Monday, May 30, 2005

Andrew Hong is a Fat Bastard

So this weekend was a threeday weekend, and I think that I got the most out of it. As usual, it was also very strange. For one thing, on Friday night I ran into three people I knew in different places in Tokyo. Three women at that. hehe.. I always think it's weird when I bump into people, especially in places where a) I don't ever go, and b) I've never seen them at before. Kind've like when I saw my Anthro professor in Kyoto. And he acted like I had horns growing out of my head. Anyway, last night I was at a reggae bar with my buddy, and he wanted to go to Roppongi. I don't really like going there, especially on a Sunday night (cuz it's dead). We were cruising around bar hopping, and we ran into some girls that he knew, so we went to a bar called DMZ. I'd never been there before, and it wasn't that great (we were the only ones in there). These two dudes they knew showed up, and we were kinda in that weird situation where we're all hanging out but no one is really talking to eachother. I went to the bathroom and came back, and my friend was talking to one of the dudes, who looked a lot like Dolph Lundgren, i,e. he was a big blond monster. He's a big fucker. Anywho, turns out we were at the same school in Monterey studying the same thing at the same time, and when I told him my name he knew who I was. My reputation of being a jerk seemed to've gotten around. :( It was really weird. He worked with a buncha dudes who were in my platoon. Now that I write about it, it doesn't sound that cool. But still, when you think of it, it's pretty amazing. I never go to Roppongi, let alone on a Sunday night, and I run into someone who knows a bunch of the same people I know from 6 years ago. Creepy shit.

Even funnier, the same guy who owes me $1500 owes him $600. Yeah, I've come to terms with the fact that I'm a freaking moron for lending someone $1500. But still, I thought he was a good friend of mine - one of my best friends - and I didn't think someone I was close to would shit on me like that. It's not even about the money. It's about getting fucked over by a friend. So, now that Gigantor, aka Dolph Lundgren wants to beat Andrew Hong's ass, that brings the total number up to.. hmm... 456? I guess I should've known better. Egg in my face.

So that's right, Andrew Hangi Hong.. Yessiree, I remember ur middle name, chunkybutt. I wonder if you ever read my blogs, cuz I have the link on my friendster account, and I know you login there frequently so maybe you check it from time to time. If you do, here's a nice little picture for you.

I guess this seems kind've vindictive - maybe immature... I don't really give a shit, and I'm a pretty vindictive fellow. Immature too. Everyone knows that. I think it's funny that he has a Marine picture in his friendster account, cuz the picture was taken in like mid-1999, and he got kicked out for being fat. That's something to brag to your grandkids about. "Yeah, did some time in the Marines. Got kicked out cuz I was fat." Kinda counter to his whole toughguy image he likes to pretend to have. I've never been around someone who almost got into as many fights at bars, all with tiny guys who had no intention of fighting.

So yeah, interesting weekend.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Ichigaya? More like Kichigai-ya, aka Lions and Cambodians and Midgets, oh my!

This afternoon, I cruised up to Tokyo with one of my co-workers. We went to the Ministry of Defense in Ichigaya, the brain bug (I love that term) of the entire Japanese Self Defense Force (JSDF). My department does this thing a few times a month where we go up and teach some of the JSDF English. Now, most of you who know me know that teaching English conversation to Japanese people is one of the things I despise most in this world, but I thought it would break the monotony of the senile Japanese ppl I work with, and as the new guy I thought it might look good to "contribute" and be "Gung Ho" and not appear to be "lazy" and "sitting on my ass and just getting by." So we arrived and were greeted by a a Warrant Officer, and my co-worker mentioned that where we were was the very place that Yukio Mishima had killed himself by ritual suicide in 1970 (on national TV). For those of you don't know him, he looks like this:

He's a famous contemporary author. Was. Then he gutted himself. Like a fishy. Anyway, for those of you who wish to know more, click here to read the whole bizarre story. It's pretty interesting.

It was kinda cool to stand there and look at the building pictured above. Ichigaya is where the Imperial Army's HQ was during WWII, and I actually live and work at the formal Imperial Japanese Army Military Academy (basically, the WWII-era West Point). Sometimes I stop and think, "Wow, I'm standing on some serious historical ground. Some important shit went on right here." I get that feeling when I go to the East Coast of the USA a lot, walking around where farmers duked it out with red coats and whatnot, and I really felt it when I stood on the infamous sands of Iwo Jima.

I learned once that American Indians saw location kind've like us white-folk-who-speak-with-forked-tongue (and other modernized humans) now view time. We tend to "celebrate" things based on a date - anniversaries, births, deaths, etc.. Indians didn't have Casios (not to be mistaken for Casinos), so they remembered important events based on where they were. When they returned to the site of a birth, death, etc, that's when they celebrated or mourned whatever happened to've passed. Obviously, I live on a totally different paradigm (oh shit, there's that word again) and don't react in quite the same way a Plains Indian would, but I still feel a certain tingle when I'm on the same little piece of earth where something historically significant, bloody or not, happened.

Either way, it turns out that I didn't really do "English Conversation Practice" with a bunch of Japanese people with an English ability matched only by my dead parrot Zazoo (rest in peace, buddy), but it was more like an interpreter's clinic. I had a good time and can't wait to go back again. The topic of today was "When introducing yourself to whoever you're gonna be interpreting for, no one gives a shit what your hobbies are. Just say, 'Hi, my name is Hashimoto, and I'll be your interpreter today.'" They understood. We also discussed that while they are a lingusitic interface, more imporatantly, they are a cultural interface, and I dig that shit.

For an even more bizarre story than the aforementioned public ritual self-disembowlment, click here to read The Fucked Up Story of the Month, and you'll understand the second part of this post's subject. (Kichigai means crazy by the way. Literally "different spirit".) God bless those little bastards who so bravely gave their lives.

All for now--

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Get thee back, Motorscooter. Thou doth not know me like that!

  • Funniest mental image from the weekend:

    The funniest mental image that I will take from this weekend and hopefully, forever, is the image if a little tiny Japanese girl screaming the following lyrics from a Ludacris song (at the top of her littly tiny lungs):

    That got 3 minutes and however many seconds of belly laughter from yours truly. I guess you had to be there. Almost as funny as the dead-cockroach-in-the-shotglass-incident a few weeks ago.

  • Another funny incident of the night:

    A Japanese guy drunk and unconscious wearing a shirt that said "I Climbed the Great Wall of China." For some reason that was funny to me. Plus I have the same shirt. And I saw a guy on base wearing one the day before..... Fate?

  • Most hysterical quote from the weekend:

    Maybe you saw on the news that a British tabloid got hold of some pictures of Saddam Hussein running around in his underoos and a serious hairdo. Unfortunately I have been unable to locate pictures. It wasn't an American tabloid, so whatever - they could have posted a picture of him sleeping and it would have caused the OUTRAGE I mentioned in the below posting. One woman was quoted as saying that the President of any nation shouldn't be treated like this. Fair enough, though part of me wonders where all the "outrage" is about roadside executions of civilians and beheading Japanese citizens. I guess she thought Hussein-san was an OK cat afterall. Here's one of the pictures:

    Nice granny pants, homie.

    They interviewed another guy, who's quote was almost as funny as the quote from some Japanese guy in a previous post on Adventurestan. The quote was the following, reacting to such vile pictures of Hussein being published:

    "Iraq is a civilized nation and we are civilized people."

    This quote also gets the same official response from the previous funny quote:


    Yeah.. Real fucking civilized. Forgive me for being flippant.

  • Coolest Reality TV show of the Weekend:

    The Contender. Hands down. That's a good show.

    I saw a really good episode of 3rd Watch on Friday too. It's not Reality TV, but it was good shit.

    Friday night I went out with people from the "office." The only Japanese employees invited were the young women, which I thought was funny, but not surprising in the least because everyone I work with is a perv. And married. That makes for a funny combination 'cuz people who are married don't typically drink very much. I just sat back and watched the madness ensue. The best part is that on Monday, everyone will be cruising around like nothing happened. Japan rules apply, apparently. I'm proud to report that I didn't make a scene or anything like that.

    OK - that's all for now. Peace out!
  • Tuesday, May 17, 2005

    Korans and Toilets and Diets, Oh My!

    Today was kind've cool.

    I went into Tokyo for work today, and had a tour of the Japanese equivilant of the Library of Congress. Many of you might be saying, "wow, the significance of such a place would certainly be lost on you," and I whole-heartedly agree with you. I got a temporary membership card under the name "Eddie Vedder." After that we walked around the Japanese Diet building (Parliament, not Slim Fast) and headed back. I always like being around a country's Brain Bug. I call it Brain Bug because when I was back in DC for the first time since 4th grade a year and a half or so ago, I really felt like I was in some sort of mind fuck, and I enjoyed every minute of it. The monuments, the museums, etc... I guess the a Country's Capitol really reflects what's going on in the nation. Keep in mind, my only references are the USA, Japan, and Kabul. The walled fortress surrounding Karzai's Compound in Kabul, while the guards outside make snowmen and goof around on bicycles. America's grandeur, money, monuments, and museums, coexisting with poverty, illegal immigrants, and violence. And Japan - quiet, unassuming, low key; right next to the Imperial Palace, surrounded by hypermodern skyscrapers with PRUDENTIAL FINANCIAL eblazoned on the uppermost stories. That might seem trite, but it's how it seems. I guess I've been to a few other Nation's Capitols, but I don't feel like I knew enough about the places or had spent enough time in them to really give an accurate (or horribly skewed) assessment on how it affected me.

    So I've been following the Koran thing pretty closely. Q'uran, Quran, we'll call it Koran for this post, because I don't know Arabic. The lowdown, if you happen to be living in a wigwam or cast on a reality TV series, is Newsweek reported that interrogators at Gitmo flushed a Koran down the toilet to frazzle some detainees. My first reaction to this, as with 90% of the "atrocities" committed at prisons housing suspected Taliban and Al Qaida suspects, was "well duh." Having attended SERE school, not a whole lot that has hit the news has really surprised me. I haven't even heard anything about prisoners getting the shit slapped out of them or getting punched in the stomache, but that's neither here nor there.

    In any case, I'm having mixed feelings about the whole thing. I guess I'd like to be mad at someone, but i don't really feel like expending emotional energy to decide who to be mad at, let alone be mad at someone who I don't even know. The bottom line for me is kind've obvious [trite], like most of the things that fly out of my mouth. Allow me to quote The Lord of the Rings:

    "A WIZARD SHOULD KNOW BETTER" (the wizard, in this case, being an influencial periodical)

    Information is power, and with power comes responsibility (oh look, I'm quoting Spiderman now. I'm officially lame.) You can't tell me that Newsweek wouldn't know the reprecussions of such an article. As you may have noticed, people in countries like Afghanistan and other middle eastern countries are often either on the verge of or in the middle of being outraged about something. When I see them on the news, all I can think of is "outrage." IM OUTRAGED! THIS IS AN OUTRAGE! That's the gist of what they're feeling.

    But can we blame them about being outraged when a magazine with the credibility and influence of Newsweek published that people are flushing their holiest of holies down the toilet in Cuba? Would many Americans be outraged if Newsweek published an article about the Cuban Government sponsoring a fieldtrip to Washington DC where everyone took a dump on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial? That's a shitty example (excuse the pun) - I don't think most Americans can really relate to what the Koran is to many Muslims, particularly impoverished, fervent Muslims (I sure can't), so they just brush it off and wonder why they don't "chill the freak out."

    Well, I can't really blame them. To me, the blame lies on Newsweek. Blaming the source of the information, credible or not, seems a little bit like blaming a gun dealer for selling a gun to an irresponsible person who they perceived to be responsible. Using information to incite violence is a time old tradition, and it would be a shame for popular magazines to be perceived as inciting violence against the USA to forward some fucked up political agenda. I'm not gonna jump out that window just yet, but thinking of power-brokers doing whatever they can, whatever the sacrifice of human life, to forward their personal or political agenda, is not too farfetched. I guess how people feel on it is dependent upon which team, if any, they're going for.

    That's all for now--

    Monday, May 16, 2005

    Welcome to Adventurepan

    Hi, and welcome to Adventurepan.

    Adventurepan might seem like a stupid name, but I'll explain it once again like I did on my other blog, Adventurestan. Pretty simple - I was visiting Japan from Afghanistan, and my friend Greg referred to it as "Aventurepan." I thought it sounded absolutely ridiculous, and he kept calling it that, and now that I wanna write a new blog, I've chosen to stick with it. So now I'm in Japan, and the Adventure continues. :)

    So why write a new blog? I kind've wanted to keep Adventurestan in it's old state. I was writing stuff on there after I got back, and it didn't seem right. I didn't wanna take away from the other stuff on there, and wanted to compartmentalize the experiences, for lack of any other explaination. Another thing is that every day at work I'm inundated with information (mainly because I get bored and read the news) and some of the stuff has me a little fired up these days. Sometimes I feel like venting on the mass-emails the people at my work send out (they often throw cut 'n' paste articles to read and whatnot) but I don't want them to think I'm more of a weirdo than I'm sure they already do. Plus, I can't get away with saying anything I want, and there's a chance that I could get fired for going off on a tirade.

    Hopefully you (and when I say "you," I mean all 8 of you) will enjoy reading this collection of horse-pucky. I guess I've "hung up my spurs," but I've replaced them with a shiney pair of new dancing shoes that should get me in just as much trouble and lead to new adventures. I spend every weekend up in Tokyo, so I'm sure I'll have some blogworthy stuff to report on. Enjoy.