Monday, January 30, 2006

Monty Python should be a REQUIRED subject!

What kind of world have we come to if college students no longer get Monty Python references?

Well, I thought it was funny. I added a couple of comments, too.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Vending machines offer plenty in Japan

KRT Wire | 01/24/2006 | Vending machines offer plenty in Japan

Here's a story from the Yomiuri Shimbun, by way of Vending machines are ubiquitous around here, but the vast majority only sell drinks. There are exceptions, of course:

Vending machines usually bring to mind canned soft drinks and cigarettes, but in Japan recently they've started to change, offering such things as hot oden - a dish including slices of boiled daikon, balls of processed minced fish and hard-boiled eggs - and sushi.

The uses of vending machines in Japan have increased. There are now machines designed to reduce garbage, offer drinks free of charge after an earthquake or talk to customers.

A vending machine in Akihabara, Tokyo's electronic appliances quarter, is one of these special machines. Insert two 100-yen coins and a large can containing hot oden will emerge (a can of oden including beef sinew costs an extra 50 yen).

I usually get oden from the local convenience store. Oh, and that extra 50 yen for beef sinew? SOOOO not worth it....

Saturday, January 21, 2006


Here's an addicting little japanese Flash game: NANACA-CRASH!! It answers the age-old question: If you hit a bishonen (roughly, "pretty-boy") with a bicycle driven at supersonic speed, how far will he fly? (There are various people standing around on the ground beneath him, and landing on them leads to various adjustments in trajectory and velocity.)

My record so far is over 11 kilometers.

The instructions are in Japanese, but they aren't hard to figure out. At the start, click and hold for angle, release when the power gauge is at max (or wherever you want). When the word "AERIAL" is red, click and the bicycle teleports in, propelling young Taro upwards; when it's blue, click to knock him downwards. When the word "SPECIAL" appears, click right away for another boost.

As for the effects of the various characters, I leave that as an excercise for the player.

By the way, thanks to all who responded to the previous post (on the blog or otherwise). I appreciate it.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Excuse me, I must ramble for a bit

It's interesting to contemplate the differences between East Asian languages and European ones. For example, in many European culture (I'm shootin' from the hip here, so feel free to correct me), the colloquial words for grandmother and grandfather are similar to the words for mother and father (as, indeed, grandmother and grandfather are). Baba, nana, grandma, etc. Here in Japan, the words for father and mother (tousan, kaasan) are fairly different from grandfather and grandmother (ojiisan, obaasan). In fact, those last two words can also mean just "old man" and "old woman."

In Filipino (Tagalog), father and mother are tatay and nanay, and grandfather and grandmother are Lolo and Lola.

I never knew my grandparents all that well. I met Dad's father a couple of times, but his mother died when I was very young. I have no recollection of meeting her, but photographic evidence shows that I did once, I think. As for my Mom's parents, Lolo and Lola Angeles visited Minnesota a couple of times when I was young, and I was able to visit with them (and Lolo Atendido, I think) in the Philippines once when I was six or seven.

It's been a while, but I do have fond memories of that trip. It was kind of amusing to see Mom called to attention by her mother, just like I was at home. It was even more interesting to see most of the people in the neighborhood according Lola Angeles that same respect. Turns out she was principal of one of the neighborhood schools for a long time, and almost everybody had been her student at one time or another. People would always be saying hello to her, offering her favors, etc. (once a driver gave her, and us, a free ride in a jeepney). She would sometimes assume the attitude of strict administrator, and her former students would be glad to see it.

When I moved to Japan, it was assumed by everybody, including me, that I'd be able to visit them in the Philippines once or twice while I was here. But, for some reason, I never found the time or the extra cash I needed to go. (Or I wasted the time and money I could have used for that.) I did try to call her once or twice, but that became a little difficult. Lola was starting to forget things sometimes, occasionally asking the same question three or four times within a couple of minutes. I did my best to talk to her, but it was difficult for me, and now it's been about two or three years since I've called.

Lola Angeles died this morning after a long illness. She had been in the hospital for a few days to be treated for pneumonia, and she had a stroke and passed away. Mom and Dad are booking a flight home this weekend, but what with school and work, Anna, George and I are unable to go. I regret that. I regret a lot of things.

But I am glad that I was able to tell her that I loved her. I should have said it more.

Monday, January 16, 2006

West Side Story?

That was that zombie movie, right?

Saturday, January 14, 2006

A quick note

I just had dinner with a former colleague. On his car was a bumper sticker that said, in English, "(company name) is Nucking Futs."

I had to explain that to him. He burst out laughing, then explained that the company mentioned was in fact one of his sponsors for surfing competitions, and he looked forward to explaining it to them on Monday. (They gave him the sticker in the first place.)

Tuesday, January 10, 2006


Mark Evanier recently posted (in his excellent weblog) the first in a series entitled "Clubs I will not join." His first choice? The William Shatner DVD Club.

Somehow, being in Japan and unable to join this club is no hardship....


Thursday, January 05, 2006

One more free test

...and this one is for the folks who WEREN'T Assistant Language Teachers in Japan...

OkCupid's "The English Teacher in Japan Test." Do YOU have what it takes? (-_^)

I got a high score...but then I knew all the answers ahead of time, right? (^_^)

Oh no, not another free test...

the Wit (52% dark, 34% spontaneous, 26% vulgar)
your humor style:CLEAN | COMPLEX | DARK

You like things edgy, subtle, and smart. I guess that means you're probably an intellectual, but don't take that to mean pretentious. You realize 'dumb' can be witty--after all isn't that the Simpsons' philosophy?--but rudeness for its own sake, 'gross-out' humor and most other things found in a fraternity leave you totally flat. I guess you just have a more cerebral approach than most. You have the perfect mindset for a joke writer or staff writer.Your sense of humor takes the most thought to appreciate, but it's also the best, in my opinion.

You probably loved the Office. If you don't know what I'm
talking about, check it out here:

PEOPLE LIKE YOU: Jon Stewart - Woody Allen - Ricky Gervais