Last updated 6/18/09

Friday, October 31, 2008

English Camp

No new posts from me for a few more days - I'm about to head off to "English camp" as a volunteer instructor for this 3-day weekend.  I'll report anything significant upon my return.  Hopefully Gobbler will hold down the fort with some Halloween pictures or something.


In case you didn't realize, it's Halloween. I shall be dressing up as a certain Japanese kid's TV show character. Fun times. Anyone else doing anything fun?

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Pirates +1


Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Recommended Videos

The quality isn't that great, but this sketch is pretty great. I've never seen any of the Disney "High School Musical" movies, but I can imagine what they must entail. Oh lamentations...

Good old colonial humor. Caution: lots of foul language.

We're on our way

I don't think things will be this bad, but we're in for some changes indeed if (or when) Obama wins.
I love the last line- "Hope for the change of the hope of the change!"

Picture of the Day 10/28/08

"Black and Milk Candy." Apparently "black" is a flavor over here. Ah - perhaps that is the taste that only Japanese people can detect. 

"Brown sugar and milk harmonize with marble colors. This is the secret method of delicious taste." -- You mean this was the secret method of delicious taste. It's not exactly a secret anymore, now is it? -- Gotcha!

Tear Down the Wall!

There may be a few changes around here from now.
Until now, I'd done my best to keep things relatively light and have been careful not to post anything that would discourage anyone from reading this blog - namely, I have mostly tried to stay away from religion and politics. I requested the same of "Gobbler."

However, I am a religious person, and I follow politics. Both are important. I am an American Catholic, and I am proud to be both. I am not always proud of my fellow Catholics or Americans, but that's something I may explore in future posts.

I will continue to tell tales of my life in Japan, and I will still do my best at making humorous observations and comments. However, I wanted to profess that my name is Paul, I have particular views regarding my religion and my country, and I will be discussing them in the future. Eh, it's not like I have many readers, anyway.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Day by day..

Life goes on.  Nothing major to report right now, although I guess I have one "happening" to mention. I went to lunch yesterday with three other English teachers and was taken off-guard and a little aback by where our conversation went.

This one teacher, who I don't know so well but considered to be a decent-seeming guy, asks me about September 11th, since I'm from New York. You know - where was I and what was it like. He said he wanted to hear all about it, but I see now it was just a platform for an unexpected anti-American sneak attack.

I tell my story, and he says (clearly he was waiting for this) - "You want to know what I think? You're going to disagree with me..." Then why tell me? This has already gotten kind of heavy for a lunch-time conversation at a ramen shop. Then he tells me that he thinks the American government knew that the attack was coming and that they let it happen so that American could claim self-defense in "invading the Middle East."  Sorry for the barrage of italics there, but it's still surprising to me to hear that.  Bullshit all Japanese people are nonconfrontational. And there's a kicker. He veered away from this a moment later, but he threw in (and this is the most ridiculous but revealing part of his assertion) - just like at Pearl Harbor, where the US let itself be attacked so that it could attack Japan. WHAT? The two other teachers were silent, pretty much staring into their ramen the whole time. Then he asked me what I thought. I just smiled awkwardly and said "Well yeah, I do disagree, but you're entitled to your opinion." I then explained that Bush may make bad decisions, but he is not evil. The Pearl Harbor part I didn't even address. 

When I talked to my predecessor about it, he said he would have probably brought up how Japan let itself get nuked so it could have an excuse to surrender. But I still have to work with these people for another few months, so I'm glad I didn't go that route.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Funny ha-ha


Regardless of your politics, both Obama and McCain were hilarious (if you've been following current political events). 

Thursday, October 16, 2008

DK follow-up

Man, I haven't thought about that game in a long time.  I'd just like to follow up Gobbler's post with a thought of my own.

When I consider my favorite games of all time or my favorite game music of all time, I can't honestly say any DK titles make it onto my list.  However, they were fun and well-made games.  I think I've been blocking them out ever since Diddy Kong Racing came into being, although my sister and I did have some good times on the level where you have to fly around and collect eggs. It sounds lame, I know, but you're flying around a volcano and you can either knock eggs away from other players or just steal them from their nest.

But anyway, while I delight in fails (especially epic fails) as much as the next guy, there is an epic WIN in DK Country that I am itching to point out.  DK Country provides the player with the unique, though limited chance, to control a gorilla riding a rhino.  While playing this monstrosity, you are invincible (to my knowledge) and can completely destroy any foes that stand in your path; as it should be.  I mean, what can beat a gorilla on top of a damn rhino?  I think if I saw that in real life I would soil myself.  

I have provided a picture to illustrate my point:

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Game Music

I just stumbled upon this. I'm sure there will be some of you who disagree with me on this point, but the Donkey Kong Country soundtrack is probably the most memorable that came out of the 16-bit generation. Still affects me today like it did back when I was a kid, and it's probably just some Japanese dude with a keyboard. Don't make them like they used to.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Price of spontaneity

So on Saturday I randomly went with a couple friends to Hiroshima. The trip was a little expensive and since it was unplanned, we walked around looking for a place to stay that night. There was no room at any of the inns, so we wound up staying the night at a manga/internet cafe. Not too bad, but I had a cold which was 10x worse this morning.

Anyway, tomorrow will be a light day. Have to give a test, but that's it. Then on Wednesday apparently we have a "day off." It's Founder's Day, which means the students get a day off, and the teachers have to take a day of paid leave. Doesn't sound fair to me, but I could use the day to rest, so...whatever.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

I love my students..

So two more notable homework quotes from my students:

First, one boy wrote his little self-introduction; it was quite normal.  Then at the bottom of the page, he wrote: "homework this!!"
Now, I think that's probably some broken way of saying "This is my homework," but with the two exclamation points just really seems like a natural, in-your-face, defiant roar...or someting.  I feel like it all it needs to be complete, full-fledged vernacular is some kind of expletive. You know - a good "homework this, b#$%h!"  Although completely by accident, he is telling me that he owned that homework hard. 

Second, one girl, writing about her likes and dislikes, stated: "I don't like chocolate and flesh cream."  Thank God.  I don't know what flesh cream is, but it sounds to me like there's a special place in hell set aside for those who do like it.

Random picture of the day (not that there's any regular posting, I know)

I post a lot of pictures of alcohol, but I am not an alchy - I swear.  Above is a tiny (dare I say "cute") little can of beer placed next to normal-sized cans for comparison. Yes, Japanese women are so light-weight that stores sell cans this small.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

October Country

I have finally begun to break through the ominous wall of work that I have to do just in time for it to start getting cold. I of course have no winter clothes or blankets which is cool (no pun intended). I have also reduced myself to eating peanut butter and Campbell's soup. Good times. Wonder what the weather is like in Japan...

On another lighter note I think that the world is coming to an end. I can longer even turn on the news for fear of vomiting at what my country has reduced itself to. There is some financial crisis which will I'm sure end with a lot of rich people going to spas and living in only a moderate mansion for the rest of their days. And the New Kids on the Block had a reunion. All of the elements seem to be in place. Time to go set up my Lawn Chair and cooler and enjoy the fireworks.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Park Pictures

So here are some pictures of a local park, taken with my cell phone.

I was "wow'ed" by this little pavilion-type thing on a little lake.^

Ouch, my wallet!

I was out today taking some pictures (I realize that's what most of you want and I haven't delivered), and I discovered this beautiful park that's literally like 2 blocks away from my house...Japan is funny like that - things are hidden all over the place.

Well, I got a few shots, but then my camera crapped out. I can still view my photos, but the screen goes dark and everything locks up now when I switch it back to picture-taking mode. Great, yet another thing I need to buy - a new camera...I did want to buy a new one, but right now I need to curb my spending a little...oh well, I get paid in a couple weeks and maybe I'll buy myself a treat.

I did take some nice shots with my camera, though. I'll upload those for you a little later.