Tuesday, October 31, 2006

I'm Lovin' It...

Well, I have to say that, after two weeks without so much as a drag on a smoke, I feel completely brain-dead. Seriously. I go online and end up staring at this blog for hours wondering what to write (YouTube and link-trolling just aren't cutting it any more). It doesn't help much that I have to spend several hours a week in a class with equally brain-dead Japanese university students; nor that I'm expected to keep up with the latest brain-dead TEFL theories written by brain-dead foreigners like me whose students, at the end of the day, suck just as much at English as mine do. (The difference being, I suppose, that I'm quite willing to admit that my students are shit and don't see any point wasting time and paper on 'make-work' projects defending their shittiness and their complete apathy toward English specifically and anything remotely interesting generally. I swear Nietzsche must have been thinking about the Japanese when pondering "the last Man".)

Anyway, to celebrate my new smoke-free life my lovely wife thought it might be fun for me to take my daughter to one of those "vintage" photo studios and have our portrait done. The picture you're looking at is the result of our little foray. I think I may have gained a bit of weight since I quit smoking. What do you think?

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Friday, October 27, 2006

At a Meeting Today

This is a pretty common occurrence at meetings in Japan:

Yep. I must see this, oh..., at least once a week...

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Friday, October 20, 2006

Dream Love Chair

The apparatus pictured on the right is the "Dream Love Chair", and is being billed as the "new erotic sensation" (the preceding links should satisfy the visually curious).

There's a story about the Dream Love Chair in this week's WaiWai section of the Mainichi Daily News, which informs us that the chairs are becoming a hot item in Japan's love hotels. According to the article, the Dream Love Chair was designed by a South Korean robotics professor who "enlisted the aid of over 100 couples" to develop the chair through "a process of trial and error." (Read on, and you'll get an idea of what might have been involved in this "process of trial and error".)

Switching on the machine prompts the man's chair to move backward and forward, while the woman's slowly rotates. The machine has a five-gear speed system, with the fastest promising five thrusts per second. There's also a pause button to allow time to consider what's taking place.

Hmm... sometimes I think these stories should have a "pause button" to allow time to consider what I've just read...

Women's seats on the Dream Love Chair have even more functions. They can rotate in either direction at a whopping 10 different speeds! And the seat also vibrates -- at two adjustable speeds!

I'm trying to imagine this... five thrusts per second while the woman is rotating in different directions at variable speeds... Hell probably has amusement parks like this...

What's more, the machine is up to date when it comes to politically correct relations between the sexes, with the controls for the man's chair placed on a panel built into the woman's seat, meaning that she controls the pace and actions to a level suitable to her.

... and she has the remote control? What kind of sick, twisted, masochistic idiot would subject himself to such horror?
But the main effect, [...] is that the machine basically does all the moving for the couple, taking the drudgery out of grinding the pelvis.

Taking the drudgery out of grinding the pelvis? The drudgery? You know, there's a reason why the birth rate in Japan is in decline...

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Wednesday, October 18, 2006


Charred bodies prone on nuclear wasteland
Buddhas all
Died, never having dreamed what killed them.

Tsutomu Yamaguchi is a 90-year-old man from Nagasaki, Japan. On August 6, 1945, Mr. Yamaguchi was in Hiroshima, Japan. Three days later, on August 9, 1945, he was in Nagasaki.
Chew on that for a few seconds...

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Funny... I never felt important...

I've mentioned here before that I'm a smoker. In fact, I've been smoking about a pack a day for over 30 years. Well, today is my daughter's fourth birthday, and I thought that along with the usual cake and presents I'd give her something special. Yep, that's right. As of today I am no longer a smoker. Now I realize all too well that that's much easier said than done (having given it a go countless times before). I guess the difference this time is that the stakes seem higher and time is running out. If I'm going to quit, I have to do it now. If I want to play with my daughter for more than a few more years, I have to quit now. Hell, if I want to see grandchildren, I'd bloody better do it now.

So, for the next while at least, it's nicotine patches and sucking on candies for me. No doubt those around me will have to put up with more crankiness than usual. Please bear with me. I'm on a mission...

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Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Photo Intermission...

The real world has been intruding and interrupting my ability to spend some quality time with my blog. I'll be back, probably sooner than you'd like...

In the meantime, please pretend to enjoy some of my bad photography...[click for larger view]

This reminds me of something...

Um, some palm trees...

An amusement park...

My daughter at a park...


Some mountains...

In the mountains...

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Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Nuclear Fallout

In case anyone is interested, here's the official announcement (in English) of North Korea's apparently successful nuclear test (from the Korean Central News Agency of DPRK, Oct. 9):
DPRK Successfully Conducts Underground Nuclear Test

Pyongyang, October 9 (KCNA) -- The Korean Central News Agency released the following report: The field of scientific research in the DPRK successfully conducted an underground nuclear test under secure conditions on October 9, Juche 95 (2006) at a stirring time when all the people of the country are making a great leap forward in the building of a great prosperous powerful socialist nation.
It has been confirmed that there was no such danger as radioactive emission in the course of the nuclear test as it was carried out under a scientific consideration and careful calculation.
The nuclear test was conducted with indigenous wisdom and technology 100 percent. It marks a historic event as it greatly encouraged and pleased the KPA and people that have wished to have powerful self-reliant defence capability.
It will contribute to defending the peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and in the area around it.

The English, as always, is bad. Regular readers of the KCNA may notice, however, a couple of interesting points about this announcement--or, rather, may notice something missing. The first thing I noticed is a complete lack of antagonism toward any of North Korea's enemies (perceived or real). It mentions "self-reliant defense capability", but rather studiously avoids naming names (the "imperialist" Americans, their Japanese "lackeys", and the "traitors" in the south, for example). There are no overt threats at all in the statement, a far cry from previous statements which have pretty much assured nuclear holocaust for anyone who dared mess with them.

Meanwhile, in the short-term at least, the clear 'loser' in this current development has to be a red-faced China, who has yet to show that it belongs on the same stage as the other major players. Talk is cheap, and that's about all China can hope to do right now. South Korea's "sunshine policy" has shown them to be bigger dupes than previous American administrations, and the current U.S. government seems to be just plain impotent when it comes to North Korea. The clear 'winner' in the short-term has to be Japan's new prime minister, Shinzo Abe, who wants to change Japan's constitution to allow for a real military presence and an expanded role on the world stage. North Korea's nuclear test has opened up a clear path for him.

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Saturday, October 07, 2006

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

A Vile, Lying Sack of Shit

As a basically Left-leaning, somewhat existentialist kinda guy, I'm not generally prone to feelings of moral certainty and/or moral superiority. But the utter bile spewing forth from the Right, the American Right in particular, these days is pushing me in that direction. Read the following and then ask yourself this question: Am I a better person than Rush Limbaugh?
Via World-O-Crap, Limbaugh 'discusses' the recent sex scandal involving Representative Mark Foley of Florida:
I have to admit, my friends, I’m a little confused about certain aspects of the situation here involving Mark Foley and the page. […]

Now, the liberals also tell us that sex and gender issues are just lifestyles, not choices. Maybe choices in the case of sex changes like the chopadickoffame and the adadictomy, but these are just lifestyle things, gender and so forth, we’re not to condemn. Any two people can love each other, any four people can love each other. You can define your family however you want, including your animal or animals. This we have been taught by the tolerant left among us. Kids can have sex, too. Not with somebody just in their age-group, alternative lifestyles, but not if the person is sexually active but younger, apparently. So we find here that there are limits. There are things that will offend liberals. Or are there? Because I continue to ask, are they really offended by this? How many of them wish they were in on the action?

So, are you a better person than Rush Limbaugh? I'm certain you are...

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DWI: Dialing While Intoxicated

From the Daily Yomiuri, this story about a cell phone attached to a breath analyzer that is becoming popular with bus and transport companies. Apparently there has been a recent rash of incidents involving drunk drivers which has led Japan's Construction and Transport Ministry to impose stricter administrative punishments on transport and other companies "that allowed employees to drive while under the influence of alcohol or did not properly supervise their drivers to prevent such reckless driving habits."
The new system, which uses NTT DoCoMo's FOMA third-generation cell phone equipped with a breath analyzer, is easy to use. First, the driver makes a video-phone call to his or her company and breathes into the analyzer connected to the cell phone. The video image showing the driver blowing into the analyzer and data regarding the alcohol concentration on his or her breath are transmitted to the company and confirmed by computer there.
[...] The company can check the alcohol concentration while watching the video image, eliminating the possibility that a drunken driver might try to get around the system by getting somebody sober to pose as the driver to breathe into the analyzer.

Some companies are using the systems to check alcohol levels before employees begin their shifts, and to check whether someone is driving under the influence the morning after a night on the town.

Personally, I'm in favor of anything that can help reduce the incidence of drunk driving. What worries me, however, is the potential for abuse if this device is put into the wrong hands. I can imagine a time when a breath analyzer is a standard feature on cell phones, especially here in Japan where they love to cram a million useless features into any piece of technology (if I desire it, for example, my current cell phone will emit the sound of maracas when shaken...). Who the hell wants his wife calling him in the middle of a Friday night binge with his buddies so she can check on how much he's been drinking? Now, I'm not talking about myself, of course, no no... It's the principle, the ideal, nay, the sanctity of our cherished notions of liberty and privacy that concern me. Yeah, that's it...

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