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Poke'-G Warlord

First Post of the New Decade

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First Post of the New Decade

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Hey hipcats, it's been ages, but at last I give you another real post. I swear I'll get the hang of the bi-weekly bit again, but only time will tell for sure. I hope the Avatar post convinced some people to at least give the movie a shot.

It's worth it. Holy sweet Jesus is it worth it. The major criticism I've seen from people is the story line, which is legitimate considering the ecological, anti-imperialism, and romantic outsider stories have all been done before, some by Cameron himself. And this is completely true, Avatar is one of the most predictable stories I've ever seen. What's stupid is that people are somehow letting that destroy everything else the film has to offer. Despite knowing every twist in the movie, I still found it ridiculously entertaining. The characters are phenomenal especially thanks to the people portraying them. Colonel Quatritch is one of the best badass villains I've seen in ages, a gung-ho military jerk who refuses to lose.

The film is also a schmorgasboard of science fiction concepts. Among all the flak for unoriginality Avatar has been getting, no one seems to bring up the subtle plot point of a real living planet. This is the first time I've ever seen the idea done without being ridiculous (Mogo of Green Lantern, or Ego the Living Planet), and to tie it together, this is also the first example I can think of for a hive mind race that completely keeps their individuality. The hive mind aspect is so well hidden that it wasn't until well after the movie that I realized that was exactly what Pandora and all its species had. It was really cool for once to also see tribal mysticism given a legitimate physical explanation without relying on the "It's magic, I don't have to explain anything." pitfall.

In the end, Avatar is just a movie that was executed very well, plain and simple. Yes the film is filled with classic story points, but they are time tested plot devices that Cameron did not abuse and wrapped up with a spectacle that is an ubelievable experiance. And at $1 billion and rising, clearly the story skeptics raising Hell against the film out there are in the minority. And keep in mind, this was the fastest to hit $1 billion, and it did so without being hyped to Hell and back because of a dead overrated cast member. This is a piece of cinema history, so don't miss out just cause bloggers or net critics are saying Fern Gully did it first.

Which is ridiculous, Fern Gully wasn't even that good.

Anyways, I do think I'll continue to post my Black Taxi articles here for people back home to read, but I digress. On to life in Japan.


I'm now well over a third of the way through my first year in JET. In fact, it's fast approaching the half year mark which feels so bizzare. It makes the amount of time sound far more significant than it felt.

So what's been going on in my neck of the world for the past few months?

Well, I've slowly been getting used to a completely new and diverse crowd of people. Shimane's got JETs literally from every corner of the English speaking world, and they've all come here for all manner of reasons and desires. I have run into a couple fellow geeks, in film, in anime, and in general geekery, which is cool. One of the fellow ALTs right here in Hamada is even a big MST3K fan. Pretty damn cool.

Get togethers of some level happen every few weeks or so for various reasons, especially for holidays.

Halloween came and went a while ago, and under the pressure of being socialable I put together a ghostbuster costume for party in Matsue, the prefecture capital. Fastest cosplay effort ever. I had the idea a week before, but spent the entire week looking for and buying materials. This essentially left about eight hours to actually paint and assemble the damn thing. I thought it was pretty terrible. The glue for the straps on the proton pack failed, and so they were fastened with a lot, and I mean a lot, of clear packing tape. No one seemed to notice though, and it turned out to be a popular costume.

And for the record, I was Winston.

By far, the most bizzare happening is that Hamada has been the setting for a brutal murder mystery. Given that they're not very common, the media attention has been quite heavy for one of the least populated regions in Japan. No killer has been found yet, nor has the entirety of the victim's body to my knowledge, so police are scrambling to keep up Japan's amazing conviction rate.

These two factors (being the media attention and the desparation of the police) come together to create one major problem for JET.

The victim excelled at English at the Hamada campus of Shimane University. Japanese logic therefore dictates that foreigners are involved. The press found out about a weekly get together the Hamada ALTs have for reminiscing and English practice for a few Japanese friends. It wasn't surprising since the event is pretty much on the level of legend; everyone around us knows about it. And so the newspaper interviews started, and then it turns out that the victim worked at one of the shops we frequent. Regardless, we never actually met the girl or even knew her name. Whether or not the press has listened is unclear, but soon after the cops cornered each and every one of us over the exact same subject, the weekly meeting and practicing English with the victim. Again we atest to never meeting the girl, as the BoE has even made a point of limiting our activity on the University long before this whole affair. Kendai (University nickname) has its English professors, Hamada has its ALTs, and the BoE said that official collaboration is out of the question.

Or was, as now that the press and cops have come calling about Kendai affairs, they've been kindly pointing all inquiries in our direction. Thanks Hamada BoE, you're swell.

The last was a TV interview. Thankfully the BoE came through on that one and nixed cameras and had people present to try and steer away from overtly personal inquiries.

The worst part about the whole thing is knowing that so many parties are wasting effort on a useless tangent that is leading them nowhere, as English speaking foriegners have nothing to do with this. They've gone so far as to question ALTs in neighboring cities, and probably won't stop until the prefecture's supply of gaijin is exhausted.

In all likely hood, it's a creepy stalker native who's God knows where by now with the headstart everyone's given him. Or her.

You never know.

That or the rumor of Yakuza goons trying to collect on loans is true. But I doubt that one since killing is not how the underworld collects when a young woman owes them money. Not to mention they could hide a body much better than in the middle of the woods.


I've not actually talked much about Hamada have I? It's a pretty decent city in the second least populated prefecture in the country, which is hard to believe considering no one lives on Shikoku, and there's four prefectures there.

Hamada is a bit smaller than Youngstown, but not by much. Add that it's surrounded by mountains and you have a city that's not too different from home. You know, aside from the language, the culture, the food, the use of insulation and other modern building innovations, and such.

Not too different.

That said, for Japan, this is a small city and it shows in several ways. The ALTs have looked for stuff to do in our free time, and there's not much in the obvious area.

We have a bowling alley, an ice rink, a billiards hall, two rental places, and a butt load of pachinko parlors and bars.

In fact, the pachinko parlors are hilariously the most modern places around here. It's kind of what I think Youngstown would be like if they ever legalize gambling.

Seriously though, the city's not THAT big, yet I can think of five sizable pachinko places off hand.

That's five for one city in a prefecture whose entire population warrants only two movie theaters. Two, and that's not an exaggeration. There were two, one on each end of the prefecture (it's very long), and when a third opened in a town right next to the one in the capital, the one on the OTHER end of Shimane was forced to close. How's that for logic?

On the flip side, a sparse population means one can stumble across some awesome used stuff, since no one's around to snipe them off. It's still hard to find uber rare stuff, as people are not stupid, but I've managed to find some cool stuff. There's a pawn shop near my apartment and they have a NeoGeo CD, but just the NeoGeo CD. No controllers or even cords. They've got a ton of laserdisc players, and I'm considering how worthwhile having one would be.

The remastered THX ( NOT Special Edition) Star Wars movies were released on laserdisc, and that's the ONLY way you can see them in a digital form. (The original original unremastered versions are on DVD, not the THX remastered ones) Godzilla vs. Biollante was also released on the format, and HBO has never bothered to rerelease the movie to DVD (but cares enough not to let the rights revert back to Sony, the jerks). Laserdisc is also the only home format to recieve the original widescreen treatment of The Land Before Time.

And then there's the tech geek angle. The privelege of being able to say "Yeah, I've got an LD player." is a fun thought.

I'm gonna need a second multiout if I do though. My poor TV.


My Life According to DragonForce

Ganked from Saker days before I left the states. Yes, it's been sitting on my laptop that long.

Using only song names from ONE ARTIST, cleverly answer these questions. Pass it on to at least 5 people. You can't use the band I used. Try not to repeat a song title. It's a lot harder than you think! Repost as "my life according to (band name)"

Pick your Artist:

Are you a male or female?
"The Warrior Inside"

Describe yourself:
"Heroes of Our Time"

How do you feel:
"The Fire Still Burns"

Describe where you currently live:
"Where Dragons Rule"

If you could go anywhere, where would you go:
"Where Dragons Rule" (Duh)

Your favorite form of transportation:
"Soldiers of the Wasteland"

Your best friend is:
"Heart of a Dragon"

What's the weather like:
"Inside the Winter Storm"

Favorite time of day:
"Evening Star"

If your life was a TV show, what would it be called:
"Reasons to Live"

What is life to you:
"The Last Journey Home"

Your fear:
"Body Breakdown"

What is the best advice you have to give:
"Prepare for War"

Thought for the Day:
"Once In a Lifetime"

How I would like to die:
"Storming the Burning Fields"
"Through the Fire and Flames"

My soul's present condition:
"The Flame of Youth"

My motto:
"My Spirit Will Go On"



This other side of Ed's apartment. It smaller here, but have many things, like fridge.

And washing machine.

And kitchen sink.

This mountain.

This Ed on top of mountain. (And mountain stick.)

This view from top of mountain stick.

This crab.

This Japanese Sports Day. Japanese say Battle Royale only story, Ed not sure anymore.

This castle ruins in Hamada. Hamada had castle, but daimyo burn down so peasants not have during Meiji era. Big stone thing, only thing left.

That and giant stone steps. Japanese so small, why need gigantic steps?

This Sea of Japan. Godzilla live here. Ed wait here every day.

Ed tired now. Go sleep.

But first...



This is ice cream.

From Baskin Robbins.

I bought it in Japan, that makes it Japanese.

This... is



I have no idea what that it. Oh God it looks disgusting; I hope I didn't eat any of it.

TOFU! It tastes like nothing, but it's awesome cause it's TOFU!

Curry. Good ol' curry. One of the best Japanese foods around.




What do you mean it's not Japanese?


What the Hell does "Nan" mean? That doesn't make any sense.


Indian food? I'm living in Japan, I should be showing people Japanese foods! NEXT SLIDE!


...well it is Japanese.


And that's all he wrote. I'm off to try and stay warm.

Later kids!
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