Thursday, March 31, 2005

Five more weeks!


hen I was an undergraduate, I used to like going to my professors' offices and talking. I would always have a legitimate reason for going--grades, questions about the subject in class--but if the conversation veered toward non-academic topics, I was more than happy to shoot the breeze. Personally, it was interesting to talk to those older than me, and hear their perspective of life. I mean, experience should count for something, don't you think?

This did not happen very often, unfortunately. My professors ran their life very professionally, and office hours were strictly maintained. It sometimes had the feel of a doctor's office: The Professor is IN/OUT. Perhaps because of this, there was always a distinct barrier between us. Not that this is a bad thing. A distinct border makes life easier: I knew where I stood and consequently I knew what I could say, what I could get away with, and what I couldn't.

But as a student, I always appreciated those professors who treated me with some respect. This doesn't mean that I expected him to shake my hand or be my best buddy, but I did enjoy those professors who would talk to me honestly and openly, giving me a little time to talk about anything and everything. And it was a bonus when he or she would manifest a personal interest in me: Did you have a nice spring break? How are your other classes going? What are you doing this summer?

As this is what I enjoyed from my professors as a twenty-something, this is what I try to provide to my students. I am interested in their day. I ask how their weekend went. I laugh at myself, much to their amusement. Perhaps I go a bit overboard at times. I am willing to talk about virtually anything, and at length. Do my students enjoy this or appreciate this? Am I going to far? Perhaps blurring the line between respect and familiarity, hopefully in a good way, but maybe to detrimental effect (READ: taking someone for granted)? These are, of course, questions only they can answer. I can only teach as I see fit. I am human, too, and will react predictably--to a degree--to certain stimuli.

Anyway, back to grading for me. From illness (twice), to INS, to a heavy teaching load (Do any of you college students know a professor who teaches five courses in one semester?), and now my allergies are kicking in: This has been the semester from Hell...

I just hope to survive it.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Mom and Sushi


as it really been three years? It's been that long since my mother died of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. I won't bore you with the details, but you can read a bit more as well as an amusing story I wrote last year commemorating her death that partially explains my weird sense of humor.

Be that as it may...

My mother and I were very close. Sometimes I wonder if I suffered from what the Japanese call mazakon, which is short for "mother complex." I admit I relied on her a lot. I mean, I did my own laundry, could cook when I had to, and had lots of girlfriends, some of whom I wouldn't/couldn't introduce to her. But she was always the one I turned to when I needed to discuss problems and ask for advice. We also did lots of things together. We went to Dodger games together and we went to eat sushi together.

My first introduction to "real" sushi was in 1972. My mother had been working at the Consulate General of Japan since 1968 and with this job she had attained a degree of financial independence and a vast knowledge of the ins-and-outs of Lil' Tokyo. I went to see her for lunch one day, and she asked me if I waned to eat at a "sushi bar".

"A sushi bar? What's that?"

She assured me it was good food, but all I could imagine was a bar with wine glasses hanging overhead, rows of liquor lined up in front of a mirror on the wall, and a fountain where a bartender jerked soda and water to mix with the alcohol he served. I soon learned that the word bar had more than one definition.

She took me to a place called Tokyo Kaikan in J-Town, where a chef named Toyo--now the owner of Sushi Gen in Honda Plaza--"tended" bar. I was totally blown away. Back then, sushi usually meant inarizushi (footballs) or futomaki (tires). And the image of raw fish was basically limited to maguro (tuna). But on my maiden voyage to a sushi bar, I experienced the wonders of hirame (halibut) and iwashi (sardines) and suzuki (sea bass). I didn't know that sushi could be so wonderous. After that, we often went to eat together. When I started working, I tried to pay as often as I could--what better way to pay back a lifetime of being nurturing. The last time I got to go with her was in December 2001.

I rarely get to go back to J-Town and eat sushi, but when I do I try to visit Toyo at Sushi Gen. He always treats me to a sake in memory of mom.

Monday, March 28, 2005

How closely do you read Onigiriman?

16The Last Super Power80
17a famaliar stranger80
20christine jiao70
31Mephisto Dont Know S#*!60
48The Water Jar40
This proved to be kinda interesting. Fuafuahamu is a student of mine and obviously knows me very well. As cute as she may be, this kinda scares me. But even scarier is gyjcwang. Dude, you only know me through Xanga, so you must be reading every one of my entries--which is really flattering--or you are one lucky son of a buck. And detachable, baby! Your one mistake was a careless one, right? Oh well, almost 100%.

There were a number of people who put in names that I don't recognize: kat (jammkat?), Nanana, J, Sinji.

DaddyLike: I got 7/10. I think I know way too much about you and that's quite disturbing to me.
O-man: Sorry to disturb you, but as you can see, there are at least seven more who should be even more disturbed than you...

Eechim: 3/10 - i suck...
O-man: Not exactly how I would characterize you.

Mr_Mephisto: Nice quiz...I would like to add though that I am Quiz Master, because I am The Most Bored at Work Champion and was the 1st tp stumble across this lovely quiz-makin-website, which fellow KCGW members and Yamagata Bored-Has-Come-To-Have-A-New-Meaning JETs have started to learn to abuse as well. =)
O-man: Okay, okay! I always give credit where credit is due. Although I'm not sure if being the most bored at work champion is worth getting credit for.

Purin_kun: What? You hate insects more than rodents? What about squirrels? I think I deserve a 9/10. PS - Squirrels are rodents, right?
O-man: Yes, squirrels are rodents and I hate squirrels, but I hate squirrels because they caused over $500 worth of damage to my house, those dirty little buggers. But I truly hate insects and you would know this had you read this. So live with the grade you got.

takunishi79: 60%. That's still passing. HAHAHA
O-man: Which school do you go to?

Jerjonji: 60%... and i knew those wrong ones- i just! fun!
O-man: Egads, you're as bad as my students. "I knew those wrong ones." Likely story.

meawkitty: eeeeh? i got a 20... and I've only been to your site twice, this is the second time so I guess that explains it!! lucky you, I don't think I've ever gotten featured haven't...and have a wife? you're married? and a man? or are you a girl? *contemplates this information and has a brain overload* sorry, wired, and tired, not a good combination. YOUR A COLLEGE PROFESSOR?!
O-man: Hello there. You're a new subscriber, right? 3/23 if I'm not mistaken. Welcome to the O-man's site. I'm not sure what brought you here or why you decided to subscribe, but I'm happy to have ya'. Anyway, I'm not sure what the criteria for featured content is, because it is not just the number of comments or e-props--althought that is part of the equation I'm sure. This was the first time in about a year and its not a big deal, I think. I got a lot of hits from people I don't know, and so there is little or no thrill in that. I want people to come to this site cuz they wanna read what I write, not because of some random link on Featured Content. Although I think I have a couple of faithful subscribers who found me that way, so I shouldn't be dismissive of it... And yes, I'm married, which explains the fact that I have a wife. And I am a "man". I am not Onigiriwoman. And I teach Japanese language and literature in college. Wanna take a class?

aznquarter: do you like half and half in your coffee? cuz i got 50% =P
O-man: I'm lactose intolerant but in your case I take some half and half.

burningsecrets: I got a 40! WAUUUUUUUH! I shudda used my first instincts all the way..
O-man: Yes, you could do worse than relying on your first instincts... like relying on my instincts. Heheheheheheh

inscrutable_soul: I got an 80, which is not so bad for guessing on half of the questions! Hope you and your wife are enjoying the weekend.
O-man: Yes, not bad, but you should be studying for these quizzes. Hope you aren't guessing on your quizzes at school.

Anyway, you can click here and still Take the O-man Quiz. Not that it would fundamentally alter your experience on Xanga or anything, but it will indicate how intently you read this site--or any other Xanga site perhaps?--because every answer can be found in previous posts, and if you've got a good memory or have had the time and inclination to read my old post--the more popular ones can be found at the JAJournal and some of the newer ones (like DKLA) at my "under construction" beta site--then you have a good chance of doing well... Crap, what a run-on sentence...

Have a good week everyone.

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Do you know the O-man?


o commemorate my 50,000th hit, I have created a quiz about my favorite subject, ME. Narcissism knows no bounds. If you have read my entries for a while and with a modicum of interest, I think you should be able to score a 100%.

Click here to Take my Quiz! and then Check out the Scoreboard! Be sure to let me know what you get...

A special thanks to cgran for hooking me up with the quiz.

By the way, I'm still waiting for Ms/Mr. 50,000.

Friday, March 25, 2005

With Appreciation

Featured Content
MariaClara 10:24 AM
Prep2Punkd 2:25 PM
R0CKiiN_STiiL3TT0S 11:56 AM
Onigiriman 11:57 AM
I_Cross_My_Heart_and_Hope_to 3:04 PM
more featured content


gain, thanks for all your kind words of support. I believe that we will get through this mess that I guess I made...

A side effect: All the comments and e-props you gave me placed me somewhere I haven't been on for a while: Featured Content. Of course, I can't brag about the numbers of which some can boast--tons of comments, hundreds of e-props--but it was nice to find myself there with my own modest numbers provided generously by you guys.

50,000 Hits

Being on Featured Content had an unexpected side-effect: I surpassed 50,000 hits before I realized it. Normally, I don't get a whole lot of hits. I average around seventy to eighty a day. There are those who get a lot of hits and have hit 50G with relative ease, but I never dreamed that I would hit it before my 50th birthday with about nine months to spare. When I first signed on to Xanga, I did so at the insistence of Mr_Mephisto, who went to Japan to teach and wanted to keep in touch through blogging. I thought it was innocent enough, and I thought it might be fun to try something I had only heard of in passing.

I started out writing about issues that I had a passion for: Being JA, baseball, literature. But somewhere along the line, I started to write about myself, as well. This is probably the my narcissistic side rearing it's ugly head for all to see. Ugh... But I figure some of you who have been reading me for over a year know me as well as anyone, even though you may not actually know who I am--although I know some of you have Googled me and found out exactly who I am...

But I'm so freakin' addicted now, I don't know what to do...

Anyway, 50G... Yeah, so I was kind of excited to be approaching this magic number, and wanted to see who number 50,000 would be, but because I was on Featured Content, I was getting hits so fast that I surpassed the milestone before I knew it! Truth be told, I got about 675 hits on Wednesday, which is about 600 more than usual. Now mind you, I'm not trying to brag. I mean, get this: Of these extra 600 visitors, four unknowns left comments. Hmm, lets see, that's like 0.6%? Hahahahhha. Lets me know how interesting my site is to the everage Xangan, I suppose, which really make me appreciate you regulars.

But what really bugged me was the fact that I couldn't monitor who might be number 50,000. I mean, that was something I was looking forward to. However, thanks to Sitemeter, I was able to backtrack and got the IP address of Mr./Ms. 50,000. Now, I may or may not know this person, but here's a brief description:

  • S/he is a periodic visitor here, but usually gets here by Googling onigiriman.
  • S/he lives in the Eastern Standard Time zone.
  • S/he surfs the net on Optimum Online.
  • S/he uses Firefox to surf.
  • Her/his IP address is 68.XXX.XX.

Does this description fit you? If so, how about sending me an email? I'm not here to expose ya' but I must admit I am curious. You can confirm your identity by filling in the rest of the above IP address.

Anyway, whoever this person is, thanks for stopping by as the 50,000th visitor.

And thanks to everyone else as well.
All of you have made my Xanga experience a great one and I truly appreciate it.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

I'm in a holding pattern

Much of my future will be determined in the next two days... Why am I so stupid? I'll explain soon... someday... maybe... sorta...

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Senryu topic: Forget

Since this is a long post with all your poems, I'll leave it right here for a couple of days. I also noticed that I'm approaching 50G on my site meter. I figure it'll take a bit more than a week to get there. If you are number 50,000, let me know, okay?

Everyone have a nice weekend.

Forget the roses
and the fancy meal, would you?
Dine on me, lover.

by CazzaC

First impression: Racey. Technical foul: None. Poet's Remark: Valentine. Comments: Woah, baby. What a suggestive senryu this is... It certainly captures a moment and the image is... Whew! Is it getting hot in here or what?

soda left on top
the owner drives away quickly
not the baby this time

by jerjonji

First impression: Say what?!? Technical foul: One too many syllables in the second and third line. Comments: Well, no one said getting exactly 5-7-5 syllables would be easy. But seriously, this senryu is kind of scary. Leaving a soda on the top of you car and driving away is a funny scene, but a baby?!? "This time"? You mean this happened before? *shudder* It's almost too scary to imagine.

Painful Letters, Gifts -
Boxed, put out of sight, buried;
Finally, it's done.

by SleepingCutie

First impression: I'm cryin'... Technical foul: Poet's Remark: A suitable senryu, perhaps, to the upcoming romantic holiday? =) I write better when the subject matter is depressing. Either that or the material seems to flow better when there is some sort of angst involved. Even though the word "forgotten" is not mentioned, hopefully it is evoked by my humble offering of a senryu, Sensei! And with this submission, I will join the elite ranks of those who have completed 3 or more of these contests of yours. Muahahaha! ^^ Comments: Nicely done. This is perhaps your best one yet. And you are right; although you didn't use the word "forgot", it is clear that forgetting is your goal. What makes this verse exceptional is how you present the topic. Forgetting is something that is inadvertant, accidental, unintentional. However, your situation suggests just the opposite: a willful attempt to forget "him". (You're not talking about me, are you?) The tension between these two concepts, as well as your ability to express the topic without even using the word makes this a truly exceptional submission.

wracking my brain for
the reason i tied the string
around my finger

by SweetLilV

First impression: Cute. Technical foul: Dangling preposition. Poet's Remark: Comments: A funny image of someone forgetting something that she specifically took steps not to forget. This is exactly the kind of verse that makes senryu fun to write and read: the contradiction, the kind of experience we all share, a light-hearted frustration that is easy to laugh at. But next time watch out for your prepositions. Don't split them from the noun it is attached to.

Pursed lips, hands on hips...
Her inescapable glare...
Wait, what day is it!?!

by cgran

First impression: I feel it... Technical foul: Poet's Remark: February is a particularly dangerous month for me, with an anniversary and Valentines day both hiding somewhere within. Given my notoriously bad memory, the potential for disaster is quite high... sigh.. Comments: Wait! Don't tell me. This actually happened, right? Since this is February's topic, I guess we can presume this is a reference to Valentine's Day, but it could easily have been a birthday.The imagery is solid, all spelling out the situation clearly. Nice.

with rue and regret...
you'd think, "how could he forget
the ice in iced tea?"

by RoseRiver

First impression: Hahahahah! Technical foul: None. Comments: Buwahahahah! Okay, this is funny, although a bit ridiculous. I'm trying to imagine a scene--besides perhaps a scene in a movie--where this would happen. At home? At a restaurant? Hmmm. And "rue and regret" gives the error more weight that it should have to bear. Still, my first reaction was to laugh. The play on words was precious...

"My computer crashed"
Earns a disbelieving look
From my professor

by SleepyWalnut

First impression: So familiar. Technical foul: None. Poet's Remark: Since you've got us writing senryu for class, I might as well submit one here too! Comments: Yes, submit one here, too. A computer crashing is so old school and outdated that when someone tells me this, I actually believe them these days. Instead of the computer, most students blame the printer these days. While this verse seems rather straigh-forward at first glance, the topic gives it life. The student who failed to turn in an assignment blames the computer rather than herself, her forgetfullness. Shifting blame is such a time honored technique....

Quiet, still test room
Fingers tapping frantically
What's the damn answer!?

by Link_Strife

First impression: Oh, the pain! Technical foul: None, sorta. Poet's Remark: I have semester finals tomorrow. I wish I could forget that. Comments: I kind of get the image of the verse, but I'm not quite sure of the message. A student, taking an exam, drums her finger in an attempt to recall an answer. "Quiet" suggests that the fingers seem to reverberate even louder than normal. But I'm not sure I get the "still test room". Why "still"? Or did you mean "still" as "motionless"? Ooooooh.... Clarity is so important in a short poem.

forget the perfume
forget the smell of stale smoke
everything fading

by silvermyst_ashke

First impression: Little bit too much? Technical foul: None. Comments: Yeah, my first impression was that there was too much information that I became a bit lost. I can't picture a situation in which one would forego perfume--a good smell?-- and stale smoke. Perhaps a night club of sorts. But then, why would everything fade? I'm sure that the content was very profound--anything you write has significance--but perhaps you're trying to convey more than a 5-7-5 poem can handle. How very Narihira... (now how many of you understand what this means?)

frantic searching, stop!
buried within messy room
what was it again?

by detachable

First impression: That's me! Technical foul: None. Comments: Have you seen my desk? So often I search through the piles of papers on my desk, only to find myself wondering what I was looking or in the first place. Ah, senility, awaiting me just around the corner. But I wonder, what is it that caused you to forget? Was it the mere messiness of the room? Were you too preoccupied with something on your mind?

these three little words
sometimes a person forgets
to say, please ..thank you.

by aznquarter

First impression: Miss Manners, I presume? Technical foul: None. Comments: Indeed, the world we live in is always rushed. We are so busy that we often forget the basic words and attitudes that make for a civilized society. "Thank you" for reminding us.

Hard slap in the face,
Her birthday now forgotten -
A celibate night.

by miket_the_kid

First impression: Ouch! Technical foul: None. Comments: Please don't tell me this is based on your personal experience... But I can certainly imagine the situation, although for the life of me, I don't know many people like this. I mean, the poem suggests that if a guy forgets his significant other's birthday, then he gets no sex? The implications are severe. A guy upset at not getting some nooky because he forgot. Worse, a girl who uses sex to punish a guy. Not a pretty picture...

toss and turn in bed
painful thoughts fly thick and fast
i want to...forget

by KenjiNie

First impression: Need a drink? Technical foul: None. Comments: I get the impression that you are trying to forget something painful, but since you can't, it keeps you up at night. This is very broad, perhaps too much so. It would be good if the reader had an inkling, at least, of what the pain is. A betrayal by a girl/boyfriend? An embarrassing moment at school? A fight with a good friend? Next time, be sure to give us a little something to help recognize the situation. Oh yeah, you can comment on my other posts, you know, instead of just asking if I'm gonna post the senryu...

T.V. within reach
I still search anxiously for
the remote control

by msbLiSs

First impression: Huh? Technical foul: Is the topic mainfest? Comments: Okay, I give up. Where's the topic? The verse is a funny depiction of a lazy person searching for the remote control. Are you perhaps trying to convey that the person forgot where the remote control is? If so, is this something that people actually "forget"? Oh well, even the good ones have off days...

forgot your password?
enter your username, please
what was that again?

by Eechim

First impression: Too many accounts? Technical foul: None. Poet's Remark: I always forget my password, its ridiculous, i shall have to resort to using 123456 next time but my IT minded husband mght kill me, if i did! Comments: Ha! How many times have I forgotten my password. Geez, I've even forgotten my username at times. But Ive been told that I should not use one password for eveyr account I have. I understand the logic behind it, but I don't aften have the capacity to remember more than two or three passwords that contain 6 or more alphanumeric digits. Ugh. Your last line seems a bit of a waste. It reduntantly confrims that you have forgotten. Perhaps the source of your forgetfulness would have been better, like too many email accounts: "Did I need G-mail?" or something similar.

Futilely cursing
Waiting for help to arrive
Inside, car keys lie

by ca1b0y

First impression: Old school. Technical foul: None. Comments: I haven't done this in is quite awhile, but when I was first driving, I used to this this more often than I'd like to admit: Park the car, get out, close the door, and Ack! But I was wondering: Where are the car keys lying? I usually left them in the ignition which meant that they were "dangling". But I like the image of you cursing--upset with yourself--as you wait for the AAA guy to show up. Man, been there, done that...

Blue forget-me-nots,
My Grandma calls "marguerites,"
Refuse my garden

by Ydurp

First impression: Different. Technical foul: None. Comments: Forget-me-nots not taking root in your garden is a nice image, and the sentiments aroused by the word your grandmother used to call them evokes a sense of nostalgia. But except for the name of the flower, I can't see the essence of the topic "to forget" in your poem. Unless, perhaps, you had forgotten what your grandmother had called the flowers, in which case you needed to focus on that and not its suitability to your soil...

She fidgets her ring
Candles waltz with silverware
He is working late.

by Bane_vixen

First impression: Disney's Beauty and the Beast? Technical foul: None. Poet's Remark: I think it's self-explanatory. A husband forgot an important date, whether an anniversary, a birthday or what-not. It's open to interpretation as to depict a common belief of how men can be thoughtless sometimes because they can be forgetful, or the human disposition to take things for granted and often forget the things in life that make life worth living at all. well, something to that effect. Comments: My first impression is related to the imagery of the candles waltzing with the silverware, a scene from the Disney animation, Beauty and the Beast. Hehehe. Anyway, you're poem isn't as self-explanatory as you suggest, although I nodded in head in agreement after reading your explanation. Ultimately, your poem is a bit dark, given the woman's subconscious regrets of marriage--fidgeting with her ring--because he forgot a special date because of work. Of course, he could be pretending that it's work, but that would be going too far perhaps.

time for school and work
quickly gobbles down breakfast
where are the car keys?

by Di_Gah_Jea

First impression: In your pocket! Technical foul: None. Comments: A typical morning, rushed and harried. It might be because of work or because of school, but in our haste to get out of the house, we forget where the car keys are. You verse might have been better had you indicated either school or work. Senryu, as I have stated previously, is about a snapshot of time, so being specific is helpful, if not exactly necessary. Focus on the reason/cause of forgeting--the essence of the topic--and you'd have a better poem.

Morning interview
Silent alarm clock says "OFF"
Leap from bed at noon

by RachelsMommy

First impression: Hurry! Hurry! Technical foul: None. Poet's Remark: Far be it from me to hold things up around here. (In my own defense, I'm usually pretty good at getting up when I know there is something important to get up for. (coffee not included) Comments: Already noon, too late. Hehehehehe. Anyway, I might be a bit dense, but by silent alarm clock, I presume you mean that you forgot to set the alarm the night before, right? This would certainly be logical, but the verse seems to be focusing on the interview, and you suggest that you didn't forget that--even you said so in your explanat0ry note--You're good at getting up when there's something important. So there seems to be a disconnect between the focus of the poem and the topic.

My heart yearns for peace
Consistency is needed
It's time to withdraw

by Blujazz

First impression: Peace, girl... Technical foul: None. Poet's Remark: I've always wanted to submit, but I chose to read instead so, for this particular topic, I'm temporarily coming back from a long hiatus. Comments: A very heartfelt verse, one that suggests desire and sadness and loneliness all at once. You yearn for peace, because you are saddened by the inconsistencies of the world at large or in your own little world. But for whatever reason, you feel the need to withdraw, to be by yourself, to heal or to simply bide your time utnil things right themselves. Unfortunately, I don't see the topic, "forget", in this very moving poem...

A cute girl walks up
Though she still remembers me,
I forgot her name!

by Kizyr

First impression: Bummer, man. Technical foul: None. Poet's Remark: Ok... I was at my favourite coffeehouse and I saw a girl working there, a quite attractive one at that, and I just knew I knew her from somewhere, but I couldn't put my finger on it. She eventually approaches me and my friends, looks at me and says "You're Kaiser, right?" The memory of that prompts this next senryu, dedicated to her: There is a tragic end to this story. I remembered a bit about her, yet made the mistake of admitting that I couldn't recall her name. She got offended and just walked off, then and there. I never saw her again. My horrible memory with names just got me in this case. Comments: Well, to be honest, if she was going to belittle you because she couldn't accept that fact that you forgot her name, well, that's pretty petty on her part. Although I WILL tell you that I rarely forget the name of a cute girl. I mean, as a guy, you are required to remember certain things. It's in the "unwritten" bylaws of being a heterosexual man: Thou shalt commit to memory an attractive woman's name and any phone number she is willing to divulge. Shame on you! Hahahah. Just kidding. Your poem is pretty funny and I'm sure that many guys can relate to it. But if you could have figured out how to include the consequences in you verse, I think that would have been funnier--perhaps a line about her reaction instead of the fact that she remembered you...

I've passed many doors,
Trying to look for Something,
But I forgot what.

by Onigiri

First impression: I'm glad I'm not alone. Technical foul: None. Poet's Remark: Just as sammystorm and bane vixen wrote, "xanga neglect is addictive". But it was a a nice welcome back to participate in the senryu poem contest again, though I'm afraid this one isn't very good. It's rather .... vague. Comments: While, by your own admission, this poem is vague, I can relate to it. I too have passed many door, trying to look for something--a present, a merchandise, a question to ask a professor--but being unable to recall exactly what it was I wanted. Perhaps, a bit more specifcity next time?

Smelling the perfume,
the joy and pain rushes back.
I can't forget her.

by SunJun

First impression: Good one. Technical foul: None. Poet's Remark: Valentine's Day is right around the corner. Figured it was appropriate, especially for all the single folk out there... Comments: Nice one. The poem touches on the an important aspect of the essence of "forgetting" quite well, it seems to me: Forgetting is an involuntary act that cannot be controlled, and forgetting is foiled by it's natural counterpart, memory, triggered by a number of things, not the least of which is scent. You get a whiff of the perfume she used to wear and it triggers a cascade of images, both good and bad. This poem would be perfect if the topic was memory, but still, a good angle of the idea of forgetting.

Dad's watching Super Bowl
Mommy is busy cooking
Baby is hungry.

by dawn_109

First impression: Poor baby! Technical foul: One extra syllable in first line. Comments: This is a crystal image of perhaps many families I have seen in my life. Not that the the people I know are insensitive to the needs of a baby, but that they are usually busy wrapped up in their own lives at the expense of somethings that are more important. Dad is absorbed by the TV watching sports--yes, this might be me. Mom is is too busy taking care fo the family with cooking or some other household chore. And the one being "forgotten" is perhaps the most important constituent of the family: the kid. It also brings to light the relationship between the sexes especially found in a number of Asian homes--okay, maybe I'm sorta guility on this count, too. This is a nice reminder for all of us to focus on what's important.

faded paper leaves
left forgotten in her wake
solid feelings gone

by shi

First impression: Sentimental. Technical foul: None. Comments: This seems like a sad poem on forgetting one's feelings of a former significant other. "Faded paper leaves" represents old letters and notes faded by time. While he/she is gone now, the letters remain as a reminder of previous times. But they have been tucked away somewhere forgotten, fading from her memory, and like the letters, her feelings also fade, the concrete, solid emotions attached to them gone. This is pretty moving, girl, almost as if it were happening to you now....

Bare floor, ceiling, walls
Realisation fills the gaps
of Doors left unlocked

by Whonose

First impression: Call the cops. Technical foul: None. Comments: Oh, this is a scary thought! Coming home to a house that has been burglarized is not a pretty sight--indeed my parent's home has been a victim of this. And the thought that this could have been prevented had you not forgotten to do something like lock the door is all the more frustrating. However, being burglarized a bit more messier than "bare floor, ceiling, walls". I think anyone who has been burglarized knows that it's a messy affair. Burglars will rifle through everything making a mess of the house in his attempt to find valuables.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

This Site is Still Under Construction

This site is still under construction. I am moving posts from my Xanga site in what is turning into a long and tedious process. If you want to read my current entries, please visit Onigiriman at Xanga. But feel free to peruse this site as well. I have left a variety of links to popular posts I've written in the past for your amusement...

Monday, March 14, 2005

Owning pets...


Well, even though it's Spring Break, I will be focusing on other work that I must get done. So in the meantime, I'll post some previous posts. These were posted on my other site last year when I took a month hiatus due to some idiot's idea of a practical joke. So if you don't like reruns, change the channel.

Originally posted on the JAJournal March 3, 2004

I hate to own pets. It's not that I dislike animals. In fact, I really kinda like them. They are the only ones that will give you unconditional love. You could be in the worst mood, but they will always look up to you as if you were the most important person in the world. Of course, if you're a dog, then the "owner" IS the most important person in the world. At least until I see a dog flipping burgers at a McDonalds, that is. But if a person with long hair has to wear a hat or hair net, what's a dog gonna wear? *shudder*

At our house, when I was a kid, we had a variety of pets. My first pet, a dog, was named Kyu-chan, after Sakamoto Kyu, the singer of "Sukiyaki" (Jp: Ue wo muite aruko...). Don't ask: My mom named her. We had her for about a year when one day she ran out into the street and was hit by a car. I was in the 4th grade and devastated. I went to school and started to cry everytime I thought about her. A classmate of mine, Reed--God rest his soul--tried to cheer me up by telling me his chicken died recently too. Oh? Did you bury her? I asked. She was dinner... Hahahah! I kid you not! I couldn't make this up if I tried. I've had the funniest conversations in my day. But, at the time, his comment made me cry even more.

We've had rabbits, and hamsters and tropical fish. But my favorite pet was a cat. Cats can be stuck up, and nonchalant, and they will never fetch. But there is something about their sense of independence, their pride that I just love. And they are smart creatures. No, they won't pound their paws four times to answer what 2 + 2 equals. It won't even meow loud if an intruder were lurking--in that, you can't beat a dog. But still, they can live pretty independently, and they know exactly what they want.

What kind of pets have you owned?

Interesting exercise


ell, I didn't accomplish as much as I wanted this weekend. I guess, just knowing that it's Spring Break allowed me to take it easy a bit. Instead, I just bummed around watching TV, did a bit of exercise and--I'm sure some of you may not believe this--even went for a beer on Saturday night, something I haven't done in about a month!

I also visited the site of a student and found this exercise.

  1. Grab the nearest book.
  2. Open the book to page 123.
  3. Find the fifth sentence.
  4. Post the text of the sentence in your own bulletin...along with these instructions.
  5. Don't search around and look for the "coolest" book you can find. Do what's actually next to you.

Well, I tried it and this is what I got:

A sentence impregnated with images extends the borders of the reader's imagination, because it is not intellectualized.
--Makoto Ueda, Matsuo Basho, p. 123, sentence 5.

An insightful quote for the writers among us, made all the more interesting given the randomness of the exercise. Well, maybe not that random. I have at least 50 book at arm's length from where I sit in front of my computer--these are the top three shelves of the books to my left--so I reached for the closest book that wasn't a dictionary, a text book on grammar, or a book written in Japanese.

If you try the exercise, let me know what you get...

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Procrastinator Extraordinaire


hanks for all the advice and words of encouragement. I am so bad at prioritizing... Well, that might not be quite right. I can prioritze well enough. Unfortunately, my priorities are usually narcissistic, self-indulgent, self-gratifying, decadent, hedonistic, and/or any combination of these. *sigh* I should see a shrink.

But, I did do some work on Friday and Saturday. I transcribed the poems that I need to use in my paper. I've even translated a third of them. I graded half of the midterms for Classical J, I also subtitled a short video that I plan to use for class--perhaps over the summer--this is self-indugent and narcissistic because I love doing technical stuff like this and it makes me look good to my sudents. But I'd like to get some opinions first. If you've seen the Japanese anime, "Voices of a Distant Star" on DVD, then perhaps you've seen the short film "My Girlfriend and Her Cat" which is included on the DVD. If you have seen "Her Cat", let me know what you thought of it. If you haven't, then... aye! Nevermind.

Anyway, it's back to work for me, and never too late to say "aye" for you...

Friday, March 11, 2005

Spring Break? Yeah, right


t is March and time to take a week off... I WISH! While all my children will be going home to see friends and to be pampered by mommy or spending time in Florida, I will stay home to catch up on all the work I couldn't do while I was sick. Grade film papers, grade J-Lit assignments, grade classical Japanese midterms.

Spring Break? What's that?

And to top it off, I was contacted a few weeks ago by a colleague who is putting out a book on Basho. She asked me to submit a paper on linked verse about three years ago, and I sent it to her about... three years ago. Well, she likes my ideas but I need to make some changes, some wholesale changes. I am happy to do so, as I understand the changes she wants--something more in step with the theme of the book. But she wants them by the end of March.


Like I said: Spring Break? What's that?

So I am off to seclude myself and focus on the things I need to do; taking advantage of not having to worry about going to school to teach. I have... let's see... ten days?

Okay, I'm off... Everyone have a great weekend...

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Cocky: A Balancing Act


irst off, the title should not be associated with the previous topic. Instead it deals with an earlier post that responded to Ydurp's comment, one in which I mentioned that I was self-effacing and/or self-deprecating. (And it's self-deprecating, not self-defecating; who said that?) But RachelsMommy--that lightening rod of a commenter--had a different opinion...

Visit RachelsMommy's Xanga Site!I guess, I never saw that before: your sef deprecation. I always thought you had a sort of cockiness, or perhaps false bravado. Just shows to go ya; It's hard to read a person through the written word.

No bout adoubt it, sister. Certainly, I have problems through IMs. This is what probably brought about the birth of *shudder* emoticons. Being able to convey your attitude strictly through words is what separates the good writers from the so-so ones. Since Ydurp read me one way and RachelsMommy read me another way, I guess that makes me a so-so writer--yes, ydurp, I'm being self-effacing again.

But in my own defense, I would like to say that I'm actually a little of both, or maybe a lot of both. I am self-effacing as I wrote in the previous post, but I do have a lot of bravado in me--although I take umbrage at the idea that it might be construed as false. The bravado or cockiness is based on two things: I am the eldest son, and as such, I was raised believing I was usually right. At this age, of course, I realize intellectually that I am wrong as often as I am right, but the attitude doesn't disappear, at least not for me.

The other factor is my profession. I stand in front of a class and I have to be right. Again, I may not be right all the time, but I have to convey my conviction of what I know. But if I am wrong, or if I don't know the answer, I will usually admit it with the same attitude. In my opinion, the instructor who pretends to know things when he doesn't--and this is false bravado--ultimately looks weaker and loses the respect of the student.

Lastly, in a weird, twisted kind of way, being self-effacing can convey a sense of cockiness. You'd have to be pretty cocky to admit to being wrong, or ugly or careless to a group of students--of course, this also depends on the circumstances. I never lie about ignorance or other things I have no control over. But I will never fess up to failing to do things that I do have control over, because that simply identifies you as lazy, careless and uncaring. That is something I would never want to convey to my students.

So, in the end, I think I am both self-effacing and cocky. It is a balancing act that I have tried to perfect with varying degrees of success. Being self-deprecating all the time gets boring very quickly. Who wants to be with a person who is always whining about his insufficiencies. Conversely, being cocky all the time conveys arrogance, and no one wats to hang with a braggart. The right combination of both will represent me as confident with the right amount of modesty. At least, that's my formula.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Got Some Nuts?

A few weeks ago, before shi decided to go protected, she wrote about an activity they played called butt tag. I won't go into the specifics, but if you go to her mirror site, you can see read her explanation. I wouldn't do it justice, I assure you.

As kids, we too played tag. But we would play in teams because one guy being "it" was not as much fun as a whole team being it. Our favorite form of tag was Freeze Tag. There were usually three or four safe islands where you could stand without fear, but you had to move periodically between these safe havens and if you were tagged in between by the other team you had to "freeze" on the spot. The only way to freedom was to be "unfrozen" by a teammate running by and tagging you. As you can imagine, this game was rather dangerous when we played it in the neighborhood streets, arousing the wrath of a few parents.

But that game was nothing when compared to the dangers of Squirrel. This was a game that only boys could play. It was each man for himself and there were really no winners or losers, unless you decided to quit the game from the pain. Each player had to hunch forward a bit while trying to maneuver into position against others. This was awkward because we all tried to keep our knees as close together as possible. You see, the idea of the game was to try to gather as many nuts as you could. And while each player was a squirrel, he was also a potential tree--if you get my drift--so each of us had to protect our own nuts even as we tried to "harvest" others. A good harvest was a solid "handfull" that elicited a "squeal". I'm sure you understand why we wouldn't let girls play. It just wouldn't be fair! They could harvest all they wanted without fear of being the harvested...

So no offense to Shi, but although she writes that she was perverted for having played butt tag, I think we may have been just a wee bit more perverted...

I'm starting to think that some of you may have developed a very negative impression of me and my youth/childhood. I always thought I led a pretty mundane life, but as I write my experiences down, I'm beginning to realize that maybe I'm just a freak...

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Not Even a Goodbye


his is not necessarily the end of the story, but its a good place to end a chapter, I suppose. It has worked out to be approximately 7000 words? Is that enough to send to a publisher? Jerjonji, you know something of this, don't ya'? How about some advice? You think this would sell? For those of you who don't know, Jerjonji's a great pal--don't think I forgot all those B-day cards!--as well as being a great writer. I think, and I hope she agrees, that we seem to write our best when we right about something that's close to our hearts. You should read some of her stories about her childhood. Great stuff. Touching memories, Bohemian, and snake tossing songbird. Yeah, you gotta read it yourself.


hat night, I called her house. It was just before 11pm. But no one answered. Is no one home? Is it too late? What's next? I worried as I hung up the phone.

The next morning was Christmas Eve, Sunday. I called again and she answered. "I have to go now," she said hanging up the phone.

As I gift wrapped boxes of rice crackers and rice cakes for last minute Christmas shoppers, all I could think of was DKLA. A person who was basically a non-entity just a few weeks earlier now wouldn't vacate my mind. She's the one who showed an interst in me. She's the one who approached me. So I run with... and what? Now she doesn't want to see me? I wonder if it had to do something with Billie? I hadn't really lied to her about Billie. We weren't seeing each other; we didn't have a thing going on. Although somewhere deep in my heart, I still had a thing for Billie, it was a one-sided affair, and shouldn't really matter. What was I supposed to do? I thought. Tell her, "Yeah, I think your a cool chick, but I gotta thing for another girl, but don't worry because it ain't going nowhere"? Yeah, right, that would go over great. But I still couldn't figure out why DKLA had asked me about her. It was so out of the blue. Did someone told her about my feelings for her?

No one's asleep now, it's only 8 o'clock, I thought as I dialed her number from home after long day. But no answer. Okay, maybe I dialed the the wrong number, so I dialed it again and let it ring--nine, ten, eleven, twe...

"Hello?" a sleepy man's voice said.

"Hi, um, I was wondering if DKLA was home?"

"Uh, who's this," he asked perturbed. I told him who I was and he replied with a calm but threatening voice. "I don't think you should be calling my sister... again." And he hung up on me.

And that was that.

I heard what he said. I know what he meant. Don't bother my sister anymore. What started with a bus ride, what turned into something promising with a single kiss, had turned into a train wreck. What the hell went wrong? I thought over and over again. Christmas was the next day and... Shit, I hadn't even bought her a present. Everything had gone up and down so fast that I hadn't even thought about a simple thing like getting her a present. Is that why she doesn't want to see me anymore?

The following week, I saw Angel at work. He had asked me to get him a part-time New Year's gig at the confectionary shop and I had come through for him. He was just as chipper as he was the day I told him about DKLA and me.

"How are you guys doing?" he asked.

"We ain't doin' nothing," I confessed. I didn't go into the particulars. "She didn't give me a reason. She didn't even say goodbye."

"Ah, that's too bad. You still got Billie, right?" he smiled and went back to work.

During the week leading to New Year's, we worked together at Mikawaya. It is a particularly busy time of year and we hire a number of part-timers to help out. On of them was the son of my boss's hairdresser, Diddly.

We talked about J-Town and school and music. After hours, we'd get a bite to eat at Denny's and hang out. We talked about Angel and I jammed together with others on weekends for fun and he told us he used to be a drummer for the Koyasan Boy Scouts. He said he wanted to hear me play the piano and perhaps jam a bit at my house. Angel, of course, was all over this.

Epilogue: What Goes Around Comes Around

In 1980, I worked at a travel agency, MitsuiLine, located in J-Town. I delivered tickets as far away as Costa Mesa and as close as downtown LA. Once, on my way back from a downtown delivery by bus, I noticed L.A. Councilman Gilbert Lindsay, and sitting right next to him was DKLA. I said Hi and she said Hi, giggled a bit, like she did on that first bus ride we took eight years earlier. She told me she had graduated from a local university and now worked for the Councilman. Councilman Lindsay's district encompassed J-Town and DKLA was designated Lil' Tokyo Liaison to the Councilman. As a result, she had to work closely with the Lil' Tokyo Chamber of Commerce which was headed at the time by K, my boss at the confectionary. They became friends and every time I would visit the shop, she would be there. I never stayed long.

In 1982, I met a girl that I thought was really nice. We got along well enough. We'd eat lunch together and sometimes study together at UCLA. I told a good friend of mine all about her, how I felt, and I wanted him to meet her. Guess what happened? She fell for him, and he succumbed. A guy who I thought was a good friend, a solid friend, hooked up with the girl that he knew I was interested in. If I hadn't an inkling regarding how Angel felt before, I had a pretty good idea now. Their relationship lasted longer than my little whirlwind with DKLA--of course that wouldn't be hard for anybody.

While hurt and dumfounded, the irony of it all was not lost on me. And I learned a couple of things. One, in life, there is balance. If you are good to others, good things will come to you. If you screw others, others will screw you. It may not be the same person, but it will happen, I firmly believe this. I'm hoping someday, a student or two of mine will become wildly rich and/or famous and remember little ol' me... *sigh* I wish! I alos learned that friends--really true friends--are few and far between. It is something that can be easily made perhaps, but not so easily maintained.

Monday, March 07, 2005

In my Image


ell, last Wednesday, I mentioned that SleepingCutie posted an entry about her Sensei that was quite flattering. Around that same time also learned that the GobalGuy had created a likeness of me. I, of course, had to investigate, and lo and behold, there I was in his banner! Pretty funny and a pretty cool rendition of the O-man. Kinda looks retro, doesn't it.

The Aye's have it again!

Visit primwater's Xanga Site! primwater: That little Aye trick of yours was mean.

Gee, sorry, there. I do like to keep people interested as much as possible. But I was curious as to who my truly faithful daily readers were, and so I asked publically here if my readers wanted to read moreof DKLA. And the hardcore Onigirimen and Onigiriwomen raised their hands with an "aye"--of course, as it turned out, this band of Onigirimen (and women) was a rather small percentage of my subscribers, a mere 18% or so. I had not completely edited the final version, but since they were so anxious to read it, I gave them a sneak preview. I figured, anyone who didn't say "aye", didn't read my blog everyday--or didn't need to read anything I write immediately--so it didn't matter to them if they waited a day or two. It's no big deal, I think, and I didn't mean to be mean... certainly not to a little girl! But all you had to do was say "aye" to the earlier post, and I would have added you as well. I added everyone from brand new subscribers to old ones--Christine was my second subscriber back in June 2003. Of course this doesn't mean she's old, just that she's been a subscriber for a long time.

Anyway, I don't discriminate among subscribers. So next time, chime in, okay?

Like I said, the "Aye"'s have it.

Sunday, March 06, 2005

Flame Out


t's been a few days, and I'm still under the weather, but here is the next (second to the last) installment. I hope it isn't too anti-climactic. I can't help think that... well, I'll let you decide. Click here to [re]-read the first four parts if you wanna...


his time, I was truly speechless. But before I could gather myself, she opened the door, got out and skipped up the concrete steps. The porch light immediately turned on and she waved at me. I waved back, and when the door opened and I knew she was safe at home, I left.

She kissed me. I squeezed the steering wheel firmly with both hands as I drove down First Street. She kissed me! My heart raced. I could feel it thumping at my temples, on my fingertips. How old was I? I had just turned seventeen, an age where many others have already experienced kissing, petting, geez, even sex. But not me. This was a brand new sensation.

When I got home, my parents friends had already left. Mom asked if I had a good time, and I told her it was "okay". I went to my bedroom, turned of the night and laid down on my bed, staring up at the dark ceiling.

Now what should I do? I can't keep this hidden. Who do I tell? Cary? Tomahawk? Nah, What would they say? I had betrayed Angel.

I was wary of being judged by my peers. What made it worse was that it seems like I was being so secretive about it. I had to open up, falsely believing that if was honest and up front about it, things would mellow out.

I'll tell Angel next week at school, I thought. But the right opportunity never arose. There were just too many other people around, too many eyes to judge me. Then on Thursday, Angel dropped by the confectionary.

It was nearing the winter solstice and by 5:00 in the afternoon the sky was already black. It had been a drizzling, miserable day in LA, even for December. But Angel walked in rather perkily asking me what I was going to do this weekend.

"Got any plans?" he asked.


"Well, I was gonna ask DKLA if she wanted to go out," he said as he straddled one of the stools at the counter.

"Actually, um, she's going to be sorta... busy this weekend," I sputtered, trying to express this as frankly and reasonably as possible.

Angel just laughed. "How would YOU know?"

"Well..." and I told him what happened the previous Saturday, except for that little detail of her kissing me. Angel kept looking down at the floor as I talked, spinning quarter circles on the stool.

"And that's what happened," I concluded, preparing for God knows what.

After a few moments, Angle looked up and laughed, "Hey, that's alright! Good for you! She's quite a catch, mind you." He stood to leave. "Be good to her," he said in an unexpectedly gay tone, as he turned and left.

I wasn't sure what I had just experienced. Was he really happy for me? Was I worried for nothing? I wasn't sure, but eventually I concluded that he was putting up a front. He really had a crush on DKLA and it couldn't have gone down that easily. I mean, no way, right? He'd have to be superhuman. Still, pretty sure that he was torn up inside and just too proud to admit it, Angel seemed pretty magnanimous about the whole thing.

That Saturday, I spent the afternoon at DKLA's house. It was just before Christmas and her brother had gone to Vegas while her parents were out shopping. The shades were drawn and we were alone. We cuddled on the sofa in front of the Christmas tree. The TV set was on when I arrived, but DKLA turned it off and turned on the radio. This particular winter, it seemed that every station played one song. Billy Paul's "Me and Mrs. Jones".

Me and Mrs. Jones
We got a thing goin' on
We both know that it's wrong
But it's much too strong
To let it go now

On the sofa, I had my arms around her shoulder as she rested her head against my chest. I breathed in the scent of her freshly washed hair and enjoyed the warmth she generated.

"Did you tell Angel about us?"

"Yeah. I mean, we are friends, sort of, and I couldn't not tell him, you know?"

"I guess," she replied rather lazily.

We gotta be extra careful
That we don't build our hopes up too high
Because she's got her own obligations
And so, and so, do I

"Do you still work with Billie?" she asked unexpectedly.

What an odd question, I thought. Here we are, spending a quiet afternoon alone and she brings up a name that has no place in our conversation, the name of a girl I still... used to have a crush on.

"Um, yeah, well, we used to work together for a month and she quit. I see her around sometimes but that's about it." You are such a fucking liar. Why? What's up?" I tried to sound so calm.

"Oh nothing. I go to school with her brother and he mentioned that she worked at the same confectionary as you."

"Oh, is that all?" I felt temporarily relieved.

"Why? Is there more?" she asked, almost seductively.

"Oh, no, no, no, " Shit, is this some kind of trick?

Well, it's time for us to be leaving
It hurts so much, it hurts so much inside
Now she'll go her way and I'll go mine
Tomorrow we'll meet
The same place, the same time

Suddenly, the phone rang. DKLA got up to answer it, as I contemplated what was going on. Why would she ask about Billie? Did she hear something? But what? And There actually is nothing between us, Billie made sure of that. My uneasiness grew as DKLA handed me the phone. "It's for you."

"Who the..." I took the phone cautiously as DKLA simply turned her back on me and walked to the kitchen. "Hello?" I said slowly as I stood up, no longer comfortable on the sofa

"O-man, is that you? We've been calling all over looking for you."

"How'd you know I was here?" It was a girl who worked weekends at the confectionary.

"I called Angel and he told me to try this number," she was almost screaming. "Anyway, Billie's had an attack of kidney stones and had to go to the hospital. And we're shorthanded. You have to come down right away."

"Is she alright?" I couldn't mask my concern. "Which hospital did they take her?"

"Nevermind that, we need you here at the shop, so come right away."

"But, but," but the line went dead.

I turned around to hang up the phone and DKLA was standing there with her hand extended to receive it.

"What was that all about?"

"Um, Billie, you know, the one you asked about? She's sick or something and I have to go to the shop right away. They're short-handed and I have to fill in. It's kind of an emergency."

"I thought you said she quit."

"No, I mean, yes, I said that, and she did, but K asked her to come back for the weekends during Christmas and New Years, that's all," I tried to explain tripping over my tongue.

"Which hospital is she at?"

"I didn't get the..." I stopped in mid-sentence and looked at DKLA as she stared right back at me with her arms crossed in front of her. Why did she ask that? Was she going to visit her? Of course not. Then, why ask? What fuck does she know that she's not telling me? But before I could sort out these various questions, she showed me the door.

"Well, I think you'd better go. Sounds like they're pretty busy at the shop." And she virtually shooed me out. I walked down the steps and turned around only to get a glimpse of her as she shut the door.

It was the last glimpse in 8 years. What had developed in a blink of an eye, disappeared just as quickly...

Next: Epilogue: What goes around comes around...