Lasts

Today marks the start of a series of “lasts.”
Last e-mails on the work account.
Last time staring at the patterns in the acoustic ceiling tiles.
For Christ’s sake, last goddamn morning exercises!
I am walking around the office in a haze. I watch myself shaking hands, saying goodbyes, tying up loose ends from a third person point of view. Six and one-half years is an awful long time to do the same job in a foreign country.
Over the next few weeks, time will accelerate and I will be in a rush to see old friends, catch a few new sights, and feel the rush of old, familiar feelings one last time before I go (oh, and also to move to Thailand). But it all starts here, on the last day of work. My cynical side equates this to escaping from the Yamato – fight bravely, suckers! – and it is undeniably sad to watch friends and colleagues sail off as I find a different way, but it is also the right thing to do, and it is my way.
Today, I graduate from being Salaryman.
//

I am smiling

After all, tomorrow is my LAST DAY of work.
But that’s not the only reason. Let me break off some of this happyhappyjoyjoy for you, too:

Intrigued? Go find out all you want about this little guy here: LINK

Would you like some ketchup on that shit sandwich?

No?
How about a tasty glass of water from the Yodogawa?

The Osaka municipal government’s Water Bureau plans to sell bottles of highly purified tap water from Yodogawa river in an attempt to dispel a long-held belief among residents that the city’s water does not taste good.
Even though the tap water is now purified at facilities with cutting-edge technology, there are still many locals who say the water smells and is not drinkable.
The municipal government plans to hold a competition to choose a name and design for the bottles that will present a positive image of the city while keeping an eye on sales of bottled tap water in other cities.

I know! How about “Massengill ??????”
Full story here.

Kentaro Mania (Solid Steel Vids)



I’ve said this a thousand times before: On the Wheels of Solid Steel is the best CD/DVD combo I’ve ever seen, period. When I heard about it I had to order from England, but it looks like they sell it on Amazon now. Do yourself a favor and get it, it’s one of the few mixed albums I can stand to listen to on it’s own (without video), and the bonus DVD is one of the few I’ve ever found worth watching more than once – hell, I’d have bought it separately if they’d decided to market it that way.
…………….
The two vids above are really well edited and fun, but I saved the best for last. These are live performances from his 2005 Japan tour:


Relief

Just came back from the last trip to the dentist. That’s 7 visits in one month – one root canal, 5 cavities, and today, a lengthy cleaning and some adjustments with a YAG laser.
My dentist turned out to be an okay guy – he treated my wife last year as well and we talked about Thailand a lot in between sessions with the Pick of Pain and the Drill of Evil. He didn’t even charge me for the cleaning and lasering sesh today, an unexpected treat.

Countdown

Counting today, I have three days of work left. After that, I have three weeks to get my affairs in order and move to Thailand.
It’s been six and a half years since I was last unemployed. Plus, there’s the whole thing about learning a new language and culture… I must admit, I am nervous as I approach this next stage of life.
On the other hand: Freedom! Starting over in a new country! Learning a new language and culture!
When I start thinking about what I’m thinking about too much, I need to force myself to just accept the unknown, accept that I cannot control or even plan for everything. It goes against my nature somehow, but at the same time, it’s the only way I know.

Thailand Coup Redux

I took a break from posting about the coup because no real information came forth for some time. However, this column I read over at The Nation (whose offices are apparently being guarded by the military) is just too good not to point out: Sonthi outsmarted Thaksin at the eleventh hour
If it’s true that General Sonthi effectively prevented bloodshed by initiating this coup, it’s nothing short of heroic, in my mind.

“However, an intelligence report reached General Sonthi’s camp stating that there would be bloodshed on Wednesday. The People’s Alliance for Democracy had planned to hold a political rally that day at the Royal Plaza in order to force Thaksin out of politics. Had that rally taken place, there would have been clashes between the People’s Alliance for Democracy and Thaksin’s supporters and blood would have been spilt on Rajdamnoen Avenue. If only Thaksin had promised that he would take a break from politics and allow a period of political reforms to take place, the PAD and other branches of the anti-Thaksin movement would have declared victory. All political confrontations would have subsided. Thaksin could have run for office once the Constitution was amended, and he would have been returned to the premier’s post, probably in the latter part of next year.”

Of course, there’s that whole thing about winners being the ones that write history and all that, but there’s a lot that makes sense about this story, and it seems to be corroborated by other sources as well. It’s too early to link; I want to check into this further.
By all accounts, Bangkok and the rest of the country is chugging along as normal, perhaps with an increased military presence, but that’s about it. The economy doesn’t seem to be affected too badly, and most people seem to be of the opinion that staging the coup was the right thing to do.
Thailand will be my home for a while, and right now, I am hopeful.