Saturday, December 26, 2009

childhood diaries, big laughs

At the risk of my own neck, I am posting an excerpt from my Minnie Mouse diary of yesteryear in which I fantasize wildly about slaying my gym teacher.

May 21, 1995

Dear Diary,
Crap, shit, fuck, ass, bitch, bloody, hell, poop, brain infected, butt sniffing, bubble butt, fart factory, BLIP! I hate school! I wish Mr. ***** would spontaneously combust and get electrocuted by the devil! I wish he would go through the worst agony ever! I hope he was killed by the Unabomber! I'm not sorry at all. He hurt me, and now I want him to die in pain and go to hell, and take ***** with him! I wish he'd drop dead, and I hope he's having a heart attack! I want him to get beaten up and tortured till he dies! I hope I never see him again! I'd like him to retch the rest of his life! I wanna kill 'im! I hope right now, there is a dagger in his throat! I hope he dies right now! I hope he is burned up and the ashes are destroyed! I hope he has A-bombs exploding in his house now! I hope his family escapes but he is trapped! I hope no one gives him the least bit of mercy! I want him to be whipped and cut up and made into man stew by Friday and Robinson [Crusoe]! I hope his funeral is cancelled, and people make fun of his tombstone & he breaks every bone in his burning body! I hope he's dead already! I laugh at his death!!



Merry Christmas everyone!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

christmas cards

One of life's little joys is making Christmas cards for my friends. This year I have quite a few to make. I have a ton of material sitting around the house so I'm trying to make them as interesting as possible. I actually made a special trip to the 100 yen store to pick up markers, glitter glue pens, envelopes, paper, and tape. Coupled with the quality Christmas music I've recently acquired, I've been quite happy in welcoming December. It's already December! Can you believe it?

I'm headed home in 16 days. Mentally, I've already checked out so to speak. I have visions of being bundled up at airports, hitting up favorite spots like P.F. Chang's Colonie Center and Wolf Road Starbucks, and wailing at Bourbon Street karaoke for my birthday party. Laugh all you want - I'm thinking I want Americanized Japanese food for my birthday dinner.

Oh, and when I got home from work today someone had put up barbed wire by my balcony. I'd like to see you get past that, wall-scaling pervert!

Monday, November 23, 2009

x-posted from osharejunks: "favorite boutique"

Maison Gilfy does everything right.

I've only been to one location - Parco in Kumamoto Shimotori - but everything is perfect. How to describe their stuff - maybe the perfect fusion of ギャル and "badass."

I'm mainly a big fan for the shoes/boots and consistent supply of studded leather bags.

The music choice is flawless too.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

what a terrible ending for a great weekend.

I came home around 7:45 tonight, heard a funny noise, went out, and found some random middle aged man had climbed onto my balcony and was crouching there doing god knows what. I yelled at him and he just apologized politely, jumped from the second floor to the ground, landed in some grass, and walked away.

I talked to the building manager and now I gotta go talk to the police. They're coming any minute.

God this sucks. I can't wait to get away for Christmas for 2 weeks.

Fear: appetite suppressant of the gods.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

It's been a while.

Life has been good. I have spent too much money and now eat a small portion of pasta for dinner every night. I went to Nagoya to eat at the Outback Steakhouse with some of my girlfriends. I celebrated Halloween at a post-bubble-economy resort complex dressed as an Islamic terrorist. I've had that annual crisis where I decide I have no idea what to do with myself relationship-wise. I have some interesting new friends. This weekend I am going to serve hot dogs and beer to cute police officers among others at Miho's restaurant's 10th anniversary party. I hope to see some of you there.

I booked a ticket to go home for Christmas. $1,470. I will go from Fukuoka via Nagoya to Detroit and then to Albany, racking up plenty of Northwest mileage. I'll be in the area from December 18 to January 4. Again, I hope to see some of you there.

Everyone is moving and shaking and sometimes I feel like a fly on the wall rather than an actual participant in life. It could very well be due to a general lack of drive, hobbies, and cleanliness at home. Even the routines that kept me happy have fallen wayward as of late due to self-induced poverty.

November blues are real and we shouldn't refuse to acknowledge them. But at the end of the day, I live in a beautiful place. I thought about that on the way to this really tedious meeting in Yoshizuka today, where I had to pitch my idea for how to present "Internationalization in the Classroom" and I was underprepared and not "there" mentally. The car ride there and back made me gasp just like it did my first day in Fukuoka. Steep curvaceous mountains covered in bamboo forests and leaves turning red and a thick layer of mist because it rained today.

Monday, October 12, 2009

there's my chippy!

Jellyfish, Osaka Aquarium

Monday, October 5, 2009

Burgundy, no words.

The hair needed to be darker for fall.

I know music is something so personal that many people (myself included sometimes) prefer to enjoy their favorite songs in solitude, but this one is really so touching and lovely that I want to share it.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Goth for fall.

I've decided that my preferred look is "goth-lite." Enough to get you into the goth club, but not enough to draw negative attention from normal people. Just some chunky laceup boots here, some bold makeup there, hints of lace and lots of black.

I have also rediscovered Clan of Xymox. They are just so, so good. Go find them.

Friday, September 25, 2009


I made this specifically for a friend, but you can have it too.



1.) So Nyeo Shi Dae “Gee”
2.) Zoot Woman “Just A Friend of Mine”
3.) Maskinen “Segertåget”
4.) Kino “Gruppa Krovi”
5.) Larry Levan “Change/Paradise”
6.) Virgin Prunes “Love Lasts Forever”
7.) Split Mirrors “I Give My Love To You”
8.) Soft Ballet “Obsession”
9.) Cosmicity “I Want You”
10.) Siouxsie and the Banshees “Dazzle”
11.) Secret Service “Let Us Dance Just A Little Bit More”
12.) Ami Suzuki “Super Music Make”
13.) Joyless “Why Should I Cry”
14.) Clan of Xymox “No Human Can Drown”
15.) Dannii Minogue “Push”
16.) Sisters of Mercy “Body and Soul”
17.) Robert Palmer “Johnny and Mary”
18.) Armoury Show “Glory of Love”
19.) Tom Tom Club “Genius of Love”
20.) Moodymann “M Traxx”

Pretty much all of them fall into the category of house, new romantic, post-punk/goth, or straight pop.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

words of love

You have shown me greater beauty than I have ever known.

You have also opened the possibility that I can feel higher power, higher emotions, and perhaps even spirituality.

Through your darkness I have found light as well as catharsis, release, and the comfort to submit entirely unto you.

I will always love you and protect you from harm, shielding you from those foolish enough to try and attack your integrity and value as an entity.

I will never allow your enemies to soil the purity of my affections for you.

Your place in my heart, as part of my being, will never be threatened, and you may always rest safely in my arms and in the warmth of my love.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Calvin Harris

I HAVE TICKETS! I am so happy.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The unbelievable shallowness of my life

Look, a new dress which requires shorts underneath.

I don't ever claim to be doing anything meaningful, but I think I may have hit a new low this time around. My contributions to the world these days usually consist of polluting the air with noises and methane gas and teaching Japanese people words for anus-related byproducts and growths. Tonight I went to the mall, ate a fattening dinner (which was delicious - fried pork cutlets in miso sauce, tofu, miso soup and white rice), sent a bunch of inane text messages to my friends, laughed like twelve year olds about tasteless jokes, drank hot chocolate, and took a taxi home when I could have easily walked. On Sunday I went shopping with Miho for approximately 7 and a half hours, bought a bunch of clothes which I will probably end up wearing less than 30 times each, took vain photobooth pictures, and ate McDonalds fries well after 6 p.m.

Most days consist of sitting at work resenting the fact that I'm at work, co-teaching a class or two, posting unnecessary quibbles on an Internet message board, and spending money after work to socialize. Sometimes when I'm quite bored at home, I'll play dress-up and take pictures of my outfits.

I'd like to start reading things again, but I'm too lazy to go through the embarrassing procedure of either fumbling my way through an eye doctor appointment alone or feeling like a dumb idiot while a friend plays translator for me, all because I left my glasses in Brooklyn. I'd like to read something that has nothing to do with real life, maybe about cults in Inner Mongolia or Austrian subversive performance artists in the 1960s or fakirs or ayahuasca shamans or something. Isn't that silly, reading escapist nonfiction to feel more "cultured" or whatever?

My friend Oliver in Germany says that in a few years he's going to crack and eventually totally reject western civilization and go be some kind of shamanistic druid hermit in the rainforest forever. I kind of giggle when I think about that, but I see the appeal. Life sort of loses meaning once you fall into a pattern and you're not devouring information like you do in school. One finds all sorts of ways to justify self-wounding hedonism, e-snarkiness, and nihilism. Not like I actually understand nihilism for sure because I never bothered to read about it and the Wikipedia article was too verbose.

All that wank aside, I do have an abundance of love in my life. Loving relationships on three continents with friends, family, more friends, a few other friends, and a certain special someone who I've been in love with for almost three years. When it really boils down to it, I'm such a social person that this is more than enough to keep me happy.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Sports Day/Nuremberg Rallies II, Year Two

I can't believe how fast the past year went! I've been here about exactly one year now (I went away for a month) and this weekend was Sports Day which I (lovingly) refer to in terms of HJ rallies during the Third Reich due to all the marching, screaming and obsessive-compulsive MAN that happens. It is quite endearing to see 16 year old Japanese boys, most of them quite skinny and fond of brightly colored nu-rave sneakers, standing around shirtless grunting and screaming and flexing.

Sports Day combines the two fundamental athletic elements of American school events - pep rallies and field day - but all happens in a sandy pit where the grass has been (manually - though I was fortunate enough this year to have missed pulling weeds out of the sports field) painstakingly eradicated, and always on a hot day since it's awfully hot without fail here until October.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Irreverent Engrish at its finest?

Not only is this beast screen printed with "MUHAMMAD" a dozen times, but it was on super sale at Jusco for only 500 yen! While it doesn't flatter my head shape or match any of my clothes, its value as a cultural artifact of a nation which has no clue is probably at LEAST a 1,000 yen value. If not more.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Brownie Mountain

Lately I've been watching WAY too much "Tim and Eric" and I thought this clip (mainly the song) is a really accurate portrayal of what it's like to be on psychedelics.

As you can see, this entry was tagged with "wanderlust." Hmm.

Culture shock?

As mentioned in yesterday's update, one of the kids at my high school died in a motorcycle crash.

Today there was an announcement about it at the daily morning meeting, the kids were informed during their homeroom, and then...normal sports day practice as though nothing had happened. With the exception of the student's girlfriend, who stayed in a secluded room all day presumably crying, I saw only one or two kids looking upset. The rest were running around giggling as always. The teachers put on their best poker faces and went about their daily business.

It's the most remarkable cultural difference between USA and Japan. When a teenger dies, USA is like a Jewish funeral, with days of mourning, wailing and weeping. Japan is like...well, Japan. "Too bad. It cannot be helped." And then back to the regularly scheduled program.

One day this society of endless "push on some more" is going to implode and there will be chaos. But until then, I somehow admire the Japanese in their stoicism and tolerance during tough times.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Checking in after a long hiatus?

Sorry I've been absent for months, though I doubt anyone will actually notice ;)

I went to New York for 2 weeks with my friend Miho from Tagawa (the owner of beloved Americana bar/restaurant OLDIES) and we made a mess there with my parents, a bunch of friends, and sightseeing.

Then I went to Germany/Austria for 2 weeks with my mom, where we saw lots of sights, I made a bunch of new friends who want to take me to Wacken next summer, and hung out with Oliver in Mannheim for a few days engaging in hippie activities.

Now I've been back in Japan for a week, and am currently mourning the death of one of my students, who was involved in a traffic accident earlier today.

So much has happened and is still happening. May we all live in interesting times.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Weakling - Dead As Dreams

1. Cut Their Grain and Place Fire Therein
2. Dead As Dreams
3. This Entire Fucking Battlefield
4. No One Can Be Called As a Man While He'll Die
5. Disasters in the Sun


A delicious slice of brilliant atmospheric black metal with the mean song length clocking in at 15:06. Weakling only made one album, and this is it. "Dead as Dreams" blows progeny Wolves in the Throne Room completely out of the water. Highly recommended!

Monday, July 13, 2009


How is it possible to be so achingly nostalgic for an era you didn't live through? It's clearly not terribly rare considering that there are hundreds of annual medieval festivals called "Renaissance Faires" throughout the United States of America, money to be made in the field of historical re-enactment, and hordes of dedicated Classical and Greek historians.

What makes people tick in this strange, potentially counterproductive way? For me personally the magic era is the 1980s. All joking about silly hair and Madonna's conetits aside, the 1980s hold some kind of mystical, irreplaceable charm in my mind and heart. It's the silhouette of a wiry man with big hair and little pants, the unashamed sound of synthesizers happy to be synthesizers, the allure of coke binges and Club Kids in filthy New York City. I've seen the Penn & Teller episode of "Bullshit" about '80s nostalgia freaks and was hugely unconvinced that my fascination with this time period is unjustified.

I will continue, then, moaning miserably every time I hear the Placebo bastardization of Robert Palmer's "Johnny and Mary" or see the lovely black and white hair-skin contrast of Siouxsie Sioux worn "ironically." And my irresponsible pop culture worldview will continue glorifying the use of nose candy in a club somewhere in Glasnost Russia where they play New Order and Kino on the jukeboxes.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

where earth meets sky

Tonight the mountains blended right into the clouds!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

train poems

So this is really embarrassing because I generally hate poets, poems and the word "poetry," but lately I have taken to jotting down little stream of consciousness blocks of words while I ride trains, feeling inspired I guess by bombarding my ears with music and my eyes and nodes with visions and thoughts of beautiful things. Anyway this is what I've got so far. These things are all scribbled on the backs of electricity bill receipts.

on the railbus to Yukuhashi
egrets make ripples in
reflected rice paddy skies
inappropriate melodies infiltrate
this toothless pastoral landscape
obachans meet slutty hemlines
hiked up pleats and mothball scent
lush greenery with clicking wheels
the possibility of a yakuza?

railbus to Yukuhashi re: lots of little fires
smoke forever
inhibiting factors
forever mountains
blue beyond smoke
shortness of breath
blinded by the sun

Relay-tsubame limited express train to Kumamoto
firesoul all aboard
majestic salarymen
scream in northern frustration
inside a black bullet
this train is bound for hell
going southerly
on nine something island

Relay-tsubame to Kumamoto
Picturing crunched up death
a collapsing Jacob's ladder
The idyllic aggrotech noise dream
Poetic bones are broken, hewn
haphazardly like ink strokes in
the meaningless characters that define
china, Japan, and our lives

Relay-tsubame to Kumamoto, watching a young conductor at work
The life of a train man
seems as saturated with purpose
as diamond encrusted chalices
or the Italian flag emoticon
Or Maybe...
an anencephalic child
Whose parents wanted their
little darling to become
an astronaut or a lawyer

on J-pop and how I enjoy it despite its retardation
simple lack of understanding
allows me to enjoy the corporate filth
contrived trash written by fat producers
inserting cigars into X's vaginas
you could ask Magic 8-Ball to write a better song
but it's all the same to me

arab music makes me think of this
sweet frankincense, myrrh, sodom and gomorra
myriad intoxicants mesh well with phrygian violins
heavily perfumed half steps and beautiful colors
cover up sour garlic axillary stench,
shisha hummus haiitosis,
or the unkempt, abundant wires which
conceal juicy pink and purple underthings
from whence liquids of fuck and life emerge

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Rainy Season

pissing down
dripping wet
soaked to the bone
slightly to the side-like
torrential downpour

Man I'm not a fan!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Almost a year already!!!

This has been the fastest almost-year by FAR, ever. Just another sign I'm on the route to decrepitude I suppose.

Anyway I remember how much I HATE this stupid stupid island now, I've been wired and up too late and I was on my way to the bathroom to pee before sleep, and I saw a huntsman spider on the floor. Which is fine because they eat other bugs, but then I realize this one has somehow A) gotten into my house and B) survived by eating bugs who are presumably also in my house.

At least I haven't seen a cockroach yet this year.

I really, really, really hate the bugs here. Everything else I can deal with, from a repressed society of people who do all their filing on paper to nasty awful horrible summer heat and humidity and insulation-less winters spent freezing with half-functional hot water, but please please please don't make me feel scared to be in my own home because giant bugs are lurking.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Woodpeckers from Space

My friend Rene in Yamanashi is getting me really into Italo Disco. It's all this horrible '80s Eurodance music that makes you want to grow an impressive mustache, and all the vocals sound exactly like those in Falco's "Rock Me Amadeus." I'd say Video Kids are an ideal example, and possibly the grandfathers of that awful "Crazy Frog" monstrosity that hit around the same time as the Summer Olympics in 2004. "Woodpeckers From Space" is something you MUST experience.


In other news, my hair is all slimy and residue-y from sea salt due to a weekend at another beach! AJET hosted a beach BBQ on Saturday on this island that's only 5 minutes away from Fukuoka by ferry. I wish it had been sunny but even on a cloudy day it looks like something straight out of Hawaii, or a reality TV show about strangers stranded on a tropical island.

Monday, May 25, 2009

The flight of time

MAN Vassar class of 2009 graduated just now. Meaning it's officially been a year since I've been out. I would make some kind of melodramatic statement like "ohhh nooo what have I done with myself?" but the answer is clearly "a lot" and I have a decent job and a lot of friends and loads of interesting travel experiences.


Sunday, May 17, 2009


This weekend was JINKOSAI, the biggest festival of the year in Tagawa, and I was awfully happy to be able to experience it. Tagawa isn't famous for much other than yakuza and Jinkosai, and you can't have the latter without the former running it. In short, the entire city comes alive for a weekend. The streets fill up with vendors and interesting people, students shed their uniforms and compete to see who best passes as a cheap hooker, and teams of intoxicated men in yukatas representing their neighborhoods push massive pirate ship-like floats called yamakasa through the streets, banging drums and blowing whistles. I had a bunch of friends come down for the event and I was proud as hell to show off my town in the height of its excitement. Fuck, Tagawa is awesome.

Monday, May 11, 2009


I had a wonderful time this weekend with good people, good beer, good food, and tall buildings. I even defecated in the hotel where our JET Program orientation was held during summer.

Sunday, April 26, 2009


Had a lovely time this weekend with my friends + Walter at Hatsu Beach near Okagaki/Ongawara/Ebitsu. We did beach (complete with violent sand), bathtime, izakaya (bar/restaurant), and karaoke. I'm still a terrible singer and my band is falling apart.

The world as we know it is ending slowly as everyone is dying off and the weather is at this point wholly unpredictable and the developed nations sink into depression, but I feel pretty great and I have a lot to look forward to. I'll be going home for a couple weeks in the summer and bringing Miho from Tagawa with me. She loves America more than most red-blooded Texans and it makes my trip home twice as meaningful to show her around Albany and NYC, making her dream of New York City night views and big American style homes come true.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

The magic of drunkenness looks much less magical through sober eyes.

It amazes me that anyone has fun at my school's nijikais without being at least "pretty drunk." The wrinkly 50 year old hostesses, bagged snack foods presented on plastic dishes that try to look like glass, and crappy whiskey/water cocktails would prevent me from enjoying myself. Luckily, they beered me up nicely, and so I felt the magic in the room when we were all screaming some stupid drinking song. Then I came home and realized the sad futility of life, especially for the teachers at my high school. Work=life.

Monday, April 13, 2009

a slice of Italy in Tagawa?

Japan sure has an interesting relationship with Europe. The Western style restaurants that aren't desperately trying to be America are desperately trying to be Italy. Like Huis Ten Bosch (which wants to be the Netherlands), most of these Italian restaurants are far too shiny and pristine to be like the real thing, and rely on glass bottles of fake olive oil suspended from ceilings and wax produce for their authenticity. Most serve some variation of spaghetti (with seaweed and fried eggs) or pizza or the magic "doria," which is basically a bowl of mushy stuff with runny cheese on it.

Tonight Wizard Bob and I were trying to find a restaurant after our English conversation class ended, and we came across this little place with no sign that looked like an empty wine bar. Well, turned out they serve REALLY awesome Italian food. Now I'm no expert, having never been to the hallowed hooker-boot-shaped land of hairy women men and Vespas, but I would say that for food cooked by a little Japanese man who's never lived abroad, this was pretty damn authentic. I got some pork thing (pictured above) and it was fantastic - the perfect balances of garlic and pepper in the sauce, the green veggies were cooked just right, and the meat was really tender and tasty. Wizard Bob is a HUGE food snob - possibly a worse offender than my ex Mike (who introduced me to the world of expensive gourmet food) - and he approved enthusiastically, so it wasn't just classless me getting all excited that it was better than Ruby Tuesday. Anyway, I thought you should know.

Also, the plague monstrosity has returned. Cicadas, curse them for all eternity. I never knew a creature lacking mouthparts could be so awful. Words cannot describe the horror of having heard that familiar screeching sound tonight as I was walking to dinner. I am absolutely not sticking around here during summer holidays.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Sunday, April 5, 2009

This Is Not This Is Not Miami.

You've of course heard "This Is Not Miami" by Sander Kleinenberg.

Well, I like this one better.

Samael, "On Earth"

Before we could talk we were singing
Before we could run we were dancing
Life is short but not a day is lost
The world goes round and round
And we go on and on

Beijing to Amsterdam
Berlin to Buenos Aires
Sydney to L.A.
Rio to Abidjan
Stockholm to Athena
Dublin to Guatemala
London to Brasilia
Madrid to Philadelphia

Paris to San Fransisco
Detroit to Warszawa
Moscow to Mexico
Oslo to New Delhi
Helsinki to New Orleans
Vienna to Ankara
Roma to Lisboa
On earth, we're all...

Dancing with a hidden tribe
Learning to move and fly
Touching the sky with our hands
Longing to love to understand
Dancing with a hidden tribe
Learning to move and fly
Touching the sky with our hands
Longing to love to understand

New York to Tokyo
Melbourne to Budapest
Prague to Jaipur
Shanghai to Montreal
Vancouver to Singapore
Sofia to Johannesburg
Hong Kong to St. Petersburg
On earth, we're all...

Dancing with a hidden tribe
Learning to move and fly
Touching the sky with our hands
Longing to love to understand
Dancing with a hidden tribe
Learning to move and fly
Touching the sky with our hands
Longing to love to understand

Uploaded for you here! Beware of heavy Swiss-French accented English and growly vocals.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

GG Allin

Late to the party as always.

I've been reading Apocalypse Culture at work during downtime (of which there is an endless supply) and one of the little chapters is about GG Allin.

GG Allin was a punk rocker. GG Allin took laxatives before shows, shat on stage and then ate his shit or threw it at the audience. GG Allin went to prison for allegedly slicing up a groupie's tits. GG Allin wrote hundreds of songs with inspiring titles like "I'm Gonna Rape You," "Fucking The Dog," and "I Wanna Fuck Myself." GG Allin died of a heroin overdose, and at his funeral they kept his corpse as was - bloated and bloody - and fans did all sorts of things to the body that would normally be viewed as "desecration."

His music sucks but I definitely buy into his legacy of transgressive shit-slinging and self-destruction. He didn't just write lyrics about chopping ladies up and shoving things into his urethra. He did it for himself. Fuck the fans.

If you want, here's "Dirty Love Songs."

Album cover image linked because it's NSFW


Monday, March 30, 2009

Osaka at sunset

Friday, March 27, 2009

The Smiths

For those moments where your heart feels like it's being torn from your chest and you somehow enjoy it in a laughing masochistic fashion. The Smiths Singles Box (UK Edition)!


Thursday, March 26, 2009

What I'm doing

I'm going to Osaka this weekend to meet up with the people I spend all day every day at work talking to. Since I came to Japan I've had UNBELIEVABLE amounts, like weeks at a time, of down time at work, and rather than study Japanese or German or read books or make music, I find myself unmotivated as hell and wasting hours on a particular e-forum. Right now most JETs are in the midst of spring break and not teaching, so everyone has time to post on the boards. Anyway, yeah, going to Osaka to meet e-people, eat amazing Osaka food and go clubbing - Fukuoka's "The Happy Cock" is hardly a legitimate dancing/DJing establishment, unfortunately. I booked my shinkansen and hotel today, ¥32,600 for round trip bullet train from/to Kokura (original target of the second A-bomb but diverted last minute because of clouds - fun fact) and two nights at a decent hotel right next to Shinsaibashi subway station (centrally located) isn't so bad, that's like what, $350 or something? Shinkansen tickets are expensive as hell but the nonreserved cars are smoky and gross, the ferry takes 12 hours and the night bus 8-9, so it's worth it.

I also have been obsessively planning outfits. I made a nice one today after buying some new tights and a scarf. That's the back view of today's outfit on top, and you can see my spare room and kitchen.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


One of the main reasons I came to Japan was to load up on Japanese fashion and grooming habits. I've been buying ass-tons of new clothes ever since Tokyo Orientation in July, and yesterday I got my first non-auto haircut.

The haircut doesn't look spectacular but that's really just because I'm funny looking. I went to this little hole-in-the-wall place that I was walking by on my way home from work. It was just some middle aged woman with smoker voice who had 4 chairs, some magazines, a TV and a cassette tape player. Yeah, cassettes! She did a nice job with my hair and the preliminary shampoo/head massage was amazing. I love how in Japan they use razors instead of scissors. It creates the "pointy" effect that I sooo desperately wanted when I was in high school confused about my Asian-American identity.

And today was, like all Wednesdays, Ladies' Day at AEON Mall in Nogata, and I decided to load up on new work-appropriate clothes at Uniqlo (I know, I'm lame) and some other boutique-type stores. Shopping for work clothes is getting more and more fun. Am I turning lame?

Anyway, here you can see some of the clothes I bought + my haircut. I'm leaving it in link form.

There is weird yellow sand blowing all over Kyushu from China, and my lungs feel like they've shrunken to half their usual slightly constricted size. Or I'm asthmatic and don't realize it. Either way, this yellow sand business sucks. It makes you feel chalky whenever you go outside, which is a damn shame considering it's like 22 C at the warmest part of the day. I hope it fucks off back home to China soon...

Monday, March 16, 2009

A weekend in Sasebo!

So this past weekend I went to Sasebo with Walter, Miho, Mike, Chris, Josh and Monica. Sasebo is famous throughout Japan for three things:

1.) U.S. Naval base / overrun with American servicemen
2.) Sasebo burgers - they're big and juicy with lots of bacon and egg
3.) Huis Ten Bosch - a replica Dutch theme park that looks eerily like Amsterdam

We left Saturday afternoon from Hakata station (Fukuoka) and arrived in Sasebo somewhere around 3:30, checked into our hotel, stuffed our faces, went shopping for a while, and regrouped around 6:30 to stuff our faces again at a Tex-Mex restaurant. It was heaven on a plate; I haven't had enchiladas like that in forever and there was REAL sour cream. I may well never shit again after eating that much dairy in one sitting, but I'm at peace with that.

After dinner we opted for the obvious and went out on the town for drinks. We ended up at a bar called "Rogiq" that Shaun recommended and it was JUST. LIKE. HOME. except much more of a sausagefest than typical Albany nightlife - maybe 80/20 male/female. There was a brilliant Japanese band covering all the well-loved American classics, from Sublime to Jon Bon Jovi and RHCP, and dozens of bros from all over America raised their glasses and bellowed along. I tried to go into it all with an open mind, distancing the whole Village People thing from the navy, but it was impossible as there were shirtless men in construction hats gyrating in close proximity to one another. At 2:30 they kicked us out and amidst fistfights and other forms of chest-beating, we escaped to the safety of our hotel - which, by the way, had a special U.S. Navy discount for "rest only" (meaning "using the hotel room as a one night stand sanctuary")...

The next day we had Sasebo burgers for breakfast and went to Huis Ten Bosch, which is honestly the WEIRDEST place I've ever been. It's like some kind of entirely soulless brightly colored impossibly tidy brand new Amsterdam with working windmills, huge fields of neatly planted tulips, and Japanese people. There are no coffeeshops or Dutch pancakes, but you can buy imported cheeses and eat red wine flavored soft ice cream. Everyone was either hung over or sleepy so we spent most of the day taking pictures. The tulips were admittedly really pretty, but overall I left Huis Ten Bosch feeling wholly unfulfilled. Sometimes Japan does that to me - things like modern weddings and the lemming-like hand clapping at concerts are just so tacky and feel so superficial and bizarre, like if they existed in America they'd be crushed by the "uncool" police or something.

It was, in total, a lovely weekend.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Tim Exile + Capsule

Tim Exile - Listening Tree
DnB meets IDM, energetic and dark, 2009

Capsule - More! More! More!
Amazing dance tracks from the dude who produces Perfume (J-pop/electro girl group), 2008

Get them here!

Thank you Eli for the upload :)

Monday, March 9, 2009

Chromeo - She's In Control


Knock yourselves out. This is a lovely fusion of disco, soul and electro, and there are talk boxes!


Thursday, March 5, 2009

"my japan" as i see it

This is an open sewer and my rice paddy.

I've gotten into the habit of keeping weird, weird hours. This is the sun rising from the east as viewed from my balcony.

The beauty of being an educational peon is watching the teachers go crazy.

This is a fancy bento. I liked almost everything in it, especially the lumpy purple mochi/bean cake in the upper left hand corner.

Every day when I leave work I walk down this hill.