This is weird. You can now zoom in to a street-level view of some areas on Google Maps. Check out my old apartment. Bushwick represent.

Poop On The Floor

Disclaimer: In this post I will be talking about poop. Do with that what you will.

Okay, so I live in Japan. I respect that Japan's culture is very different from my own. I acknowledge that there are things about Japan's culture that I don't agree with, that I can't change. However, there is one thing, just one thing, that I cannot respect. That one thing is that Japanese people think it's okay to poop in a hole in the floor.

I just walked into the horror story that is the mens' room at my school with the unpleasant rumbling in my midsection that told me I was gonna have to drop the kids off at the pool. I try to avoid using this cesspool at any cost, but for whatever reason I just had to let loose this morning. I get into the stall for the squat toilet only to discover that someone has pooped, on the floor, and neglected to clean it up.

Now it wasn't a whole turd or a dump or whatever. It was just a small splatter of poo. But come on! What this little present says to us is that one of the adult males (as this is the staff bathroom) pooed on the floor and then just left it there for someone else to find. WTF?

I know you're saying that I should be directing my anger at the person who dropped one on the floor, but this is not the first time I've discovered poo on the floor of a Japanese-style toilet. You want to know how many times I've found poo on the floor of a Western toilet? I'm gonna say zero times since I graduated elementary school. Japanese toilets just seem designed to facilitate accidental floor poopings...and aparently, according to some ancient custom, you don't have any obligation to clean them up.

I'll admit that the squat position provides a better overall pooping experience, as far as the pipes are concerned, but maybe it's too good. Maybe it allows your poo to be released a little too well, causing all this excess splatter. Japanese friends of mine have conceeded that on average you splash yourself or the floor in a squat toilet about once a month! This is far too often. I've never splashed anything but my own ass in a Western toilet, and that's pretty easy to clean up.

So in closing, I'm not trying to be intolerant here. I've tried it the Japanese way, and in this case the Japanese way is just plain wrong. There are no ifs, ands or buts about it. The traditional Western toilet, the one that contains the poop is superior to the Japanese squatter that just lets it fly all over the place.

*Author's note: I have also yet to experience diarrhea on a squat toilet, but it's the kind of thing that keeps me up at night.


Goldfarmer Documentary

I'm infinitely fascinated with virtual economies. Today on BoingBoing I spied this link to a guy who is making a documentary about his experience working as a goldfarmer in China. Check out the trailer. It's still a work in progress, but it looks like it might be a showstopper once it's finished.

These people work long hours for really crappy pay to give rich Western gamers the in-game currency they need to buy all that sweet Epic gear. In response they are treated as pariahs in-game, often times by the very gamers who buy the farmed gold. They are seen as "ruining" the in-game economy, when in reality they are often doing the exact opposite, while at the same time avoiding running with gangs, prostitution or other more dangerous pursuits.

Fascinating stuff.

[link via BoingBoing]


Okay, I was wrong...

I claimed the other day that the traditional media doesn't have any guts...well this guy over at Newsweek proved me wrong. You have to read until the very last sentence where he totally burns Falwell and pretty much everyone who's been talking him up over the past few days.

Dan Hess, Donut King

A huge personal role model of mine, Dan Hess (of The Skanker Sores, The Ratchet Boys, The Ready Steady Go!, etc), passed away earlier this week. He had been battling against Hodgkin's disease for over a year.

This guy (along with his perpetual partner in crime, Michelle) did so many great things for DIY music in the MD/DC area that it would be impossible for me to list them all here. He was one of the funniest, strangest guys I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. I can say, without a doubt, that Dan was a major force in pointing me in the direction of music, especially the punk/ska DIY scene in DC. If it weren't for the shows that he and Michelle struggled to get on a weekly basis hundreds of garage and basement bands would have never had a chance to strut their stuff on stage. The Konami Code would never have made it out of The Dojo, I'm sure of it.

Hodgkin's disease is a pretty shitty type of lymphoma that occurs almost equally in both young people (teens-twenties) and really old people (sixties and up). Instead of flowers or anything like that, the family (and I'm sure Dan) would like for mourners to make donations to leukemia and lymphoma reseach. They charity they've selected can be found here.

Please, if you knew Dan, or even if you just happen to have an extra 20 bucks lying around, I think it wouldn't hurt to make a donation.

Dan Hess 1976-2007

"So I wear my name
On a shirt that's blue.
Still, I have no shame
In doing what I have to do."


Required Reading

The best webcomic ever is xkcd. It may be full of stick people, and sometimes contain jokes that are over my head, but it is consistantly the funniest comic in the internets.

I submit this comic and this comic as proof. Check it out, cause there's plenty more where those two came from, plus all his crazy maps and graphs.

The second best webcomic is Detective Trousers. Go Zach.


Dead Old Guys

First it was Jack Valenti a couple weeks ago...and now it's Jerry Falwell. I'm starting to think I have the power to kill evil people with my mind.

Just a thought.

(Edit) While browsing through various obits on Falwell over at Google News I realized yet another reason I love the internet media way more than the traditional media. Bloggers don't have to pretend to have nice things to say about an evil old bastard who used religion as an excuse to deprive others of their rights. While all the obits in mainstream papers mention that he was a "controversial" figure, none have the guts to go that extra step and call him out on the bastard he really was (or praise him for his accomplishments, if that's the way the paper leans). At least bloggers, right and left, have the freedom to call people assholes when they're assholes.

Oh, and Falwell was totally an asshole.


So, like, a reeaaally long time ago I went to see a demonstration of a cool japanese "sport" called yabusame. It's basically archery on horseback, and it has a history going back hundreds of years.

It was a beautiful day, and as you can see I took quite a few pictures of the cherry blossoms which were in full effect. As with all things Japanese, the yabusame demo had a 30-40 minute opening ceremony, and about 15-20 minutes of actual archery. It was still cool. These dudes (and dudettes) ride at full speed and have to fire at a target the size of a dinner plate. Back in the day, if you missed you committed ritual suicide. Luckily today you don't have to do that so much.

There was an exciting a scary moment when one of the archers fell off his horse. I have the "after" shot of that here. All in all it was a good day, and it even ended with a little bit of taiko, or Japanese drumming.

So yeah, slowly but surely I'm gonna start updating this old blog again. So keep coming back to check for updates.



The Gaijins

My pop-punk band, The Gaijins, played it's first show over here a few weeks ago in Hiroshima. I've uploaded some sweet pics from that night over at Flickr.

It was a pretty sweet event. We were originally supposed to play at another venue...but it got double-booked by accident (oops!), so we got moved. The bar we got moved to was having a quiz night, but they said we (and the couple of other bands we were supposed to play with) could go on after. Five days before the show that turned into "You have from whenever the quiz ends until 12 to play." This left a total of an hour for all the bands (conservative estimate), so a bunch of bands got cut. In fact everyone except us and the dude who organized the show's band. That dude, Liam, is a really nice guy and offered to play drums for us when our drummer couldn't make it to the show. He only practiced with us twice but he nailed everything. Good on Liam.

So yeah, it was quite the bootlegged show, but would you want anything less for your punk band's first show? Most of the quiz patrons just ignored the music, though I was kinda pumped when a bunch of people got up out of their seats (gasp!) and moved toward the stage to bob their heads when we started playing. It brought a tear to my eye.

Anyway, enjoy the pics. One day I'll get some video up here. Peace out.

(Oh, and PS, the matching blue t-shirts were a coincidence...)