Shamisen vs. Turntable

This is the coolest video I’ve linked to since Keltech’s Star Wars performance. Background: LiveJam 2005 was a concert produced by NHK that aired on Coming of Age Day (now observed on the second Monday in January every year. Prior to 2000 was Jan. 15.) this year.
Without further ado: DJ Kentaro vs. Shinichi “King of Shamisen” Kinoshita
If somebody has information on an official CD/DVD release, please drop me a line.

Conversational Patterns

There’s an old lady who lives a few houses down from us. I usually see her when I return home from work or go out for a walk. In the five years we have known her, she has been known to talk only about one thing, the weather.
– “Hot today, isn’t it?”
– “Sure is cold.”
– “Looks like it’s gonna rain.”
– Or some small variation of the above.
Even when you try to talk to her, she speaks over you about the weather. Once, I asked when Big Garbage day was, and she replied about the hot spell we were having. So I eventually gave up trying to talk to her beyond basic greetings and the weather. I accepted it; it’s just been like this for five years.
Then, last week, as I walked by she suddenly asked, “Why did the color of your work uniforms change?”
I was too shocked to reply at first, and the moment of silence that followed floated in the humid summer air, suspended for eternity. Then the words stumbled from my mouth automatically, “Sure is hot today…”
She seemed to accept this as an acceptable answer and kind of nodded as I walked away.

500-Pound Recruit

Continuing in the vein of WWII, have you ever heard the story of Voytek?
Check it out: The Iranian soldier-bear of Monte Cassino
Longtime readers have often heard of my plans to create a Monkey Army when I move to Thailand. I have thought of conscripting water buffaloes and elephants as well, but I never considered bears. One thing I do know is that any bears who joined my army would not be serving as porters – can you say “6-foot, 500-pound HOPLITE?”