Wednesday, December 31, 2003

Last Day of the Year 2003--Update

1:04pm--It's a glorious day in DC/Virginia and so I will go out running now. My beloved Bruins again sucked as they lost to the ever ferocious, world dominating Fresno St. Bulldogs--I know that BarbEric hate it when I talk sports, but HEY!, watching sports is a big part of who I am... Anyway, gonna run for about an hour in the neighborhood. See ya'.

2:53pm--Time to take a shower and go shopping. Tonight is New Year's Eve and it's time to buy some toshikoshi soba--lit. crossing over to the next year noodles. Gotta eat it with tempura. Mmmmm. Also gonna get some other stuff folr New Years Day, like mochi (rice cakes) for soup and/or just to roast. Actually I like the roasting better: just dip it in some soy sauce and wrap nori (dried seaweed) around it, although it sometimes feels like tomogui (eating a being of the same genus). So I often wrap it up in pickled cabbage (hakusai) or kimchee, both are excellent. We'll also get stuff for niimono (vegetables boiled and reduced in soy sauce, sake, etc.)--daikon radish, carrots, renkon (lotus root), gobo (burdock?), and others. It's the best. I snack on this for two to three days cuz it's perfect with sake.

New York, New York

I'm back from New York. Had a nice two day visit with my sister, but I had forgotten how bad NYC can be during the Holiday season. It seemed like it was just one big line. I took Musubi-chan and Unagi-kun to see the Statue of Liberty. We take the Lexington Line down to Bowling Green and emerge into Battery Park.We see a sign that says "Tickets to Liberty Island Ferry" and a long line forming around this round building. Ok. Its not that long... We get in line and get to the ticket line in about 30 minutes. Upon leaving the window, I ask a Park Service officer where the ferry entrance is, and he says the line is over there and points his finger to a line that seems to continue into the horizon. My jaws kinda dropped. Musubi-chan rolled her eyes. We walk and walk and walk and finally reach the back of the line, but it seems to be moving along so I'm not too discouraged. Unfortunately, I begin to talk to some people and learn that there is a ferry every half hour, so the line moves briskly for a few hundred people and then stops for half an hour... I guess I waited for about three ferries worth of people, an hour and a half. Blah...

But Liberty Island was nice even though we could not enter the statue--9/11 has left its impression on even some of the simpler pleasures tourists might indulge in. Well, as many of you may know, I'm a night owl and I wake up late. I made an effort to wake up as early as I could, and we did get our start before noon, which is a big deal for me... But after the long line and waits and ferry ride back and forth, we arrived back at Batter Park around 5PM. We then head back Uptown and get off at 33rd to see the Empire State Building, where there was--yes, that's right--a line, down 5th and around the corner of 34th. My sis was nice enough to get me tickets in advance, so I asked if I still had to stand in line: Sorry Charlie, EVERYBODY stands in line. So we stand in this line that seems to be moving steadily. We enter the front door and down the hall to see another line. The sign says "Tickets to the observation platform". Wait! I have tickets, I tell the usher. He tells me that I don't have to stand in line, that I should proceed down the hall and go up the escalator. Great! We walk quickly and climb the escalator: Observation platform left, then another left. Alright! There's the entrance to the Observation elevator... BUT--you knew there was a "but" coming--there's another line! This is worse than Disneyland. Then after another 45 munutes when we finally get onto the elevator get to the 80th floor, we get off to find... YES! Another line to the elevator that take us up 6 more floors. Ugh! This is so frustrating. But we finally make it to the top and got to see the sparkling lights of Manhattan and the surrounding borroughs. It was an amazing site, and perhaps worth the lines...

Still, the trip was nice. My sis treated us to the Broadway revival of "42nd Street" which had a lot of music and dancing. Actually, I was rather surprised at the number of songs I recognized and liked. "I Only Have Eyes for You" and "We're in the Money" are true American standards. And I have heard "About a Quarter to Nine" and "Lullaby of Broadway" on a number of occasions. Since it is a revival of an old show/movie the sotry line is rather simple. Girl goes to Broadway, tries for a part as a chorus girl, screws up but gets a chance to become the star, and of course, succeeds. But still, the show is not for the story, but for the singing and dancing, even though at times it seemed hackneyed as it reminded me of old Bsuby Berkeley productions. Then I realized that it was actually Berkeley who choreographed the original "42nd Street" in 1933. Duh! No wonder it reminded me of him. But still it was good to watch. But this is an old fogey talking. For you young ones out there interested in musicals, it may seem fresh and vital.

We also had a few nice meals. We ate at a couple of celebrity restaurants. For you Food channel afficiandos, we ate at Otto, Mario Batali's Pizzaria and anti-pastas. The interior is designed to look like a train station. They give you ticket with a "destination" on it. When your table is ready, your destination appears on the "arrrival/departure board". The bar consists of high tables where you must stand to drink and eat. I think this is done to prevent people from getting too comfortable, guaranteeing good turnover. This is, of course, the pessimistic evaluation, for the food itself was pretty good. The octopus was so-so, but the squid was delicious, the roasted beets were heavenly, and the pizza vongole--yes, the clams were in the shell--absolutely blew my mind! I have to figure out how to make this at home. It was incredible! Another place we went to was Les Halles, where Tony Bourdain made his reputation in New York as head chef. It's a brasserie and so is known for its simple everyday French food, the good stuff, none of that phoofey Parisian haute cuisine. Just well prepared steak, chicken and of course frites (french fries). Unagi-kun had the standard steak and frites. I had an onglet (I'm pretty sure this is flank) steak that was marinated in ginger. Surprisingly scrumptious. Musubi-chan had pork loin cooked medium and was perfect. Sis had steak tartar--that's raw hamburger with spices and a raw egg. She swears by it, but I think it needs a BBQ grill. In any case, you can see that we are true carnivors. Hope I'm not offending any of you non-meat-eaters...

Anyway, all in all, we had a nice time in New York. Now its time to get back to work...

Sunday, December 28, 2003

Time off

This past semester has presented a variety of matters, much of which has not been good for the bottom of my feet--for those who don't know what I'm talking about, read "The Girl from Ipanema" by Murakami Haruki... Anyway, I need a break as much as anyone and am going to NYC to visit my sister. It will be a short trip, but long enough to bring some peace of mind. During this time, I will be sans computer, but I will be back on the 30th...

My beloved Bruins are playing in a second (third?) tier bowl game on the 30th. How far have the mighty Bruins fallen? Not only do they play in that famous of all bowl games, the "Silicon Valley Classic"--I know, its glory resounds throughout the college football world--they may actually lose! The thought of perennial WAC power, Fresno State, whipping the Boys in Powder Blue is terribly disconcerting. No offense to the denizens of the the San Juaquin Valley, but the Bruins have no business losing to you guys, although that is what I fear may happen... *sigh* In any case, QB Matt Moore has decided to leave the team and school, presumably because he is not and will not get the playing time he thought he deserved. Goodbye, Matt. Say hello to Drew Olson who led the Bruins to its first five victories this season when they were 5-2. Apparently, Drew is getting much more comfortable in practice taking all the snaps, knowing that he is the ONLY QB now; not having to look over his shoulder... DB Matt Ware, Loyola HS alum, is also considering the NFL. If his prospective indicates a first-round draft pick, the word is he will go. Dear Santa, I know its late, but please make Matt a middle third-round choice; and while your at it, convince Brigham Harwell (Los Altos) to stick with the Bruins as his choice for college...

Friday, December 26, 2003

Day after Christmas

The day after a holiday, especially Christmas, is usually a blah day for me. Everything leading up to Christmas--putting up a tree, going to or planning parties, shopping for presents, wrapping them, etc.--gets me hyped up for one climactic moment: Christmas morning. And then, there is a let down--it's over; life goes on. I used to think that it was because I was getting older, but I have thought of an alternate theory. Not that I'm trying to make excuses or anything, but it occurs to me that a lot of Christmas spirit is a kind of shared spirit, and so the feelings I have are often influenced by those around me. Neither I nor Musubi-chan express a bah-humbug attitude, but I missed the joy that little kids bring to Christmas.

On Christmas Eve, we had a party with families of Musubi-chan's fitness salon: 4 families with one child each. We got simple presents for the kids, 3 boys and 1 girl. Since we are unfamiliar with the kids and do not know what they would want or like, we got them what would be very boring, ubiquitous gifts: T-shirts. Okay, okay, like I said, I know its boring. Anyway, we didn't know there names so we left the name tags signed from Santa, but with no name in the "To" space. As kids, they picked up on this very quickly. Its amazing how perceptive kids can be! After Musubi-chan asked the parents for their names, she surreptitiously wrote them in on the tags, and in a few minutes they discovered them to their great pleasure.

The boys seemed to show a genuine appreciation despite the gift's blandness--maybe because they are from Japan where the Christmas gift-giving tradition is not that developed, particularly between unfamiliar people, and receiving something from a friend of one's parents was unexpected. This was nice to see, and gave me a sense of self-satisfaction, perhaps more than I have any right to feel. But better yet was the little girl. The boys' T-shirts were wrapped in similar boxes, but we got the girl--the youngest of the group--a stuffed teddy bear and so the box was shaped differently. As the boys, grabbed their presents and ripped them open, the little girl's face, at first, betrayed disappointment, a "why-isn't-there-one-for-me" kind of look. We told her to look harder and nudged her toward the different box, and in an instant her expression changed. She beamed like only a child can beam! "Is this for ME?!?" She was so adorable. She opened it up and hugged the small bear so tight, I thought that even a stuffed animal might choke do death; and she carried it around with her all night.

All four kids were great, and they provided me with a feeling that still reverberates. Thanks to them, I don't feel that day-after-Christmas let down. Thanks kids!

Wednesday, December 24, 2003

Merry Christmas
Since its Chrismas eve, I'll leave a translation of the song that has been playing for the mpast two weeks. Some of you thout it was nostalgic. Ddsb2000 that he was even beginning to like it! It is kinda catchy after awhile. Its a sad somg but it is now a standard in Japan...

Christmas Eve by Yamashita Tatsuro

Past the deepening of night
The rain will surely turn to snow
Silent Night, Holy Night

I'm certain now that you won't come
Another Christmas Eve spent all alone
Silent Night, Holy Night

Doesn't even seem like
The feelings in my heart
Can ever be fulfilled

I was so sure if it was tonight
I could tell you how I feel
Silent Night, Holy Night

My feelings for you
still lingering without trace
continue to rain into the night

The Christmas tree on the street corner
The glitter of silver
Silent Night, Holy Night


It's really no big deal, but Mattblue's #11,111. Congratulations... for what? For being all "on" in a binary way! Hahahaha! But thanks for coming all the time!

In the meantime: I hate spam! I have been so careful with my Onigiriman e-mail account. I always delete unknown e-mail. In fact I have even deleted the email of people I know, but did so accidentally. As a result, I have been a bit more careful about distinguishing the sender and the subject. The other day, I saw received an e-mail with a name from that was familiar and a subject that seemed to match the name, so I opened it. BIG MISTAKE! It was some stupid solicitation for something I don't remember. I immeditately erase the e-mail, but what happens? The next day, my inbox is FULL of spam! I hate it. I'm glad the government is coming down on these dudes. I hate it when they just send solicitations randomly without regard for the person. I think its a waste of time and energy...

Wait a minute, it's past 12 midnight, and that means its Christmas eve. I should be happier, but this spam.... Bah, Humbug....

Monday, December 22, 2003


Marie--actually it's Sarah Marie--was the 10,000th hit on my site. that would be 900 hits ago? Damn! Have that many of you been here since then? Anyway, from what her boyfriend told me, she was sitting in front of the computer, waiting to pounce like a cat on her mouse to be #10,000. Hahahahaa, isn't she precious? (No, I am not Gollum, although Musubi-chan tell's me I sound like himand am a rounder, more well-fed version of him.) Anyway, I wrote that I would put up a special entry for her, and here it is.

Um... lets see, she's a Bruin, like me, which is always a plus. Her mother's Japanese, which makes her a "haafu". Uh, er, and she often puts up a link on her page to her blog site... BUT unfortunately, you need to sign-in and know that password. That being the case, I cannot comment on any of it, as I can't comment on stuff that my other readers cannot freely access for their own perusal. Hmmm... soooooooooo, instead I went looking through her Xanga, and found a post that was interesting. I will post it here and provide a running commentary. And Sarah, remember this is all in good fun. I can sometimes sound sarcastic so sit down when you read this:

November 17
You know, this xanga thing is kinda funny. Wait, let me rephrase that... ALL of these online journal/diary things are really.. somethin. Just goes to show you that words are a very powerful thing. You could really piss someone off one day, show them you love them the next, etc... I know some people make an effort to prove their intellect (which is wonderful if you're truly intelligent).. OR show millions of pics (I think I fall in that category lol) OR make their site all nice and pretty =0) OR tell about their day... But you also have those people who describe their full 24 hours in vivid detail (as if the reader gave a damn). Aaahhhh, however, if the reader DID "give a damn" then that would be a different story. I believe there are variations when "giving a damn" such as:

Duh! Yeah, this Xanga thing is funny. And, yeah, words are really powerful. I teach Lit and I am a true believer of the power of words.

Argh! Busted! Okay, I admit it, I have no intellect!

And my site is not all that pretty and nice. I believe in black text on white background. Easy to read, don't you think? But... What?!? You mean no one gives a damn about what I write? ESPECIALLY when its in vivid detail? Dang! I'm going to RBJ...

a) people that just want to see how their friends are doing or

a) Well, I don't have many "friends". No offense guys. When I say friends, I mean my warm-bodied, known-for-at-least-5-years kind of friends. But I do have my kids that I want to visit, and many of my new virtual friends are people I hope to meet someday. Although, I fear that they wouldn't want to meet me...

b) just curious of how other people's sites "look and feel" like (lol) or even

Hmmm, I can't feel anything, so I just look at the profile pic. Any guys out there wanna refute that?

c) those who want to know how someone is doing because they loathe them with the passion and want them to die (that's a bit extreme but it's true!).

"C" does not apply to me.. but to the sorry asses that do have that problem... "Sweetie, you can't kill someone through your entries" nor can you fuck with their shit and think you can piss them off. (What are you? Some sort of sadist?) Because, in reality, what's done is done.. and you simply cannot do anything about it but move on.

Aah, now this is interesting... Are there actually people out there who visit sites cuz you loathe them? Hmm, when I loathe someone, I ignore them. I think denying someone recognition is just about the worst insult anyone could give, and if the denial relates to his existence--i.e. ignoring them--that's as insulting as you could get. Its non-confrontational, non-violent, and very effective. But hey, that's just me...

All of my girlfriends and guyfriends know that I've been through a lot... and many of you readers don't know my story, but I don't expect you to know me. What you SHOULD know about me is that I deserve this happiness that have right now. You have no right to hate me, because you never knew who I was before this happiness. So, just leave it alone. I WOULD KNOW ! I'm "OLDER" (hell yeah).. AND WISER lol I can be mature and immature, but my immaturity is a part of my personality (not stupidity like some bitch I know).

"Like some bitch"? Is this a cat fight? Is this what this entry's about? Well despite that, I think that we are all entitled to happiness as long as what we do to attain that happiness does not impede on the happiness of others. But, damn, if ou're "OLDER", what am I? What's older than "OLDER"? Oldest? Well, I can state for the record--and this is coming from years of experience--older, or oldest, has nothing to do with being wise. I am not "wiser," as many have recently insuated.

Actually, the post is a little longer, but I don't think it necessary to get a taste of Marie, I mean Simply_Marie (there are two Maries)... no, I mean Sarah. Anyway, her attempts to address the Xanga phenomenon demonstrates an intellectual bent compared to most Xangans--although most of the people I read show the same characteristic. This is because of their relative age, I think. Many--Paiky, Sammy, Hama--are older than the average Xangan. I'm probably the oldest, but among this elite group, probably the stupidest.

Marie/Sarah/Simply also injects feelings into her posts, which is a good thing, I think. Some are real cool and cerebral (Sammy), or straight-forward (Paiky, the other Marie) or just insightfully funny (Sleetse, Hama). Some write about personal interests and as a result inject as much feeling as Sarah, like Taku. But the point is that we all come to Xanga for our own reasons and share portions of ourselves to others, be it good or bad.

Sarah--If I may may make one tiny comment: You post on, and even leave a link to it on your Xanga site, but no one can read it unless you give them the sign-in and password. now how would this appear to others? Remember, "Perception is nine tenth of reality." And original Onigiriman saying, hahahahha. Kinda stolen from another similar saying? Duh!

Anyway, for better or worse, this was my special entry for Simply_Marie. It is fun reading your entiries... when it's accessible...

Next: #11,111... Kinda scary, no?

Sunday, December 21, 2003

Last Samurai

Saw the movie, finally. But it is too complex to talk about on the spur of the moment. I went with Musubi-chan and Unagi and later we went shopping for my daughter's Christmas present; I haven't seen in about two year. Sometimes its just not possible, even if you wanna see your own kid. (You reading this Sarah?) Anyway, I will comment on this movie extensively later, but for the time being, I will say I was rather impressed. I was afraid that I would HATE the movie. You know... Whenever you hear really good things, expectations are built, and then there is the inevitable let down. Well, not with this movie. What I wanna know is, no matter how drunk you might be, how could anyone have slept through this movie... I will not name names here... Hahahaha

But for those of you who saw it: Wasn't Hiroyuki SANADA kinda cool? In Japanese: Kakkou ii! Since I have a kinda bearnd and long hair, maybe I won't tie it back and leave it long and flowing. I wonder if students will think I look like a samurai? hahahahahah! Now if you guys compared me to him rather than Jackie Chan, I would be incredibly flattered!

Anyway, after the movie and shoppping, Musubi-chan and I went to our favorite watering hole and we just got back. More on the movie later...

Saturday, December 20, 2003

One last time: I am not Chan, I'm Onigiriman!

Ah crap, it rhymed even...

BarbEric was questioning who Onigiriman really is. Well, seriously, I am a lump of cooked rice made into a triangular shape and clothed in seaweed. Pretty straight forward, don't you think? And I live a nice peaceful life out in the DC suburbs of Vienna, VA. Here, this is a shot of me on my street last week after it snowed. Now, I don't try to interfere with anyone's life. I mind my own business. I sometimes see a movie, go to the mall, have a drink with Musubi-chan. But recently, the word has gotten out that I look like Jackie Chan, or that I am even the guy himself. Well let me set the record straight, right now. I AM NOT JACKIE CHAN. I am a glob of rice. I may have an umeboshi in my bellybutton at times, but in general, I am the conglomeration of a bunch of cooked rice grains, short grain not long.

Of course, when I go out, I have to put on a mask, and I must admit that this mask looks vaguely like the Chan Man. This is the mask I wear. Okay, I realize its not as handsome as the REAL me, the one above, that loveable clump of soft, smooshy cooked rice with the roasted crunchy nori (seaweed) wrap on the outside. But, hey, if I didn't go out incognito, someone might try to grab me from behind and take a bite out of me. OUCH! Now that would smart. And what would CSI do when they found my body? I mean, I see CSI every week, Thursday night on CBS, Friday night on Spike TV, and despite all their fancy gadgets and scientific knowledge, I'm pretty sure they know nothing about the anatomy of a Japenese riceball, let alone Japanese cooking in general...

But using this mask has placed my in a quandry! I have just learned that they have used my image to caricature the now infamous Chan Man. Will you look at this?!? This is supposed to be the Chan Man on the Cartoon Network's Jackie Chan's Adventure. Now seriously, does this look like Jackie Chan to you? I mean, look at it! It doesn't look anything like the real me, but it looks pretty close to my alter ego. And man! If they were gonna "borrow" my image, you'd think they'd do a better job. This is the worst bit of farking I've ever seen. Geez, they shoulda at least changed the color of the sweater, ya' think? Hahahahahh.

I'm just screwing around. BarbEric Bojo was taking cracks at me on his site, and i happened to see a portion of the Cartoon Channel the same night and decided to have a little fun. Man, I'm glad grading is finished. Now I can have fun and do stupid things like this again... At least until the next semester... sigh...

Generating Traffic
Another thing BarbEric talked about--besides the great number of e-props and comments he's been getting--is the fact that he leaves twice as many props as he gets. Well, I can say the same. But it seems to me that to generate traffic, you have to start by stepping on the gas. That means you have to go around and visit people and leave comments. If you think people are gonna come to your site without going to theirs, it won't happen--unless you have a really cute profile pic or you are one hella writer... Speaking of which, you guys should check out ifso if you haven't yet. Now there's a writer...

Finished Grading :Update:

Now I too can begin my winter break! Yahoo! I think I'll go see Last Samurai... like every freaking other person on Xanga.....

Are you Curious Yellow?
If you're female and have wondered what's it like to be a MAN, go to japblk's site and click on a link she provided, Magic Cone! The instructions are really easy to follow...

Congratulations Enygma81
Kudos for finishing your college career in one piece, in spite of those evil ones (J/K) who tried to thwart you with rewrites of papers and the infamous cap-and-gown bait-and-switch scam. Boy, I thought I had heard them all... If you wanna congratualte her too--which you can do even if you don't know her--click here to go to RBJs Top 300, scroll down to Anna (ID: 35) and click on her site from there. I wanna see her rise to the top. Yeah, baby, yeah, baby!

Friday, December 19, 2003

Strapping young Asian specimens

Hahahaha! Yeah, right. If you're from RBJ, sorry to disappoint! Okay, from time to time I like to introduce people who I read all the time. Please click there names and visit them. They have fun stuff to read. Here's some info on each to prepare you for their sites. These are my RBJ brethren. If you RBJ too, let me know.

mmh: Is a JA chick living in Macau. She has the thankless task of taking care of her younger sister. She is honest, sometimes shockingly so. And she has recently lost more than a few pounds... or so she claims. hahahahahha Oh yeah. She also got rid of those emoticons! Good for you, girl. I swear, it takes my machine anywhere from 30 seconds to a minute to load up a page with those emoticons above the comment box. We're bloggers, we're writers, we rely on the words, text, not some silly pixey pix... You reading this Eric?

Sleetse (CA): Crazy bro'. He has the most twisted sense of humor among my regulars. And he simply cracks me up. He has these dissertations on Japanese women, style, clothes. Totally un-PC, so you are duly warned, but he is really fun to read. He's always hard up for hits, too. So visit him and give him a hit. He claims this is his pic, but don't believe him. I've seen his previous profile pic. Apparently he got hit on by too many guys, so he took it down. Hahahahaha!

Hattori_hanzo and Zettonv (FL): Youngins going to FSU. Hanzo (left) loves movies and reports on them regularly. An admitted navy brat, he's lived all over... as has his brother, Zettonv. He used to use another name on Xanga, but it was too "stupid" (?). What was it? Baca-boy? Hahahaha. He likes to draw on line, so beware... Both of these boys speak and read Japanese fluently. One of them--I forget which--recently took the 2nd Class Japanese proficiency exam and claimed it was a piece of cake (or somehting like that.). Sugeee...

Paikypoo (IL): He isn't young--althought younger than me--but he is strappin'. What is he? 6 feet? That's mighty big for an Asian. He's originally from Texas and he claims its the beef, or something like that. But Paiky's the best. Honest, straight, vulgar. He's a drinker, a smoker, and vulgar. He loves talking about sex and women and relationships with an honesty that hits the mark. Did I mention he can be vulgar? Hahahaha, just right for us rather un-PC guys, that is. He says the things we are too wussy to say in front of women... Keep saying it for us! Oh, yeah, he also works at a bar named Orange in Illinois (Chicago?). Hamamoto and I wanna take a field trip there. If you want to go as well, contact Hamamoto for flight info, accomodations, and rent-a-car. Advanced drink tickets also available. Make checks out to Onigiriman...

Enygma81 (IL): Now on the other side of the specturm... An English major! Graduating soon! Gonna be a teacher... As such, her site is well written, very few typos. Hmmm... But being a teacher, huh? I'm starting to get disillusioned myself, so beware what you wish for. And will you put up a real photo? I was tempted to link your RBJ Forum pic...

SammyStorm (IL): Cool master. His writing is eloquent and he often writes about things that are moving and often profound, but never sappy. I find it really interesting to read. He's also very active at RBJ's Forum. I think the other day, we were playing tag or something... But man is he ugly! Please, Sammy, do something with that profile pic. Get a shave or something. Geez, you look just like a dog! ..... !!!UPDATE!!! Mmh just informed me: THAT IS A DOG! Gyahahahahaha. Man, I swear I couldn't tell.

Barberic_bojo: He's relatively new to me, so I don't have a good read on him yet, but he seems cool. He is definitely a crazy cruiser. I thought I went to a lot a places, but this guy is EVERYWHERE, leaving comments left and right. Man, he must have more time than me. I don't know where he's from. His profile says the Vatican. Hell, I can put down Mecca, but it wouldn't make it so. Are you really in Rome? As in Italy? If so, that's pretty cool. We should all go there and get loaded on chianti and check out the traffic.

ca1b0y (CA): Yohei, like Eric, is new to me. He is looking to move to a new job without upsetting anyone. Apparently he got his current job through some kind of connection, and quitting may disturb someone. But hey, Yohey, it IS your life and you can do what you want... boy, how irresponsible of me...

Anyway, if you visit these guys, click on them from here. If you don't know them, introduce yourself by clicking on their names. They are cool people. tell 'em Onigiriman sent ya'... No, wait! Wait! Depending on who you are, maybe you shouldn't... errrrrrr.

And a fond farewell to Windward_skies. This strapping young Asian specimen will be going home today to Hawaii, before he heads off to study in Japan for the Spring semester. If you read my site, click on his name and wish my Nikkei little bro' in DC a warm bon voyage, especially you ladies. He's so ubu, you'll make him blush! Hahahaahah! (And I will check his site to see who's gone...)

Thursday, December 18, 2003

Grading homestretch...

Okay, I'm almost finished. Maybe I can see Last Samurai this weekend... FINALLY. Finished two classes, Bungo (classical Japanese) and Advanced. Yeah! All that's left is Lit (booooooo!). I think I made Bungo too easy. I should have made it hard like Mattblue's. If a student earned, say, a 79, and I give him a B, s/he'd jump for joy, right? Oh well, second semester is always harder anyway, since we really read ONLY classical stuff. None of this Meiji-fied bungo. This time its the real McCoy! And I'm focusing on poetry. I really need to incorporate my own research into the course, or else I will never get to do my own research in a timely--or even untimely--manner.

Anyway, to pat myself on the back for getting two thirds of the grading done, I'm gonna... ahem... get a drink at the local watering hole...

Man! There seems to be a selection of dump entries lately... from getting caught mid-dump, to not being able to dump at all... Hahahaha. They're all precious. As for Simply_Marie, I will get to your site soon. This grading is keeping me from scrutinzing your site, but not to worry, I will be there shortly.

And a fond farewell to Windward_skies. This strapping young Asian specimen will be going home to Hawaii, before he heads off to study in Japan for the Spring semester. If you read my site, click on his name and wish him a warm bon voyage, especially you ladies. He's such an ubu, you'll make him blush! Hahahaahah! (And I will check his site to see who's gone...)

Wednesday, December 17, 2003

Chatterbox and unwanted popups...

There are a number of sites that use chaterboxe, a program that allows instant comments and conversations to take place on line. I thought it was cool and was gonna add one to my site as well until I realize that they planted unwanted popup ads into the computers of unsuspecting visitors... I don't like popups and so rarely visit the pages of many. Thanks to the "Sites I Read" page, I can read comments and go directly to the comments page to avoid these popups. But still, I occasionally click on pages and get something planted in my computer. The popups from Chatterbox are pretty inocuous compared to some of the really bad stuff like the datamining practiced by many commercial sites, but its still annoying...

Thanks goodness for two different freeware programs. Ad-Aware and Spybots.

Public service announcement: Protect you privacy...
According to Ad-Aware's site: "With its ability to comprehensively scan your memory, registry, hard, removable and optical drives for known datamining, aggressive advertising, and tracking components, Ad-aware will provide the user with the confidence to surf the Internet knowing that their privacy will remain intact."

Indeed, when I first ran this program, I was shocked to find how much crap was sotred in my computer. This program will clean it all up for you. Thanks to Capt.Gaijin for introducing this to me.

Another software is Spybot--Search & Destroy. These guys aren't really into self-promotion, but they were named the Best Spyware of 2003 by CNet. The program will pick up on some of things Ad-Aware does not pick up on, such as applets that embed themselves into your computer. Have you ever clicked onto Internet Explorer and gotten a hompage that was not your default hompage? If so, then you definitely need to get Spybot. It will search these mini-programs that infiltrate you computer and destroy them. There is also an immunization to well known data miners and mining techniques. Thanks to CK for twlling me about this program.

The best thing is that both are free. If you download these program--and you should--be sure to get updates at least once a month; there are always new systems to infiltrate your computer and these programs are diligent in keeping up with them. So keep you computers clean and your privacy intact...

Tuesday, December 16, 2003

Thanks for all the B-day Greetings

I am unworthy...

On emoticons...
There were a few blogs that seem to take forever to load. I think Purin-kun told me that my page took time to load cuz of the music... I have not experienced that problem here or on other sites. But I have had problems with emoticons. There are a number of sites that now feature emoticons on their "Add comments" page, and for some reason, this causes my computer to take a minute or two to load the page, or even freeze sometimes. Okay, I guess its my sucky computer with its itty-bitty RAM. But it is irritating to wait, while I could be reading someone elses blog... Anyway, I'm not asking anyone to change--although I know that mmh took hers off recently (Yeah!). And as for Purin-kun, I will do something with my music to accomodate you. I don't want to take it off completely, but I'm working on a way for those interested to just click on the song they want to hear. That way, they can go to other sites while still listening to the song without remaining on my page... But not until after Christmas, I think. I'm leaving Yamashita Tatsuro's "Christmas Eve" on for a while... I like this song... Reminds me of Christmas in Japan...

Asian blog award revisited...
On an interesting note, I have been getting a number of visitors from which is where they are holding the Asian Blog Awards. SammyStorm was nice enough to nominate me and I am truly flattered, but the minor uproar at RBJ about what defines an "Asian" blog has kinda turned me off. I can kinda see both sides of the argument, but the fact that there has to be an argument at all took the enjoyment out of what should have been some simple fun. But... you can still vote for me... hahahahah. Just kidding....

Monday, December 15, 2003

More about...ME...

Paiky says: too much information! information overload! AGGGGHHHHH!
Okay, maybe its too much, But here's the continuation with shorter answers... but remember, no one is forcing you to read all of it...

LAYER SIX: In the past month have you...
Drank alcohol:
Made Out: None of your business...
Gone on a date: With Musubi-chan
Gone to the mall?: Yeah! That's when I got the dent in my car...
Eaten an entire box of Oreos: Never.
Eaten sushi: Yeah, I had chirashi-zushi at Makoto in DC. It was pretty good, but not as good as the sushi at Sushi Gen in LA. Tell Toyo, the proprietor, I said "hi".
Been on stage: No way...
Been dumped: Not really.
Gone skating: Nope
Gone skinny dipping: Hahahahaha. I wouldn't dare.
Dyed your hair: I live as God made me. I'd never put markings on my body--like tatoos--or extra holes for rings, either. I think God gave me just the right number of holes, and all are functional...
Stolen anything: Gulp...

Played a game that required removal of clothing:
I think almost everyone has played strip poker, no? If you haven't, then you should. Or eve better is Yakyu ken. Hahahaha!
Been trashed or extremely intoxicated: Well, YEAH!
Been caught "doing something": I'm not sure i understand this quesiton.
Been called a tease: I wish...
Gotten beaten up: So many times, I coulnd tell you ...
Shoplifted: Gulp...

LAYER EIGHT: Getting Older
Age you hope to be married:
Been married, twice.
Numbers and Names of Children: One daughter, no names, please...
Describe your dream wedding: A private ceremony with only the essential people in attendance.
How do you want to die: Quickly.
What do you want to be when you grow up: You mean grow up even more? I wanna be known for helping others.
What country would you most like to visit: Right now, Japan, so i could see my daughter...

LAYER NINE: In a girl
Best eye color?:
Best hair color?: Dark Brown or black
Short or long hair: Long
Height: Shorter than me, okay?
Best first date location: Sushi Gen... Good sushi is always a turn on...

LAYER TEN: In The Numbers...
Number of people I could trust with my life:
Two, maybe four...
Number of CD's I own: Not sure, 200? I used to own more than 500 albums. For you youngins, its that black vinyl disc with grooves in it.
Number of piercings: Zero
Number of tattoos: Zero
Number of times my name has appeared in the Newspaper: Four times?
Number of things in my past that I regret: Too many and not enough...

Sunday, December 14, 2003

A list about my favorite subject...ME...

But first about the car: Some have remarked that it looks completely different. Well its the lighting, the first photo was taken on a sunny snowy day. The second on an overcast day. But they are definitely the same car. And for the record its a dark green. CaptGaijin (I didn't know you still read this site) questioned my driving ability. True, my eye situation is not really condusive for driving, but I have been doing it for so long that I can do fairly well even in unfamiliar areas.

Anyway, I haven't done a list lately, and since I've received a couple of e-mails lately asking me about info about ME, so here;s another one--although I'd be the first to admit that I am amazed that there'd be anyone who'd want to know more about a pudgy over-the-hill geezer... Anyway, I found this list on Consummate_Leah's site and stole it. Thanks, Leah.

LAYER ONE: On The Outside
Onigiriman, um, the pic on the right is current, the one on the far right is 8 years and 20 (!) lbs. lighter ago.
Birth date: 12/15/1955, which would make me 48 tomorrow...
Birth place: LA
Current Location: VA
Eye Color: Brown
Hair Color: Black, but really dark brown if you look REAL closely
Height: 5'5.5" on a good day... a REALLY good day. I used to be 5'7" but that was before I started shrinking.
Righty or Lefty: Righty
Zodiac Sign: Sagitarius, Ram (Chinese zodiac)

LAYER TWO: On The Inside
Your heritage:
Shoes you wore today: Skechers; I kinda of like them, they fit my feet very well.
Your weakness: Musubi-chan, beer, any kind of chips, chewy Spree, Tropical Skittles, dark chocolate, pop corn, potato salad, bacon-mushroom-swiss cheese burger. Is there a pattern here? I fail to see any veggies... No wait, I have a weakness for asparagus and spinach. But no fruits, and certainly no dairy products.
Your fears: Being unable to support my family
Your perfect pizza: There is not such thing to a lactose intolerant slob such as me. A cheeseless pizza, you say? I've tried one, and that's far--way far--from perfect.
Goal you'd like to achieve: Stop procrastinating and get my work done. Gotta publish. It's actually mostly written, all I have to do is put the chapters together... This relates to "Your Fears"....

LAYER THREE: Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow
Your most overused phrase on AIM:
Your thoughts first waking up: I'm screwed. See above.
Your best physical feature: This is a toughy, even for a narcissistic punk like me. Well, I know its not this six-pack of a stomach I have; as in a six-pack of lumpy soft dinner rolls. Yuck. Anyway, many of you have seen me or my photo. Maybe you can tell me what my "best physical feature" is... Woah, don't all rush to click on the "add comments" link at once now... (Actually, to ask you to tell me is pretty narcissistic; maybe even more so, no? Haha, but tell me anyway...)
Your bedtime: Anytime between 2AM and 6AM.
Your most missed memory: Just being with my mom and my daughter.

Pepsi or Coke:
Coke--diet, caffeine-free Coke.
McDonald's or Burger King: Well, they're both pretty bad, but I would have to say Wendy's bacon burger.
Single or group dates: Definitely single. More romantic... and controllable.
Adidas or Nike: Adidas Superstar Hi-tops. I love these shoes. I would never wear Nike. Why would I wear shoes that advertise a millionaire--Michael Jordan jumping with legs spread? In fact, why would anyone wear clothes that advertised the maker? I never wear Ralph Lauren Polo, Tomy Hilfiger. I would never use a Louis Vitton or Gucci. Why would anyone wanna wear something that said GAP or *gasp* fcuk? Will someone shoot the genioius who thought up that name? These companies would have to pay me. Why would anyone wanna be someone's billboard sherpa for free? Now a distinct design is good. It shows originality and imagination. Go Adidas.
Lipton Ice Tea or Nestea: I flipped a coin and it was Lipton.
Chocolate or vanilla: CHOCOLATE! Dark, bitter chocolate. No milk choco for me...
Cappuccino or coffee: Coffee, black. And lots of it.

No, but I used to. I've been smokeless for 3 years. Read "Addictions" in an earlier post below.
Cuss: Not as much as I used to. I used to sound like the proverbial truck driver. I worked at a factory and cussing was de rigour for "guys". I go back to visit occasionally and think, "Did I actually talk like this?" I mean, fuckin' A. Damn straight I did. Every fuckin' word out of my fuckin' mouth was modified by a bitchin' expletive. If I didn't utter a fuckn' "bleepity bleep" at least once every mother fuckin' sentence, I woulda shit in my pants and felt like a dickless wonder. And in case you are wondering, yes, I actually did use to talk just like that. Can you imagine? (O_o) Dayum. I musta been one stupid fuck with shit for brains.
Sing: Yeah, I love to sing. I once won a contest and got a free trip to Japan. Not that I was any good, the competition was bad. Hahaha. Re: NLUTE in the JA Journal for more detail.
Take a shower everyday: Um... no. I mean I shower, when I go out--to work, dinner, play--or when guests come over or when I do extraordinarily dirty work around the house. But in the spirit of full disclosure, I must admit that I don't shower when I'm just hanging around the house, much to the chagrin of Musubi-chan. She always tells me how long its been: Bless him father for he has sinned, it has been X days and Y hours since his last shower... Is this honesty thing getting outa hand?
Have a crush(es): HAD. More than once, twice, three times a la.... oops. sorry. Didn't we all have crushes? Usually with older women? No wait, I forgot that the cool people never had crushes. *rolls eyes*
Think you've been in love: I know I've been in love, and still am. I used to think that love was something concocted by authors and artists who wrote about them in stories, movies or songs. Well, I learned different when I met Musubi-chan. Okay, laugh if you want. but its true. Really corny, but true.
Like(d) high school: No, did not. But I liked my high school years 16-18: that's "years-old", NOT 1916-18, dummy. (talking to my imaginary blogger friend). This was when I was in a band. Re: NLUTE. Photo is when I was 18 back in 1974...
Want to get married: Done it twice... But the second is the winner.
Believe in yourself: Used to... lately? hmmm....
Get motion sickness: Nah, not really, except on the ride Free Fall. That made me pretty woozy. Does that count?
Think you're attractive: Yes, but for different reasons that the "Physical feature" above. At 5'5.5" and nearing 50, I am not what you would consider "a specimen". But I think if once engaged in conversation, I can make myself attractive on different levels. Unfortunately for me, it has often turned out that height does matter to many women. "Oh, the guy must be two inches taller than me" (where do they come up with figures like that?) or "I would never go out with someone shorter than me." And they say men are shallow. Geez, at least we admit it...
Think you're a health freak: No. I believe health is important. I run when I can, and lift weights to keep up muscle mass, but I consume potato chips and beer witout regard to caloric intake. Re: "Weakness" above.
Get along with your parents: Yes.
Like thunderstorms: No, thunder and lightening frighten me. It's the things you can't control that scare me. In LA, there weren't many storms. In Japan neither. But here in Virginia, they have some monster thunder storms. And it pours like it's nobody's business. Speaking of which, it is 4:45AM and there's about 3 inches of new snow outside...
Play an instrument: Hmmm... I played the piano in a band, but I played by ear then. I never took a lessons until later. I always wanted to play in a piano recital, so I practiced my brains out for two years and finally got the opportunity to play in a recital--Old Black Magic: Oscar Peterson arrangement. I got good reviews from the audience and my teacher. Satisfied, I retired. I also took violin lessons for a couple of years, but if I played one now, it would sound like a cat screaming. I can play a few chords on a guitar, but then who can't do that?

Cont'd tomorrow

Saturday, December 13, 2003

Car fixed...

Yeah, my cars fixed. As I noted earllier, my expereince with Geico has been pretty good. I think Eric said he was paying outrageous prices for insurance with the same company. Well, its pretty good for this old man. Anyway, here's a before and after photo.

You can see the dent in the left very clearly and the broken taillight. On the right is the fixed fender. They just popped it out and smothed it I suppose, but they did a pretty good job. If they were gonna do such a great job, I shoulda had them detail the car as well. I have a few small dings around the car that coulda used some work. Does anyone know how much detailing usually costs?

Anyway, something at work got me a little miffed and so I went to drown myself in beer last night... yeah, yeah, I know, I don't really need to make an excuse to tie one on. I'll drink because its raining, or because the sky is blue, or because the sun set in the west today. Hahahaah! So I have a monster hangover this morning. Later, today, we went shopping and we bought a leaf (?) of aloe. Musubi-chan peeled it and took the meat of it and made me take a tablespoon of it! Yuck, it is sooooooooooooo bitter. I can still taste it--Winward_skies was IMing me at that moment and will attest to my reaction...

But guess what? no more headache, no more upset stomach! Wow, this thing really works. Aloe is not only for the hair and skin, it's good for you innards as well. A panacea if ever there was one. Now it could only fix the scar on my right cornea. Oh yeah, are there any opthamologists out there? What do you do with a scarred cornea--it's about half the size of a grain of rice--short of a transplant? I once had laser surgery to remove it, but had to take steroids to prevent the scar from trying to heal itself--by healing itself, the scar reformed and its exactly like have wax paper over one eye. I can see light through the eye and some color, but basically everything is totally opaque. I know! Why dont' you try it. Tape wax paper over one eye/one side of your eye-glasses, and try to function for a few minutes: read the newspaper, watch TV, go up and down stairs--ooo, scary. I have virtually no depth perception so be careful. Ha. If anyone actually does try it for fun, let me know what its like. I've had this for so long, that I don't know how drastic the difference is. And oh yeah, I'm not tryig to garner some kind of sympathy, all in the spirit of total disclosure, something Paiky would understand... Hahahaah.

Not-so-Public Service Announcement

Rice Bowl Journals
It has occured to me that most of the hits we get on RBJ are from strangers. Do they block certain IPs? I'm not sure. But apparently they clear the number every week--usually Friday, but this week it was Thursday night. If we click on each others sites maybe we can get on the first page and if we do, "strangers" will also click on our sites out of curiosity. I have notice that when I'm in the top 20 on the first day, I usuallystay in the top 20. When I'm not, then I dwell in the unnoticed area between 100-300. Another thing I notcied is that if you don't have a photo on you r profile--Taku, I'm talking to you!--then you seem to be ignored by the counter...

Anyway, what do you say we try an experiment and click on each other for the first few days next week, Probably Friday, maybe Thursday... and see how we fare in the top 20. I nkow that Marie is not so hot on the idea of "hits", but lets consider this an "experiment", okay? As far as I know, the people who come here regularly and are on RBJ are: mmh, Sleetse, Zettonv, Hattori_hanzo, Paikypoo, Enygma81, SammyStorm, Barberic_bojo, ca1b0y. If you click these names it will take you to RBJ and give these guys "hits". Don't forget me too. Like I said, this is not a way to get a whole bunch of hits, but it is an experiment to see if being in the top 20 early will affect how your overall hit total will be affected. I get the feeling that some of the popular people hit each other to make sure they are always on top. As Kyzer (when are you gonna start posting?) pointed out, they are all pretty cute looking girls. Well, I say that Marie and Anna are pretty cute too--as are we guys--and we deserve to be in the top twenty once in a while... So if you're game, click on these names often and let's see if anyting happens...I will post these names again next week when RBJ renews the numbers. Like I said, it's an experiment and done all in good fun... So let's Check it out.

And again, thanks to those of you visiting the Rice Bowl Journal by clicking on my icon. I've received comments and words of encouragement from RiceBowlers, as well. And don't forget to tell me if you decided to join RBJ because you saw it here first!

Friday, December 12, 2003

Life and aging 3...

Listening to: "Big Yellow Taxi" (the original) by Joni Mitchell.

Here's the coninuation of yesterdays questions:

1) What's life like at your age?
See 12/8 post.

2) Has your perception of life changed?
See yesterday, 12/9

3) Whats important to you now?
... What's important now? There are too basic answers: One is simple, the other is deep, honest. Lets start with simple: The most important thing to me now is my immediate "family"--my wife, stepson, daughter, dad, sister, brother, friends. Sounds corny, doesn't it? But I have learned that as a human being--I like to think of myself as rather average, normal--the degree of importance has a great deal with the ratio between physical distance and the number of individuals involved. When I was 18 and went to Japan for the first time, I had no friends over there, just unfamiliar relatives. As a result, those most important to me were people who were very far away, mom, dad, siblings and close friends from HS. However, as my circle of friends increased, the "formula" for determining the degree of importance changed.

For example, while my brother is and always has been important to me, I rarely see him or talk to him except when I'm in LA, and I now find some friends more "important" than him. Don't get me wrong. I would jump on the first plane to LA if I thought he needed me, but under normal circumstances I think of my friends before I think of him. At this very moment, the most important thing is my immediate family--wife and stepson. Next would be my sister. Then dad, and then a few of my UCLA buddies, and of course my students. This hierarchy of importance is based on emotional attachment, but if I consider how much time and effort I expend, then the top spots would be occupied by my wife, my students, my stepson, my sister. This has to do with physical closeness: I'm with my students all the time. However, the emotional investment is rather lower for a variety of reasons: who among you have thought about being close to or hanging with your professor? Very few I would wager, which is understandable, given the age difference and the divergence of interests. Indeed, virtually every student who has come my way has more or less disappeared after they graduated. I must point out that the last class, 2003, has been in touch more than others, and a couple even liked to "hang" when they were students and now--to an extent; this pleased me more than they probably know, hehehe. I love to know what they are doing. But this is mostly due to this Xanga thing--Aha! A tangible reason for Xanging. In any event, most students don't keep in touch until that moment when they want a letter of rec. Well, that's okay too. It is nice to think that they still look to me for something. And I am always happy to accomodate them. There are, however, 3-4 (out of huncreds) who keep in touch, and for them I have a lot of appreciation.

But, of course, this is no a competition. And I didn't mean to go off on a tangent like that about my students. Although they are an important part of my life, which means, I suppose, I consider my job/career important. Hmm... this is not what I wanted to say...

No wait, it IS what I wanted to say. Because this has to do with the deep, honest answer. If you're reading this far (and please tell me), you should know that ultimately the most important thing is myself. I know, it sounds very selfish and self-serving. And you're righrt, it is! But I feel that I need to have an appreciation for myself, a sense of importance in order to--are you ready?--help others. Yes. I get off helping others. And I think all of us should continue to develop a similar attitutde. It is two way street, a world in which nothing is stable; everything is in flux, affecting each other constantly. (I talk about this ad nauseum in my Lit. class.) Does this make sense? I feel good about me, so that allows me to feel confident in helping my students--study, advice about the future, etc--they show me their appreciation, which fuels my good feeling about myself, and allows me to feel confident in talking with others about problems, maybe those who are not my students--like some on Xanga? And the cycle continues and expands. So feeling good about oneself, feeling confident, considering yourself an important component of your own life is not a bad thing; indeed, I think it is an essential component in growing and ultimately expanding into society and helping others as yourself...

Hmm... the second answer sounds just as hokey as the first one..Hah!

Anyway, thanks to those who have responded and showed some sort of interest in what I have to say. What do you guys think? Are you important to yourself? Or do you feel sorry for yourself? Do you feel the victim? Well, we all feel that way at times, but don't let it consume you. It will pass in time. Feel good about yourself, and tell those who make you feel bad to screw themselves. Feeling good about yourself will lead to better things... Trust me... or not, hahahaha.

Let's see. If you've read this far, then you must be bored, so here are a couple of sites to bore you even more:
Snowglobe: Put the cursor of the golbe and give it a shake.
Wrath of God: Play God and strike down the Aliens and cows? It's pretty sick...

Thursday, December 11, 2003

Asian Blog Award

This Asian blog award thing is turning into a major argument centered on the issue of what consititutes the use of claiming a blog to be "Asian". It's kinda rediculous. This is a comment I posted on RBJ's Forum earlier today:
"This is so amazing... We have a non-Asian in Asia claiming to have an Asian blog, an Asian in the US claiming that it's a non-Asian blog located in Asia... I'm JA and have what? An American blog? Absolutely, because I was born in the US and am culturally American... But then I am culturally Japanese too, as I have been influenced by my parents. So what does that make my blog? Japanese-American? Probably. Asian-American? Partially--I can't claim to represent other Asians. Japanese? No. I'm JA, not J. Asian? Again, no. I am AA not Asian. Some may think I am full of it, an Asian/Jap-American who has lost his identity. Well, I speak near-native Japanese, have lived in Japan 10 years in total, I have studied Japan--East Asian culture (MA), Jap Lit (PhD)--and so I think I know a little bit about Japan and Asia. But the more I study it, the more I realize that I am not one of them. So how do I categorize my blog? And how can anyone promote a blogsite on the Internet as being catagorized in any country? Isn't the Internet kinda borderless, despite where you live?

"So this is much ado about nothing, as far as I can tell. Let's all chill a bit. If someone feels good about being in Asia, that's not necessarily a bad thing. To quote that famous philosopher, Rodney King: Can we all just get along?"

Can only Asians have Asian blogs? Can a non-Asian have an Asian blog if he lives in Asia? What are your thoughts?

Okay, I Am Now Officially Freaked Out... : updated :
Yesterday, I was at the RBJ Forum (click me, click me, hahaha), and read an entry that mentioned the Asian Weblog Award. How quaint. I guess for Asians to feel empowered, we have to create our own awards now. Oh well, everything starts from baby steps, and that's the reality. But, imagine my surprise when I read the following from Zettonv this morning:

read sammy storms xanga...i voted for you haha

Huh?!? So I went to Asia Weblog Awards 2003: Best Japanese Blog and CRAP! There's Onigiriman. Who the devil nominated me? Ok, ok, so I went yesterday and saw my name was not on the the list and for a moment--a very brief, miniscule moment--thought that I'd nominate myself. But thought better of it. That would be the ultimate NARCISSISTIC act. I always say that this Xanga thing is an act of narcissism, we all talk about ourselves, right? But to think that one has an award-worthy blog is the zenith of self-love... Damn, why do I tell you guys everything?!?

Bottom line: I am flattered. I currently have 4 votes. Hahahaha. Well, I'm no polititcian but I think I'll vote for myself now. Anyone wanna vote for me, I ain't gonna stop you, but if you wanna nominate someone else, you should... Just don't tell me... Hahahaha. Kidding, kidding!!!

Anyway, who nominated me? Well, I've just learned that thanks goes to SammyStorm. Thanks Sammy... Y'know with you, and Nefarious (who I haven't heard from in a while) and Enygma (whose as tall as I am) and Fooky (and his band) and etc. I really should go to Chicago... or Illinois in general. We can all go to Orange, introduce ourselves to Paiky to get discounted drinks and get $hitf@ced. Hahaha. Now that's a plan if I ever heard one! Chicago in winter. Hey Paiky, can you make Irish coffee so we don't freeze our you-know-what's off.

Life and aging 2...

Here's the continuation of yesterdays questions:

1) What's life like at your age?
See yesterday's post.

2) Has your perception of life changed?
Yes, my perception has changed to a high degree. Of course, this should be true of almost everyone. And it has nothing to do with getting older. As we live our lives, and experience more things, we change. Everything that enters our lives--love, hate, happiness, sadness, birth, death, new school, old friends--affects us, changes us and we are influenced and in turn influence those around us. Perhaps understanding this basic--almost too obvious--situation is the most important thing I have learned to this point. As a result, I now have a tendency to either think things through very carefully since I know what I say or do will affect others, or I will throw caution to the wind and say what I want--but in the knowledge that it may affect others positively or negatively.

There is a major drawback to this. When I get drunk--like, all the time--I'll say things without thinking about it. Now, we have perhaps all experienced something similar--whether it be drug or alcohol induced. Unfortunately, since I have know that what I said may affect others, when I sober up, I sometimes go through an incredibly horrendous guilt trip... no, more like a journey sometimes. Have you ever felt bad enough to want to crawl into a little hole? I sometimes will stand in the shower and cringe in the corner, lightly knocking my head against the wall, muttering alternately, "Why did I say that?" and "I'll never drink again." Hah! We all know how long that lasts...

Anyway, my perception of life has changed. For me, I take things much more lightly. I don't make such a big deal over anything anymore, because things change so often and frequently that getting into a huff about anything becomes pointless after awhile. Lakers don't reach the championship series? So what. They'll reach it again soon. Bruins get their butts kicked by SC? Crap, this is definitely harrd to take, but got a roll with the punches. Besides there are far more important issues than sports. The death of my mom a couple of years ago really made me realize that some of the things I placed emphasis on--money, career--are ephemeral. Can't take it with you, and they are the least important things when you know you're going to die. It was an eye opener.

Hope you're taking notes, whoever you are...

3) Whats important to you now?
Day after tomorrow...

Tuesday, December 09, 2003

Once upon a time...

I was in the San Jose airport lobby carrying my then 2-year old daughter, when an old white lady came up to me and marveled: "You Oritentals sure have the cutest babies."

Now I had two possible responses floating in my head:
1) "She's cute cuz she's MY baby, not an 'Oriental' baby."
2) "Yeah, good thing. Otherwise she'd grow up to look like you..."

But I was such a wimp. All I did was say, "Thank you."

What would you have said? Is there a polite but snappy response to let her know that what she said was insulting? Are any of you still confronted with this kind of backhanded compliments? Share your thoughts...

Geez, its been over three months since I've written an installment in the Onigiriman saga, "Not Living Up To Expectation". I got to 1979 when I went to Japan and discovered that I was not Japanese... no wait. I already knew I wasn't Japanese, I discovered I was American... yeah. Anyway, as I've written before, the years 1977-80 are pretty much a blur. I think it was a combination of being excessively drunk, having virtually no direction or understanding of myself and doing absolutely nothing worthy or significant to premanently occupy a portion of my brain. When I think about it now, it was a pretty sad portion of my life... well maybe except for the singing contest...

Before school start next week, i will try to sort out some of the events and maybe put it down if possible... I guess it was too late for Piratechan... :(

Life and aging...

A reader sent me an e-mail asking me some pretty heavy questions. I considered writing back but instead decided to post it here: She asked three questions:

1) What's life like at your age?
This is a very subjective question, regardless of how general it sounds. Life at my age is different for everyone. But for me, it is both satisfying and frustrating. It is satisfying because I have been able to do what I have always wanted to do. I went to high school and performed poorly--I couldn't even get into a third tier university with my grades. But was able to pull myself together and ultimately went to college, grad school and finally a Ph.D. I developed a love for Japan and Japanese and was lucky enough to live in Japan for almost seven years during the 90s--All told, I have been in Japan about ten years including extended visits and study abroad. I got a job in a profession I wanted, and given the competitiveness of the field, I was lucky to get it on my first try. I have been lucky to work with great colleagues and the kids I teach--especially the majors--have been a Godsend: They study hard, don't bitch too much, and remain--for the most part--successful after graduating. I'm currently married and own a modest but comfortable home and, of course, cable Internet and sattelite TV. Haha...

There are and have been, of course, many frustrating aspects of my life. But these have mostly been self-inflicted, so please don't think that I am trying to blame anyone else. Since I was a goof off for many years before returning to college with a serious attitude, I fell far behind the "success curve" that many of my friends were following. They had cars, houses, money, something that I too wanted to enjoy but did not have the job, money, or career to accomplish what they did. Of course, I have been told by more than a couple of old friends that they envy my path, that they would rather have taken life at a slower pace, making career choices that please the soul rather than the pocket book. I will tell them that I am pleased, that I am doing exactly what I want to do. But my life is certainly simpler than theirs. I have no stock portfolio, I don't vacation in Europe, I can't lavish my wife with jewelry or fancy dinners, I don't own two cars--damn, the car I have, I inherited. So I do tell them I often wonder what it would have been had I been a glob (Good little Oriental boy; read NLUTE on the JA Journal for more... what a plug!). As a glob, I would have studied hard in HS, gone straight to college and started working right away or right after grad school, like most of my classmates. But I had to take my own path; to some it seems the harder path, but to me it was the easier path as I have been able to do what I wanted.

There have been other frustrating events: divorce, living away from my daughter, and of course the current circumstances at work. These porblems are self-inflicted as I stated and so cannot bitch about them too loudly... just loud enough.

So now that I'm here, two years shy of the half century mark, I have to say that life is fine for me at my age. I have a job that I love, a mortgage, a family, household responsibilities (electricity, water, phone, shoveling snow!). I am satisfied with what I have done and what I have accomplished. And in fact I still have things to look forward to. Maybe someday publishing the book that is keeping me from getting promoted at work, or becoming a chef... That would be fun, too.

2) Has your perception of life changed?
Tomorrow, time permiting...

3) Whats important to you now?
Day after tomorrow...

Monday, December 08, 2003

My Addictions...

There are, I suppose, different levels of addictions. A recent hardcore addiction is Xanga, "the weblog community". I can't go a day without writing an entry, editing, reading other peoples blogs. It is kinda scary these days. Another hardcore addiction would be chips: potato chips, corn chips, Fritos. ANYTHING. Its bad. With all the carbohydrates I put into my body, I'll probably get type 2 diabetes before I turn 50... wait, that's only two years (and one week) a away! I also like fruit flavored chewy candy and was in love wth Skittles for awhile, but my new fling is chewy Spree. Oh yeah, and lest I forget, beer...

Previously, I was a hardcore Marlboro Red, two-packs a day smoker. I started at 14 and continued for the next 30 years. I must have black lungs. At around 34, I cut down my cigaretters by eliminating the "circumstantial" smokes, the ones that I smoked without thinking: coffee-smoke, driving-smoke, after meal-smoke, waiting for someone-smoke. I let myself smoke only when I craved the nicotine, and cut down to about 4 a day, but since it was to feed a craving, I just couldn't quit. I craved the nicotine and I continued smoking for 10 years...

But I finally quit when I remarried and have been smokeless for 3 years. So I suppose there is hope for me with this Xanga thing...

Sunday, December 07, 2003

The Value of E-props...

The other day, BarbEric_Bojo was talking about e-props and how great it would be if we could use them as currency. That's an interesting thought, especially since I had never even thought that much about e-props. Like Eric--or should I say Bojo--suggests: Can't do anything with them, so they are ultimately valueless. Most people give me two e-props and I give everyone else two, as well. I think that's because, conversely, we actually don't place a lot of value in them and simply submit our comments with the default number of e-props: two.

This, of course, made me think of those who give only one e-prop. To give only one, the commenter is taking the time to select the number of props, which means the person is actually giving thought to the number of props, which in turn suggests they are giving them value. Which is okay if you're into that kind of thing. Someone once said he did it just to stand out. And that's as good a reason as any, I suppose, if you're the kind that looks to see who gave you how many props... But I do admit that I look to see the number of comments I get. It tells me that the reader was motivated, tickled or pissed off enough to say something about what I wrote...

Ah, but who cares? E-props to everyone!