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a website by a Leong

Browsing Posts published in March, 2007

Hello Clarice

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As I am blessed with such natural beauty, I must admit I’m not really up to date on modern Japanese beauty care products. However, I saw this one in the Kaihim Makuhari Carrefour that just made me laugh and worry about the future of the planet at the same time. Behold:

Be afraid

Your guess is as good as mine. Well, I suppose I actually looked at the product long enough to snap a picture so maybe my guess is actually better than yours. From what I gather, these KOGAO masks are for people to wear and shrink their faces. Why shrink your face? Because then of course you will be more beautiful, you fathead. I suppose this could maybe possibly perhaps work, but come on. I’m sure results aren’t dramatic. Also note that these aren’t only for womenfolk; the gray one on the far right is for men. I imagine this is something so ridiculous you could only find in Japan.

Here’s a closeup of the pink sauna mask. It’s okay to be scared.

Past Halfway

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It’s been a busy past few weeks, although strangely full of nothing. I haven’t fully decided if time is going by fast or slow, since it seems to change depending on what I’m doing, either sitting at work bored, teaching several classes in a row, or sitting at home watching Seinfeld on my computer. Either way life is enjoyable. Speaking of the passage of time, it has come to my attention that I have finished half of my 1-year contract with AEON, meaning I’ve been here for over 6 months. It really doesn’t feel like I’ve been living here for that long, but 6 months is a lot of time. Things can change a lot. I, however, feel like the past 6 months haven’t changed me a whole lot. Again, not sure if this is good or bad, just pretty neutral overall. I try thinking about something substantial that I’ve accomplished over the past few months. I bought a Wii. I went on a sweet vacation to Kansai. I’ve met a lot of people. But that’s about it. Nothing super duper.

I think that was one of the main things that made me decide to not renew my contract with AEON. I don’t exactly mind working long days, or just working period. Yes, this job is pretty easy and my hours, co-workers, etc, are great. Actually, my co-workers are one of the main reasons I would consider staying because they’re pretty sweet and I get along well with all of them. But I don’t feel like I’m getting much fulfillment out of this job overall. There are no projects or goals. There’s very little reward or motivation for me. I suppose some people gain satisfaction from helping people learn or grow. Real teachers. I’m too selfish for that. I’m not myself for most of the day, specifically when I’m in the presence of almost any of my school’s students. I’m not as fake-cheery as I appear, I don’t care how your weekend was, and yes I can speak Japanese. Money and small contract details are another factor, although not as important as I would have thought. In short, I like this job and my overall situation more than I might have expected, but after my agreed upon 1 year is up, I’ll be ready for a change.

Well that was deeper than I was planning. Anyways yeah, I’m planning on finishing out the rest of the AEON contract then who knows what I’ll be doing afterwards. I don’t have a very solid idea of what type of job I’ll be doing next or even which side of the Pacific I’ll be on. I do, however, want a job where I can feel a sense of accomplishment. Being able to buy stuff like food is also a high priority. In one way I would really like to stay in Japan and work but at the same time it would be nice to be back in the US. I suppose it’s time to start looking for jobs again, and time to update the old resume.

In other news… what have I been doing these past few weeks? Last weekend I saw 2 movies at the Soga XYZ Theatre: どろろ (Dororo) and 龍が如く (Ryu ga Gotoku). The former was disappointing while the latter was awesome. Dororo (Apple trailers page) is a live-action movie based on a really old Tezuka comic. It’s about this guy who has to kill monsters to get his body parts back. His arms, before he gets them back, are swords. His sidekick is a thief named Dororo, played by super-hot Kou Shibasaki. Sounds sweet, right? Too bad they tried to fit too much story into what otherwise could have been a good fantasy-monster fighting movie. The last straw was when they would spend long scenes on boring dialogue, then only show clips of various fights. Just random fight scenes to music! You can’t do that! Montages were outlawed in movies back in 1990 I thought. Anyways yeah, the theme song and trailer was awesome but the movie was sub-par. I actually fell asleep a few times. Ryu ga Gotoku (official site, with trailer) is based on the PS2 video game series of the same name (called Yakuza in the US). It was directed by weirdo Japanese director Takeshi Miike, which automatically tells you that the movie will be amazing and/or super weird. This one was pretty much just amazing. Nothing super weird or strange. It was actually a hilarious action movie about a yakuza’s life. Lots of good fight scenes and a really good bad guy. I’ve never played the video games, but this movie really makes we want to.

This Wednesday is a national holiday, and since it doesn’t fall on a Monday, I actually get to take advantage of it. The “holiday” is 春分の日 (Shunbun no Hi), or “Spring Equinox Day.” Thank goodness these people love the seasons. I’m planning a day full of absolutely nothing but relaxing. Yay spring.

Verdict

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Just signed and turned in my paperwork for AEON regarding whether or not I would be renewing for another year. I’m looking for a new job starting at the end of September.

I look like….Jesse Jackson!?

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There’s this site called MyHeritage which lets you upload a photo of yourself, and it will then generate a list of celebrities who are supposedly close matches to your face. I decided to give it a shot, but the results are less than convincing:

I am as sexy as Famke Jessen

The celebrities around my picture are the Top 8 celebrities who the system matched my face with. Note that there is 1 Korean, 1 Malaysian, 4 black guys, 1 white guy, and a hot chick.

This system is obviously still in beta, although it was interesting to play with. I tried a few different photos, each yielding a different set of celebrities who are supposed to look like me. For some reason Terrance Howard almost always showed up. Other celebrities I saw were Tony Blair, Xiang Ziyi, Snoop Dogg, and Judi Dench.

Don’t drink the Electric Shock

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It’s already Wednesday night? The weeks seem to pass by pretty quickly. This is both good and bad. Good because work seems to go by fairly painlessly in the long-run, but bad because leisure and weekend time goes by just as quick. I’m also starting to realize that I’m not getting anything done in the long-run. Not that there’s anything pressing at the moment to actually get done.

Last weekend was pretty fun. Mueller and Hoyt flew into Tokyo for the weekend, so I met up with them Saturday night after work. Met in Shibuya at Hachiko, a place which always reminds me just how many foreigners are in Tokyo compared to Chiba. It was good to see some friends from the US, especially ones I haven’t hung out with in a long time. For one reason or another, March seems to be the time to visit Japan, because I have a lot of people coming this month. Unfortunately, it’s times like this that the virtual inability to take days off from work really starts to be a pain. But anyways, I met up with the guys and we went to the Starbucks overlooking Scramble Crossing to hang out. Had fun talking about people we went to high school with, the ridiculous number of people who are (getting) married now, and also trying to think of the most obscure people we could name.

After a lot of loitering, it was time to find somewhere in Shibya to go, so we started walking around looking for a deal and/or a guy on the street with a menu to bargain with. No go, but I accidentally found the Shibuya location of The Lockup, a chain of bar/pubs that are themed on an old school jail or a cave, with dark “cells” for tables, waitresses dressed in cop outfits, and monsters running around with plastic knives. Every once in a while, the monsters are released and “attack” the place, which is funny at least for the first few minutes. Almost immediately after sitting down, there was a monster attack, so it was a pretty entertaining way to start. A lot of the drinks at Lockup are also themed on jails, science experiments, zombies, and random stuff like that. I had no idea what any of the super weird ones were, but we ordered the 電気ショック (Electric Shock), which didn’t have ingredients listed on the menu, but just said it was a “super strong house cocktail.” How bad can it be, right? After we ordered them, the waitress again warned us that it was really strong. Seriously, can’t be that bad, right? Uhh… After they brought the drinks to our table and poured them from the graduated cylinder into the plastic beaker acting as a class, we realized they weren’t kidding. What was listed as the house cocktail ended up being a glass of everclear with 2 ice cubes and a lemon wedge. If a drink ever deserved to be called an Electric Shock, this was it.

After Lockup, searched around for a cheap all-night karaoke place, but unfortunately nothing was as cheap as I was hoping to be able, even after bargaining. Ended up at one of the Shibuya UtaHiro’s, and it was pretty good but not great and not as good as the Chiba UtaHiro I’m used to. My main complaint was that the remote controller and search computer were more ghetto than the current one’s, so it was a little more of a pain to use and didn’t have an English feature for the other guys to use. Overall, it was a good night. After we finished karaoke at 5AM, stopped by McDonalds for the greatest Egg McMuffin I have ever eaten. I was starving after not eating dinner the night before, and random fried foods at Lockup didn’t constitute a meal.

Mueller and Hoyt wanted to go to the Tsukiji fish market, especially since we were already/still up that early, when the market is usually at it’s peak. Sounded like a good idea, and I wanted to eat some of the awesome sushi from near there. I think the market is still open to the public, but just the auction part is now closed to tourists. Either way it didn’t matter, since after we got to Tsukiji Station, completely exhausted from an all-nighter, the station attendant told me the market was closed on Sundays. Ugh. Said goodbye to the guys and headed home, sleeping the entire way back and even sleeping past my station. It was only 1 station past though, so it was an easy backtrack. Slept til the afternoon.

The weather on Monday was amazing; almost 70 degrees Fahrenheit! Rented a bike and rode to D2 to buy some apartment supplies and grabbed lunch at Gusto, which has been renovated since the last time I was there a few months ago. Unfortunately, it’s been remodeled into more of a cafe, so while the interior is nice, the menu is different and they don’t have the Gusto Burger anymore, one of the decent non-fast-food burgers I had found around here. Oh well.

The Knights Return

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Amazing news. While DJ Ozma was entertaining and interesting while it lasted, causing families across the country to complain to NHK about fake nudity, it just wasn’t the same as good old Kishidan. Luckily, however, after almost a year and a half, Kishidan has returned with a new album, SIX SENSES. It comes out on March 28th, for 3000 yen retail. It will most likely be awesome, as you can tell by the album cover:

Six Senses

Thanks to Bryan for finding out this news on the Mixi group. I am getting an exciting punch perm in anticipation.

Links:
Kishidan Official Site
Amazon.co.jp page for the album
(also where I stole the picture)

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