Friday, October 06, 2006

Shout out to my Peeps!

Your new nickname will be: Peepee Le Fritz!

Temple information center with lion gaurdian statue.

I've just been informed that my humble little Blog detailing my Japan adventures has just been picked up by North Toole County High School in Montana as an "Applied English" project to track international and literary events. So I'd like to say a quick 'hello' to you Montana folks and thanks for visiting!

I'd also like to shout out to my Middle East viewers, who happen to be regulars here. Yes, they are Muslim, but unlike how the TV propaganda makes them sound -they are NOT all terrorists. Most of them are kind, intelligent, and carrying people and are all very dear to me. It's the uneducated ones which make the whole bunch look bad. Anyway, to my Muslim pen-pals, thanks for your continued support and regular postings.

How, why, what's this Blog?

My riverside apartment and the Japanese mountain scape.

This could be considered my proverbial mission statement, however, I've outlined the details in past Blogs, so there's a lot to catch up on if you feel the excessive compulsive desire to do so.

This Blog started as an assignment in on of my University English classes. Because of the nature of the professors grading, the Blog actually determined whether you passed the class or not... so disciplined updates were mandatory. The goal was to open a class wide discourse so that we could all share homework assignments, work on class projects, organize school events, and create a dialogue with others about the 'big' topics we were studying in class.

After a year of Blogging for school I started increasing my Blog time to read other potentially high quality Blogs. Needless to say Blogging started eating up my time because I have way too many interests. If I wasn't reading a new Blog I was posting on mine. After I graduated with a degree in English Literature and another in Japanese Cultural Studies I decided to shift my focus of this particular Blog to a more refined topical matter. I chose my adventures in Japan as the main focus. Although, from time to time you may see something else of interest slip in here.

Old Kozan

The name of the Blog comes from the Muffin Man children's fable, but the idea was given to me during my first Japan experience in 2003. As it happened the night security guard at the international dormitory in Kumamoto, Japan suddenly stopped my friend and I from going out for the evening. At first we thought we might be in trouble or that one of our perpetually drunken roommates may have gotten deported (do to prior drunken behavior). Of course nobody ever got deported but there was that one incident. To make a long story short; my alcohol addicted roommates got in a tiff with the Yakuza, for those that don’t know the Yakuza are the Japanese Mafia, and he managed to smart off to the wrong dude and ended up passed out in a different city five hours away. Stripped of everything he had except his life and boxer briefs. Needless to say, he was lucky. Probably traded the rest of his already lacking pride & dignity for what little luck fate would barter, because that’s one small step to getting a lot of pain you don’t want. And all because he let a simple beverage dictate his life? It’s a freakin’ beverage! A drink. I mean seriously, some people have to get it under control.

Just a note to all you out there, drinking to drunkenness is the dumbest thing you can do in a foreign country. Not only do you make a fool of yourself, a mockery of your country, and embarrassment to all those who are trying to take the spotlight off their 'minority' status and fit in with a new culture... but you risk facing the strict laws of any such country. In Japan's case misbehaving and facing criminal charges as a foreign alien means just one thing, exportation. Yes, they are strict. While drinking is a big part of the 'social' element of the Japanese culture, being a foreigner means 'all eyes' are on you. You tend to be watched more strictly and heck, it is their Island after all, so if they don't like you they just get rid of you. (For the record I don’t drink alcohol. The way I see it is alcohol is a drug and drinking is for people with no hobbies who can’t find something better to do with their lives. As for the “It’s a ‘social’ thing” excuse, well, I’m more sociable than ninety percent of the people I know and I’ve never had a problem making friends. Being liked for the wrong reasons won’t help you personally, and a beverage isn’t going to fix the worlds problems. Alcohol may dim that social anxiety, but the truth is it doesn’t cure it. That takes pure will power and learning to deal with life in a mature and responsible way, even the hard parts. It’s just sad how many people have to use that crutch, because they’re wasting valuable time, and it’s just pathetic and sad. Hey, we don’t live forever. In the entirety of the universe our lives flash by like within a millisecond. Which is why I’m also anti-abortion (pro-life), anti-smoking, and heck anti-suicide in general.)

So there I was, standing along with my roommate, petrified that we were going to get some kind of bad news when... instead of bad news we got a most curious inquiry. The night guard, a peppy little sixty year old, asked us, "Do you know the muffin man?"

Needless to say my roommate and I shared a few awkward glances and once the revelation hit us so did the levity. We couldn't stop laughing for at least a week. It was such a profound question, and one that stuck with me ever since, hence the name of this Blog.

Topics of Interest

Rice, up close and personal.

Of course I maintain two other Blogs, three Blogs total. As I started to shift my focus and finally hone in on what I wanted to write about I found my writing became more dedicated. Which is to say that I kept that focus and often times found myself scratching my head with the things I wanted to say but couldn't because it would ruin the tone or style of the writing and what my Blog was about. In the past I found my random interests actually threw people and it was hard to build a steady readership, mainly I had something for everyone but everyone didn't like every flavor I was throwing at them. Basically I was losing interest because of my many interests. The easiest solution was tightening the focus and picking something specific to write about. Swirly Muffins Blog :Do You Know the Muffin Man? is the final verdict of what is most important to me in my life right now.

Yet for those times when I need to get something off of my chest, such as political or religious things, or personal things, I keep two other Blogs open for sharing my thoughts and discussion. However, that said, time is limited. So it's a wonder that those Blogs even exist. They tend to get updated rarely, maybe once every three months, whereas my main Blog here will get updated almost every other week.

I hope you all continue to stick around and experience the Japan experience through the window of the World Wide Web. If you ever decide to journey to Japan I can give you some pointers. Also, don't feel bashful, posting comments is okay but please follow Netiquette. My biggest rules are no flaming, no cussing, no inappropriate comments, and since it is my Blog I am the final judge and jury on what flies and what doesn't. If you feel like leaving a positive criticism or a motivational compliment, those are always welcome. And person grievances can be sent to me direct via email, which you will find a link to on my profile page.

Thanks, and please continue to enjoy the wonderful world of Japan through my eyes! And for Toole County High School, have a great school year!


Abed. Hamdan said...

lol @ do you know the muffin man !

I didn't know it's a traditional story! I searched Wikipedia now and I got this link:

it seems to be kids song :)

Noor said...

Hey, Tristan. sorry i didn't visit u recently. nice mobile u have. 2.1 Megapixel well, same to my brother mobile. i did choose one and my brother will buy it for me. Yeah, Nokia again. stick to nokia world. anyway, u have great pics and i really enjoy reading and watching. have a great day. Bye.

chris said...

hi you have done a good job on you japan life.
i always had a attraction towards japan and its ppl and thier life
your post has given me some satisfaction for me hope to see more of your post soon
thx for the post.