Monday, December 26, 2005

Compare and Contrast

Jeremy Roenick, 35 year-old NHL veteran, on not being named to the American men's Olympic hockey team:

"It would be a travesty if I'm not [selected ...] I know they want a youth movement, and they need to have one, but it'd be disrespectful of the guys who have gotten Team USA to this point internationally. [Team USA] "better hope that I don't get a job as a commentator on NBC for [the Games], or it'd be 'Go Canada' all the way, and I don't want that."

"I know nobody on that team has more points in the National Hockey League than me [...] So if (USA Hockey) wants to go that way, good luck."

"To not have the opportunity to go back one more time and try and win the gold is, obviously, in my opinion, very disrespectful. They can beat me down and say I'm over the hill or say that I don't have it anymore, but, to me, I know that I do."

"If they want to leave me off because of my numbers this year, that's well and fine [...]
"They didn't invite me to camp in September and they've been blackballing me anyways [...] I know I can play this game at a high level. My stats aren't indicative of the way I've played this year. I think my career, the way I've worked, speaks for itself. If that's the way they want to be, it's fine. I'll accept it."

Sydney Crosby, 18 year-old NHL rookie, on not being named to the Canadian men's Olympic Hockey team:

"There are a lot of great hockey players from Canada and I realize that [...] you're not making an All-Star team, you're not choosing the guys who are the best scorers or who have the most points or the top 20 point-getters in the NHL, you're making a team to go and win. That includes guys who have to be defensive forwards, guys who have some different roles. Either I didn't fit that role or I didn't earn a place to be there."

"It's important for me to move on [...]I try to go out and give myself an opportunity to play there and if not, I'm not second-guessing any guy there because they all deserve to be there. It's tough because I thought I had a chance, but it's not tough because I think I should replace someone else, it's not like that at all."

"I knew there were a group of guys in the mix for so many spots -- I don't know how many it was, but I think I was right in there [...] It's special to play in the Olympics and when you're that close, it's a little bit tough because you don't know what's going to happen when you're 22 or 26."

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Blue Sky

The lovely young woman on the left is none other than (following Japanese name forms) Aoi Sora (link NSFW), which means "Blue Sky". She's a popular "AV idol" (Adult Video star) here in Japan. She's starred in such films as Let's Go Blue in the Sky, Virgin Sky, 50/50, Sexy Fruit and Soap Heaven, to name but a few.
So why am talking about Aoi Sora and posting her picture here? Is it a cheap ploy to suck traffic in to my boring blog? Do I harbor some secret dream to be a porn king? Hell, yeah! But I digress...
In my classes today I asked my students (working in groups) to write down any words or phrases they associated with the term "the sky". (Note to the ESL/EFL uninitiated: Damned if I know whether or not this type of activity is of any use to the students, but it usually gives me an idea of what they do or don't know. We've been reading articles this month with weather-related content... please don't ask...). As the students were doing the activity I was walking around the room checking what they'd written, offering suggestions, getting clarifications, etc. Most everyone had written words commonly associated with "the sky"--clouds, rain, stars, UFOs, and the like. In one of my classes today, however, there was a group of four guys I noticed chuckling and whispering to each other, like they had some funny secret. There are no rules against having fun in my classes, and they were busy writing stuff down, so I didn't pay them much mind. Eventually I made my way over to them and took a look at what they had written. Pretty much the same as everyone else, but the first item on their paper was the phrase "Aoi Sora"...
Now, as fate would have it, and totally unbeknownst to my students, I know who Aoi Sora is. Yes, I admit it, I have gazed upon Japanese (and countless other types of) porn. Further, I have sought it out on the web. I suppose there are a few (straight) guys out there who don't like to look at pictures of naked women, but I'm not one of them. I can only imagine what goes on in their sick, twisted minds. The only creature lower on the evolutionary scale would be someone who likes to look at beautiful, naked women, but denies doing it (liars are worse than retards, although they probably live longer, proving irrevocably that evolution isn't always fair or sensible).
Anyway, playing dumb, I look at what these guys have written and say, "This is Japanese, what does it mean?" "Blue Sky", one of them says, with darting glances at, and shared smirks with, his partners. I ask, "Is she the most popular AV idol in Japan?" Their jaws drop. After some hushed consultation another one answers, "well, she's one of the most popular." Not willing to pass up the opportunity, I say, "ok, make me a list, will you?"
They did. They gave it to me after class, and lingered a bit to chat. It may sound strange, but this is how to teach English in Japan.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to check out this list...

Monday, December 05, 2005

Meanwhile, in Iraq...

... we've been hearing about kidnappers threatening to kill their peace activist hostages, more US marines killed by roadside bombs, and an ambush by militants that killed 19 Iraqi soldiers. Not so widely reported was the broken mirror on a Japanese Ground Defense Force vehicle, inflicted by stone-throwing protesters in Samawah on Sunday. How are these events connected and what does it all mean? I leave that to you, dear reader...