Thursday, June 25, 2009

Race ya, Michael Phelps

Here's the next winner of the 100m butterfly at the Special Olympics:

According to Yuki, the sea turtle had a traumatic encounter with a shark but thanks to some sympathetic engineers, Papa's got a brand new, flipper.

The turtle story was broadcast on NHK, the PBS of Japan. No, that's not quite right. People in Japan actually watch NHK. Plus, everyone here has been bothered by the NHK guy coming to your house to collect "donations."

I watch NHK for the dubbed nightly news but usually I don't pay attention to Japanese TV. Whatever Yuki is watching, I'll watch. Recently, that has amounted to just early morning talk shows. Yuki's got her nose stuck in her textbook so there isn't much time for TV. The one program we watched recently showed a lot of wacky/horrific news clips. If your perception of the world was informed only by this program, you'd think that:

• the preferred method of suicide in China/Thailand/South Korea is jumping off a tall building;
• taxi drivers hate bicyclists;
• only bizarre robberies occur at convenience stores.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

The Drinking Life

One thing baseball fans like to do is imitate their favorite hitters, or favorite hitting stances. Do any come to mind just now?

I know which one I think of immediately -- the distinctive homeplate ritual used by Ichiro Suzuki, the singles-hitting machine. You've seen it before:

Like other famous people in Japan, Ichiro shills for a number of companies, including the alcohol of choice at frat houses everywhere. I see this one at train stations everywhere:

Yeah. Looks familiar, doesn't it. Maybe he's toasting the pitcher at a wedding ceremony.

On the subject of beer, a student of mine was surprised when I told him that beer commercials in the U.S. don't actually show people drinking beer. Huh? If nobody drinks beer in the commercials, then what do these commercials show? Someone pouring beer, dominoes, Q and Pharrell Williams and Dr. Dre, a douchebag of a skinnydipper, and "All we need is one pin, Rodney."

Where is the pleasure of drinking? It's on this side of the Pacific.

On second thought, Ichiro gets edited in mid gulp, like a Jackie Chan fight scene filmed by bullshit American directors. Let's give Indy Jones a go: