2007-02-26

Tubular Bells.

One of our very own Echophonyk DJs has been YouTubed! Somebody filmed DJ Mixture in action at Shaft and posted it on the blogosphere. A funky tune and, best of all, are the strobed snippets of Mixture's mug. Thanx to the faithful for spreading the reverberations of the Echo!

You may already be a Weiner!

Okay folks, let's see how well I did.

THE 2007 OSCAR WINNERS

Best picture

The Departed (winner)

Nailed it!

Best Director

Martin Scorsese, The Departed (winner) and (my choice)

Nailed it!

Best actor

Leonardo DiCaprio, Blood Diamond (my choice)

Forest Whitaker, The Last King of Scotland (winner)

A worthy winner, I'm sure. He sure looks like Idi. (I wonder if he ate anyone's liver in preparation for the role?)

Best actress

Helen Mirren, The Queen (winner) (my choice)

Nailed it!

Best supporting actress

Jennifer Hudson, Dreamgirls (winner)

Rinko Kikuchi, Babel (my choice)

Predicted it, but it'd be nice to have seen an underdog win it.

Best supporting actor

Alan Arkin, Little Miss Sunshine (winner)

Eddie Murphy, Dreamgirls (my choice)

A rather shocking win, but it could be another of those trademarked "last good role before he dies and we've never awarded him a Lead Oscar".

Best foreign language film

El Laberinto del Fauno (aka Pan's Labyrinth), Mexico (my choice)

Das Leben der Anderen (aka The Lives of Others), Germany (winner)

Pan won big tonight in other categories, but not the one I suspected.

Best animated feature film

Cars (my choice)

Happy Feet (winner)

Hollywood likes their Dancing Penguins! I would like to have seen "Tales from Earthsea" nominated. (Bloody Penguins!)

Best adapted screenplay

Children of Men (my choice)

The Departed (winner)

Children of Men was a bit too bleak for Oscar. Besides Marty won big tonight, go for the sweep!

Best original screenplay

Letters from Iwo Jima (my choice)

Little Miss Sunshine (winner)

A nice pleasant, non-controversial choice.

Best original score

Babel (winner)

Notes on a Scandal (my choice)

I should have known, Uncut gave Babel a great review.

Best original song

I Need to Wake Up - An Inconvenient Truth (performed by Melissa Etheridge) (winner) (my choice)

Nailed it!

Best documentary feature

An Inconvenient Truth (winner) (my choice)

Nailed it!

Best documentary short subject

The Blood of Yingzhou District (winner) (my choice)

Nailed it!

Best visual effects

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest (winner)

Superman Returns (my choice)

I must reiterate...He got shot in the eye, the EYE!!

Best cinematography

Children of Men (my choice)

Pan's Labyrinth (winner)

It looks lovely, so I'm sure it deserves it. (Maybe now they'll release it in Japan!)

Best art direction

Pan's Labyrinth (winner) (my choice)

Nailed it!

Best animated short film

The Danish Poet (winner)

No Time for Nuts (my choice)

Hey a Canadian won something!

Best action short film

Binta and the Great Idea (my choice)

West Bank Story (winner)

Because I know nothing about it, I don't feel so guilty. I'm curious how they did the "Sharks vs Jets" song.

Best costume design

Marie Antoinette (winner) (my choice)

Nailed it!

Best make-up

Click (my choice)

Pan's Labyrinth (winner)

It's no Hellboy, but Pan sure looks kooky!

Best sound mixing

Dreamgirls (winner)

You know what, I missed this category in my Oscar prediction. (Let's pretend that I chose "Dreamgirls". It'll be our secret.) Nailed it!

Sound editing

Letters from Iwo Jima (winner)

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest (my choice)

It figures. The only category where I didn't recommend Iwo Jima, it wins!

Best film editing

Babel (my choice)

The Departed (winner)

How much you wanna bet that Marty kept mixing up Marky Mark and Leo as that kid from "Growing Pains". His editors had to keep them straight for him.

Not a bad track record. "Nailed it" 8 times and predicted it a few more.
Late post on the Oscar front!

Way back here, I made a blurb on the Oscar movies and fully intended to make sarcastic comments about each of the nominees. Well, I never got around to it and now it's too late! Sorry, no times to capture visuals, so I'm going to make predictions right now and then later I'll comment as the winners come in. Italics for who I want to win and Bold for who the Academy will probably pick. (While juggling the task of marking Final Exams!)

Best Picture
Babel...I dunno. Looks good, haven't seen it...won't win.
Departed...I dunno. Wanna see it (Maybe this week)...might win.
Letters from Iwo Jima...Saw it, loved it, want it to win...it won't.
Little Miss Sunshine...Saw it, liked it, has a marginal chance of winning.
The Queen...I dunno. The Academy likes period pieces with fancy costumes.

Best Foreign Picture
I haven't seen any of them, I want the Canada pic to win on principle but , Bloody Hell,boy, I really want "Pan's Labyrinth" to win. The Academy may agreebut I doubt it. The other candidates look ripe for their type of movie. Crap shoot pick...
After the Wedding by Susanne Bier, Denmark
Indigènes by Rachid Bouchareb, Algeria
The Lives of Others by Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, Germany
Pan's Labyrinth by Guillermo del Toro, Mexico
Water by Deepa Mehta, Canada

Best Documentary Again, I haven't seen any, and know even less about any of them. Hmmm. 2 Iraq flicks, a Diddler movie and a Bible camp movie. I did see a trailer for Gore's pic and wanted to see it, so that'll be my guess. Besides, I'd like to hear his Acceptance speech.
Deliver Us from Evil
An Inconvenient Truth
Iraq in Fragments
Jesus Camp
My Country, My Country

Best Animated Feature Didn't see any. I question the "animated" efforts of CG motion capturing so that eliminates two of them, thus I'll choose Pixar.
Cars
Happy Feet
Monster House

Best Lead Actor
I only saw Leo perform and I thought he was brilliant. Will Smith has an outside chance as sentimental favourite, but they'll probably reward Peter O'Toole for his "last good role before he dies and we've never awarded him a Lead Oscar" (tm).
Leonardo DiCaprio - Blood Diamond as "Danny Archer"
Ryan Gosling - Half Nelson as "Dan Dunne"
Peter O'Toole - Venus as "Maurice"
Will Smith - The Pursuit of Happyness as "Chris Gardner"
Forest Whitaker - The Last King of Scotland as "Idi Amin"

Best Lead Actress
Once again, I haven't seen any of these movies, only Prada made it over here. 2 Dames, 2 hotties and Meryl. Hmmm. The winner will be released here after it wins, but that won't help my decision. Using my じゃんけん (janken = Rock, Paper, Scissors) talent, I'll go for the Queen.
Penélope Cruz - Volver as "Raimunda"
Dame Judi Dench - Notes on a Scandal as "Barbara Covett"
Dame Helen Mirren - The Queen as Queen Elizabeth II
Meryl Streep - The Devil Wears Prada as "Miranda Priestly"
Kate Winslet - Little Children as "Sarah Pierce"

Best Supporting Actor
I liked Arkin, but it wasn't mind-blowing. Likewise with Djimon. But I loved Eddie and I hope the Academy agrees with me.
Alan Arkin - Little Miss Sunshine as "Edwin Hoover"
Jackie Earle Haley - Little Children as "Ronald James McGorvey"
Djimon Hounsou - Blood Diamond as "Solomon Vandy" /
Eddie Murphy - Dreamgirls as "James 'Thunder' Early"
Mark Wahlberg - The Departed as "Sgt. Bryce Dignam"

Best Supporting Actress
I really liked Abigail, but I feel she should have been up for best Actess. 2 women from Babel, may eliminate them but I hope that the Japanese lass wins. But they'll probably give it to our Dreamgirl, Jen. In your face, American Idol!
Adriana Barraza - Babel as "Amelia"
Cate Blanchett - Notes on a Scandal as "Sheba Hart"
Abigail Breslin - Little Miss Sunshine as "Olive Hoover"
Jennifer Hudson - Dreamgirls as "Effie White"
Rinko Kikuchi - Babel as "Chieko"

Original Screenplay
A tough call. It's rare for a Foreign film to be nominated, and here we have two of them. I'm going to cross my fingers for Iwo Jima, only because I've hyped it so much in this blog.
Babel - Guillermo Arriaga
Letters from Iwo Jima - Iris Yamashita and Paul Haggis
Little Miss Sunshine - Michael Arndt
Pan's Labyrinth - Guillermo del Toro
The Queen - Peter Morgan

Adapted Screenplay
I may be in the minority amongst my peers, but I just don't like Borat. (Small doses are ok, not a movie's length worth.) But I really liked Tomorrow's World (Japanese title for Children of Men) so I hope it wins. Because it's a Feel-good, Rah-Rah Football pic, they may choose:
Little Children - Todd Field and Tom Perrotta from the novel by Tom Perrotta
Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan - Sacha Baron Cohen, Peter Baynham, Anthony Hines, Dan Mazer and Todd Phillips from the TV series Da Ali G Show
Children of Men - Alfonso Cuarón, Timothy J. Sexton, David Arata, Mark Fergus, Hawk Ostby from the novel The Children of Men by P. D. James
The Departed - William Monahan from the Hong Kong film Infernal Affairs
Notes on a Scandal - Patrick Marber from the novel by Zoë Heller

Achievement in Art Direction...maybe Pan's Labyrinth will win this one.
Achievement in Cinematography...Children of Men was amazing. So bleak and dreary, just the way I want the world to end.
Achievement in Costume Design...I want to pick Marie Antoinette, because they were wonderful. If there were an Oscar for Best Catering, this movie would definitely win it hands down.
Best Documentary Short Subject...I have NO idea, so how about: The Blood of Yingzhou District.
Achievement in Film Editing...only because I haven't picked it for anything...here goes...Babel — Stephen Mirrione, Douglas Crise
Achievement in Makeup Gibson's an idiot, so not Apocalypto. Pan's Labyrinth — David Martí, Montse Ribé is a likely choice, but this one has a Japanese guy, so I'll choose: Click — Kazuhiro Tsuji & Bill Corso
Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures (Original Score)...I dunno any of these movies, nor am I familiar with their composers. So tossing a 5-sided coin, I'll go for Notes on a Scandal by Philip Glass.
Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures (Original Song)...Though I saw Dreamgirls, none of the tunes left me humming them. And since I've never forgiven Randy Newman for "Short People", I'll pick: "I Need to Wake Up" from An Inconvenient Truth sung by Melissa Etheridge.
Best Animated Short Film...The only one is a spinoff from a movie I'm not fond of (Ice Age), but No Time for Nuts by Chris Renaud & Mike Thurmeier was pure genius.
Best Live Action Short Film...Who knows? Using my ever handy 5-sided coin again, we pick: Binta and the Great Idea by Javier Fesser & Luis Manso because I like the word, "Binta".
Achievement in Sound Editing...I actually saw 4/5 of these movies, but Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest (Paul Massey, Christopher Boyes, Lee Orloff) was the noisiest, so I'll choose it.
Achievement in Visual Effects...Poseidon undoubtedly sucks (give me Irwin Allen any day of the week); Pirates had two scenes with really big things rolling, so that's no good; but Superman Returns (Mark Stetson, Richard R. Hoover, Neil Corbould, Jon Thum) had Kal El shot in the eye-THE EYE! That's got to be worth an oscar!

And finally for Best Picture
I only saw Clint's and though good, Flags of Our Fathers drops him a few notches in my esteem. Babel, Queen, United...I dunno. So I'm going to go with Scorsese's sequel to Goodfellows...The Departed.
Alejandro González Iñárritu - Babel
Martin Scorsese - The Departed
Clint Eastwood - Letters From Iwo Jima
Stephen Frears - The Queen
Paul Greengrass - United 93

Now, I've got to mark a few tests and then we'll see how I did with my predictions!

2007-02-25

Snaps from a Shinkansen.

It was a bright brisk sunny day and as I was travelling home by 新幹線 (Shinkansen), I captured a few pics of the mountains along the way. Alas, they turned out badly, with many poles and wires in the way, but what do you expect when you're speeding along at upwards of 300 clicks an hour! I particularly like the batting cage and the last picture is pulling into Sendai.








Shape up or Ship out.

Fukushima's a nice place to visit, but I wouldn't want to live there. A little dull, but it's supposed to be lovely in the spring for Cherry Blosssom time. Maybe I'll go back. I forgot my camera, but I did snap a few photos with my phone.

One nice thing about the place is that they have no biases. Everyone is welcome. This is the name of a Tennis Racket shop.







We ate a pleasant Indian restaurant. Not much variety, but is was yummy enough. Oh and I got to use one of my crappy jokes. When they brought out the bread, I said, "何ですか?" (nan desu ka? which means What is it?; but it can also mean ナンですか?Is it Naan? ) Mana's Rasoi 024-522-2787

After I got off the train, I just popped into the UFO catch place and look what I caught (not bad for 2 bucks!) I think all you do is pivot back and forth on this thing, but if the picture is anything to go by, I should be svelte and suave in no time.
Show me the Monet!

I went to Fukushima City (in Fukushima Prefecture, about 25 minutes south of Sendai by Shinkansen) in order to check out the Impressionist exhibition at the Fukushima Art Museum. My first impression was not so impressive. My 10 minute walk to the museum took about an hour, but chock that up to my terrible sense of direction. I finally met a couple of ex-Soma pals who were patiently waiting for me there.

A bit of Monet, Manet, Picasso, Kadinsky (about 1 painting each...not so impressive)but Chagall had a whole hall to himself. They had on display up a book of poems that he had illustrated. I was very impressed by my ability to understand most of the French. Every exhibit was in Japanese and French(no English anywhere), it really stretched my High School recollections of Mr. Yashar's French class.





There was also a display of Japanese wall art from the Edo period and the one really creepy piece that I liked was not for sale as a postcard. Here is a postcard of a chopped up fish that was displayed. It is a 鮭 (sake = Salmon) and was painted by 高橋由一 (Takahashi Yuichi) in 1878. If you click on the picture, you can enlarge it and check out all the gruesome detail.


Marc Chagall, "We all know that a good person can be a bad artist. But no one will ever be a genuine artist unless he is a great human being and thus also a good one."


Pablo Picasso "Art is not made to decorate rooms. It is an offensive and defensive weapon against the enemy."

Wassily Kandinsky "Art, like love, has a fine detail to it. You need to know exactly what is going on."

Claude Monet クロード・モネ (Claude Monet, 1840年11月14日 - 1926年12月5日)は印象派を代表するフランスの画家。

2007-02-24

Apoohcalypse Now!

Did you know that my last post was my 500th post? I didn't check so it wasn't as prestigious as it could have been. I don't know if this will make up for it, judge for yourself:

2007-02-23

Today in History...

Several important events occurred in the past on this date, including the Fall of Iwo Jima and the subsequent raising of that flag and its Pulitzer Prize winning photo.






Star Trek TOS episode, "A Taste of Armegeddon" about two warring factions battling via computer simulation aired today in 1967 (not too different from what's going on today, with less simulation and more casualties). Favourite quotes: "Sir, there is a multilegged creature crawling on your shoulder." - Spock
(disgustedly) "Diplomats! The best diplomat I know is a fully activated phaser bank!" - Scottie

Majel Barrett, Christine Chapel, Lwaxana Troi, and the computer voice on all versions of Star Trek was born in 1932.

Naruhito, the Crown Prince of Japan, grandson of Hirohito and heir to the Emperor's throne in Japan was born in 1960. (He's the one on the left.)



DJ Mark Saito, nee Keene celebrates a birthday today. I believe he's approaching Jack Benny's optimal age! Congrats to you Sir. May you have many more!!

2007-02-21

Mmmmm. Pickles.

SDF deploys perky mascot to boast cuddly image

By HIROKO TABUCHI
The Associated Press

Perky cartoon character Prince Pickles -- with saucer eyes, big dimples and tiny, booted feet -- poses in front of tanks, rappels from helicopters and shakes hands with smiling Iraqis.

To read more about this go to the original article at:
prince pickles









Furthermore, such characters have long been used in Japan to win hearts and minds and to soften the image of authority. The Metropolitan Police Department tries to lighten its stern image with Peopo, which looks like a cross between a rabbit and a space trooper.

The Peopo theme song can be heard here:
peopo

Just when I thought Japan couldn't get any cuter, I find out about the above!
Not that there's anything wrong with that.

One of Japan's greatest exports is ex-Mr. Sulu and present gay activist, George Takei. After Tim Hardaway (Hmmm, Hardaway...sounds like an ad for anti-viagra) made some homophobic, very anti-gay remarks, George made a Public Service Announcement on the Jimmy Kimmel show.

Here it is:



Rats...YouTube removed it! Take my word for it, it was funny.

2007-02-20

Gun-dam it, there's gold in them thar hills!

There are one or two convenience stores (コンビニ= konbini) on every street corner here in Japan, and you can get anything from bento lunches to booze to booby mags. Every day, I hit one on my way to school to get my breakfast and my daily drink (with a little toy attached, of course).

Sometimes they have these little lotteries where, for 5 bucks, you can buy a ticket and scratch the card and win a prize. They are Disney-themed, or Hello Kitty-themed or whatever and now it's got a Gundam-theme. After 5 tries, I won two mugs and two plastic file-folder cases (really handy for hauling around notes from class to class.) Tonight I just happened to win a Gundam-MP3 player. It's really cute, but being a bit of a techno-tard (and because it's all in Japanese), I can't figure out how you get the 3 tiny Members of Parliament inside to do my bidding!

Last weekend, I won a Winnie the Pooh toaster (for 500 yen!) that I gave to DJ Mokugohan for a house-warming present, and earlier I'd won a Hello Kitty hair dryer and 2 cd-players (Mickey and Gundam.) I'm running out of space to keep all this crap, I need to have a garage sale!
I'm Popeye the suihei man!

水兵 = (suihei = sailor).

In yet another case where the thought police have stolen my ideas and given them to another, I was planning on Photoshopping cartoon/comix characters into several classical Japanese 浮世絵 (Ukiyoe) paintings. Some guy in this contest, photoshop, beat me to the punch.

But I will have my revenge, for I shall do the same, only with many more characters into many more paintings and done more betterer. Someday soon...

(Now, if I can just get my idea that preceded Roger Rabbit to the foreground. Except I had a Hamster named "Sam Spayd" solving comic strip mysteries.)
Happy Pancake Day!

Today is Shrove Tuesday or Pancake Tuesday. When I was a youth, oh so many years ago, we would head to Christ Church on Shrove Tuesday (ざんげ・懺悔の火曜日 = zange no kayobi= Penance Day or the day before Ash Wednesday) and be served free pancakes by the males of the Parish. These days, my church-going ways are rather infrequent (read: nonexistent), but I will try and find some ホットケーキ (hotto-caki = hotcakes) for lunch today.

In Newfoundland, they bake objects with symbolic value into the pancakes. They add things to their pancakes such as coins, pieces of string, nails, wedding rings, buttons... all cleaned I hope. The lucky one to find coins in their pancake will be rich, the finder of the ring will be the first married, the finder of the nail will become a carpenter and the finder of the thimble will be a seamstress or tailor. I certainly hope they have a nurse on duty who knows the Heimlich manoeuver for the more gluttonous observers. Everyone there looks forward to Pancake Day. Pancakes are served with syrup, partridgeberry jam and sausages.
Mmmmmmmmmmm.

2007-02-19

Crayon Shin-Chan

Crayon Shin-chan (クレヨンしんちゃん, Kureyon Shinchan) is a manga and anime series written by Yoshito Usui.
野原しんのすけ (Nohara Shinnosuke) is the main character, a kindergarten-aged boy whose antics are the basis for the series. He is strangely attracted to older girls and women and pursues any girl who catches his eye. You can find his anime antics in most of the Free World, but the translations internationally remove some of his innocence by adding naughty language into the translation, making him more Bart than Brat.

Here are the opening credits for season 5 by the J-pop group, "Puppy" (Not Puffy!)



A few posts back, I spoke of the Asian Zodiac.
Using some Crayon Shin-chan keyholders that were dutifully collected from pet-bottles of tea, I made a lovely necklace. This collection came about as an ad for the latest movie, and you can go to their website here, Crayon and watch some previews or play a game. Have fun, you snot-nosed little perverts.
George & Weezie Become Leafs Fans!

Well, we’re movin' on up
In our Division,
To that Eastern Conference in the sky.
Moving on up,
In our Division
We finally get a piece of the pie.

No more slashin' in the corner,
Sundin's on a winnin' streak.
Took a whole lotta tryin’
Our defense ain't so weak.
Now, we're up in the big leagues
Gettin' our turn at the puck.
As long as we win all the face-offs,
We no longer need count on luck.

Cuz, we're movin' on up,
In our Division.
We keep on going higher up 'n up.
Movin' on up
In our Division,
We'll finally get a chance at the Cup!
The NEW look!

I'm going to bed, but here is The Birth of Betty.
Beta you didn't see that one coming.

This will be my last post in the Alpha format for Blogspot. I was hoping to make it to my 500th post before switching, but it appears that our beloved Blog-hosts are forcing me to make the switch. So the next time you read this, it'll be in a new format. Hopefully, I won't lose any posts and the change will be uneventful. Fingers and toes are duly crossed.

2007-02-18

The Title of this post is...

"Title". I went to a bar last night with the adorable Azumi to a little hole-in-the-wall bar entitled "Title".
It only holds 7 people, but the dude behind the bar is a "Boy named Suu". He used to be a bartender at Hide & Seek, but went away for awhile into seclusion in order to build funds to get his own place. And so he did. Several different homemade pizzas, snacks and all kinds of booze are there for your gastronomic pleasure. You also get pleasant conversation and mellow tunes. It's tough to locate, so I suggest phoning first.
Shioppi, one of the customers from his H&S days.
The aforementioned adorable Azumi! Mmmmm. Heartland!



022-7215-5255
〒980-0803 仙台市青葉区国分町二丁目4-21 並木小路ビル1F
Open from 7pm~5am
Maple Forever.





The winner of the cutest baby in the blogosphere goes to DJ Mokugohan's daughter by the name of Kaede, which happens to mean "Maple". She's now about 14 months and very mobile.
Missing Links explained!

No I haven't taken up Darwin's quest, but I did get a bit of text support from a fellow blogger. Over the next while, I'll go back and correct all my "Cut and Paste" links to fancy-shmancy "underline blue glossy" links.
Here's one for you now to my tech supporter's blog, a nifty Aquaman, etc site: bloggety
You've got to Dream, girls!

I saw Dreamgirls yesterday and it reigns Supreme. The production numbers were amazing but only when they were a part of the show. I found the segue expositional songs to be dull, albeit well sung.

Eddie Murphy has finally taken on a role worthy of his talents and not more crappy Disney family fare. Add a little James Brown, a dash of Stevie Wonder, a pinch of Marvin Gaye and a heaping portion of Classic Eddie. Mix well and you get a deserving nomination for Best Supporting Actor.

Beyonce was beautiful, Foxx was nasty, Glover was wasted and newcomer Idol-reject Jennifer Hudson is going places. Wait and see.

To see a couple of trailers in Japanese, go to Dreamgirls
Happy Chinese New Year!

But because this blog is more about Japan than China and since Japan has borrowed the Chinese Zodiac symbols, I'll take this opportunity to talk about the Asian Zodiac.

干支 (Eto) refers to the Chinese Zodiac symbols. Unlike the Western Zodiac which is divided into 12 months, the Asian Zodiac is divided into 12 years. Each year is named after an animal: the rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog and boar. It is said to have been adopted in Japan in 604, during the reign of Empress Suiko. This year is the Year of the Boar.

Rat 鼠 (nezumi) --- Born 1996, 1984, 1972, 1960...People born in the year of the Rat are charming, honest, ambitious, and have a tremendous capacity for pursuing a course to its end. They will work hard for their goals. They are easily angered but maintain an outward show of control. They tend to dislike Mickey Mouse.

Ox 牛 (ushi) --- Born 1997, 1985, 1973, 1961...Ox People are patient, mentally alert and when required to speak are skilful. They have a gift for inspiring confidence in others. This allows them to achieve a great deal of success. They tend to enjoy being milked.

Tiger 寅 (tora) --- Born 1998, 1986, 1974, 1962...Tiger People are sensitive, stubborn, short-tempered, courageous, selfish and slightly mean, yet they are deep thinkers and are capable of great sympathy for those they are close to and love. Clubber Lang hates those with the Eye of the Tiger.

Rabbit 兎 (usagi) --- Born 1999, 1987, 1975, 1963...Rabbit People are the most fortunate. They are smooth talkers, talented, ambitious, virtuous and reserved. They have exceedingly fine taste and regarded with admiration and trust. They often say, "What's Up, Doc?"

Dragon 竜 (tatsu) --- Born 2000, 1988, 1976, 1964...Dragon People are healthy, energetic, excitable, short-tempered and stubborn. However, they are honest, sensitive, brave and can inspire trust in most anyone. They are the most peculiar of the 12 signs of the Zodiac cycle. Mickey Rourke made this Year famous.

Snake 蛇 (hebi) --- Born 2001, 1989, 1977, 1965...People born in the year of the Snake are deep thinkers, speak very little and possess tremendous wisdom. They are fortunate in money matters and will always be able to obtain it. They are determined in what they do and hate to fail. Snake People should never travel on a plane with Samuel Jackson.

Horse 午 (uma) --- Born 2002, 1990, 1978, 1966...Horse People are skillful in paying compliments and talk too much. They are skillful with money and handle finances well. They are quick thinkers, wise and talented. Horse people anger easily and are very impatient. One of the more talkative Horse People would be Mr. Ed.

Sheep 羊 (hitsuji) --- Born 2003, 1991, 1979, 1967 Sheep People are elegant, highly accomplished in the arts, passionate about nature. At first glance, they seem to be better off than the people born in other years. They are deeply religious and passionate in whatever they do and believe in. Sheepish People should never wear Wolf's clothing.

Monkey 申 (saru) --- Born 2004, 1992, 1980, 1968...Monkey People are the erratic geniuses of the Zodiac cycle. They are clever and skillful in grand-scale operations and are smart when making financial deals. They are inventive, original and are able to solve the most difficult problems with ease. Monkey people often have a Majikal gift for music.

Rooster 酉 (tori) --- Born 2005, 1981, 1969...Rooster People born in the year of the Rooster are deep thinkers and are always busy and devoted to their work. Rooster people have a habit of speaking out directly whenever they have something on their minds. Rooster People should avoid cock fights.

Dog 戌 (inu) --- Born 2006, 1982, 1970, 1958...Dog People have all the fine qualities of human nature. They have a sense of duty and loyalty, they are extremely honest and always do their best in their relationship with other people. Dog people inspire confidence in others and know how to keep secrets. I am a Dog and all of the above is true except for the keeping of secrets. Tell me anything and it'll be on this blog within minutes.

Boar 猪 (inoshishi) --- Born 2007, 1983, 1971, 1959...People born in the year of the Boar are brave. They have tremendous inner strength which no one can overcome. They display great honesty. They are short-tempered, yet hate to quarrel or have arguments. They are affectionate and kind to their loved ones. Boar people should avoid talking to people for they are dull and witless. If you are a BOARing man this year you are a 年男 (toshi-otoko) and if a BOARing woman, you're a 年女 (toshi-onna).

The ancestor of the farmer's pig, the wild boar roams the forests of all of Japan, excluding Hokkaido. It was called 山鯨 (yamakujira = whale of the mountain forest) in the old days.

During the Edo period, people started eating the meat of wild boar and called it 牡丹 (botan = peony). The meat of deer was called 紅葉 (momiji = maple leaf)" and that of the horses was 桜 (sakura = cherry blossoms). In this way the pious Buddhists could pretend to eat as vegetarians.

牡丹鍋 (Botan-nabe) is a stewpot dish of wild boar's meat and vegetables in a broth. The thin slices of raw meat are beautifully arranged on a large plate in the shape of a peony flower. Boar's meat is highly nutritious, and remains soft even after a long boiling. Wild boar's meat becomes most fatty and tasty between November and February, the coldest period in a year.

猪突猛進 (Chototsu-moushin) means "to rush recklessly to one's goal without thinking (like a wild boar runs)."

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