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Earthquake

Nothing especially exciting going on in Nihon at this moment in time. Monday was “Coming of Age” day but I missed out on it for various reasons, tomorrow is my re-contracting interview, and after that there are no big festivals until mid-February so here are some odds and ends I’ve been meaning to get around to.

I survived my first earthquake.

Friday January the 11th at about 3 o’clock. I was sitting at the computer, dossing basically, waiting for the week to end and not really prepared to do any useful work with only 20 minutes left in my working day (technically 50 but I help out in cleaning time which starts at 3.20) when I noticed the computer screen beginning to shake.

Now at first I thought that I had just knocked the computer but this shaking didn’t stop after a good 3 minutes and eventually I figured out what must have been happening. The computer was an old fashioned box monitor on a wheeled trolley so it was never particularly stable to begin with, and not much else seemed to be shaking but I put a pen in a cup and this confirmed it. I was sitting in the middle of an earthquake.

It was pretty cool.

Japanese Crisps are weird.

Pictured is a packet of Pringles, not especially weird I’ll grant you but “Winter Salt” flavour? What exactly is winter salt, how does it differ from ordinary salt, what is it doing here and what does it want.

Other strange Japanese flavours include crisps including bits of real cheese (that are horrible), squid flavour (pretty good) German potato flavour (again it raises many questions but continues to be an enigma) and pickled ume (plum) flavour which I have not yet had but I have recently been informed tastes a lot like salt and vinegar. I always intended to eat some but now I am actively seeking out my pickled plum crisps.

However I think these easily take the cake for weirdest flavour of crisps ever.

CHERRY BLOSSOM FLAVOUR CRISPS!

No I’m not mistaken, it isn’t just a pattern they really are cherry blossom flavoured.

I haven’t eaten them yet but rest assured when I do you will get all the details.

Random left over photos.

Mentioned in another post but I forgot to put up the picture. Here is my lucky New Year bow and arrow.

Kate Roy rocking my new Trilby. People love to steal my hats.

Another refugee from a former post. I mentioned a high class shoe shop with a huge display of Ultraman toys in the front. Well here he is, dressed as Santa. Trust me on this, toys really are cool in Japan.

“Gaylord” is a famous Indian restaraunt chain in Japan and a source of constant amusement to me.

Whilst shopping for Christmas presents I was attacked by giant monsters (Kaiju). Fortunately the Power Rangers (or rather Sentai Ranger) saved me.

Things my students do.

So one kid asked me on my first day to call him Michael. This isn’t his real name and is actually a bit of a racial slur, akin to us calling a Spanish person Pedro or a French bloke Pierre just because of their nationality. However I have real trouble remembering kids names, particularly Japanese names, so I’ve been calling him Michael since then.

Recently he started asking me if “I have two golden balls?” Following the unofficial JET code I pretended not to understand what he was saying and feigned that he was talking about David Beckham. However recently he has added “do you have a penis?” but pronounced “pen” as in the tool you write with and “is” as in the first part of the word easy. Well, I thought toy myself, if he’s bothered to learn the word I may as well teach him to pronounce it properly.

Today he yelled it at me in the middle of cleaning time across a crowded room whilst the homeroom sensei was in there.

It was good luck she doesn’t speak English.

What I’ve been up to recently.

I had a FANTASTIC weekend recently. I mentioned on this blog previously that one of the big ALT past times in Kobe is Airsoft. Basically paintball but with small bb pellets instead of paint. I mentioned my almost fatal collision with a tree and my fall down a mountain (which has earned me the nickname “the Lumberjack”) I even went so far as to buy my own gun.

And here she is, her name is Mariko.

Well Saturday one of our resident drunken Scots Johnboy held a party in Hanyama, the other of the two major ALT residential areas (I live in Gakuentoshi) which just happens to be where the mountain we shoot on is.

So after a night of drunken debauchery I got up bright and early to run around a forest pretending to be a commando. No actual hits this time (although I got shot plenty) but I did manage to win one game by capturing the flag and put in a respectable performance tactically.

Following this we went to Yaki-niku for all you can eat fried meat and drinking.

Beer, guns and fried meat, could there be a more manly way to spend a day.

Maybe if we’d done some heavy lifting as well.

This is a picture of the lot of us tooled up and ready to rumble.
From left to right.
Top Row
Bryan “The Lion”, Jason “Deuce” Bigalow, Ryan “G-man” Glasnovich, Brindley, James “Poncho”, Adam “the Lumberjack” Halls, Patrick and John (no nicknames yet)
Bottom Row
Jim “the Grim Reaper”, Adam “the detonator” Debter, Kevin “Sarge”, “Alaska” Dave and
“there but for the” Grace “of god” also known as “Fallen from” Grace and “the snarling beast”.

This was followed by yet another party the highlight of which was Songstar a karaoke computer game and thus something I intend to own at any cost.

I am mildly famous.

At University I dedicated a ridiculous amount of energy helping to run a website called www.superdickery.com Cast all dirty thoughts from your mind immediately for this was not a porn site but rather a shrine to Superman and how much of a dickhead he is.

No I’m serious, go look at the site. In the 60’s Superman dedicated nearly all his time to playing elaborate head games with his best friend and girlfriend for no reason other than that he could. My job was to scour comic bins and websites for examples of so called “superdickery” “batdickery” and other general weirdness. I never ran the site but I was heavily involved in the forum (under my nom-de-plume bbsr) and wrote many of the captions and comments as well as finding many of the covers featured.

My University friends were totally apathetic towards this site and never once checked it out. However in Japan the subject has come up a number of times and everyone I mention it to has either heard of or read superdickery themselves.

And since this is a blogger blog and this is a bits and pieces post I am obligated by the rules of the internet to post some videos. Here is a frankly disturbing advert for Kewpie doll phone charms and a Malice Mizer video. The first to freak you out and the second to frankly marvel at the visual kei costumes.

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