Bomb Has Been Planted

Sometimes in real life I slip into FPS mode, where I methodically search the environment for targets to engage. This usually switches on when I am walking down a dark hallway or alley. Luckily, no one has jumped out at me so I haven’t had to shank them with my keys(and hopefully I never will have to do so).
Why do they use the term “dust box” instead of “trash/garbage can”?
The restrooms at Daikanbo provide CTs (counter-terrorists) with the schematics to perform a hostage rescue, should the need ever arise.

Gyuuba Yuusen

“Give priority to cows and horses”, reads the sign. It’s a real danger out here in the inaka. Really. I always thought these signs were in Ubuyama (they practically are) but the sign indicates that this land is part of Ichinomiya-machi.

Poop Fiction

I just found a new demographic for Kevin to bestow his enlightenment upon in this article. Dude, your words are brown gold to the next generation:

The content might seem off-colour to some, but potty humour is big in the world of popular children’s literature – from the Captain Underpants series to such best-selling titles as Zombie Butts From Uranus! – and some parents and authors believe the genre is attracting otherwise reluctant readers.
“You have to give kids something they want to read,” says Glenn Murray, an educator-turned-children’s author from Canada.
Murray co-wrote two books featuring Walter The Farting Dog, a flatulent pooch whose problem saves the day time and time again. The author believes his smelly protagonist is an ambassador for literacy.

My favorite book about excrement is one that I read to my nursery school students called “Unchi”, or in English, “Poop” (do you notice how no one uses this word anymore. the last time I remember hearing it was when I last watched Billy Madison). Highly recommended!
To anyone who missed it, the tapeworm story is a must read! Pork is starting to sound a lot more appetizing…

Signs With No Meaning

Back at home, the majority of people are pretty good at giving directions by using street names. You need to be aware of street names, landmarks, and where things are because its an important part of the culture of California. Although driving is also the main way that everyone gets around in these parts, it’s not the same in Kumamoto or in Japan from what I have gathered trying to get my bearings for the past year and nine months since I got here. Most people don’t know street names, and some don’t even recognize the route 3, 11, or the 57 by their names. This would be like not knowing the names of the I-5, 405, or the 101 back home!
One of the reasons why people don’t remember the names is because they are stupidly marked. If a friend gave the directions to “take the 204 to Fukuoka, and you will find the place on the side of the road”, then you might well pick the wrong 204 and never find the place until you reached Fukuoka and realised that it might have been on the OTHER 204. Idiotic. I mean, you could clarify by saying “take the 204 to the right by the bypass”, but why should you have to. How hard is it to change the name of one of the roads?
My favorite road, the Milk Road, is also marked in a confusing manner. From its spawn point at the Yamanami highway (the 11) it heads off West as the 45 for about fifteen kilometers. Then, for no apparent reason it becomes the 12 for about a ten kilometer stretch, and then reverts to the 45 once again, terminating in Kikuchi (on the 387) after passing through the Gorge (a highly recommended drive!). This is why I think people prefer to use landmarks instead of street names to navigate. The only constants that people will most likely know of are the various legs of the Kyushu expressway, the 3, the 11, and the 57.
Landmarks work surprisingly well, but can also be confusing if improperly used in giving directions. If someone tells you to perform an action (such as turn, go past, etc.) at a conbini (convenience store) then you better get supplemental information. There are so many Lawsons, Family Marts, and 7-11s in close proximity to eachother that navigating by these alone is likely to get you lost.
My friend Jason Wians takes giving directions by using these methods to extremes. The first time I was coming to his house he said the following:
“From Aso, go towards the airport (in Mashiki). Pass the airport, and two or three signals after you will see some ostriches on the left. Turn left. When you see the Everyone (conbini) take a left. Keep going straight until you see some vending machines (this is like saying keep going straight until you see a tree) and turn left. Go straight until you see a hoikuen, and take the right just before you pass it. Take a left at the dog and a right after the old man, and my house will be on the left. Alright, good luck. Yeehaw! Texas rules!!! (which is how he ends every conversation that he has)”.
Well, I followed the directions and got there with no problems! Go figure. Had he used the street signs I might have gotten lost, as the “left at the ostrich” street and the next street are both called the 235 and run parallel to eachother for a great distance.

Okinawan Sign Language

I usually find signs that I like when I travel to foreign places, especially if the populace has a less than perfect command of English. I’m sure that the locals were wondering why I was taking picures of the mundane icons that are filtered out of their focus. My choice of subjects to photograph most likely flagged me as a tourist, to the locals who were trying to get me to purchase their assorted omiyage. Okinawans are a true breed of hustlers, and it was painful watching my companions getting fleeced. But that’s the topic of a separtate post.
This picture is of a dental clinic in Okinawa. A couple of thoughts popped into my mind when I first saw this, such as:
“No way!”, “Ouch!”, “Has to be two different sets of teeth!”, “I wonder if the same set of pictures accompanied by English appears in England?”, and “That dentist must be a friggin’ god/butcher!”.
I have seen some pretty bad teeth in Japan, but many people are now wearing braces and taking better care of their teeth than before. This picture makes me cringe when I think of the pain that the patient had to endure. How many cc’s of lidocaine was injected into that gaping maw?
This next picture is the Japanese equivalent of the French Metro Bunny. On a side note, I feel responsible for contributing to the widescale spread of American tourists stealing those stickers. In 97, after returning home and showing a friend the mementos of my trip, he thought it was such a cool sticker that he did it, and everyone else who went to study abroad with Orange Coast College that year followed suit. It became a tradition, and soon there was a shortage of stickers on the metro (and a sharp increase of people getting their hands caught in the doors, I like to imagine). So this time, instead of stealing a physical copy, I captured one on my camera.
If I had a problem with my ears, nose, or throat, this is the doctor I would want to go to. For some reason, these images evoke a feeling of trust for this doctor, even though I have never met him.
This last sign was taken in the domestic terminal of the Okinawa Airport. I understand the need for explicit directions, but this goes a bit further than necessary. I mean, did someone try to argue “but officer, I didn’t know that it was wrong to stash my guns and drugs on top of my bag filled with decomposing decapitated heads that I was using to feed my pet weasels. Oh and don’t worry, the pipe bombs aren’t really dangerous because I didn’t insert the fuses yet. You know, someone should really put up a sign to make it clear just what exactly IS acceptable to keep in these lockers! They didn’t seem to mind up in Kansai.”?

English Engrish

I saw this and I pictured James Bond looking at the Man with the Golden Gun as he says “Bond, I’m gonna bust a cap in yo’ ass, Cracka! Any last words?”, with the Golden Barrel pointed steadily in the middle of Bond’s head. Bond chews on some grape flavored Bubblicious, blows a huge bubble, pops it, and repeats. The Man, in an uncharacteristic display of emotion, shows his anger and disgust by hastily cocking the Golden Hammer. With a smile on his face, Bond spits the gum out into his thumb and forefinger, and sticks the purple wad into the glinting barrel. The man is so completely and utterly shocked that he merely stares while this is happening, with his jaw dropped in disbelief that the Golden Gun could be violated in such a casual and sacreligious manner.
As you can see, these words on a simple can of “gum” put a really bizarre picture into my head, and it its not even a Japanese product. Holt’s is a British company. Ah, those crazy Brits! To us Americans, “Lorry” is a girl’s name , a boot is something that a cowboy wears instead of a shoe, and “I’m dying to smoke a fag!” has an entirely different meaning. Also, for the record, a windshield is the window that shields the occupants of a vehicle from the wind. If it was a real windscreen (a screen, such as is used to keep insects from passing through an open window), it would allow the wind and rain and anything small enough to pass through the small holes to smack everyone in the face. While this screen would filter out most insects, the momentum of their impact would pulverize and scatter their dismembered body parts all over everyone.
So back to the picture at the top; what is this product from the U.K.?
The Answer.
Hint: it is not what James Bond uses to patch up the silencer on his Walther P.P.K. after he uses it to deflect a laser beam.