The Simpsons are going to Japan.

I'd love to show the episode where they actually do go to Japan, but here is the next best thing. When I first got here, I saw huge billboards in the Tokyo Subway for CC Lemon, starring the Simpsons. So of course I jumped on the bandwagon and bought whatever crap they sold along with the drink. I have coasters and stickers and I managed to win one Marge-headed drink holder.

Here are the commercials in all their glory, my only concern is that Homer says Duu instead of Doh!

Spider-man 3 trailer.

Ha ha, I fooled you. No it isn't the trailer, it's much better. The opening from the cheesy cartoon of the 60's. Did you know it was animated in Canada? (Maybe that's why it's so repetitive.)

Get smashed with Kitty-chan!

Hello Kitty's image has been associated with every imaginable product and now you can order the special Hello Kitty Beaujolais Nouveau Wine come November.

I got myself on a Rakuten Wine & Food mailing list when I ordered some Godzilla Sake a few years back and I periodically get ads for bubbly. If you want to order some Kitty wine, go to:


Barbie's hooked on smack again!

This news item hit the papers from the UP:
More needles wash up on Japan’s beaches
United Press International /Aug. 19, 2006 at 5:37PM
"…. a large number of syringes bearing English and Chinese markings have been washing up in Yamaguchi as well as Saga and Fukuoka prefectures since earlier this month… Each of the syringes measures between 2 and 3 centimeters long."
But there must have been a typo for a centimeter is about 4/10 of an inch. So these must have been really tiny syringes fit only for Ken & Barbie. It's awfully stressful being Barbie...that's how she remains so skinny.

Here's a picture of Barbie before she got hooked.
Talking to important Americans.

If you don't want to wade through 5 videos of Rick talking to obviously good-hearted, but ignorant Americans (I strongly suspect that some of them were put up to it or he edited out the people who called him an a--hole.) THESE are only a few minutes long, so watch them!)

Here are some examples of Mr. Mercer speaking with some American individuals who should know better. (By the way, poutine is a Quebec specialty with french fries, cheese curds and gravy.)

And another wise man...

(Of course all you intelligent readers of my blog know that the Capital city of Canada is not Toronto...it's Regina. You will see Regina mentioned on all Canadian coins right next to the Queen's bust.)

But finally Rick gets nailed...

Talking to Americans...

This hour has 22 minutes" was a Canadian mock News program and Rick Mercer was one of their smarmier yet smarter interviewers. Here for your viewing pleasure is their segment on "Talking to Americans." (Warning: these are each about 9 minutes long, so let them download first and grab a snack from the kitchen, maybe some Beaver Balls or poutine.)

(Note you can skip the first 2 minutes and 45 seconds of part 3, it's run at the end of part 2.)

Later, I'll give everyone a little history lesson on all the in-jokes within the interview, to prove that I'm not just another pretty face.


And the sequels begin...

Booze and sleep deprivation don't mix.

Sorry about that last post, but I physically crashed half way through the first paragraph. (It was written at 7:00am!) I am frankly amazed that I was so coherent at the beginning of it and I have no idea about the pig slaughtering line is about. I have a wacky subconcious.

To make a long story short, I got drunk (much against my wishes, I didn't want to go out last night. But I was tempted by the lure of a free beer.) Let's just say I went to Shaft, listened to some tolerable HipHop and an intolerable wanker spouting Hippety-Hoppety jargon throughout the tunes at an annoying decibel. But I drank a few promised freebies and bought a couple of my own.

Then I went to my favourite Hole in the Ground bar, 305 to continue the frolicking. Well they broke out a dartboard and everyone put a 1,000 yen down to bet on the outcome. I cleaned their collective clocks and made 5,000 yen on the deal, but I felt guilty at taking their cash, so I bought them a round of drinks. That's where the "wuss" part comes in. But I made a few Karma points and, over the course of the entire evening, I made 100 yen and I got royally drunk.

My question is..."Where can you redeem those Karma points?" Mikie is in need of some payback soon.
I am such a wuss...or am I?

Last night I was perfectly content to stay home and relax after spending a gruelling afternoon cleaning my kitchen (now those CSI forensics dudes can't find any odd mould spores.) First I got a note from Dave in the early aft., suggesting that we go out, then I got an email from Ando, one ofgtofsui,;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;organied pig be slaughtered



Protect the kittens!

Domo-kun (どーもくん) is the mascot of Japan's NHK television station, appearing in several short stop-motion sketches. Domo-kun, a strange monster-like creature born from an egg, is short, fuzzy and brown with beady black eyes and an open mouth revealing pointy teeth. Domo's favorite food is seasoned beef with potatoes and he has a strong dislike for apples (an unexplained mystery in his DNA). Domo is known to pass gas repeatedly when nervous or in a bad mood.



He ヘ, no の, he ヘ, no の, mo も, he ヘ, ji じ: With these seven hiragana characters, you can draw a face. The first two "he" are the eyebrows, the "no" are the eyes, the "mo" is a nose, and the last "he" is the mouth. The outline of the face is made by the "ji".

It is often used to draw the face of kakashi (かかし or scarecrow). The Japanese use kakashi (scarecrows) in rice fields to frighten the sparrows and crows away.
Rabbit of Seville.

Here's the most famous haircut in history...

I just read today that Johnny Depp has definitely joined Tim Burton in the remake of this cartoon. (Okay, they're actually going to do Sweeney Todd which is about a murderous barber.)
Hair apparent.

I haven't shaved in over a month, nor had my haircut since May 31st (see that blog), so to avoid becoming mistaken for a humanzee, I decided to get a trim. Well 80 minutes later, I was done! My last cut was 10 minutes for 1,000 yen. This one cost me under 4,000 yen for 8 times as long.

I got my hair cut, my beard shaven, my eyebrows, ears, nose and forehead shaved, a head & shoulders massage, shampoo, etc. for 3,885! I didn't take them up on their offer of the Dr Evil look, so I don't have a shorn scrotum.

I won't be going the cheap route for awhile. This is the true Elixer of Youth!
Now it's gone too far...

The following is an article ripped off the net concerned about cartoon characters' smoking habits. Fortunately, it's still ok to drop pianos on each others' heads or to shove dynamite up their butts, but it's not ok to smoke. I have many weaker peers who smoke, but some of us refused to succomb to the peer pressure of our cartoon cohorts who evilly puffed away with no detrimental health effects. They can digitally remove Popeye's pipe now, but they can't remove it from my memory. (I only wish they could have actually removed the dangling cig from my mom's mouth then maybe she wouldn't have suffered the stroke. But she got hooked at an early age by watching these toons.) Here's the article as written (with some minor emphasis added.)

"A British TV channel is snuffing out smoking from classic children's cartoons after a viewer complaint about episodes of Tom and Jerry.

Children's channel Boomerang said Tuesday it had cut scenes from two episodes of the violent cat-mouse cartoon "where smoking could be deemed to be glamorized."
"We have now pledged to view Boomerang's entire library of favourite cartoons and remove all other references that could be seen as glamorizing smoking in all our shows," said Cecilia Persson, vice-president of programming, acquisitions and presentation for Boomerang's parent, Turner Broadcasting UK.

Turner said the decision applied only to Boomerang's output in Britain, which includes The Flintstones, The Jetsons and Scooby-Doo.

British TV regulator Ofcom said Monday that one (let me emphasize ONE) viewer had complained about two Tom and Jerry cartoons - each more than 50 years old. In Texas Tom, Tom tries to impress a female cat by rolling and smoking a cigarette with one hand. In Tennis Chumps, Tom's opponent is seen smoking a cigar.

Ofcom said it welcomed the broadcaster's decision to remove scenes "where smoking appeared to be condoned, acceptable, glamorized or where it might encourage imitation." Britain's broadcasting code says smoking should not be featured in programs aimed at children "unless there is strong editorial justification."

The pro-smoking group Forest described the move as "totally absurd."

Fortunately, I was too young to see this cartoon in its original incarnation and only saw it in sanitized syndication a few years later, when the sponsor became Breakfast Cereal and not Winstons, or I might be hooked too.

Fortunately, they've decided to keep smokers who are villains puffing away. I'd hate to think that only the good guys smoked.

I almost got hooked on these as a kid, but I noticed that he smoked a pipe, not fags. But come to think of it, he rarely lit his pipe, he usually used it to suck up spinach.


Snakes on a Plane! Use it often...

The new movie won't make it to Japan for ages, but in the meantime, we can work it into our vocabulary. "Sex on a Plane" or "SOAP" is an incredible word that can be used to describe many situations:

1) Surprise -- "What the snakes on a plane are you doing here?"
2) Fraud -- "I got snaked on a plane by the car dealer."
3) Resignation -- "Oh, snakes on a plane!"
4) Trouble -- "I guess I'm snakes on a plane now."
5) Aggression -- "GO SNAKE YOURSELF ON A PLANE!"
6) Disgust -- "Snake me on a motherfucking plane."
7) Confusion -- "What the...snakes on a plane...?"
8) Difficulty -- "I don't understand these snakes on a plane!"
9) Despair -- "Snakes on a plane again...."
10) Pleasure -- "I couldn't be happier if I had snakes on a plane."
11) Displeasure -- "What the motherfuck is going on here, snakes on a plane?"
12) Lost -- "Where are we going and why are there snakes on a plane?"
14) Retaliation -- "Up your fucking snakes on a plane!"
15) Denial -- "I didn't do it. The snakes did. On a plane."
16) Perplexity -- "I know everything to do with it, if it has anything to do with Snakes On A Plane."
17) Apathy -- "Who really gives a snake on a plane, anyhow?"
18) Greetings -- "How the snakes on a plane are ya?"
19) Suspicion -- "Who the fuck are you, snakes on a plane?"
20) Panic -- "Let's get the snakes on a plane out of here."
21) Directions -- "Fuck off, snakes on a plane."
22) Awe -- "How the snakes on a plane did you do that?"
23) Anatomical description -- "He's got a motherfucking snake up his motherfucking plane."

The mind boggles at the many creative uses of the phrase! Use it in your daily speech and teach it to your students! It'll add to your & their prestige. (Adapted by me but stolen from some guy named Dan Kaminsky.)
Monkeying around.

A Humanzee named Oliver appeared on Japanese TV with fraudulent promotions picturing him as a miniature and hairy human being. Oliver's trip coincided with a concert promotion of the rock 'n roll group The Monkees and he was presented on Japanese television shows with Mickey Dolenz spouting inaccurate scientific observations.

It was claimed he was given genetic testing by the Japanese promoters. Some Japanese results, later proved false, held that Oliver had 47 chromosomes. Some anthropologists observing Oliver's head, nose, ears, and preference for bipedal walking asserted the possibility that the chimp was a hybrid.

Alas, it appears that this particular Humanzee (also known as the Chuman or Manpanzee) was not the hybrid but just a chimp with a tendency to walk upright. The verdict is still out as to whether Kelsey Grammer, Ed Asner or Robin Williams are Humanzees.
MMMM...Flied Lice.

Yesterday was the first day back at school after Summer Vacation, so all the students were gathered for an Opening Ceremony. The VP yelled at all the students, then they gave out some awards to outstanding students (winners of a Calligraphy contest, top tennis and badminton players, etc.) and then yelling at the students some more.

Usually there is a lot of dyed hair over the summer, but that is fairly easily detectable. Yesterday though, all the teachers swarmed amongst the students and began picking through their hair! I thought there might have been an outbreak of head-lice (虱 or shirami) and the teachers were nit-picking. But it turns out they were searching for hair-extensions. A few of the naughtier girls were sent away to remove the heathen artifices and the students were released.

Hair today, gone tomorrow...
Kyle's mom's a b____!

Here's a treat. Cartman singing about Kyle's mom, sung in Japanese. It goes really quickly, but that's part of its charm. So without any further ado...

I just love the last word ... no bleeping in Japan!


Future possibilities of Superman's son...

If he isn't taught to share, he may pick on Batman's son.

If he doesn't use his powers for good, his dad may wipe out his powers.

Dad better keep an eye on his onanistic desires or he may grow hair in odd places.

He'd better get diving lessons or he'll be a flop.

He may turn Satanic.

How bad can he misbehave? Better let Lois punish him.

But hopefully he'll be an eloquent tot who'll play catch with papa.
Le Retour de Superhomme.

Superman in French could be Superhomme, well the latest movie is more like a Super-HOMAGE. There are several nits at which one could pick and it's not so much a remake or a sequel as it is a rehash, but it is a good rehash (or as Alex calls it, "a remix.") I won't give anything away except that Luthor is eviler, Lois is cuter and Supes is superer.

My main complaint is that Lois is too hot. Her predecessor, Margot Kidder, was 30 when she played the role. Kate is now 23 and she has a 5-year old son (who got an A in Science...since when do they teach Science in kindergarten-sorry, I said I wouldn't nitpick.) I guess when Uberman circled around the Earth to reverse time and save her life, it acts as a Fountain of Youth too.

So go see it for yourself and judge it on its own merits, not as a sequel/ prequel/ rehash/ remake or remix.

Oh and by the way, another Lois, Noel Neill, makes a cameo somewhere in the movie. (She's now 86 years young.) Noel remarked that a frequent question from her audience was, "How come you never recognized that Clark Kent was Superman, even when he had his glasses off?" She said her stock answer was, "Because I wanted to keep my job!"

Lots of Lois:


Today's really lazy post.

More Puffy...

In Japanese, a Polar Bear is called a シロクマ or White Bear (shiro-kuma). That makes sense, so why is this bear pink?


スパイダーマン, スパイダーマン does whatever a Spider can...

Spider-Man: The Manga is a manga written and illustrated by Ryoichi Ikegami which basically retells the story of Spider-Man in a Japanese setting. It was originally published in Japan from January 1970 to September 1971 in Monthly Shonen Magazine and was one of two Marvel Super-Heroes to receive their own Japanese manga stories in the early 1970s, the other being the far less well-known Hulk: The Manga, which has never been reprinted.

A high school student named Yu Komori (小森ユウ) is bitten by a radioactive spider, which gave him spider-like powers. Yu faces Japanese versions of villains such as Electro, the Lizard and the Kangaroo. Yu also has an Aunt May (her name is "Mei"), and the publisher of the Joho newspaper is a counterpart to J. Jonah Jameson.

Back in 1978, Toie Productions were given permission to license Spider-man in whatever way they wanted and they chose to have him battle giant robots.

Young motorcycle racer Takuya Yamashiro (山城拓也) sees a UFO falling to earth, in fact a combat spacecraft named the "Marveller". Takuya's life is saved by Gallia, prince of the Spider Planet, who came to Earth in the spacecraft. Gallia gives Takuya a bracelet that injects him a liquid which not only heals his wounds but also gives him super strength, the ability to climb walls and a special sense of danger (i.e. spider-sense). The bracelet gives him his web-shooting ability, is also a communication device used to summon Marveller, and finally can be used to store the costume.

Takuya battles Professor Monster's "Iron Cross Army". After Spider-Man beats up on the human sized monsters they turn into giants. Spider-Man then calls on the Marveller to fire missiles at the monster, then transform into a giant robot, Leopardon (レオパルドン).



Though English has many terms for the foolish: stupid, twit, moron, goofball, putz, Homer Simpson, etc., the Japanese use primarily one term...バカ!
Check out this video from the Ramna 1/2 anime.

To learn more about Ranma 1/2 (which frankly I know very little about except for a few Dark Horse comix) to this site: Ranma.


Bon Appetit!

A common meal to be eaten in the hot summer months is cold soba. Soba そば or 蕎麦, Sobais made from buckwheat flour, so the color is dark. It can be eaten hot or cold, but the most popular soba dish during summer is cold soba.

How to eat cold soba noodles:

Cold soba can be eaten by dipping it in a soy sauce based cold soup, 蕎麦汁 (soba-tsuyu.) Common side ingredients are seaweed, green onion, and わさび (wasabi=Japanese horse radish). If you are eating noodles with wasabi, the best way to do it is to put a little dab of wasabi on the side of your bowl, dip the noodles in the soup, then drag the noodles up through the wasabi. Yum! You are allowed to make slurping sounds while eating noodles this way - it tastes better, too. Just be careful if you're wearing a white shirt!
Bona Fide Festival!

The 13th through 16th of August is called obon お盆 in Japan. Obon is a Buddhist event and one of the most important traditions for Japanese people. It is the period of praying for the rest of the souls of one's ancestors. People believe that their ancestors' spirits come back to their homes to be reunited with their family during this time.

Some Sendai traditions include:
*going out to the family graves お墓 (o-haka) to welcome your ancestors home.
*the lighting of fires to welcome 迎え火 (mukaebi) or bid farewell to 送り火 (okuribi) one's ancestors.
*setting out fruit and other food お供え (o-sonai) in front of the family altar 仏壇 (butsudan) for your ancestors.

*putting out lanterns 提灯 (chouchin), with the family crest painted on it so one's relatives know where to go. Some regions float these paper lanterns, with a candle inside, down a river to guide them home (Matsushima does this.)
*The air in houses and cemeteries are full of smoke and the smell of incense 線香(senko) at this time.

*Young girls wear an informal 浴衣(Yukata = summer kimono made of cotton) with 下駄(geta=wooden clogs) and do a 盆踊り(bon-odori) dance.
The Hostess with the Mostest.

While chowing away on a few munchies at 305, a very pretty young lassie bumped into us in an effort to get some ice from the proprieter. (It's fairly spartan when it comes to space so it's easy to bump into one another.) She filled up two ice buckets and before she departed, I snagged a cube and popped it down her top (it seemed like the proper thing to do after having been drinking for 10 hours straight and she did present her cleavage for all to ogle.) She wasn't at all fazed, smiled and exchanged pleasantries with us. When lo & behold, what should I find, but her cell phone which she had left behind.

So I wandered up a few flights in the elevator to find her bar and much to my surprise (not), there was a room full of guys being entertained by similarly endowed young ladies! I returned the phone, got a pleasant hug, she gave me her phone number(!) and I wandered back to the speak-easy. After finishing up our brews, we pooled our meagre shekels together and wandered back upstairs.

Well, we were greeted with great flourish & fanfare and were escorted to a table in the corner. Miho cuddled up next to me and we all had a beer and sang a few tunes on the ever-handy Karaoke machine. All was going swimmingly until it came time to pay the piper. Our one beer each amounted to 9,600¥ for the three of us. Alas, Mark had to bear the brunt of the cost, and we got out of there with our dignity intact. Before we departed, Miho and I had made tentative plans to meet on her day off...

Mark and I knew very well from the beginning what kind of place we were entering (a HOSTESS BAR, ooooh!) But poor Michael, a very naive and very married and very chaste scientist from the South of France was very taken aback by the type of establishment we had entered. He got on his high horse and was ready to burn the heathen edifice to the ground. We calmed him down and all crashed at his place for a few hours.

I got an email from dear Miho a few hours later, inviting me back. I still haven't responded to it...
We all had a BON-time.

This past week, most people are given time off from work to go visit their families or ancestors' graves during the O-BON Festival (お盆祭り). Much of my week was spent hibernating in my apartment in an impoverished manner, but I did go out a few times.

There was the mini-blowout with Alex on Saturday, resulting in a slooooow Sunday and then on Tuesday, was the "Return of Mark" (play eerie music here.) First, we (Alex, Yuko & Kaede, a French guy named Michael, myself and Mark & Yuko) went to a 飲み放題/ 食べ放題イ (nomihodae/tabehodai =All you can eat and drink for 90 minutes for 3150¥) at a Beer Garden on the roof of the Mitsukoshi department store. It was a yummy buffet, but the beer was tough to pour, mainly resulting in foam.

Alex escorted his wife and child home and then the four of us went to a little Irish bar with an outside patio (an absolute rarity in Sendai!) Unfortunately, the only view is of a fairly dingy alleyway, but you take what you can get. So we drank an expensive pint and moved on to BBs.
BB's is this little bar in the basement of a larger restaurant, and it often has a stinky odour of sewage. On this date, there was no malodour and only malarkey. It's reasonably priced, with NO cover and one rarity that you can acquire here is Absinthe (アブサン) which is 70-proof, but really doesn't pack the wallop you'd expect (hallucigenically, that is.)

Alex joined us at our next venue, records in hand, for a bit of spinning at Hide & Seek (it's now only 10:00!) Friendly folks, terrific tunes, excellent edibles and hearty Heartland beer.

Mark's Yuko left us to give Mark a night out with the boys and it was off to Shaft for a bit. Fortunately, the owner was at the door, so we got in for free and there were very cool Reggae/Oldies sets happening.

By now, Alex had retired and it was down to Mark and two Michaels. Our next stop was 305, another basement bar (they call it a speak-easy), where the owners like their Elvis music. It's now pushing 3:30am and we hit one more bar, but that one is worth its own post...


Hitler cats!!

I don't even want to hazard a guess as to what one should feed them.


Quoth the Karasu, "nevermore".

The man who brought detective stories to Japan was an author named Edogawa Ranpo (say it quickly and you'll get it.) The real name of Edogawa Rampo is Hirai Taro. He was born in 1894 in Nabari, Mie of Japan and died in 1965. I read some of his short stories back when I first got here and they are truly bizarre.

Several of his works have been made into movies or shorts and here is one of them for your viewing pleasure. It's sort of a Dr. Moreau done Japanese style...

And by the way, karasu カラス is the Japanese for crow. They are freaking huge over here and are constantly into garbage bags spreading the refuse willy-nilly.


How many can you name?

It just don't ADD up!

Alex needed a night out after spending 2 weeks with his family, English Camp with his students and the daily routine of infant-care. So after a pint at the Green Shamrock Irish Pub, we wandered over to Club ADD (ADD). We haven't been there in a couple of years, but they have revamped the place a bit and I must say for the better. It was a techno/indie rock/hard house night featuring DJ Lust. He was my least favourite, but there were a few others DJs that were great. But now to my mathematical conundrum.

Two young ladies (Chisato & Kana) came over and chatted with us and they were very friendly. Chi's English was pretty good and they were both good dancers. My problem is that once Alex went home, why didn't either of them hook up with me?

I try not to date anyone who is less than half my age, so that criteria is met. One lass has a DJ boyfriend, but the other is in the clear. Now, her x-axis lined up nicely with her y-axis and her parabolic curves were all in the right places. Granted, some of my pick-up lines may have seemed derivative and I did go off on a tangent occasionally, but I wasn't looking to multiply, merely to have our parallel lines integrate into perpendicular ones. Though I got an email address and offered an invitation to our next Echo event, I fear that the probability of any bisecting has a .02 % chance of success. We'll see...

As an added mathematical bonus, here is Sesame Street's The Count in his first appearance back in 1972:


Well we're Ramen, we're Ramen...

Hope ya like Ramen too. Ramen (ラーメン, 拉麺) is a Japanese dish of noodles and broth originating in China.

Ramen has a variety of toppings such as sliced pork, seaweed, kamaboko, green onions and even corn. Almost every locality or prefecture, in Japan has its own variation of ramen, from the tonkotsu ramen of Kyushu to the miso ramen of Hokkaido. Most ramen noodles are made from four basic ingredients: wheat flour, salt, water and kansui (かんすい). Making noodles with kansui lends them a yellowish hue as well as a particular flavor.

You can get instant Ramen, Ramen soup, Ramen with an egg on top, Ramen with numerous other ingredients and you can get it pretty much any time of the day or night. Frequently my mates and I will go out for ramen in the wee hours after a night of drinking.

The following clip (6 min...be patient) shows the length some people will go for a bowl of ramen. Rube Goldberg, eat your heart out (but save room for some ramen.) Warning: annoying announcer alert.

Abbott and Costello get revamped.

Most of you have probably heard the A&C baseball sketch, "Who's on first". Here is a similar routine performed by a couple of Animaniac characters (Slappy & Skippy). What you may not realize that their sketch was originated on Second City about 20 years ago, performed by Joe Flaherty & Tony Rosato! Regardless, I think it looks better animated...

Gedo Senki trailer plus...

Someone very kindly put in some English subtitles for the song lyrics.

Trailer 1

And as an added treat, here is the singer of the above tune on a talk show, performing the tune live (no subtitles, of course.)
Batman & Robin join Superman in the fight!

Journey to the Centre of the Earthsea.

Well, maybe just the outskirts. Not speaking the language, I had a hard time following the movie but as a visual experience, I was duly impressed. ゲド戦記 (Gedo Senki OR Ged's War Chronicles) or Tales from the Earthsea includes: clouds that float, water that ripples, grass that rustles, smoke that billows. And the lushness and variety of colours was immense, as though he chewed up a box of Crayolas and spat them on the screen.

To make a long story short (actually I plan to ramble incessently), I loved it. The first-time director is Goro Miyazaki (son of Hiyao of Ghibli fame) and I can't wait to see what he does in the future. With several villains and villagers as composites of characters from earlier films plus 4 truly brilliant lead protaganists and a VERY spooky witch, I can honestly say that this is on a par with his papa's work.

SPOILER ALERT: There is not a single "Talking CG Animal" to be found anywhere in the movie. This is a very good thing. I understand that Disney has picked up the rights to distribute this and if they don't sanitize it and give it big Hollywood star vocalizations (although Christopher Lee would be great as Ged the Wizard), it may stand a chance of taking the Oscar for Best Animated Feature. (Look at the competition, a whole lot of CG creature features.)

The critical take on this flick is less than glowing, but it did take over 900 million yen in its first weekend and still rules the Japanese box office, supplanting Pirates. If the crowd I saw it with is anything to go by, they all seemed enrapt by it. It was "Men's Day", so that men get in for 1,000 instead of 1,800 yen, and I was a little leery that the dozen young punks who came in would destroy the picture for the rest of us. Nary a peep from them! I understand that in earlier showings, kids would cry and people walked out, well...Newsflash: IT'S NOT FOR KIDDIES! It was genuinely spooky at times and about the only sentimentality throughout the picture was the movie's theme song, "Song of Therru" sung by Aoi Teshima. (Very pretty, but I preferred the theme from Sento no Chihiro/Spirited Away.)

I really want to see this again (preferably with subtitles) and will try and check out the source material by Ursula K. LeGuin. (Who by the way has this to say about the movie...When asked about her impression of the movie, with a warm smiling face she answered shortly "It is not my book. It is your film. It is a good film." )



I had a couple of barbecues back in Toronto and they are way different then what you can get here.

They have a very unique method of cooking hotdogs here:
Team America's ally.,

Ghibli Giblets

This is a short featuring some of the staff members of the Ghibli studios. I hope to go see their new Earthsea feature based on the stories of Ursula K. LeGuin. Until I do, here's a tidbit to tide you over.


Samuel Jackson IS Afro Samurai!

The five episode series is the tale of a black samurai in futuristic, yet feudal Japan who is on a mission to avenge the wrongful death of his father. "Afro" is a warrior who travels a solitary path encountering a myriad of enemies, friends and challenges beyond imagination.

The series, produced in Japanese animation, blends samurai style with hip-hop, creating a kind of action that American audiences have never seen before.

Afro Samurai is a creative collaboration between Jackson, Takashi Okazaki and Japanese animation company Gonzo.

It's supposed to show up in NA on Spike TV. Has anyone seen anything about it yet? I'll keep my eye out for it.
Forget about Troy and Alexander...

300 is the one to see. 300 is a historical epic film directed by Zack Snyder, scheduled to be released in 2007. The film is adapted from Frank Miller's graphic novel of the same name. Miller is involved as an executive producer. The film stars Gerard Butler, Lena Headey, Rodrigo Santoro and David Wenham.

300 is a ferocious retelling of the ancient Battle of Thermopylae in which King Leonidas (Butler) and 300 Spartans fought to the death against Xerxes (Santoro) and his massive Persian army. Facing insurmountable odds, their valor and sacrifice inspire all of Greece to unite against their Persian enemy, drawing a line in the sand for democracy.


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