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Browsing Posts published in April, 2009

SMAP FAIL and Utahiro heist

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I’m going to do something I rarely do on this blog, and talk about the news. Actually two stories! With links! What is going on? And no it’s not because I can’t think of anything else to write that actually has something to do with me. That’s just part of the reason.

image from JapanTodaySo first off, the big news of the day all over Japan is one of the SMAP guys, Tsuyoshi Kusanagi (left), getting arrested last night for running around totally drunk and totally naked in a park in Tokyo. HAHAHAHAHA. Yes that’s right. A member of SMAP, one of the most annoying “boy bands” on the planet got drunk and stripped down, running around in a park making weird noises described by a witness as roaring like “aaaa!” and “aaaaamou!” about 3AM this morning.

For those of you who don’t know SMAP, they’re this “boy band” in Japan that’s been around since 1988. Yes, that’s right. They have been a boy band for over 20 years and are still famous and active. According to Wikipedia, they started out as a group of backup dancers for another boy band and were promoted to their own group. They’re not good singers at all (at least one is actually terrible), they play no instruments, they write no songs, yet they’re one of the most famous bands in Japan. Odd, right? Oh and they’re also hosts of a bunch of TV shows, star in movies, and pretty much sell themselves out like every other famous person in Japan.

So anyway it’s personally been pretty awesome to see this all over the news, seeing that people are appalled that the “nice guy” of the group would do something like this. Sure I guess it’s not that big of a deal (he didn’t assault a police officer after a hit-and-run like fellow SMAP member Goro Inagaki did in 2001), but for a lot of the people I’ve seen on Japanese TV they’re acting like it’s the end of the world. This guy definitely has one of the tamest images of the SMAP guys. One time he played a mentally handicapped zookeeper on a TV show, which was believable because he looks kind of retarded. Kusanagi’s also one of the main spokesmen for the Japanese transition to all digital HD broadcasts, with a lot of lame commercials targeted at old people trying to get them to upgrade their sets in time. It looks like he totally lost that campaign, with the president of that group on the news earlier talking about how pissed he is about a man he can only think of as “a despicable human being.” Posters with Kusanagi are also being removed immediately. He also lost a Toyota commercial contract.

So take that SMAP! I’ve hated you all so long and it’s great to see one of you fail like this. I know in a few weeks you’ll be back like a horrible rash, but for this bit of time let’s enjoy everyone not freaking out about how cool a group of tone deaf 40 year olds are.

On to the next news article:

A karaoke place in Chiba city was the site for a big robbery earlier this morning, with a woman being robbed of 600,000 yen (about $6000 USD). It was early this morning around 4AM at the Utahiroba Karaoke, Keisei Chiba Chuo Ekimae location. Yes, that’s right. This is the karaoke place that me and my friends usually go to because it’s about 10 minutes from my apartment! That’s what caught my interest on the news earlier, because even though they had a lot of stuff blurred out (to protect the neighboring businesses, etc), I could tell exactly which karaoke place it was because I’ve been there dozens of times.

So according to the news, a 20-year old girl who works at a restaurant or bar went to karaoke with her friend after work. It was just two of them, and they had a small private room like most karaoke places in Japan have. At one point her friend went to the bathroom, and a man she didn’t recognize came into the room, sprayed her with mace or some kind of self-defense spray, and stole 600,000 yen out of her purse before running off. The karaoke place says they have him on the security camera, but I guess they haven’t caught him yet. The victim says that the money was her salary from work; Japanese companies often pay their employees in cash, so it’s not that strange.

Two things about this: first it’s weird because I go to this karaoke place all the time. I guess it is pretty easy for people to go in and out even without paying to karaoke there. I don’t really see security getting any better at this place though. OK and second, while of course it’s terrible that this girl got attacked and robbed, there is no reason for her to have had that much money on her. Japanese people do this all the time. They carry ridiculous amounts of cash on them because it’s still predominantly a cash society and yes it is overall very safe. But it’s still stupid to have that much money on you. Even if you just got paid, go to an ATM or something and deposit it. If you’re walking around with more than a few hundred dollars on you, you’re just asking for trouble.

It is kind of weird that the guy knew she had that much money on her, and found her karaoke room. I really doubt that it was just a random attack and she happened to be carrying that much on her. Either the guy saw her get paid at her work and followed her, or something even shadier is going on.

Taco Truck?

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Saw a taco truck in Makuhari just outside of Carrefour. First time I’ve ever seen it out there, but it seemed like it’s a regular thing. A lot better than that stupid fried bread truck I used to see on that same street closer to Room Deco. They need one of these in Chiba city (taco truck not fried bread).

Taco truck
It’s called the King of Tacos

Prop 525

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It’s tough to write (what is essentially) a giant research paper when you’ve been out of college for almost 3 years and the most extensive writing you’ve done since is on a terrible blog.

Oh ya, totally unrelated but I saw this being advertised at some katsu (fried cutlet) stand in Tsudanuma a while back. It’s a 7-layer katsu with pork, seaweed, and mochi (pounded rice cake). I guess the ingredients aren’t that sweet, but it looks pretty massive. I had just eaten lunch otherwise I would have tried it.

Mega Katsu

Who Watches TheLeong?

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Finally went and saw the Watchmen movie on Thursday night. It didn’t come out in Japan until last Saturday, so I wasn’t that late in seeing it. It was an excellent movie, but of course it strayed a bit from the original comic. Still sweet to see a movie version of it, but yeah the comic was better overall.

After the movie ended, the credits started rolling, and I did what I usually do when credits start. I sat there. Why? Well as a lot of you probably do(?), I was thinking there was going to be some special bonus clip or something at the end of the credits. I’m not the only one, right? But anyways, I’m getting really tired of it. I don’t know what movie started this, but it’s a pain in the butt to sit there for 4-5 minutes worth of credits just because there’s a slight chance of seeing something worth it at the end. Oh, but these people worked so hard to make the movie, you should watch the credits all the way through! Yeah right. I’m already showing my gratitude enough by paying to see the movie. In Japan it’s almost 2000 yen too, so that’s plenty of gratitude. People who make movies don’t make money just by me reading their name. And who in their right mind actually reads the credits all the way through? I guess if you know someone who worked on it and you want to see their name that’s one thing, but most of the time you’re not going to sit there meticulously reading the name of every grip and assistant to Mr. xxxx. At least I sure never do.

Now, sometimes there really is something after the credits that’s worth watching. Iron Man was a good example. But most movies don’t have anything, yet I sit around just in case. I hate to hear afterwards that there was some bonus scene after the credits that I missed. That’s why I tend to sit around and sit through the credits, boring myself to death, to prevent that “I just got ripped off” feeling. I think at the very least movies should be required to post something at the beginning of the credits like “stay tuned for something worth it.” I’ve seen a few movies do that I think, I just can’t remember which ones.

Aaand that’s enough of a rant for now. Yes I am aware of the fact that I could just leave.

Random comments/complaints

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Some things that aren’t long or substantial enough to warrant their own blog entry.

  1. I know I’m not the only one who thinks to themselves sometimes on seeing a baby “now that is one ugly baby.”
  2. The multivitamins I take smell awful. I think my dog used to have vitamins that smelled the same. Is Costco selling dog vitamins to me?
  3. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: if you’re both foreigners from English-speaking countries, there’s almost never a good reason for you to speak Japanese to eachother. Speak English.
  4. My blog post titles over the years have become so obscure that even I can’t find what I’m looking for sometimes.
  5. Some of my past blog posts make me cringe now. Sorry.
  6. Chrono Trigger is one of the greatest video games ever made.
  7. I’ve only had to wear a suit once over the past 2 months, which is awesome.
  8. Hopefully I’ll be going outside Japan for work sometime this growing season (spring/summer).
  9. Actually I’m pretty sure I’m at least going to HK in August.
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