The year and a decade (arguably) is coming to an end! Busy busy! Time to clean up the house and sweep out all the corners! It’s been a good year for me – I got to work with these two chaps (Chris and Andrew)
– and enjoyed the experience greatly (they are sirs of the kind variety). And I moved to a great location (tho my new apartment is as messy as my old one). Also I started karate and tho I’m still quite terrible and clumsy – am still going! A tiny miracle of sorts for lazy old me. In recent days I’ve been to an onsen, eaten at a posh restaurant and had a very nice Boxing Day lunch… All of which you can read about on DK. Also, on Christmas Day, I saw this (with very heavy 3D glasses) –
A visual (and visceral) feast – but somewhat lacking in the visionary department. There’s much discussion of it here and Greg Egan has reviewed it here too. My own two pennies worth is that the story is unimaginative/derivative (very dances-with-wolvesian complete with alien war whoops) misses an excellent opportunity to explore one’s sense of self identity… and instead serves up a dose of Disney-like isn’t nature lovely and we are all one Pocahontas type guff. But I still enjoyed it.
I also liked this (not the stupid Hollywood style trailer mind you but the actual movie):
Spooky and (though it has its fairly obvious plotholes) ultimately heartbreaking.
And I’m looking forward to the final episode of Doctor Who with David Tennant as the Doctor… Really John Simm makes an excellent Master. I hope he doesn’t regenerate. And the Time Lords are back with Timothy Dalton in charge. Golly.
So all that’s left to say is yoi otoshi wo and a Happy New Year to you all. See you in 2010! I’m off to Joao!
The humble wooden spoon. Or is it? In the English speaking tradition, we have come to regard the wooden spoon as something so common, so cheap, and ordinary that it is commonly given as a real or notional prize for losers.
Above: A Really Big Loser
However, perhaps there is more to it than that. As that great fount of knowledge wikipedia tells us the wooden spoon is not merely a “spoon made of wood commonly used in food preparation” but also has a darker underside: in soap making and discipline. LINK
The Japanese (themselves great lovers of soap and discipline), seem to have a greater understanding of the respect that is due the wooden spoon. Even a little wooden scoop you get with a tub of ice cream is accorded the accolade of スペシャル or “special”:
Last Tuesday, we went to see Benjamin Button. Apparently it’s front runner in the Oscars. I wonder why. I think the best review I’ve seen of this movie came in the form of this parody video. It is indeed similar to Forrest Gump in structure but seems to lack any kind of point. And it’s ass-achingly long.
Wednesday night we went to Metro for ’80s night. Good times. You can read about that up on Deep Kyotohere.
Finally, here are some expendable (yet entertaining) links:
And David Attenborough in the Guardian on how he responds to creationist hate mail:
I always reply by saying that I think of a little child in east Africa with a worm burrowing through his eyeball. The worm cannot live in any other way, except by burrowing through eyeballs. I find that hard to reconcile with the notion of a divine and benevolent creator…LINK
What’s been happening? My job-hunting continues… Last night’s music event with Yamahara-san and Yoshida Koichi at Zac Baran was a blast (a video will be posted later)… And it was nice to meet a couple of Deep Kyoto readers there, Xavier and Patrick… I finally watched the new James Bond Quantum of Solace a while back and thought it a tad disappointing (all action, no plot)… People from magazines have been contacting me about Deep Kyoto… Here are some links I need to get rid of…
There’s a fresh post up in Deep Kyoto’s ongoing Irish pub series tonight: Mc Loughlin’s.
This will probably be my last post before Christmas. Tonight I’m going to Luka’s birthday party which should be interesting as I haven’t seen him since Pagode closed down a year ago. He’s holding it here, which I’m happy about because it’s within short-staggering-home distance of my house. On Christmas Eve I’m going out on the town in Osaka, first to the German market, then out for dinner somewhere special and finally back to the magic bar. Christmas Day I shall be lounging, gorging, imbibing and going nowhere near the internet. As I’m not going home this year I got myself a tree to keep my spirits up. From my childhood I have retained the idea that you should look up (in awe and wonderment) at a Christmas tree so no dinky little thing in the corner was going to suit me. I got the biggest one I could find but it only cost me ￥2,000. Here it is in a state of undress:
Here it is again with all the deccies (which cost considerably more than ￥2,000).
And finally here it is in all it’s awesome fairy-lit splendour.
I can’t help feeling it would look much better in my parents house in England with a huge pile of presents under it but never mind. It’s still entirely awesome and cool.
Two links before I go. First a quick message from avaaz on Zimbabwe:
Facing cholera, hunger and oppression, the forgotten and desperate people of Zimbabwe urgently need our solidarity and support this holiday season: letting them know we stand defiantly with their quest for democracy, security and justice. Sign our message of solidarity below which we will turn into a high rotation radio advertisement broadcast across Zimbabwe over the holiday period. Isolation is, in a sense, the greatest threat–the most powerful contribution we can make today is to let them know that they are not alone.LINK
And here (via Cryptomundo) is an interesting family tree showing how closely related Santa Claus, Al Jolson and the Yeti really are. Who would have thunk it? LINK
Here’s hoping Santa brings you everything you want this year. Happy Christmas!
First off here’s a link to the latest Deep Kyoto masterpiece I am working on. Earlier this month David Ewen and I went on a five stop pub crawl of Kyoto’s Irish pubs in search of the elusive craic. I intended to write one article detailing the pub crawl while comparing all five pubs and their relative merits, but have since decided they each deserve an article of their own. So the first one is up now and it’s on The Gael. Enjoy. There’ll be another one tomorrow.
Now as for today’s topic. I have a “To do” file in my bookmarks at the top of my browser where I put all the interesting links I come across when I think “Ooh that’s cool! I’ll look at that later!” and then of course I completely forget about them. So, it being the end of the year I am clearing them out and chucking them your way instead. I think I’ll just post the silly or funtertaining ones today.
The current issue of Kyoto’s CF magazine is themed around the joys of cycling and thus, as I have a rather spiffy mountain bike (thanks Helen!) and I’m friends with Taga-san at KTCP there’s a picture of me in there too, cheesing one of my cheesiest of cheesy grins. CF (not a bad little 雑誌 actually) is available from bookshops and convenience stores around Kyoto and features a lot of stuff on clubs, cafes, restaurants, bars etc. I tried to plug Deep Kyoto as much as possible when talking to the reporter: “Oh yes, I ride my bicycle a lot when discovering places for my blog Deep Kyoto! …And did I mention Deep Kyoto?… Please take my (deep kyoto) card …and do check out my blog which by the way is called Deep Kyoto…etc” But sadly he didn’t take the bait. Anyway, here’s the picture of me looking kind of gay on a bicycle. And you can see the full spread up here of myself and some other bicycling types.
Today my day of work consisted of catching the train to Osaka at 5:05 pm, sleeping, getting to work at 6:00 pm, being told the class was cancelled at 6:05, getting the train back at 6:15, reading (a jolly good book!) and getting home at 7:15. I will actually get paid for that too.
For the first time in human history, the North Pole can be circumnavigated — the Arctic ice is melting quicker than many anticipated. The devastating effects of climate change are also accelerating sea level rise and small island nations are preparing evacuation plans to guarantee the survival of their populations.
In a week, these small islands are tabling a resolution calling on the UN Security Council to address climate change as a pressing threat to international peace and security.
But the island states’ campaign for survival is meeting fierce opposition, so they need our help. Sign the petition now — it will be presented by the islands’ ambassadors at the UN next week. The more signatures we raise, the more urgently this call will ring out to protect our common future. LINK
I am, finally (if temporarily) on top of my scarily high mount-o-marking, and so I am sipping pink lemonade (the summer drink of choice!) and enjoying Raymond Chandler’s The Long Goodbye.
Today, I met a new private student who seems like a good egg. She’s a beginner level student which I prefer because a) you know exactly where you are and what to do with beginners b) beginners don’t get weird or cocky with you, generally. Anyway, even though I don’t really want the bother of private teaching, I agreed to teach her on condition she/we find someone for her to share the lessons with and thus share the burden of my massive fee. Actually, I have someone in mind…
Here are some links:
Writer Charlie Stross has a good piece (meticulously calculated!) on exactly why unplugging domestic appliances that run on stand-by, is not only not an effective way to tackle climate change but may in fact be counter-productive:
Back during the second world war, there was a drive in the UK to strip out railings and send pots and pans to metal works to be melted down and turned into weapons. It was seen as a patriotic duty; if you had railings outside your home, you weren’t doing your bit for the war effort. Did this actually help the war effort? No it didn’t; the total weight of railings and pans melted down for scrap probably wouldn’t have built a single cruiser. But they kept urging people to do it anyway, because it made the public feel as if they were contributing and helping deal with the national emergency. It was, in other words, good for morale.
Trying to defeat global warming by unplugging phone chargers and gizmos with a standby mode is in the same league as sending your kitchenware to be melted down to make tanks; it’s silly. LINK
Over here is some wonderful information on the health benefits of napping, the science behind it, and even some nice napping techniques. This particular tip pleased me immensely: To boost alertness on waking, you can drink a cup of coffee before you nap. Caffiene requires 20 or 30 minutes to take effect, so it will kick in just as you are waking up.LINK