Thursday, December 25, 2008

America: land of the beach babes

Someone told me the most Googled image this week was "obama shirtless," so I went ahead and checked it out. This led me to numerous celebrity gossip blogs, which are proving they can look beyond weight loss and rehab to the real political issues. I liked this one on What Would Tyler Durden Do?:

The next post took a real turn in subject matter--Lily Allen topless at the beach. We'll go ahead and post a picture of that too.

The title is "Lily Allen is cool," because apparently she looks TERRIBLE topless, but good for her for being secure with her body! Not anymore...

Monday, December 15, 2008

a short, semi-autobiographical story

10:09 p.m. Twenty minutes until it’s socially acceptable to excuse ourselves from the party and catch the last train. It’s only been a half hour since we’ve sat down, but I’m already beginning to lose my keen edge. I stare, half-listening, into my half-drunk glass of wine, wiping away the cool beads of sweat with my thumb. A nervous glass of red among a sea of beers.

“Amy—watch this!” shouts Ben, turning to the others. I indulge him, taking my eyes off the smudged glass, and turn to the far end of the table.

“Who do you pray to?”—did Ben really just ask that question in the middle of our Christmas party?

Specimen #1, taken by surprise, quickly shoots his finger toward the sky.

“OK, so that’s God. Who do you pray to?” he asks accusingly, pointing to Specimen #1’s neighbor, Specimen #2.

“Well…” she says, searching for a one-word answer to humanity’s most difficult question, “Jesus…”

“Jesus!” cries Ben. Now it’s up to Specimen #3 to complete the holy trinity, reasserting Ben’s homespun theological premise.
“Who do you pray to?”

Specimen #3, knowing she has less than ten seconds to answer before an interruption from Budweiser Ben (a name coined after he sunk the long shot in the 2005 beer pong championship), she quickly begins to explain her spiritual connection with departed family members.

“Well, the spirits of my family are imp—”

“Ancestors!” Ben barks, his voice booming on account of three favorable answers and four glasses of beer. “See?” he says turning, triumphant, back to me. “Ask any Japanese person who they pray to and you get a different answer.”

The nomihodai (“all you can drink”) focus group’s findings are in agreement with Ben’s theory. Ten months and who knows how many beers later, Ben has single-handedly cracked the code of Japanese spirituality.

“None of them can agree. You know how it is in the U.S.,” he says, appealing to my American roots. “You can ask anyone who they pray to and they’ll give pretty much the same answer. But here they say something different every time.”

“Is that so bad?” I ask, reminded of college philosophy debates.

“Well, how old are some of the shrines that you see on every fucking street corner?” He pauses to raise a finger heavenward, mimicking Specimen #1. “And in that long they can’t figure out who they’re talking to ‘up there’?”

So the question remains: to hope you know and risk being wrong—is this better than realizing you don’t know anything at all?

I close my eyes and nod to acknowledge Ben’s heated rhetorical. Then, lifting the smudged chalice to my unworthy lips, I take communion for my brethren. I pray for all the lost peoples of Japan, that their unanswered pleas will be found floating outside the space between heaven and hell. For Specimens #1 through 3, that they will someday be so enlightened as to streamline the nomenclature of their devotion. But most of all I pray for Budweiser Ben—may he be forever blessed with his most insular wisdom. I pray this all in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirits. Amen.

Friday, December 5, 2008

save the whales

After this I’m going to volunteer on a boat and save the whales!

“Monkey-wrench a bulldozer and they will call you a vandal. Liberate a coyote from a trap and they will call you a thief. Yet if a human destroys the wonders of creation, the beauty of the natural world, then anthropocentric society calls such people loggers, miners, developers, engineers, and businessmen.” –Paul Watson

Monday, December 1, 2008

Sunday, November 30, 2008

it feels like Christmas today

Today I emerged from my apartment and 7:30 pm only to walk to SATY (like a Japanese Target) to buy Sister Act 2. Came back home, made guacamole, watched the singing nuns (glorious) and went to sleep again.

I surprised myself last night when I referred to California as “California” and Japan as “home.”

jenni and katie sing the hits

diminishing decorum: a photo documentary









Tuesday, November 25, 2008

the answer to the weight problem in america

the american food pyramid
six groups:

the japanese food pyramid
five groups:

which group is missing? why, the one recommending fats, oils, and sweets, of course!

Monday, November 24, 2008

kego park christmas lights

i'm a sucker for christmas lights and fake snow. kego park offers an abundance of one of these things.

to see my family <3

I know I told a couple of people at home that my goal was to be on a Japanese game show. Well, this weekend I got one step closer. I was on some sort of TV show. All I did was stand there with my answer card…they gave me a packet of tissues as a gift.

The question: What do you want for Christmas?

Here’s what I really wanted to say, but couldn’t fit on the card:
1. Make a Japanese dinner for my family
2. Peach Towers party
3. Visit Indie
4. Bingo at the casino with Mike S
5. That Mexican restaurant Zamorah took me to for my birthday
6. Jet Rag Sunday sale/Fairfax flea market
7. The Italian place Mauro and I found in Silver Lake
8. Life Plaza with Laura
9. Snuggle with Zoe

Sunday, November 23, 2008

hakozaki shrine

there's a flea market in front of this shrine once a month! i bought a present for my mother!

ikaaaa maniaaaa

went to Karatsu today for what turned out to be quite an interesting meal

first i got caught

then we took pictures of the scenery while waiting for our table

anna's super nice parents and i framed by worsening weather

a row of squid. i will never see so much squid as i did today.


a cartoon character spin-drying squid. naturally.

the sights. the tourist boats were shaped like squid, just in case anyone hadn't gathered what the main attraction was.

inside the famous ika (squid) restaurant. the squid live in the middle there.

the main attraction. my face says "oh shit, when this picture is finished i'm going to have to try this."

inside the boat you'll see strips of raw squid atop two live squid for decoration. one of them kept grabbing anna's chopsticks when she went in for the sashimi. there was something heart wrenching about his efforts to defend his fellow mollusk. those two guys were later made into tempura. R.I.P.

karatsu castle

200 years ago a prince beheld his kingdom from this very balcony

now it's just anna + me + a coin-operated viewfinder

tomorrow we go to the flea market!!!!!!

nomihodai in kurume...again

my saturday night:

i guess haruka and i had a photo sesh

i'm really sorry for posting this... but every time i see it i laugh. she's like a wild animal!!!

horrible quality but you just can't retake a photo and expect to capture the same enthusiasm

Friday, November 21, 2008

We regret to inform you that the C.A.C. cannot authorize your cover request at this time.

I'm listening to a Michael Buble sort cover Eleanor Rigby, syncopating it beyond recognition--and if that wasn't enough, there's also a sax solo.

I'd like to begin an organization called the Cover Appropriations Counsel in which musicians must apply for approval to record a cover of any given song. Live disasters will not concern us. Only those which can be played over and over in coffee shops and supermarkets.

Our creed:
We at the C.A.C. aim to improve the sonic conditions of our world by protecting the general public from inharmonious and generally deplorable cover music.

We will hand out magnets that say "We've got you covered" in front of supermarkets and shopping malls.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

cocoa/winter/banjo/peanut butter

Woke up to someone's half-drunk hot cocoa peering at me from under my coffee table. Was displeased. Yes, that’s right—there's a hot/cold vending machine in my building, which dispenses hot cocoas at the exact temperature one would like hot cocoa to be. Jealousy's a disease.

Leaving work, I let out a great exhale and upon seeing that exhale in the air before me, I was let in on the news that winter is, in fact here. And I'm still without a proper coat.

I go through a great struggle each night as I leave work—to Sunny or not to Sunny. You see, this very convenient and well-stocked 24 hour grocer is just steps away from my building and if I'm lucky I'll find a lovely pumpkin salad. The trouble lies with the Christmas music—I'm relatively sure they loop exactly three Christmas songs—and the fact that I find myself humming one of these three choice Christmas songs when I return to my apartment. I feel it's worth mentioning that one of these songs is a banjo rendition of "O Come All Ye Faithful." And if that sounds cool, it's not.

Even the packaging is more polite here. The wrapper of my little peanut butter sandwich puffs (do not recommend) says, “This snack contains peanut butter made from peanuts of good quality. You can enjoy it as is or after toasting it light.” Why thank you!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


Today I brought up Maslow's hierarchy of needs to explain to my friend why she should quit her job and I felt like such a tool afterwards.

Dyed my hair yesterday. I'll post a picture when I figure out a way to take a picture of my new hair without looking like a girl who takes photos of her new hair and posts them online.

Monday, November 17, 2008

foreign correspondence

Today my mother informed me that the local butcher reads my blog. So Nick, if you're reading this, I'm not really down for the meat but I would love to sample some o' dem gourmet cheeses you're hiding in the corner fridge. See you at Christmas.

Monday, November 10, 2008

what then shall we choose? weight or lightness?

Spoke to Michelle yesterday, which was quite nice. I was her birthday. 23… so young.

Let's not even talk about how Anthony's just barely hitting 21. What an embarrassment. It's a good thing I’m cheap—otherwise the parking lot pre-parties would not fly.

I gave a friend “The Unbearable Lightness of Being” (probably my favorite novel) for his birthday and before I did, I attempted to reread the entire thing in one night. I was unsuccessful. However, I did get through the first 150 pages and in doing so stumbled, once more, on some interesting thoughts:

A single metaphor can give birth to love.

'Pick me up', is the message of the person who keeps falling

When the strong were too weak to hurt the weak, the weak had to be strong enough to leave.

Sunday, November 9, 2008


harold and maude finally finished downloading and i'm elatedddddd

Friday, November 7, 2008


i finally found someone who expresses how i feel about tourism:
"If there is one thing more hateful than another it is being told what to admire and having objects pointed out to one with a stick."
Francis Kilvert

similarly, i'd like to take a moment to discuss the gaijin (foreigner) population of fukuoka. some friends pointed out that all the gaijin always look unhappy, and how true that is! i think most of them feel that by looking happy they reveal they are amateurs, because smiling is what tourists do. i probably look unhappy too, but not because i am. it's because i am doing any combination of the following things:
-trying not to get run over by a taxi while looking like i don't care
-figuring out how to say what i need to say in japanese as i approach my destination
-cursing the heels i have to wear to work while trying to remain graceful on cobblestone sidewalks

warning: politics ahead

let's talk about prop 8 for a hot minute 'cause i'm all fired up. i know people living in california have probably had enough by now but chill out for a minute--it obviously wasn't enough if 52% of voters still think same-sex marriage is somehow going to infringe on their rights.

reading this article
i was disheartened by not only the results of the vote, but also the reminder of obama's stance on same-sex marriage: against the ban, for unions; but, against marriage and has said it's "not a priority."
LGBTs are openly discriminated against in the united states. don't ask, don't tell; not allowed to give blood; and i forgot to mention how HIV/AIDS is listed under LGBT issues on obama's site! what the fuck?! cooperative ignorance like this diminishes the "leaps forward" that all the papers and world leaders have been gushing about this week.

what a mess.

sign the petition to re-open the vote in california here

a funny side note--if you'd like to contact the author of the petition, her email is:

let's all take a minute to soak that one in...

this one's for anthony.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

san kyu very much

i need to start taking pictures

dinner with haruka and aya was lovely. we ordered some "chiizu chiizu pizza" because we guessed that meant there were two kinds of cheese. the waitress brought out a small carafe of honey to put on top. there's always something...

last weekend i went to this gem of a store called Thank You Mart, which has a bunch of nonsense, costumey weird stuff and secondhand clothing. i bought a dress. i was supposed to be buying a halloween costume.
everything is 390 yen (about $3.90) and yesterday Anna explained the pun to me:
everything is 390 yen and in Japanese 3 is san and 9 is kyu, so "san kyu" sounds like "thank you," hence the name Thank You Mart. yesssss

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

if only in my dreams

i'll be home for christmas
you can count on me

i've always loved that song, and now it's quite appropriate


i think i'll go to south korea one weekend in november. might be nice

Sunday, October 19, 2008

the weekend of the third week of the tenth month

Saturday night:
After work I went to a goodbye party for fellow American James in Kurume. A lot of students came, which I'm sure he appreciated. It was at an Italian restaurant which was quite delicious yet unfortunately expensive. I pointed out how beautiful our waitress was and was repeatedly accused of being a lesbian. Twas as if I'd never left...
Hung out with Paul afterwards, and confessed that I've developed a habit of drinking a half-size can of Asahi on the 20-minute walk from the station to his apartment. This kind of behavior illustrates the "no parents!" mentality I carefully crafted in college.

Watched Forgetting Sarah Marshall, which Paul warned was mediocre and Sam insisted was SOOO FUNNYYYYY. Paul- 1, Sam- 0.

That afternoon we went to a BBQ at Stephen's, which was pretty great. Their building has a patio on the roof with BBQs and plants and a great view of the city and lovely green hills dispersed between high-rise apartments.

The usual suspects were there (a.k.a the entire British population of Fukuoka-ken and their respective ladies), including Anna, Stephen and Naomi's daughter who is gorgeous already AND bilingual. Anna was playing the Japanese version of one of those hand-clapping sing-songy games that girls play during recess in grade school, and asked very publicly asked me to teach her an American version. Considering I can barely remember what I had for dinner two days ago, I was afraid I couldn't deliver, but was able to come up with something that passed as authentic, and luckily no other Americans were there to confirm or deny. I'd say the lyrics to the sing-song were around 30% accurate.

I'm picking up a few UKisms from hanging out with that lot, but I think I've introduced some new vocabulary as well. We're still working on the inclusion of "chill" as an adjective.

Cafe with internet, the best Chai latte I've had in years and perhaps dinner in Tenjin later.

Many thanks to Joanne and Bob back in Glendora for sending Pirate's Booty. A real treat.

Friday, October 17, 2008

concave cake

A dude fell asleep on me on the train the other day and I was so pissed! I usually would think it's funny, but I wanted to kill him

I was reading a book about English teaching games and one reminded me of a story I forgot to tell. It's the highlight of the birthday party I went to!!

Little Louis found a way to secretly sit on his birthday cake before we sang the birthday song, so when we all gathered around with candles lit, we were surprised to find we would be singing to a concave birthday cake. Precious.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

peep diz

today i received the following email from anthony:

who needs folgers coffee to wake you up in the morning when you've got diz pic?


i've confirmed that the photo is, in fact, on his nightstand. that boy is one of a kind. and i love him.

i also spoke to marian today for the first time in ages :)