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Saturday, February 25, 2017

Godzilla: King of the Monsters - 2019 film

Well… it’s about bloody time.

Scheduled for release on March 22, 2019, the sequel to the 2014 American movie Godzilla will finally come to the screens with the title: Godzilla: King of the Monsters.

The 33rd film in the Godzilla franchise, there was originally a typo on the press release sent out, indicating it was to be called Godzilla: King of Monsters… but they left out the “the”.

So… get your kaiju on… Godzilla will be back to thrill the global audiences soon enough.

I wouldn’t expect any major design change to Godzilla… but who the heck knows? That poor radioactive lizard has been changing his looks like a… add sexist comment here.

The script is written by Dougherty, Zach Shields, and Max Borenstein, and directed by Michael Dougherty.
Dougherty, 42, is an American film director, producer and screenwriter.

He directed: Trick ‘r Treat (2007); Making Friends (2010); and Krampus (2015).
He wrote: X2 (2003 - X-Men United); Urban Legends: Bloody Mary (2005); Superman Returns (2006); Trick ‘r Treat; Making Friends; Krampus; and X-Men: Apocalypse (2016).

Hmm… not a fantastic track record… though I enjoyed the last X-Men flick, despite its poor reviews…. mostly because I was there at the beginning of the whole Apocalypse comic book stuff. 

Superman Returns - ugh.

While I don’t mind a good horror flick, I don’t feel inclined to seek them out… so I can’t say if the rest of his work is any good.

Production is slated to start on June 19, 2017, with shooting to begin in Atlanta, Georgia, USA.

Godzilla: King of the Monsters will be produced by Legendary Pictures, distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures (worldwide), and by Toho in Japan.

What we know so far, is that it will star: Kyle Chandler—don’t really know him, so I’ll reserve judgement—and as his daughter in the movie, Millie Bobby Brown… whom some of you might know from the awesome Netflix television show: Stranger Things, where she plays the psionic Eleven.

If the movie poster below is to be believed, the main baddie for Godzilla to burn will be Mothra - but it could also just be fan art.


And not some other stupid insect creatures.  

I can only hope that means a return of the mini Japanese ladies singing: 

Andrew Joseph

Friday, February 24, 2017

Keeping Bloodlines Pure, 57 Monkeys Are Killed

Is this for real?

According to multiple news sources, including the BBC and Japan Times, it is reported that a Japanese zoo euthanized 57 snow monkeys because of impure bloodlines.

If it sounds like something straight out of Nazi Germany, it kind of is.

Here’s what these media outlets are saying: Takagoyama Nature Zoo in Futtsu-shi (Futtsu City) Chiba-ken (Chiba Prefecture) euthanized 57 snow monkeys at its facility (by lethal injection), after discovering that the monkey’s carried genes from an “invasive alien species.”

Apparently these 57 monkeys had been crossbred the with the non-indigenous (aka non-Japanese) monkey breed the Rhesus macaque and the native Japanese macaque (which is known by the Japanese name of Nihonzaru).

The culling took place at the zoo over a one-month period ending in early February 2017.

The Rhesus macaque is banned under Japanese law, and since its laws do not allow for the possession or transportation of any invasive species—including anything crossbred—the zoo figured it was better to kill the monkeys rather than give them to a zoo in another country.

Do Japanese zoos only have Japanese animals?

If not… like it might have a penguin, for example… is that not a so-called ‘invasive species’… why is that okay to possess and have transported into the country?

In a chat with AFP, conservation group WWF Japan spokesperson Mima Junkichi (surname first) pretty much said the culling was okay “because they get mixed in with indigenous animals and threaten the natural environment and ecosystem.”

Japan Environment Ministry’s Office for Alien Species Management also indicated to local media that the killing of 57 monkeys was unavoidable because there were fears they might escape and reproduce in the wild.

Of course, the Environment Ministry also says that an exception could have been made, had the zoo applied for permission to keep the crossbred monkeys…

Ever wonder how those monkeys crossbred? No, I’m sure some of you know he whole birds-and-the-bee thing… but rather… how did the alien species - Rhesus macaque get into a zoo where the Japanese Nihonzaru snow monkeys frolic?

The Takagoyama Nature Zoo is an open-concept zoo - not caged… so it was very possible that the Rhesus macaque—that has a habitat in China and Southeast Asia, could come across (no pun intended… maybe just a little) the Japanese species within the area.

Did you know that a Japanese Buddhist temple held a memorial service for the 57 dead monkeys? Do half-breed monkeys even have a soul? And if they do, were these monkeys followers of Buddhist philosophy?

Yes… an official at the zoo reportedly did have the Buddhist temple perform a memorial service for the 57 Ronin… er, 57 monkeys. I suppose it’s a nice thought.

The Takagoyama Nature Zoo STILL has 164 snow monkeys it believes are pure Japanese macaque.

“This is a Japanese monkey!”

The above statement will hopefully amuse anyone who has been in Japan, and has seen how proud the Japanese are to explain that such-and-such is of Japanese origin.

It will continue its due diligence to ensure the Japanese snow monkey breed will remain pure.

So… for all you gaijin/foreigners in Japan… think twice before you ask that Japanese guy or gal out on a date.

Andrew Joseph
PS: I questioned the veracity of this story because Japan killing these monkeys just seemed so unnecessary… but apparently it’s true.
PPS: Image at very top found on Wikipedia: by Yblieb showing Snow Monkeys in a hot water spa in Nagano, Japan.PPPS: Here's a 1982 video from Peter Gabriel called Shock The Monkey. Gabriel was previously a mainstay in the group Genesis.

Thursday, February 23, 2017


There’s a new game adults can play called Mokuru

Yes, they look like Crayola on steroids, or some weird Japanese sex toy I have never personally used... no... this is Mokuru.

And while I question it’s ability to be played for long in a bar, as they seem to imply it can be done: noise, room and public drunkenness come to mind, Mokukru does seem like a fun game of agility… and… fun, I guess.

For all you people who have been to Japan to teach English… do you recall your students swishing their pens or pencils around their hands and fingers in an incredible show of dexterity and ability to annoy?
Well… Mokuru isn’t like that, though it was inspired by it. Its creator even says so.   

The origins of the game go back about 50 years - back when kids in class would twirl their fountain pen caps.

A Japanese craft artist named Sato Toshio saw it and decided to create a toy version the emulated the twirling action beloved by Japanese school kids even now.

I want you to know that I can’t find any information on Sato or his twirling invention… but that doesn’t mean anything except that I couldn’t find it. What the hell was it called?!

Anyhow, that’s where Mokuru designer Node Masakazu (surname first) comes in, saying he saw that toy - made some adjustments of his own, and presto - Mokuru... or something like that...

Actually,  I was looking at the Mokuru data I was sent (I should read these things first)… and I found out that Sato created Mokuru 20 years ago… and that Node simply improved upon it and kept the name… with permission from Sato.

Sato and the new Mokuru gang did product testing, to establish the ideal size, shape and material for Mokuru.

Mokuru is described by its creator as a desktop toy made from Japanese beech wood.

It looks a lot like the old Skittle-Bowl game… no… I never played it… I just have a strange ability to recall completely random useless things. Pity I can’t make money from that.

Apparently to remember this, I forgot how to do math.
See? Then again… it’s not like anyone has a copyright on a shape... or do they? Probably not... skittle games have been around since the ancient Greek times.

Both are made of wood… but Mokuru has the words Mokuru on it… is painted in pretty colors, and has neat groove lines around the narrow necks… of the beech wood cylinder.

So… a desktop game… Mokuru is available in black, white, blue, orange and red. 

The game is meant to not only be an ideal time waster, but is something the creators say will help sharpen one’s focus and hand-eye-coordination.

How do you play?

Tip Mokuru over gently to make it flip.

No… not like this:

Man, that chick is strong! You go Grrrl!

No... don;'t flip it like that, rather flip Mokuru like this:

Once you get the hang of how Mokuru flips, now things get fun… with tricks and games for yourself and friends.

I’m not sure if it is a requirement, but you may need to wear some sort of woolen hat - even in the summer.

Gods help me, I think my son is going to be one of those… especially after I bought him a pair of hip Vans shoes - he preferred footwear of sk8r boys and girls. Yes… you have to spell it that way.

Tricks that can be contemplated by people much cooler than myself are:

Flip: Use one finger to flip Mokuru around from its tip from left to right
Triangle: Flip the Mokuru to draw a triangle
Square: Flip the Mokuru to draw a square 

Hold: Flip Mokuru from left to right and catch it on the back of your hand
Kiss: Use one Mokuru to flip another Mokuru from left to right and then up and down
Big Ben: Flip and make Mokuru stand
Big Square: Use two Mokuru to draw a square using both hands
Twin: Use two Mokuru and manipulate them with one hand
Five Moves: Use five Mokuru and manipulate them with one hand

Vs: Using a big table, flip the Mokuru to the person across from you
Marathon: 2-10 people keep the Mokuru running continuously in a line

Right now, Mokuru is a Kickstarter campaign… and you can partake of the fun by clicking HERE.

For the record, I have not received any money or even a sample of Mokuru and can not speak directly to the coolness of the product… but it does look cool.

Andrew “no longer cool” Joseph
PS: More like "never was"

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

And To Think That I Saw It ON TV

I must admit that when the U.S. elections were occurring this past year, I was secretly hoping that Donald J. Trump would win... no, not because I thought he was the best option, but rather because I knew he would present the best sound-bite. I'm from Canada.

Plus... I figured electing him would teach the American people to be careful what you wish for... having seen the same sort of circus with a recent mayor of Toronto. I don't wish to speak ill of the dead, so I'll just leave it at that.

In the past few weeks of U.S. president Donald J. Trump as the leader of the so-called free-world, I have no idea what his plans for the United States are, except that he seems overly concerned about keeping people out - which is fine. That's his administration's prerogative.

As an interested observer of American politics, I am curious about the number of times President Trump seems to go off half-cocked... espousing views without having the proper facts to back them up... like his recent comments about what is going on in Sweden - implying that immigrants there are causing an increase in violence... claiming he saw something about that on television.

The Swedes were not amused.  

Hence the very funny joke image above. Hopefully this will amuse the Swedes.

I see lots of interesting stuff on television... a medium once described as something that would rot one's mind.

Don't you believe that... look at what you see, and question it... find out BOTH sides of an argument and then make an informed choice on how YOU wish to proceed.

I'm not saying you shouldn't believe what your leader's say... just be aware that regardless of the country or political party... just like how the media can further manipulate a survey's scant results... slow down... and take a critical look at the facts... because yes... sometimes there IS fake news.

Sometimes the fake news is being made by people who claim fake news is real. Like I am with the photograph above.

Fake news.

It reminds me of the classic first book from Dr. Seuss (aka Ted Geisel): And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street, a 1937 story about a boy named Marco, who describes a parade of imaginary people and vehicles traveling along Mulberry Street, in a fantasy story he dreams up to tell his father at the end of his walk. However, when he arrives home he decides instead to tell his father what he actually saw—a simple horse and wagon.

Or... if you prefer, a dog and pony show.

And that is a story that no one can beat
And to think that I saw it on Mulberry Street.

By the way... minutes after I wrote this - minutes! - a report came out from Sweden, that rioting immigrants threw rocks at police after they arrested another immigrant - damage included: half a dozen cars being burned, vandalizing of several shopfronts, and police getting stoned (and not the good way) by rock throwing youths.

Now... if I was a conspiracy theorist like some presidents, I might suspect that the whole thing was orchestrated in order to prove a point...

We all know that there are professional rioters who cause trouble at various demonstrations... just like how you can watch news on a Middle East country and see the very same people burning American flags and chanting death to the Satan America. The same 40 people who are the cause of every news riot - providing the U.S. with the right to shuffle more money and energy into defending the Middle East from itself. The U.S. economy stays strong when there's an enemy to fight. (see Grenada - bonus points if you can point to it on a map)

I mean really... you see those riots on the news? Doesn't anyone work? Someone must... are the riots caused by people who don't work - professional rioters, not withstanding?

Okay - a lot of that was fake news... and a lot of that was reality... but it's okay... you guys are smart enough to figure what is what...

But yeah... Sweden and riots... that Trump... it's like he knew it was going to happen... like he's able to see into the future or something... like some kind of mutant. 

I said "like", not "is".

By the way... since the U.S. president is retroactively correct for the moment regarding Sweden (maybe immigrants were involved), should Japan be worried?

Godzilla wasn't on AMC this week, was it?    

Somewhere on a commercial break,

Andrew "not my real name" Joseph
PS: That is my real name. Isn't it?
PPS: A dog and pony show is: an elaborate display or presentation, especially as part of a promotional campaign.
PPPS: And before anyone gets too upset with me, the photo above was sent to me by an American citizen... and I swear I thought it was real. Maybe it will be...  

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Executive Order 9066

Executive Order 9066. Get used to it, because we might see its likes soon enough again.

On February 19, 1942, one of America's so-called greatest presidents signed off on an order that may have been America's (and Canada's) most horrible dark, little crimes conveniently swept under the proverbial historical rug.

Yes... there's the shameful treatment of North America's native American and Inuit nations, as well as what was done to Australia's Aboriginal peoples, or Central and South American Aztec, Inca, Mayan.. etc... and heck, let's not forget Japan and it's Ainu people... oops... almost forgot that whole slavery misunderstanding.

To be clear, that was a bit of sarcasm.

But all of the above shameful acts were merely the subjugation of countries and people doing bad stuff to others who were not of their country...

But on February 19, 1942... regardless if you were a full-blown American (or Canadian) citizen... if you were a yellow-skinned nip (Japanese), regardless of how long you had been a citizen... born there... parents born there... you were now an official enemy of the State.

Why? Because the United States was at war after being forced into WWII when Japan attacked the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor in the still independent country of Hawaii.

I get it  - Japan very bad. Let's gett'em back for that cowardly attack. I get it. No argument. I would feel the same if something like that happened in Canada in 2017.

I felt the same way when the U.S. felt the terrorist attacks on 9-11 back in 2001. Go get'em guys!

But get whom? The U.S.... if they really wanted to be correct back after 9-11... well... weren't most of those terrorists from the UAE? No... can't attack them... we need the oil... and besides... these terrorists belonged to a group... not a country. Tough one.

But Japan attacking Pearl Harbor... that's the Japanese attacking... ergo, anyone who is Japanese is our enemy.

That makes sense.

So what the fug is Executive Order 9066?

This order, signed by Unites States president Franklin D. Roosevelt authorized the U.S. Secretary of War to name certain areas a military zone... (like say in 2017, we turn Delaware into a military zone)... because we need to create concentration camps to keep an eye on all those enemy Japanese, Germans and Italians... including those who might be citizens of the United States, but have a background - say a father, mother, grandfather, great grandfather et al who was Japanese, German or Italian.

Hmm... internment camps for American citizens of Japanese, German or Italian heritage?

Well... since entering WWII, the U.S. and her allies were fighting against three main antagonists: Japan, Germany, and Italy (hey - who'sa winnin' da war? We're on dat side!" - again, I'm being sarcastic).

Now... as we are all fully aware... German-Americans and Italian-Americans (in the U.S.) and German-Canadians and Italian-Canadians (in Canada) at no time ever were they placed within an internment camp, losing jobs, homes, property... though I imagine they took their fair share of prejudicial abuse from the so-called White America and White Canada.

Stoopid wops! Dirty krauts!

No... for some reason... the Italians and Germans of American descent (and Canadian - I'm not letting Canada off the hook for its disgraceful behavior merely because it was just following the U.S.'s orders) - they were treated differently by White America and Canada...

Which I find interesting, as many Italian friends of mine discuss race as though Italians and their often darker complexion - are not White. Interesting. Do "White" non-Italian people know this?

Then again... that's a few people... and not the majority...

So... why did the United States (and Canada) decide to go through with efforts to place the visible minority Japanese into internment camps?

Racial profiling... yes... but it's as simple as the fact that it was a skin color thing...

But then why not the Chinese?

It would be more difficult to do that to Chinese-Americans only because China was not the enemy of the U.S.

Still... the point the U.S. was making was that since it was at war with Japan... and it was concerned about Americans of Japanese descent acting as spies for Japan (even if they had never been to Japan and were full-blown Babe Ruth-lovin' American citizens)... well... better safe than sorry, right... better to get rid of the entire threat now than suffer consequences afterwards.

Here's what Executive Order 9066 was:

Executive Order No. 9066
The President
Executive Order
Authorizing the Secretary of War to Prescribe Military Areas
Whereas the successful prosecution of the war requires every possible protection against espionage and against sabotage to national-defense material, national-defense premises, and national-defense utilities as defined in Section 4, Act of April 20, 1918, 40 Stat. 533, as amended by the Act of November 30, 1940, 54 Stat. 1220, and the Act of August 21, 1941, 55 Stat. 655 (U.S.C., Title 50, Sec. 104);
Now, therefore, by virtue of the authority vested in me as President of the United States, and Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy, I hereby authorize and direct the Secretary of War, and the Military Commanders whom he may from time to time designate, whenever he or any designated Commander deems such action necessary or desirable, to prescribe military areas in such places and of such extent as he or the appropriate Military Commander may determine, from which any or all persons may be excluded, and with respect to which, the right of any person to enter, remain in, or leave shall be subject to whatever restrictions the Secretary of War or the appropriate Military Commander may impose in his discretion. The Secretary of War is hereby authorized to provide for residents of any such area who are excluded therefrom, such transportation, food, shelter, and other accommodations as may be necessary, in the judgment of the Secretary of War or the said Military Commander, and until other arrangements are made, to accomplish the purpose of this order. The designation of military areas in any region or locality shall supersede designations of prohibited and restricted areas by the Attorney General under the Proclamations of December 7 and 8, 1941, and shall supersede the responsibility and authority of the Attorney General under the said Proclamations in respect of such prohibited and restricted areas.
I hereby further authorize and direct the Secretary of War and the said Military Commanders to take such other steps as he or the appropriate Military Commander may deem advisable to enforce compliance with the restrictions applicable to each Military area here in above authorized to be designated, including the use of Federal troops and other Federal Agencies, with authority to accept assistance of state and local agencies.
I hereby further authorize and direct all Executive Departments, independent establishments and other Federal Agencies, to assist the Secretary of War or the said Military Commanders in carrying out this Executive Order, including the furnishing of medical aid, hospitalization, food, clothing, transportation, use of land, shelter, and other supplies, equipment, utilities, facilities, and services.
This order shall not be construed as modifying or limiting in any way the authority heretofore granted under Executive Order No. 8972, dated December 12, 1941, nor shall it be construed as limiting or modifying the duty and responsibility of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, with respect to the investigation of alleged acts of sabotage or the duty and responsibility of the Attorney General and the Department of Justice under the Proclamations of December 7 and 8, 1941, prescribing regulations for the conduct and control of alien enemies, except as such duty and responsibility is superseded by the designation of military areas here under.
Franklin D. Roosevelt
The White House,
February 19, 1942.
Right... so fug the U.S. Constitution. Which is fine... the United States had been hypocritical since it dare uttered the words:

"We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, ensure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."

As long as you weren't no Nip or Nigger. Chink. Injun.... Spic... Wop. Kike... the list goes on...

It was only since the Civil Rights movements in the 1960s did the United States even begin to try and achieve anything as "WE THE PEOPLE".

Canada was no better. I don't know if any country was any better.

But to do such things to citizens of your own country?

So... less than one month later, U.S. president Roosevelt signed Public Law 503 to enforce his executive order 9066.  It took one whole hour of discussion in the U.S. Senate and whew! 30 minutes in the U.S. House Of Representatives for approval - meaning it's not all on the president... it was on a lot of elected officials meant to represent the voice and opinion of its populace... 

Law 503 said that violations of military orders was a misdemeanor and punishable by up to $5,000 in fines and one year in prison.

Similar to what Nazi Germany did in rounding up Jews, Gypsies and homosexuals and others for internment in their camps... Japanese Americans were rounded up and sent to internment camps.

Now... Nazi Germany was ruthless, and tried to exterminate a race... the Americans just took away their right to freedom... their only crime having someone in their family born in a country that was now considered their enemy.

Don't people say that loss of freedom is akin to loss of life?

I dunno... I'm asking.

Here's one I don't get... Hawaii, was a protectorate of the United States... and was still a separate country... but maybe it wasn't... it's like when Miss Puerto Rico wins a Miss Universe contest, the United States likes to claim that victory for itself... all one big happy family... right, hombre?

Anyhow... at the time of WWII's beginnings, the population of Hawaii consisted of 40% Japanese people.... so... what happened re: internment?

Only a few thousand Japanese were interned in camps in Hawaii... the rest were left alone.

Across the U.S... of the 100,000+ people of Japanese ancestry interned... 70,000 were actual full-blown American citizens. Of the rest... many had lived in the U.S. for anywhere up to 50 years... which (I wonder) beggars the question... why the heck didn't those people become citizens? Not that it would have mattered.

Did you know that no Japanese American citizen or Japanese national residing in the United States was ever found guilty of sabotage or espionage - of course...that doesn't mean they weren't sabotaging or spying...

As for what I said about Germans and Italians not being treated the same as Japanese of American decent - it is true... but I did hear that 11,000 people of German ancestry were interned, as were 3,000 people of Italian ancestry, along with some Jewish refugees

Jews? Sure... The interned Jewish refugees came from Germany, as the U.S. government did not differentiate between ethnic Jews and ethnic Germans (the term "Jewish" was defined as a religious practice, not an ethnicity).

So I was wrong... about the German- and Italian-Americans being interned... except why not all Italian Americans and all German Americans?

Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio
A nation turns its lonely eyes to you
(Woo, woo, woo)
What's that you say, Mrs. Robinson
Joltin' Joe has left and gone away
(Hey, hey, hey, hey, hey, hey)

Sure, Simon & Garfunkel... just not during WWII...  in 1942, while Japanese Americans were being put in what was effectively a prison, Joe, an American of Italian decent, hit .305, had 114 RBIs, and 21 HRs for the New York Yankees.

I'm not saying that's DiMaggio's fault... I'm just saying that the same rules did not apply for citizens of the United States, implying some citizens were considered less citizen-like than others.

Okay - that's all for now... oh:

On December 1944, President Roosevelt suspended Executive Order 9066. Internees were released, often to resettlement facilities and temporary housing, and the internment camps were shut down by 1946.

Those who had been interned were released to discover they had lost their homes, businesses, property, and savings.

U. S. President Gerald Ford rescinded Executive Order 9066 on February 19, 1976... and U.S. President Jimmy Carter signed legislation to create a study of Executive Order 9066, related wartime orders, and their impact on Japanese American.

Released in December of 1982, the study said that the incarceration of Japanese Americans had not been justified by military necessity. The report determined that the decision to incarcerate was based on "race prejudice, war hysteria, and a failure of political leadership".

So... Ford and Carter were better at protecting the civil rights of American citizens that the great FDR?

Apology letters and reparation payments were finally offered up in the 1990s...

here ya go... welcome to America... start rebuilding your life... nearly 40 years too late...

Hope everyone enjoyed President's Day in the U.S. It was Family Day in most of Canada. Monday for most everyone else.

Andrew Joseph

Monday, February 20, 2017

Better Never Late Than Ever

In Japan, society as a whole appreciates and expects conformity... especially when it comes to being on time for things.

Whether it's work, enkai/party, a date, it's train, subway and bus systems, punctuality is key.

It all comes down to the Japanese belief in wa (aka harmony).

And, it actually comes down to wa/harmony in work.

The trains, subways and buses all run to the second of being on time to their prescribed schedules - it's one of those great things about Japan.

You can expect a train to arrive at the station when the schedule says it will, and you can expect to arrive at your destination when you should... allowing you to accurately assure your day runs smoothly - especially necessary when it is time to get to work.

Work is one of those things that the Japanese expect - no demand - its employees be on time for... and the only time you can NOT set your clock, is for when it is time to leave... as you are expected to leave AFTER the boss leaves to show your dedication to the cause... to work... to the family that are your co-workers... to show wa.

This past Sunday morning, we (the family) were late for a hockey game my son was playing in.

My wife had received an e-mail back in January detailing a change in schedule... from a 10:50AM start, to an 8:30AM start.

So imagine my surprise when my wife smacked me over the head at 8:15AM to scream at me that we were late and that I had screwed up the times and we had to go now.

Turns out she was the only one who knew about the time change, and had forgotten to mention to anyone else. And this is hockey... where you have to dress up in a lot of gear... so we did.

While it was Hudson's turn to be in net (he alternates with the head coach's kid), I assumed that since we were late that his boy would be dressed for goalie... so we had Hudson put on his forward's gear.

We arrive 10 minutes late (me... I'm the assistant coach - so everyone assumes this was my fault)... find out that no one is playing goalie, so Hudson has to rip off the forward equipment and put on the goalie gear... making us miss nearly the first half of the game.

Strangely enough, the score is 0-0 by the time Hudson gets in net... and we eventually win 3-1.

I'm never late for anything. It's something I have taken great pains to ensure never happens... and when something unforeseen like this... or bad traffic makes me late... well... I'm just plain embarrassed... and angry at myself for having let everyone down.

This is the concept of Japanese wa. It is something I was doing even before I went to Japan.

In Japan... I was never ever late... it just makes you look bad.

There is NO excuse for it... especially in Japan where you take a bus, train or subway or bicycle or walk to work. Cars - I just assume everyone leaves early enough to give them enough time to assure themselves of not being late - but I don't know.

All the people in Japan I know who drove... they didn't have to drive within a big city like Tokyo or Osaka... they were small town people going to their small town jobs. No problem with traffic.


I can recall having to ride my bicycle 10 kilometers in a harsh February wind that was bone-chilling as it blew into my face the entire way... wiping my runny nose with one hand as I steered the bike along the busy sidewalk dodging other bicycle riders and pedestrians... my very dark RayBan sunglasses on making it difficult to see things in the near dark, but a necessary evil to keep the cold wind from tearing my eyes, which would have made the drive even more perilous as I would have to make sure I didn't wipe frozen snot into my peepers.

I can recall arriving at Nozaki Chu Gakko (Nozaki Junior High School) in Ohtawara-shi (Ohtawara City), Tochigi-ken (Tochigi Prefecture) that first morning when I rode in... and the Principal coming out - not to see if I was okay, but to ensure that I... the gaijin-no-sensei (the foreign teacher) was on time... talking to me after school that he was very happy I was able to have made it on time to work that day.

He says he hears from many other principals at different cities how the foreigner teachers are not always as conscientious about their work.

You'll notice that in this case, "my work" had nothing to do with my "output" rather it had everything to do with appearances.

If I could show up for work late, I would be setting a bad example to the other teachers... and even though I never considered myself to be a teacher, the Japanese school system did in this instance.

See... it doesn't matter to them if you are Japanese or a foreigner... punctuality means something.

I was thanked for showing up on time... which was appreciated, but also insulting... but I guess some of my fellow foreigner teachers had helped hurt their wa with their schools... meaning they had helped hurt the wa achieved by others who dared be on time.

Wa affects everyone like one large butterfly effect. 

The following is just for those involved in the teaching profession... because the "foreigners" I know in other jobs do so in the Japanese manner.

Conversely... they know that since you are a foreigner... and do not have to work as late as your Japanese counterparts... you aren't marking tests or creating them.... you aren't creating detailed work plans in Japanese... and they are also aware that you work your 9 to 5 routine, five days a week - not having to coach or teach a club activity.

As well, they know you do not have to come in on Saturdays to work half-a-day. And then teach a club activity.

Of course... you are welcome to teach a club activity... but only if the coach says it's okay and you really, really know your stuff... because the last thing you want to do is destroy the club/team's wa.

As a junior high school AET (assistant English teacher) on the JET (Japan Exchange & Teaching) Programme... you can understand WHY I never thought of myself as a teacher... and certainly not on par with my fellow JTEs (Japanese teachers of English)... I didn't put in the same amount of work as the Japanese... I merely did what was expected of me as a foreigner... except for being punctual.

So... my advice to any of you who are living and working in Japan at this time or are thinking about it - never, ever, ever be late for work.

It's just not wa.

Andrew Joseph
PS: If you don't think the butterfly effect is valid, consider Chaos theory (as explained in Jurassic Park)... which is the same thing... 

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Tokyo Architecture In WaterColor

I'm feeling a tad burned out... work was busy this week - having to finish three feature articles, writing this blog, and trying to do a weekly blog on Pioneers of Aviation - a blog that seems like it would be easy when writing about pre-1919 aviation, but always seems to take nearly 20 hours of writing just to complete an entry.

Or more.

Such is the price of knowledge. The real problem with writing about things that are old, is the veracity of the information out there.

Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you are gonna get inside.

Unless you look at the handy-dandy guide chocolate companies provide inside the box of chocolates.

That's what I try to create in these blogs... and to be honest... it's tiring... so I'm doing what I am doing now... taking a breather, of sorts, while still maintaining a streak of over six straight years+ of doing a blog every day here in Japan-It's A Wonderful Rife.

I began writing everyday as an experiment, to be sure, but also to help me become a better writer, which I have arguably become. It has helped me not only learn more than I knew before about Japan and myself, and it has also enabled me to meet plenty of new people - albeit via so-called social media.

Actually, I began writing everyday for more selfish reasons... I needed an outlet from all the crazy going on around me - some of you may know what I mean... and since a cobbler should stick to what he knows, I cobble together articles via writing.

It's a long weekend here in Ontario, Canada - Family Day on Monday... which you think would be great what with the 11C weather here in Toronto this past Saturday... but I have a magazine deadline for Wednesday... compounded by the fact that I won't be there that day as I have to go out and interview a company (for April - even though the deadline is for March), so my work has to done on Tuesday before I leave.

My allergies are kicking in... my neck hurts from whatever the hell I am doing to it... I did a load of dishes, scrubbed some pots without steel wool, vacuumed the house, watched my cat barf violently causing him to poop... never seen that before...

Caught up on some TV (watch Legion and Riverdale... yes, the two shows about an X-Men - the show is VERY trippy and VERY watchable without having to read the comic books -  and one about the world of Archie comic book characters - a kind of Twin Peaks/Dawson Creek combo, or so I hear as I never saw Dawson Creek - I have around 500 Archie comics, which always amuse me... Riverdale is a dark twisted look at what Archie et al would be like in 2017), watched my hockey team lose...

Realized I didn't have anything in particular I wanted to write about tonight... could write about some student escapade in Japan... but I'm just not feeling it.

No... let me instead merely direct you to a wonderful article sent my way by friend and blog reader Vinnie, regarding a Polish artist who created some wonderful watercolor paintings of architecture in Tokyo... and no, not the fancy modern buildings, but rather painstaking detail of buildings that simply look old and nondescript when you walk past them everyday on the street.

And yet... each has a personality, capably captured by artist Mateusz Urbanowicz - and you can see more than the image at the top over at

We'll see if I feel anymore genki (active/lively/well) tomorrow... but I think I may just take it easy until such time that I don't.

Check out the art and story behind it HERE.

Before I began writing these blogs everyday, I didn't really know that I liked architecture... but I guess I did, as I took a lot of photographs of certain architectural features on Japanese buildings... windows, and roofs... I know... weird... but coming from Toronto - a huge modern city, I was fascinated by the old Japanese architecture I saw all over Japan... and was dismayed when I saw it being shunted aside for more modern western-looking architecture.

At least the link I provided here will offer a glimpse into what I saw in Japan, and what made me see how different it was... even in a simple building that people walk by everyday without a second look.

Check out Mateusz Urbanowicz's artwork, and have a second look for the first time.

Andrew Joseph
PS: Dammit... I still wrote over 780 words... or about 1/3 of a feature article for work.