Tuesday, June 26, 2012


I went to another concert last week! Monkey Majik!!! I mentioned them in an earlier post when I saw them on stage at a same event as AI, Nishino Kana, and Naota Somethingsomething. Anyway, great concert! I knew all but 4 or 5 of the songs (out of a total of about 20). They played my favorites like Change, Together, ただ、ありがとう, fly, Around the World, Headlight, and others. Fantastic. I ended up buying a towel and three CDs. I’ve become a 大ファン (big fan)! Unfortunately, it will be their last concert in Zepp Sendai, as the building (and that whole area) will be demolished and renovated (or something). And their next concert in Sendai is sold out, so I definitely won’t be seeing them for a while. Still, though, I’m happy to have been able to do so.

This past weekend was cool, too. I was an extra in a movie! The movie is called じんじん “Jin Jin,” and is being filmed in Matsushima. It’s apparently the first movie to have been filmed there since the Earthquake and Tsunami disaster last year. I don’t know what the movie is about, but from what I could tell, one of the main characters is either an actor or a stage performer. In the scene I’m in, the actor is on stage and telling some folk tale or other story while we in the audience are laughing boisterously. The camera panned across the audience and stopped when my friend and I are in the center of the shot. It’ll be funny to see myself in a movie theater when it comes out next summer. My friends and I also provided canned laughter. That’s amusing.

I FINALLY started watching Firefly! A friend of mine (who reads this blog; thank you!) recommended it to me years ago. Anyway, I’m watching it with two other friends, now. Very fun. I love the female characters; they’re all so unique and so amazing. I’m trying to juggle it with Game of Thrones, which I just started watching after having caught up with The Walking Dead. The fifth season of Breaking Bad will start next month; really looking forward to that. On the anime/manga front, I need to catch up on Naruto episodes and get on with Full Metal Alchemist. And my brother suggested reading the Walking Dead comics. Too much to watch/read, not enough time!

Lastly, it’s story time! It’s been a while since I’ve shared a story with you all. I found this in a Jr. High 3rd Year English textbook called “One World.” I wonder if it was written for the ALTs or to improve student-ALT relations. Either way, I wish something like this was present in every English textbook.

On Your Graduation Day
     You all have a big future ahead of you.  My message on this special day is this:  Take your time before you make a judgment.
     Before I came to Japan, people gave me some advice.  Some people in my country said, “Japanese people are very shy.”  Others said, “Japanese people will never open their minds to a non-Japanese person.”
     Soon I started to think those pieces of advice were more or less true.  Of course, you greeted me every morning, but when I asked you a question in class, often no one said anything.  “Japanese students really think silence is golden!” I said to myself.
     A few weeks passed, and you still were silent in class.  I started to have a different idea.  “Maybe they are not shy.  They are just not interested in me.  They are just not interested in English at all!”  This thought depressed me.
     Then we had a school trip to Kamakura.  While we were walking, Aya told me a secret.  At lunchtime Kenta gave me some su-kombu.  He said it was “Japanese chewing gum.”  After that everyone wanted to bring me something Japanese, and you were talking to me in English!
     That was the turning point.  You started to talk to me in class, too, after that.  It made me very happy.  You’re not shy at all; you’re talkative!  At the same time, you have things you want to say.
     When you were silent in class, I wondered about it.  “Maybe they don’t want to talk.”  “Maybe they are not interested in the topic.”  “Maybe they don’t understand me.”  “Maybe they know the answer but don’t know how to say it in English.”
     Also, I was confused when I asked a question and you would turn to your friends and talk to them.  “I am talking to you.  Why don’t you talk to me, not to your friend?” I wanted to say.
     I’m happy now because I didn’t judge too quickly.  You have become students who can try to say something.  I’m happy that you’re trying to communicate with me.  That’s the important thing.  Don’t worry about making mistakes.  Making mistakes helps you make progress.
     Some people make judgments right away.  When they discover that I’m from Australia, they are sure that I am always late.  However, that’s not true.  I am an Australian, but I worry about being late.  I come to school at least thirty minutes before it starts.  I think it depends on the person.
     In conclusion, I believe it’s important not to make judgments about other people too soon.  I am glad I didn’t, because you proved that people’s advice can be wrong.  Now I want each of you to be a person who can respect others without prejudice.  Prejudice is caused by premature judgment.  I hope you’ll be able to enjoy communicating in English with someone different from you.  We are, after all, people living together in one world.

Word of the Day: 話 「はなし」 "hanashi," which means "story."

Thursday, June 21, 2012


This week has been fun and busy. Busy, but fun. Last weekend was Father's Day, celebrated in dozens of countries. Happy Father's Day, to those of you whom it matters! Like my brother, for example; his first Father's Day! Why isn't there an Uncle's Day? I wanna be celebrated, too! Haha. (My niece is adorable!)

As I mentioned earlier, I am now the co-president of an organization here in Japan. The committee and I have been working hard to plan and coordinate events that are coming up very soon. There was a big hullabaloo about it earlier because someone had suggested a new location, and all of a sudden, out of laziness, everyone (including me) were saying, "alright...yeah...sure..." It seemed like the event was completely decided without even discussing it. So once we started discussing it with people outside of the group (potential attendees), everyone was turning it down. And it made me think, "hold up, we never thought it through in the first place. Why are we going for this place anyway; whatever happened to the original plan?" Anyway, just all the discussion tires me out.

Played some more SFXT yesterday; since I leveled up to C+, I have been facing harder and harder opponents. So tough, in fact, that I had a net loss in BP yesterday (dammit!) and I'm actually now below the number of points necessary to level up to C+. Sigh.

Okay, so my biggest rant has to do with boxing. I finally got around to watching Manny Pacquaio's latest match, against undefeated champion, Timothy Bradley. Watching the match, it was clear as day that Bradley had no chance against Pacquaio. Manny was stronger, faster, dodged more/better, and got way more hits in than Bradley. I was expecting Manny to knock out Bradley; he had lots of chances, but he's just too damn nice. The way the rounds went were as follows:

Round starts. The boxers get close. Bradley tries to attack; Manny either blocks or dodges. With one minute left in the round, Manny switches from defense to offense and starts pummeling Bradley, getting tons of hits in while still managing to dodge Bradley's retaliations. This is how the fight basically went. This same sort of pattern for 12 rounds. I was really expecting Manny to turn up the heat and knock Bradley out. I really wish he did.

Finally, it's decision time. First judge scores it 115-113, Pacquiao. Second judge scores it 115-113, Bradley (wtf, really?). Third judge scores it 115-113, Bradley. And he was named the new WBO Welterweight champion. Everyone was shocked. Harold Lederman, a celebrated boxing judge and analyst who always comments on the fights as they happen, was shocked. He scored it 119-110, in favor of Manny. ESPN, CNN, Associated Press, Yahoo, and many other sports and news outlets judged the fight themselves, and all have given it in favor of Manny.

What a controversy. Even Bradley didn't think he won. The look on his face when they announced his win was complete surprise. Kinda like, "Man, what a loss. Oh well, I tried my best. Wait wuuuuuuuuuuuut??? I won???" I'm sure that went through his head, verbatim. Manny was asked after the fight if he thought he won. He said, "Yes, absolutely." I completely agree.

The judging was such a controversy that the president of WBO asked five world-renowned judges from around the world to watch the match and judge it for themselves. All five judged in favor of Pacquiao.

The three judges used at the night of the fight were all from Nevada, hired by the state commission. If they were the same judges who judged Pacquiao's last much, which was against Juan Manuel Márquez, I wouldn't be surprised. I think that Pacquiao should not have been given the "win" on that fight. If the three judges are the same, then maybe they were trying to make up for their mistake in their past judgment call? If they are the same, then this confirms their blindness, as they misjudged two times in a row.

I have no doubt in my mind who really won that match. I think they're planning on scheduling a rematch this November. I will try to make weight for that fight, too (boxing welterweight is a 147 lb. weigh-in). It just pisses me off that Manny's win streak has been tainted because of poor judgment.

The exact same thing happened to a good friend and martial arts training buddy of mine. He was part of our dojo's kickboxing team, and he partook in a boxing match. He was beating the other kid down pretty bad. It was a sure win. So he let up on the last round (or two?), only to have the judges give it to the other guy.

Stupid judges.



Word of the day: 盲目 「もうもく」 "moumoku," or "blindness;" literally "blind eye." The first kanji, 盲, can also be pronounced めくら "mekura", which means "blind," "blindness," or "blind person," but I believe it is more commonly used in conjunction with another kanji. 盲人 (moujin) would be "blind person," where the second kanji literally means "person."

Wednesday, June 13, 2012


Wow, what a weekend. I don’t even remember everything that happened. What the hell did I do on Friday? I’m 80% sure I stayed home and relaxed…it was an incredibly long week, and I needed to just sit and *chill.* I spent some time playing Street Fighter X Tekken, which is easily becoming one of my favorite fighting games, for the sheer fun (and competition!) it provides.

Gonna go on a video game side tangent right now. Feel free to skip this paragraph if you have no interest in SFXT or fighting games. So, there is an online ranking system in which you (as the player) are given Battle Points (BP) after you win a battle, and you lose BP when you lose a battle. You start at D rank; next is D+, then C, then C+, and so on. I’ve only ever seen up to B+, even on videos online. I assume it goes up to A+; maybe even higher for tournament champions. Tekken has a similar system, but rather than a letter grade, it gives a title, such as “Destroyer” or “Shihan,” for example. Anyway, I’ve been playing it a lot this past week, and I manage to rack up 2000 BP (YAY!) which puts me closer to C+. I notice that when I battle people B Rank and up, they beat me. Not necessarily “easily;” I certainly give a good fight, but most of the time, they win. Watching videos online and simply facing more skilled opponents has improved my game a lot. But I find that my losses are due to either a slipup of the controls, or my lack of knowledge of opponents’ techniques and strategies. If I spent as much time learning the ins and outs of SFXT like I did with Tekken Tag and Tekken 4, back in the day, I would probably be a B Rank in no time. In case you were curious, my main team is composed of Ryu and Kazuya; not combo-heavy characters, but hard hitting. Kind of like how I fight, actually. When I first picked up Kazuya, it was pretty amazing learning his move set and abilities. He’s incredibly fun to play, and very different from Ryu. So much so, that I was in a bit of Ryu funk, and used mostly Kazuya when I played. It seemed like Ryu was underpowered all of a sudden, his lack of a “bounce” move, and having only one crappy mid attack made me want to use him even less. But luckily, I spent time in the Training room, and learned a few new tricks with both Ryu and Kazuya, learning some decent team combos and strats. Ah, love this game. Gotta play some tonight after doing karate.

So what did I do on Friday? Oh! I remember now! I went to a Sri Lanka/Italian restaurant! The guy who owns it actually had a different one last year, but had to ditch it and move to Osaka due to the big earthquake. But he missed the area, so he came back! I had Guinness, gnocchi, Brazilian sausage with beans, and Baileys. Good times.

On Saturday, I went out with an old friend I hadn't seen in a while and a former co-worker I hadn't hung out with in a while. We went to an all-you-can-eat barbeque place. DELISH.

And on Sunday, I went to my friend's house 'cause she and her family were holding a barbeque. YES! MORE MEAT! I hadn't had ribs in a while; yum. There was also mashed potatoes, bacon gravy (crazy right?), grilled clams, tira misu, a chocolate cake, yakitori, various cheeses, and other things I'm sure I'm forgetting. Unfortunately, I couldn't enjoy their various wines, beers, and home-made plum wine, because I drove there. But her dad and I got into many discussions about sports cars (he owns a Nissan Fairlady Z), motorcycles, and touring around Japan. My buddy was also there, and we discussed plans for an organization I'm in (he was a former co-president, and I'm a new co-president). Yes, my life will continue to be busy.

I feel so fat.

Word of the Day: デブ 「でぶ」 "debu," which means "fat" or "chubbie." It's often used as a derogatory term to make fun of or insult someone. "You fattie!" That kinda thing.