Google Page Creator

Recently, quite a few people have been asking how to make their own homepages (not blogs). I dug around a bit because I haven’t been keeping up with all the new tools – and I know there must be some kick-ass ones out there now. Well, the solution appeared in my Gmail inbox.
I can heartily recommend Google Page Creator as a starting point. I think literally anyone can make a homepage with this tool; it cannot get any easier, and that is saying a lot. In no time at all, you’ll be authoring inspiring masterpieces that can effect true positive impact on society in general. Or something.
Note: You may have to sign a waiting list to get a Google Page Creator account. It is worth it, and my wait was less than a week.

Yet more wedding photos

It’s crunch time. The hardiest of you have persevered, putting your lives on hold for the cause. Work left unfinished, families forgotten, babies left unfed… I am speaking, of course, of our ridiculously huge collection of wedding photos. I asked for complete photodocumentation of this all-day event before it occurred, and you all delivered.
I currently tally all the wedding-related photos on my Flickr account at around 4,700 and over 5 gigabytes. There’s perhaps another loose gig spread around Shutterfly and Yahoo albums, all of which are linked to on the Thailand Wedding Photos entry.
Today I added the long-awaited photos from the “professional” photographer we hired for the event. I took a look at them last night and have a verdict: He was not the best photographer we had on site (some of our guests were noticeably more skilled), but by sheer chance and dogged determination (even nudging monks out of the way at some points) he did get some shots that were missed by everyone else. They are worth going over in slide-show mode when you have some spare time. There are 350+ shots in the morning set, and 250+ in the night set, so without further ado:
Hired photographer’s Morning (Wedding Ceremony) Photos
Hired photographer’s Night (Reception) Photos
If any of you have photos from the trip/wedding you would like to share, let me know and it shall be done. Meanwhile, it is time to start working on video.

Subtlety in Self-naming 101

What is it with Asians giving themselves western names at the workplace? I work with Tommies, Jacks, Johns,etc., on a daily basis, yet these are all assumed names. More often than not, these are names that corporate English teachers or clients (that can’t pronounce native Japanese/Chinese names) have bestowed upon those in question.
Today, the G-man informed me of the best one we have heard to date. One of his wcorrespondents has dubbed himself Great Wang.
No shit, that’s what the guy calls himself; it’s even in the first part of his email address.
I don’t even know where to start analyzing something like this.
– I need one of this guy’s business cards. Just to be able to show it around.
– Will his assistants be known as Lesser Wangs?
– Anybody confident enough to wear Great Wang t-shirts? Tattoos?

Dream Job: Monterey Bay Aquarium

My sister Mika has started a volunteer gig at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, one day a week, at the penguin exhibit. MY SISTER IS A PENGUIN WRANGLER! AT THE MONTEREY BAY AQUARIUM! I believe the official job description is “Assistant Aviculturist,” or “Executive Chopper of Small Dead Fishies,” or something like that.
For the Yoshida family, this is a major coup. Now we can be associated with the jolly Asian guy who makes teriyaki sauce (Yoshida Sauce), Japanese who make the world’s best zippers (YKK), and an honest-to-God AVICULTURALIST at the MBA!
Good luck with the new job, sis!
UPDATE: Oh. My Shaka. I just realized you can see her feeding the penguins on the MBA’s Penguin Cam. Now how cool is that?

The Grinch of Hanami Present

Hanami is when Japanese people start acting like a bunch of Mexicans, laying around under trees and drinking beer. – Grinch-san, 2006
You know what? Grinch-san’s comment cracked me the fuck up. Can’t really refute what the man says. What I can say is that, once again, the weather has taken a turn for the worse during the sakura bloom again. We haven’t had good weather throughout the bloom for quite a few years now.
You know what bothers me about going to hanami more and more over the years? The number of gaijin twats. They aren’t acting like twats, mind you. They’re just being themselves.
/end hanami rant 2006

Location, location, location

It’s always amusing to see columnists writing about places they’ve obviously never been: Clash of the superstores / Yamada Denki enters Osaka’s competitive electronics market
Basically, it’s hype like this that led us to take a trip down there yesterday. The night before was Adam’s birthday/farewell party in Umeda, and we stayed the night at a cheap hotel located in the illegalalienwhore district. As we all had some electronics shopping to do (a cranial implant here, a bionic limb augmentation there, you know, standard DenDen cyberware stuff), we decided to check out the vaunted new Yamada Denki complex (hereafter referred to as “Labia 1” – hey, they asked for it).
We arrived before 11 in the morning, only to face a bustling horde. Of sales staff. The place was deserted, as in, there were twice as many staff members as customers, which made for a truly annoying experience. The floor staff followed us around and incessantly offered to help with anything (“You looking to purchase LAN cable?”) until we wandered into the next area – where the next sales specialist was waiting (“Choosing the right mousepad is a critical life decision…”). Jesus.
To be that deserted exactly one month after opening day, on a weekend no less, is not a good sign. I predict this place will close in a few years, after several key management changes and obscure restructurings of the point card system, never having reached any of its lofty goals. The problem? See the title of this post.
True, the complex is theoretically a three minute walk from Namba station. The thing is, it’s a three minute walk toward the middle of nowhere, past Namba Parks and the WINS betting complex (horse racing)… And ultimately, one can’t help but wonder if their business plan relies on impulse buys by people winning big on the ponies; gambling on the gamblers, so to speak. The ultimate proof I can offer to back up my prediction is the parking space I put my car in, the first level of the parking structure, right next to the store elevators, adjacent to ten other open spaces. Now try that at Yodobashi in Umeda.

Uncle Po

One benefit of getting married is that now I have an uncle Po. I guess I have always secretly wanted an uncle named Po. I mean, who wouldn’t? Uncle Po wore a pimp ass purple silk shirt to my wedding, and was aggressive in getting the photos he wanted with his weathered Nikon – film, of course. Uncle Po is OG like that.
Anyway, go check out his work: Photos from Uncle Po!
And just in case you missed out on any of the other photos we have put up until now, you can find a link to all of them here: LINK
“Annointed by an angry monk”, a photo by Po (uncle)

Devo: Girl U Want/Gates of Steel

Ko bought me an Energy Dome when he went to a Devo (1.0) concert in the Freedom of Choice years… Alas, I know not where it went. Sometimes when it is raining outside and I get a sudden attack of the 80’s, there’s nothing I want more than that shiny red Energy Dome.

Zato #2

I’d review it, but why bother? Opinions on chambara are fairly polarized; when a chambara swordfight flashes by as you flip through channels late at night, either you stop and watch somebody slice through 30 opponents in front of a tea shop, or you don’t.

Cows of Awaji

A couple weeks ago a calf was born on my coworker’s mini dairy farm. These mini-farms are prevalent on the more remote parts of this island, often limited to less than a dozen cows. Anyhow, I got around to asking how the calf was doing today and was told it had gotten sick and died. This was of course sad to hear, as this is apparently a fairly rare occurrence in this day and age. My coworker said the last time a calf died on their farm was over fifteen years ago.
He said that the mother was in great distress for a few days, udders swollen with milk and all moany and bereaved. “Don’t ever let anyone tell you,” he said, “that animals do not feel the pain of a child lost.” Shit. I felt like crying, the way he described it. This did not, however, prevent me from asking if they milked the distressed mother to relieve some of the pain (yes), and if so, did they drink that milk (NO! What the fuck kinda freaks do you think we are?).
Maybe I was being a bit insensitive, but hey, I figured that farmers are like salt of the earth type of people, there ain’t no insensitive questions, just stupid city-slicker type ones, right? So I asked why they don’t drink the milk intended for dead baby cows without worrying too much about getting a pitchfork stuck up my ass. And I had guessed right about him not being fazed about it, he simply said, “It’s got too much fat in it.”
So there you go. The reason why you shouldn’t steal mother’s milk from a suckling calf is that you will turn into a cow yourself.

Parking in Japan

… is about to get worse, if that’s even possible: No quarter for illegal parking from June
This may have changed since it’s been a couple years since I got a parking ticket, but the cheapest one is generally well over a hundred dollars, plus you lose a couple points off your license (well, technically, you gain two points, but still…).
I predict that turning it over to third party metermaids is going to result in some beat up metermaids, at least in the short run.