Mina’s first catch

2013-04-16 21.47.59mina-pla-tong

The other day, I dug up a single earthworm from our sun-dried garden and tied a simple bobber rig onto a spinning rod to give Max and Mina a chance to catch something in the pond across our street. Max got a couple nibbles and then got half the worm stolen, so it was time to re-bait and let Mina have a chance. she hooked up in less than a minute and brought in another bronze featherback, slightly smaller than the one we had before.

Max and Mina wanted to keep him in their tank, since the last fish besides an algae eater we had, a freshwater angelfish bought at a local night market, died after lasting a good few months. As before, the featherback got into it with Mr. Pleco, and proceeded to get his ass kicked around the tank until I got fed up and threw him back into the pond. Nobody missed him. Some fish are just disagreeable.

I found the part!

… or at least, my sister-in-law in Bangkok asked a garage who did… Amazing Thailand!

Turn signal assemblies for 1971 Toyota "Kujira" Crown MS-60 - broken latch one on right, replacement on left
Turn signal assemblies for 1971 Toyota “Kujira” Crown MS-60 – broken one on right, replacement on left

The replacement part is actually in much worse condition, over all, than the one I took off my car, but the plastic latch that holds the turn signal in place (and keeps me from having to hold the lever when turning – which annoying as hell) is intact. I’m asking my pal, Ot, from Wattana Sound, to pull the best parts from each and create  a “best-functioning” amalgamation.

It’s funny that Taro had this same exact problem on his Mitsu Jeep when we were at university; the garage told us it would cost x amount to fix, but being poor students, we just used it broken until Taro bought another (used) Jeep. The difference between then and now is a huge cost differential (probably about 10:1 in favor of labor-cheap Thailand) and that while you expect an old Jeep to be a gritty driving experience, I’m aiming for a more luxurious experience in my Crown (it originally came with a refrigerator in the trunk and a pneumatic central locking system, after all).


I started writing this blog exactly ten years ago.

I had experimented with the earliest versions of blogger/blogspot from 2000, and registered cosmicbuddha.com on January 6 of that same year, but updated it manually until April 21, 2003. Then the blathering began.

Blogging has been extremely fulfilling for me. I used to do it because it made me want to go out and find things to write about, both online and otherwise. In the back of my mind, however, there was always a secondary purpose of leaving a record of my life and thoughts.

I started blogging when I was a salaryman in Japan. One of the things I started regretting quite early on during my time there was not being able to speak with my grandfather much before he passed. He got me into university there, told me what he wanted me to do before going back to the states, and left a trusted relative in charge of wiring me 20,000 yen (~$200) every month until graduation (which tided my hustling ass over more than a few times when things got hard).

He died before I graduated. Hell, he died before I could ever really speak with him in Japanese. And yet, his presence all around me… He left an empty house near our university (for a few years at least) which I would sneak into and take showers at (my dorm didn’t have showers and the communal bath closed many hours before I would get home from work), or throw parties at, much to the consternation of my other relatives. He was so well known by people at the university and around town, it was like having an instant upgrade wherever the hell I was at: “Oh, you’re Yoshida-sensei’s grandson? Here, take this fruit as a present,” or, “Oh, you need to get into the library archives but don’t have a permit? Well, I knew you’re grandfather, so just walk right in!” The thing is, I knew very little about my grandfather.

I gather he was a good man, and yes, that is the most important thing, but sometimes, I just wanted to know more. And so, I don’t know if anybody has read this weblog from start to finish… I suspect not. But I intended to leave a record, and a record I have left. The posts on this blog are just snapshots (sometimes literally) of my life and my thoughts, but maybe if you view enough of someone’s work you can become familiar with them in some way….

I was here.

I am here.

This was the first ten years of my documenting it openly.

Tabasco? Wasasco? WASABI-O!

Last year, I wrote an e-mail to my Santa Claus impersonating buddy in Japan (impossible to find a link for you, dude – there are at least 7 “Santa Daves” on Facebook and even a “Big Wave Santa”) telling him that they had brought a Tabasco-like wasabi sauce to market: Wasasco. He recently tried to find some, but couldn’t. I remembered that I’d seen something similar at Big-C, so went to check it out.

Wasabi-O, possible intentional copy of a trademark-infringing Japanese product, from Thailand (Tabasco --> Wasasco --> Wasabi-O)  Do unto others, bitches!
Wasabi-O, possible intentional copy of a trademark-infringing Japanese product, from Thailand (Tabasco –> Wasasco –> Wasabi-O). Do unto others, bitches!

OK, the most shocking thing about this product is that it is not only edible, it is FUCKING DELICIOUS! Serious noms. It’s like the perfect dip for potato chips, creamy and atomic. I could see doing capfuls of this for losers of drinking games.

The thing is, Big-C had a whole shelf of these bottles on clearance, so I hope the Wasabi-O company isn’t going under or something. Time to go stock up, because the last favorite hot sauce I had here, Wolf, which tasted kind of like Cholula and Tapatio mixed together, just disappeared one day. Although I’d stocked up on half a dozen bottles of that, it didn’t last a year. I’m going to Big-C to buy up their stock, I guess.


It occurs to me that McDonalds is possibly vindicated from Adam’s online criticism from a decade ago.

Golden Shower at New City Hall, Maha Sarakham

C. fistula - binomial nomenclature courtesy of the man himself, Carl Linnaeus
C. fistula – binomial nomenclature courtesy of the man himself, Carl Linnaeus


The Rachapreuk tree has naughty names (only for perverted minds?) in English (golden shower tree), Latin (Cassia fistula), Spanish (caña fistula), and translated Chinese (sausage tree). It’s name in Ayurvedic medicine is aragvadha, or “disease killer,” and it’s the national Flower of Thailand as well as the state flower of Kerala, India. It blooms at the hottest time of year here in Thailand, and I think serious modern research into its medicinal properties is long overdue.

There is only one true replacement

I really don’t know why everybody is suggesting exotic alternatives and roll-your-own solutions… If you want a replacement for Google Reader that closely replicates it in its prime – social functions and all – do not pass Go, do not collect $200, go directly to The Old Reader and get in line to import all your feeds.

Everybody who suggested any other sites without mentioning this one needs their web pass revoked.

I got an e-mail telling me my import was finished, and within 5 seconds of logging in, I knew this was the best choice for me and probably any other Google Reader addicts not using a touchscreen. ’nuff said.