2009-08-31

A Really Big Fan!

I popped over to a travel agent hoping to get a cheap trip home, but unfortunately I'd be travelling during "Silver Week" which is a really long weekend in September. Add to holidays to the weekend and I get 8 days of travel. But it is prohibitively expensive and I may not be going anywhere! (Okay, maybe Malaysia, I'll look into it.) So instead I spent my money on a Gachapin bag that came with my KFC Smile Set.

I also couldn't resist this! It's so incredibly tacky.













But I got a few freebies today as well. Working in the NHK building has its advantages, especially when it comes to Domo-Kun! They have a promo going on and those who sign up get Clear File and a bunch of stickers (or シール = seal). I just have to squeal, "Cool!", bat my baby-hazel eyes and they hand me one.








One of my students gave me this lovely fan of a Ukiyoe lass playing a 鼓 (つづみ or tsuzumi) a small hand drum that you hold over your shoulder and tap with your fingers as though you're burping a baby. Since my ma is stricken with a stroke she can only use one hand, thus a folding fan is tough to manipulate. This should fit the bill nicely (for next summer anyway...)

Another student in the same class showed me a photo of a newspaper from Montreal, Oct 2000. She actually attended Trudeau's funeral. Cool. In the wake of Japan's election and the turnover of governments, we've been discussing politics of late. So the photo was apropos.

BTW, in addition to being Labour Day today and thus the first day of school in Canada tomorrow, September 1st is also 防災の日 (Bousai no Hi) which is the 210th day of the year and along with September 20th are dates to Prepare for the Prevention of Disaster. Since we are suffering unending rain due to Typhoon #11, not a bad idea!

Just Another One Night Stand!

First: Check this link out to make yourself into a South Park Character!
Next: Enjoy hours of entertainment.
Finally: Take a break and go to...


*・。ONE NIGHT STAND vol.2 ・。*      









9月6日(日)

**Starring**
●○patchalone ( Radio Caroline,VIOLETS)
○●ANIEKY A GO GO! (Back soul Invaders )
●○小池孝典 ( the CHICKEN masters)
○●板垣雪枝 ( the ponytails, 愛情砂漠)
○●VEN'S (Middle's,ven's)
●○夢shitauke (夢工場)

■AT 仙台Liga-縁-
■ADDRESS: 仙台市青葉区国分町2丁目2-15-2F
■TEL: 022-266-6266 (Liga-縁-)
■ TIME>OPEN 18:45 / START 19:00  
■Ticket>ADV¥1500 / DOOR¥2000.     
*ドリンクチャージなし
■Mail: ONE NIGHT STAND vol.2  

*お気軽にどうぞ。>>■問合せ先             
TEL 022-266-6266 (お店TEL)       
*お気軽にどうぞ。   >>*・*・*・*メールで予約受付中!!*・*・*・*>>予約してくれた人にはもれなく イベントオリジナルのCD-R 差し上げます!
(patchaloneのトラックは未発売の音源ですので要CHECKです!!)
カッコイイ音楽でお酒のんで >>解放されましょう。>いろんなことから。>>是非、ご予約お待ちしております。>お気軽にメールください。

Here's a sneak preview...

2009-08-30

Scarecrowman!

I went out on the town last Friday and en route back, I popped into the Daily Yamazaki conbini. It usually has pretty slim pickings for goofy collectibles but on this occasion, I lucked out. These little pencil case pouches are free with a purchase of certain goods and they are remarkably sturdy.


I'll have to investigate further into the contest, but I have now been introduced to Scarecrowman. Click around the the official site and it appears that I may have to watch the Animax cable station on occasion.





Here's a smattering of the animation for your perusal:



Lest we forget, here is my カカシ kakashi / scarecrow costume of two years ago.

While I'm here, I may as well do an update on an Ozu story I posted way back when. I found the same book as a pop-up (for only 50 yen more!) so here it is in all it's 3D glory:



























This is the really expensive Pop-up version for about 50 bucks! If anyone ever wants to treat me to it, feel free!

2009-08-27

Going NOVA!

Here's an article from the Japan Times featuring the demise of my first Japanese boss. I'd say every single one of my bosses in my social work days were corrupt in some manner, (from pederast to embezzler to swindler to fraud to abuser to...) so it's good to see my new boss make me feel at home by being fraudulent himself. I never met the man but he managed to make the work environment Hell for his employees and leaving his students in the lurch. (I've spiced up the article with some pictures of Pikachu & Pals to help you get through it!)

Former Nova President Nozomu Sahashi was sentenced Wednesday to 3 1/2 years in prison by the Osaka District Court for his role in skimming off employee funds in 2007, just before the foreign language school giant's bankruptcy that October. Presiding Judge Hiroaki Higuchi's severe sentence took some in the courtroom by surprise.







Prosecutors had sought five years for the former president of what was once the country's largest foreign language school chain and employer of foreign nationals. Sahashi is expected to appeal the sentence.>"While it's undeniable that if Nova couldn't refund canceled student contracts, this would have invited doubts about the firm's trustworthiness. The defendant, as founder of the company, played a central role in this incident . . . ¥320 million is a large amount and, at the moment, it has not been returned," Higuchi said in handing down the sentence.




Sahashi was charged with funneling nearly ¥320 million from employee benefit funds to a bank account belonging to a Nova affiliate in July 2007. He denied embezzling the funds, telling the court he used the money on behalf of his employees. He tried to portray himself as only one of a group of senior Nova executives responsible for the decision.








But the judge said that given the amount of money and his authority, Sahashi bore a heavy responsibility for the crime. By July 2007, Nova was facing huge losses after being forced to pay refunds to students who had canceled their contracts out of anger over the school's fee payment system. In April 2007, the Supreme Court ruled Nova's cancellation policies were illegal, and that June, the Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry, responding to a flood of complaints, ordered the company to partially suspend its business due to false advertising.



Sahashi said he ordered the money to be diverted to a separate account because Nova was facing a financial crisis as there was not enough cash on hand to pay refunds to students who had canceled their contracts. In October 2007, Nova filed for bankruptcy with debts of roughly ¥43.9 billion, failing to pay about 2,000 Japanese and 4,000 non-Japanese employees. Katsuji Yamahara, chairman of the Osaka-based General Union, welcomed the decision, but said the case itself was not the main problem with what happened at Nova.





"Many ex-Nova employees have yet to receive their unpaid wages. We've been working through the Osaka Central Labor Standards Supervision Office to try to get those wages, but it's been slow-going," Yamahara said. When it shut down, Nova had nearly 42,000 students nationwide and was extremely popular with Japanese students seeking to learn foreign languages.






It was also well-known among foreign English-language teachers seeking employment and among its competitors, who feared, hated or respected Nova's scale of operations. Sahashi himself enjoyed a luxurious office suite, complete with sauna, tea room, widescreen TV and a room with a double-bed.
JuJitsu KitKat!

Everybody was Kung-Fu Fighting! The latest flavour of KitKat is 充実野菜 (Ju-Jitsu Yasai) which translates as Fulfilling Vegetables! If that doesn't get you in the mood for fighting, I dunno what will. Although I never considered an Apple to be a veggie, I suppose a Carrot fits the bill and that is the dominant taste of the mix.

It's this colour when you open it, but looks, smells and tastes a little bit like barf upon first bite! Not very apeeling!

According to the nutritional info, it is based on a Veggie drink one can buy from any combini in a compact drink-box.





I've done some digging, and it appears that this a precursor to a KitKat-flavoured Veggie drink that'll soon be on the market (by ITO EN!) Will it be the best drink ever or will it be like an emetic vegetarian's heave-ho? You do know that I shall be on hand to try it...the sacrifices I make for my loyal readership!

2009-08-24

If A Tree Falls...

In the middle of Sendai, does it make a noise? Jozenji Street, home of the Jazz Festival, Pageant of Starlight and Tanabata is lined with over 60 欅・けや木 (keya-ki) or Zelkova trees. On Mondays, my lessons are held at NHK on that particular street and today's 3-hour break included a walk along the Hirose River (more on that later*.) Upon return, 20 minutes after I'd entered the building, I was told by one of my students that a large Zelkova decided to crash onto the street, disrupting vehicular and pedestrian traffic. I just missed it!

I had to teach for the next 3 hours but as soon as my lesson was over, my students and I investigated the crash-site.






All that was left was a ragged stump and a City investigator taking samples and measuring it. I asked if she'd be checking the other trees and she informed me that she would be. That's a lot of trees to probe.






I scammed some of the detritus and the pulp was very ふらふら (furafura=spongy) and I'm surprised it was standing as long as it had. Apparently, this tree is resistant to Dutch Elm and other major blights, but something had chewed this guys guts up!







*Earlier that afternoon, I went on a walkabout and just before traversing the 大橋 or Ohashi Bridge (Ohashi means Big Bridge), there is a hidden monument. I'd seen this about 8 years ago, but had forgotten about it and came across it again today. It's a statue of 3 Christian martyrs who were put to death in midwinter by standing them in the middle of the Hirose River with rocks tied around their ankles until they either froze to death or drowned. Ahh, the good old days!























I continued on my mini-trek where I saw cicada husks, ducks, a pile of garbage and the perfect skipping stone, I got about 15 skips!












Heading back I encountered gardens, a Toy shop that I used to frequent ages ago but is WAY too expensive now, a Teddy Bear outside a Restaurant and an Architectural competition in the Mediatheque building.











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