Saturday, December 31, 2005

Are you Scared? How about now?


You will be scared! You WILL be.


Did you know that Defecaloesiophobia is the fear of painful bowel movements?

Or, how about Alektorophobia, the fear of chickens?

And Papaphobia, which would have you believe is the fear of your father, although close, is actually the fear of the Pope! Good gracious, me. There's even Lachanophobia which is an acute Fear of vegetables, not to be confused with Maserphobia -the Fear of Singaporeans, or people from Singapore. Oddly enough, it's a real fear. Not to mention my new favorite fear, metrophobea, the fear of poetry! That one really got to me, giggles, hiccups and all!

At the website http://www.aboutphobias.com/phobia_list.html#top#top you can check out all kinds of strange phobias. Some of these things had me in tears rolling on the ground I was laughing so hard!

Admittedly, this list of phobias is one of the funniest things I've ever read. Yet, also quite educational as well. I hope you all enjoy it as much as I did!

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Bonenkai, Christmas in Japan, and Remembering Japanese names

I love how Japanese people always reply back to one's emails with a sincere, "remember me?" They are so cute in there curiousity of how we acknowledge them, and on top of all the politeness, they don't want to offend our feelings knowing that one makes so many new aquaintances that sometimes, we actually do forget. Especially when it comes to the more difficult pronounciation of some Japanese names. Girls over-all tend to be easier for me to remember. A lot of Japanese men have unique names which are often hard to say, and much easier to forget. It took me forever to remember Sayaka's dad's first name, Kazutaka. Not that it's overly hard, but it's one of those names that doesn't come up often. I always was so formal in calling him Miyamoto-sama, that I totally neglected to memorize his first name the first two months of dating his daughter! Yikes!

Sometimes even some of my good friends will write me a "remember me" message to my phone or email. It's not that I forgot my best friend, but it's just something that Japanese do out of politeness. In a way, it becomes a type of informal, albeit extremely humble, greeting which is similar to "long time no see, how are things going?"

Around this time of year, holiday seasons and what not, the Japanese celebrate 忘年会 (bonenkai) which is the end of the year events often culminating in many business parties and year end activities. The culmination of these events leads to the biggest holiday in Japan, お正月 O-Shougatsu aka New Years. Everyone sheds their end of the year worries, and gets ready to start the new year off right.

Christmas not being as big in Japan as the states, although there are quite a few of decorations and white Gaijin running around going from school to school dressed as Santa. It's funny, but one of the things a white English speaking foreigner has to put up with is the infamous beging of Japanese schools trying to get you to dress as the big man in red and come visit all the little children. After getting past the humilation of realizing the only reason you're being asked to do this is because your white, and the Japanese don't believe in "ethnic Santas" is one culture shock, but after that it's up to you to accept or decline the invitation.

When I recieved my inviation to dress as Santa, I didn't hesitate. I was ready to go spread some holiday cheer and I thoroughly enjoyed all the bright smiling faces. Some of the kids got so overly excited they started crying. Others kept jumping up at random and clapping their little hands in an abrupt outburst of joy, to which their teachers hushed them and begged them to let Santa-san speak. I gave a speach, sweating heavily underneath a heavy red satin suit which they keep locked away just for special events like these. With my spectacles, and extra pillows for padded gerth, I shouted a big hefty, "Ho-ho-ho Merry Christmas!" I finished with a speach, and drew the kids a big picture of Pikachu, to show them that even Santa respects Japanese culture. They all cheered, and I was off with a wink and a twinkle in my eye.

Exiting down the hall I was so much in character that I shouted another Ho-ha and statled my small petite escort, a quiet Japanese kindergarden teacher, who laughed after I shot her a playful Santa Clause wink. Behind, in the auditorium, came another burst of cheering and child screams.

I'm glad I was able to play that role, if nothing more than just a stereotype, sometimes we have to forgoe our egos and sucumb to more simplistic thinking, even if it means humbling ourselves before others. Santa's obviously white, because that's how he is in the movies, right? But for me it wasn't about racial stereotypes, because after having experienced the gleeful hoots of the bright eyed children, it became more about spreading some joy, Christmas cheer, and loving my fellow man.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Unsung Song of Long Lost Sweathearts


After several years, I have found my good childhood friend!

I had two best friends growing up. However, of the two, the second was an unlikely match and pretty much stood for the opposite of everything that I was. Not in a bad way mind you, but my next best friend was a girl much younger than I. Now, I'm not talking like Johnathan Swift cradle robbing young, but when you are a child looking at the big outside world the scope of things makes a person younger than you by three years quiet noticible. Yet, this didn't stop us from being friends.

After having spent time growing up with this girl, she vanished out of my life at the end of my senior year of highschool. Without a trace would be an exageration, because I knew her circumstances, and her life was hard. My life was easy. Maybe I found excitement in her energy and boldness to take life head on, and maybe my laid back style of taking life as is came comforted her. Whatever the cause, we both clicked, but with all the changes we were experiencing growing up, I knew that no matter how well we fit as friends, our relationship was never destined for anything more than comfort.

So five years later, I do the daring, bold, and frankly quite crazy. I hunted down this long lost ghost of a friend and I wrote her a long letter about how important her friendship to me was growing up. She called me up on the phone a couple days later, and to my suprise, we're both the same but entirely new versions of ourselves. She has matured and blossomed, become a mother of two beautiful children, and I have adventured across oceans and found my true love Sayaka.

I must admit, catching up on old times was fun. Finding a long lost friend I didn't expect to find was also an exciting event. It just goes to show that the people who are important at various times of your life can always find a way of being important again. Or for that matter, perhaps they never cease to be important. For my own personal curiousity, I had to know whether she was doing well, and the neat thing is that she is. Coming from a tough background of growing up depending on her own will power to survive in the insanity that was our home town of Cut Bank, it was nice catching up with my dear freind. I'm sure that we will always be friends, but that's the beauty of it all, you see, for me true friendship is the best way to loving your fellow mankind.

The Japanese have the word nakama to describe strong friendship, the type that overwhelms, and those friends which are so direly important they are more than mere friends, they are family. They complete your life, and fulfill our more human needs of bonding and human connection. Perhaps, I feel a little more complete knowing that my childhood friend and I still have a strong connection; concordently our nakama never died.

It's also wonderful knowing that beyond it all, I have a wonderful woman to call my own, and in the light of things, it is Sayaka's frienship I cherish the most. Yet the bottom line is, it's nice to have friends.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Doujinshi Manga Good or Bad?


Naruto Doujinshi

Doujinshi Good or Bad?

This is what I love about Japan, they have Doujinshi manga, and more often than not, it's actually quite good. Sometimes not. So what exactly is the good and bad about Doujinshi?

http://img295.imageshack.us/my.php?image=narutoshikapimpcomic5zw.jpg

I went to this actual site http://www2.u-netsurf.ne.jp/~keroyon/index.html, and found it to be a neat hybrid of fan-novel blended with Doujinshi manga snipits and lots of pin up art. Keroyon Jima is a talented artist when it comes to mimicking the great Kishimoto-sensie.

Sometimes you see the quality of Doujinshi and wish that America had something similar, maybe that way we would get original, at least semi-interesting stories involving classic characters like Superman and Batman. If Doujinshi was legal in the U.S., I'm sure there would be ridiculous stories involving our beloved characters as well, but this is all part of the artistic fun. Not that we have to worry about ever having this, setting legalities aside, comics in the U.S. have NEVER sold well enough to support an onslaught of Doujinshi related sales. If we did have such a thing, the industry would quite definitively collapse onto itself. Superman, X-Men, etc. would have to be selling 3 million times the amount they do per month to even exist in such a saturated comic book market. Yet, it still would be fun to see some original stories done by people who respect and enjoy the characters without the limitations put upon them by the major publishers. I guess a comic nerd can dream can't he?


Doujinshi

So what is everyone's opinion on Doujinshi? Is it bad? Does it take away from the original artists? Or does it only prove why the professionals are really those indeed, pros. I think, having spent considerable time in Japan that Doujinshi tends to do well, sometimes taking a not so popular title and making it better. Other times it's so horribly bad that it's not even noticeable. Yet it is a great outlet and gives opportunity for many artists to break into the industry (honing their art skills without so much as ever having to have an original idea), an outlet we don't have in the states. Maybe that's a good thing? But certain manga-ka have made it into the industry from their college sales of Doujinshi. Ever heard of CLAMP? They were lucky enough to go onto better things from their humble beginning as Doujinshi artists. (Ref. See: Manga: Masters of the Art, by Timothy Lehmann.)

In the end, the Japanese manga-ka just shrug it off as another form of their vast artistic medium, and I think the harm Doujinshi does is minimal at best. True, Doujinshi are only as good as the art and stories in them, a point worth noting. This truth of all art forms is, perhaps, why sometimes Doujinshi can be better than the original manga titles (although this is highly rare.) They are fan comics in the truest sense, ones which make sales/profit off of other's properties and have the potential to drive away readers from the main staple books which they are paroding. This still hasn't stopped the steady upward rise in popularity of Doujinshi over the past five years, which one could say, is booming in Japan right now. In fact, in the broader scheme of things, Doujinshi haven't affected manga sales too drastically, rather they have only added to the constant rise in manga popularity in Japan. But whether this is good or bad, is up to those individuals dealing in Doujinshi.


Naruto Doujinshi 2

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Paris Hilton Makes God Cry


Good role model she is NOT

I'm not kidding, she really does. She makes God cry. And as hard is it is to find an actual photo of God crying, what do you think rain is? Notice the weather has been a bit misty lately? If you don't, talk to the people of New Orleans. Those weren't just a light smattering of tear drops people, that was torrential sobs. Yet as difficult is it is to find the proof of God balling his mighty tears out over the fact that he accidentally created an abomination as seductively whorish as Paris Hilton, my God I can't stop looking... even though my eyes are on fire, I just can't break away from her magnetic pull of all that is unholy in the world. Yes, it's not a secret, Paris Hilton makes God cry.

But I'm not the only one who thinks so, check out the October 28th Archive over at The Superficial.com site. http://www.thesuperficial.com/archives/week_2005_10_23.html They have the proof, and you will find the proof in the article about her and Tom Sizemore, and I hate to be the barer of bad news, but yes they have met. And yes, this does mean that Paris Hilton is not only a slutty whorish imitation of a human woman, but she's also a liar. But I highly doubt that's the worst of her sins.

Short of bestiality there isn't anything Paris hasn't done to get attention and a little publicity stunt can go a long way, but I still stand firm by saying she is the worst example of a human being that has ever walked this earth, but I'm sure it's not her fault, it's probably the way she was raised. I mean, everyone needs a good excuse for why they can't be better people, right? Read my lips you teeny boppers spending all of your parent's hard earned money trying your darndest just to look as slutty as Paris Hilton, "Not a role model! No, not even close."

Friday, November 11, 2005

Shareware Is Good!

Shareware equals piracy? But anti-copy protection equals terrorism!!!

Before I begin my long winded rant about the injustice of cracking down on pirateers as they have been miss appropriately been laboled (isn't laboling of any kind bad?), whatever happened to the honorable belief in the "creative commons deed" for artistic merits, not to mention, sharing the love?
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/


Most people know how worked up I get about corporations cracking down on shareware and crying wolf of piracy everytime somebody downloads or uploads any digital data which may in some way be relevant to their product. It's a joke. You all may know my stance on piracy of Anime, music, etc., that if companies don't want it digitized and shared freely over the internet, they should either change their medium or not make the music, product, etc. in the first place, period.

Here's my theory on why share-ware technology is not harmful. Mainly, because the only way it can get to the internet is if someone buys it to begin with. Let alone all the hundreds of versions of the song, certain editions of the film, or whatever are only released in this geographic region, etc...meaning more than one person is buying the product to begin with. Most likely, hundreds (if not thousands) of people have preordered the product and paid hard cold cash beforhand. Today's consumer wants instant gratification, but here's the tricky part.

Lots of people want to protect their properties... mostly corporations, that wouldn't notice if hundred extra people bought their product or a hundred less ignored them completely. Huge companies wouldn't even feel the flux of such numbers, and they wouldn't even nottice the monitary shift in the balance at the end of the year. Those hundred or so consumers are just buffer zones at best, so why complain it they dititize their medium to put on their I-Pod and listen to that new hit single at work or while jogging? There's no harm in this.

What if they want to share that song with their best friend, or wife, who is on a business trip, so they send them a copy? Personal use is a-Okay in my opinion, if they already paid for the product. Another example of this would be a University club buying an original import of an Anime, and then fan-subbing it for club activity, practice, and enjoyment of the medium, and finally distributing it for free viewing. However, American companies are trying to crack down on this too, with lawas against endangering any "prospective" product which has its rights in negotiation by an interest group in the liscense of said property. This seems overkill, and this puts me off entirely to the redistributed product later on, but it's also the lengths corporations will go through to limit even this type of digital sharing that gets scary. What bothers me the most is that many companies don't even care about the consumer who is buying their product. They do what they want to make the bottom dollar, and the best one can say about that practice is, bad business.

Here's something that really got me steamed up, and aparently the government stepped up and said enough is enough with the anti-piracy protection stuff.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20051112/ap_on_hi_te/sony_copy_protection

Their are many reasons I don't believe piracy hurts anything on the share-ware side of things, one for example, look at what "Star Wars," and "The Lord of the Rings" films grossed theatrically. They all were released online in one form or another, look at how the DVD sales of these films faired, broke all the records. If the product is good, people will want it. And why wouldn't you want the people to have a good product? If you make crap, your only asking for more piracy, because consumers are cautious, and nobody wants to blow their hard earned money on crap.

The only people share-ware could possibly hurt are the one's that don't have a good product. Begining start up, home films, or independant films can use it as free advertising, but the bottom line is you won't push sales or uploads as long as a product sucks. Yet piracy is still illegal, because it can hurt many private ventures, and interfear with marketing campaign practices, but the only reason piracy has become so prevelant is because of the accessability of the technology and people's understanding of it. However, if you make the technology too difficult/complex, then you run into the problem SONY has, of only a certain type of people understanding it. In this way SONY blatently dissarmed any chance of the consumer enjoying a product they turned over hard earned cash for, and then SONY armed terrorist computer hackers with a new means to attack people who don't understand the complex technology. What's more, these very same consumers were then attacked, and their own computers were infiltrated, and worst case senario, SONY and OTHER companies alike may have aided in the destruction of YOUR property. All because you tried to be a law abiding citizen. Another reason I'm for share-ware is, I don't want SONY or any other company destroying my damn stuff.

I think the legality has become sickening when everyone will sue you just for trying to even buy their product, or worse yet, they'll destroy your entire computer and music entertainment enjoyment with their product. This is plainly sabotage of the consumer, but it can only back fire in the corporations faces in the long run. This is an act of legal terrorism ventures, and I think piracy should be the least of everyones worries. When companies go to the extremes of gorilla tactics and terroristic means to ensure their "product" is so safe guarded from the consumer that the consumer can't even use the product, something is direly wrong with the system. I can sum it up in one word, GREED.

Now from what I understood of the term piracy is when someone loots and plunders, stealing the product in question, and then turning around trying to make a profit on something that they have no right making money off of; namely other peoples ideas and hard work.

What the legal standpoint of the corporations are saying is that piracy is anything that "threatens" to deminish money which they may or may not make from the product in question. So this automatically rules out share-ware, because it the product is bad, all those free MP3's of the song floating around on the web won't help sales any. However, if anyone had even taken the time to study the sales charts, no hit single in the top ten of the Billboard charts have ever suffered from share-ware and the premature "piracy" onto the world wide web. At best, as I have pointed out earlier, it only acted as free advertisement and probably boosted the sales. The middle man may suffer of course, not being a top roller, and still having to try and make a living.

Piracy is wrong if it is used to hurt or take away from the original owner/creator of the product in question, but like I said, if these people don't want their products to be put on the web in a digitized form, don't make those products. The consumer will be happy to find some one less picky, at the fear of risk of sabotage, personal injury, or loss of property -namely terrorism against the consumer- nobody wants this! But don't count on getting any slack from the gluttony of modern day corporate interest in the cash cow. They all worship the new false idol.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Kumamoto Castle

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Are you not entertained?!

"Are you not entertained," echoed Maxamillius's words as he postured in the arena bellow. The Gladiator was enraged at the pompus rich and middle class patrons who would use there money for watching such a bloody and dehumanizing sport.
Well, according to Yahoo News, we still have morons who are so easily entertained. It may not be Gladiators, and it may not even be pro-wrestlers yelling obstinities as each other while wearing speedos and sweating under huge spot lights only to later play a little slap and tickle tag, it is however, just as silly.


Yahoo news reporst: Speaking of Paris Hilton, she hit Vegas last weekend in her usual manner. The partying princess was spotted at Tao at the Venetian and also at the one-year anniversary of Body English at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino. And she just couldn't get enough of her signature table-top dancing at Body English on Saturday night. What a sight she was. I'm told she fell off the table not just once, but a "few times." "She'd just fall off, stumble and get right back up, like there was nothing wrong," a fellow party-hopper reports.



Ouch, does it hurt to fall down?

Granted, watching idiots (most probably drunk) falling off tables numerous times is indeed funny, why won't Paris just go away? Why does the press need to hound her so much? She obviously cators and even craves the cameras attentions, but the more she's in the news the more apparent it is that Paris Hilton is a twit. Well, I can't help but laugh at her, but it makes me sick how many young girls are trying to emulate her. Just so everyone knows, "she's not a role model! No no no!" And you can quote me on that.
In fact, Paris is like the opposite of a role model. She's like, the anti-role model which doesn't stand for anything good. She's not generous, intelligent, or uplifting. She only runs around being stupid... and when I say "being" she's doing it on purpose. Because can anyone really be that dumb? I redirect you to the report by Yahoo above. Paris amounts to billionaire trailer trash, and I think I just offended all of the trailer trash, my apologies.


Maybe the title of this post should have been "obsessed with obsenities." Just thinking outloud.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Simplicity of the Line

Art by Bengal


In art there are several things which make the art beautiful. Realism, Impressionism, and although one is natural and one is an interpretation, in art sometimes the copy can be more valuable than the litteral thing. Art then has either extreme detail, to copy as accurately as possible the object which it objectifies, or art will be entirely simplistic and leave a lot up to the viewers imagination. I like both, but in my study of manga and Japanese comics, I have come to appreciate the value of simplicity over detail. Mostly because I have an over active imagination, and pictures such as these, by the French artist known as Bengal, draw my attention. They tell a story. As the famous adage goes, a picture speaks a thousand words.

Another thing I have come to appreciate in manga styled art is the use of dynamics. This includes dynamic story pacing, dynamic forshortening of scenes, and radical story telling methods, dynamic in their own right. For some reason, by using a more simple line, manga seems to grasp the concept of naturalism. Clothes drape, flow, and fold just right. Characters are caught in very normal poses opposite to the static superhero posing done in American comics. Maybe it is just better art, or perhaps it's the rawness of something which one knows to be forced with such control on the very brink of perfection. Maybe not in the same technical aspects as a James Tissot painting, and perhaps the lighting may never be as exact in a comic book, but their is a light hearted energy to manga styled art; a sense of joy, and imaginative fun overbounds. The same feeling is even aparent when done by other's who are mimicing, or replicating, or redefining this artistic style; and yet, it is a relatively new and unherd of style.

Art by Bengal


For me, manga is the next frontier of storytelling and art. Even though it started out as inately Japanese, the entire world has adopted this medium with open arms and a keen sense of curiousity. It's not just manga however, the graphic novel itself opens us up to new genres of story telling possibilities, it is quintisentially the new medium of visual communication. It is a means to bring together ideas, thoughts, cultural awareness, (our) art, and allows us (as human beings) to bridge our imaginations as a collective whole. Our own representative medium which we can incorporate anything about us in a way which everyone, regardless of social, political, religious creed, age, gender, culture, and race can all understand with equal opportunity. We are unified by our love of the image, and such things it can emulate, the best being our best. I like to think that all art does this on some level, but some mediums are more efficient at it. Unlike cinema, manga and comics leave more to our imaginations. Maybe this is why in an age of movie viewing, when the silver screen has conquered Shakespeare, comics are steadily increasing in popularity, awareness, and due respect. They are simply entriguing. Coming back to that age old adage, if one image speaks a thousand words then having a graphic novel saga of several thousand pages of brilliant art meshed seemlessly together with the written word is a medium to truely be respected.

Computive Authority

I find it odd that anybody in the professional industry has more authority if only they sit behind a computer. FedEx man comes in, and walla, person behind the comp gets to sign for the delivery? Why? Because it takes brains to run a machine, and those people who sit at computers must have decision making capabilities right?

Hello computer? How come talking through the mouse never works?


However, I personally don't ever know what I'm doing. I just hit keys and things happen. However, this has never stopped anybody at my place of employment from coming over and asking me the bigger questions. Never mind the fact I'm not their manager. Never mind the fact that I've only been working there for two day when they've been there for three years. I'm behind a computer. And people who sit behind a computer obviously know what they're doing.

Problem? I can fix it, I can fix anything! Clrl. Alt. Tab...er...delete; and the respect ensues. Never mind the fact I don't really know what I'm doing. There are hundreds like me, hundreds of us computer savvy, those who make the world a smoother functioning place. And it's a wild ride, because none of us, and I can promise you, not a single one of us have a clue. But, so what? Where's the fun in knowing everything anyway?

Monday, September 19, 2005

Beautiful! Overwhelmingly Gorgeous!

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Air Gear and the most tallented Manga-ka Alive!

Air Gear 10


"Air Gear" Is a light hearted manga by Ogure Ito aka OH! Great, and is a tale set in the not so near future about high school students who have an amazing technology: roller blades. Or at first, what appears to the untrained imagination as common footwear, in actuallity, turn out to be high tech sophisticated air-blades! These air-blades can ride unseen information strands, much like a kite would ride the breeze.

Ikki (Minami Itsuki), a handsome young tallented skater, hangs out with a group of high school students who spend their days shooting off at the mouth and blading hard. Competing for medals, won for each victory, Ikki quickly makes a reputation as being the craziest and most daring person to ever try the extreme sport of Air Gear. His new found fame gets him and his friends into loads of trouble, and numerous street gangs seek to challenge Ikki's skill.

This zaney comic is full of juvenile humor, lots of pranks, and tons of fans service drawn in by Ogure Ito specifically for his male fanbase... check out the splash for trick (chapter) 85! Wowza! That's a cultural difference which would get edited right out if this book ever comes to America! But don't take my word for it, just be patient and wait and see.

This is volume ten of the collected tankoban (graphic novel). This story takes our characters to a spooky abandoned school, said to be haunted. Many hijinks ensue as Ikki and friends decide to spend the night and ghost hunt, but something off in the distant mysts holds a frightening mystery. Get yourself a copy of this exciting and extremely artistic manga to find out! Again, OH! Great (known for "Tenjou Tenge") dazzles us with his new artistic style, combining his uber detail with crisp clean lines, and adding a new flair of punk and graffiti style art all seemlessly intermeshed to form this comedy/sci-fi.

Trick 85

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Love Like no Other

Real Lovers


Imagine this, you are an intelligent woman and every single man you've ever dated has been emotionally closed off. Now, I'm not talking standard male subtlety with emotions, I'm talking love and enraged hate are the same straight poker face and the best compliment you can get is apathy. Where love triangles are common practice, and you're expected to play the game, because your goal isn't to be loved, but to be the object of a man. Not even considered worthy enough for his egotistical self serving desire. Your entire purpose is to serve and honor that man, no matter how disrespectful and neglectful he is to you, you must remain emotionally and sexually available and at his every beckoning call. Now imagine, this is the only type of love you have ever known... how would you feel?

Now imagine this. Imagine some stranger from a far off land came bursting into your life with an energy and vibrance you had never seen before? His attentions were always directed at you. He compliments you every chance he gets? Always touches your cheek with a soft hand. He even manages to open up his own feelings and talk to you with such depth that your entire being feels complete. That in fact, you find beyond the physical and emotional connections, there is something quite deeper. You find a spiritual connection, and what's more, you find yourself to be happy! You are his main desire, and he sees, thinks, and craves nothing else but you. He feels it so much that he can't stop saying the words, "I love you." What's more, you can't get tired of hearing them, no matter how many times he says the same three words.

The first horrible image is that of a complaint I hear from Japanese women when describing their men, what's worse, their very own relationships. Granted not all of them are that bad, the majority or nearly 90% of the girls I have talked to say it is that bad; most of them think it's worse. I don't blame them. To be an item, loved only as long as you maintain his interest, only to have to give your all and never get anything in return, to have to share his wondering affections with that of other women competing against you instead of sympathizing with you, that would be a nightmare in any relationship! To think that it is common practice in Japan is entirely frightening. No wonder five (five!) of my Japanese friends (all women) are marrying American men. They're sick and tired of not being admired for how great they are and are seeking elsewhere for that which they need to fulfill their needs.

The second part of the story is, I like to think, those things which I offer Sayaka. In fact, I don't have to think, I know, because she has told me in so many thank yous. Our love, is quite simply, a love like no other.

I love you, Sayaka! With everything that I am, I love you. You make my life so joyful and I couldn't dream of a better woman than you, because the truth is, you walked right out of my dreams and into my life. Your gift of love has meant so much to me. It has filled my love tank right up to the very top. More importantly you are the sexiest woman I know and I delight in you, your intelligence, beauty, and pureness of heart! I feel honored, even privilaged, to be the recipient of your love. Sharing my life with you is the greatest journy I will ever embark upon. You are eternally in my heart. Thank you so very much for saying "yes."

Steamy Kiss Under a Waterfall

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Kengun Shrine

Hand crafted


This is Kengun (ken-goon) Jinja. Or rather, this is the entrance into the court yard of this large place of worship. Kengun Shrine is one of my favorite places to go. It is beautiful and serene, and has some of the most artistic tooling and hand crafted wood gates I have ever seen! Where as most shrines have rock pillar style entrances, this one is very sophisticated in its intricate design. It makes one have an appreciation for the dedication of craftsmenship and hard work that the Japanese go through in maintaining the "look" of such things.

Country side, natural beauty


This is one aspect of the culture I highly admire. Every detail has been specifically crafter, oriented, or manipulated to fit into what I call the "Japanese psyche." The looks of the temples, shrines, and gardens, and everything else including the buildings and streets are all created with a visual "awareness" in mind. They know exactly how it will interact in the environment both economically and visually. This attention to detail oriented aspects of Japanese living makes them subtle or simplification of everything quite appealing. It also happens to make Japan on of the most visually appealing countries on the planet. They have spent thousands of years trying to get the look down right, and seeing a city scape seemlessly lead into a countryside of rice paties and rolling mountain ranges is breathtaking.

Brilliant architecture, pleasing to the eye

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Japanese Sisters

Sisters


I finally got to posting a close up shot of Sayaka and her little sister Yayoi. Both girls are extremely beautiful, however, where Sayaka has a glamorous appeal, Yayoi has more of an energetic quality. Yayoi is highly active and a tad bit tom-boyish. Personally, I think Sayaka has a greater femenine appeal. Although, just as many friends offer to trade their girlfriends to me in exchange for Yayoi's phone number (As if I had a say in the matter). In fact, I have a good friend that still wants to date Yayoi, but he'll have to get past big sister first! Sayaka is extremely protective of Yayoi, and you can see the sisterly love in her concern for her younger sibling.

Vroom vroommm!


To give you a better idea of Yayoi's personality, here is her vehicle of choice. Yeah, about the energetic more tom-boyish quality... she may look like a doll with her pink glossy lipstick and cute little pose, but don't let looks fool you! She could eat you up and spit you out. Grrrr! Little sister rocks!

But if you even look at little sister the wrong way big sister will rock you, into the ground. Not that little sister would need the help, Yayoi is independant enough that the last thing anybody would want is these two girls tag-teaming to clobber yah'! That would be painful. The good thing is after they tear you apart Yayoi could put you back together again as she's a genuine physical therapist!

True Beauty

True Beauty


Sometimes a guy like me has to wonder how he lucked out and found a girl this beautiful? You know what the funny thing is, she's a thousand times more beautiful on the inside. Her personality glows a brilliant ora engulfs all those who come into contact with her and they are instantly mesmorized!

One day when Sayaka came to my University to have lunch with me she had worn a very beautiful spanish dress and white blouse. A fellow student came up to me and instantly his jaw hit the ground. "This is your fiance?" He enquired with an awe struck dumbfounded tone. I nodded and he just grinned and said, "I'll trade you my wife for her!"

This occurance is more common than you may think. Odd as it may sound, I've had more than one man come up to me offering to trade me their wives.

My fiance Sayaka and I


A full grown Japanese man about fifty two years old came up to me about a year and a half ago and put his hand on my shoulder. Beckoning me closer he whispered in my ear, "I'll give you my wife for her." I looked over as he stared at my girl, knowing that I wouldn't trade her for anything in the God given Universe, and two thoughts came across my mind, cold cock the rude bastard or take it as a compliment and apologize for his inhability to please his wife. Then apologize to the wife who, aparently, is just another posession of this man. After all, the thought had crossed my mind that beyond Sayaka's beauty, what most people envy is how strong our love for each other is. I chose to let the man learn the hard way, maybe someday he'd become a real man and learn how to accept the love of his wonderful Japanese wife, who hovered patiently in the background waiting for her drunk husband to move along.

A beauty


Perhaps you have heard stories about a girl so stunning that cars pull off the road just to oogle? Or cars drive into other cars while they oogle? Well, that's her, that's Sayaka. I've stared a many Japanese-punk down, whether they be 58 years old or 15 years old, she has an effect on men that would make Helen of Troy wonder why only a 1,000 ships? The truth is, Helen of Troy wasn't a real woman, she was a man's fantasy woman. A woman designed to be the perfection of beauty so that she too would be the greatest prize. However, all of these heroic men forgot one very important detail, it's not the woman that is the prize, but her love.

I'm the luckiest guy in the world, not because Sayaka chose me, but because she chose to love me. And that's special.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Anime Craze Revitalization on the Horizon!

Japanese comics are here, and they're here to stay. What's more is on a daily basis we bring more and more Japanese popular culture into our own country. This includes films, music, books, comics, and exciting fashion trends!

Naruto


For those that don't know, one of the largest publishing companies on the planet, Shogakukan Inc., just aquired the number one publisher of manga, Viz. Entertainment -now known ad Viz. Media.

Viz comics is known for bringing us many wonderful titles in glorious English with minimum censoring or alterations in art. In fact, of all the companies handling major properties Viz. comics has been the most respectable.
It also looks like many of the titles I have previewed here and on my other website will be released state side by Viz media. Including one of my favorite films, "Shimotsuma Monogatari" which is known around the globe under the English title of, "Kami-kaze Girls."

Another title which looks like it may get picked up is "Pluto" by Naoki Urasawa, and originally created by the master manga story teller Osamu Tezuka. "Pluto" takes place in the famed "Astro-boy" universe and focuses on the destructive robot created for one purpose, destroying all robots. The reason I feel this title will be released by Viz in the future is two fold. One, my track record has been flawless, and often a year before any titles are released...which makes me wonder why I'm not working for them? *If anyone at Viz. needs a bi-lingual, Japanese manga fanatic who is interested in all cultural aspects of Japan...*big hint inserted here.

The second reason is that Shogakukan publishing just signed a release allowing "Pluto" to be sold in America. After that I just put two and two together. Wether or not it's being translated now, I can not say, but my bet is that it's highly likely.

http://www.shogakukan.co.jp/

http://www.viz.com/

In other news, "Naruto," and excellent manga series by Masashi Kishimoto and published by Viz. just got picked up by Shopro for film distribution. It is airing on Cartoon Network this november, and if you haven't seen it... be prepared! "Naruto" will no doubt surpass the popularity of any Anime and Manga title in America. Just wait and see.

Sakura


Hot Topic has a special liscensing contract with Shopro Entertainment, and the first product to be marketed in a blitzkreg of merchandising is none other than "Naruto." Ever major Hot Topic retailer with distribute clothing, toys, and the "Naruto" manga itself along with other marketable merchandise based off this hot franchise.

The Japanese style of cross-marketing in sales is here! And all the parents and local bus drivers who have never heard of a "Naruto" will be telling you character stats and bios by the end of next year, and reciting them back to you faster than you can say, "Pokemon what?"

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Good pup!


I wonder if Esu misses me? I know I miss him; the stinky ol' dog.

Holy Green Phone Batman!



One of the funnier stories I have commonly come across, because it's not a rare occurance, is that the Japanese who come to America often times have a hard time finding a mail box, or as they call it "posto."

You see, the American post is a dark navy blue canister which is conveniently placed in, well, random locations. There is no rhyme or reason to where the U.S. postal service puts one of its blue cans, but to a foreigner the big blue can looks like a trash basket. I have heard from numerous Japanese friends that they all thought the same, and the little eagle head logo on the side with the small print doesn't always make it clear what it is. In Japan, as you can see, the post is extremely clear, and also often in front of Seven Eleven. Every Seven Eleven has a post box in front of it, making your mailing convenient and near.

Unlike the U.S. which is slowly trying to phase out public pay phones, Japan has an abundance of them. There is no lack of communication in Japan, and even though everybody (98%) of the people own cell phones, about four times more than the U.S. they still have a need for public service phones. I personally can't help but feel the pay phones add to Japans sense of public safety. There is always one within walking distance from wherever you are at, and when you never have to worry about an emergency call. Everything in Japan seems to be set up to its maximum convienence setting, just another joy of getting to know the Japanese culture!

The Post

Engrish baby! Yeah!

Yeah baby!


One of the funnier aspects of visiting Japan is all of the funny English you see, otherwise known as "Engrish." To first time visitors who have not developed an ear for the rolled Japanese "l" "r" sound, which is interchangeble, the irony of the term being correct but not quite right parallels the often missuse of English which you will see plastered on numerous Japanese advertisements and signs.

On one of my daily bike rides I past this beauty salon and couldn't help but hold back my juvenile giggles. Needless to say this sign is just one of many "kinky" or "sex" related signs that exist in public without the publics knowledge of what the real "Engrish" means. To the Japanese, it's just another word which sounds cool. And if you think that they butcher our language, then you aparently haven't seen the movie "Kill Bill." If that wasn't the most painful Japanese to listen to, I don't know what is. To top it off, my Grandpa always uses speaks Japanese via his WWII days... when they had no desire to respect the people or the language. You get weird words like, "Oak-in-naaaa-waaaa" and "Itchy Row" of the Seattle Mariners instead of Okinawa and Ichi Ro.

I guess in the end we can get a chuckle out of it and at least, unlike in the states, the Japanese have a genuine interest in learning our language. I only wish the same could be said for us.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Japanese Toilet

Imagine this: You've just been on a 14 hour flight, bad plane food, too much soda, and with a jolting landing all that badly cooked plane meal slams to the bottom of your lower intestine. You squirm, and pinch it in as you have to slowly wait in a line of bad smelling sweaty people who are all eagerly waiting to get off the plane too.

You enter the airport terminal with a vigor and you speedwalk to the nearest bathroom desperately grasping your stomach as your intestines gurgle. Holding back the force of diaratic turmoil you find the toiletries and you go to the first available stall. Slamming open the door with a sweaty vigor, you find this?!

The Infamous Japanese toilet. How does it work?


What the hell is it you wonder? Where did the toilet go? You rush to the next stall, bam! Door open, same thing. Next stall. Where did the toilets go? What's this hole in the floor? And then in the disturbing immediacy of the pressure building moment you momentarily have the fear that your only option is to shit your own pants. What kind of country is this that doesn't have a freakin' normal toilet you ask yourself? And then in the humility of it all, you fumble around and poop in the little hole in the ground, to what some may call, a toilet.


toilet?


Only they don't prepare you for this type of culture shock. Luckily, most modern airporst are equiped with western style toilets, but if you are like me and fly to smaller Japan towns, or visit older houses, restaurants, and so on, you will always be a little put off when you see the challenge ahead of you.

How the heck does one use this thing? Well, inevitably that is the first question that goes through your head. And unless you spent the entire flight studying various culture's toileting habbits, odds are you're not going to be prepared. However, because adventuress types like myself go ahead into the fray of multi-cultural toileting, I am here to share with you all my humiliating yet very fascinating experience, on how to use the Japanese toilet!

Sometimes they come with a step! Just to complicate things and confuse you even more. You step up then squat down? What?


Often times you later find that you miss-used the toilet, or rather, incorectly utilized its bizzar feature. I mean, all you do is squat right? Yes, and then a week later you may find you squated the wrong way. How embarassing is that? To find out that you sat on the toilet backwards, well, I'm here to tell you that is a humbling experience and one of the culture shocks you might someday face yourself if you ever decide to go to Japan. But don't let the fear of using a Japanese toilet stop you from going to Japan! It's a wonderful country, and you will find that most places do have western style toilets, and even the older places have at least one. It just becomes a matter of availability at that given moment, so it's a good rule of thumb to get comfortable using the Japanese style toilet when in Japan, just in case your other options run out.

Toilets for dummies.


So do you take your pants all the way off? One leg maybe? Well, as they seem to do it, your just pull your pants down to your knees and squat, but I'm always afraid I may fill up my pants with something not so pleasant, so I pull out one leg. Personally this is more time consuming, but a heck of a lot more comfortable. After that the trick is balancing just right so you don't fall backwards. I have found that if it is convenient to do so, leaning forward and puting one hand against the wall to steady myself works nicely. Yet it all comes down to a matter of what you find most comforable, because the truth is, squating like the diagram shows is hardly a walk in the park. And afterwards you have soar calves and wobbly legs too! All the older generation of Japanese will assure you that squating is easy with some practice, and that it eventually becomes easy as sitting on a western toilet. Well they're all liers! Because it never gets easy, but when you gotta go, you gotta go.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Tristan


This is the goober who writes all this stuff.

Friday, August 19, 2005

LOVE IS A FARCE!



As humans we are susceptible to our emotional needs. Many have theorized about the psychological, spiritual, and physical aspects which combine to form the essence of love, but what is it really? Beyond the concept, what drives us to desire this feeling? Is it simply the biological urge to copulate and replenish the species? Or does out mental make up confuse this impulsive feeling by attaching societies constructs and molding every culture's own specific beliefs into one universal concept? Perhaps it is all of these things and more.

Cynical as it may sound, most marriages in America today don’t last very long. America’s divorce rate is riding high at nearly 40% and getting worse. That’s almost half of our population! Other cultures don’t have divorce, so what’s our problem? All I can say is that from my own personal experiences, I’ve fought with my lover almost 40% of the time, but each time we talk through our differences and resolve certain issues as new one’s come up. Don’t fool yourself, you’ll never know each other well enough to read the other’s mind, but you may be able to eventually finish each other’s sentences. Arguing is natural, and fighting happens, just don’t let it define your relationship or dictate how you communicate. If things get that bad seek professional counseling. Dr. Ruth K. Westheimer is always a bookstore away for those who believe in the art of self help books, among other such ventures. And if that doesn’t work, and you’ve tried every angle, then think hard before you trivialize marriage. If you want a fling, do that, but if you’re going to make a mockery of the holy union of marriage, then stop. You’re only fooling yourself in the end.

You may wonder what my credentials for giving advice on love are. Other than having read Dr. Ruth and a slew of other books on love all the way from "The Five Love Languages" by Gary Chapman to the great moral legends of Eros and Psyche, the list also includes Homer’s Odyssey, Shakespeare's greatest plays on love, Orpheus and the Underworld, the Helen of Troy myth, to the bible and Jesus Christ's life itself just to start naming a few. I think I have a rough idea on certain notions about love. I'm not trying to prove how intelligent I am or tell anyone how to do it, I'm only pointing out what I have learned from extensive study on the subject. It may work for you, it may not. It's different for everybody, but I hope my observations and foresight help just a little bit. If even one sentence pops out and sticks with you, then I'll be satisfied with that.

Well, I'm a successful lover and I listen to people. That's the biggest part of this entire love mumbo-jumbo is learning to listen to people, especially that important person in your life. Recently my own family has had to question this construct. Perhaps they have been questioning it for years. If we abide by our customs, then marriage is the ultimate commitment to loving someone. How can we deny this, when it seems to be true in most places today around the world? Where marriage was once a means of survival, or wealth, it exists today as a hybrid. Marriage is part of love, and slowly we as a society have come to realize that with great independence comes a greater desire for true acceptance through love. We all want it for ourselves, but very few actually work for it any more. I myself come from a broken family, so why all of the divorce, all of the cheating, all of the giving up, and for that matter all of the initial bad choices? Well, the way I see it there are several answers.


Cupid and Psyche


The first answer I think may be the most obvious. We have combined two customs into one ideal. Whereas marriage used to be a political and legal contract binding a man and a woman, Christian ideals about monogamy lead to it coupling with the notion that one should love that partner exclusively. Yet we are at the whim of our illogical emotional and psychological needs, because in today's era we are told our individuality is just as important as our choice of who we may love. Basically, we put ourselves first, and defy the classic legality of marriage by demanding out emotional satisfaction first. But did the outdated traditions of the past really lack the deeper feeling of love? Were arranged marriages really a sufferance for those who were forced into unwanted and even unhappy unions? Or did it force us to take responsibility to make the relationship work, because the necessity of survival came first? And even after survival, the individual wasn't at stake, but the family name. I don't presume that I would ever put myself above my family, but it seems to be the case today with all of the divorce. Do we disguise marriage as easy love because we don't want to make the commitment which such a union demands? Is it more about that quick emotional fix which love can provide and we think marriage will stamp and seal all of those good feelings in forever? Or have we allowed ourselves to become so disillusioned with the emotional satisfaction which we believe love fulfills?

I think the second answer is not so obvious. And that is that Love and Marriage are entirely separate. Sure, over time we have combined the two notions and put them into the same camp, but they are still different. Love is purely a feeling which entails an emotional response. As potent as love is, it is not the same as marriage. Marriage is a much more heavy notion, because with marriage comes great responsibility. Marriage is a promise. It is a promise to love someone above all else. What's more marriage is the promise to keep faith in the other; to give yourself up and disregard the selfish individual and share in a coexistence of two souls. The Latin for psyche literally translates to soul. Eros is love, and so the love and the soul are the two main elements which comprise tangible love.

However, I am afraid that many today do not wish to make such compromises of the self. Rather they continue to put themselves ahead of the other, or they unhealthily hold their loved one on a high up pedestal and idolize them. Whether they only take for themselves or give all away, they are forgetting that marriage is the union of two souls into one. After marriage, the trick is functioning and learning to coexist on that intimate level where every decision requires teamwork and communication, because in the end you’re not just dealing with yourself anymore -you are dealing with a new version of you and that other person's needs are equal to your's. Don't be manipulative, and just accept the fact that you made an adult choice to marry. It is about striking a fine balance between what you can allow yourself to give, and sometimes, what you should keep to yourself. This includes words, and thinking before speaking, and thinking before acting become a large consumption of your time. Believe you me, this self reflection isn't always easy, but it is necessary. You have to judge yourself the hardest, and then make the good (not always the easy or self serving) decisions. Hey, that's all part of the marriage game.

Many people don't want to give themselves up entirely and wait eons before finding that special someone. Other people don't want time to run its course and jump into marriage too hastily. Some get lucky and find true love, and others never feel the prick of Cupid's arrow. The only thing that is sure is that love is work. Love takes work, and if you think it's anything else, then you're just another Despina.

It’s a law of nature, and not Merely sense.
What is love? Pleasure, convenience, taste,
Enjoyment, amusement, pastime,
Fun; it’s no longer love
If it becomes a burden and
Instead of pleasure brings pain and torment.

---Despina (Cosi Fan Tutte by DaPonte/Motzart)


I’m sorry to ruin the convenient fantasy, but it’s pretty obvious that Despina doesn’t have a clue of what love is. Everything she talks about it just the easy excuse toward what her selfish indulgence lends her, and she expects that love fulfill those psychological needs. Sadly, however, we’re not talking about the soul any more. Despina’s want is something more primal. It is the gratification of the dominance she has over men, and if the other cannot fulfill her every emotional whim, then how could it ever be love? She even goes as far as to change the definition of love to what fits her needs. How selfish is that? Well cookie, the truth is love ain’t a piece of cake. Love is a test. Some will say a test of time, and other’s say time is the glue which bonds the strongest lovers. All I know is that if Shakespeare, the most eloquent poet and writer the western world has ever known couldn’t figure love out no matter how many Romeos he went through, poor Despina sure as hell ain’t gonna crack the code either. Perhaps Dan Brown would like a try at this one?

The temptation


Sometimes love fails, other times people create excuses for it to fail. Why? Well, like I said love is hard work and it takes more work than most people are willing to give. Not everyone can rise to the occasion, and not everybody is a hopeless romantic. I’m not asking them to be. My belief is that love is like a plant. Suppose you have a flower, a daisy, and you plant the seed and watch it grow. This daisy represents love and if you don’t nurture it it’s going to die off quick. But be careful, most people only nurture it through its initial sprouting and budding. That’s the excitement of the relationship. That’s the newness of it, and then there is the long dormant stage. This is where people get bored; learn they don’t like spending time with that certain someone who was special at the beginning of the relationship. They had the first few months of hot and bothered excitement, they eloped or rushed to get married, and the first year of sex is always amazing, but what they didn’t consider was that love takes more than just happily ever after.


Marriage isn’t going to make the bond any tighter than it was to begin with. Seriously, it's not a prom date, so don't treat it like one! Marriage today is the act of making the promise of commitment to be faithful; not only to the other, but to yourself as well. It surprises me how many people can do only one of these, but what is more shocking is the number of those who can’t do either. Being faithful with all the juicy and exciting worldly temptations, it is sometimes hard to keep that promise. Sure, I too have experienced such temptation. I’ve gotten myself into trouble numerous times. The latest example is I went out to lunch with an old sweetheart of mine and my lover became enraged with jealousy. Yet my life mate let it fester, and for weeks I thought she was ill with the flue. The truth was, I was careless of her feelings and she became ill with the betrayal she felt. Even though it was a meeting among to mature adults, the truth of the matter was that my lover felt threatened by another woman. I didn’t think of this possibility when I met with my old friend, and even though sometimes jealously arises, you can’t let it ruin all you have worked for. For this I had to compromise, and when it came to giving up an old friend or keeping a life long one, the choice was pretty obvious. From time to time there will be other charming, attractive, and appealing people who will seem better than what you have. Don’t let the blinds be pulled over your eyes, even though it looks good now, pay attention to what’s down the road. New cars look nice, smell nice, and ride nice, but there is always a better and newer model out next year. The cycle will be endless if you fall for it, but if you have already committed yourself to someone else it is your duty to be faithful. In sickness and in health.

Romeo oh Romeo!


Romeo was a Montague, and Juliet a Capulate. They weren’t allowed to court one another because of a family feud. The distain between the two family clans caused a tainted mark on the other. This label was a silly excuse not to get along, because as long as the two parties feuded, it gave each an excuse to try and prove the other was better. It was a competition of posturing which got out of hand. Romeo and Juliet were at the fate of love, but even their love couldn’t fix a broken family's love. In the end the story is a tragedy, because love can’t win out every time. Just because you may be young and in love, does it really mean you’re mature enough to handle all the responsibility that comes with the baggage of another person? It’s great when they (loving companions) surpass all of your wildest expectations, but when they don’t meet every check mark on the list, can you live with that?

I can’t hear in my left ear, I’m tone deaf so I can’t sing. It wasn't my choice to be deaf, that's just the cards fate dealt me. My fiancé loves singing karaoke. Just because I can’t sing and she loves doing it doesn’t mean I don’t go with her. I enjoy being with her, so I try the things I’m bad at just to see her beautiful smile when she laughs at my poorly refined skills. This is compromise with a dash of humility. If you can’t humble yourself in the company of your significant other, then what fun is that? I don’t make ridiculous requirements which no woman on earth could meet unless they were the perfect human being. I accept that I have my limitations, and neither of us are perfect. She has her flaws too, and between our more note worthy challenges, namely after all of our bi-cultural obstacles, misunderstandings, language barriers, geographic hurdles, hardships of distance and being apart, and being true to someone who can't be with you every moment of every day, I wouldn't take for granted how lucky I am to have her. Not for one moment. Yet I continue to try my hardest, because even though I have old sweethearts, and new crushes, I know that sometimes I just have to stop thinking only about myself and start acting like a mature adult who's in a very real relationship. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes an occasional fantasy can liven up a relationship (wink wink, nudge), but don’t let your fantasies become your ambitions. Or worse, your addictions. They will only hurt you both in the end. I admit that going on a date with an ex-sweetheart, even if it was just a lunch date among two responsible adults, was a mistake. I apologized to my lover and she forgave me. Even though I didn’t see anything wrong with it at the time, I knew that’s not how she saw it. Right then and there I learned the hard way to think long and hard before I do something, because I have to consider her needs as part of the responsibility of being the significant other. And even when I think I have it, I still ask her, out of respect for her as a person with feelings. Sometimes it’s a matter of getting in touch with your sensitive side, and sometimes it’s owning up to your own actions and the consequences which follow, regardless of intent. This doesn't mean we both won’t make more mistakes, and have more problems arise, but in the long run it's how we deal with these mistakes and problems which will define our success.

When the going gets tough, most would rather just throw up their arms and say they tried their best. But in the famous words of YODA, “Do or do not. There is no try.” I think it would behoove us to really consider these words, because when you get to the nitty-gritty of it, they are one hundred percent true. You can try all you want, but by the end of the day you either succeed or fail.

Failing for some is extremely hard to take. They gave it their all, but without the cooperation of the other individual, the entire weight of the relationship gets pushed onto one person's shoulders. This can’t work, because the relationship takes the full energy of two couples as one individual. Compromise and discussion become the two biggest keys of a successful relationship, and patience will always win out in the end. Perseverance and hard work, and well, you get the picture. It’s the difficult things that allow two to tango. And just like the tango, real love takes time to learn. It won’t happen over night, and it may not happen in a year. Heck, it may not happen in 10 or 20 years. Yet the underlying truth is, if you stick at it, you can get it to work –as long as both parties are willing to work together. Remember, a relationship is about two people, not just you. If one party isn’t willing to work or play nice with the other, then the relationship is doomed. At that point, you have to ask yourself just one thing, how much punishment am I willing to take?

I hope I have covered the basics of love. It may not be romantic like in the movies, but I can guarantee that it is rewarding beyond your wildest dreams. It’s only a matter of climbing that Everest, and not giving up so easily. There is always professional counseling and the warm advice of caring family members. If you keep getting the same message from everyone around you, you might want to ask yourself why you are the only one that isn’t seeing things the same way as the majority does. Because as special as you may think you are, I can guarantee that the whole world isn’t uniting against you to ruin your life. Another heads up would be to err on the side of caution. Take things slow, and if you do happen to jump into things, beware that falling for someone because you are infatuated with the idea of love rather than the concept of learning how to love someone for the rest of your life are two entirely different things. Watch out and use your brain! Marriage isn’t a game, and in the olden days when it was just yourself to care about, life was fine and dandy, but now you have another person and another soul to consider. A ruined marriage has consequences, don’t think it doesn’t. Somebody, but most likely both involved, will end up getting hurt. So wise up, and exhaust every possible option before you get into a marriage, and afterwards take it to the extreme and give it your all.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

The Martians Have Come and Gone, So What's the Big Deal?

WAR of the WORLS by H.G. Wells is my all time favorite novel. Many of my friends have asked me why I haven't done a thorough review of the new War of the Worlds film by Steven Spielberg and Tom Cruise. The truth of the matter is the film was really good. But at the same time it was no where near perfect.

They're coming!



What I thought?

Spielberg's film was an artistic and cinematic piece of beauty! An astounding piece of cinema where every frame was art. Just look at the beautiful lighting of the stills! However, the film definitely needed to be done as a period piece. This would have eliminated those awkward technology bloopers in the film's continuity. Especially the well known cell phone/camcorder electro magnetic pulse tangle up. But you can't blame the powers that be for missing a little continuity in a big budget Hollywood blockbuster. I mean, the film is meant to perform and entertain, and in the end the pressures of filming such a monster film under a deadline creates for more opportunities to error. I personally found the film to be a wonderful sci-fi adventure, and I'm sure it will turn classic science fiction thriller.

Where I'm sure the Spielberg version of War of the Worlds will go down in history as a decent film with a mass cult following. This doesn't detract from the obvious clash of humanity's portrayal in the films though, and one thing we do know is that the new movie depicts people in a less than humanitarian light. Do I blame Spielberg for this? Yes and no. His fault isn't in miss-labeling people in general, his fault is simple, he followed to book too closely. He followed it all the way down to the red Martian land-scaping of Earth, which was a welcome treat, and he also got the tone of panic just right and amped it up with his cinematic tension. All in all, I think that the movie "Signs" starring Mel Gibson is a much more accurate version of the concept behind War of the Worlds. It rather feels like a tribute vs. a remake. Spielberg's film is a fun pop-corn romp, but if you're looking for the read deal, then I recommend you read the book.

Puny humans!


The original novel by Wells was one of dazzling imagination and genuine fear of the "other". The outside threat that couldn't be understood, controlled, or defeated posed a great deal more emotional terror than the new film. Continuing with that feeling was Orson Well's when he threw the nation into panic with the War of the Worlds radio broadcast in 1938. All this was hinged on America's fear of the "other". Today, terrorism is that "other" but at the same time we are not limited to such a back water country no telephone it's a small world after all feel. This is the 21st century! Our world is indeed microscopic to the Orson Wells and H.G. Wells concept. We have a fully networked communication grid via Internet, satellites, cell phones, etc. And surprisingly, this had no effect on Martians, but what we do know is the panic depicted in the Spielberg film mimics the panic of the past. Yet post 9/11 we know that true terror doesn't come from Aliens. True evil comes from men themselves. And the strong bond and quick humanitarian comradery which we saw post 9/11 is surprisingly lacking in this film. This sets it off for most viewers, and gives the movie an unrealistic tone.

After that the rest of the film is just eye-candy. But just think if it was done as a period piece? Great costume design, no worries about technological continuity or accuracy, and the wide-spread panic and less than humanitarian actions of the humans would have made perfect sense! But as is, you get a negative feeling about the human characters and between the apathy and the zaney craziness of their actions you find yourself cheering on the aliens with every heat ray blast they land to the puny earthlings. The new movie is fundamentally flawed for being too close to the original story, but not original enough to separate itself and stand on its own.

And that's my two cents worth, for all those who were wondering.

Is it all about family. Or survival?


This link will take you to the archived radio broadcast of Orson Well's adaptation of H.G. Well's War of the Worlds.


http://www.earthstation1.com/wotw.html

For inforamtion on the panic that this infamous radio broadcast caused in 1938, refer to this website: http://history1900s.about.com/od/1930s/a/warofworlds.htm

Also, more interesting information on how hundreds of thousands Americans could be decived found at: http://www.waroftheworldsfilm.com/radio_broadcast.shtml

More discussion, and a site with lots of links on WotWs: http://www.greatnorthernaudio.com/sf_radio/wow.html

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Journey's End? Or just a New Beginning?


Sayaka and her little sister Yayoi (left)

Well, I'm getting ready to make the extremely long flight back to the States, so don't mind the delay in posts. I really hate to be leaving Japan, as this is my own graceland, but such is the life of a traveling man. I'll be taking a few weeks off from blogging after my return to Montana, but before I do I'll leave you all with this nice picture of two very special and extremely lovely ladies: Sayaka (right) and her cute younger sister Yayoi (left). I hope you all had as much fun watching my Japan adventure as I had posting pics and sharing it with you! Look for more insightful posts on Japanese culture in the near future and keep an eye out for new exciting things! You'll never know what I'll post next. See you all again very soon.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Return to Blue Lagoon


Return to blue lagoon

Here we find a very spectacular waterfall. The source of the waterfall is the same source of water which supplies Tsuujunkyo bridge. From the bridge it only took fifteen minutes to hike down and around to the basin where the best view of the falls were. The entire walk through the bamboo (often 60 to 70 meters tall) and forestry was intesnse and muggy, but coming out into the opening of mist and cool ionized air really envigorated us! Not only that, we had the most amazing view nature could afford. Yes, I'm talking about my lovely Sayaka!


Sayaka enjoys the cool refreshing mist


Is that a bird, plane, or Superman? I can't tell.

Looking up we could see a suspension bridge high up in the sky overlooking the waterfall. I just had to get up there and take some photos. The bridge was actually quite large. I kept thinking of Indian Jones while we trecked through this jungle terrain, bridges, and so forth. Luckilly we didn't happen to bump into any snakes, but lots of spiders the size of your fist!


Front view of the falls from the suspended bridge off yonder

Tsuujunkyo Bridge


Tsuujunkyo bridge

Tsuujunkyo bridge is the most famous bridge in the Kumamoto region, if not Kyushu all together. This bridge was designed specifically to carry water high accross the deap ravine. In the distance is a waterfall, but the people in the village over the hill had no way to get water accept to climb up the mountain every day, get some water and climb back down. The bridge was developed in the late seventeen hundress and shows the fine craftsmenship of the Japanese. Using a stone bridge to cary water and act as a means of transport? This is engineering ingenuity and pretty darn cool if you ask me!


Sayaka peaks over the ledge

You can see Sayaka peaking over at me as I took this picture. Just to the lower right of her you can see the funel spout with water trickling out of it. Right now there is a plug which is blocking the water, but when you pull that plug out both sides of the bridge spout water. The pressure of the water which shoots out of that hole on the bridge is the equivilant to a fire hose which puts out a fire. Pretty amazing, and I would have liked to see it, but we came in the cool evening of an uncrowded off day; which so happened to be equally as beautiful and relaxing.





Inside the bridge

This is the water transport blocks contructed within the bridge. When they are put in rows the square hole acts as a pipe to transfer the water across. There are four rows of these pipes which span the entire length of the bridge. In case of high pressure incidents, such as heavy rain fall or freezing, which threaten to burst the bridge a gate is stopped at either end and the plugs are removed to drain all the water, which then proceeds to shoot out of the sides of the bridge making a neat spectacle.




Me sitting on the bridge


Here I am sitting in one of the exits of the water pressure release point on Tsuujunkyo bridge. Just next to my feet you can see one of the wood corks which plugs the water release point. Even though the wood plug works, there is still a small amount of water which was trickling out; just enough to get my feet wet.