Wednesday, April 28, 2004

Not Another One...

Hey, guess what today (Thursday, April 29) is?

It's Midori no Hi. (It used to be Tenno no Tanjobi, but that was one emperor previous.) That roughly translates to, "Another one of those damned holidays that Rob gets, but Derrick doesn't, thus annoying him again." (I won't even mention the thing about how it's the start of Golden Week.)

Gonna sleep in this morning...


Monday, April 26, 2004

Plushie Madness

Thursday, April 22, 2004

Bob Dobbs is Watching You

You are Slackware Linux. You are the brightest among your peers, but are often mistaken as insane.  Your elegant solutions to problems often take a little longer, but require much less effort to complete.
Which OS are You?

Tuesday, April 20, 2004

Uh oh...

The scariest thing I've realized this week: When I first came here, almost three years ago, my predecessor (Kristi) left the pantry full of a bunch of different things. Refried beans, various kinds of tea, the ingredients of vegetarian black bean soup, a can of pureed tomatoes, tequila, rum, etc.

Most of it is still there... [cue psycho music]

Yes, even the alcohol is still there. There's even more of it. (^_^)

Sunday, April 18, 2004

The Meta-Quiz

I actually found this quite informative. It's like all those other online quizzes, but it defines your style of quiz answering.
SpinnWebe: What Kind Of Quiz-Taker Are You?

Minna no Uta

Sometimes, as filler between shows, NHK shows brief music videos for traditional Japanese songs, from a series they did called Everyone's Songs. A teacher was nice enough to give me a small songbook from this series.

I just saw a video for a song called "Mama no Kekkon" (Mama's Wedding). I didn't really understand it, but it seemed to be about a young boy's happiness on the occasion of his mom getting married. Something about that struck me as odd, I guess -- the song didn't really explain the circumstances. At the end, it is revealed that the church is floating in the clouds....

Ah, well, too much to think about for now.

This post brought to you by main sponsor BANDAI and KODANSHA

When the hated New York Yankees and the Florida Marlins (I think it was the Marlins...) came to Tokyo to open the season, one thing many internet bulletin board posters noticed was how they had sponsor logos (Ricoh, and Aeon Language Schools, I think) sewed onto their jersey sleeves and stuck to their helmets. Now, back in the States, this is forbidden, of course, but here it's quite common.

More common than I thought, actually. I just caught a bit of a rhythmic gymnastics competition on TV. The gymnasts actually had big Aeon patches stitched onto the arms of their leotards.

Now that's just strange....

Tuesday, April 13, 2004

Maybe I've gone too far.

Taking a look at anime-related stuff that I just happen to have laying around the apartment....

Teto (from Kaze no Tani no Nausicaa)
O-Totoro and two Dust Bunnies (Tonari no Totoro)
Hana-chan (Ojyamaho Doremi)
Snoopy (you know...)
Evangelions (3) (Shin Seiki Evangelion)
several mini Evangelion character figurines
5 goddess figurines, varying sizes (Aa Megamisama!)
9 different Valkyrie/Veritech fighters (Macross, Macross 7, Macross Plus)
one Gundam -- no, make that two Gundam
One Hello Kitty, in a kimono

plus a large number of DVDs and a few PlayStation2 games.

Something tells me I'll be taking a bunch of this stuff to the Used Stuff store later on this month.

(I almost forgot...I have a small cache of anime stuff at the office, too. Sometimes people look at me funny. Sometimes, people look at my desk and gleefully (and correctly) identify everything on it. I should probably stay away from those people, lest they...encourage my collecting habit)

Monday, April 12, 2004

How the game centers have been losing money on me lately:

In every game center, you have a wide variety of game machines. Music games, like Dance Dance Revolution, Guitar Megamix, or Taiko no Tatsujin; gunfighting games, like Lupin III or House of the Dead; anime-related games (too many to list); Photosticker booths, driving games, etc. Most of these games cost between a dollar and two dollars to play(!).

My favorite category lately has been the UFO Catcher games. Think, "We worship the Claw," from Toy Story. Recently, with a little coaching from one of my friends, I've gotten to be pretty good at this sort of thing. Even though a play on these machines costs �200, I think that (for example) getting a giant Snoopy doll that would retail at �3000 to �4000 for �800 is a pretty nifty deal.

The trick is knowing that the claw is never strong enough to actually pick up and carry one of the prizes. The way to win is to pick out prizes that you can bump, push, or tilt into the hole, rather than trying to pick up one from the back and carry it to the front.

For example, that Snoopy doll was in a "Giant Catcher" machine. There was only one prize in the machine. Others had tried to grab Snoopy around his middle, but the crane never closed tight enough to lift him towards the exit. When I got to it, instead of his middle, I positioned the crane over his legs, and managed to slide him forward each time. After my 3rd try, I stepped back for a moment, and one of the game center attendants was about to open up the machine and move Snoopy back to his original position. He saw I was still there, and asked if I was going to try again. And, on this last try, the crane lifted Snoopy's legs, and he slid forward just far enough to fall into the exit. Before I could get it, the attendant opened up the machine and put the Snoopy doll back where he started from, while another one (who had seen where this was leading) had already gotten a brand new doll from the back and was putting it into a bag for me.


I'll post a picture, as soon as I take one.

Hey, three days of posting in a row! Woot!

Sunday, April 11, 2004

Internationalization can be difficult sometimes...

Before you look at this, I'd like to assure you that these characters DON'T really talk like this....
how NOT to translate a comic book

Hen na eigo no da....

Saturday, April 10, 2004

Japan: Exporter of High Tech; Importer of Bad TV

And the latest in Japanese versions of American TV shows: Remember the "Masked Magician" that was on Fox a few years ago, revealing the secrets of basic-level magic tricks? Well, they've imported footage from that show here. They have a small audience of formally-dressed celebrities watch it, oohing and aaahing at the appropriate moments. In some respects, Nippon Television has improved on the formula; for example, after they show the basic explanation, they follow up with footage from Vegas of an illusionist doing a much better version of the trick. They also have Japanese close-up illusionists interacting with the celebs, doing some amazing things with cards, dice, coins, etc.

There's also a famous Japanese illusionist who goes by the name Princess Tenko, who does some good stuff. (there was one episode where her trick was painfully obvious, but that was an exception.)

However, they've also imported the Masked Magician himself -- or, more accurately, his mask. (He never said anything.) In every episode, most of the time he stands there and looks menacing. Then, at the end, he does some easily-seen-through trick. This time, he made the Nippon Television building in Tokyo disappear. At night. Gee, could they have just, oh, I don't know, turned off the lights?

Thursday, April 08, 2004

I just don't get it

Okay, I had the TV on in the background while I was surfing around on the net. It was showing some sort of "Karaoke contest" program, where various celebrities -- only some of them actually singers -- had to draw a date out of a hat ("August, 1986") and then do karaoke to the number one song from that month. One mistaken word, and they were out. I swear, one of the celebrities performing on this show was only a celebrity because she had oversized (for Japanese women) breast implants.

In the middle of the show, the local broadcaster sounded the "breaking news" chime. I looked up and saw a crawl at the top of the screen saying something about "three Japanese people" and "Baghdad." The show continued underneath.

A few minutes later, the local broadcaster cut -- in the middle of a song! -- to a news feed. Turns out that at that moment Al Jazeera was showing footage of three Japanese people being held hostage by enemy forces in Baghdad. The Japanese newscasters started giving details, translating what we were seeing --

-- when they cut him off and went back to the karaoke show!

I wonder if someone called and complained that they were missing the music...

(Other channels stuck with the news feeds.)

Saturday, April 03, 2004

The Japan Times Online
Kappa kappa ka kappa pa, kappa kappa pa pa kappa kappa.