Sunday, December 23, 2007

my little corner of the world.

(Joshua Masayoshi Huff)

As you've probably noticed, Winter Break has started at the Collective. bsto is in New Orleans, building homes for Habitat for Humanity, pburg is touring Europe, and i'm in tokyo.

Don't fret--we'll all be updating (sto and i are only gone for a week), as was evidenced by bsto's piece and this very entry.

First things first...the following picture was taken as this post was being written.

The sun rising over the land of the rising sun. Ok, that's out of the way.


To expound on bsto's point, the Honolulu Advertiser's headline story the day
I got into Honolulu was about how a charity was 3,000 toys short...and needed them by the next day.

And, the next day, the
Advertiser reported that over 4,000 toys had been donated since the day before.

To me, that's Hawaii--that's the Aloha State. It's not the richest state, but everyone feels like family. This is a gift and a curse, of course--everyone knows everyone else's business (you are more or less tied to every girl you will ever meet or consider dating through just one degree of separation--and I'm dead serious about this) and burning bridges means isolating yourself on the island.

But when calls to action are met in this way, you can't help but feel really good and think 'maybe humanity's demise is greatly exaggerated'

Then, though, you read this story (it happened a stones throw from my own home) and get sick. It'd be ethnocentric to say 'it's gross to eat dogs!!!', but it is just appaling that these men ate someone else's dog. Eat your own or something, you know?


CNN seems to think that President Bush's legacy will be a mixed bag. A mixed implies that both good and bad has been what good was accomplished? A conservative Supreme Court? Bickering with a Democratic Congress?

If they think dealing with 9/11 was a 'good', they need to re-evaluate what happened. Sure, the nation didn't collapse (entirely), but we entered two wars that had no definitive goals other than to fight 'terror'...and no end seems in sight. We are at odds with the world over these wars. We almost entered another war with Iran over nuclear weapons that, it turns out, don't even exist (Iraq and WMDs, aynone).

The economy? Fine, he was in office while it righted itself after the 9/11 effect on the global economy. However, with the subprime interest rate fiasco, the world's credit crunch is huge, and every nation is suffering.

Yeah, I think calling Mr. Bush's legacty is actually quite flattering and undeserved.


I've noticed a few things that I wanted to write about--nothing groundbreaking, but I have yet to write anything groundbreaking yet anyway.

Remember how I said I loved Wham's 'Last Christmas'? I still do, but not as much as the Japanese love it. Every store I've been into plays joke. It's so popular that you would have thought it was the actual song playing upon Jesus' birth.

Then again, Christmas is a day for couples here, not families. I went out with some friends the other night, and one girl kept harping on about how this was going to be the worst Christmas ever.

I was confused and asked why. She said it was because she never had a Christmas without a boyfriend and it was going to make her sick to see all of the couples together. She said her plans consisted of staying home and baking with her grandma.

So, essentially, Christmas stresses everyone out, even if they're not of the Christian faith. If you're not touched by it because of sheer capitalism, then you're depressed because being alone on Christmas is equitable with being a loser in love (in Japan, at least).

And, this country celebrates Valentines Day as well as their own holiday, called
White Day.

So, clearly, it's not a place to be if you hate love. Who does, though? You should celebrate your love every day (that was my diatribe against Valentines during my single years in middle and high school). Now, though, I enjoy the holiday quite a bit. It is a really cute day.

It's Christmas Eve here today (welcome to the future!), and Christmas festivities are in full swing.

keigo is a weird phenomenon. I mean, it's hard enough for me to understand everyone here (sitting through 10 years of Japanese schooling did me no good), and to throw in a whole different set of words when I engage in consumerism is insane.

When leaving stores/restaurants in Japan, you'll be thanked by the staff...but usually as you've already exited.They yell out an 'arigatou gozaimashita' that tries its hardest to catch up with you as you make your way through the crowded Tokyo streets. Hawaii is all about subtlety and being indirect, and clearly, the culture of my home has been greatly influenced by the influx of Japanese immigrant workers a hundred years ago. This sort of thank-you gesture is clearly all about deference to the's all about respect, subtlety and being indirect.

some things never change.

Songs that I'm listening to

Jens Lekman 'Sipping on Sweet Nectar'

I can't decide what song off of this album is my favorite--it:s such a great mix of singer/songwriter pieces with disco and am radio flourishes

Cool Kids 'Black Mags'

Yeah, they're singing about bike parts and they're too young to legally drink, but the beat is just amazing..and it makes me want to ride my bike, surprisingly.


Phoenix 'Too Young'

My favorite song of all time works really well in Tokyo (probably because its in Lost In Translation)


Daft Punk 'Superheroes'

Another great song...especially the end. I guess this is from that Intersellar 555 DVD, but I had my own treatment for the song that included a couple in suits trying to destroy a plane, but everyone on the plane danced and the plane had really cool lighting.

They succed in planting the explosives, or whatever, and they watch it explode, but as they do, they get onto a metro that somehow else has rigged to explode. Sure, it seems cheap and obvious, but it would be just incredibly awesome with all of its dancing and lights and explosions and expensive suits.

yeah, yeah..whatever. haha.


alright. happy holidays!