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Browsing Posts published in July, 2007

Let us Pork

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Unbelievable. A terrible tragedy. No more McChicken sandwiches at McDonald’s here in Japan.

I was hanging out in Chiba on Saturday night and things were winding down. Having not eaten any dinner and with only 30 minutes left before last train, I decided to hit up McDonald’s. Now, I very rarely eat McDonald’s, and when I do I am very set in my ways. Of course if breakfast is being served, then it’s Egg McMuffin time. If not, then I will usually get a cheeseburger and a McChicken with medium fries and no drink. Sometimes instead of this I will vary it up and get a double cheeseburger set with Qoo to drink. However, I never vary from these patterns. McDonald’s in Japan is still as bad for you as in the States, but they actually make food fresh here so it doesn’t taste as nasty. The McChicken here is really good because it’s only 100 yen (less than a buck) and they use spicy mayonnaise, which they don’t use at the US McD’s.

So yeah, Saturday. I step up to the plate and make my normal dinnertime order. The woman says “I’m sorry but we stopped selling the McChicken. Instead, we now have the McPork.”

WHAT!?!?!?!?!?!?lkjfladkjsljfd

マックポークOut of shock I kind of thought out loud and was like “Pork!?” Then, this was funny. The woman walked towards to the kitchen area and actually asked her manager if the McPork was made with pork. I mean, yeah, this was all in Japanese and we were using the word for pork (豚肉) rather than English like the sandwich name*, but you’d think she wouldn’t have to double check with her boss as to the contents of this new menu item. This would have been even funnier if the manager said it was made with something else, but at least they got the animal right.

Goodbye cheap chicken sandwich. Instead they are now peddling this thing you see to the left, which to be honest isn’t too terrible, but it doesn’t beat the chicken sandwich that once held the headline spot on the 100 yen menu. It is a pork patty covered in like a teriyaki sauce, with some scraps of lettuce and onion on it. Like the midget little cousin of the McRib.

*most sandwich names at McD’s Japan are the same as the US, and in English

Deciding on Destinations

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Of course the most important decision at the moment is where in the world I’m going to work and live after my AEON gig finishes at the end of September. I do quite literally mean where in the world, since right now I’m deciding between Japan and someplace in the US. Recently I’ve been thinking more about the US, but I really don’t know. It’s hard to believe I haven’t set foot in the US in over 10 months. While life in Japan is great, there are small things about the US that I miss also. Things like shopping at Target, driving around in a car, eating real pizza for cheap, watching Mama’s Family at 5AM, etc. If any of you out there have any rich relatives who own companies, let them know I am seeking a job. More than willing to relocate.

Before that, I have to also decide where I’m going on my vacation in a few weeks. Yes, I just had a Hong Kong vacation in June, but it’s time for another one! These last few weeks of working at AEON have been/are going to be so easy with all these vacations. Most of Japan is off for about a week in August thanks to this holiday called Obon. I took 2 days off before this vacation, and then combined with my usual Sunday and Monday off, I have somehow managed myself an 11-day holiday. Hells yes. Going back to the US is quite pricey in August, and since I’ll likely go back in September after AEON (either just for vacation or moving back), I think I’m going to spend Obon vacation traveling in Asia. Where in the world should I go though? Doing some research with the discount travel agencies, and due to the approximate 120 yen to 1 US dollar rate, here are my current options and approximate airfare costs in USD for your convenience. If anyone has any opinions, advice, warnings, etc, please feel let me know.

  • Seoul – $340
  • Beijing – $665
  • Shanghai – $388
  • Hong Kong – $495
  • Bangkok – $440
  • Singapore – $460
  • LA – $958
  • Taipei – $360

Right now my top choice is Seoul, since it’s the cheapest and closest to Japan. Also since I’ve got China and Japan in my passport, having Korea would give me the 3rd of the major Asian countries. I’m not exactly sure what I would do in Korea, except eat tons of chigae, kimchi, and deface every likeness of Pe Yonjun in Korea. Just kidding about the last one, since that would take much longer than 11 days. Hopefully I can decide my vacation plans by the end of this week. Vacation starts on August 5th so I need to get a move on.

On a side note, I’ve watched almost nothing but Seinfeld for the past few days. I forget sometimes how awesome this show is.

Double Offender

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I can somewhat understand, yet will never approve of the practice of some foreigners (gaijin) here in Japan who seem to think just because they see another foreigner, they are free to start up a conversation. You don’t know the other person; the only thing you have in common is that neither of you are Japanese. How is this enough reason to start up a conversation with a stranger? In the US, you don’t start up conversations with people randomly, do you? Well, there are people who will do that, and I hate them as well. Especially people in grocery store checkout lines. But that’s another story for another blog entry.

Usually avoid this gaijin conversation situation with my camouflage ability, but tonight I got caught, probably just because I was with a white person and also speaking English. I was in the Chiba Skylark with Blanchard, doing the post-work session of complaining about work and co-workers, and some foreign guy comes in. He immediately sees us and says Hi. Huh?! I thought for a second that maybe Brian knew him, but that wasn’t the case. Strange enough. The guy goes to the bathroom, asking us to watch his bag for a second. Whatever. He leaves and heads to the other side of the restaurant. Maybe 10 or 15 minutes later, I go to use the bathroom myself. Washing my hands, I don’t notice the guy who came in after me, now using the urinal. It turns out to be the gaijin from earlier, because he starts talking to me…while he’s using the urinal! That’s right. He’s violating one of the holy rules of using the Men’s Room. You just don’t talk to someone while you’re holding your equipment, it’s just not cool. I don’t care if we know each other or not, you just don’t do it. Maaaaaaybe while you’re both washing your hands it’s alright to start up a conversation or smalltalk, but in general the bathroom is not a place for speaking.

The guy doesn’t even say Hi (again) or anything, as he’s doing his business; he just starts talking about himself as if I had said “So please tell me about yourself.” He starts telling me about the retarded off-brand English school he teaches at, where he lives, where he works, and where he’s from. Canada, which maybe explains part of his behavior. By the time he finished yapping, I was done drying my hands and he was heading to the sink. I felt like I should say something as opposed to just walking out in silence, so I told him where I was from and just left.

Quick thought: why in the world was the guy using the bathroom when he just went 10 minutes before!?

As a recap: #1 – Just because you’re a foreigner doesn’t mean you should talk to another foreigner you happen to run into. Chances are, they don’t really want to talk to you. If this foreigner is Anthony Leong, he definitely doesn’t want to talk to you. The only exceptions I can think of would be if you are a really hot female, or if your conversation starts with “I have free money, please take it.” #2 – This goes for men anywhere. Don’t talk in the bathroom, especially if you’ve got your Johnson in your hands.

Storms, Shakes, and a Kishidan

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Two natural disasters in one weekend; pretty impressive even for Japan. Around Wednesday or Thursday we began hearing about Typhoon number 4 which was heading up the country from south near Okinawa, due for a Kanto area touchdown on Sunday. On Saturday we got some pretty hard rain storms in the afternoon and evening, but overall nothing big. Sunday in the morning it seemed pretty fine outside, but the storm was definitely on the way. I headed out to 7-11 near my apartment to stock up on supplies for the impending storm. That and I decided I would stay in my apartment all day and finish my resume, which I have been putting off for like the past month. While the storm came and the rain and wind was pretty fierce, it didn’t really seem to be typhoon quality. A bit disappointed there. At the very least, I finished my resume and have started trying to find a new job. First stage is just using the internet and a bunch of sites like GaijinPot and Monster to see if I get any responses with the easy click-and-send resume system. It was pretty pathetic actually getting to work on the resume, because I was in super procrastination mood all day. Reminded me exactly of back in college when I would have a paper or something to do. I somehow found tons of things to distract me as I slowly began the process or totally revamping my resume. I think I watched half a season of Seinfeld, napped a few times, ate lunch and dinner from my 7-11 rations, and even busted out the old Pokemon game on DS. But I finally finished it, and am pretty happy.

This morning, Monday, I awoke around 10:15AM to a strange feeling, as if I was on some kind of boat. Actually it was an earthquake, shaking the ground back and forth for a few minutes from side to side. I also noticed that a shirt I had hanging up and my belts were swaying back and forth like pendulums. It was actually kind of cool. I’ve gotten quite used to earthquakes by now, although there is always the slight fear in the back of my head that it’s going to get a lot worse and the building is going to come crashing down on me. The earthquake was really weak at my place, maybe a 3 on the Japanese quake scale, but at the epicenter up in Niigata it was around 6.6. I think it was quite bad up there, maybe with some casualties. But that was about all the earthquake action for me here in Chiba.

Headed to Soga in the afternoon and saw the new Harry Potter movie, Order of the Phoenix (Japanese title: 不死鳥の騎士団). Overall pretty good, although they have to cut out so much stuff from the books. It’s also funny how old the actors are all getting. Harry Potter looks like he could pass as a businessman in his early 30’s, yet he’s supposed to be 17 years old. Then Ron’s twin brothers look about 40 years old. I was thinking, it’s a good thing that all the teachers and other adults in the Harry Potter world are super old, otherwise it would be pretty obvious how strangely old the “kids” look.

Also, today was a holiday here in Japan, which means nothing as far as days off, since it’s another Monday holiday meaning I get ripped off. Bogus, AEON. Anyway, it was 海の日, or Ocean Day. I’m not quite sure what you’re supposed to do on Ocean Day, but oh well.

Mr. DNA

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Tonight I feel as if there is a lot I need to blog about, not because anything super important or life-changing happened, but just because I am slightly bored and haven’t written on here in a while. Expect multiple entries.

About 2 or 3 weeks ago, for some reason, I got into a museum kind of mood. Yes, this happens very rarely, although it does happen. I like museums. Mainly science museums or history ones. Not especially art. In fact, my feelings towards art can best be summarized in a conversation I had with Blanchard a while back after he got conned into going to an art exhibit.

Me: “So what’d you do in Odaiba?”
B.: “Oh, we went to this art exhibit.”
Me: “…art!?”

It’s not exactly like I’m so ignorant as to art that I can’t appreciate it. I mean, there are some kinds of art that I actually don’t mind going to see. Swords, toys, and tattoos on fat men are all in the clear. But most art, especially modern art, is so pretentious and stupid that I wouldn’t waste time or money going to see it. Science, history, that kind of stuff, however, I will totally go to see in a museum. And that’s what I wanted to do. I was all set to head to Ueno, where there are a bunch of the Tokyo major museums a few Mondays back, but checking their hours online before leaving, I found that they were closed on Mondays. Not just the Science Museum, but all museums. Being a public-run place, they are opened everyday but Monday. I’m glad I didn’t make the trek into Tokyo.

Last Sunday, the 8th, I woke up pretty early, having gone to bed earlier the night before after working a full Saturday and then having Matt’s going away party at Yushun. So I went to the museums. Hit up The National Science Museum (国立科学博物館), Kahaku for short. Best part of this museum was the dinosaur, animal, and human anthropological stuff. Nice exhibits. Also they had a pretty high-tech system where you get an IC card badge when you enter the museum. You can use it at the computer display terminal at every exhibit. Not only does it remember what language you want all the information to display in, but it keeps track of where you’ve been. When you get home, you can log in to the website with a provided ID and password, and see and read the info for all the exhibits you visited. Pretty awesome system.

After that, I visited the Tokyo National Museum, which was nice but kind of boring for my tastes. They had some nice swords on display and some nice scroll and woodblock print art, but other than that nothing as sweet as dinosaurs. It was still worth walking around, even though I got into right near when the doors close at 4:30 so I only had around an hour to explore.

I’ll upload pics one day, but since I know it will take me several months to get to that, here are some collages:
Bill Nye
My name is Chris and I like swords

As good as expected!

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Hot chicks do not a good film makeThe sad part is not that I watched an absolutely terrible movie, but rather that I knew I was about to watch an absolutely terrible movie. Said DVD is スケバン刑事:コードネーム=麻宮サキ (Sukeban Deka: Codename=Asamiya Saki), which apparently has the international title and far-fetched translation/interpretation of Yo-Yo Girl Cop. It doesn’t really matter though, because I don’t think anyone should see this movie. There is no excuse for me watching this movie, and no real reason either. Let’s chalk it up to being bored, having a ton of rentals through Discas, and also to the promise of good looking girls jumping around. Unfortunately, even the final action scene with two chicks fighting in leather outfits doesn’t redeem this one. It’s also sad that this film was directed by Fukasaku Kenta, who wrote the screenplay for Battle Royale and directed the sequel, since I would have expected greater things from him.

Quick summary of this film, as shallow as it is. There’s a “bad girl” in police custody. She gets recruited to be an undercover detective in a high school. Her weapon is a metal yo-yo. She’s working on some case dealing with a bomber, and of course there’s an enemy who is also a hot girl who fights with a yo-yo. Before they fight though, they both happen to change into super tight leather outfits. That’s pretty much all there is to it. Apparently Sukeban Deka was a long-running series of comics, TV shows and movies a long time ago, with this being the modern remake. I hope the past ones weren’t this empty. Oh, I found a trailer on YouTube that is good but of course makes the movie seem a lot better than it was. That’s what you get when you cast all the main roles of a movie with pop-stars; Matsuura Aya is the title role and the other main parts are all similar pop-star girls.

Don’t watch this movie.

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