Sunday, September 28, 2008

Almost forgot this

I forgot to put up a gas price update for September!

From August to September, gas prices dropped about 25 yen a liter...that's almost a dollar a gallon. We'll see what happens next week.

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Other improbable things that my students have recognized

  • The Numa-numa song
  • The Ranma 1/2 theme song (hey, it IS over 20 years old...)
  • Hannah Montana
  • The PowerPuff Girls (wait, wait, there's a Japanese version of them now)
  • Marie, from "The Aristocats" (the character is VERY popular in Japan -- My boss is a big fan

On the other hand, one of my elementary students from back when I was teaching in America recognized Genma Saotome (in panda form).

On the gripping hand, some of those same students at Prosperity Heights asked me in all seriousness if they had Nintendo or PlayStation in Japan. (My response: Show the videotape of the first episode of ポケットモンスター.)

(apologies in advance for the ultra-geeky reference there...)

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Saturday, September 20, 2008

Last week's moments of "huh"

For various nonsensical reasons, I own a lot of Star Trek prop replicas toys. Last Tuesday, I got another one -- the Classic Series Communicator. (It actually came out of the box damaged; Now I get to figure out thinkgeek.com's return policy.)

Anyway, I had it with me at work (the package arrived just as I was out the door, and I just took it with me). One of my students, who is all of seven years old, actually recognized the thing. “ああっ! 知っている! これがテレビ番組でみた! 未来の携帯だと思う...”

Later that evening, I had a class with some high school students. We were talking about sightseeing, and there were pictures of various famous landmarks in the text book. One of them was of the Golden Gate Bridge, and when Takuto saw this picture, he started singing the theme of "Full House," which is inexplicably still popular here.

Maybe that last one was more of a "gah!" than a "huh."

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Monday, September 08, 2008

Computer woes: One step closer to complete failure

Well, the internal hard drive seems to be hosed. The directory seems to be damaged, and when I tried to fix it, the software kicked out a "can not retrieve directory due to drive malfunction" error. When trying to reboot, the computer gets as far as the "Starting OS X" screen, the progress bar fills...then hangs.

Fortunately for me, I installed a copy of OS X on my shiny new external drive, and this computer is old enough to still have the ability to boot from an external FireWire device.

Oddly, the computer works better than it has in a while...but I doubt this is a viable long term solution.

Oh boy...

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Thursday, September 04, 2008

Sarah Palin Gender Card | The Daily Show | Comedy Central

(the famous billboard outside MSP)
I love this show. I wish I could see it more often.

Video Pwnage:


I can't see the Japanese pulling off a show like this...although there are satirical-news-type shows (the one I've seen most often has the words "This is a COMEDY show" mounted on the set, in huge glittery golden plastic...in English), none of them go off on actual news. It's all fake human-interest stories...funny, but nothing like The Daily Show.

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Monday, September 01, 2008

How odd....

I'm watching the NHK "NewsWatch 9" show right now, and they had been discussing various aspects of Japanese parliamentary politics for about 20 minutes. The opposition party is having a private election to choose a new party president, etc. At one point, the anchors mentioned former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, and I idly pondered the fact that although Abe's name is easy for me to remember, I couldn't quickly recall the current prime minister's name.

And then, about five minutes ago, they suddenly broke into the newscast with "Breaking news". Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda has just announced that he will resign the office of prime minister, and an emergency press conference will take place at 9:30. (That's in about five minutes.)

Well, that solves that problem...

I'm listening to the English audio (I never used SAP on TVs until I came to Japan), and if the translation was correct, when the news broke, the anchors basically repeated "Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda has announced that he will resign. There will be a press conference at 9:30", rephrased slightly, six or seven times in a row.

11:00 edit:
Well, NewsWatch 9 was extended an extra hour, as the NHK announcers and commentators tried to make sense of this surprise retirement.

Apparently, the actual news conference was announced at 6:00 this evening, with its purpose only revealed at 9:20. Fukuda was prime minister for only a year, following Shinzo Abe's surprise resignation last fall. It appears that with his personal approval ratings being very low, he felt that he wouldn't be able to effectively get his coalition's legislative program approved in the upcoming parliamentary session.

NHK was able to get news crews out to the streets of downtown Tokyo, to get the reactions of passers-by. Most were taken by surprise. One expressed hope that Koizumi would come back. I'm not sure if that's even possible.

Anyway, time for the LDP to shake itself down and pick a new leader.

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Music of the '80s...

...but not as you remember it.

See how quickly you can spot this one:

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