I live in Tokyo now but most of my friends and family do not. The main idea here is that I can tell these people about interesting things that happen and are seen.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Well I Went On A Rolly Coaster

One of the advantages of a timid, unadventurous childhood is that it bequeaths a trove of new experiences for your adult years, when you might otherwise become jaded.

Until last Friday, I had never been on a rolly coaster (or "jet coaster" as they are known here, it being somewhat sadistic to expect Japanese folks to pronounce "roller"). Thus, rather than losing my rolly coaster cherry to a venerable bucket at Rainbow's End in Manukau, I was ravished instead by "Eejanakai", which is based on pretty recent technology (its only the second of its kind) and currently holds the Guiness Record for greatest number of inversions (14).

(The record, incidentally, is not recognized by everyone since there are only three times that the actual track turns upside-down. The remaining eleven are "seat inversions" since the seats, terrifyingly, can swivel and tip you about independently. Yes, the roller coaster community has politics and controversies all their own, and apparently a "Supreme Council", and probably also a handshake - who knew?)

Some external footage: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CN6OnGyUnmo
And, point-of-view footage: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vkrFWtvQkYc

So, uh, it was pretty scary. Partway through the ride they have a speed camera that takes snaps of you amidst the experience, and you can buy them on your way out. Mine looked like a promotional image for "Faces of Death 4" - the words "abject" and "terror" are often combined in a loose and cliched way but here their union is entirely appropriate. Of the twenty people on the ride, I was visibly the most terrified, and in the manner most abject. Moreover the wind pressure had caused my shorts to ride up, exposing great pallid flanks of pearly, goose-pimpled thigh. I am not normally a fan of any photos of myself not taken in accordance with the strictest principles of MySpace composition (camera at arm's length, three-quarter profile, artificially quizzical expression, about ninety takes). So I didn't buy that one. It lacked... dignity.

Nevertheless the whole thing was pretty exhilirating. I would ride that machine again if I ever went back to Fuji Q Highland, and the queue was less than thirty minutes long (i.e. probably never). And I was able to comport myself in a somewhat more manly fashion when I rode Fujiyama later in the day. It's an older machine of more traditional design, but nevertheless a pretty respectable old scoot. At one time it had the record for highest peak, but has since been superceded. I guess it maybe remains in the top ten.

Here's some entertaining footage of a dude singing karaoke while riding Fujiyama: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MUi44hl-P5I

Monday, May 14, 2007

Inter Net Strikes Out Again

Shucks, so I was in a pretty foul mood earlier today and I put "www.ihateeverything.com" into my browser. I don't think I expected anything in particular - perhaps a Wikipedia of peeves, disproportionate hostility to the various contents of the world? Some vitriolic screed on the inadequacy of paperclips as a tool for attaching papers (papers! how I loathe them!), and also white people: god damn them?

Basically you would expect this picture and a Trent Reznor MIDI

But here's what you actually get:

The same kind of fake search engine non-content you get when you accidentally type "yhoo" instead of Yahoo. My mood, however, was slightly improved when I troubled to read the software's rather nonsensical attempts to exploit my obvious nihilistic urges and get me downloading some spyware or whatever.

Here's what's "hot":

Some of is just the kind of stuff that the internet exists for - nude pictures of middle-aged women, theft of copyrighted media, dating... "hate" and "hate crimes" obviously fall under the remit of "hating everything" and are pretty justifiable. But... "hobo"?


Some things are "hot" and others are "popular":

"I hate music, Indian woman!" is a coherent sentence that I intend to deploy some day, at an appropriate moment.

"Life Blows" could refer to the idea that Life is metaphorically eating a dick, or alternatively the Blows dealt by Life to unfortunate folks, the kind of blows that might ultimately lead a person to hate a number of things. Both of these are sentiments that someone who really hates everything can get behind so I clicked on it.

More of the same:

The encyclopedia article about "life blows" does not exist, however that particular phrase does occur in their articles titled "no doubt", "Precordial thump" and "Welcome to the Infant Freebase" (seriously).

Who are these people? What is their business model? Who is paying to advertise with them? What does it cost, like, thirty cents?

One answer to the last question is "people who sell components of furniture but not actually entire pieces of furniture", which is what you get if you click on "Knobs" (disappointing for some, I suppose).

How could this possibly be effective in any way. "I hate everything but mainly the fact that I can't open my drawers anymore because the things on the front that you grip have fallen off... dang what do you call those things, godammit I'm so frustrated I just gotta hit up ihateeverything.com and see what's there".... is this a sentence that would conceivably pass through someone's mind.

No, it is not. (It was a rhetorical question)


Saturday, May 12, 2007

Strung Out On Caffeinated Breath Mints

Don't ride the dry horse

Some months ago a minor scandal emerged when a small cabal of Nova teachers were busted for dealing cocaine. Lacking the underworld connections and fabulous salary of a Nova position, I have fallen prey to a more modest addiction - "Dry Hard" caffeinated breath mints.

It's a common weakness in my profession. Dry Hard neutralizes the milky gaijin breath with which we might otherwise drench our students - moreover the caffeine dose keeps the eyelids up as they struggle through a third conditional. Like soldiers dosed on ephedrine however, what begins as pragmatic use ends in a enslavement to sordid cravings - one colleague, holidaying in Thailand, took ten packs with him least he be struck with "Fugu Mouth", a putative and probably fictitious withdrawal syndrome. It's all a bit sad considering the Dry Hard's pay-off is a burning sensation in your mouth and a imperceptible buzz equivalent to an eyedropper full of Nescafe.

Another brand in the Mintia range - "Morning Spear" - has been exploited by lovers of rudeness to employ the phrase: "Would you like a suck of my Morning Spear?". (Never by me of course - though I have been guilty of referring to "Dry Harder" and "Dry Hard: With A Vengeance" in the very specific occasion that I must beg Dry Hard from another user three times in the same day. Someone needs to put me in a weighted sack and drown me like a kitten, I know).

Moving on from all that bollocks, the hottest thing in Tokyo streets right now is a fusion of jump-rope and breaking - Japanese folks are typically pretty diligent in the practice of their hobbies so the performances are usually of a high standard... witness here. Flair bartending may also be making a comeback, or at least some fellers were practicing in Yoyogi Park last time I was there. Somehow, Japanese men can do it without appearing to be douchebags.


Also I might go to this.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

On the Seaons...

After Spring's first blossom, Summer's first roach must come.

Let today mark that day.
Let this hour, mark that hour.

Little bastard has plenty of cover but I can move furniture if it comes to that.