Finding Nemo.

While in Matsushima, we also went to an Aquarium, Marinepia . Externally it appears fairly Mickey Mouse, I expected 3 guppies and a goldfish. Surprisingly, I saw much more (4 guppies!) There were sea lions and penguins and otters, (oh my!) As well as all manners of marine life held within the confines of several tanks. Not as impressive as the one I saw in Singapore, but bigger and more spacious than I'd have thought possible for the size of the buildings (400 different species and over 8000 fishies in total.) I can't remember all the names of the various denizens of the deep, but those I know, I will illuminate.

This Merry-go-round was so dilapidated, I was certain that Mr. Electrico would leap out anytime.
There are 7 different species on hand and they all waddled about doing what penguins (ペンギン) normally do. I didn't notice any of them tap dancing, surfing or carousing with Dick van Dyke.

One of them looked a bit like Burgess Meredith, but none of them resembled Danny De Vito. There was a certain malaise amongst them, for they were still distraught over their eponymous hockey team's loss to the Ottawa Senators last week.

This cute little ワニ (wani) came on to me.

More to come, when I have more time...
Clark, the Canadian Goalie.

In honour of Vancouver's 7th game victory over the Dallas Stars (Dallas, now that's a hockey town), I'd like to present a little story about Clark.

Let's hope Vancouver can maintain their momentum against the Anaheim Ducks (Anaheim, now that's a hockey town)!


Cyborg 009, et al.

While I was watching gulls and fishies in Matsushima, others climbed a mountain and hiked in 秋保 (Akiu), famous for onsen/spas) and yet another group went to the sea-side resort of 石巻市 (Ishinomaki), famous for San Juan Bautista (“St. John the Baptist”) originally called 伊達丸 (Date Maru).
But more importantly, it is home to the Mangattan Museum. I don't know much about the artist, 石ノ森章太郎 (Shotaro Ishinomori) but he's created everything from 仮面ライダー (Kamen/Masked Rider) to サイボーグ009 (Cyborg 009). 009 is the tale of nine regular humans kidnapped by the evil Black Ghost organization to undergo human experiments. The result of this tampering are nine cyborgs, each one having super human powers. The nine cyborgs band together to fight for their freedom and to stop Black Ghost. The evil organization's goal is to start the next world war, by supplying any rich buyer their choice of countless weapons of war and mass destruction. You can track down lots of info on them by going to the Japanese and the English sites.

One of friends, picked me up a keychain and a cool plastic sheet drawn by the artist.

I've got several other goodies strewn around the apartment and stuffed away in boxes. I'll have to dig them up and post pics of them someday.

There's also a cool poster offering a new GeGeGe series and the forthcoming live action movie starring ウエンツ瑛士 (Eiji Wentz) and the ubiquitous Dave Spector.

I can't wait for this movie (however incomprehensible it may be!)
Buoys and Gulls.

Jonathon Livingston Seagull and friends.
Gertrude and Heathcliff and friends.
Wake up! It's Scuttle!
"Mine, Mine, Mine!"
On the ferry boat tour around the islands, each boat is followed by screeching sea gulls with a penchant for eating shrimp chips and freaking out the screeching people brave enough to feed them. I fully expected Suzanne Pleshette to come out screaming from behind a pillar, but she never did. (See below's YouTube.) I believe that if people had seen this clip before going on the boat ride, they wouldn't have been so keen on getting so close the shithawks.

What we have hear is the peacock express.

We passed a Chinese Junk about to be junked.

Finally, our cute and incredibly patient bus-tour guides.


Matsushima ah, Matsushima!
Ah, Matsushima, ah!
Matsushima, ah!

Matsushima consists of some 260 tiny islands (島=shima) covered in pines (松=matsu) and the above haiku is dedicated to the beauty of one of the "Three Views of Japan." Sure, it's only one quarter the amount of the 1000 Islands of Canada and it doesn't have its own Salad Dressing (which I believe is about 90% of the Big Mac's sauce's ingredients), but it is very beautiful.

If you'd like to check it out for yourself, it's easily accessible from Sendai.

From the bus.
Another from the bus.

Pining for the fjords.
Where do you put the 7-11?
Sandy shore.
Sea weed salvaging.
Between a rock and a hard place.
Sand sculpted salvation.
Anti-gravity trees.

Stay tuned for more pictures...
Paralysis sets in.

Our bongo boys in action.
Paralytic, they weren't.
A smoky swinger.
J-loop whoops it up.
My pal and her pal.
All in all, a pretty good event. We had about 50 people and I made an awesome Sangria punch that everyone enjoyed (sometimes more than once.)

See ya next time, y'all.
Fresh Air!

Green Acres is the place to be
Farm living is the life for me
Land spreading out,
so far and wide
Keep Manhattan,
just give me that countryside.

Happy Eddie Albert Day everyone! On his birthday, way back in 1970, Environmentalist Extraordinaire Eddie Albert helped to advocate a new holiday known as Earth Day to be celebrated every April 22nd. He was successful and, to this day, people go forth and take a pitchfork to the polluters of the world. Here are the Top 10 actions you can take to help make Eddie Albert Day more worthwhile:
1. Park it! Don't take your delapidated Hoyt-Clagwell tractor to work, drive your Lincoln Continental 4-door convertible through the fields, or better yet, walk!
2. Shut Down! Don't get Alf and Ralph to repair your malfunctioning electronic implements, turn them off instead to conserve energy.
3. Where's the Beef? Instead of chowing down on red meat, give Arnold Ziffel and his relatives a break by going Vegetarian once a week.
4. Eat it! Eat more organic local foods. Try Lisa's square eggs, but don't try the artificial milking machine, there are too many chemicals.
5. Let it rot! Buy a composter from Sam Drucker and use it to decompose the leftovers from Lisa's inedible meals.
6. Don't be idle! Everyone in Hooterville helps the ozone by turning off their engines at street corners, so why don't you? (Sorry, no guarantee that your vehicle will start again.)
7. Keep your eye on the temp! No, I'm not referring to your unusual farmhand Eb Dawson, rather to the turning down of the temperature control at night to conserve energy.
8. Bright ideas! Listen to one of Mr. Haney's wacky ideas and follow his hairbrained scheme to replace incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs.
9. Don't dump it. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle! Oliver once used one of Lisa's infamous tough and inedible hotscakes to repair his truck's head-gasket. (But don't throw away the dinnerware like Lisa does, wash and reuse them!)
10. Tell someone! Make a speech about what you are doing to help the environment and the plight of the farmer. Just don't be surprised when a fife starts playing Yankee Doodle in the background.


Spare me my life!

I'm pretty sure I've shown this before, but because of the last post I feel we all need to learn something. So watch the zuiken gals cope with the hazard of being mugged.

YouTube continues to yank Japanese videos off the air, so watch it soon before it disappears.


A Troubled Loner!

I'm kind of late entering my two yens worth of opinion, but I'm swamped at work and have to battle an intermittently unreliable internet at home. Our latest loony with a glock decided to take out several students and teachers and then send a video to the TV networks explaining his reasoning. (One of the professors was a French Canadian, Jocelyne Couture-Nowak. If you'd like to leave a message for her family, please do.) You've read all about it by now (for more extensive coverage of this whole rigmarole, go to the BoingBoing link and click around until you've had your fill.) When he was described as a "troubled loner", I was not overly surprised. (Interested in a Japanese student's bird's eye view of the situation? Click the link.)

Thank goodness I now live in a country where guns are banned and only hunters and cops own them. Oh yeah, and of course the Yakuza have them. The Mayor of Nagasaki, 伊藤 一長 (Itcho Itoh), was gunned down by a second-rate gangster. You can read all about it here and then a follow-up here. I don't honestly buy the alleged assassin's story that he was pissed off over a dispute about his damaged car, but neither can I believe that his bosses would approve of the hit for the heat it'd bring down on them. But you never know...the Yakuza have a right way of thinking and his policies on nuclear power are controversial, to say the least. Here are are few quotes of Mr. Itoh:

“The human race cannot coexist with nuclear weapons.”

“The atomic bomb survivors cannot wait another 50 years. Their highest hope is to see the abolition of nuclear weapons within their own lifetime. It is a steep climb to this goal, but one from which we must never relent.”

“The nuclear weapons states, the United States of America in particular, have ignored their international commitments and have made no change in their unyielding stance on nuclear deterrence … We strongly resent the trampling of the hopes of the world's people.”

Since we're still in a morbid mood, there aren't any leads on the slaying of Lindsay Ann Hawker. If any of you out there feel you're being stalked read this and I suggest you get in contact with the Victim Support Center in Tokyo at (03) 5287-3338.


Rite of Spring.

Next Friday, April 20th will be a new Echophonyk event after a few months hiatus. In addition to the usual gang of DJs, there'll be a bongo/ saxophone duet, dancing till you drop, a two-hour Early Bird 8-10 のみほだい (nomihodae=all-you-can-drink), a free specialty drink and more surprises.

As always, you can click on the pic to enlarge it and check out Echo for more details or go to Club Shaft to figure out where you're going.
Grooves Without Borders.

DJ Mixture opened the event at 3:30 with his usual brand of coolness and played for about 30 minutes.

Then there was a band I really liked, called Immigrant's Bossa Band" who were a very groovy Bossa Nova band with bongos, keyboards and a doo-wapping, b-bopping, scatting lead singer-acoustic guitarist, 手倉森 玲一 a.k.a Rei.

Mixture ended up playing 3 more segue sets for various bands, 東京いっぱつ (Tokyo Ippatsu), who started with a swing tune, then reggae but soon deteriorated into some Rock/rap (raw-crap), some so-so rockers called "Rock A Trench" who follow in the grand Japanese tradition of spitting their band's title through a random word generator, then by the time a lame boy-band called "かりうし58" (kariushi-58 and, no, I don't know what it means), I was starting to get tired (partying the night before till 5 am, takes its toll.)

Excuse me miss, the Flapper Convention is next door.

An awesome addition to the whole event was a live painting extravaganza. A half dozen artist started and finished a mural over the course of about 2 hours. It was tres chic.

I left around 7, but all-in-all, a rocking afternoon that managed to promote next Friday's big event.
I am Curious Purple.

Since my internet is working for the moment, I plan to do a lot of blogging catch-up. I don't know when next my online will go offline.

So last Thursday, I went to see a live performance by a Deep Purple tribute band, Ritchie Blackmore 誕生日, led by Naobao and it was pretty good. It wasn't worth the 2500 that I paid, but I still managed to have fun. I loved the fact that I was amongst the youngest people there. I didn't know there were any other old farts in on the music scene of Sendai.

Most curious was the lead singer's unfamiliarity with the material. He needed cue cards for all the songs! (Now, I'm one to talk, for I can't sing in Japanese without cue cards either.)

My thanks to Mariko (who manages a restaurant in Tagajo= くいしん坊 宮城県多賀城市中央3丁目1-26 電話 022-364-9491) and Rocking Rob for inviting me.

Their best tune was, of course, Smoke on the Water and they liked it so much, they sang it twice! If you want to find out more about the drummer and bass player, click away.


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