Tempus Fugit When You're Having Fun.

Actually, I'm not having all that much fun lately but tempus has definitely fugit. It has been 2 years since I started this illustrious missive of the blogosphere. I know it is tradition to put up a best of entry, but I kind of screwed up last New Year's Eve and put up my best of then. Please bask in 2007's entries for now. As for the current year, I'd choose either coins, Moomin or my Haggis recipe for January.

For the intelligencia among you (and that's a going to be a minority if you're reading this blog), I'd urge you to review my Ran rant, smoking clean or for pure unadulterated silliness with a bit of edjumacation thrown in, go for crackers.

Not much in March of note and besides, you can always just scroll down the page yourselves you lazy SOBs. But if your scrolling digit is inoperative, try Barbicide, Santa's adventures by Baum or my personal favourite, In the Pink.

Stay tuned tomorrow for a wacky April Fool's extravaganza!


Bollocks to Poverty!

I try to make a blog title related to the topic and throw in a little pun, but this entry needs no elaboration!

Tomorrow night is an Echophonyk event with a twist. We're joining forces with ActionAid to fight poverty. Now though I'm soon to be impoverished myself, I'm a little better off than the victims we're trying to help. So tomorrow night, come on down, bring a few spare coins to win a Raffle prize, hoist a few pints and contribute to a worthy cause!!
Here are some details:

宮城県仙台市青葉区国分町2丁目10−11−4F−2第3吉岡屋ビル 022-722-5651 SENDAI)

し、 盛り上がり続けるイベントです。仙台での国際交流に一役買ってるイベントで、たくさんの外国人も遊びに訪れます。英語を勉強したい方、今の流 行の音楽を聴きたい方、国際交流を通して他の国の人たちと友達になってみたい方等、たくさんの方々の参加をお待ちしてます。多彩なDJ陣による音楽も必 見!いろいろなジャンルの音楽が一晩中流れます。他のイベントとは一味違うところ。House, Breakbeat, Techno, Drum'n Bass, Dance Classics,Hip-Hop等最新のHIT曲を聴けるのもこのイベントの魅力です。Let's Enjoy! Let's Party!


¥1500 1 Drink


¥2000 1 drink
¥2000 2 drink (With Flyer!)



For the scoop on ACTIONAID!



■お問い合わせ ECHOPHONYK info

Have a Bollocks/Ball!


Come to the Cabaret.

I put on a bit of a song and dance tonight and managed to land a part-time job. Honestly, they asked me to do a trial lesson to base whether or not I was worthy of teaching them and the lesson they asked me to give was on musical tastes. So I wowed them with my floorshow. I didn't actually dance or sing (much) but the director said that I was the first teacher at the school who is funny. I asked her if that was a good thing, and she assented.

So I'm now halfway to being employed, so with this and a few pick up gigs, I should be back to full-time status. In other good news, I found a couple more new KitKats. First up are some Strawberry Petits which are so tiny, they are hardly worth biting into. Furthermore, isn't half the enjoyment of a KitKat breaking it in two?

Another style of the 緑茶 (ryokucha or green tea) version that tastes better than the last one I had, perhaps it's the colour? Somehow I don't think it'll replace the Tea Ceremony anytime soon.

Check out the latest commercial.

Willkommen to the KitKat Klub:

Funny Bunny.

I once spoke about the importance of lilies wrt. Easter and now lets talk a bit about Bunnies. ASIDE: Did I ever tell you my Easter story about chocolate Easter Bunnies & Eggs? (Not for the faint of heart.) I was about 10, and it was an unseasonably warm Easter morning. My siblings & I had voraciously eaten all our chocolatey goodies (Do you first eat the head, ears, feet or ass of your bunny? There must be some psychological study on the Freudian aspects of this. I'm strictly a head-man, but I digress...) and we got in our Sunday best and head to church. At that time, I was singing Soprano in the Junior choir, not yet adopting the low bass tone to my voice and we were located near the organ to the left of the pulpit. During one particularly long prayer, I decided to pass out from the heat. I came to in the arms of a man in a white robe surrounded by others all adorned in white robes, while the Nicene Creed was being uttered in the background. Heavenly! It turns out that the organist had seen my plight, left his post and carried me out to the back. I was placed on a table, a nurse & doctor from the congregation were checking me over and then I proceded to barf up all my chocolate eggs into the hands of the organist. Needless to say, he was late to give the Minister (MY DAD) his cue for the next hymn. That organist, by the by, just happens to be the uncle of one of Canada's most famous hockey announcer, Chris Cuthbert whose book, "The Rink" can be bought here.

But back to the bunnies...How on Earth did rabbits and eggs come to symbolize Easter anyway? It all boils down (Hmmm. Shades of Fatal Attraction) to Christians' habit of adopting pagan rituals to explain some form of Christianity. In this case, why not use ancient fertility symbols to justify the Rebirth of JC?

Didja know that the Japanese (and Koreans) don't see a man in the moon, but a rabbit making 餅 (mochi or rice cakes.) 月の兎 which means Moon Rabbit refers the pareidoliac tendency for humans to see images in things (such as witnessing the Virgin Mary in a grilled cheese sandwich.) We have a full moon now and last night I saw a rabbit there, only it wasn't making mochi or grilled cheese, it was making bunnies.

According to the Chinese calendar, people born under the Year of the Rabbit 兎 (usagi 1999, 1987, 1975, 1963...) are the most fortunate. They are smooth talkers, talented, ambitious, virtuous and reserved.

Let's not forget that the protaganist of Sailor Moon is named 月野 うさぎ or Tsukino Usagi (Literally, Moon/Field Rabbit) and is nicknamed "Bunny". (This is a scan of my bathroom towel!)

For my local readers who are seeking out all manners of Bunny-goodness, be sure to shop here. Speaking of Bunny-goodness, if it turns out that I have to leave the city to acquire lucrative employment, I want to go here for my sayonora party!

For a really racist portrayal of the Japanese, go no further than Warner Brothers for Bugs Bunny strikes again:

Oh yeah, Alex's hockey team, the Snots beat the Rabbits 9-0 last night!


Spring in My Step.

Today is a treat for me; it's the first day of Spring which means that it's a National Holiday called 春分の日 (shunbun no hi). Since I'm not working at either of my jobs and there's nothing open for me to go flog a resume at, I can chill all day and do some Spring Cleaning.

But before I go there, here are some Springy Comics courtesy of the Grand Comics Database:

Let's start off with Veronica showing off her new kimono.

Our favourite Alien Life Form enjoying a spring up the backside.

Walt Kelly is more famous for Pogo but I like these magic mushrooms.

Of course Spring is the time for birds & bees and others to make whoopee.

The funniest Lobo cover ever with an appropriately placed barcode.

I only really like the original Gold Key version of Turok, but there were no Spring break issues. (That link'll take you to a Preview of an Animated feature.)

Jo-Joy was a man who thought he was a loner.

This cartoon features Coil Man who can spring into action. The Impossibles are known as the
(Super-Three) and that link'll take you to an awesome YouTube of their theme in Japanese.

Not technically spring-oriented, but each of those guys has spring-like stretchy powers.

Finally it is also Earth Day today.


The Sentinel.

Science Fiction has lost another of its greats. Arthur C. Clarke has undergone his Childhood's End and will soon Rendezvous With Rama. The man who put the Science back in Science Fiction, Clarke will most likely be best remembered for co-authoring 2001: A Space Odyssey and its many prequels and sequels. The above linked books are the only ones I remember well, but I know I read several more as a youth.

Speaking of science, Sir Arthur was the conceiver of the communications satellite decades before it became a reality and geosynchronous orbits, which keep satellites in a fixed position relative to the ground, are thus called Clarke orbits.

To learn what you can do to carry on his legacy, might I suggest you head to his foundation and see what you can do.

For a tribute, I recommend:


Momotaro vs Mickey!

Sorry I don't have time to write much lately, so another video will have to suffice. But this one is a doozy! Filmed in 1934 and taking place in the far future of 1936, this piece of propaganda pits the famous Momotaro against a malicious Mickey. Enjoy!

Thanks to BoingBoing for the link!
Something Bugs Me About This!

I'm taking a break from Job hunting on the Net and came across this hypochondriac's worst nightmare, BoingBoing a 16th Century Medical Book. This article from Pink Tentacle has a good annotated English version, but for the purists amongst you, go straight to the source and read it in Japanese. (Pictured here is 亀積 かめしゃく (Kameshaku, literally "Angered Turtle") who eats rice and wears an umbrella-like hat that blocks medicine. It can be destroyed by eating wild beans.

腰の虫 こしのむし (Koshi no mushi, literally "Back Bug") is my favourite drawing and I suspect I suffer from the affliction. It flies into a host's body and makes its way to the lower back area, where it causes diarrhea, sweating and chest pains. The herbs mokko and kanzo (licorice root) are an effective treatment.
Top 'o the Morning to Ya.

Another St. Pattie's Day has come and gone and I didn't get much of a chance to celebrate yesterday. (I did though raise a few glasses on Sunday, sort of a pre-emptive strike.) While out on Sunday, Ando & I witnessed a parade/protest of "No Nukes" Ninnies (I really don't believe they are ninnies, but go with the alliteration.)

Once again captured with my cell phone are a few seconds of a worthy cause:

Next Saturday is Sendai's St. Patrick's Day Parade, I may be working and unable to attend, but I should be able to poke my head in between lessons. (If you click the second link, be forewarned that it may not be entirely Safe for Work.)


Oh Laaaaaaaaaaady!

Happy Birthday to Jerry Lewis who turns 82 today!

Japanese connection? Here he is in The Geisha Boy. Follow the clips to watch more of this masterpiece:


Energy Equals Mass X the Speed of Sound Squared.

Do I sound Einsteinian there? Today is Π Day but because it's also Einstein's birthday, modern Physicists are promoting today as "Talk Like a Physicist Day" (in the vein of "Talk Like a Pirate Day.") My favourite physicist blogs on the Twisted Physics site and makes this particular science comprehensible even to me. I first read of the concept of "Talking like a Physicist" here and I think it's a great idea (but not so simple a task for we simple-minded folk.)

So while you're chowing down on your PIe today, remember:
Physicists do it Relatively more often! (Click on that link for some much better Physics-isms.)

Oh yeah, it's also White Day today, the follow-up to Valentine's Day. Since I didn't get any loot last month, I don't have to give any out today!


Rocketeer to the Rescue...

I first read about the untimely demise of artist extraordinaire, Dave Stevens this morning, but I wanted to go home and copy this metal sign before I mentioned anything. I wish I could find my Kubrick figure! My favourite Rocketeer memory would be travelling through the States on a camping trip with buddy Bob and hitting all the Burger Kings in order to collect all the toys. They weren't available at Canadian outlets and it was my only source for these goodies.

I was first introduced to his work with Alien Worlds & Starslayer, way back before The Rocketeer, but it was that movie that reintroduced me to Bettie Page and added to my Jennifer Connelly obsession. Back home in Canada, I have all sorts of Stevens paraphernalia from trading cards to comics plus those aforementioned BK toys.

Here's a Japanese connection for you. He did the storyboards for The Godzilla Power Hour. The show wasn't all that great (C'mon...Godzooky!) but the art was good!

Ah, Mr. Stevens, you will be sorely missed.
And Justice For All!

I love this story about Serena Kozakura. A not so young (38) swimwear model was acquitted of breaking and entering into her ex-boyfriend's apartment and trashing the place. Because of her ample bosom, it was deemed unlikely that she could have crawled through the small hole into his place and cause the damage. If I may steal a line from the article, "If the bra doesn't fit, you must acquit!"

In other news, I STILL HAVEN'T FOUND A JOB! 2 promising leads have fallen through, so I've begun to expand my search throughout Japan. I'm willing to relocate to get a job in a Elementary/Junior/Senior High School, but I'd rather not leave Sendai if I have to work in an 英会話学校 (Eikaiwa or Conversation School) or in a 学習塾 (juku or Cram School.)

Wish me luck and if anyone has any advice, contact me!


Streamer vs Setzer.

I don't really need to add anything to this, do I?


A Stag Film.

Yesterday, I taught at my new job for the first time. I truly hated the kids classes, but enjoyed the adult lessons. At lunch break, I went across the road to Kotodai-koen Park and witnessed the tail end of an odd dance.

It's called ししおどり (shishi o-dori) a dance performed by a bunch of guys dressed up like deer.

I managed to capture a few seconds with my camera, and here is my very first YouTube extravaganza, "The Stag Film":


In a Barbie World.

Happy Birthday to Barbie! Back in '59, Barbara Millicent "Barbie" Roberts was first created by businesswoman Ruth Handler, and the doll's design was stolen from (...oops) inspired by a German doll called Bild Lilli. My sister had several dolls over the years and, of course, having 3 older brothers meant that her dolls were tortured on a regular basis. Just like the original Japanese sweatshop seamstresses, my mother used to design and make clothing for Barbies & GI Joes which she would then sell at Church Bazaars. Good thing Mattel never found out or she'd have faced a lawsuit.

Speaking of dolls, I spent the afternoon at my pal Akari's parents' place who were showing off their annual Hina Matsuri display. We had a great potluck lunch and chatted about stuff, including Barbie (the inspiration for this post.)

This archer is my favourite.

In addition to her dozen dolls, she had a display of her niece's dolls whose collection is just starting to be built up.

They think that this very creepy doll is possessed because its hair continues to grow. I doubt the veracity of their claim.

They have a very cool collection of 小芥子 (Kokeshi) dolls too.

I was given a few goodies as farewell presents, including these cards from Subarudo.

Sort of a cross between paper dolls and cosplay, they are surprisingly cute.

Finally, I'll leave you with another lawsuit inspired hit from Aqua...


Dropping the Baumshell.

Since I can't afford to buy the book (not to mention the fact that I've been unable to locate it), I popped into the library and, lo and behold, successfully grabbed a copy of The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus. Unfortunately, it is not a reproduction of the anime, but a translation of the novel itself. Fortunately, there are a few pictures throughout and I now present them for you. This is, of course, the front cover.

Up next is the first page and I'm sorry, I'm not going to translate it for you. I have too much on my plate right now to take the time, but as I'd mentioned before, you can always go to Gutenberg.

This little lady must be the protaganist, Mary. (from Chapter 2)

A Cougar, a Chipmunk & a Mouse. (from Chapter 10)

I'm guessing a princess. (from Chapter 14)

The most depressed reindeer I've ever seen, an angrier reindeer (トナカイ or tonakai in Japanese), a flowery leopard, a chubby owl and a couple of sparrows. (from Chapter 15)

Santa as a boy? with a cat on his shoulder. (from Chapter 19)

Manto = Old man winter?. (from Chapter 20)

For purists, the copyright information of the book.

The back cover and also an interior picture from Chapter 8.

I managed to write out the Chapter headings. If I get around to it, I'll translate them.
1. バージーの森 ba-ji no mori
2. 森の子ども mori no kodomo
3. 養子縁組 youshi engumi
4. クロース kuro-su
5. 森の支配者 mori no shihaisha
6. クロース、人類をみつける kuro-su jinrui o mitsukeru
7. クロース、森をはなれる kuro-su mori o hanareru
8. 笑いの谷 warai no tani
9. クロース、はじめておもちゃをつくる kuro-su, hajimete omocha o tsukuru
10. リル、おもちゃに色を塗る riru, omocha niiru o nuru
11. メイリーこわがる meiri-, kowagaru
12. ベシーブライスサム、笑いの谷にやってくる betshi-buraisu samu
13. オグーワのいじわる o-guwa no ijireru
14. 善と悪戦争 zen to aku no daisensou
15. トナカイとのはじめての旅 tonakai to nohajimete no tabi
16. “サンタクローズ” santa kuro-su
17. クリスマスイブ kurisumasu ibu
18. エントツのそばにはじめて靴下が吊るされる entotsu no sobako hajimete kutsu-shitaga tsurukireru
19. 最初のクリスマス・ツリー saisho no kurisumas shiri
20. 不滅のマント fumetsu no manto
21. 世界が年をとったとき sekai ga toshi o totta toki
22. サンタクロースの代理人たち santa kurosu no dairikon-tachi
Keep An Eye Out!

I'm sure these cool little toys will be all the rage soon. 内蔵 (nai-zo) are internal organs that you can スクィーズ (suku-i-zu or squeeze) and they give them catchy names too!

Squeezy & Queasy keychains for those close to your heart (はぁと haa-to or 心臓 shinzo). If you can stomach (胃 i, pronounced E) it, that is. Liver (肝臓 kanZO) let die! I only have eyes (目 me, pronounced may) for you. Hi, nice set of lungs (肺 hai, pronounced HI). I'm pooped (I can't figure out this kanji, but I'm guessing poop-chute)! My brain (脳 no) hurts!

You really need a lot of guts to get these!


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