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Browsing Posts published in April, 2010

Happy Earth Day!

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Don’t be alarmed – I didn’t really all of a sudden start celebrating Earth Day or anything.  But it does give me an excuse to finally get around to uploading the Spider-Man video we made back during IES.  Yes, this was about five and a half years ago, but I uhh   got distracted.

Some background: Bryan, Mikey, and I were in the same Jissen Nihongo 4 class during IES.  Hosoi-sensei’s theme for the final project was the environment.  We were broken up into 3 teams, with everyone having to write reports or something, then integrating that research and information into a video.  Somehow we were able to convince her to let us make a Spider-Man video (since Derek wore that costume every day) that was only loosely related to the environment, let alone the class project.  We filmed it on a Saturday outside the Techno Garden with Ari and Seth’s help.  Actually, I won’t go into what Seth did but it probably wouldn’t be considered help.  Oops!

We edited it at SALC, using some old computer maybe with Premiere 6.5?  I don’t really remember.  But I do remember that we were running low on time until the very last minute, editing and doing to voice over work while the other teams gave their presentations to a random assortment of Kanda kids.  But Hosoi-sensei knew that we were awesome anyway, so we got to show our video at the Sayonara Party.  Aoyagi-sensei came to the party just to watch the video, which was cool of him.  And of course we got an A.

The full title of the video is 地球環境保護戦士スパイダーマン, or something like “Earth Environment Protection Warrior Spider-Man” if you want to be weird.  I think Enviro-Warrior Spider-Man sounds more normal.  The result is a parody/homage to tokusatsu, pro-wrestling, etc. in the way that only a ghetto-yet-awesome college class project could turn out.

And here we go:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b7aYAhin4jY

And yes, I realize on YouTube I have the video listed as “Spider-Maso” in Japanese.  But it’s close and I don’t want to get hassled for copyright infringement or anything.  I dunno.

Eww Pope

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I was pretty surprised when I opened up Google Reader earlier this morning and saw this:

"Vatican revises sex abuse procedures"

CNN apparently discovered that is not what they meant, and it has been changed.  The article‘s headline now reads “Vatican overhauls sex abuse case procedures.”

Pokemon house

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My brother sent me these pics yesterday.  He found some house that has Pokemon painted all over it.

Voltorb etc Golduck, etc Pikachu! Zubat!

Paper? Plastic? Ignorance?

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Japan is famous all over the world for the excellent customer service, but of course bad and horrible service does exist here at times.  In particular, there’s a woman named Iijima at the Seiyu grocery store near my apartment who has always been just terrible.  I’ve never seen her smile, she mumbles, she gives you dirty looks, and I get the impression that she feels inconvenienced by having to check customers out even though that is her primary job function.

Tonight was no different.  Seiyu (which, just for the record, is owned by Wal-Mart) has some eco-initiative where you can choose to not get plastic bags for your groceries.  They don’t have paper bags at all, so it’s either take the plastic bags or use your own carrying device or bag.  I’ve never actually seen anyone use their own bag, but whatever.  The slight incentive to customers for doing this is that you receive 2 yen (2 cents) off every item.  There are little tags at the register that you can throw into your shopping basket when you check out that signify you will be using your own bag.  Despite this, every single time you go to the register they ask you if you want bags or not.  There is no point to having these “no bags, thanks” things if they’re going to ask you anyway.  But that’s a minor complaint.

The problem tonight was that the guy in front of me, an Asian man maybe in his 40’s, did not speak any Japanese.  So when Iijima the butch checkout lady from hell mumbled to him “do you need bags?” he didn’t understand her and gave a kind of “no” shrug.  So after paying for almost 3000 yen in groceries, he’s standing there wondering why he doesn’t have any plastic bags to carry his purchases home.  (Japanese grocery stores always make you bag your own groceries, making a checker’s job even easier.)  He clearly doesn’t speak Japanese, but was very politely signaling that he’d like some plastic bags.  Iijima clicks her teeth like old people here tend to do when annoyed, then goes to explain to the guy that she already asked him if he wanted bags and he “said” no.  She then takes one of the “no bags, thanks” tags and uses it to try and explain the no bag thing in quick, mumbled Japanese, to a (probably Chinese) man who doesn’t understand a word heshe is saying.  She then shows him on his receipt that she gave him the no bag discount, but he understandably still has no idea what’s going on. He is then over at the bagging area standing there wondering why the gross checkout lady didn’t give him any bags,  justifiably bewildered.

OK I mean come on!  When he came to get checked out he never used one of the  tags to signify he didn’t need bags.  He wasn’t carrying a backpack or anything, so how did she think he was going to carry his groceries home?  And the time she spent futily explaiing to him the no bag initiative could have been better spent just giving the guy a few plastic bags.  But no, she would rather “follow protocol” and hold up the 5-customer deep line while trying to tell this foreigner that he didn’t follow the poorly thought out rules of the store.  On my way out, I gave the guy one of the unused bags I had received, but I really regret not telling Iijima to just give the poor guy a few bags when I had the chance.  I would have even paid the few yen or whatever to do so, if the money was really the issue.  It was just a pathetic thing to watch.  Especially with the no bag signal tags, the default for every customer should be “yes, they get bags for their groceries.”

I don’t know why this annoyed me so much.  Probably because this checkout woman always pisses me off.

3W + ∀

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Phew. Wedding week is finally over. Last week I had 3 (pairs of) friends get married/have wedding parties, meaning that in a 7-day period I had a total of 2 receptions, 3 after parties, and 2 after-after parties to attend. It was a busy and expensive week. On top of that, Ari, Seth, and NR7000 were in town so there was the 2010 A-Team reunion to add to the Earth-shattering awesome festivities.

Monday was a holiday here in Japan, so Yuri and Sho-chan had their wedding party down in Kamakura. I hadn’t been out there in probably a few years and the weather was really nice. The wedding reception was super close to the shrine where the ceremony was performed, and it was a huge formal reception afterwards. Blanchard and I sang the Kishidan wedding song which was embarrassing to say the least, especially considering that the families of the bride and groom were also there. At least we uhh… practiced a lot for that. Ha, ha. The pressure and shame were short lived though, since the third and final karaoke song performed at the reception was by the bride and groom, meaning by the time they finished everyone had hopefully forgotten about the two off-key gaijin who sang earlier.

On Wednesday Seth somehow overcame his broken leg, broken cell phone, and broken computer and arrived in Japan.  Oops!  Met up with him in Tsudanuma and I grabbed some food at Jonathan’s while Seth sat around shocked that the restaurant was 99% chicks.  Then headed into the city to meet up with Bryan and Brian for some yakiniku tabehodai.  Thursday Nick came up via shinkansen, and we went to a creepy maid cafe in Akihabara.  They’ve got a stamp card system, with the top tier “Black Card” requiring over 2000 visits.  That is not a typo.  Two.  Thousand.  According to our maid, there are about 6 or 7 potential serial killers with multiple mental disorders who have this card.  Be very afraid.  After having enough of our souls depleted at the cafe, we headed up to Namja Town for some gyoza and ice cream, followed by Lockup 2999.  Lockup had some kind of campaign for March where you get half of your bill back as coupons.  It’s actually a pretty decent incentive to come back.

Friday was the main event, Y’s.  In the daytime we hit up Saize in Makuhari and Seth made our way to IES and Kanda.  Shin-san wasn’t at IES, but we talked to Kudo-san and got to see some of the new kids.  Vest!  Crashed Hosoi-sensei’s office and caught up on old times with her.  I’m pretty sure she remember every single detail about everything ever, since she even remember Seth’s girlfriend at the time, IUSTV, and that the Musashino line was late every day.  We met up with her again later before Y’s with Bryan, and Mikey was super late for that.  Couldn’t have been a better entrance.  Hosoi-sensei knows how awesome the A-Team is.  Y’s, even without the usual counter, was epic.  Ari showed up direct from Narita and it was just like old times.  We’ve been doing this for almost 6 years!  Thanks to all the fans and supporters who came to celebrate with the A-Team at the 2010 Reunion.2010 A-Team ReunionBryan and Saori’s wedding reception and after parties were probably the highlights of wedding week, since everyone was there and also because I’ve known Bryan the longest.  It was pretty awesome, especially when the picture slideshow had so many A-Team shots.  I gave a speech which ended up being a little shorter than I had planned, but I think it was fine.  We made some new friends with (well actually just probably creeped out) Saori’s friends, ate some good food, and celebrated something that really made me feel old.  Also at the second party and karaoke there was a kid who smelled like wet garbage.

After not going to bed until about 8:30AM on Sunday, I had to get up for Isoroku’s wedding after party that night.  It was also pretty sweet, in a fancy lounge in Roppongi near the Ritz Carlton.  I was worried that I wouldn’t know anyone there, but luckily there were some Kanda people I’d met years ago and from there I was able to mingle and such.  Isoroku also gave out some pretty classy party gifts.  I have no idea what I’m going to do with Ultraman Tenga.

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