Tuesday, August 23, 2005

good ol google

My friend Julia Nolan had this in her blog as something fun to do, it's kind of irresistable. It's better than a horoscope. Try typing your name and the word 'is' into google as a phrase and see what you get. I tried "Kyra is" and I got:

  1. Kyra is a simple, fully featured, industrial strength Sprite engine written in C++.
  2. Kyra is well aware that she is working within a tradition of dressage riding that builds on time honoured principles.
  3. (one of my favorites): Kyra is one of the prisoners that Terron guards are forcing to fight tigers.
  4. Kyra is a take charge woman who will let no man get in the way of her doing her job and Alex understands that. (oh yeah, you tell it! ... wait, who's Alex?)
  5. Kyra is the Founder & Director of 18th & Yoga.
  6. Kyra is cool I like how she is laid back. Yet she can be funny and she's a mean rocker!
  7. Kyra is typical of a lot of the teenagers I have taught over the years.
  8. Kyra is an exemplary daughter, a refreshing change from many of the young adult novels today. (woah, what?!)
  9. Kyra is shaking her brother's limp body. (Sorry Tommy!!) ^^
  10. Kyra is looking for an active owner with a large fenced yard and lots of play time!
You gotta try it, it's so fun!

Going overboard

This weekend I went to a baseball game between the Hanshin Tigers and the Yakult Swallows. We were sitting in the middle of the Tigers fans section, which sort of made us hanshin fans by default, because as anyone knows, when you're a neutral person surrounded by intimidating screaming fans wearing team uniforms and face paint, you definitely do not want to evoke their wrath. Especially when they are sitting behind you and have had many beers.

Anyways, this game was a revenge match, because apparently the Swallows and the Tigers had just had a game last night, and the tigers lost. This was an unforgivable instult to the fans, since the Tigers are from Osaka... about 6 hours away by car.

Let me tell you something about the Tigers. They are the second best team in Japan (first is the Tokyo giants). This season, however, the Tokyo giants suck, which is the source of no small amount of glee. You see, Osaka in general has a certain resentment towards Tokyo. In size, in population, in business, in sports, in *anything*, it is a huge city. It is *almost* the biggest city. But it always has (and probably always will) come in second to Tokyo. Perpetual second place has gotta hurt. Add to the fact that Tokyo's version of Japanese is standard, and they like to make fun of the 'cute accent' of Osaka. Hm, I can see the flames of frustration burn from here! ^^

The Yakult Swallows are from Aomori, Tokyo. We watched the game in their home stadium. They are not the best team from Tokyo, but they're quite good. They have a pretty big fan base. But their fans, who came from around town, were outnumbered and drowned out by the raving, bloodthirsty Tiger fans, most of whom had come from Osaka to be there! As I mentioned, I was sitting in front of some very intense Tigers fans. I mean, they were so crazy even other tiger fans in the rows in front were turning around giving them looks like 'what the hell?'. Throughout the game they were standing up the whole time and rhythmically whapping bat-shaped noisemakers together, to the beat of a sort of 'cheerleading conductor'. This guy was wearing an official yellow uniform and white gloves (white gloves? He's GOT to be official!), standing on a ladder to be better seen by everyone. He was even wearing a badge. Every batter had his own song that the fans magically knew and would sing in chorus to the conductor. It was amazing, I have never seen so much prescision from 10,000 drunk people.

Back to the rowdy guys behind me. They were standing up nearly the entire game. Now, I stood up every now and then when my legs were stiff, so a friend I was with mistook this for enthusiasm and handed me some baseball-bat shaped noisemakers to whap in rhythm. "heh heh, sure, I'll give it a try... " I didn't know any of the words, but the beat was quite easy. Most of the time it was something like 'whap-whap-whap. whap-whap-whap. whap-whap-whap-whap-whap-whap-whap.' (repeat endlessly or until arms are no longer responding). Unfortunately this proved to be a mistake, because crazy fans (now dibbed CF for simplicity) took this as a sign that this FOREIGN girl liked the Tigers TOO!

Anyways, since arms getting tired happened around the fourth inning in a nine inning game, I sat back down to rest. Man, when they saw me, they lived out every bad stereotype of japanese 'english'. I was with about ten japanese people at the game, and all of them spoke english fluently. But CF were insistant: "Pureezu! eeto... shit down!" they said, encouraging me to stand. Talk about your mixed signals. ’もう、日本語でいいよ!’I said, trying to get them to talk in Japanese. But they were quite drunk and happy to get ANY sort of response. Ahh well.

Luckily, the Tigers won 3-1. One of the people in our group was from London, he was quite amused by the CF and encouraged them racously by booing loudly with them and teaching them the 'L for losers' hand signal, along with 'LOOOOSERS, LOOSERS'! Takeshi smirked and translated. I learned a new word today, apparently loser is 'make-inu' in Japanese (mahke means lose, inu means dog). Hehe. It was fun, but I had to get out of there, my head was hurting from the constant screaming and also from being hit on the head a few times by the overenthusiastic CF who tended to miss the other noisemakers. Suddenly I was quite glad I hadn't had any beers. I mean, think about the hangover those poor fans must have had, and add to that a six hour drive back in the morning.

Well, they won, so it was probably worth it.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

To fish or not to fish

"I'm not going fishing this weekend!"

Takeshi proudly announced last Wednesday. This took me as a surprise, because my little fishaholic has been going fishing every weekend at least one day since I got here. This usually means I come along to the countryside to his grandma's house when he goes, however, I'm safely in bed at 'peak fishing hours' which are, as previously mentioned, usually pre-dawn. Then the rest of the day we go hiking or something, when I'm bright-eyed and bushy-tailed (and Takeshi looks like a member of the living dead).

Since I've been here almost three months now, the charm of going to the countryside every weekend is wearing off. It's a long drive, and we tend to live off convenience store food, which is expensive as much as it is malnutritious. So I've been staying home, meeting up with friends, and doing other things while Takeshi meets up with his (finned) friends. I would try to convince him to stay, but he is certifiably addicted to fishing. He is always reading fishing magazines and pointing out different species to me. 'This one is an Ayu, it smells like a watermelon and has a distinct crescent mark on its back, see? (I was very surprised to find out that it really DOES smell like a watermelon!), then this one here,' (he digs out his cell phone and points to the background picture he took and put as his wallpaper) "is an iwana. THey're really expensive to buy in the store. Then THIS one," (he flips open the glossy centerfold of 'SALTY!' magazine), "Is called a yamame. Its very beautiful, japanese fishermen call it the 'mountain princess'."

I was glad to have had that explained to me, as later that night he sighed in a meloncholy voice "I want to see my beautiful mountain princess!"
*whew*, that could have lead to a disastrous misunderstanding. ^^ To add to his massive knowledge of all things gilled, he is the only person I know who
1. owns 25 volumes of a fishing manga called 'Tsurikitchi Sanpei',
2. can catch fish with his bare hands. Its pretty impressive to watch.

Now perhaps you can understand the full depth of my surprise when he made his announcement of a fishing-free weekend. Seeing my disbelieving leer, he said 'No, honest, I swear to god. I promise I will not go fishing this weekend.' "You swear to god, eh? Would you be willing to sign a statement?" I chuckled. He shrugged. "Yeah, I will. I don't care."
...heh heh heh. My screen name isn't Evil Kyra for nothing. Seizing the opportunity, I made a small contract. Here is the peice of paper he signed: This weekend, he was having some serious withdrawal symptoms. "Please... can't I go? I NEED to FISH!!" Evil Kyra grinned maliciously. "Certainly you can go, my dear! I'm just going to make a little agenda for your tasks as my personal slave. Let's see, rub my feet, feed me chocolates, scrub the toilet, yes yes, what else..."
"Auuuughhh NOOOOooo! never!!! I'm not going, I'm not going!!"

Heheh. He was very strong, and managed to avoid the call of the river for one whole weekend. ^_~ But I must say, I'm a little dissapointed.