Saturday, April 30, 2005


A couple of radio "personalities" in New Jersey seem to think that Asian Americans are not "real" Americans. Sammy and Taku have written their thoughts on the matter and they have expressed eloquently virtually anything I would have to say on the subject. Of course, I have already expressed my concern about racism, but that was almost a year ago. My views then--how people, without believing they are being malicious, can manifest racial sentiments--elicited responses that expressed attitudes that underscored my very concern; and not all of them were non-Asians. So it is not surprising that these New Jersey Radio guys said what they said. If well-intentioned folk don't get it, then how the fuck are idiots going to get it.

But there was one thing that Sammy mentioned that was actually the topic of something I was going to write about last week but never got around to it: Why aren't Asian Americans active in politics? Actually, my thought was more along the lines of: Why is it that Asian Americans--specifically East Asian Americans--don't seem to wield any political clout.

This was the topic of a conversation I had with a former student of mine, a Korean American, now attending law school in the DC area, and we tentatively concluded--and I should stress that these conclusions are personal and anecdotal, based on personal observations with have no hard evidence to back it up--that Asian Americans don't manifest poitical clout because we can't unify. Of course, this begs the question, why...

I should write a paper on this--and perhaps you should too--but I think there are two basic reasons for this situation.

  1. History dies hard.
  2. The lack of a shared "American experience" does not arouse empathy for each other, an important ingredient to solidarity.

First, the history and the resulting baggage each individual group often still carries prevents people from connecting at a significant level. I am an American of Japanese descent and am sometimes reminded by Korean Americans (KA) and Chinese Americans (ABC)--usually first or rarely second generations--that I still carry the sins of my fathers. Yes, the Japanese raped Nanking. Indeed, Japan colonized Korea. I recognize this and as an instructor of Japanese literature (and culture) I take every opportunity to relate this to my students as well. It is not a matter to be brushed aside and forgotten. But this has nothing to do with me personally. When I am reminded that my ancestors were guilty of these sins, I can't help but think that those reminding me of this probably view me as "the other", rather than someone with whom they feel a connection. Don't get me wrong: These people are polite and very decent. There is nothing about them that suggests that they hate me or Japan (usually), but this attitude--you (your predecessors) injured us and I won't let you forget it--is not conducive to solidarity.

Indeed, I never get this attitude here on Xanga--well maybe once or twice. As I have never been made to feel this way with other Asians. I can't help but think that it is a reflection of the official stance still taken by the Chinese and Korean government, as the latest brouhaha over the most recent textbook controversy would illustrate. But as I said, this is usually expressed by first and, on rare occasions, second generations, and the number of these comments is generally declining.

And this is a good thing.

Perhaps more importantly is the lack of a shared experience in America. As individual groups, Asians in America have a completely different "American experiences" and it might be difficult empathize with each other and ultimately rally under one common cause. Chinese were perhaps the first Asians to "officially" come American and they led a very difficult life building railroads and generally living the life of paid slaves. The Japanese had their own struggles, but they were the only Asian group to be incarcerated in detention camps during WWII. Indeed, comparisons between the friendly Chinese and the "dirty Jap" were common and hardly promoted mutual support among Asians. Koreans came later and their history in America is centered in an urban setting with racial tensions not only with whites but with other urban minorities. So, since our collective experiences are rather diverse, it could be hard to rally effectively for solidarity.

Indeed, we are all treated differently by mainstream society. I'm sure virtually all of my Asian readers have been asked at one time or another, "Where are you from"? China? Korea? Japan? Vietnam? And the mainstream will often react differently depending on the answer. In contrast to this, how often do we make similar distinctions with Hispanics? I'm sure--no, I know--that they differentiate among themselves which Latin American countries they come from, but do we? I may consider significant the difference between someone from Cuba and Mexico, but between Honduras and El Salvador, I make little--if any--distinction. If we see a Spanish speaking person, do we unwittingly insult them by lumping them together as denizens from "south of the border". I am ashamed to admit this, but I sometimes find myself doing just this. And when it comes to second, third and fourth generation Hispanics, even the pretense of distinction is virtually gone. So these Hispanics--insulted by the likes of me--have a shared experience in America. They may express there differences among themselves, but they can unite in the face of racial discrimination and mistreatment, an experience that is more often shared than not among them.

So the first thing that Asian Americans must do--What WE MUST do--is find common ground. Without it, some amorphous "Asian" solidarity will never work.

Friday, April 29, 2005

Riceball Lovin'


nce again, the O-man--I leave the abbreviation up to your imagination--is feelin' the love, man. I've again noticed a slight surge in traffic this week and it is because of all the lovin' I'm get from my fellow Xangans.

It all started with Eechim. I played along with her "Interview" challenge. I answered some questions and as a result was required to get five people to answer. Since one who asked to be interviewed hasn't blogged since 2003--and has yet to answer the questions I posed--I decided to ask more than five people. Randomcarbon also asked to be interviewed and he HAS answered, but he's on LiveJournal, so I decided to make sure that I got five Xangans to respond. Below, I have already highlighted JustBeingV, TheWaterJar and ca1b0y, and I have been getting some of the traffic through them since they posted a link to my site when they posted their responses. I have also asked BurningSecrets and Gokingsgo, but that have yet to answer their questions. I hope they will soon. But these aren't the only places where I've been getting traffic from. I have been getting them from two young ladies as well. Woo hoo!

Babyjenk5 is a student at Johns Hopkins who--professing to be a Xanga whore--offered to write about those who commented on her site. Now, she has plenty of friends and gets her share of comments, so she is being facetious. She is not a whore, Xangan or otherwise... She is a carefree and light read that I enjoy, despite the fact that she loves her Mac and expresses a rather dim view of Microsoft. Okay, I don't love Bill Gates, but I DO use Windows... She is one of the first to bookmark me at RBJ and that is where I first learned of her. Anyway, she wrote about me (and others) and I'm glad she enjoys my site as much as I enjoy hers. Thanks, girl.

Iluvpajun is another young lady who wrote about me. (Why am I so lucky?) She says she used to make onigiri rice balls for lunch all the time. I wonder if she thinks of me when she eats them now? Will it affect the taste? Mmmm... oops, I mean, hmmmm... Anyway, she loves starchy foods--pajun is a Korean food that is like a pancake with vegetables in it (I think). And she owns a guinea pig named Genki (full of energy/high spirited) that she--get this--TAKES FOR A WALK on the streets of New York City. I have begged her for photgraphic proof, but I am still waiting. But the piece de resistance is that she is a classical pianist soon to be heading out to Italy for a competition--yes, she is that good! So go visit her to wish her luck...

Now the above people I know and so do not mind finding myself on their pages; indeed it is flattering. But lately, I have found myself in odd places as well. I saw a link to a place on LiveJournal, a guy named lhdakine, on my sitemeter references znd clicked it out of curiousity. I was rather shocked to find the following as his bio:

"We bloggers are, to varying degrees, narcissists and exhibitionists. We love to expose ourselves, talk about ourselves. And yet, ultimately, we expose only what we want to expose: a little thigh, some cleavage--well, I don't really have any cleavage..."

This is a quote of mine that was highlighted on RBJ, where I figure this guy found it. Shizknitz also has up the same quote, but she has me bookmarked at RBJ so it's no big deal. I don't really mind lhdakine as well, I guess, since he did source me. But it is rather surprising to find my words unexpectedly.

I have also joined a few sites that propose to offer more exposure for your blog--you may have noticed the links on the main page. Places like Bloglines and Blogazoo promise to increase your traffic, but you have to surf on their site other bloggers who are looking for traffic, too. By surfing, other sites you earn points and the more points you earn, the more your site will be put into the surfing rotation and receive more visibility. It's kinda more work than its worth, so I don't really do anything with it.

However, there is a place called Technorati that has a search engine for members that allows readers to do searches. You'll notice that I have a small search box on the main page. If you are looking for an old post of mine, you can enter a few words that you remember (onsen, DKLA) and it will search my site and provide links to them. I am also a part of their larger database now and so when other members do a word search, there is every chance that Onigiriman will appear on their list. The proof is in the pudding, as they say. I found my name on a site of which I know absolutely nothing.

This person apparently lives in the DC area and posted pics of the recent cherry blossom in and around the National Mall. He told his readers to visit my site to get more info on the practice of o-hanami, flower viewing. He is a Techonrati member and so likely got the info from there. Again, since I am sourced, it's not a big deal, I suppose, but I am surprised to find my name in places that are totally unrelated and unexpected...

Have a good weekend everyone!

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Orgasmic Rice

Another plea

I got some leads on how to approach the Minidisc. I hope to get more? As I wait, here is another Onigiriman comic, a... um... more tittilating one. If you are under 18 years old, please leave this site immediately...If you are 18 or over and hate corny shit, please leave this site immediately.



hat's right; not "organic" but "orgasmic." I think I'm now freaked out at using the abbreviation "O-man". I hadn't realized that it could be (mis)interpreted so differently. Oni-man made me think I was a red demon--I think Jason said that it's translated as "ogre" in anime, and it could mean that as well. But the thought of me being orgasmic threw me for a loop... especially, at my age.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005



question from this technology-challenged Riceball. I own a Kenwood portable MiniDisc player. The image on the right is a newer version but it looks similar, without the LCD display. Anyway, M bought this for me a few years back and I have yet to use it! Yeah, not nice of me and I feel REALLY bad about it. Seriously.

But here's the problem: I don't know how to record onto a disc. I know that I can connect the player from its microphone jack to the earphone jack of my computer, but then that's basically an analog recording, right? That's what the Kenwood manual says. How stupid is that? What's the use of having a digital player if you are going to record analog? I want to record from digital, but I can't figure out how... well, unless I buy a fullsize Kenwood Minidisc Player for like $700... Is there such a thing as a minidisc external drive for computers? Or is there a way I can connect my portable to my computer to download music files digitally?

Please, please, please, can anyone help me? I would truly appreciate it...



nce there was a girl who loved to blog. She exposed a LOT of herself. She wrote about her first experience *ahem*, she talked about her boobs, my God she even talked about farting! I was in love... But this young girl has been taken away from our world, and I miss her. No, she isn't dead... SleepingCutie has been abducted by World of Warcraft! I was never a fan of computer games and now I have an even greater reason for hating them: They took away one of my favorite boggers.

Oh well, she has made a bit of a comeback--two posts in a row! And she even mentioned me, which has again increased traffic to this site. Thanks girl, but I'd rather have you blog than increase the count of sitemeter...



he interview completed the other has been passed on to a few other unsuspecting souls. The first one to repond is TheWaterJar. Don't ask, I don't know what it means either. But he is a rather intelligent and articulate young man studying English and Philosophy and writes ABOUT philosophy on his page, so when I am in desperate need of a headache, I visit his site... heheheh, Just kidding.

Anyway, here are the questions I gave him:

  1. What second or third language do you want to master and why?
  2. With as much detail as possible--without divulging exactly where you live--describe your living quarters. (Size, furniture, windows, junk, etc.)
  3. What is your favorite TV show and why? If you don't watch TV, why?
  4. What is your major in college? How will it affected your future?
  5. Why do you blog? OR What is Kant's position on Art (in Critique of Judgement)? Must we presume that there is intention in Art? And if so, is that intention the intention of the Artist or is it inherent in the Art?

Please visit his site to see his responses; they are rather elaborate, to say the least!


The second one to post the answers is JustBeingV. Some of the questions are similar to theWaterJar, but her description of her neighborhood is soooooo un-New York. Check out her answers as well...

  1. With as much detail as possible--without divulging exactly where you live--describe your the area around you residence. (type of street, neighboring buildings, etc.)
  2. Have you ever thought of leaving NY and living elsewhere? Where and why? Or why not?
  3. What is your favorite TV show and why? If you don't watch TV, why?
  4. What was your major in college and how has it affected your future?
  5. Why do you blog? And why is your blog so popular? (Okay, that's two questions, choose one...)



I also interviewed Yohei was also interviewed. Questions 1 to 3 were the same as the Jar and V, but his answer to his living space was really nostagic. He describes the teeny tiny living quarters most single Japanese men live in. If you've never been to Japan, you gotta read it. I posed two question specifically for Yohei, who is originally from CA.

  1. Same as V 1.
  2. Same as V 3.
  3. Same as V 4.
  4. Do you want to come back to the States? Why or why not?
  5. Okay, I'll ask since your friends are getting married too. What do you expect in the perfect wife, the perfect match for you?

And apparently, the thought of getting hooked has been on his mind lately...

Oh yeah, who wants to see the other "O"-man?

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Demonic Rice


mentioned the other day--actually it was yesterday--that being an Orgasmic man instead of a Riceball man left me speechless... so mvprg suggested that I change my abbreviation to Oni-man.

Hmmm... This, too, may be problematic...

Interview with a Riceball


esterday, I visited Eechim's site and innocently left a comment. Her post was a response to an "interview", which she was then required to pass along to the first five commenters on her site who wrote, "Interview me." Well, I usually have my own Q & A write here--because I'm such a narcissist--and so did not write "Interview me." But this morning, she left me a comment asking me if I'd be one. So I said, "okay." She must not be getting very many takers...

Anyway, so here goes. But before we start, we must set down the ground rules, lest there be any misunderstandings.


  • Leave me a comment saying "interview me".
  • The first five to leave a comment requesting to be participants will be interviewed.
  • I will respond by asking you five questions.
  • You will update your blog/site with the answers to the questions.
  • You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post.
  • When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions. (Write your own questions or borrow some).

Sounds easy, right? Well, it is a good way of getting to know each other, even though there were a number of you who thought of me as a Xanga buddy or a Cyber buddy, but not a cyber pal. Maybe because it sounds too dirty... *sigh*

Anway, here are my responses to Eechim's questions:

  1. If you could go to any country to visit , where would you go and why (a place you never been to before)
    I'm not sure if this is a country, butg I want to go to Tahiti because:
    a) I wanna go somewhere as far away from my normal life and not worry about anything except maybe a tanline; b) I've always wanted to say, "I've been to Tahiti"; and c) the young and slender and tanned young ladies are an attraction unto themselves--platonically speaking of course...
  2. 5 desert island essentials (5 items you would take , if stranded on a desert island)
    This is actually harder that I thought... 1) Although I don't own one, I would have to buy an solar-powered iPod because I love music and I would need music to survive anywhere, and an iPod will hold a lot of tunes. 2) Swiss Army knife because it will have virtually every utensil I would need, like a corkscrew. 3) polartec blanket--easy to wash, quick drying, perfect to stay warm, and makes a great throw for a beach picnic. 4) a large notebook with at least a thousand pages. 5) a box of pens to write an account of my daily life as I doubt I will have access to Xanga and I definitely need to write something everyday.
  3. Tell us a secret about you, that no one knows (c'mon, you know you want to!)
    Secret? Whew, that's so hard because I have so many... Well, here's one: I don't shower every day. Now, I shower every day I go to work, but on days when I'm just lolling around the house, I'll forgo the usual shower. Okay, so I admit it. Alright? Happy? I wanna conserve on water, So sue me...
  4. Tell me what you like about me, Eechim! (heh)
    You're very international. From Southeast Asia, married to a non-Asian, living in Switzerland. That kind of open-mindedness is refreshing and beautiful and totally necessary in today's world.
  5. Aside from being a teacher, what other job would you like to do (if you could go back in time)
    Cook. I love to cook. I love to cook for others. That's why I cook okonomiyaki--Hiroshima style--for my students. I just love to see the smile of satisfaction. Although I must admit that this is easily accomplished with students who are often deprived of home cooking...

Okay, that's it. So who wants to be interviewed by me? I'll ask you five questions. The first five commenters who write, "Interview me", will get five questions.

Monday, April 25, 2005



y being one of the first five to respond to Eechim's post yesterday, I have been selected to be interviewed by her with five (5) questions. I have class right now, so I will be back to answer them later today. Stay tuned. In the meantime, give me your thoughts on the abbreviation of my name. I thought that as Onigiriman, "O-man" was an innocent enough abbreviation... until I read this comment by Shi:

For some reason i'm really amused that you call yourself O-man.. probably because i associate O with orgasm.

I am speechless. But I'm sure you guys are not. Your thoughts?

Sunday, April 24, 2005

More Fluff: FAQ


Daydreaming all afternoon sounds heavenly to the Goat. This creative, esoteric Sign needs plenty of time alone in which to feed its Muse. Goats are generally most comfortable in their own minds (which other, more linear-thinking Signs may have trouble deciphering). This Sign makes a great craftsperson or artisan, or perhaps a teacher of New Age studies -- any occupation that allows its mind the full range of freedom. Goats tend not to be very well-organized, precluding many more dry business endeavors. In fact, Goats tend not to be very materialistic in general, finding plenty of riches in their own imagination. However, especially when in love, the Goat can be quite a lavish gift-giver.

Perhaps it's that artistic temperament that so often causes Goats to feel insecure, but the result is that these high-strung creatures need to feel loved and admired lest they start worrying incessantly. For this reason, Goats tend to have a hard time with romance; anyone who couples up with a Goat must know, this Sign has a sensitive streak a mile wide and can be subject to bouts of anxiety over seemingly inconsequential things. Goats need plenty of love, support and open reassurance from their lovers. If a relationship is marked by conflict, the Goat will often pull away -- either physically or simply by retreating into the safe haven of its imagination.

The most compatible match for a Goat is the Pig or the Rabbit.
couple of weeks back, I posted an old O-man FAQ list of Q & A, and I asked if there were any other questions I could answer. The response was rather threadbare, which I think means that most of you guys already know enough about me that there really aren't any more questions to ask. I don't know if I should be flattered or scared.

Anyway, I did get a few questions, so I'll answer them:

primwater: What is your astrological sign?
O-man: Well, if you look at my birthdate, you will have determined that I am a Sagitarius. If you are wondering what sign I am in Chinese astrology, I am born in the year of the sheep (or goat, depending on which translation you want to use). The sheepish characteristics on the right are from

mvprg: Do you read Haruki Murakami works? What are your opinions on him?
O-man: Yes, I do. In fact I have my students read him in one of my classes. While I have read much of his stuff, I don't really have an opinion of his novels, because I have never read one carefully. But I have read a number of his short stories and i enjoy them very much. He has a very post-structuralist bent that I enjoy reading. His collection of short stories, Kankaru biyori (Kangaroo Weather) is a wonderful collection of stories that focus on individiual experience, memory and intertextuality. Unfortunately, I only know of one story that has benn translated, "On Coming Across the 100% Girl on One Clear April Morning". But my favorite is "The Girl from Ipanema" and "In the Year of the Spaghetti".

takunishi79: what have you published? or What are you working on to publish? and If I still pick up on the JA Experience research, would you still want to help me?
O-man: I haven't published in a long time. When I was a graduate student, I published a paper on the two Noh plays and their relationship to Japanese court poetry. But I haven't published anything since, except for my dissertation on a medieval poet and priest. I need to publish or I will perish...

ross229er: Can you write about your research? I guess it must have something to do with poetry from the Heian jidai, but I would be interested in hearing about any and all specifics that you are willing to go into.
O-man: I have no problems talking about my research, but I'm afraid that my subscribers list would wither and die. It's pretty hard to make post-structuralist approaches on poetry that was written 1000 years ago sound interesting to anyone except the truly hardcore academician. So I will refrain. Of course you could go to visit Jakuren on Xanga. He sometimes talks about Japanese literature.

gokingsgo: How do you think the Dodgers will fare this season?
O-man: While this has NOTHING to do with me, I will say that the Dodgers will do as they usually do since the O'Malley regime ended: CHOKE!

Superbunnyfluff: Do you think you will be doing this for the rest of your life? Do you ever want to go back to Japan or move to another city or anything like that?
O-man: Yes, I love to teach, but you already know that, right? And yes, I would like to move back to Japan or accept the challenge of a new city, but only if I had a job to teach.

cgran: If you could work any job, without any restricitions (the pay is whatever you want, and the location doesn't matter unless you want it to), what would it be and why?
O-man: I would teach because, as I have just said, I love to teach. Especially college students. It keeps me young...

So let me ask you: If you could work any job, without any restricitions (the pay is whatever you want, and the location doesn't matter unless you want it to), what would it be and why?

Senryu Reminder:

The topic is Revenge and submit your poem here.

Saturday, April 23, 2005



s I continue with my daily life with its mundane activities and petty concerns, I often find myself amused at our ever shrinking world. Technology has brought us together in a way unimaginable only a decade or two ago. Chat rooms, IMs and blogs have connected us so intimately that we can make friends with people we have never met in person... It reminds me of penpals when I was in elementary school. Could we be penpals for the 21st century?

Life was so different when I was a little kid in the late 50s and early 60s. I remember my mother recording our voices onto a reel-to-reel tape recorder to send to Japan so grandma could hear our voices. It was, by today's standards, a quaint way of using "technology" to bring grandparent and grandchild together even though we had never yet met. But now, I have met so many people through Xanga, it has gone beyond a mere novelty or an amusing diversion. It has become a part of my life.

There are so many people I feel familiar with now, even though I have never met them. As you might imagine, I have developed an affinity with those who comment most frequently, particularly those who I have had a running comment-conversation with for over a year. I would list them here but I'm afraid I would miss someone and risk offending him or her needlessly and unintentionally. But they know who they are... I think.

So do you consider me your penpal? No, a better word: Cyberpal? Do you consider me your cyberpal? And do any of you new visitors want to be my cyberpal?

April Senryu

JustBeingV: ps~ did i miss the next senryu?

Omigod! I've been so busy with work that it kinda slipped my mind. Indeed, we haven't had a senryu salon in a couple of months, so let's have one. School is winding down so I think I can judge them without too much fuss.

So the topic this time is: Revenge

The topic came to me since we've been reading ENCHI Fumiko's Mask in class, a frightening book about a revenge plotted by a woman over years... against men.

For those new here: All subscribers are welcome to submit a senryu. Your submission will be "judged" by me and will subsequently be posted here with my commentary, so submit at your own risk. If you want to learn how to compose a senryu in English, read this introduction and especially this explantion of structure, grammar and content.


  1. Participation is open to current subscribers only. RBJ members who have bookmarked me--check my Tomodachi list--as well as Blogline subscribers are also invited to participate.
  2. Submit only one senryu--I will not choose your best one only your first one, so check it before you submit it
  3. Submit your senryu as a comment to this post only. For those of you who do not have a Xanga account, you can email your senryu to me using the link on this page.
  4. Senryu must be composed in English. (Taku and Fooky, this refers specifically to you guys!)

I look forward to reading your senryu.

Friday, April 22, 2005

Weekend Fluff: About me

I seem to have a slight increase in traffic. For new visitors, here's some stuff about me you may want to know--or not... For my regulars, this might be boring stuff. The lovely person I jacked this from is mentioned below.

early o-man1.What does your xanga name mean and how'd you come up with it?
Onigiriman means riceball man. I have been slightly pudgy over the years, and I have always likened my face/head to the triangular shape of a riceball. I drew a picture once--a triangle with a pair of sunglasses, and Onigiriman was born. (Yes, this is the original sketch!)

2. Elaborate on your profile pic.
Well, my current profile pic is a shot of me in Hachioji, Tokyo during the Hachioji Summer Festival. I am, as everyone else does at Matsuri, drinking beer. As far as the O-man icon is concerned, I drew it on a paint program on my computer. I think its a bit more refined than the original, primitive O-man in number 1, no?

3. Who introduced xanga to you?
mr_mephisto. She is a former student of mine. When she went to Japan to teach English, she told me about Xanga, that it would be her way of communicating with everyone, and she talked me into signing up. So you can blame her... I swear she has the cutest eyes.

4. How many friends do you have?
Last time I talked about this, I got lambasted by lamangust. But I will say it again. I have very few "good" friends. Maybe five in all. Max. But these are the five who I know would lay their life out for me, as I would for them. Very few people like that...

5. What's your current status?
Alive, barely. Busy, always. Divorced, re-married, one daughter, three stepsons, three grandsons.

6. What are you wearing right now?
Burgundy t-shirt, plaid louging pants.

7. What is life to you?
Lately, it's been about survival. With all the shit that's been going on with the INS and overworking, life is all about making it to the next day healthy and sane. But otherwise, life is about balance: giving and receiving, loving and being loved, and doing anything and everything with the greatest effort I can put forth.

8. What are you doing now?
Writing on Xanga... Oh, you mean in general? I teach J language and lit at a university in DC.

9. What do you hate most?
Jealousy, uncalled for suspicion, and a dearth of respect for others.

10. What do you love most?
In no particular order: College football--especially my Bruins--cooking, eating, beer, Xanga.

11. What makes you happy?
Finding a bunch of comments on my Xanga entry, conducting a lively and fulfilling class, making M laugh.

12. Are you musically inclined?
I used to think so, but RachelsMommy would probably disagree on principle.

13. What would you do if you woke up one morning and found that the person you love most doesn't exist?
I would die if M did not exist... then I'd go drinking or to a movie.

14. If you could go back in time, and change something, what would it be?
Probably not much. I've had my ups and downs like everyone else, but it is precisely the esperiences I had that make me what I am today, and I am more or less happy with who I am...

15. If you MUST be an animal for ONE day, what will you be?
A cat belonging to a rich person. I'd eat then find a pool of sunlight to sleep in. What a life!

16. Ever had a near death experience?
Sorta. I once slipped on a train platform and my leg got caught between the train and the platform. Fortunately, I was able to pull my leg out before the train decided to leave the station, or I'd have had at least one less leg.

17. Name ONE obvious quality you have.
A loud, easily recognizable laugh. Once I was watching a Tora-san movie in LA and was laughing out loud as usual. When the movie ended and the hous lights went on, someone fifteen rows in front of me stood up, looked back and yelled, "Hey, O-man, where you sitting? We all heard you laughing!" It was a friend from I hadn't seen in a while. How embarrassing!

18. What's the name of the song that's stuck in your head right now?

Rasberry Pie by the Nakanomori Band. Damn, this song has occupied my mind and taken control of it for the past week. It's a light pop song with a melody that clings to you like a commercial jingle. Listen to it at your own risk. Thanks Taku.

19. Are you happy today?
As a rule of thumb, I try to be happy everyday.

20. Who will cut and paste this first?
I wouldn't speculate.

21. Are you a pirate?
I plead the 5th.

22. Who did you jack this from?
justbeingV bless her soul...

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Subscribers' Appreciation Week (con't)

RBJ revisited


esterday, I mentioned my buddy, jerjonji. I forgot to mention that last year she rallied the support of a few other Xangans that they all sent me online birthday cards. I almost broke down and cried. Seriously. Almost. It was right in the middle of finals, I was frantic as usual and unbeknownst to me, my body was weakening to the ravages of acute bronchitis. Her cards and the cards of all my Xanga friends was so therapeutic. You will never know, Jeri. Thanks a bunch.

Now, as my students know, I always check my Xanga and so was able to catch all these birthday wishes back then in December, but I missed some well wishers elsewhere. Over at the Rice Bowl Journal, there was a group of nice people who were wishing me a happy birthday on the RBJ Forum. It's a place I would vist regualrly, until last semester when the workload really go heavy. The awkward thing is that I didn't realize this until YESTERDAY! Ack! I'm so sorry guys. All you people wished me well, and I totally didn't notice you guys. I cannot express how embarrassed I am! Well, it's four month late, but let me use this space to thank you all:



Speaking of RBJ--and to give myself a bit of a plug--I have been featured in Consider Yourself Quoted again. Thanks, Carlos... I think... I mean, look at the quote. Not that I have so many quotable lines, but did you have to choose the one in which I mention cleavage?

Author: The O-man
Onigiriman: Nice to bite, hard to swallow

Country: Japan
Virginia, USA

The bloggers are, to varying degrees, narcissists and exhibitionists. We love to expose ourselves, talk about ourselves. And yet, ultimately, we expose only what we want to expose: a little thigh, some cleavage--well, I don't really have any cleavage...

Anyway, thanks again. I've had a bit of a surge in traffice since being featured.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Subscribers' Appreciation Week (con't)

Xanga subscribers


ow I don't have a million subscribers. There are others who have two, three, five times the number I have. But I have my share and I am happy to have them. Initially, in my first few months on Xanga, I was happy to reciprocate subscriptions and I made it a point to visit as many people as possible. However, once I passed 100 subscribers, that was impossible. Indeed, I have cancelled--albeit reluctantly--some subscriptions, particuarly those who do not update their sites very often or have more or less abandoned their sites. There are a few exceptions, of course, like japblkgrl and thosedays. However, my current list of subscribers have reached 250 and I cannot subscribe to all of them, because I would end up reading none of them. As it is, I have neglected many of my subscriptions because I have been overloaded with work--as many of you already know.

Anyway, I appreciate all my subscribers, and I try, at least periodically, to visit them. Certainly when summer rolls around, I will have a bit more time to indulge my Xanga addiction and visit each and everyone of you. Interestingly, my subscribers have been coming and going. I don't pay very close attention to the list--oh, so-and-so decided to unsubscribe--because it would seem so petty. But I have noticed the different types of subscribers: No email (online only), daily-digest, and the lovely Individual-Instant.

My personal preference is No email (online only), not because I want to visit only when I'm online, and not because I don't want to clutter up my inbox. The reason why I choose this option is because I don't check my e-mail very often. Indeed, I have a tendency to avoid it like the plague. Ask my students, they'll tell ya'. How often have I been scolded by my students for not returning their message? I've even been scolded by my boss at work: "Check your email more often." If I check my email once a week, I think I'm doing a good job. So some of my students will come here leave messages because they know I will always check my Xanga! Hahahahahha. I must sound like a pretty pathetic professor.

But I DO appreciate my subscribers who have chosen Individual-Instant. This tells me that they want to receive an email of my post and read what I wrote immediately. Is that flattering or what?!? Of course, I only have a handful of these subscribers.

hara1121 is someone who does not post. He/she simply showed up one day and subscribed. I wonder if its someone I know. Indeed, the name is very familiar. In fact its the same name as the girl who called to tell me that Billie was sick (DKLA: Flame Out). And this person subscribed right when I was writing the story. Is this just coincidence? Hmmm...

SENSEI49 is, as the name suggests, a teacher too. Although she hasn't posted too much lately, when she does, she sometimes reflects on her time in Japan which is pretty cool because she refers to many places I am familiar with.

WolferasDreams is a student of mine. In fact she is the only student to receives my posts instantly. Normally, I might view this as sucking up, but she isn't taking any of my courses now so it's hard to put that spin on it. She doesn't post here on Xanga, but rather at Live Journal.

sputtum used to post pretty regularly and he often "borrowed" my html codes. I guess he liked the layout of my posts--I used to do a little more when I had time to play on Xanga. But he hasn't been posting very often. He kinda petered out last summer and hasn't posted anything since the start of this year. While he still gets my posts--I presume--is he reading them? Hey, Ray! You reading this? Let me know!

No1watching is a masseuse, a legitimate one, nothing sleazy, really. She just got licensed recently and is looking to build up her clientelle. If you live in the SoCal area and need a massage, visit her and leave a comment. As a note, she also worked at a firing range, so just in case any of you are getting the wrong idea, she is not the one to fool with...

fooky11 is a young whose outlook in life is young and refreshing... despite the hair! Hahhaha. The hair of this Korean-Japanese changes with his mood, or maybe it changes with his gigs. He plays in a band and had some outrageous Christmas songs. Some say its music... and I guess I do to... heheheheh

Jerry: Last but not least is my good friend, jerjonji. Anyway, she is a writer and educator and lives in the southwest. She has these amazing stories of her youth--not that she isn't still young, mind you--and expresses them with a style and passion that makes life our planet Xanga all the more pleasing. She also writes fiction, and her current story, "Angel and Demon" is a great read. Well I've only read the first two installments that she posted a while back when i had more time. I will definitely read the rest after graduation. You should too.

Next: Old Xanga Buddies

Monday, April 18, 2005

Subscribers' Appreciation Week


iving here in Xanga has been quite an experience for me. I have met so many people online and it has been, for the most part, a positive experience. I get to write about what I feel and then bathe in the luxury of having people tell me how much they enjoy reading it, although I honeslty think it is often a lot of drivel.

Anyway, I have designated this week Subscriber Appreciation Week. I would like to extend my appreciation to all those who read my words faithfully. I am truly blessed.

Today, I'd like to thank those who have bookmarked me on RBJ. I have mentioned this before, but it is worth mentioning again, The Rice Bowl Journal is a place for Asians to congregate online. It is an exclusive place and some find this offensive: What? No non-Asians? But it is also a place for guys like me to feel relaxed and comfortable, to be among those of like minds. This is good for me, for being the target of random discrimination from time to time--even in the 21st century--I sometimes feel out of place in the mainstream. It is nice to be somewhere, even in cyberspace, where I AM the mainstream.

Among those at RBJ, I truly appreciate those who have bookmarked me. Bookmarking is a way of subscribing; it creates a link from RBJ to my site, and it conveys to others that you regularly visit me. The profile page of members list all bookmarks, so if you viewed the RBJ profile of someone like, say, Paiky or Hanzo, you could see who has bookmarked them.

Personally, I am humbled by the number of bookmarks I have received from our small group of blogging Asians. I have designated these guys as my RBJ Tomodachi and list them at the top of the comments page and in a Tomodachi gallery at the bottom of the main page. And I liked to thank those who have bookmerked me recently (in alphabetical order): amanda, jome, KnOizKi, tehgimp. I have already added you to my list and gallery.

Perhaps what has impressed me the most about RBJ is that I have "met" people who are not on Xanga. Of those who have bookmarked me, ten (10) blog regularly at other sites. So it is flattering to have readers who don't have the convenience of just looking at a subscription list like we have on Xanga.

ArigatoAnyway, thanks to all of you.

Tomorrow, I will mention my Xanga subscribers and the setting options we have. In the meantime, I found this Seven Deadly Sins quiz on Lamangust's site. Where does she find the time? I found out that my worst sin is Pride. Yes, yes, I am prideful. But hell, I worked hard to be where I am now... But sloth is a very close second! Yes, i enjoy lounging... Oh, and gluttony. Well, I love to eat. So sue me!

You scored as Pride.















Seven deadly sins
created with

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Life is Balance


hining is so unbecoming. Perhaps as some have suggested: I should hae a completely anonymous Xanga site. A place where I can just rant and rave and not worry about anything. I mean, geez, it IS tough to be a guy, right?

But I will say that I do accept whatever happens to me as one portion of my entire life. For me, life has always been about balance. When I was in high school, I went to a movie at the National Theater in Westwood with my then-girlfriend, and in the lobby they had a machine that was supposed to read your biorhythm. I don't remember exactly what was required, but I think all we had to do was put in our birthdate, and it printed out a graph showing us what our "energy" levels were. I gave little credence to the results, but what struck me was the explanation on the back of the graph. It said something about three biorhythms--physical, emotional, intellectual--that have cycles the go up and down throughout our lives. I'm was wary of its claim of fixed cycles. If that was the case, everyone born the same day as me would experience the exact same energy levels every day of our lives. And I wasn't about to swallow that.

But I was intrigued by the thought that our lives progress cyclically. I took this to mean that we our lives have some semblance of balance. In general terms, if we have a good day, we will also have a bad day. Sound too obvious? Uh-huh. But I think this extends to the events in our lives as well. If we are good to people, people will be good to us. If we are mean to others, eventually others will be mean to us. It doesn't have to be the same person, but I believe we get what we dish out.

Remember DKLA? Well, what I did to a friend happened to me ten years later. Work? Family? Things happen back and forth all the time. So my current issues, my trials and troubles, may be a precursor of good times ahead... I hope.

But then, now that I think of it, this just might be payback for something I've already done... Crap! And here I was, hoping that better days were coming...

Saturday, April 16, 2005


Weekend Schedule:


ast week I graded Bungo quizzes and J-Lit midterms, and prepared two lectures on Yukio Mishima and his book Runaway Horses. All this between going to the o-hanami with students Friday and the Cherry Blossom festival with the family on Saturday. Yes, I even amaze myself at times... This weekend:

  • Grading papers for J Culture.
  • Grading a J-Lit assignment that's been collecting dust on my desk.
  • Preparing lectures on Fumiko Enchi and her book Masks.
  • Preparing my State Taxes--fortunately, filing Virginia taxes are later that Federal taxes.
  • Grocery shopping.
  • Take kid to retrieve Medical Records for INS.



want to talk to someone about my life. Well, many of you know quite a bit about my "life", but I'm talking about my current life and where it's been and where it's headed. Many people consider me to be pretty open, mostly because I can talk and, here, write about my life rather openly. My sister was shocked--SHOCKED I tell ya'--at what I write here.

But this is my superficial side. Regardless of how detailed it may seem at times, I reveal only the facts of my life. And these facts are events and incidents of my life that other people know as well. It is no secret that: I ate grass, betrayed a friend, used to smoke, love beer, am divorced, have a daughter, went to my parents funeral, et cetera. Of course, these facts are skewed to fit my version of things.

This should not be a surprise to most of you. We bloggers are, to varying degrees, narcissists and exhibitionists. We love to expose ourselves, talk about ourselves. And yet, ultimately, we expose only what we want to expose: a little thigh, some cleavage--well, I don't really have any cleavage. What we reveal is sometimes good, sometimes bad. But still, it is what WE want to reveal--for whatever purpose: self-love, sympathy, comraderie. And I am no different.

But--and you knew there was a "but" coming--there are things I will not reveal. This is perhaps my ugly side, certainly my secret side. It is my feelings about my life: my career, my job, my marriage. But since they are "feelings", they are intangible and often difficult to articulate. Even the facts that are at the core of these feelings cannot be shared--while I have written about a number of things in my life, I have barely scratched the surface.

So sometimes I wish I had someone with whom I could talk frankly; one who would listen without judging me, but would not coddle me with blind support. Some of you will say, "What about M?" but she may be "too close". Sometimes a person can be so close that you are afraid to hurt him/her with certain opinions. Sometimes NOT talking about it is an expression of love.

However, there are times when you just need to talk about it... with someone... else... You know what I mean?

Friday, April 15, 2005

Death and Taxes


here are, they say, two things certain in this world: Death and taxes. Well, death has certainly been on my mind these past few years, but I only have two parents, so the specter of death should not be bothering be for a while. The taxes is something that I can't avoid year in and year out.

Today is Tax Day. This is perhaps the one day I hate the most. Not because I don't want to pay my share. Taxes are an inevitable contribution to our government which provides the essential serves for an orderly society: police, fire, defense. Of course, everytime I go to the post office, I wonder what the hell I'm paying for. Worse, everytime I have to deal with immigration, I really wonder where my tax dollars are going. As a tax paying, law abiding citizen, I don't need to be hassled by this particular governmental bureaucracy.

Anyway, I hate paying my taxes because it is such a pain in the ass. It doesn't matter if I'm getting a refund or not. Putting all the documentation together and getting it out is simply a hassle. But I must admit that it has gotten a bit easier. There was a time when all this crap was done manually. I am no tax expert, and it would take hours to go through the 1040 instructions, trying to figure out if there was anywhere I could save. Lately, however, tax programs such as TurboTax and TaxCut have made life easier. I know longer have to read and re-read the instructions. These programs ask a series of questions and I answer them. They even tell me what documents I'll need before I start, so when I get everything together, it's really pretty painless.

This year I used H&R Block's TaxCut and it was virtually free. I got the Federal and State verson, their DeductionPro and MS Money. With all the rebates I finally received, the final cost was less that twenty dollars. Even the online filing fee is free. After the IRS accepts my return and sends me an acknowledgement, I send in another rebate form and get reimbursed. With all the legal fees I've been burdened with lately--it's approaching 10G--I can use every break I can get. If anyone wants to make a contribution to the Onigiriman Defense Fund, please feel free. And Tax Day reminds me that all contributions should be in cash.

So have you filed?

Wednesday, April 13, 2005



t the blossom viewing gathering, we had our Janken (rock-scissors-paper) Tourney. In this game, you do not win simply by beating your opponent with the right weapon--rock, scissors or paper. You must also make the loser look in the direction to which you point.

Let's say we do jan-ken-pon--you stick out your weapon on "pon"--I present a rock but you show me paper. Well, you win, but then you say "atchi muite hoi" (look over there) and point in a direction--up, down, left or right. I have to look in another direction. If I do, then I get another life and we start again. If I look in the same direction, then I lose. Make sense? Well, click on the link below if you want to confirm visually. It is a clip of the finals between two students. (It may take a moment or two to load.)


Anyway, this is the way we spend our time when teaching Japanese. Wouldn't you want to learn Japanese where I teach? Hehehehhe

By the way, can someone tell me the coding for an embedded video player? Real or Windows? I'd appreciate it.


Thanks Jason, but it doesn't seem to work or me. I get audio but it won't show video.

Update II

If you right click the link and go to property, you should get it. I put in the code below as you indicated and Paiky seems to agree that it should work, but my computer doesn't show me jack. I tried putting in "width" and "height" properties, but it stillwon't show me video. Maybe its my computer. Can you see it?

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Random Stuff


t the end of last year--just before I got really sick--I became familiar with Blogger, just one more blogsite. It isn't conducive to creating a community of blog friends--like Xanga. You can't subscribe to another site with a click of a button. You cannot monitor who subscribes to you, or easily view your subscriptions on a subscriptions page, features that we Xangans take for granted. It is, in a way, more private. But it has features that I was looking for when I considered a place to archive what I have written here on Xanga.

Xanga is great for immediate responses and expressing things on the spur of the moment, but it does not allow for convenient archiving. Enter Blogspot. At Blogger, you can upload entries and choose the date, something you can't do on Xanga. You can design your own site without paying for premium. Entries are saved individually. Each Xanga entry's comment page is basically the same, but it is identified by a nine-digit number. At Blogger, it is identified by date and entry title. It will also automatically archive entries by month or week--your choice. Further, you don't have to be a Blogspot member to post a comment. Anonymous comments are possible for those who prefer not to sign up. There seems to be a way to archive things by topic as well, but I haven't figured it out yet If someone knows how, I'd appreciate a little assistance.

Anyway, I created a site at Blogger called the JAJournal and have transferred all my old post over there--yeah, I too can't figure out where I found the time to do this... It replaces my previous backup/archive site. While the entries are virtually the same as the ones here, it is a convenient place to go to read old posts. So if you are new to the O-man and want to read some of this old stuff, or if you just want to catch up, go to the JAJournal. You can get there by clicking "Best of Onigiriman" on the main page and the JAJournal link at the top of the comments page.

To commemorate this new site, I have posted there the following Onigiriman FAQ, which some of you may have already read at the previous JAJournal. If you have a question that should be included in this FAQ, by all means let me know.

About Onigiriman: FAQ

So who are you?
Me? I'm just a lump of cooked rice squished together. But seriously, I'm a Japanese American born and raised in LA... who looks like a lump of cooked rice squished together.

What generation are you?
I'm technically a Sansei, but I refer to myself as a phony Nisei. My mom was born in Japan and my dad is a Nisei born in Idaho, so that make me a Nisei and a half, sorta. But he's a Kibei Nisei--a Nisei who went back to Japan for his education--so his Engrish is not so native. So while I'm a Sansei, I often feel like a Nisei.

Do you speak Japanese?
Don't you?

Is it important?
To speak Japanese? No, not really. I used to think so. I used to think that any self-respecting JA should understand Japanese, but given the history of Japanese Americans, it comes as no surprise that they more or less abandoned the language.

What do you mean?
Well, the mom of an ex-girlfriend once explained it to me. After everyone was interred in concentration camps during WWII, many JAs felt that they had to prove their US citizenship, that they were really Americans of Japanese descent. The first casualty of this attitude was the language. I mean, what other everyday act brands you as different from the rest? Speaking Japanese pegged you as a Japanese, not an American. But I thought we were talking about me?

Yeah, right. Uh... So why do you speak Japanese?
Working in J-Town. That's Japanese Town or Nihonjin-machi to you, and Lil' Tokyo to everyone else. I hung out there for many years, but started working part time at a sweet shop on 1st street. I worked part-time as I went to high school. At first, my Japanese was very crude, but working there 4 hours a day, 6 days a week in an environment where all the workers and customers only spoke Japanese got me to speak at a basic level rather quickly.

And now?
Well, I have been regarded as "near" native, whatever that means, but I still strive to improve. Japanese is not a language that is easily mastered. Ask any Japanese. They're very good at reminding me of that fact.

What do you do when you're not on Xanga?
I teach at a post-secondary school, Japanese language and literature. I believe that knowing Japanese is beneficial to all, for if nothing else it allows people to learn how to think in different ways, to perceive "truth" from a different perspective. Have you read "In a Grove" by Akutagawa?

Uh, I thought this was about you...

So do you have a question you want to add to FAQ?

Monday, April 11, 2005

Goose bumps


ocused, I sit at my dest desk at home grading midterms for my Japanese Literature course. One student writes in a very readable style, showing brilliance at times, but then stubbing his toe by writing something that is obviously and factually incorrect.

Commodore Perry did not go to Japan in 1812; more like 1850-something, I think, when suddenly I hear a sound.

Beep-beep, beep-beep, beep-beep.

It sounds like its right in front of me but at the same time distant. The beep reminds me of an electronic alarm clock, so I pick up my desk clock and hold it to my ear. But it is not beeping. I peek under the papers on my desk and open the drawers to rifle through the debris, but I find nothing that emits this sound. Then just as suddenly as it started, it stopped.

I can't figure it out. What did I hear? I don't "actively" believe in ghosts or the supernatural, but things unexplained give me the heebie jeebies. I go downstairs to get another cup of joe, and nonchalantly tell M what happened. "Do you know anything that might give off that kind of sound?" I ask, but she answers, "No." However, she does go upstairs with me, bless her heart, to see if she can't help me figure out what's happening. We both look through the pile of junk on my desk, underneath it, around it. Nothing. I mention that the sound could be like that of a wrist watch as well as a clock.

"Could it be this?" M asked, holding up a watch she dug out of one of her bags. She had tried to advance the clock forward one hour for daylight savings, and had tried futilely to push this button and that. As she explained this, I took the watch from her and noticed that the alarm was indeed on. I smiled, adjusted the time and turned off the alarm, all the while wondering why it is I have to always change the time for her even after I have shown her how to do it.

After M leaves, I go back to grading. Five more essays to go...


The voice was small, but resonated as if someone was yelling at the top of his lungs. I jumped back from the desk, half expecting to see a one-inch man with his hands cupped around his mouth ready to yell once more. Of course, there was no such gremlin.

Does M have a watch that shouts 'Hello'? I wondered as I rubbed my arm to smooth out the bumps...

Sunday, April 10, 2005



n Friday, I went with our Japanese program to view the cherry blossoms in the National Mall. This activity is popular in Japan and is call hanami. The "o" is an honorific, but doesn't mean to suggest that the activity is honorable. But it does suggest that it is an event that is shared and appreciated by all Japanese. O-sushi and o-hashi (chopsticks) are other examples of words that are commonly prefixed with this honorific but are not necessarily "honorable", old Charlie Chan movies notwithstanding...

Perhaps because of the weather, few students came. Rain was forecast, and although it fortunately did not rain only seventeen students came. We currently have a little over 120 students in our program, but many students have to work to make ends meet and so they work over the weekend, including Fridays when most have the fewest number of classes scheduled. Still, seventeen students is less than half of what usually show up. Oh well, it just means that virtually every student got a prize in the Janken (rock, paper, scissors) Tournament.

M made about twenty-five onigiri for me to take to share with the students. As usual, I was running late and dashed out of the house, so I forgot to take my camera. Stupid me. Fortunately, one of our teachers--Koh-chan, a former Japanese major of ours, I might add--did bring his and sent them to me. I'm glad he did so I can show you that the blossoms were in full bloom, an incredible site like snow on whithered trees. From a distant, they even look like clouds when they are in full bloom. This effect is unique to Japanese cherry trees as their blossoms burst forth before a single green leaf appears. It is a site to behold.

These are the cherry blossoms along the Tidal Basin. This is a small body of water connected to the Potomac River inside the mall and it is surrounded by cherry trees.

The cherry trees were originally a gift from the Japanese government to the US government over 100 years ago. Erected among the trees is a Japanese stone lantern.

And this is the group. I'm somewhere in here. Can anyone guess? It shouldn't be too hard.

On Saturday, I went back to the Mall with the family. I had to share this sight with them as well. I will post those pics soon.

Friday, April 08, 2005

Pay Attention...


got my first drivers license when I was sixteen years old. That would be about seven cat-years ago. Cat years in relation to humans vary year to year: one-year old cat is similar to a 16-year old teenager and an eight-year old cat would about my age. But that's neither here nor there. the point is I got my first license back in 1972 and the standards for driving were a bit stricter.

For one thing, you had to parallel park. If you couldn't do it in two shots, you couldn't get a license. And virtually all driving tests required you to go up or down a hilly road and park. Which way to you point the front tires when you park? Do you let the car roll before putting on the parking breaks? How far? When M got her VA license last year, all she did was go around the block a couple of times. And I'm thinking, "What the heck?"

But I guess parking isn't that important. Indeed, it isn't compared to other safety issues, such as something as simple as paying attention to the road. This is such an obvious thing matter, but I am shocked--SHOCKED mind you--when I see people driving with one hand while the other hand is holding a cell phone. How often have I seen wreckless driving by people with their attention on their cell phone as opposed to on the road. Just the other day, a car comes veering into my lane and I had to slam on the break to avoid hitting this stupid lady. She saw me too, but of course she saw me too late. She was too busy talking on the phone. Had I not been paying attention she would have hit my front right fender. She obviously didn't realize that talking on the phone reduces reaction time, not because she's slow, but because her attention was diverted. Tests have shown that young people drive like old people when they are on the phone. Their attention is not on the road and they react slowly, often too late.

So do you drive like your grandpa or grandma? Please don't tell me you talk on the phone while you drive. If you think you're special and can handle it, well then, God bless you, and God help those driving around you.

Are we fixed? Is Blogger good to go?

Thursday, April 07, 2005

What is this Madness?

100 Most Challenged Books 1990-2000
(partial list)

01. Scary Stories (Series) by Alvin Schwartz

02. Daddy's Roommate by Michael Willhoite

03. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou

04. The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier

05. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

06. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

07. Harry Potter (Series) by J.K. Rowling

08. Forever by Judy Blume

09. Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson

10. Alice (Series) by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor

13. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

18. The Color Purple by Alice Walker

19. Sex by Madonna

39. The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison

41. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

42. Beloved by Toni Morrison

47. Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes

52. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

55. Cujo by Stephen King

56. James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl

59. Ordinary People by Judith Guest

69. Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut

70. Lord of the Flies by William Golding

77. Carrie by Stephen King

83. The Dead Zone by Stephen King

84. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain

85. Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison

88. \Where's Waldo? by Martin Hanford

90. Little Black Sambo by Helen

Right when I thought March Madness was over...

I was watching one of my favorite movies, "Field of Dreams", the other day and there is a scene in which Ray Kinsella's wife stands up against the banning of books by Terrence Mann, a fictional character who replaces J.D. Salinger in the original story, Shoeless Joe, which by the way is also a good book. Anyway, Mann's book--a reflection of the 60s lifestyle--is considered subversive because it could promote sexual promiscuity and drug use. I am amused, of course, because who in the 21st century still believes in banning books because of such things?

Well, it turns out that there are a number of people still left who would challenge any number of books. The list to the right is from the American Library Association. They are books that have been challenged for banning at public or school libraries, or have actually been banned at one point or another.

Flowers for Algernon: This is a story of a guy--Charlie Gordon--who is mentally handicapped. He is slower than most people, and the sad thing is that he knew it. He wanted to be like other, and he managed to learn to read and write simple things. A white mouse named Algernon seemed to be smarter than Charlie, as lab rats in mazes seem to be anyway. But an operation was performed on Algernon, and now he became a super mouse. Charlie undergoes the same operation and the transformation and its aftermath is a very moving story, not only about the moral ramifications of man/science, but a compassionate one about Charlie as he learns to cope with his new found intelligence and his realization of how he was viewed before.

Slaughterhouse-Five: by Kurt Vonnegut. Strictly science fiction, but a complex structure doesn't make it for an fun summer read. But the sexual incidents and language have caused people to call for its ban.

To Kill a Mockingbird: I can't believe that someone--anyone--would try to ban this book by Harper Lee. It does contain profanity and racial slurs, but that is the whole point of the book: Racial inequality and injustices in the South. This is a masterpiece that everyone should read. And shame on anyone who would want to ban it.

Catcher in the rye: This story traces the event that lead to a sorta nervous breakdown suffered by a teenager was a must-read for my generation (1960s-70s). A boy on a trip to self-discovery and his search for a sense of sexuality. Okay, so they use porfanity in this one too, but the sexual references were pretty mild...

Brave New World: Another classic, this one by Aldous Huxley. I guess the thought of a future where there are different races: the "chose" race and everyone else. When I read the book, I found out that I would have been one of the people left on the outside of the city wall. A smart book that portrays idiotic policies in a fictionalized future.

Anyway, these are great books. And there are more on this list. Even Hrry Potter's on this list! I mean, is the thought of a warlock practicing witchcraft (warlock-craft?) a threat to Christian beliefs? If so, they must have a very shaky grip on their followers. If they were firm believers, how would a book life Harry Potter threaten to lead them astray? Anyway, this is simply ridiculous...

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Cherries and UNC


oday, (Tuesday) was a beautiful day. Nice and warm. The cherry blossoms surrounding the tidal pool on the Washington Mall are supposed to have started to bloom. On such a warm day as today, they must be trying like crazy to burst forth from the confines of its bud.

This Friday, our Japanese program is scheduled to hold our annual Cherry blossom viewing--in Japanese it is called o-hanami, literally: to view the blossoms. Of course, in this context, hana refers to the cherry blossoms. Anyway, we will meet at the National Mall and eat our bento (box lunch) and maybe play games. There is a prize this year: The official Onigiriman coffee mug... Like someone would really wants it. Hahahahha!

NCAA Finals

Visit RachelsMommy's Xanga Site!What?!!! No mention of the tearful ending of the game. My throat is raw... and for what?

O-man: Tearful? Man, there is no disgrace in losing in the finals, although Illinois did exhibit an impressive come back. Still, they have nothing to be embarrassed about. They had a great season.

Visit BarbEric_Bojo's Xanga Site!

daag, how did you know illini would lose!

O-man: I didn't "know" that Illinois was going to lose. This year, I felt that Michigan State had a pretty good team and should get to the finals. The greatest obstacle they had was North Carolina but I thought they might have enough to beat them, maybe in overtime, just barely. But on Saturday, UNC looked REALLY good against the Spartans, and I just thought that they would beat anybody, including the Illini. Would they beat a lower tier NBA team? Probably not. I mean pro is pro. But it would be an interesting match up. May (UNC's center) is going to be great in the NBA.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Response: April Fool's


ranks are for little kids, so I guess that makes me a very old little kid. Just to set the record straight. I am fine and the program is still intact... for the time being. I guess for any prank to work, there has to be a degree of believability, no? I mean, if I had written that I was abducted by aliens, it would not have come close to being an April Fool's gag. But life being what it is--not to mention the economics of academia--some of you vulnerable to my prank, maybe some more than others. Certainly my students know what's what and so are perhaps the most vulnerable, and hence responded the most vehemently. Hehehehehe. I'm such a jerk. but I couldn't help it.

Anyway, here are some of the comments and my response.

Visit BarbEric_Bojo's Xanga Site! hmmm, nice try,

Oh yeah? Oh well, guess I can't fool the ol' Bojo... I'll get you next time...

Visit avidevi's Xanga Site!*teehee* i knew it!

Oh yeah? Ack, won't anyone fall for this prank? It's not fun if no one falls for it, ya' know?

Visit RachelsMommy's Xanga Site!

Aw shucks. I guess I'll just call back the friend I spoke to at Yale on your behalf. He was willing to offer $375,000 for your first year.

Ok... I can't tell if you fell for it, or you're just pulling my leg. I mean, I tried so hard to make a funny...

Visit dudedontdissrice's Xanga Site!wow that was pretty good

Finally! Someone who is straighforward enough to fall for it. Whew...

Visit gokingsgo's Xanga Site!funny. you got me.

Hot diggity. That's another one. Can you imagine that I just fooled polititcian? And a democrat to boot!

Visit SammyStorm's Xanga Site!You got me! I was ready to send a sympathetic e-mail and everything! gahaha!

Actually, YOU should know me better. I know you're taking a hiatus and stuff, but you can't have forgotten my humor that easily...

Visit BloodyKitsune's Xanga Site!Jeezy Creezy, I almost had a friggen heart attack! Good one though!

Well, glad you're heart was strong enough to withstand the joke. Wouldn't want anyone dying because of the joke.

Visit jerjonji's Xanga Site!
very funny! NOT!


Visit EnderSatomi's Xanga Site!=( not funny! I was worried for the first two paragraphs!

Just the first two paragraphs? What gave me away? I was hoping you'd be worried until the end of the post.

Visit SleepyWalnut's Xanga Site! Arg! I definitely about died there, and I'm even a day late reading this. Gah. Nice one. Although, I had a terrible little thought in my head saying, "At least we still have those summer classes I petitioned so hard for..."

Hahahahahaha. It's okay. It's only human nature. And I'm glad you petitioned for the class. Makes me feel wanted.

Visit Grom's Xanga Site!Shaun still believes it true, he can't grasp the fact that it was an April Fool's prank...he is crying right now.

Woah, I didn't mean to make anyone cry! Dear, dcear, dear. What should I do?

Visit enygma81's Xanga Site!Rargh! You suck! I was all, "Oh sad...=(," until the very end. Man, I forgot it was April Fool's. Or, I knew, but it wasn't at the front of my mind. aish...

Okay, I guess I deserve it... if you were REALLY sad until the very end... But at least I know that you're the kind to read the whole post!

Visit globalguy007's Xanga Site!You suck! I actually fell for it. hahahahaha, funny guy.

Woah... that's two in a row. Okay, maybe the prank was just a little sucky poo...

Visit gt_ninja's Xanga Site!holy *beep* I nearly had a heart attack. you forget about april first in this country.... I hate you man.(sensei)

You hate me?


A "TOTAL ASS"? As in complete? Thorough? Please, you can forgive me just this once, no?

Visit shi's Xanga Site!You're a poopy head.

A poopy head? Man, them's fightin' words. If it was anyone else, I'd be all over that, but since its YOU, well... I guess it's okay. I'm a sucker for you...