Tuesday, December 02, 2003

Sometimes the Jokes Just Write Themselves

The Korean Central News Agency of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea has an interesting report on a November 28 "memorandum" made public by The Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland and the National Reunification Institute. This document, a "comprehensive survey of the human and material damage caused by the U.S. imperialists to the south Korean people since it occupied south Korea on September 8, 1945", alleges that "[t]he total amount of human and material damage the U.S. imperialists have inflicted upon the south Korean people for nearly 60 years since their occupation of south Korea runs into 43,139,020,630,000 U.S. dollars." [Note: I assume the lower case 's' in 'south' is a convention that these organizations have adopted to make a political point.] While I can't vouch for the math, the report is fairly detailed. Some of the more interesting items:

$22,448,748,170,000 for the 2,323,000 people killed and the 6,520,000 wounded, the document claims, by the United States "right after their occupation of south Korea (September 1945-May 1950) and during the Korean war of aggression (June 1950-July 1953)."

"Hundreds of billions of dollars" for the 38,100 cultural treasures that the U.S. has "vandalized and looted".

Apparently the U.S. has "smuggled" 12 billion dollars worth of illegal drugs into south Korea, "rendering the people mentally and physically deranged."

More than a hundred billion dollars in "sexual damage" has been caused by "the U.S. imperialist aggressor troops", who have "brutally violated many south Korean women and reduced them to sexual slaves, producing hundreds of thousands of foreigners' whores and mixed-bloods." Interestingly, this figure was "calculated according to the standard of compensation to be made for the sexual slavery for the Imperial Japanese Army."

Although this report doesn't quote a single specific source, we are assured that all estimates were "based on a scientific review of various data quoted by statistical yearbooks officially released by the south Korean authorities, publications printed in south Korea and abroad, testimonies of individuals, information available from political, financial, academic, press and various other circles of south Korea and reports of the U.S., Japanese and other foreign media."

...don't know much about history...

The St. Petersburg Times ("General News From St. Petersburg and Russia"? Mmm...) reports that " [a] textbook on modern Russian history that invites students to discuss whether Putin is an authoritarian leader and has formed a police state may be banned in high schools." For his part, Mr. Putin
[...] told a meeting of historians at the Russian State Library on Thursday that history books should not become a political battleground. "Modern textbooks for schools and universities must not become a ground for new political and ideological fighting," he said in televised remarks. "Textbooks should provide historical facts, and they must cultivate a sense of pride among youth in their history and country."

Seems to me the trick would be to take the covers off of all history books, stick them on other, completely unrelated material (like comic books, cook books, Harlequin Romances, etc.), mix them up, and give a different one to each student in the class. Imagine the fun students could have trying to interpret the teacher's history lesson through the lens of "The Joy of Cooking" or "The Justice League of America".
Of course, on the topic of history, the Russians are much better at this sort of thing than the Japanese, who are still busy re-writing stuff from the first half of the 20th century.
Speaking of Japan, the deaths of two Japanese diplomats in Iraq seems to have sucked what little life there was out of any desire to go and help out with the reconstruction effort. I imagine that the Japanese will be ready to go to Iraq round about the time Iraq is ready to join NATO... Meanwhile, PM Koizumi, sounding a bit like GW, is talking tough on terror. Not that I'm a big fan of whoever is behind these attacks in Iraq, but since when is it "terrorism" to engage occupying forces? Maybe we should take the history book idea above and try it out on a dictionary...

Saturday, November 15, 2003

A Tale Told by a Fool...[to an Idiot]... Full of Sound and Fury, Signifying Nothing

According to WorldNetDaily, Al-Qaida has a plan in the works that will kill 100,000 Americans, apparently sometime during Ramadan. "An al-Qaida commander in Iraq close to Osama bin Laden" claims that the attack will "amaze the world and turn al-Qaida into [an organization that] horrifies the world until the law of Allah is implemented [...]". Whatever...

Thursday, October 23, 2003


This clock is just too cool.

I Don't Need No Doctor

The other day I was chatting with a few nursing students at the local medical college. I happened to ask them why they had decided to become nurses. Their answers were pretty much what one would expect - my mother was a nurse, I'd like to help people, etc. The last one to answer, a very attractive young woman, had a somewhat different response. She stared right at me and with a slight smile said "I've always liked the costume." I couldn't tell if she was kidding around or not. I rather liked this ambiguity. In fact it made my day.

Tuesday, September 30, 2003

Hell's Bells

A couple of interesting sports headlines from the CBC this week. The first one informs us that Satan has signed a two-year deal with the Buffalo Sabres. As if that weren't interesting enough, another headline announces Devils welcomed at White House by George Bush. Are these signs of the coming apocalypse? How in hell should I know? The picture below only adds to one's confusion.

More "satanic" news from September:

SCSI Failing to Drive Out Satan
Fear Connects You to the Devil (and here I thought it was AOL...)
Devil Is in the Debate in Small Town (no doubt arguing zoning laws again...)
Devil Sinks Route 666 (well, hell is down, isn't it?)

Thursday, September 25, 2003

TV Eye

This afternoon I stepped out onto the balcony for a smoke. Glancing up into the sky, I caught sight of the Goodyear blimp floating by. I smoked my cigarette, and imagined that the blimp was broadcasting live pictures of me back to my friends in Canada. I waved at the blimp. When I finished my cigarette I went back inside and got ready for work.

Friday, July 25, 2003

Little Ball of Hate

I once wrote (in my Master's thesis, dealing with Euripides and Plato, of all places), " When participation in public affairs (ostensibly for the purpose of serving the well-being of the community at large) becomes nothing more than masquerade for furthering one's own personal ends, the community and its institutions become nothing more than an empty shell in which competing interests constantly vie for power ..." I was angry then. I'm angry now...

Thursday, July 10, 2003

Myopic Void

You know, there are times when I miss Canada so much that my body quite literally aches for the bright clean air of a really cold winter day, for Halifax, for a Tenpenny (can't find a link...discontinued by Moosehead?), for an outdoor seat at a bar on Spring Garden Road...
Then there are times when I think, "what a fucking crock of shit, Canada fucking shmanada, the hair and fingernails may still be growing, but this corpse is starting to smell, and I mean really stinking the joint out."
Witness the latest "premiers conference" in Charlottetown. This group of politically challenged deadbeats is to 'unity' as Ozzy Osbourne is to bats (think about this one, people).
I mean, how can a "country" survive with something so asinine as the so-called "notwithstanding clause"? Usually a toy for crybabies in Quebec, these days everyone from homophobic Ralph Klein in Alberta to Ernie Eves in Ontario (who actually says, if it's OK for Quebec...) wants to invoke this fucking piece of shit disgrace to the modern nation state.
Three cheers to a Balkanized (Rockied?...ugh...) Canada.
Mmm...I wonder who's playing downtown this week...

Wednesday, July 02, 2003

Oh Shit!

Heh, it's shaping up to be a good week for headlines. The following is from the Mainichi Daily News (really, a veritable font for this kind of thing): Crappy Cops Laugh Last at Smelly Suspect's Incontinent Buttocks. While I have to confess that I've experienced the stinky backseat of a cop car before, this is a bit much...

Tuesday, July 01, 2003

Thursday, June 26, 2003

Beyond the Mat

From the Mainichi Daily News: Pro wrestler and politician The Great Sasuke has fought off a legal challenge that would have forced him to remove his mask in the local assembly hall. The move to un-mask Sasuke was counted out because, as the Mainichi informs us,
Pro-mask lawmakers, mostly belonging to the Liberal Party, have insisted that Sasuke be allowed to wear his mask even in the assembly meetings because voters elected him "as a masked politician."
In April, Sasuke had to grapple with accusations that he had appeared in a porno movie:
"It was the real Sasuke all right," Meatball Yoshino, porno actor and co-star of "Sasuke's Member is a Heavyweight Champion," tells Asahi Geino. "When I arrived at the studio, Sasuke was already there, but he wasn't wearing his mask. I've always been a fan of Michinoku Pro Wrestling (the regional areas only troupe operated by The Great Sasuke), so as soon as I heard his voice, I knew it was the real thing."
I swear, the Japanese can improve anything...

Tuesday, June 24, 2003

Toys in the Attic

Mmm... I see that the obligatory ad at the top of this page has taken to peddling various Japanese items. If they really knew me, they'd tell me where I could get a set of these.

Thursday, May 08, 2003

Welcome to Planet Motherfucker

While reading a discussion on North Korea (Democratic People's Republic of Korea) over at Plastic, I came across a fascinating story by a couple of guys who took a trip there. Aside from being a great story, there are also a lot of incredible pictures. It's a fairly large site, so grab a coffee (or beer) before reading. The link was posted by Lothar.

Monday, May 05, 2003

Time Warp

There. Now that I've managed to size the fonts so that this thing no longer requires a magnifying glass to read, maybe I'll pay more attention to it. The one or two people who might come here from time to time may also notice that I've changed the title. The old title was misleading in that it implied a Japanese site which, while not entirely wrong, is not really what I had in mind either. I'm not really into anime, manga, Pokemon, Kitty-chan, video games, groping highschool girls on the train, suicide, and a lot of other typical "Japanese" stuff. Since I'm on the topic, I might as well say a few words about some Japanese things I do like.
Sumo is pretty cool. In fact, since moving here it's proven to be a great replacement for my old habit of watching pro wrestling. There's some great food here, too. Yakitori is the perfect dish if you're drinking beer (there are some pics here). Yakiniku is pretty damn tasty as well. Since I mentioned beer, my favorite is Yebisu, but Asahi is not without its charms. There are probably more things that I like about Japan. I'll talk about them as soon as I can remember them...

Saturday, March 22, 2003

Psychoholic Slag

Without a doubt (at least in my sonically culture-rotted brain) the most kickin' ass band in Japan has got to be Thee Michelle Gun Elephant (or TMGE; available on WinKaMorMx Records, if you catch my drift). I first heard these guys a few months after arriving in Miyazaki in the spring of '98; it struck me that, all the time I had been here, I had no clue about any Japanese music (well, I guess I still don't, really). Anyway, being the cheap, pirating, cd-copying curse to the Recording Industry that I am, I decided to go to the cd rental shop around the corner from my place (if Japan is anything, it's *convenient* --hell, you can drink until 6am and then pick up a bottle of Jack, a pack of smokes, breakfast, and a porno mag at the 7/11 around the corner from your place on your way home). To be honest, I didn't like most of the stuff I heard (not hard and heavy enough), but from the opening notes of Gear Blues' opening track, West Cabaret Drive, I knew that TMGE was the real deal. Their sound is pretty easy to describe actually: imagine that the Stooges, MC5, and Dr. Feelgood are Japanese. OK? Now imagine that they all go to the beach for a night of wild debauchery unparalleled in the annals of rock history (use your imagination!); they wake up the next day with massive hangovers (these, probably only I can imagine) and in a really bad mood, and decide to form a garage supergroup that sometimes sings in English, sometimes in Japanese. There you have it! TMGE calls their sound "Monster R&B," and it is. Do yourself a favor and check them out.

Google (Japanese and English results)
Google (English only)
A review in Creem
Sabrina Heaven (Japanese)
An article on Big in Japan
Gear Blues and Bio

Friday, March 14, 2003


OK, I'm just getting this thing going, so I'll have to think about what I throw up (pun intended) here. On the laughably slim chance that someone actually reads this before I tell anyone about it, this space will likely be used by it's author (me) to talk about living in Japan, and about things I find interesting (like music and film) or incredibly boring (like reality TV shows and boy bands). Later....