Monday, February 27, 2006

Lost in Spazlation

I really wish I had something interesting to write about.

I suppose two "interesting" things happened to me this weekend.

On Friday night I got choked unconscious.

On Saturday night, instead of going out on some adventure until 6am (like the previous post), I stayed in and cleaned the fuck out of my little apartment.

I even went down and got ye Olde English and dusted off all the surfaces. I threw away stuff that had been sitting on my table since last April. I vacuumed with my badass vacuum that I have, and mopped the bathroom and kitchen. Then I put on a DI hat and some white gloves and screamed at myself until I got it right. Just kidding, I didn't do that.

Sunday I worked out and ended up throwing up afterwards. I haven't done that in quite some time. I downloaded some cool music and danced around in my underwear for about 2 hours before going to bed.

Good weekend.

So my workplace here is re-organizing, and I've picked up another person's work. I'm about 10 times busier now, so my days of sitting around on my ass and doing nothing are a bit numbered. In any case, the biggest change will be getting used to my new "people." Not so much for me, but for them. They've already sent out some reconnaissance teams to see what I'm all about. I tried to keep it light with two of them today. One of the Japanese section chiefs came in with this lady that works here, and the following dialogue ensued:

Her: Here's blahblahblah work, is that good?
Me: Sure, sounds great (and it was).
Him (chiefie): Should I come here and talk to you about things before I turn something in?
Me: Well, normally I read it over before it gets translated to see if it sucks. If it sucks, I shitcan it.
Him: Well, this is written in Japanese. It might be too hard for you.
Me: Yeah thanks. Anyway, not everyone does bad work, so if someone sucks, I'll just read over that particular person's stuff. Otherwise I'll trust your judgement and send it along.
Him: So I can decide whether or not to show you or just to send it up?
Me: You're the section chief, right? (He's also a former 2 star general in the JSDF)
Him: Yes.
Me: You got hired as the section chief for a reason right?
Him: Yes.
Me: I trust you. I don't have time to meet with you guys every time you turn something in.
(Long pause)
Him: But there are some people whose stuff is, how should I say, not as good as the others.
Me: Ok, then we'll look at those before you submit 'em.
Him: But I don't want to discriminate. I want to treat everyone equally.
Me: Well, if they wanna get treated equally then they should do equal quality work. Maybe that will encourage them do better.
Him: (blank look -- that statement really surprised them)
Me: And if it's bad work I'll put it in the "comments" box.

I pointed over to the shredder, which has a little "Comments" sign written on it in Japanese. American humor doesn't really translate well to Japanese people (and a lot of other cultures, and visa-versa). They looked at me blankly, and I asked them if they understood the joke. They said, "No, why would you put a "comments" sign on a shredder?" When I replied with, "Well, the joke is, that's what we think of any comments you might have," I was rewarded with the usual look, which is a combination of confusion, hurt feelings, a touch of horror, and "you are an asshole". Most American humor gets the "why would you do/say that, you asshole" look anyway, so I'm pretty used to it. (Come to think of it, I get that look from Americans a lot too. *sigh*).

In any case, I'm sure that they left the room feeling confident that I, their new overlord, am a complete and utter disrespectful assface who, if provoked, will throw their work in the shredder.

Mission accomplished.

PS. Trust me -- It might seem like I'm being a bit of a jerkface, but the older ex-JSDF guys will try and strongarm, go over your head, and walk all over you, all with a friendly smile on their face, if you play nice with them. Being moderately prickish now is way better than having to use mega-asshole tactics later on when things get out of control. They use the same tactics, so you gotta play the same game a little bit.

PPS. No Japanese Nationals were thrown into a shredder during the making of this post.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

I think I see some Pigeon shit.......Over there....

Quote of the Weekend:
Oatmeal? Oatmeal's what you feed orphans, but over here they act like it's a fucking delicacy.
- Canadian Paul

I’ve noticed a few things in the past 24 hours.

First of all, whenever I am “into my cups” and pictures are being taken, pretending to look at something off camera seems very amusing to me…..and red-eye sucks.

Second of all, I really hate talking to chicks at bars. I’m not particularly good at continuing banter, and most chicks in general either don’t understand my humor or don’t think it’s funny/find it offensive. Cultural shit complicates stuff too.

Third, Taco Bell seems like the best idea in the history of food consumption when you haven’t eaten there in a while, but when you go ahead and eat it, it’s not as great as you expected.

And forth, “pigeon shit” is the least of a person’s worries while enjoying the benefits of Japanese public transportation. I’ll get to that later.

Anywho, a bar I used to go to a lot had its final party this weekend, so I cruised out, met the Canadians, and we had ourselves a time.

On the way down, I noticed this sign.

Beware of Pigeon Shit!!

Beware of pigeon shit.

I arrived on the scene and paid 1000yen for all I could drink. That’s about $8.50, so it was pretty much “on”. Not that price is ever an object when it comes to puttin’ down booze, but the idea that I can drink as much as I want for $8.50 tickles me pink, and yeah, it’s like a blatant challenge too.

Thank the Gods that I am the king of self restraint (and not an alcoholic).

In any case, it didn’t take much. I decided to break my normal habit and cruise up to the ole gym in Tokyo and roll, which was awesome and I think I’m going to start going on Saturdays. I was a bit dehydrated and didn’t eat a whole lot, so I was a cheap date.

The Canadians showed up a little after me, while things were pretty mellow.

Canadian Invasion

It's funny, because Canadians used to be in the Top 3 of my Pantheons of Dickhead Countries. They're off the list now, except for maybe Québécois.

I digress.

Eventually, at some point in the night, it had to happen. The camera had to come out.

I started off by making sure that my makeup was good.

I checked in with one of the owners and some chick with a pretty sweet tattoo.

Here is me, the tattoo’d chick, and Stephan, the owner.

Here is the chick’s tattoo. Nice eh?

Tat'd up biyotch

Drew was talking to this girl that seemed pretty cool. After talking to her for a bit, I informed her that she “really seemed to have her shit together.” After a blank look, she told me to explain it in Japanese, but at that point my English and Japanese facilities were severely limited, which would also explain why I would tell a girl that she “really seemed to have her shit together.” Here’s the three of us.

So my little sidekick was there, and since she speaks Italian, English, and Japanese at a native-speaker level, I said, “hey, how would I say someone had their shit together in Japanese?” She didn’t really know, so I tried to crush her to death, as seen here, all the while looking at something interesting off to the side.


As the night came to a close (6am), I snapped off a final picture. I’m really impressed at how sober I look after drinking all night, aren’t you?

i'm quite drunk

So we came back home and the Canadians kept crashing through the train gates. We spotted this guy passed out in the station.


That’s why a sign telling you to beware of pigeon shit is so ludicrous. Every morning, the stations are full of guys like this, and it looks as if an epic battle took place between a human stomach and a juice weasel. Vomit everywhere. It’s gross.

This is where I slept.


The Canadians came over and passed out at my place, so I took the couch. It looks like a wee couch, which it is, but I’m a wee feller, so it’s no problem. We cruised over to Atsugi and had us some Taco Bell which was yummy, but, as always, a little below my expectations. Bringing fellow westerners shopping on base is always amusing. You’d think they were marooned on an island for 5 years, what with all the excitement over a thing of Quaker Oats. The price difference is definitely insane though. A $7 box of Tide laundry powder is $20 on the outside, and oat meal is about 5 times as expensive.

Time for some Oatmeal. President’s Day is tomorrow, and I will be working out twice to burn off all the Taco Bell I demolished today. Hope you all had a good weekend!!

Update: Oatmeal's good mmkaaay?

Sunday, February 12, 2006

.....oh snap.....

Whoops I did it again. And not what you're thinking. I didn't play with your heart. I did something different.

I made a booboo. I acted like a big jerk to an innocent.

So last night I was hanging out at a restaurant I normally pre-flight at, listening to a conversation that I couldn't believe I was listening to. And I'm let in on a lot of ridiculous converations. I won't get into that though.

Anyway, there were about 6 of us, and I wasn't really saying anything, as I was rendered utterly speechless by the aforementioned conversation. So this Japanese girl comes cruising over and sits down with one of the Japanese dudes at the table, and she's easily one of the cutest girls I've seen in quite some time. So we're making introductions, and she keeps referring to herself as the dude's "ex-girlfriend", which was odd cuz she said it about 9 times. So I asked her what her name was, and she says, "Pleased to meet you, my name is Osami." It wasn't the fact that I'd never heard that name before or the fact that she was super cute that made my face split into the world's shit-eatingest-grin. Ear to ear, complete with a Beavis and Butthead giggle. Uh huh..huhuh...huh...huhuh..

It's hard for me to sit on jokes when I feel like I've come up with a zinger, but I bided my time.

So after staring at this girl for about 45 minutes, she gets up to leave and says her goodbyes. That's when I made my move.

"See you later, Osami Bin Laden!"

This seemed like a pretty obvious joke to me, but the reaction of the table was better than I expected. I don't see why people think that super cute girls are somehow exempt from my cruelty.

Yeah, I'm amazed I'm still single too.

This brings me to my other old obsession, which is photoshopping Osama Bin Laden into pictures. This never seems to get old to me. So in honor of Osami-chan, and the emotional trauma a stupid gaijin (me) caused her, I put together a little picture.

This is a movie cover. The title of the movie in the bold pink characters says:

Faggots vs Highschool Girls

I wish I were joking. It's kind've funny too, because "faggot" (or "fag" or whatever derogitory word for homosexuals) in Japanese is "Okama," and I've been known to say "Okama Bin Laden" before too. I know you're probably wondering how I found that picture. I just typed in "Highschool Girl" in Japanese characters into google images and Voila!

You can buy it here on Amazon Japan. Only 4706yen! $39.99!

Since I'm a big loser and I got up at 3:45pm today, I really didn't have anything better to do today and threw together a couple little Osama pictures featuring Brando. I'm thinking about submitting these pictures, along with a script, to a TV series production company. (The second pic took me a while to do.) It could be a show about Osama Bin Laden and Brando, and all the zany adventures they get into. Brando, the straight laced detective with high morals and irreproachable integrity, and Osama Bin Laden, an international terrorist. Kinda like a modern day Starsky and Hutch. I mean, look at the pictures -- you can just feel the tension!

No Saudi nationals and/or homosexuals were harmed in the writing of this blog.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Speak Easy?

I've always gotten a big kick out of free speech. Free speech is great, but maybe there should be a required class or training session that a person needs to take before being deemed "qualified" to exercise this "right". Some people may find this pretty offensive, and if you do, I recommend hitting Alt-F4 right now.

Moving right along.

Here are a few topics I would cover in the class:

  • "Rights" Issues

    People like to pay a lot of lip service to "human rights," but let's be honest. The entire concept of human rights is a [relatively modern] social construct, and if history is any bit of a lesson, contrary to regular human behavior. Your society may deem that you have a "right" to do or say something, but that doesn't necessarily mean that the society you live in can protect you from the actions of people who disagree with you. They might be able to punish those actions of reprisal, but that's a pretty shitty deal if it means you die for saying something.
    Rule of thumb: Moral high ground is nice, but you only live once.
    Rule of pinky: Anything that you have can be taken away. Anything.

  • Responsibility and/of Freedom

    Not everyone in the world has freedom of speech. With most "western" countries, it is a privilege given to us as a citizen, so most people totally take it for granted. As with most things that are "given" to us, no matter how awesome they are, people tend to treat free things like crap. When you have to work for something, you tend to value it more and treat it with a little more respect. I'm not going to talk about "gaining citizenship rights" because I wrote about that before. Anyway, when granted something, it is yours and it's important to be responsible with it, It is also important to understand that using it will have certain effects/consequences. "Bearing arms" is a right, but most [reasonable] people understand the responsibilities and possible results of having a gun, and a lot of effort is put forth (by society) to make sure that people understand that guns can be harmful. Why should speech be any different? Most people would agree that words can be more powerful than a 9mm.

  • Accountability of Freedom

    Here's the big one. Yeah, it's a "free country." Many of the things we do don't have any repercussions from the government, but that doesn't mean that your actions might piss off other entities, for example other governments or, urm, Muslims. The rights extended to you by your government are certainly not universal, and the ideas of freedom held by many of your countrymen certainly aren't universal.

    I think by now most of you have figured out that I'm talking about the Mohammed cartoons. The main reason I'm talking about this stuff is because of the supposed reason behind why the Danish newspaper printed the cartoons, as seen here:

    Rasmussen called it a matter of freedom of speech, echoing the reasoning of the newspaper at the center of the row. Jyllands-Posten had said it wanted to test the limits of free speech at a time it was under threat because of the influence of radical Islam.

    Good "test". Well, I hope you're satisfied with the results. I wonder what his hypothesis was prior to administering this test.. He should have called me, I could have told him what would happen. Here's a simple equation that I encourage anyone to use in similar situations:

    Test: I am thinking about doing/writing/saying [something that Muslims *might* take offense to].
    Result: Outrage, rioting, kidnapping, bombing, death.

    Pretty simple.

    In response to the cartoons, Iran has decided that it too wants to test the limits of free speech:

    Hamshahri invited foreign cartoonists to enter the competition and said it wanted to see how open the West was to caricatures of the Holocaust.

    "Does the West extend freedom of expression to the crimes committed by the United States and Israel, or an event such as the Holocaust? Or is its freedom only for insulting religious sanctities?" Hamshahri wrote, referring to the Prophet Mohammed cartoons, in a short article on its back page.

    Apparently this guy doesn't read too many American newspapers or magazines or browse internet sites, because he hasn't seen caricatures that people draw of the president, government officials, etc.. I can cruise around Washington DC with a shirt that says, "HE AIN'T MY PRESIDENT!!" or a picture of the President's head on top of Hitler's body and I'd probably get a few High-5s. I certainly wouldn't be thrown in jail.

    But let's go back to the whole "Accountability of Freedom of Speech" issue. I think it's lovely that Iran is looking to try out this new found liberty, but had they attended my mandatory Freedom of Speech Seminar, they might learn that when dealing with a country like, say, Israel, the rules are a lot different than in more liberal countries. I wonder how this is going to play out. I think a lot of these fanatics have taken for granted the fact that the USA, unlike other countries, is willing to hamstring itself to protect human rights, even if it means extending human rights to terrorists and other human-rights-ignorers to err on the side of "justice".

    So go ahead, Iran, have your contest and administer your own little "test", but don't pretend that it's something other than what it really is, i,e. anti-Semitism, and don't be surprised if you get some unfavorable "test results" of your own. Maybe you'll get to deal with Israel, which may prove a lot more painful than thumbing your nose at the USA.

    Either way, it would blow my mind if a war was started over a cartoons published in Denmark. Funny how things work. Like I've said before, I'll be here in Japan, where it's safe. =)

    I'll leave you with this picture, which I thought hit the nail right on the head.

    Click here for a gallery of images throughout histroy portraying Mohammed. I found this link on InstaPundit