tell where I revealed the amazing blowfish hand axe, here’s an interesting link about common kitchen myths.
Some of the myths themselves are amusing: Are there really so many people that believe cold water (or previously boiled water) boils faster than warm water?
On the other hand, nobody will ever convince me that electric ranges are better than gas, even with the 240 volt models overseas… I mean really, is “simmering” even a worthy point of contention? It’s not exactly something that people who like cooking even think about, in my mind. In fact, I would theoretically worry more about simmering on an electric range because of the heat retention of the heating elements/surface for the first few moments.
As far as an electric range being faster for boiling a large pot of water, wow. I concede the honor.
And as for escaping heat and energy efficiency, I consider this to be the tradeoff for being able to cook better-tasting food, which is the standard by which nearly all cooking comparisons should be based on anyway; I have never seen BTU ratings specified in a recipe.
One other nit I must pick for Queen (and not my) Country:
You can heat a cup of water in the microwave. You can put a teabag in it. However, the average Joe would be surprised to find out that the result is actually not a cup of tea. “Why,” you ask: It’s an Oreo “biscuit” thing, baby.

My new pride and joy

This is my new fugu knife… which may sound confusing because I have zero intention of ever preparing puffers at home and never had an “old” one, but as you can see, is an apt description nonetheless. I did not need to sharpen it before use because it was more than razor sharp out of the box – very impressive!. The curved blade has a long sweet spot and makes both chopping vegetables and deboning fowl very easy.

The balance is just about right for chopping, but I may upgrade the handle with moulded Pachmayr grips and uranium counterweights for proper dicing action. Also, after I add a golden chrysanthemum seal and a long tang that supports my finger-forward fighting style, this should prove to be an excellent weapon of mass destruction.

Yes, this is my idea of a political blog post.


Osaka Taxi

Just remembered this from Sunday: Four of us got in a cab and headed toward the Hankyu department store to grab a bite on one of the upper floors, before the whole thing gets redone later this year. The cab driver was female. This was only the second time I’ve ever seen a female driver, and we all had fun asking her about the taxi business from her perspective, etc. We had one of those “friendly repoire with the cabbie” things going pretty well; in all, a very cool experience. I guess I got a bit too into the whole thing, though.
The question of why all cabbies, independents and company employees alike, have to wear black (or dark blue) was posed; our driver did not know. Then, as we passed a line of people dressed in black standing at a bus stop, someone from the back seat wondered out loud why they were all dressed that way (they were dressed a bit strange, kind of an Elderly Kansai Goth type of look). Someone offered the obvious, saying “funeral,” but I tried my luck with “because they’re all cabbies.”
The car became instantly silent, and the driver’s eyes visibly bulged out of her head as she bit her tongue.
In retrospect, I may have been lucky that she didn’t slam on the brakes, punch me in the mouth, and throw us out of the car right there. She was that pissed.
Been in this country more than a decade; still haven’t lost the touch, I guess.

My Ainu Roots

A while back, somebody explaining my family ancestry told me that I’m part Ainu. Which is funny, because when I first met my fiance’s dad, he said I looked part Ainu, and I thought he was crazy (I may have Russian sailor blood in me, as evidenced by the occasional rogue bright orange hair on my face, but Ainu?). It turns out that he was right (actually no real surprise since he taught anthropology at Mahasarakham University for a few decades – as usual, I turned out to be the dumbass).
I like how the Wikipedia entry states that men eat with chopsticks, and women eat with wooden spoons. Do Ainu women usually choose the “soup” entree instead of the “salad” (as opposed to their counterparts in most other areas of the world)? And how the hell do any of them dig into, say, roasted wolf shanks, or a boiled badger steak?
I’m not religious, but I find animism to be really cool sometimes, especially among the all the current day bullshit caused by religious intolerance. Give me a fire-worshipping, wine-sipping, animal-head-sacrificing pagan any goddamn day.
Can the person who orginally told me I’m Ainu please stand up? I can’t remember who it was, but it was almost definitely my mom.

Club Sazae Umeda

Through a fiendish twist of events involving Air France stewardesses and fresh squeezed lemon chu-hi, I found myself at a club in Umeda on Saturday night, actually their opening weekend. Basically, the whole experience made me remember why I stopped going to clubs:
– I’m too old for that shit
– Shitty music played by the wannabe rockstar Djs; from the sound of it, you would never guess that house music has actually progressed in the last ten years
– The “fog of war,” cigarette smoke so thick you have to light your own to make it bearable
– Insufferable wannabe yakuza penislickers who insist on staring down everyone that has the gall to walk by their group; strategically positioned next to the restrooms, of course
– New laser/LED lightshows with New! Improved! Dazzle! guaranteed to cause at least a few seizures in the pit every night
– Old women showing sagging tit
– Antibeer: Beer that is the antithesis of cheap, cold, and very un-urinish in taste and appearance
I just have to repeat how truly awful the music was: It was shit, shit, shit. If you were the DJ working CLUB SAZAE this past Saturday, please know that even a retarded chimpanzee could have mixed your Best of Ibiza CD collection better (and yes, I know you were mixing CDs on a shit setup because I heard the track flutter during your fagalicious “fade ‘n cues”).

Star Wars Analysis by Neal Stephenson

Over at the NY Times: Turn On, Tune In, Veg Out

The first “Star Wars” movie 28 years ago was distinguished by healthy interplay between veg and geek scenes. In the climactic sequence, where rebel fighters attacked the Death Star, we repeatedly cut away from the dogfights and strafing runs – the purest kind of vegging-out material – to hushed command bunkers where people stood around pondering computer displays, geeking out on the strategic progress of the battle.
All such content – as well as the long, beautiful, uncluttered shots of desert, sky, jungle and mountain that filled the early episodes – was banished in the first of the prequels (“Episode I: The Phantom Menace,” 1999). In the 16 years that separated it from the initial trilogy, a new universe of ancillary media had come into existence. These had made it possible to take the geek material offline so that the movies could consist of pure, uncut veg-out content, steeped in day-care-center ambience. These newer films don’t even pretend to tell the whole story; they are akin to PowerPoint presentations that summarize the main bullet points from a much more comprehensive body of work developed by and for a geek subculture.

There’s something about this article that got me thinking about the Metaverse from Stephenson’s classic, Snow Crash. About how Julia became more famous than the rest of the programming team because she worked on the faces of the avatars inhabiting the Metaverse, to which peopled turned out paying most attention.
Or the way the barons of bandwidth and media controlled the seething masses… It’s happening right before your eyes, at this very moment! Run away!