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Donovan

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Although my job isn’t bad, I would like to take some time to ramble on about how absolutely horrible Saturdays are for me. I suppose not necessarily because of the teaching or working part, but because I have to wake up so freaking early. As a rule of thumb, I generally try to set my alarm clock for 2 hours before I need to be at work. Almost every day, I have to be at work at 1PM, so I set my alarm clock for a healthy 11AM. This usually means I hit the snooze button a few times, and generally wake up “for real” by noon. I then check any AIM messages, e-mail, Facebook, mixi, all in that order. My routine is then to get in the shower by 12:15, out of the shower by 12:25, do post shower things (contacts, deodorant, hair gel) by 12:30, be dressed by 12:40, and out the door shortly after that. It takes approximately 3 minutes for me to get from my apartment to my school, and I am supposed to be at work at least 10 minutes early when students might be waiting, which is almost all the time. As you can see, I have my mornings finely tuned to near-OCD-levels of routine. My body likes this. I like this. I do not like surprises. I go to bed on average at 3AM, meaning I get around 8 hours of sleep every night. So nothing really goes and screws things up quite like…

THE DREADED SATURDAY MORNING WAKE UP ALARM

Since AEON has more students who want to come in on Saturdays, and I guess students are too preoccupied with the Japanese habit of maintaining social relationships (meaning they go out and get plastered) on weekend nights, AEON decided long ago that instead of the comfortable 12-9PM hours they keep every other day of the week, Saturdays are open from 10AM-7. My perfect system of waking up at 11 and snoozing in until almost noon is ruined by this once a week 8AM alarm clock. It seriously feels like death every Saturday morning, especially since after 5 days or more of sleeping at 3AM-ish, it is pretty hard to fall asleep early on Friday nights. And now that the new season of Tadano Hitoshi has started, I’m guaranteed to be up at least until 1ish. It is pretty inevitable that I will get around 5 hours of sleep on Friday nights, then feel like a zombie all Saturday.

I woke up this morning, feeling in pain as usual, but forced myself through my morning routine that is shifted 3 hours earlier than the rest of the week. Instead of the normal news, cooking, or Tamori shows on TV while I’m getting ready, I was greeted by Saturday morning cartoons. There was a crazy Megaman show where his arm talks to him, and then the gayest show I have ever seen, even for Japan. It was called Fairy Musketeers, and had a bunch of little anime kids running around and fighitng with +7 swords and maces and stuff like that. After getting out the door a little bit early, I decided to grab some Matsuya, the gyudon place, for breakfast. They have a 390 yen breakfast set, which has rice, miso soup, seaweed, an egg, a sausage, some cabbage salad, and your choice of a side. Although the natto was tempting because it is so delicious and doesn’t smell like a dead body, I decided to go with a small bowl of pork and onions as my side. Overall, it was a ton of food for way cheap, but I had to scarf it all down in about 5 minutes or so. Then I went to school and taught on a full stomach. I don’t really feel like going much into the actual details of school, but I probably will talk about AEON school in general at some point eventually.

Met up with Mike today, a fellow IES-alum but from the Fall semester after me, since he has recently moved into Goi and will be working at a Nova school up near Chiba somewhere. After work ended at 7, I went with him and Blanchard to JJ Club 100, this arcade/amusement place 2 stations away from Goi that one of my high school students had told me about. It is a pretty big place, with lots of random stuff to do. Kind of like a ghetto arcade/carnival/amusement park all rolled into 1 big building with a character mascot who looks like a cartoon sperm, or the mascot from the old Quisp cereal. You get a membership card, then are charged by the time you are in the facilities. It’s 105 yen per 15 minutes, so about a buck. After that you can pretty much do everything for free. The only things that seemed to cost money were some crane games and vending machines. They had a decent amount of arcade games, although nothing brand new (and some that were right ancient), miniature golf, ping pong, batting cages, billiards, karaoke, darts, slot machines that you don’t win anything on, and other random stuff. It was fun just because you could do a bunch of random activities that you probably wouldn’t do otherwise. For the record, I am the world’s worst batter, possibly equally terrible at DDR, but surprisingly not too bad at the shameful Para-Para Dancing motion sensing game. The horse racing game was also pretty fun, although tiring. I rode that horse hard.

They also had these ropes hooked up to zip lines, and you fly across a little alley into some padding. Although it looks stupid, it was way fun and I laughed like a little kid. JJ’s did provide some pretty good entertainment for the night, and it was good to do anything of entertainment value after waking up early to teach pretty much straight classes from 10-7. Tomorrow I think I am going to hit up the World Hobby Fair, a free games and stuff convention at Makuhari, and will likely blog about that at some point. I will also then fit in the Tokyo Auto Salon, which was a convention I went to at the Messe last week. It’s convenient that all these shows happen only 30 minutes away from me. I suspect there will be much ranting about nerds, because even at a car show there was a seriously high percentage of nerds taking pictures of booth girls.

Next Conan’s hint

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I’m the only one who is going to find this awesome (probably), but it looks like for the 10th anniversary of the Detective Conan (名探偵コナン) TV anime series in Japan, this fall Yomiuri TV is starting to air a live-action drama based on the series. It looks like it’s going to be a prologue to the anime/manga, before Kudou gets shrunk into Conan. Should still be pretty sweet.

Official site:
http://www.ytv.co.jp/conan_drama/index_set.html

Yahoo! News article:
http://headlines.yahoo.co.jp/hl?a=20060712-00000056-sph-ent

Yes I am a nerd.

You don’t know hate like this

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Going back to Japan in a few weeks, I’m gearing up to start having to see Pe Yonjun everywhere again, and thusly hating him. Don’t know who Pe Yonjun is? He’s this Korean actor who pretty much every housewife in Japan wants to get with. He was the star of this Korean drama TV shown a few years back called Winter Sonata (冬のソナタ) and after that showed in Japan, every old woman went nuts. They also now have like tours and stuff for Japanese women to go to Korea and tour the locations from the show, drink the same vending machine drinks that Pe Yonjun did, and so on. I’m pretty sure no one in Japan who is not a 40+ year old married housewife likes him. I even asked Heson (Korean friend) one time, and the guy’s apparently not even that popular in HIS OWN COUNTRY. If you don’t know who he is, I think this will help summarize how much of a tool he is, and how much I disapprove of him and his scarf.

But the real reason for this blog entry wasn’t just to complain about how much I hate Pe Yonjun, although I wouldn’t be surprised if I would do that. No, the reason for this entry is to complain about how much I hate Pe Yonjun, and also the fact that he has officially assimilated into every aspect of Japanese pop culture. How do you gague this, exactly? Well, he’s referenced in variatey shows, stars in Japanese commercials, and they make all sorts of calendars and books with his mug on them. But they do that for everyone in Japan. No, the real kicker is when you appear in an episode of Pokemon. That’s right, this guy showed up in an episode of (Japanese) Pokemon that I downloaded the other day. His name in the episode is Hyuga, but it’s pretty obvious who he’s modeled after. They look him up on the Pokedex, and his nickname is the “微笑みのコンダクター,” the “Conductor of Smiles,” and has all these women cheering for him in the Pokemon tournament (although they messed up and the fans aren’t middle aged and married to salarymen). He talks effeminate, and brags about his 攻撃ソナタ (attack sonata). Wow I hate him so much.

Well, at least he loses his Pokemon battle.

Kishidan takes over the world

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Kishidan never ceases to amaze me. I just downloaded (er, I mean…bought. yeah, bought) their new single, and as it turns out, this song will be the theme for the new “One Piece” movie in Japan. One Piece is this anime about a pirate crew or something. I’ve read some of the comic, never really got into it. Apparently Kishidan is a huge fan of the show (their blog makes it look like Hoshi Granmarnier is the main one. since he’s the big dork of the group, that makes sense). I also found out that Dragon Voice Ayano Kouji, the leader, is also doing a voice in the movie. Kishidan is slowly taking over ever media outlet in Japan, which means that’s another reason why I have to go back. Haha. Oh, and the cover of the CD is Kishidan drawn by the One Piece artists. Awesome:

Nagano here we go

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Sunday was pretty fun: went to the “Entama” (Entertainment Market) which was a lot like TGS, even at the same place (Makuhari Messe). Not as many booths or people, but I almost think it was better. Mainly concentrated on anime stuff, and had a lot of stuff you could buy. I spent about $40 on Naruto stuff, which includes a metal Hidden Sand Village head protector, a stuffed Pakkun doll, and a Sharingan wristband. Ah well. 🙂

I’m getting ready to go to Nagano as we speak. I’ll be there until Sunday evening. Staying in a temple then a ryokan (Japanese style inn), soaking in all sorts of hot springs with “magical powers,” going to places like a Ninja theme park, etc. I probably won’t be posting until I get back. If there’s anyting urgent (I know there won’t be probably), e-mail me on my cell phone.

My life: garbage, anime, typhoons

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I’m always saying how random and strange life in Japan is for me, and I think today was the perfect example of this. Bear with me, as I walk through my day…

Woke up, had breakfast here at the dorm. Breakfast was a potato and green bean stew, followed by toast with chocolate sauce on it. Then I got ready to head out to school. Today, instead of class, my Jissen Nihongo (Japanese) class went on a field trip of sorts. And that trip was to the Chiba Clean Energy factory, a type of trash and recycle dump. It took a train, a bus, and a 15 minute talk in the rain to get there. Once there, a tour was led by an animated character in blue named Noa. Yes, there was a video to introduce us to the place, and in various spots in the factory you press a button and watch another video or hologram with Noa. Oh what fun, just like if I were in 1st grade in the year 2040.

On the way back from the garbage center, I stopped by Tsutaya to drop off the DVDs I rented last night (the making of the Masked Rider Blade movie, and a Kishidan DVD). I also stopped by Vive de France, a bakery, and had lunch. Lunch today was a cold hotdog with cheese and mayonnaise on it (didn’t know about the mayo til it was too late), and a calzone. Not great, not bad.

After that fun, had my one other class, which was Anime. I found out that Professor Aoyagi is apparently more famous than he leads on, and there was some point in the 90’s when he was a sort of “expert” on Japanese idols (the young girls who are everywhere, usually wearing almost nothing). As an expert on the subject, doing “research” on these young girls (sounds like Jiraiya), he was featured on TV shows and in magazines. He showed us slides as proof. Pretty interesting. Also during class I was filling out postcard contest entries so I can win a Suica Penguin pillow. More on that in a future entry.

After that, went to MotoYawata to pick up my alien registration card. I now have an official Japanese form of ID! Nice! After that, on my way to the station, ate a tai-yaki (a fish shaped waffle filled with red beans). The old lady who worked the stand kicked her husband, who was apparently sleeping on the ground, when she had to move to get to the taiyaki. Yeah kind of weird, some old man laying on the ground inside their stand.

After that, had coffee with Super Sayokon near Funabashi station. That place is a lot bigger than I expected, although I’m pretty sure I’d been to that station a few times when I first came to Japan in high school. They also have a koban (police box) that looked like a giant white pill bottle.

Now I’m home, it’s really cold outside, and apparently we are looking at another typhoon coming tonight. Man I hope it comes and cancels the train lines tomorrow, cause I really don’t want to go teach at Takanawadai High school. And I now realize that today wasn’t as weird as it seemed as I was going through it. Ah well, I’m going to post it anyway.

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