Monday, November 26, 2007

The Cell Phone Camera and Its Myriad Uses

The weather is beginning to get a bit cool here in Miyazaki, which means it's time to re-calibrate my air conditioner to start blowing warm air. And while this might strike the unsuspecting reader as a pretty mundane sort of task, it is, in fact, a twice-a-year exercise in annoyance and frustration for me. Why? Well, because the air conditioner's remote control buttons and settings are in Japanese, that's why. In the past I've put on a brave face and hauled out my dictionaries and, through a tiring process of trial and error, tried to work out the arcane workings of this most cursed of devices. The sin of pride, you see, has kept me from simply asking someone who actually knows Japanese (and believe me, there's certainly no shortage of such people in these parts) to turn on the air conditioner for me. No, much like the proverbial man who turns a deaf ear to his wife's desperate entreaties to "just stop and fucking ask someone for directions, will you?", I refused to bow to the reality of my utter incompetence in reading Japanese...

... until the other day. I'd been pondering this problem when, of a sudden, it struck me: "idiot, you've got a Japanese lesson today, why not ask your teacher?" Why not, indeed. After all, this is a business relationship, so it's not quite the same as groveling on my stomach in the hall outside my office in the hope someone will notice me and take pity. I was dazzled by the sheer simplicity of my own genius! When my teacher came by my office later that day I asked her straight out, "how the hell does this thing work and can you please write it on the whiteboard in a form I can understand?" As I said, this is a business relationship, precluding any visible sign of contempt she may have secretly harbored toward one so pathetic he can't even turn on the fucking air conditioner without help. Like a true professional she complied with my request, even offering a few explanatory comments and a demonstration of how to use the remote control (the last, perhaps, bordered on insolence; but it also could simply have been an eagerness to help...).

Anyway, at the end of my lesson not only did I now know how to order a burger and fries in Japanese, I had at my disposal the means to control the temperature of my office! As soon as my teacher left I took a picture of the whiteboard with my cell phone, uploaded it into my computer, and then printed it off. Hah! No more chilly days in my office! Yes indeed, I'll surely enjoy working in my nicely heated office. At least until spring...

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Horses of Cape Toi

As I mentioned a couple of posts ago, last Sunday my family and I took a drive down the coast of Miyazaki. Our ultimate destination was a Toinomisaki (Cape Toi), which is famous for the wild horses that graze there. Here are some pics of a few of the horses (click to enlarge):

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Yeah, Right...

Don't believe everything you read.What's that old "Chinese proverb"? Something like, "It's better to keep one's mouth shut and appear to be a fool, than to open it and remove all doubt"? Or was it, "He who farts in church sits in pew"? I forget... Anyway, somewhere some squirrels running on exercise wheels squeezed out a few bingo balls and, as if by magic, translated the findings into a bunch of 0's and 1's and deemed the content of this blog to be of such a high level that only a genius could possibly comprehend it. I have, in my oh-so-subtle way, been trying to convince everybody of this fact for several months now. What's that old Klingon saying? "Revenge is a dish best served cold"? Or was it, "He who laughs last, laughs best"? I don't know, whatever it was I think that, on this auspicious occasion, it's quite appropriate. I mean, you know what they say in Japan: "The nail that sticks up gets hammered down." Or was it "The squeaky wheel gets the grease"? Fucked if I know and, as that great sage of our age, Yosemite Sam, is fond of saying, "It don't make no no-how to me anyhow"...

[H/T: Glenn]

Vending Machines, No. 8

In black and white (click to enlarge)...

Ocean and Coast (2)

Continuing from the previous post (click to enlarge)...

Monday, November 19, 2007

Ocean and Coast (1)

My family and I took a trip south down the coast of Miyazaki yesterday. Some pics (click to enlarge):

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Black and White Torii

Continuing from the previous post, here are some torii in black and white (click to enlarge):

Tsuno Shrine's Torii

A torii is a gate found at the entrance of a Shinto shrine. Tsuno Shrine has several of them (click to enlarge):

Friday, November 16, 2007

At the Dentist

This didn't seem to be an ordinary waiting room in an ordinary dentist's office. For one thing, they didn't have any magazines. They had photocopies of what appeared to be journal articles, or maybe short stories-- A4 pages stapled together. They also had some unusual stuff on the walls-- a poster of Bela Lugosi as Dracula here, one of Bill Murray there...

He picked up one of the article-like reproductions, Notes from Underground. He vaguely recalled having read this in university, something about a guy with a toothache. Like a complete idiot, he chuckled to himself, thinking, "what a coincidence!"


I've never really considered Bob Dylan to be a "proper" rocker (unlike, say, Neil Young, who's always had the stink of rock 'n' roll on him). I'm beginning to re-evaluate this opinion...

That wasn't bad, eh?

A Paragraph Between Images

I'm not exactly sure how it's come about, but this blog is clearly beginning to look like a "photoblog". It's been weeks since I've even made an attempt to write anything here. I initially figured that photos would be a nice supplement to whatever I might write in this space, but the photos seem to have taken over. And while I have become more interested in taking pictures the last few months, I have not become less interested in writing. It just looks that way...

The Wingnut Concordance

[h/t: Sivacracy]

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

At Tsuno Shrine

This past Sunday I went with my wife and daughter to visit the in-laws in Tsuno (about an hour's drive north of Miyazaki). It's a pretty small town, but they have one of the more interesting Shinto shrines I've seen in these parts. The grounds around the shrine are very nicely kept up, and the combination of the trees and the sun makes for some interesting light (which, I'm afraid, I haven't done a very good job of capturing...). Anyway, here are a few pics (click to enlarge):

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Vending Machines, No. 6

You know, all these vending machine pics (except one) have been taken within one kilometer of my condo. I'm just getting started... (Click to enlarge.)

Friday, November 09, 2007

Not Unlike the Waves

I often find myself in the same argument: "The reason," I say, "that you don't like death metal is that you haven't heard enough of it." Of course, I've heard more than enough of the shit they listen to...

The Idiot

Imagine if writing were like music: I think I could do a pretty good Dostoevsky cover, or Camus...

My Kind of Show

Apparently somebody says "fuck" on Deadwood (season 3) 1.73 times per minute, slightly fewer times than the 1.76 "fuck per minute" rate of season 2.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Nova Scotia Sunset

I'm afraid I have nothing to say.

Here are some pics I took this past summer in Nova Scotia (click to enlarge):