Modded K-car

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Spotted in front of a Lawson’s convenience store. For such a small car, it made a pretty big racket with the turbo hissing. The middle-aged dude driving the car took off with a just-bought beer in hand. You could tell that he was doing what he loved to do.
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GO JOE!

Oh god, I can’t stop laughing:

“You didn’t whup everybody yet, Scarlett,” Stalker said. He pointed behind her with a subtle smile. She turned to find the quietest Joe of the bunch – Snake-Eyes. He wore a hat that seemed to hide his face somewhat, but Scarlett could see he was handsome and noticed his intense eyes. She would have found him attractive if she wasn’t about to kick his ass. Snake-Eyes stepped forward, and they fought longer than the other Joes had, with Snake-Eyes obviously trained better than the others. Scarlett smiled at the challenge. But she finally got the better of him. As Snake-Eyes recovered, Scarlett was a little confused. She could tell that Snake-Eyes was better trained than even her. He had LET her win… She held back a smile, wondering why he did it…

Relive your childhood fantasies at the G.I. JOE EROTICA FAN FICTION ARCHIVE.

Missing Drummer

It seems Big Dave and his wife are currently living one of my greatest nightmares, stranded in Formosa:
“michiko and i are stuck in taiwan thanks to the typhoon. should be back thursday afternoon at the latest. crap!!!”
That be major suckage, dude. Stay safe and don’t take cover in a Nike factory.

1.5 Million Tons of Umami

This is a question I have asked myself many times over the years spent here in Japan:
If MSG is so bad for you, why doesn’t everyone in Asia have a headache?

Hell, I just had a discussion about it a few weeks ago when T asked why westerners treat MSG (found in salt shakers that adorn the tabletops of many Asian countries, right next to the soy sauce, chili paste, etc.) with such… suspicion. I told him how it’s just accepted that it’s bad stuff, but realized I didn’t know why, and decided to look into it. It’s pure coincidence that I stumbled upon this article today, and it was a revelation of sorts.
The thing is, I didn’t even know that Ajinomoto was pure MSG until I came here, because I’d never even seen it in the states – I was born in 1974, and I remember hearing about the evils of it when I was around 7 or 8. One of my aunts said that she could tell when there was MSG in Chinese food because it made her neck tingle, the conversation turned into a discussion of the dangers of artificial food additives. Impressionable young mind that I had, I just accepted it as fact, and I’m pretty sure that almost everyone in my fresh, organic, free-range, sun-dried, gourmet, blessed-by-Tibetan-monks, zero-calorie, low-carb, pre-chewed-by-endangered-squirrels, natural, fibrous, pesticide-free, and overall, just nutritionally superior home state of California did, too.
Now that I’ve read that article and checked some other sites, it kind of pisses me off to think that the virtual ban on monosodium glutamate in the US was based on such weak evidence. It’s not especially surprising, since in the context of the 70’s, for a Chinese-sounding doctor to criticize the preparation of cheap takeout fare from the Lucky Dragon/Golden Palace/Wing Chun’s must have seemed like he really knew what the fuck he was talking about. It is, however, disappointing.
Sure, the potential for it being harmful is there. I just wish it could be scientifically proven one way or the other before being scared into the public.

The paperwork begins

For those of you who are easily impressed, the following was typed out entirely on my keitai on the long bus ride home. I think I was slightly feverish.
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I’ve been away since last Friday, when Nam and I went to the US Consulate General and the Thai Embassy, both located in Osaka. Our purpose was to get Certificates of Competency to Marry (The fact that one must swear on their “competency to marry” on paper really bothers me for some reason, but it’s not really worth going into. Suffice to say that it’s stupid in concept, and completely meaningless in reality.), and I took the day off so we could ride the early bus from Awaji and get there when the doors opened at 9:00AM.
Imagine my delight when we got to the American consulate on schedule, only to find a it a complete zoo outside the front doors. People outside were trying to get in but were being pushed into semi-lines by a security guards, all being watched over by the cops assigned embassy duty. It was kind of a slap in the face after not having been to an American embassy for a while – in a crowd of unhappy people with problems, where the air smells of desperation. Luckily, I know what to do in that situation, I raised my absolutely beautiful US passport high up in the air, screamed I’M AN AMERICAN! MOVE, MOTHERFUCKERS!, which parted the crowd very nicely, and made a beeline for the front door, dragging my very reluctant and embarrassed future wife along by the arm. The door guard checked my passport and asked if I liked apple pie and Bruce Springsteen, to which I correctly responded, “a-la-mode! and the Boss fucking rules!” Hearing the secret words got him pumped up, and he gave me a high five. As we entered the building, I glanced over my shoulder to see him spraying mace over the crowd like canned confetti and cracking random heads with his baton while shouting AMERICA, FUCK YEAH!
On a more positive tip, the vice consul signed my documents and was a rather nice man. He gave me a tip for filling out a warden registration form: To make sure I wrote Nam’s name down as well, so that in an emergency situation he could “order the helicopter to pick up your wife as well, even though she’s not American.” FUCK YEAH!
With the American paperwork out of the way, it was time to tackle the Thai side of the equation. We had a sort-of appointment for the afternoon at the embassy, so we ate lunch first. I say “sort-of” because even though it was a real appointment, that kind of stuff doesn’t really matter in Thailand a lot of the time. People show up hours late for appointments, and it’s considered normal. Of course, this sucks when you need actually need something done on time, so we went in an hour earlier than scheduled. The Thai embassy was – how can I state this – so very laid back. The staff was friendly, the diplomatic bigwigs sat along with everyone else in a common workspace instead of getting fellated, or signing peace treaties, or whatever it is those dudes actually do in their offices.
The real surprise was the seemingly complete absence of security staff or protection details of any kind in the whole building, especially since the embassy is located directly above the Osaka branch of Bangkok Bank – if the ambassador is ever taken hostage there to cover a bank job downstairs, just remember that I predicted it first (and I also hereby reserve the rights for use of this plot in a really bad B-movie directed by Germans).
In the end, we successfully completed the first round of marriage paperwork. The rest of the weekend was basically spent cursing the miserable weather, which tainted everything we tried to do. For instance, T’s band opened for a rave on Mt. Kasuragi where they expected up to 2,000 people; the actual number was in the double digits, including staff. On a more positive tip, there was so much natural fog complimenting the rain that they didn’t need a fog machine. I felt slightly guilty for waking up my little brother in the morning and coercing him into go with us: But you GOTTA come man, it’s ROCK ‘N ROLL! FUCK YEAH!

The Golden Three

These long, dreary trips out to factories way out in the country – I will not miss them.
When you leave the concrete landscapes of urban sprawl and start seeing more trees than cars, you know you have left the embrace of modern Japan. Strange things start occuring to you in the sweltering heat of an uncontrolled climate, as the lush green of summer passes by.
Perhaps the majority of Japanese will die never having peed in the woods.
Most have never camped outside for free, or without being in close proximity of the car they came in.
Surely, none would know how to wage a guerilla war from the forest and fire an M-60 one-handed like John Rambo.
Like I said, the heat gets to you. But the reason I will not miss these trips out to factories in the sticks is not really the locales persay, it’s the people who work in them. You see, it’s my own private theory that for the vast majority of Japanese people, happiness can be directly calculated from the concentration of convenience stores, train stations, and pachinko parlors in their proximity. Remove just one of these factors from the equation, and you are tempting fate.
It’s like the triangle theory of efficient kitchen design – you want the sink, the stove, and the refrigerator positioned equidistantly.
Anyway, factories are usually located out in the boonies, and the ones I visit are no exception. The workers live close by in dorms or cheap apartments (that they jokingly refer to as “log mansions”), and you can tell there is a serious lack of the Golden Three, as mentioned above, because everyone looks seriously brain dead, and zombified, and honestly, just plain uninterested in living much longer.
In Japan, it is very hard working with brain dead zombies who have lost the will to live in the sweltering heat of pre-summer.
That is all.

Remote Damage Report

Because today did not start off so well (I almost got in TWO accidents on the way to work, where I was promptly chastised for not buttoning down the button-down collars on my new pink shirt – how could I make something like that up?), I was happy to read my mom’s commentary on the party they had at home. Apparently, we in the Land of the Big Red Rising Riceball missed out on:
– Hot Dogs
– Barbecued Kalbi
– Silver Queen corn
– Homegrown zucchini, eggplant, Maui onions, and bell peppers
– My Auntie Betty’s potato salad, fresh-baked cookies, and a “crusty, crunchy coffee toffee cake”
– 20 pounds of King crab legs
– Case of oysters
– Lumpia
– Auntie Ling’s steamed ginger/scallion flounder and deep-fried flounder
…and to top it all off, S’mores.
The thing that really gets me though, is that they were able to make S’mores in our fireplace. Living in Japan for so long, I basically forgot those things existed.

Happy Fourth!

I love America! I hope you do, too. America is where I will return one day, so I would like to take the time out to express how I am sharing our wonderful culture overseas. Although I will be missing out on hamburgers, hot dogs, fireworks, and my drunken uncles in the backyard this year, I hope to make up for it with some educational office entertainment.
Take for example our newly developed game called “Gayser Tag.” Based chiefly on the color of our new uniforms, Gayser Tag is a pastime the entire office can enjoy! What you do first is play rock-scissor-paper to determine who is Gay. The Gay is then beaten and dragged through the hallways on a cross – JUST KIDDING! – the Gay tries to turn other people gay by touching them when, and where, they least expect it. If you feel the Gayness creeping up on you, you just cover your crotch with both hands and shout, “I am Sakurambo” (sakurambo = cherry boy)!
This is very fun game!
Trying at home!
And happy 4th of July!

Misery loves (my) company: A Friday haiku by J. Yoshida, Esq.

Awash in pink sea,
Workers in new uniform,
Banzai off a cliff.
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Explanation: Today the Nihon Keizai Shimbun leaked that my company is laying off 10,000 employees! Can’t help but wonder how many could have been saved, say by not changing the uniforms for the entire workforce. And I’m sure that the 10,000 that get the axe will be thrilled to have learned their fate from a newspaper!