Last updated 6/18/09



Saturday, November 29, 2008

More Japan Blog Goodness

Check out my friend Joe's new vlog - pretty funny ranting, very accurate.

Friday, November 28, 2008

T-Day

Belated happy Thanksgiving to ye all. I almost missed it, being that there was no turkey in sight.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Jukin' Episode 2

Here it is, Episode 2. I don't expect to keep releasing videos at this pace, but this is my trip to Nagasaki. 

Enjoy!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Crickets

I know a lot of my topics have been kind of...off topic? But I've noticed a decline in comments. Are you still reading? Give me a sign.

Creepy Crawlers

I just wanted to talk for a moment about something that freaks me out. I'm not a big fan of spiders, but I've gotten a little more used to them since I've been here, since I've had to live with some. There was this little white spider that lived outside my door for a couple months. I got used to seeing her everyday, but unfortunately she disappeared a couple weeks ago and I fear that she either reached the end of her naturally short lifespan, or she was eaten by a bird or something. 

Anyway, there are still some spiders here that really give me the heebie-geebies, and I've seen them all over the place - in Nagasaki, in Hiroshima, and even at my school. These things have all the characteristics of a creepy spider - they're big, they're colorful, and they just hang out in their web and take you by surprise.

I got some decent pictures of them at Nagasaki when I was walking down a mountain road (long story, I'll explain in the next Jukin' episode). I believe I've identified them, and although I don't think they're a threat to people, they still freak me the hell out. Have a look:

[Shiver]

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Returned

Well I'm back from Nagasaki. Was a very interesting trip, and I have a lot of pictures and footage. I hope to put another video together soon, but I am exhausted; we'll see if I'll have the energy today. 

More soon!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Jukin' Japan

Ok, finally got my first vlog together. It's a little rough around the edges, but I expect to get better at this.

Have a look: Episode 1

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The economic crisis - how did it happen?

I think many people don't realize, but the explanation is simple enough for a 10-year old to understand. And the same 10-year old could explain why our "solution" (the bailout) is a nonsensical decision. Now if only Mr. Obama had a 10-year old on staff...

And that is not a partisan attack - Republican leaders such as McCain and Gingridge are supporting the bailout, as well...it's gonna be a long winter.

America: No King But Caesar

This article paints a grim picture, but it could be true that our nation "has no future" or has entered into "the beginning of the twilight." I don't mean to be overdramatic, but I really do despair when I stop to think about how many Catholics voted pro-choice, whether or not they realized the gravity of their decision. I guess I'll try not to think about it.


On the "bright side," if there is one, this.
And it is true that the Catholic Church has thrived under persecution. I'm not saying that we are (overtly) persecuted at the moment, but our values are challenged. It just remains to be seen how many true Catholics and "culture warriors," to borrow the expression from Bill O'Reilly, will stand up and defend what is right.

Father General Major

A true American hero: Paratrooper Padre.

Getting out the garbage

Republican Sen. Ted Stevens was not reelected this cycle. Good...the GOP doesn't need guys like him, nor does the Senate.



ALSO:

Remember when I said I hope Obama governs like Clinton? Not that I recant, but...careful what you wish for, I guess.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Yay grammar!

Grammar +1.

Pirates strike again.

+1 Pirates...again.

Cult of Personality

Edit: 2:01 p.m. JPT - Updated the link so that it now is accompanied by a poll showing that the video was not just representative of random idiots, but of many voters.

Good to know how informed most people are...

So tell me again why high voter turnout is a good thing?


Monday, November 17, 2008

Mustache

Mustache indeed. I love how the host (or interviewer; whoever he is) just rolls with it.

Not going to get into a religious/political commentary or debate on this one, but just wanted to point out that Chuck Norris has thrown another observational political roundhouse. I didn't realize he was so outspoken.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Some Pictures

Today I screwed around a bit at the park with my new camera. Some of the shots are kind of gaudy, but I'm still playing around. Anyway, comments and feedback are appreciated!

Update 11/16/08

Sorry for not updating for a while. I've been busy, but the main excuse is that I've been relaxing and doing some preparation for my vlog (video blog). 
I bought a new camera yesterday and it's very nice: Cannon IXY Digital 3000 IS. Also, my friend Steve and I were approached by an English-speaking Japanese Jehovah's Witness at a random little train station yesterday. He even had an English booklet to give us. What are the odds?
The bad news is that I checked my bank account yesterday for the first time since opening it, and I have about $900 less than I had calculated I should have by now. That's a downer...gonna have to tighten my belt this month, although it'll be a little tough considering I'm going to Nagasaki next week...oh well.

More to come this week.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Wow

That's great - almost as catchy as the original(...?).

More stupendous stories

Edit: 11:07 pm JST - Added "Yankin it in Europe" to my "Other Places to See" column.

I just wanted to share some more awesome writings 'a la my students.
Let me emphasize that I am not making fun of them at all. Mistakes are the cornerstone of language education. We learn from them and they can be pretty damn funny. I've been learning Japanese for over four years, and I still say a lot of stupid stuff. That said, this is one of the reasons I love teaching a lot of these kids - they often surprise me with their creativity and sense of humor.

This assignment was part of a lesson on ordering food in English. Students worked in pairs for about 10 minutes to come up with their own mini-skits. Here are some of the results:

1.

Waiter (W): Hellow, welcome to Namizu's Restaurant. May I take your order?
Customer (C): Can I see a menu Please?
W: Sure
C: I'd like you Please.
W: Perdon?
C: I'd like you Please!
W: Yes!
C: Really?!
W: Yes, I love you.
C: Let's go to your house.

Soon hug forever... -end-

2.

W: Hello! Welcome to Friend's. I take your order
C: Yes, can I have a steak please? But don't made in China.
W: Sure Would you like some thing to drink?
C: I'd like a cola please
But don't made in China
W: Anything else
C: No thank you that's it
W: Thank you?

3.

W: Good morning, welcome to MacDonald. May I take your order?
C: Can I see a menu, please?
W: Sure
C: I'd like egg mcmuffin
W: Would you like something to drink?
C: I'd lik a cola, please
W: Anything else?
C: I'd like a smile, please.
W: Sure.

These kids have clearly mastered the art of comical writing. I especially love how the two who wrote #2 don't trust China. Questioning the quality/safety of Chinese goods is almost always funny. Unless you live in China.
I also had a pair adapt a skit to ordering gas, and I had another pair who wrote something similar to #3, except in their version after the customer orders a smile, the waiter gets pissed off and yells at the customer to leave.

Anyhow, that's about it for now.
If I can muster the free time soon, I plan on attempting some video blogs. I've been inspired by a friend of mine, so let me just take the time to plug Rob's video blog: Yankin' it in Europe: An American Guide to Studying Abroad. I should note that it pertains largely to studying in Europe, although I can vouch for the fact that some of his suggestions and observations do hold relevance in other regions (like Japan), as well. I would recommend checking it out - Rob has a good knack for combining humor with interesting facts and tidbits. And honestly, his videos and camera techniques are improving with each episode. If you're interested in London or international, uh, stuff - check it out.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Whoa

Crazy tough jogger.

I can't imagine running a mile with an animal attached to my arm, then throwing it in the trunk and driving to the hospital. 

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Winners and Losers

I think it's safe to say that this past Tuesday produced some very clear winners and losers. There is celebration; there is bitterness. Time will tell if wounds will heal.

For the town of Obama in Japan, it is a happy time. The town of some 32,000 people hasn't been in the limelight like this since...well, ever. Nor will it likely ever be again. Ok, Obama - enjoy it. You've earned it, by coincidentally having the same name as the wildly popular US President-elect. Well done. And I'm sure Barrack will be quite pleased with that statue of him you're building. 

Meanwhile, McCain Foods LTD. has, quite gracefully, let Obama, Japan enjoy this victory. In a 
classy display of optimism, McCain recently released the following statement: "McCain Foods opens new Florenceville plant."
I'm sure it would have been nice to have your name attached to the highest office in the land, McCain, but now it's time to fall back 
and lick your wounds. Yes, lick those tasty, tasty wounds.


The change we don't need

Some people I've talked to don't know about the Freedom of Choice Act. It's a shame, because it's one reason Obama is so extreme. If more people had known about it -- nah, probably wouldn't have made a difference. Don't want to vote on one issue, right? Even if it means thousands upon thousands of more lives per year.

Here's some info:


Here is Barack promising to advance it:


"...I am absolutely convinced that culture wars are just so 90's. Their days are growing dark.It is time to turn the page. We want a new day, here in America. We're tired about arguing about the same old stuff."

Oohh - the pro-choice crowd is tired of arguing about abortion. So I guess they should just shut up the pro-lifers and move on, aye? Well, now they have the Presidency and Congress, so they will probably be able to do just that. Yay change.

Hopefully they'll be too focused on the economy to worry about this for a while...but I'm not holding my breath.

On a lighter note..look, a kitten!

So here's a short clip from this weekend. One activity took us to a local park, and there were lots of cats. This one little cat was jumping all around and when I sat down it hopped on me a couple times.


video

What a champ

It happens all the time - I'm sitting there thinking that Chuck Norris couldn't be more awesome, and -BAM- I'm proven wrong.

The world hails its savior...

http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?id=081105070505.sjsfsgyt&show_article=1

This is my favorite line:
"'Because Obama has won, we will have a change in the whole world. And for that I will slaughter a cockrel to celebrate with my family,'" said Joseph Otieno, a jubilant Kogelo resident."

The people are choosing death


The Culture of death thrives, ironic as that statement is.


Notice that the measures limiting abortion are being voted down in Colorado and South Carolina, and I can't imagine the abortion limits proposition passing in California. Stem cell research on previously created embyros is passing in Michigan, as is physician-assisted suicide in Washington. In light of all that, I'm surprised that gay marriage and adoption didn't receive more support.

And the president is --- oh...



Looks like Obama is our new president, and the Democrats in the Senate and the House are cleaning up. God help us - four years of Obama and at least two years of a Democrat-controlled government. I pray that God will give them guidance and that Obama will be a good leader. Ironic for me to say this, but I hope Obama governs like Clinton.

My vague predictions for the next few years:

Things will pick up over the new few months and barring something like a terrorist attack, which is plausible, America's economy will improve again and stabilize. In anticipation of President Obama's coronation, investment will slow, as he has threatened to raise the capital gains tax.

The Democrats will soon be able to pass all sorts of entitlement legislation, however. Many folks will get a tax refund, although many of the middle class people I know will not qualify. Higher taxes for businesses will mean trouble for a lot of people. Faced with the prospect of lower profits, companies will have to make a decision that every freshman business student learns in college - raise prices or cut expenses. Either way, people lose. Higher prices will lead to inflation, and/or companies will cut costs by (how do you think?) laying people off. So now we have either inflation or unemployment.
Our deficit and our national debt will continue to grow, spurred on by unchecked spending and earmarks. Eventually, someone will realize that the country doesn't have enough money to provide for universal healthcare or extensive investment into alternative energy projects. But damnit, they'll do what they can with what tax money they can and will spend.
True to his word, Obama will allow the passage of the Freedom of Choice Act, abolishing all limitations on abortion and sweeping away years of progress. The number of abortions per year will probably come close to 2 million. 
The international American "brand" will improve, but many leaders will lose some respect for us, and will push the envelope. Obama will be forced to make a decision that could bring us to war. If he chooses not to take shit, he will get a taste of what Bush went through.
And when things get bad, the Dems will do as they have always done: blame Bush. Things are only so bad because we have to clean up his mess, they'll say. Well, we'll see if the American people will buy that again next time.

Anyway, I really hope more positive events unfold, but I see these things in our future.
Addendum: Even if I disagree with him and the values and policies he stands for, Obama is our new president. He ran a frighteningly good campaign (good in terms of effectiveness), and I think even if we dislike the man, we should show some respect to the office. So congratulations to president-elect Obama. I hope he has a good time tonight and in the days to come, because he certainly has his work cut out for him.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Update 11/4

Man, is it November already?

This weekend was awesome - lot of good experiences, although I've fallen even further behind on sleep. I'll talk more about it another time, though...have to do some chores and monitor election stuff!