12.19.2006

I guess this is good

I was thinking about how everyone is going home. Some have left, some leave tonight, some leave tomorrow. I get to see my family, but I'm not going home, they're coming here. Which is awesome.

But what I've realized is that I don't need to be home. It's not that I don't miss it, it's just that I know I'll be back there eventually and it's not that important that I go right now. A lot of people I've talked to see going home as a chance to be rejuvenated or re-energized or something, but I feel like I'm ready to head back into the ring for as many rounds as it takes to finish, and I think this is a good thing.

So to all my people back home, I love you guys and I miss you guys. I can't wait to be in your company again. But I think for the first time I'm looking at Japan not as a temporary home, or a vacation spot, but as my actual home for the next year or more, much the same way as I ended up feeling about NYC (and I still do kinda consider Brooklyn my home away from home).

I like this concept of having more than one home. I like the feeling of being able to feel comfortable anywhere.

EDIT: PS- Check out me as Santa!

An Addendum

Sorry, there were two Best Albums this year:

Catastrophe Keeps Us Together - Rainer Maria



Rainer Maria was my guilty pleasure. Even back in the days that I claimed to hate "emo" I always loved this band in secret. Now that I'm less of an idiot I love them very publicly. Caithlin De Marrais has always been able to bring me inches from tears with nearly every painfully slow word she utters in her songs, and this album is no different. If you've never given Rainer Maria a chance this is as good an album as any to jump in on. I think if you like one song you'll like every song.

12.17.2006

Mizuho Highland

Today I went snowboarding for the first time this season! It was kinda a last minute decision on the part of me and Ken. We were joined by Greg, and coincidentally a few other JETs from points east in Shimane. It was only about 4 hours, but it was a blast. It was both Greg and Ken's first time out, but you'd never have known it.

It's sweet having decent snow only about 30 minutes from your house. I'm sure I'll be going all the time for the rest of the winter...and next time I'll bring my camera.

Best Music of 2006

Without further ado and in no particular order:

Best Album - Two-Thousand and Six-Six-Six (The Catalyst/Mass Movement of the Moth)



These two bands rock quite a lot separately, but when they decided to get together a release a split album someone should have been warned about the epic levels of musical brain-destruction they were planning on producing. The Catalyst rocked the spot with their unique brand of stoner punk rock. Though they've recorded the awesome song "Jesus Garcia" a few times, 200666 has the best version to date in my opinion. Mass Movement of the Moth has never, ever disappointed me on a release to date. They kick solid "spastic hardcore" jams that can be appreciated by just about anyone. Another aspect of this album is that these two bands are BFF and you're very likely to seem them live on the same bill. I suggest you do this, because if you think the album is at all good just wait for the live show.

Best Artist/Band/Whatever - Bomb The Music Industry!



This band/dude is the best thing going for music right now. I've talked about them before, so I won't really dwell on their awesomeness too much. All I need to say is that with 2006's release of Goodbye Cool World Jeff Rosenstock has cemented himself as one of my favorite singer/songwriters, right up their with the likes of Ted Leo, Billy Bragg, and Leonard Cohen. And it can't be mentioned enough that all Bomb The Music Industry!'s music is available for free right here. Have a listen.

Best Song - "World War 4" (Leftover Crack)

"I don't want to fight your war/I don't wanna play your game"

This song, off the upcoming split between LOC and Citizen Fish, was just released the other day as part of Fat Wreckchords' X-mas Bonus. You can download the whole comp for free here. For me it just sums up the year, speaking about the failing US war in Iraq with the voice of a pop/punk arena rock anthem. I pretty well convinced that LOC can do no wrong in the studio, even if their live show can be a little rough around the edges. Some people may not like how poppy they've become...I love it.

Best Line - from "King of Minneapolis, Pts. III & IV" (Bomb The Music Industry!)

"And I know I'm not dead/Because I just threw up in my own mouth/Swallowed back/This hangover ain't that bad"

You kinda have to hear the lyrics with the music to get the full impact of this line, but it is by far my favorite lyric from any song ever. I don't know why, it just speaks to reality as well as absurdity to deliver the most hilariously serious feeling I've ever experienced from a song lyric. Right on.

Well that's more or less it. I'm sure I missed a lot of stuff, but this is what I thought was good this year. Enjoy.

12.15.2006

Hmm

In Junior High School I learned that Brown v. Board of Education ruled Plessy v. Ferguson to be unconstitutional. In fact this is one of the few civics lessons I can actually recall with any clarity.

This being said, I look upon recent events in New Jersey with a mixed sense of happiness and grief. While I think it's great that homosexuals have been granted the rights they deserve as US citizens, why is it that these rights have to be "separate but equal." Homosexuals deserve not only the rights of marriage, they deserve to be "married" if they so choose. I for one don't see why they would want to associate themselves with an institution so poisoned by Christianity...but as I may one day have to sacrifice my personal thoughts on the matter for someone that I love, I think every citizen deserves that same right. So, good on the lawmakers of New Jersey...no need for negative reinforcement here...but next time let's remember the lesson we all learned in school, and the decision our highest court has already made.

12.14.2006

A vignette

In my 1st Year class last period my 75-year-old teacher was teaching the kids how to talk about the weather.

Mr Katoda: 「場所に天気はどうですか。」は:What is the weather like in (basho)?
Kids: What is the weather like in (basho)?
Mr. Katoda: What is the weather like in Tokyo?
Kids: What is the weather like in Tokyo?
Mr. Katoda: What is the weather like in London?
Kids: What is the weather like in London?

They are starting to figure it out. Kids start yelling out answers individually making a huge racket.

Kids: What is the weather like in (various different places)?
One kid: What is the weather like in Kanagi?
Another kid: What is the weather like in Katoda's head?
Mr. Katoda: まずいだよ。(It's unpleasant, that's what it is...)

12.13.2006

An update on my gradual CO poisoning

So the old kerosene heater is gone and now we have a new futuristic-looking one. It has a digital display that tells you how much kerosene is left, and a little window to keep an eye on the flame and everything. But it still uses kerosene, and the staffroom still smells, and there's still a good chance I could die.

AND I've been getting nosebleeds from the constant dry heat.

Wooooo, Japan!

Well there you go

Check out me and Ben being mentioned on punknews.org:

http://www.punknews.org/article/21270

Being mentioned in the same sentence with Bomb The Music Industry! no less. Go figure.

HvsD over NYC. HvsD over Japan. HvsD over the world.

12.11.2006

Big Flickr Update!

I put photos from this weekend's DELICIOUS Christmas dinner party up on Flickr. Check out my 1337 turkey carving skills and my amazing potatoes au gratin. I'm so humble!

But seriously, this event was too perfect. Everyone did their share and we had a wonderful, wonderful feast. I can't wait to do the same thing next year...or perhaps next month?



Mmm...turkey.

Seriously guys, quit it with the kerosene

My god. I never thought I could hate one smell so much in my life.

The "stobu" or kerosene heater is on the blink in the staffroom and aside from leaking poisonous CO fumes into the air it also smells so bad it's making my soul hurt.

The accounts man and the school nurse are trying to figure out what's going on, so I'm going to leave it up to them and post this in case I die in the next 5 minutes.

C'mon Japan, make with the central heating. Kerosene blows.

(Oh, BTW, the accounts man didn't figure it out and now he's calling a maintenance guy about it. Joy.)

12.08.2006

My Awesome Kids

Recent funny stuff my kids have done/said:

Today, in my 2nd Year class, they were writing little excerpts about their town, Asahi. The kids had to write about 5 sentences and then I checked them. Most were pretty mundane, as in: "I live in Asahi. It has a library. It doesn't have a convenience store. Etc." But this one girl brought hers up and the first line was: "There is a city fool near the bus stop." I thought she was talking about some village drunk that I'd yet to meet, it turns out she had just misspelled/misheard the word "city hall."

Yesterday, in my 3rd Year class, I was using the general idea of Yukihime's Penny Arcade Remix Project and having the kids make little comics with old PA strips. One of my girls, who actually isn't that great at English, turned out a gem. It's a rewriting of a portion of this comic. I don't have a scanner so I've recreated it as faithfully as possible here:



The subtext there is uncomfortably hilarious. If you don't get it, I don't think I can explain it to you.

The other day, I was joking with some of my 3rd Year girls at lunch. We were having a whole fried fish (head, tail, and all) and I told them mine's name was Jimmy (an ode to Steve Regotti, wherever you are). They didn't get my joke and were wondering why I was such a weirdo that I had named my fish. I asked them to name theirs and they wouldn't. Well today, one girl claimed she saw a face in her soup...two carrots for eyes, a potato nose, and an onion mouth. I asked her the soup person's name and she thought for a second and replied "Atsuko" which is a pun in Japanese because Atsuko is a very common girl's name and if you break it apart the "atsu" means hot and the "ko" means child. I guess I'm finally rubbing off on them. Joy.

12.05.2006

On Your Knees

Posterchild throws up a stencil:



Bonus, it's set to a crushing Iron & Wine cover of "Such Great Heights" by The Postal Service. Awesome.

12.01.2006

I can't wait for my Wii

Here's an article from seedmagazine.com about the emotional side of Nintendo's new Wii console.
...Nintendo argues that the wireless controller makes game play more intuitive—you no longer have to remember arcane sequences of buttons—it actually does something much more powerful: By involving your body in the on-screen action, the Wii makes video games more emotional.

Take a look, it's an interesting article, if not a particularly scientific one.

All I can say is: GIMME MY Wiiiiiiiiiiiii!