Sunday, June 26, 2005

OK Baby Pizza

I'm just about numb to the plentitude of strange English on signs in Japan, but this sign in Jiyugaoka grabbed my attention for some reason. First I was roped in by the sign's goat-like shape. Then, of course, I noticed the three icons with the labels OK, Baby and Pizza.

The caption under OK reads, "Your doggie may accompany you to the terrace seating." Under Baby we have, "You can also partake of the elevator." And under Pizza, it says, "Please try our fresh-made pizza takeout." This is, without a doubt, the most hospitable goat I've ever met!


Yesterday marked the second anniversary of my arrival in Tokyo. But the real celebration is tonight in Roppongi, where my ex-roommate Craig (pictured here) and I will partake in the honorable Japanese tradition of PRIDE.

PRIDE is a freestyle fighting tournament in which competitors from around the world (but mostly Japan, Brazil and the US) beat each other up, then hug and tell each other, "You're the greatest, man!" We'll be watching the live PPV broadcast at Tokyo Sports Cafe, which seems as good a place as any to witness a sporting event that typifies humankind's devolution into green-skinned beast men.

You may have heard of the Roppongi district, as it is considered to be the number one hangout zone for foreigners in Tokyo. But since I'm not too enthusiastic about Roppongi's tendency toward obnoxious dance clubs, overpriced restaurants and general dumbness, tonight will be only the second time for me to set foot there since my arrival in Tokyo...which was when? Very good! Two years ago yesterday. See, I knew you were paying attention.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Let's Learn Japanese: Aho

Aho (n.) Idiot. Sukotto Makureran wa aho jyan.

Whitehouse Press Secretary Scott McClellan, who has made a legacy of answering very different questions with the very same answer, most recently shamed himself by defending Karl Rove's divisive comments about the "different philosophies" employed by democrats and republicans in the wake of the September 11 attack. I put the word "philosophies" in red because Mr. McClellan used that word no less than ten times during his embarassing grilling by an atypically assertive press corps. No matter what question he was asked, his answer involved the overly gentle phrase "different philosophies."

Maybe Scott McClellan slept through school...but in my experience, if you answer every question on a test with the same answer, you fail that test.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

How Microsoft Saved My Relationship

Girlfriend works at one of Microsoft's Xbox translation/localization offices in Tokyo. For the past six months, she has been working on the Japan version of the game Jade Empire, which was finally released this week. The first thing we did upon getting our copy of the final build was check the credits. Much to our delight, her name is in there (and spelled correctly). Congratulations, Girlfriend, on your first credit!

Even more exciting (for video game fans, not necessarilly for you), she'll soon start debugging language in titles for the next-generation console Xbox 360. This means she and her co-workers will have their hands on the hardware months before its release in November (December in Japan).

Girlfriend had no interest in video games prior to her employment at Microsoft. I mean, she claims to have been a real "gamer" back when Super Mario Bros. 3 came out, but that's the extent. Now, thanks to her professional connection to the industry, the two of us can hold intelligent conversations about the difference between Halo and Timesplitters. And that, my friends, is what true love is all about.

Friday, June 10, 2005

You'll Go Down in History

New low numbers in the June 6-8 AP-Ipsos poll regarding President Bush's ultimate inabilities!

Percentage of adults surveyed who...

...think the country is headed in the right direction: 35%

...approve of the job being done by Bush: 43% his handling of the war: 41% Bush's handling of Social Security: 37% Bush's handling of the economy: 43%

Call me a dreamer, but I think it's mathematically possible for Bush's approval rating to reach 0% by the time he leaves office. The countdown rolls on!

*Margin of sampling error is +/- 3%...not enough to make him look good.

Honyaku Friday

This week's sensational, translational offering comes in the form of a review of The Karate Kid I wrote for the Internet Movie Database in June 2003.


This movie is a guilty pleasure for me, because my brain recognizes how silly it is, but I always come back and watch it again. Any movie, let alone a trilogy, which takes an irritating, unlikeable whiner and makes him the heroic protagonist deserves some respect, at least for overcoming the hurdles associated with making an unlikeable character likeable. See also, Star Wars.

Ralph Macchio explodes onto the screen as Daniel Larusso, the aformentioned whiner. The kid gets into fist fights over boomboxes, steals a guy's girlfriend, hoses the guy down at the school dance, and blames the subsequent problems on his "stupid bike." He is, for lack of a better word, a bonehead. Who wouldn't love this crazy all-American teen?

Then Pat Morita steps in to give Daniel some much-needed direction. His attempts to help are greeted with more and more whining. But through months of zen floorwax training, Daniel-san becomes the grandmaster of Miyagido Karate and proves once and for all that violence really is the answer.

Unfortunately, this is one of those movies that contributes to the general American non-understanding of Asian cultures, with its stereotypically eccentric Mr. Miyagi, but Kreese (the EVIL karate instructor!) is equally eccentric, so I guess I forgive the filmmakers for that.

A word on this movie's soundtrack: Gnarly! During the beach party sequence, we are treated to a rapidfire trio of obscure 80s pop tunes (possibly "fake songs," written especially for the movie, but I'm not sure about that). And during the tournament scene, you'll be dancing like a dork to the motivational hit "You're the Best Around (No One's Ever Gonna Keep You Down)!" or whatever that song's called, I don't know.

FUN FACT: I used to have this movie on VHS. I copied it from my local video store. But the movie is more than two hours long, and I used SP speed to tape right after Kreese says, "sweep the leg," and Daniel's knee is apparently crushed, the tape ends, with Daniel crumpled on the floor in a heap, gasping for life. It's GREAT.

Double-Translated Results from Yahoo Honyaku:

Because it recognizes so method stupidity, this movie is guilty joy for me, but I always come back, and my brain watches it again. I take an unfavorable sobbing person to irritate not to speak of a trilogy to overcome a hurdle related to it being liked an unfavorable person at least, and even what kind of movie doing him to the leading role of a hero deserves some respect. In addition, please look, and it is the star wars.

As Daniel Larusso (a sobbing person done aformentioned of), I pass on screen, and Ralph Macchio fires up. A child begins a fist fight on boomboxes, and steal a girl friend of a person, and wash a person with a hose by a school dance and a problem of result of him "blame a stupid bicycle". Because there is not a better word, He is a stupid person. Anyone this, indeed, do not love U.S.A. teen?

Then Pat Morita enters to give Daniel some courses needed very much. His trial to help with is accepted by groaning more and more. Through zen floorwax training to extend in how many months, Daniel-san becomes a grand master of Miyagido Karate, and I am limited really this time, and the violence is and an answer to prove that I say.

Unfortunately this is our nothing of those movies contributing to strange Mr. who is the stereotypically Miyagi and general American fault knowledge of Asian culture, but Kreese (instructor EVIL karate!) is wind strange so I who spread it think that I forgive it of a movie producer.

A word on a sound track of this movie: twisted! Between beach party sequences, we are treated to a rapidfire trio of pop music (perhaps) I who am written for "a false song" (movie in particular am not reliable about it) of 80's that does not become clear. And, between tournament scenes, you dance like a penis for a stimulating hit "you are best Around" (there is not it in Ever Gonna Keep You Down of One)! I do not know that or the song visited so the thing in anything.

A pleasant fact: I had this movie on VHS. I copied it from my local video shop. However, movies are more than 2 long time, and I warp. After Kreese, - saying please just "grow a foot" and I use SP speed to record tape, and thus a knee of Daniel is crushed clearly. And, with Daniel whom a tape edge becomes a lump, and is smashed on a floor, I yearn for life. It is big.

Addendum: June 10, 2005
I just watched
The Karate Kid again for the first time since writing that review, and noticed an inaccuracy. The part where my copy of the movie unexpectedly terminated was right after Johnny drops an elbow to Daniel's knee, right before Daniel's winning crane-kick to the face (not the famous "sweep the leg" part). I shudder to think of the suffering and injustice that must have resulted from my review's glaring inaccuracy, and can only pray for forgiveness. Furthermore, I realize that the caption, "Best block, no be there" is actually a reference to The Karate Kid II. But my favorite line from this movie, Kreese's "You're a pushy little bastard ain't ya? But I like that!" was too long to use as a caption to such a small image.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Women: Japan has some.

Embarassing, but true: A lot of male English teachers in Japan admit (is it still called "admitting" if it's done proudly?) that their primary motivation for moving to Japan is women. I, on the other hand, can triumphantly say that one of my major motivators was not women, but a woman. But enough about why I moved here. Now that I'm here, here are some women with whom Girlfriend battles for the title of Queen of My Heart.
Waka Inoue
Waka Inoue hails from he Japanese "idol" agency known as Yellow Cab, whose talents are mainly famous for two reasons. I'll give you a hint what those two reasons are: one of them is LEFT BREAST. Waka's breasts have secured her a place on many a TV program, as well as an ad contract with the loan company Promise.
The first time I saw a Promise commercial, I reacted unfavorably to Waka. She sang the jingle ("pu, ro, mi-su!") and shot the camera a smile I can only describe as sheepish. I remember saying, "Who is that woman? She looks positively sheepish!"
A year later, after realizing that Waka Inoue is actually really beautiful, I saw another commercial (a TV ad for a door manufacturer, I think) in which Waka was actually dressed in a cute little sheep costume.
Aya Ueto
Speaking of cute animal costumes, consider Aya Ueto. With even more commercial credits to her name (including a few for Sompo Japan where she is dressed as a panda), she is currently riding a tall wave of fame. That fame began when she won a nationwide teen beauty pageant a few years ago, which somehow launched her career as a pop singer and an actress.
I don't care for her singing, and as an actress she's nothing great. But how can you say no to a commercial with Aya dressed as a panda? Or Aya slapping at her ears and saying, "wa-wa-wa-wa-wa" to avoid hearing the outcome of a soccer game she recorded for later viewing? Or Aya eating yakiniku ("Ichi mai, ni mai! Umai!")? Aya Ueto is a veritable CM queen. NOTE: "CM" is Japanese for commercial. "Queen" is Japanese for, well, it's like a king, only female.
Nanako Matsushima
This lovely lady became famous in 1998, when a cursed video tape caused the death of her ex-husband. After that, she became the spokeswoman for Namacha bottled green tea. As a result, I now drink fifteen liters of green tea every day. Admitedly, she never appears in any commercials dressed as a fluffy animal, but she did enjoy wild popularity as a result of a Namacha commercial in which she walks around in snow shoes and manipulates a panda puppet.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Honyaku What Ever

As you can see, a weekly thing like Honyaku Friday is not easy for me to continue over time. It's not that I don't have time to type something up and click the necessary buttons. It's just that, lately, I can't think of anything clever to write. (Some would argue that I never can.) But I'm convinced that Honyaku Friday was and is a good fact, it renders the mostly unhumorous humor site obsolete! So I'm not likely to trash it completely, but maybe it's not realistic to expect a Honyaku a week.

Double-Translated results from Yahoo Honyaku:

As you see it is not easy for me to continue a thing of every week such as Honyaku with time on Friday. It types something to me, and it is not for there not to be time clicking a necessary button. What I am assigned to anything which is smart so that I write it and cannot think about is natural recently. (I insist that some cannot grind at all so me.) However, I am the thought that Honyaku is good on Friday, and it is convinced of a certain thing. Actually, it mainly makes the humor site that is not interesting of a times delay! Thus I do not seem to completely break it, but probably it is not realistic to expect in Honyaku for one week.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

I Choose You

Spurred by rumors that North Korea's Kim Jong Il has a level 46 Charizard, President Bush has begun a quest to "catch 'em all."

"The time is now to train my Pocket Monsters in the name of democracy," said the President in Tuesday's address. "Enemies of freedom throughout the world now have my totally awesome Blastoise to answer to. Let freedom ring!" Bush punctuated his remark with an obnoxious cowboy whoop.

Bush's approval ratings have slipped dramatically in light of revelations that Saddam Hussein's alleged stockpiles of Metapods and Jigglypuffs, which were the Bush administration's justification for the US invasion of Iraq, did not exist.