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Fun / foon Tokyo
Thursday, January 13, 2005
Picture in your mind ....
Now Playing: Tom Waits
Topic: Me
My internal theme music for commuting to work is PURE Tom Waits. Picture in your mind ....

It's midnight in the Rock-Island Line switching yard on the Chicago South Side.

Steel-on-steel clacks out the back-beat as dioxin vapor rises off the the Sagg Canal off in the distance.

Marching towards the steaming sag piles and smoking their reefers,
the seven dwarves who all look like Tom Waits start chanting in the
minor key:

"Heigh-Ho, Heigh-Ho, it's off to work we go!"

Heigh-Ho! (The Dwarfs' Marching Song) - Tom Waits Listen here.


I got the sizzle, but not the steak / I got the boat, but not the
lake / I got the sheets, but not the bed / I got the jam, but not the
bread / But, hey I'm big in Japan, I'm big in Japan/ I'm big in Japan,
I'm big in Japan

--"BIG in JAPAN", Tom Waits, in 'Mule Variations' CD (1999)

Posted by trek/taro at 9:44 AM JST
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Tuesday, January 11, 2005
Getting a job in Japan
Topic: adviceS
The old Bible of thousands of FG wannabes for the past 20 years, "JOBS in JAPAN" and most others likeHow to Land Jobs in Japan advice to come here cold and semi-illegal to find a job.

Most J-companies do NOT wanna hire a Pig-in-Poke. The Bad-Case scenerio
is it's gonna take you 3 months to find job and more than $5-10K to get
your own squat, phone, fidge, etc. (The Good-Case scenerio is it's
gonna take you 3 weeks and $1,200). Please note many major Japanese
companies will not sponsor visas (your soon-to-be-bucho is forced to privately).

YIKES! Come to think of it, most of the long-term gaijin on the the FG
Forum came here under some sponsorship such as job transfer, Japanese
education, martial arts, JET, etc. I got headhunted here but I was told
to "wait" for 3-4 months. I scrapped and scammed as an illegal worker
in a bunch shitty jobs and then had to do the Korean visa run on my own
and at my own expense to get my work visa. It was DAMN TOUGH and I ran
out of money ($3,500 spent in 9 weeks). Without leeching off my Judo
sensai and a friendly mama-san who frequently gave me "taxi money" I
would never have "made it".

BOTTOM LINE: Go for it.

Posted by trek/taro at 10:13 AM JST
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Thursday, January 6, 2005
Life in Japan is shitty vocab lesson
Mood:  don't ask
Topic: adviceS


肩たたき 【かたたたき】 (n) tap on the shoulder; request to resign

Been there. Done that. Mo' betta' job because of it.

Posted by trek/taro at 2:10 PM JST
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Wednesday, January 5, 2005

Coffee zanmai dinner after work in Shinjuku?

Posted by trek/taro at 7:59 PM JST
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Bobby Fischer in Iceland

Posted by trek/taro at 11:47 AM JST
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How long does it take to study Japanese?
Topic: adviceS
Q: How long would the full-time Japanese language course in the YWCA take to get me to the top level in Japanese?
A: "How long"? --->For me a lifetime.
Two classes a week for two years will get you the Japanese level 3 in about two years. For level 2, more "intensive" study is needed at least 4 days a week, several hours a day for one year. Level 1 for a Westerner studying at the YMCA is not a reasonable expectation---at least 2 years (more like 4 or 5). All the Western translators working for me as just as trainees with only Level 1, took 5 or more years to get to that point.

Q: I read somewhere that you have to have JLPT Lvl 1 to enroll in a Japanese university, so... if i take that language course i still have to take the JLPT up to level 1 right?
A: To enroll in a Japanese NATIONAL university (dirt cheap, or free scholorship) takes JLPT Lvl 1 to enroll although Level 2 will be accepted for a real scientist. Private universities will accept anything but they are expensive. Your best bet is transfer into Japan as grad student in a real major (not language or humanities) and live on a general research or Ed Ministry scholorship which pays more than 180,000yen/m plus housing.
Botton Line: It's easy, fun and maybe lucrative as long as you're not in not language or humanities major.

Posted by trek/taro at 11:33 AM JST
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Japanese behavior: Why do they follow the "calendar" and not "weather"?
Q: Why are all the Japanese dressed like there is going to be blizzard to start any minute even is will be 16 degrees C --- just over 60F in real degrees.

A: Easy.
Above all things, Japanese worship sameness and predictablity. That's why NHK public television has the flower "news" report everyday.
Get with the program: WE ARE THE ROBOTS.

Posted by trek/taro at 11:06 AM JST
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Friday, December 17, 2004
Rear Adminal Taro Pongi's newest adventure: Random Rob Pongi's
Some guy picked up on the Japaneseque Rob Pongi vib all the way down in South Africa where he "claims" to have never seen Cup-o-Puke Ramen --- lucky boy. Anway as a Real Adminal in the Pongi Self Defence Forces I just have to repost this EVERWHERE, hee, hee.
ModBlog - Sex is a beach, be careful of crabs. [@nonymoused]

Meet Random Rob.

Yeah that's right, I'm Rob. Random Rob. Why am I called Random Rob? That's cause I'm random baby. One minute I'm ...sitting on a giraffe eating gravy, uhhhh....assuming there is a large gravy supply nearby of course...and a reasonably domesticated giraffe, the wild ones scare the willies out of me with those sharp teeth of theirs.. Umm...yes *cough* but when you're someone as cool and hip as Random Rob things like that happen all the time.
....there's nothing funny about waking up in the middle of the night only to find your self humping conveniently shaped medical supplies. least it was better than that one time I tried to prove my randomness by mating with a public.
... the uhh..damned drawing took away 5 hours of my life.... I still admire the guy for surrounding himself with so many asian women and not getting publicly beaten.)

For reference see

Posted by trek/taro at 10:31 AM JST
Updated: Friday, December 17, 2004 10:42 AM JST
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Thursday, December 16, 2004
Run ASIMO. Run.
Honda's robot, ASIMOASIMO robot is running faster nowhere (Read the article)
As I previously mentioned in the Robosapien story, Honda has spent about 500,000 dollars for a life-size humanoid robot that one day might be capable for cleaning your toilet but not not your dryer?s lint-trap. As Tilden, the CEO of Wow Wee that made Robosapien said, ?For half a billion dollars I?m pretty certain I could hire Bill Gates as my pool boy.??

Honda?s Robot Advances, but to Where?, Japan, Dec. 15, 2004 WAKO, Japan
---Despite the technological advances, Honda has not made much progress in determining just what the robot might be used for?. ?The robot, 4 feet 3 inches tall, demonstrated its form on Wednesday. It walked onto a wide stage, then, after a few steps, drew its arms closer to its sides and lifted its knees high as it broke into a jog, hydraulic muscles whirring loudly. Perfecting the running motion was a technological challenge, the robot?s developers said, because the rapid arm movements tended to throw the robot off balance?

Posted by trek/taro at 1:34 PM JST
Updated: Thursday, December 16, 2004 1:34 PM JST
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Japan: Tis the season to GET LAID
There are few things I looooove more than Christmas in Japan. Christmas here is second Valentine?s Day...actually bigger than Valentines. Any single person spending Christmas Eve in Japan is thought of asa total loser. To quote my friend Yves at
So what do people do during Christmas in Japan?
I guess a lot is left to the imagination, since romantic couple spend a lot of time isolated from the crowd, and all the love hotels are full, as well as most restaurants. What is not left to the imagination however is what people buy just before Christmas, not in sex shops but in major retailers. Tokyu Hands in Shibuya is a very popular department store where one can find almost anything, from bicycles to office chairs, to tiles and professional sushi knives. And, when Christmas is close, this:

Japanese X-mas Sexy Santa clothing for girls - Click to enlarge picture!

For few more close-up shots of the Chrismas displaya

Posted by trek/taro at 12:14 PM JST
Updated: Thursday, December 16, 2004 1:42 PM JST
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Tuesday, December 14, 2004

More on that ass-wipe, Fujimori...
Fujimori / News - Few See a Clean Escape from Corruption

Inter Press Service (IPS)
14 December 2004

Not many people around the world seem to believe that corruption can be contained let alone eradicated, experts said after a major international survey.

....?Citizens across the world appear to be pessimistic about the scope of corruption,? Robin Hodess, director of policy and research at the Berlin-based Transparency International told IPS in an interview in Paris. Speaking after the publication of the ?Global Corruption Barometer? by Transparency International (TI), Hodess said that most people think the fight against corruption that was stepped up since the late 1990s is having little effect.
The survey was conducted for TI by the opinion poll firm Gallup International as part of its ?Voice of the People Survey? carried out between June and September 2004.
?For instance, citizens in Peru have seen that the former president Alberto Fujimori, despite heavy charges of corruption, could find refuge in Japan, and escape prosecution,? Hodess said. ?Because of such cases, citizens do not see a positive impact of the fight against corruption, and their perception that something is wrong in politics and justice....
Click here Go to for more info

Posted by trek/taro at 12:43 PM JST
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Friday, December 10, 2004
Straightjacketed lady driver for Japan's new Oxyride battery
Diva ?driver? in a straightjacket? (Read the article)

Why is this lady ?driver? wearing straightjacket?

Maybe the new Oxyride battery that ?delivers 1.5 times the power of a
regular alkaline battery? causes users to mad from the price.

A driver takes
a position to drive an electric car powered only by two of the Oxyride
dry battery AA, seen set behind her head, developed by Matsushita
Electric Industrial Co. Ltd. prior to its test run ?..

Posted by trek/taro at 9:13 PM JST
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Thursday, December 9, 2004
We don' need no ed-u-ca-tion..."
??.we don?t need no thought control, no dark sarcasm in the classroom ? teachers leave them kids alone?

Reluctant teachers: ?Why should English be studied?? Japan Times / Dec 09 )

Study showed early English education useless
Kyodo News / Dec 09

Hmmm, let me see. Japanese can?t speak it. Japanese teachers can?t teach it. Students can?t learn it. So why bother?

Posted by trek/taro at 10:09 PM JST
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What Japan is really like
Topic: Concrete Japan

Dogs and Demons: Tales from the Dark Side of Modern Japan
by Alex Kerr

Publisher: Hill & Wang Pub (February 10, 2002) ISBN: 0809039435
"A woman named Kato Shidzue, writing on her hundredth birthday in The Japan Times, lamented: `There must be many foreigners who come to Japan full of dreams about the country`s scenery after having read Lafcadio Hearn only to be surprised and upset at the sight of the Japanese so heartlessly destroying their own beautiful and unparalleled cultural legacy.` Sadly Ms. Kato is wrong. One looks in vain in the foreign media for expressions of surprise or conern at what has happened to Kyoto. It would seem that Western visitors fail to distinguish-perhaps it is parts of their condescension toward Asia- between well-preserved tourist sites and a thoroughly unpleasant city-scape. The fact that Kyoto has nice gardens on its periphery is enough to make them overlook the unwelcoming mass of glass and concrete cubes in the rest of the city."

Posted by trek/taro at 12:08 PM JST
Updated: Thursday, December 9, 2004 12:14 PM JST
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Wednesday, December 8, 2004
A natural killer Ts and an Okinawan sea sponge walk into a Japanese brewery....

Tell me if you heard this one:
A natural killer (NK) cell and an Okinawan sea sponge walk into a Japanese brewery....

Marine Sponge Leads Researchers To Immune System Regulator
University Of Chicago Medical Center
Date: 2004-12-07

A Japanese brewery, an Okinawan sea sponge, and some clever detective work have enabled an international research team based at the University of Chicago to solve a biological mystery, and the solution suggests a novel way to boost the body's defenses against cancer.
Discovered less than 10 years ago, natural killer (NK) T cells are unusual because they target lipids, often bound to carbohydrates, rather than proteins....

Posted by trek/taro at 9:47 AM JST
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Monday, December 6, 2004
Japanese public broadcaster hires real ?Ghost? writers

NHK pays mysterious TV writers in kickback scam
Mainichi Shimbun, Japan, Dec. 6, 2004
Two people that a fraudulent former NHK producer had registered as TV program scenario writers may have got paid by the network for work they never carried out? [he] wrote scenarios of the program, either, and nobody who actually worked for the program knows him?.

NHK?s woes are neverending?and for good reason.
With the conversion to digital broadcasting NHK is now EXTORTING monthly fees for each household of 1,395 yen ($13) plus 2,340 for NHK
?BS? satelite without providing value for that money.
If NHK was a cable package maybe they could collect 500 yen (about $5.00 USD) per month for their 3.5 channels of programming.

Posted by trek/taro at 1:58 PM JST
Updated: Monday, December 6, 2004 2:34 PM JST
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Sunday, December 5, 2004
Japanese vinegar
? vinegar drink in a soda can (Read the article)


Japanese think that vinegar and fruit juice is a good canned soft
drink. Japanese also have big fad going on for the past couple years
that drinking ?black? vinegar will provide great weight loss benefits?.

Click on these TV commercials in Japanese here to see all the fun. drink

Posted by trek/taro at 9:39 PM JST
Updated: Sunday, December 5, 2004 9:40 PM JST
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North Korean TV promotes lesbian love duets
Rob Pongi says..... I now bring you a short video of North Korea's 'The Genius Teenagers' from a recent broadcast on Korean and Japanese TV:

Yikes! North Korean lesbian singers openly gay on state TV...Wow that's avant-guard!

Posted by trek/taro at 8:15 PM JST
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Thursday, December 2, 2004
Ai-chan the squeaker loses!
Sheer Class
ITTF News Dec 2

China won the Junior Girls Team title at the 2nd ITTF World Junior Table Tennis Championships in Kobe, Japan on Monday 1 December 2004 ...
In the final they beat the host nation, Japan, by three matches to nil.... Japan has a splendid team, Ai FUKUHARA, Nozomi HASAMA and Yuka ISHIGAKI are players of high calibre but in the Kobe World Memorial Hall they were given a lesson, a severe lesson.....

Posted by trek/taro at 2:27 PM JST
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Wednesday, December 1, 2004
Peuge-Toyo-troen Chimera-moblie
Photo/PSA Peugeot Citroen,
French carmaker PSA Peugeot Citroen unveiled Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2004, the styling of three compact cars developed jointly with Japan's Toyota. From left are the Peugeot 107, Toyota Aygo, and Citroen C1. The three cars share a common platform and will be built in Kolin, Czech Republic....

Posted by trek/taro at 9:32 PM JST
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