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CONTENTS APRIL 2010

articles

Profile

featured JET artwork

3

Washi-masho!

Chotto ‌

4

Prom Lawsuit

Monthly Topic

5

Success

Travel

15

Sakaiminato / Daikon-shima

Food

17

Recipes / Not Without Weeds

By

Mara Rosenkrantz

E-mail your artwork to be featured in the next issue!

Culture

22

RSS / Easter

Tanoshii

26

Gundam / Successful films

Nandemo

30

Life After the B.O.E. / Horoscopes

Letter from the Editors, April marks the beginning of Golden Week, and to us gold is synonymous with success. Yet, instead of devote a mere week to success, we decided to give you a whole monthâ€&#x;s worth. From money, women, and power to a successful (we hope) prank, our April issue suffers no fools lightly.

Submit your articles, artwork, and opinions to shimane.blacktaxi@gmail.com Disclaimer: Views and opinions expressed herein are not necessarily those of the publisher. Each are expressed by the writer at the time of writing. 2

EDITORS: Regina Durr, Jonathan Edwards, Greg Ferguson, Betsy Pinkham, Lauren Wetherington Layout: Greg Ferguson, Lauren Wetherington, Cover: Lauren Wetherington

Black Taxi is a monthly magazine for the JET community in Shimane prefecture, Japan, published online. Read us at ISSUU (issuu.com/shimane.blacktaxi) or be our fan on Facebook.


featuring local businesses and people

profile Location: Take Route 9 toward Masuda. After the

By Greg Ferguson

Misumi Popura, make a right up the hill toward Misumi JHS. Make another right and head toward the Aqua Misumi complex. It‟s on your left.

Hours: 9-5 (Closed on Mondays and weekends) Cost: ¥525 (2 postcards); ¥1260 (1 A3 sheet); ¥1575 Think about how much paper you’ve thrown out in your lifetime. How many sheets do you reckon you‟ve turfed? How many books‟ worth? How many kilos? Although they add up, a single sheet of paper nevertheless must seem like a simple, innocent thing to do with as you please. However, you may think twice about that if you ever decide to embark on a trip to Misumi to make your very own sheet of paper.

(2 coloured sheets). Entrance to the gift shop is free. Phone: 0855-32-4170 *Call in advance to book your visit.

Located exactly halfway between Hamada and Masuda, in the sleepy town of Misumi, is Sekishuu Washi Kaikan, the unsuspecting home of the most renown washi enterprise in Chugoku. Washi is a special brand of paper long made in Japan from carefully chosen, hand-picked materials which are carefully prepared and totally hand-crafted. In Misumi, you can make it too.

It takes around 20 minutes for your paper to dry. While you wait, browse the gift shop for professionally-made washi as well as other local handicrafts and items on display. The staff will also be happy to play for you an English-language DVD about the history of washi and its importance to Japanese – and local – culture.

At Sekishuu Washi Kaikan, you can experience the final, deceptively hard but immensely fun stage of the papermaking process. Using nothing but a giant wooden sifter to collect a thin layer of pulp from a big basin, and the motion of your wrists to rid your tray of excess water, you will have to find a balance so

that your paper emerges as uniform and smooth as possible. Don‟t worry, though; the helpful, informative, and ever-present staff will be there to demonstrate everything and assist you with anything you need.

By the end, you will have a one-of-a-kind piece of paper you can take home to display with pride and keep as a reminder of how much effort actually goes into making paper. You‟ll definitely think twice the next time you‟re about to throw out any. 3


debatable topics

… 一寸

/ chotto …

In America, prom is considered a huge deal to graduating seniors. The dress, the tuxedo, the limo, the flowers, the pictures, the hair and nails, the theme, the band, the location, the date, and sometimes “prom night” are Lauren Wetherington would all talked about, planned, and scrutinized for weeks before the prom. rather not chotto. Whether you hated prom or loved prom, you can‟t deny its popularity in the high school ecosystem. Therefore, it is no surprise that cancelling prom would create outrage and disappointment. However, coupled with the hot mess that is the gay rights movement in the Dirty South and bam! You got yourself a lawsuit. The Southeast has so much to offer, but it sometimes carries a reputation for being close-minded, homophobic, racist, sexist, God fear‟n, slow-talk‟n, sweet tea drink‟n, and gun lov‟n. The Dirty South is overall a very conservative place and takes a bit more time to catch up with the rest of the country but it does eventually catch up. Sure, they like guns a little too much and test scores aren‟t the greatest in the country (refer to images on the left) but a group in Itawamba County, Mississippi is fighting to make their human rights heard. A school board in Mississippi cancelled a high school prom after a student, Constance McMillen, asked if she could wear a tuxedo and bring her sophomore girlfriend to the prom as her date. As you might guess, that was a no. After she asked permission, the school circulated a memo prohibiting same-sex couples. At first the school told Constance and her girlfriend that they would not be able to arrive at the prom together and Constance could not wear a tuxedo. The school also reserved the right to ask them to leave if other students complained or felt uncomfortable. When Constance challenged the same-sex ban, the school promptly cancelled prom due to “distractions to the educational process.” Now, the American Civil Liberties Union has filed a lawsuit alleging that the district officials of the Itawamba County School System have violated Constance‟s First Amendment rights. The lawsuit asks for $1 in damages (yes, just $1), plus legal fees and court costs. Will they win the case? The trial for a preliminary injunction took place March 23rd and the preliminary injunction was denied. However, a complaint is pending in federal court. The case number is 1:10-cv-00061-GHDJAD and is available to the public. 4

Image sources: http://mentalfloss.cachefly.net & http://www.freerepublic.com


monthly topic

“A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and goes to bed at night and in between does what he wants to do.” – Bob Dylan

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monthly topic

The Black Taxi Guide To Matsue Jozan Koen The castle grounds boast around 350 sakura trees.

Kisuki, Unnan

Hanami (花見) literally means “flower viewing,” but in most cases it refers to viewing sakura (桜) or cherry blossoms. This famous Japanese tradition is centuries-old and dates back to the Nara Period (710-794). Sakura was originally used to predict that year‟s harvest; therefore, people made offerings with o-sake. Although this practice was limited to the elite and invitation-only, by the Edo Period it became common practice for everyone. Today, we carry on the tradition by attending hanami parties and festivals under the beautiful cherry blossom trees. Since these blossoms are short-lived, enthusiasts stay tuned to sakura daily forecasts during March and April. Although you can find sakura practically everywhere, here are a few places in Shimane that are guaranteed to be dazzling: www.japan-guide.com/e/e2011.html

There is a fireworks festival in early April.

Tsuwano Yabusame, or archery on horseback, is performed on one of the oldest tracks of its kind in Japan this year on April 12th

Misumi Located between Hamada and Masuda just off Route 48, the 600 year-old Obira Zakkura is an impressive sakura tree worth seeing. Kisuki, April 2009 – Lauren Wetherington

Canada: Vancouver‟s Queen Elizabeth Park and Stanley Park; Toronto‟s High Park Germany: Germany‟s Altes Land orchard region Phillippines: Palawan‟s Palawan Cherry Blossom South Korea: Gyeongbok Palace‟s Cherry Blossom Festival UK: Batsford Arboretum, Gloucestershire USA: Washington D.C., San Diego, Philadelphia, and Macon, GA

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monthly topic

by

Caz

For those of you that were here last year, you may recognize this column; however for those of you that are new, this is your first exposure to GIRN. GIRN are different from our other JET counterparts that live in populated areas. We don‟t have a Starbucks in our prefecture and it takes longer to get to the closest shinkansen line than it does to get from Hiroshima to Osaka on the shinkansen. Needless to say, we are truly in the inaka. Some may argue that their placement in Shimane has not been very successful for them; therefore, writing about how successful Shimane is may be like rubbing salt on an open wound. However, something that we all may need a little help with is combatting boredom and loneliness.

A way to combat both of these is meeting your neighbors at least once. It‟s always nice to put a face with the person who lives above you and always vacuums their tatami mats at precisely 11:37pm every Wednesday night. After you meet them you might realize you have a common interest, such as the love of vacuuming at specific times. Knowing your neighbors is a gateway into the surrounding community. Your neighbors may notify you about community events, or they can help you if have an emergency. Think about what they can do for you, not what you can do for them. No one cares if your Japanese skills are not up to par. They probably have been dying to meet you but don‟t want to make the first move, so suck it up and introduce yourself to them.

Finally, when/if you return to your home country, more than likely people will ask, “What did you do in Japan?” Well, you don‟t want to say, “I learned how to speak Japanese,” do you? That‟s to be expected. Why not tell them something unusual like, “I learned how to play five different kinds of wooden flutes‟‟? If you haven‟t noticed, Japanese people have all sorts of off-the-wall hobbies, such as playing the banjo, colleting flutes from around the world, tai chi, African drumming, making decorative boxes from paper, and so on. There are more things to do out there other than the standard Japanese hobbies like Taiko drumming or playing the shamisen. So, why not tap into your new friends‟ (your neighbors‟) networks and find a bizarre hobby to combat your loneliness and boredom and up your “cool factor” for when you return home?

BT POLL What makes your time in rural Japan successful? BT POLL “making friends from all over the world so I can go visit them” “studying/learning Japanese” “getting to know my students” “convincing Starbucks to show us some love” “dispelling stereotypes” 7 “By loving every minute of it”


monthly topic

Adam Hacker turns the world on with his smile.

Success, and all its periphery, is something I think of every day. To be successful cannot just be about winning, and it can‟t just be about money. But it seems as time goes on, more and more emphasis is placed on the acquisition of material things. We‟ve built faster cars, ever more lavish boats, and put diamonds on everything from watches to dog collars. We build bigger houses and spend endless funds in an attempt to make sure the grass is greener on our side of that damn fence we always hear about. But our walls are bigger too, and never have the words of Thoreau seemed more true, “Most men lead lives of quiet desperation.” A long time ago I was watching a Larry King interview with an old business tycoon who was said to have everything. I don‟t remember his name, or what company he had owned, but his story resonated. He had achieved ultimate success in the business world. He gained the respect of everyone who would aspire to the same levels of greatness and now, at 70, he was settling down for his well deserved retirement. King asked him if he could do it all over and could change anything, would he? The man, welled up a bit, and seeming human for the first time said, “I wish I had spent more time with my family.” His money meant nothing; he couldn‟t turn back time nor change the past. In his eyes, 8

he wasn‟t successful, and in the end you too will be the judge. To me, success is knowing that I’ve made a positive impact on others. It is in the smiles of my closest friends and of unknown strangers. It is in the ability to communicate openly with people, where fear of rejection has passed. Success is knowing how to make someone smile when they are down, and how to make them laugh when they‟re far from it; to be trusted enough to listen when a good ear is all someone needs. Success is having time to spend with others – not scheduling time or having to pencil someone in for lunch, but having time to spare. It‟s being able to walk around on a Sunday with no rush and no purpose, only friends. So go waste some time with someone. You’ll find that it’s anything but a waste.


monthly topic

a

for

SUCCESS

Success is a funny animal because it never stays in one shape for long. One person‟s idea of success is completely different from another person‟s.

For many people, entering graduate school is a success. They have been accepted into a program over other, lessqualified people. They are continuing their education and their pursuit of a more lucrative career. It is a triumph! However, for other people entering grad school could be viewed as a personal failure! They were unable to make it in the real world so they were forced back into the limbo of education. Instead of making money they are paying out the nose. And so on. For JETs it gets even more gray. I remember my first Mid-Year Seminar. It seemed like the clearest and loudest message was that “Good ALTs make posters! If you have free time make a poster! If you‟ve already made a poster make another poster. Posters!” So, to be a successful ALT I apparently was supposed to make posters until my fingers bled. Well, I work at 16 different schools. Do I show favoritism and only make posters for a few schools, or do I try to make posters for every school until I snap and start gluing construction paper to the ceiling?

Liz Pardee doesn‟t do posters.

Being a successful JET is impossible to define thanks to the acronym we all know and love, ESID! ESID applies to our jobs, but it also applies to social success living in a foreign country. Some people consider themselves social successes because they are heavily involved with AJET and other JET-centric events. Other people because they climbed a mountain with a 65 year old grandmother and picked shiitake. Some people because they travel, some people because they don‟t travel and save money. How can we be sure that we are making the best of our time here? I spend a lot of time thinking about success because I don‟t want to look back on my time on JET and regret something. I want to be a good ALT and do more than the bare minimum. Yes, even if I can‟t make a new poster every week. I want to make progress in my life instead of turning off for however many years I stay on JET. But how does one measure success? I would say that success is having goals and making positive changes to meet them. Note that I didn‟t necessarily say meeting those goals, though. For example, I am entering the Oki Ultra Marathon in June. Running the marathon is my goal. In order to reach that goal I have instituted positive changes such as stopping kyuushoku to make my own lunches. Believe me, this has not been easy, because for Continued on page 11

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monthly topic

Caroline Ideus protects her brain from the sun.

Generation Y is constantly using technology and multi-tasking. It has better mastered both better than their parents or grandparents‟ generations ever have, but by doing three, four, or maybe five things at once, are they making their minds better? Earlier this week I watched Digital Nation, a PBS Frontline documentary, which in 90 minutes explored many different approaches to the digitalization of the world. By interviewing students at MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) about multi-tasking, Koreans attending Internet addiction camps/workshops, American public schools that issue every student a computer, schools teaching children through only playing video games, and IBM about using Second Life (a 3D virtual world) as their primary meeting space, it took a broad look at 21st century technological habits yet stopped short of taking a stance on whether or not this is good. Watching it, I thought a lot about technology and how it consumes our lives. That‟s not to say I believe technology is the axis of evil and we should go back to the archaic practices of 40 years ago, but I believe technology should be used in moderation. We should allow ourselves some time and space for our brains to think, wonder, and process information without it. 10

The most recent culprit of technology decreasing our thinking power is the iPhone. I know many readers have an iPhone, but I urge you to use your brains and think. Concentrate on one sole task every once in awhile. Sometimes, extreme iPhone users will be lacking in etiquette and social perception as to what others around them are doing because they are so wrapped up in checking out the latest news, Twitter feeds, Facebook, etc. There have been times when I‟ve asked an extreme iPhone user what their plans are for the night and the person had to look at their phone for their agenda. Better still, I‟ve had someone stop midconversation just to check Twitter! When that happened I had a strong urge to throw their iPhone on the concrete floor to break it. I would not regret it either. Technology has almost reduced our memory to that of a goldfish. Do you remember when you were a child and you memorized your phone number as well as your best friends‟ numbers and those of some family members? I still remember my best friend‟s phone number from my childhood; however, I can‟t tell you the phone numbers of the people that I call at least once a week. They‟ve all been programmed into my phone or Skype account.


monthly topic Technology has significantly shortened the attention span of Generation Y. Most of us have watched a Kagura performance at least once, so you know that most performances, at minimum, are 20 minutes long; some can last up to an hour or longer. Kagura is losing its popularity with our generation because it‟s just too long to for our short attention span. Why would a teenager spend time watching Kagura and use their imagination if they could kill four people and conquer an empire on a video game in that same amount of time? Also, our generation wants instant results. When we watch movies, TV programs, theatre, etc., we want to be entertained immediately. Gone are the days of story build-up and plot development. In order to beat the current trend of relying upon technology for everything, almost to the extent of remembering our own names, I urge our generation to break away from technology. Take time to hand-write an essay or letter, read a book for an uninterrupted amount of time, or have a long conversation with someone. Do all of these without the distractions of technology. I think it‟s time that we go back and explore the basics of being human and exercise our brains, our body, mind, and soul.

Source: technotalks.com/ cellphone-etiquette

Continued from page 9

every day where there is kyuushoku with natto, pregnant fish with bones in, and nasty soup with no taste, there are three days of delicious kyuushoku filled with my favorite salads, soups, and mains. The point is, I have instituted a positive, difficult change. Ideally I would like to finish the marathon, but if I don‟t then that‟s okay. I‟m still successful for trying. Thinking about success in that way makes it a lot less stressful and a lot easier to be happy. Instead of stressing because you didn‟t pass 1 kyuu, you can be happy because you were successful at studying harder and solidifying your Japanese. Instead of worrying about blowing off your neighbor‟s invitation to make miso together you can feel successful about how you didn’t blow off the other three invitations because you wanted to become more involved in your community. Instead of feeling guilty because you‟re spending time with Japanese friends instead of international friends or vice versa, you can feel confident in your personal choice of how to be successful.

Unsuccessful on JET? Order your own Poster Making Kit today! Source: artskills.com

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monthly topic

The

Modern

a tongue-in-cheek look at the

Letter love of one soul Shane Gormley writes from the heart.

It's come to that time of year in Japan when the male of the species pays tribute to their significant other. I felt compelled to put down on paper my feelings towards you and your impact on my life to this point. As ever, words are a poor substitute for emotions, but here I hope they will be enough.

Our relationship has been a long and colorful one. In the summer after I finished university, I found myself with a lot of free time on my hands and I spent that time with friends in my hometown. I began to notice, though, that in my social circle I was distinctly different – more singular than the others around me. Others noticed this too and so our first meeting was engineered, and although the first encounter left me feeling awkward and silly, I knew that there was something there – something I would return to time and time again. But I'm getting ahead of myself. After the first shaky start, I worked hard to present a better, more capable person for the next time we met, which would be again with friends, as many of our meetings in the beginning were. I gradually became more comfortable in my interactions with you. Looking back, a confidence I never knew I had started to appear. As the time we spent together grew, our experience also did. I had a great amount of fun with you and I learned a lot too. 12

But like all relationships, there have been bad times too, and I feel I would be remiss not to touch on them. So, after some time into our association I began to have people talk to me about us as a negative thing. “You’re spending too much time together,” or “I don't understand why you're interested in them,” and even “You are wasting your money on them!” And yes, I have reacted to such talk. I began to think that, as new and exciting as us hanging out was, space was important too, so I stepped back for a time to gather some perspective. After a while I took a healthier approach to our time together, and some of those dissenting voices began to quiet down. I realised there will always be the naysayers and the ones who will be quick to judge. This can't be helped I guess. So, as I write this letter I look not only back on our time together but to the future too. I see many more challenges and experiences for the two of us. I'm excited at these prospects but also daunted by the risks and dangers we will most likely encounter. And when the next expansion for the game comes out and I can bring you up to Level 85, we will have many more nights of quality questing and raiding. May the good times keep on rollin‟. To Talsay, the best Level 80 Priest Healer a player can wish for.


monthly topic

How To Successfully Avoid Getting

(Or: How the World Lost Every Ounce of Common Sense and Began Believing What Was Written in The Daily Mail)

Doctors for years now would have you believe that a staggering one third of us will contract a form of cancer in our lifetime, but thanks to successful campaigning and funding into research coupled with great advances in the medical field, we are able to detect the disease earlier and provide better and more effective treatment than ever before. Experts are predicting that it will soon succeed Death as the world‟s number one killer (see:Tautology).

Jason Leather saves lives.

Luckily, the medical and scientific boffins over at the Daily Mail – the UK‟s second biggestselling daily newspaper after The Sun – are seemingly the forefront of cancer research and have kindly provided us with a comprehensive list of items that have been proven to cause cancer. All items listed have genuinely appeared in the Daily Mail as potential causes of cancer. I challenge anyone reading this to go for a full day avoiding all items on this list – I think this is one of those times where failure is guaranteed.

Age

Baby Food

Bread

Cars

Air Pollution

Bacon

Breast Feeding

Cereal

Air Travel

Barbeques

Breast Implants

Cheese

Alcohol

Beef

Broken Hearts

Chicken

Allergies

Beer

Bubble Baths

Childlessness

Artificial Flavours

Being a Black Person

Burgers

Children

Artificial Light

Being a Man

Caffeine

Children’s Food

Asbestos

Being a Woman

Calcium

Chillies

Aspirin

Being Southern

Candle-Lit Dinners

Chinese Medicine

Babies

Biscuits

Canned Food

Chips

Baby Bottles

Bras

Carbohydrates

Chlorine

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monthly topic

14

Chocolate

Fibre

Liver Transplants

Poverty

City Living

Fish

Menopause

Pregnancy

Climate Change

Fizzy Drinks

Menstruation

Radioactivity

Coca-Cola

Flip Flops

Metal

Retirement

Cod Liver Oil

Fly Spray

Milk

Rice

Coffee

Fruit

Mobile Phones

Sausages

Constipation

Fruit Juice

Modern Living

Sex

Contraceptive Pills

Gardens

Money

Shaving

Cooking

Grapefruit

Morphine

Skiing

Cordless Phones

Hair Dye

Mouthwash

Soup

Crayons

Ham

Nuclear Power

Space Travel

Deodorant

Height

Obesity

Sun Cream

Dieting

Hot Drinks

Older Fathers

Talcum Powder

Dogs

Hormone Replacement Therapy

Pastry

Tea

Eggs

Internet

Peanut Butter

Third-Hand Smoke

Electricity

In Vitro Fertilisation

Perfume

Vitamins

English Breakfast

Kidney Transplants

Pickles

Water

Estrogen

Lamb

Pizza

Wi-Fi

Facebook

Large Heads

Plastic Bags

Worcestershire Sauce

False Nails

Left-Handedness

Pork

Working

Fatherhood

Lipstick

Potatoes

X-Rays


travel

tips and tricks in and out of Shimane

境港市 Sakaiminato Home of the famous manga author Shigeru Mizuki and all his demons LOCATION

Regina Durr has traveled to over 23 countries and is rarely seen in the iinaka

One hour north-east of Matsue in Tottori Prefecture. Or, 30 minutes north of Yonago.

DIRECTIONS From Matsue Station, change trains at Yonago Station for Sakaiminato Station. (80 minutes, ¥820). The statues begin at the station and continue for another 800 meters. Parking is available in any lot near the port.

HISTORY Mizuki Shigeru created the GeGeGe Kitaro manga series, as well as lots of other yokai (supernatural monsters, ghosts, and goblins).

WHAT TO DO If you try to take a photo of Mizuki Shigeru Road’s 133 bronze statues of various manga demons, then be sure to bring your back-up camera and dedicate a few hours to the eclectic road. You‟re better off paying ¥100 for the guidebook while snapping only your favorite ones. If you‟ve been collecting the stamps in the guidebook along the way, 20 will get you a cool sticker and all stamps will get you a certificate.

Visit the enlightening Mizuki Shigeru Museum (¥700, 9am-5pm, closed Tuesdays) with the free audio guide in English to hear about each demon and the life of the famous author. Don‟t leave without buying some tacky souvenirs and having some wasabi soft-serve ice-cream! JR Line

Izumo

Shinji

Matsue

Higashi-Izumo

Yasugi

Yonago

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travel

tips and tricks in and out of Shimane

Daikon-shima Peony Festival This annual event is from April 20th until May 5th LOCATION One hour north-east of Matsue in Tottori Prefecture. Or, 30 minutes north of Yonago.

DIRECTIONS There‟s a free shuttle bus from 8:30am4:30pm from the south side of Matsue Station, every 30 minutes, finishing at 6:30pm. Or, from Sakaiminato. Schedules are available at the Heart-In conbini in the station. Parking is available at every garden location. Just follow the traffic.

WHAT TO DO Once off the shuttle bus, go into the garden (¥700) to snap pictures of the gigantic, perfectly manicured flowers. You‟ll be amazed that they come in every single color, and the size is bigger than you‟re head! There‟s more than one location, so make sure to hop on the other shuttle bus (or walk 7 minutes) to Yuushien Japanese Garden (¥ 300). It has 40,000 acres of flowers and hidden waterfalls, and don’t miss its icy, winter garden in a sub-zero building! While you‟re sitting under the canopy of flowers, treat yourself to some ice cream or coffee. Then just sit back and people-watch at the crowds coming through.

TIPS •Pay attention to when flowers are blooming so you can go at the best time. You‟ll be

disappointed if you go when there‟s no blossoms. •Make this a day trip by going in the morning to beat the crowds, then go to Sakaiminato to see the magic of anime. •Bring your foreign I.D. to get discount admission at Yuushien Japanese Garden. JR Line 16

Izumo

Shinji

Matsue Higashi-Izumo

For more information visit www.DaikonShima.or.jp

Yasugi

Yonago


food

recipes and more

The

in Take a tip from the panda and enjoy bamboo!

Spring is in the air... and so is that obnoxious yellow dust from China. My poor car is filthy despite the amount of rain we‟ve had recently. (Really, why can‟t we charge China for our car washes?) Nevertheless, green is slowly creeping over the hillsides in Misato-cho. The garden plots are being turned over into dark earth in preparation for the seeds and sprouts that will become summer vegetables, and off in the hills growing wild are takenoko waiting to either be harvested or rapidly grow into tall bamboo. Takenoko can be bought prepared or raw. If you frequent your local farmers‟ markets/ vegetable stands, you‟ll probably be buying it raw. In this case, you want to buy a proper specimen. Look for one that is yellow at the tip, not green, with glossy husks and downy hair. After acquiring the perfect takenoko, you might want to remove the harshness from it. First, wash the sprout thoroughly and scrape off the hard base part. Cut off the tip diagonally and make a vertical incision. In a pan of rice, rinsing water, and two red peppers, keep the sprout covered at a low boil until the base is tender enough to be easily pierced with a bamboo skewer. Remove it from heat and when the liquid is cooled, remove the sprout and rinse it in cold water. Then, peel off the husks.

Betsy Pinkham lives on mochi and mikan alone!

The most common way to eat takenoko is in takenoko-gohan. But I have a tasty recipe here for wakatakeni – simmered bamboo sprout with wakame – which is a bit more interesting I think. You‟ll find the recipe on the next page.

After any dinner featuring your own prepared takenoko, the evening just might be warm enough to indulge in homemade ice cream. I‟m going to make a plug here. The Daiso sells Dessert Collection cookbooks for ¥100 each, and the Healthy Desserts cookbook is where I got the ice cream recipe. I highly recommend stopping by and purchasing some. If you‟re like me and can‟t read kanji very well, don‟t worry. As long as you already know the basic process for making cakes, cookies and muffins, then just being able to work out the ingredient list should be enough. There are also pictures that help show you what you should be doing. So, try something new with takenoko, make your own ice cream, and think happy thoughts about the pandas in China eating bamboo (and not about stupid yellow dust) as you wash your car. Happy Spring!

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food

recipes and more

Wakatakeni

Fruit Yogurt Ice Cream

Ingredients 400 g boiled takenoko 40 g fresh wakame Kinome (young pepper leaves) 200 cc dashi 50 cc sake 1 Tbsp sugar 1 Tbsp mirin 1 1/2 Tbsp light soy sauce

Ingredients 50 g apple 50 g banana 100 g pineapple 2 Tbsp sugar 3 Tbsp cream 3 Tbsp plain yogurt 1 tsp Lemon juice 1 tsp cointreau *(optional)

Directions

Directions

1. Cut the takenoko in half crosswise. The cut in half or quarters lengthwise. Cut the bottom into ½ cm half-moon. 2. Thoroughly rinse the wakame in water and chop coarsely. 3. Place the takenoko and dashi in a pot and bring to a boil quickly. Then reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Add the sugar, sake, and soy sauce and simmer for 30-40 minutes. Add the wakame for a brief time. 4. Serve the takenoko and wakame in a bowl with the simmering liquid poured in and the kinome placed on top.

1. Cut the apple, banana, and pineapple into small pieces 1 to 2 cm large and place in the freezer for 3 hours. 2. Chop the frozen fruit in a food processor. Mix the rest of the ingredients in a separate bowl then add to the food processor. Blend thoroughly until the mixture has a creamy appearance and texture. 3. Pour the mixture into a Tupperware container and freeze for 2 to 3 hours until the mixture becomes hard.

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Enjoy!


food

recipes and more

Because pandas are just so damn cute and Japanese “Texas Toast” is ridiculous Directions

Ingredients 230g bread flour 70g cake flour 30g sugar Milk + 1 yolk = 2010g 4.5g salt 18g unsalted butter 4g yeast 8g green tea powder dissolved in 10g boiling water 8g cocoa powder dissolved in 8g boiling water

Translation from Cherry Dot’s blog. Original recipe and images found at www.cookpad.com/recipe/349795

1. Heat up milk and yolk to 38 degrees C. Beat the yolk lightly with milk and microwave on HIGH for 30 seconds 2. Put everything in bread machine and set to dough cycle. Let it knead for 20 minutes. Stop the cycle and restart the dough cycle and let it knead for another 15 minutes 3. Divide the dough into three parts: 75g for the chocolate, 210g for the plain and the rest for the green tea. 4. Add chocolate to the 75g dough and knead till the color is even. Repeat for green tea. 5. Prove all 3 pieces of dough on separate greased plates covered loosely with oiled cling wrap for 30-40 minutes. 6. Punch air out of dough and prove for another 20-30 minutes. 7. Use 90g plain dough for the face and 2 pieces of 27g chocolate dough for the eyes (Refer to TARO‟s site) 8. Fill the hallow of the eyes with 30g plain dough. 9. Roll remaining plain dough over the patterned dough. 10. Divide the remaining chocolate dough into 2 pieces for the ears. 11. Use 70g of the green tea dough to fill up the hallow between the ears. 12. Wrap the rest of the green tea dough all around the patterned dough. 13. Place dough into a well-greased loaf pan and cover it with a lid and prove for 50-60 minutes in an enclosed area (eg. microwave oven) 14. Bake at 200 for 25-30 minutes. *TARO‟s version doesn‟t include a bread machine* 19


recipes and more

food

Lexi Sanborn is working on her farmer‟s tan.

I can say nothing but the fact that I was officially fooled. The sunny skies and mild temperatures of February convinced me that spring was well on its way. But, like the old saying, “March came in like a lion,” it remained as ferocious and inclement as ever. Perhaps by the time this article is published, the clouds will have left the scene like the lamb they're supposed to become. Where February was marked by much physical labor and enjoying the days out-ofdoors (weeding, throwing out found potatoes and narcissus bulbs, and having a generally productive feeling), March was marked by a much more subtle form of gardening – namely, growing seeds. As I discovered this past month, growing seeds into sturdy seedlings is no easy feat, especially when you plant them too early in the season. Even to this day I still struggle to encourage a more robust seedling rather than the somewhat weak ones I have produced. The fault of my struggles lies in factors that are beyond my control. More precisely, the weather. While the Kanto/Kansai region is blessed with cooler temperatures like Shimane, they at least get the sun. (It must be the effect of Amaterasu, the Sun Goddess housed at Ise.) However, for us on the Sea of Japan side, we are under the control of Susano, known for his cap20

ricious moods and gloomy weather. Gloomy weather just about sums up my problems. While my seedlings made terrific progress during the sunny February days, the gloom of March created sun-deprived seedlings that, in an effort to get any form of light, grew long and stringy, stretching towards my one window which receives strong afternoon sun (when there is any, that is.) The length and stringiness of the seedlings became such a problem that I had to move a lamp into the kitchen and plant it right on top of the sprouts. For two days straight I assaulted them with this light, forcing their stalks to turn upwards and not at a nearly 90° slant. To some degree, it worked, but lamp light – especially from a typical light bulb – is not nearly as beneficial as the real deal the sun offers. So, the seeds sprouted in February are of a strange kind. Those planted later in March, being beaten down


food

recipes and more

Having been given quite a bit of seeds from my mom, and finding that the ¥100 shops carried seeds, I went a little crazy and was forced to give seeds away to the farmer vice principal at one of my schools. While I‟d like to grow all my seeds, I find that intentions are no good if you have no space. Already I bought another shelf and transferred my rice cooker, blender, and planting supplies to it because my kitchen was bursting at the seams with plants. With no space close enough to the sunlight, though, it's a precarious balance. So what comes next? After doing some research, I found the next stage to growing seedlings is “hardening them up” and gradually introducing them to the temperature differences between inside and outside. However, as the weather has been so inclement and the rate of growth been so slow, the plants‟ development is still too fragile to inspire going on an outdoor field-trip. So, I wait every day, trying not to over water, and praying for better weather. Needless to say, the gramps and grandmas of the neighborhood must wonder where I disappeared to. I was so active during February, but now with the poor weather, I have gone into a second form of hibernation. upon by the lamp every day from seven in the morning „til about ten at night, have grown much more straight and robust.

Let's hope spring comes soon.

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language and understanding Japanese life

culture

Jacob Heller has time on his side.

My first computer was an old Compaq machine. I remember it because it was my first introduction to raw, unfiltered information. Like everybody else in that era, I was on AOL running Windows 3.1 on a machine that could barely run ChexQuest. In those days, exploring the Internet was slow going. AOL had some chat rooms and these weird gateways that led to information on various topics, along with this other thing: a browser that you could type addresses into directly and get to the really juicy stuff. Satisfying my growing hunger for information was difficult, if not impossible back then. AOL constantly kicked me offline and we only had a single phone line, so I had to limit my usage. A lot. And my machine was slow. Even after I cajoled my mother into spending hundreds of dollars to add a paltry 8MB of ram to it, the shell Compaq installed over Windows was a terrible hack-job. Searches took precious minutes and loading a site with pictures was always a gamble, ending with the realization that it didn‟t have what I was looking for.

As I grew, so did the technology. AOL ran its business into the ground, Apple came out with the iMac, and I did my darndest to keep up. Sometime in the‟90s we essentially stumbled into the future – the old sci-fi trope about an artefact that contains all a civilization's knowledge and our computers were one and the same. As long as it had an Internet connection, the world‟s knowledge was all there. With a little time and 22

perseverance, you could analyze almost anything. By the time I had finished high school, the Internet and its role as a repository of human knowledge had expanded a thousand-fold. However, while computing power has exponentially increased, the way most people process information hasn‟t. We have these things – browsers – that have been around since the first days of the Internet, and while they‟ve gotten faster and able to handle audio and video, the fundamental way we find and digest content is still somewhat archaic. Even though all this innovation was happening and processors were getting faster and faster, the access paradigm never really changed. People opened the browser. They browsed. In the same way that Digital Video Recorders (DVR) are just now changing the way we watch TV, so has Really Simple Syndication (RSS) changed the way I devour my daily dose of information. Information is my sustenance, and thus I like to think of the Internet as a giant grocery store. All our information is branded and shrink-wrapped. Some people choose Fox, others choose AlJazeera or CNN. Some information is cheap or free even, while other information costs quite a bit. Just like in the grocery store, there are real economics at work every time you visit a webpage or navigate to Google to conduct a


culture

language and understanding Japanese life

search. Smart shoppers hit the aisles with a list; they buy only what they need, make use of coupons, and then they get out. Time is money and the smart shopper knows this. So for me, browsing the Internet is shopping without a list – without any knowledge of what‟s actually in your fridge, even. Now, don't get me wrong, we need Browsers. These people subsidize our shopping trips. They click the ads and buy the junk food at the register which in turn lowers the price of things like fresh fruit and delicious information for the rest of us. But I am neither a shopper nor a browser. I have all my information delivered via RSS. My love affair with RSS began 3 years ago when I discovered something amazing. I realized that I over the course of any given day, I'd see a lot of stuff that I'd already seen the day before. I'd browse Digg for hours at a time, clicking through pages of old articles desperately seeking something new and interesting. Around the same time, I also realized that a lot of the sites I was browsing every day had little orange or blue symbols that looked like some kind of radar or broadcast icon. One day, I clicked one of those and was offered the ability to subscribe to an RSS feed that would automatically keep me informed of anything new that had been posted since the last time I looked at it. When I realized I could put these feeds in an aggregator and be able to see, at a glance, which of my favorite sites had changed since the last time I looked at them, I felt as though I'd stumbled upon the Holy Grail. Let me illustrate just what utilizing the power of RSS allows me to accomplish every day. My morning ritual: I roll out of bed at the ungodly hour of 7, courtesy of iTunes and Awaken, and stumble into the shower blearyeyed and frustrated. I've been checking my phone

recently and I've discovered that no matter how long I feel like I spent in the shower, I always have exactly 18 minutes, once I'm done getting dressed and watering the plants, before I leave for school. In just 18 minutes, I scan the titles and summaries of anywhere from 600 to 800 articles at more than 180 different websites, and open anything that piques my interest in my browser to read later. On a daily basis I click anywhere from 10-30 of those articles and once I get a chance to actually read it later in the day, I link the interesting ones to my Delicious account. Since I‟ve started doing this, I often remark that I use up the Internet completely by 9AM, leaving me with hours and hours where I have no choice but to work on other, more useful tasks. So how do you start with RSS? Well, it depends on your browser. On Firefox, you can click on the little RSS symbol on the right-hand side of the Awesome Bar and you'll be presented with a choice to add the RSS feed to your Google Home Page or Google Reader. I add and organize everything in Google Reader and then use an external client (NetNewsWire) on my desktop. Google Reader's web interface is really nice though, and there's absolutely nothing wrong with it. I just like the convenience of keeping my subscriptions in the cloud while simultaneously accessing them in a native application. Anyway, with RSS, all browsers handle feed subscriptions a little differently: Chrome mimics Firefox's behavior with an official extension, Opera lets you manage feeds internally in its integrated mail client, and Safari probably adds feeds to Apple Mail by default. I prefer Google Reader as my aggregation service for its sharing and community features, as well as the reliability of Google. Using an external application with Google Reader skews my statistics there, but they're a good incentive to try the web interface.

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language and understanding Japanese life

By

Jonathan Edwards ______________ April 1, 1920 Legendary actor Toshiro Mifune is born.

April 2, 1994 Final Fantasy VI is released for the Super Famicom.

April 5, 1609 The Satsuma clan conquers Okinawa.

April 7, 1945 US forces sink famed battleship Yamoto.

April 10, 1959 Emperor Akihito marries Michiko Shoda.

April 15, 1997 AOL comes to Japan.

April 21, 1989 The Game Boy debuts.

April 29, 1936 Japanâ€&#x;s first professional baseball game is won by Nagoya. 24

culture

Google Reader periodically refreshes my feeds without any participation on my part and then tells me about anything new (unread) whenever I launch my external client. Thus, when my alarm goes off in the morning, it automatically launches NetNewsWire, which connects to Google Reader and downloads all my unread items. From there, I scan headlines and summaries, quickly identifying anything new and interesting then open them in my browser. Google shows me how all of my favorite sites have changed while I was asleep, lets me pick and choose what I want to read, and then marks everything else as read so that I never mistakenly revisit content that is no longer fresh or relevant. RSS isn't the be-all end-all. It's a means to an end. To really leverage the power of RSS requires time and effort. Browse the sites you like; subscribe to their feeds. Over time, your reading will supplement itself and before long you'll find yourself learning and remembering all sorts of things, from current affairs to the latest news in North Korea. You will start unconsciously realizing that certain sites are slower than others at reporting on breaking news, and the way you view the world may indeed change. Save some time and do what I do: 1. Get your information delivered. 2. ???? 3. Profit. Do Anything. Remember Everything. Waste Nothing.


language and understanding Japanese life

culture

Easter is a time when religious people attend church in new Easter outfits, children participate in Easter egg hunts, the Easter Bunny leaves chocolate, teenagers watch marshmallow peeps explode in the microwave, and hardboiled eggs are painted and glittered for decoration. But where did all the bunny-egg-candy business come from? The concept of the Easter Bunny began in southwestern Germany as the Osterhase. Children would build brightly colored nests and the Osterhase laid painted eggs in them. The nests later became baskets and the eggs later became candy-filled eggs. However, the Easter Bunny is actually not a rabbit but a hare. Whatâ€&#x;s the difference you ask? Rabbits and hares differ in genetic make-up, diet, lifestyle, and anatomy. Somewhere along the way, the hare possibly became a bunny because bunnies have been domesticated and we think they are cuter. Hares can survive on their own hours after birth so mothers leave their young in deserted birdsâ€&#x; nests, giving rise to the belief that hares laid eggs. Easter traditions differ slightly all over the world, but perhaps the strangest occurs in the Czech Republic and Slovakia. On Easter Monday, men playfully spank or whip women with a specially made whip called a pomlazka. Legend says that women are spanked in order to keep their health and beauty for the next year. Women then give the men a colored egg.

Source: Postcard dated 1910 by Winsch

Easter Jokes (answers on page 32)

How many Easter eggs can you put in an empty basket? How does the Easter Bunny travel? Why was the Easter Bunny so upset? Source: http://blog.beliefnet.com

25


楽しい / tanoshii

everything entertainment

THE BIGGER POND Over the past decade, the American film industry has developed a bittersweet habit of adapting other stories for their own use. Bittersweet in that while this practice has yielded some great movies, many English remakes (especially comic adaptations) have also been inferior to the source material. Originality does not seem to be circulating quite so freely as before, either. Not that this is entirely new, mind you. Since day one film has adapted plays, opera, folklore, and literature for the cinematic medium, but now the range has increased to include just about any concept a screenwriter is willing to pitch. Space Jam was based on a 60-second TV commercial, of all things. But as of late, the frequency has increased to the point where Hollywood is cannibalizing itself by remaking remakes and rebooting already rebooted film franchises (sometimes after just one film). As relatively unheard-of super heroes like Ant Man and Green Arrow are stepping up for their turn while video games are subjected to increasingly terrible adaptations, one can see Hollywood is starting to run out of good material to absorb. Unless a new source of pre-tested ideas turns up, eventually moviemakers will have to start thinking for themselves again. One avenue being tested is the international market where Japan is a heavy contributor. The films so far have been fairly hit-and-miss. Godzilla was an insult to fans and bombed, while The Ring 26

Image Credit: Toho/Bandai

Jonathan Edwards is powering up.

spawned a new series and numerous other Japanese horror remakes. Broadening their reach, anime and manga have become the newest target. Dragonball and Speed Racer have already come and gone with mixed reception and very poor performance, but that has not stopped the will to adapt greater works like Akira, Cowboy Bebop, and Gundam. Akira is the 1988 animated film that gave birth to college anime clubs all across North America. While Canada had already tapped the animated film industry for a mature audience with earlier films like Heavy Metal and Rock & Rule, Akira had the benefit of a tremendous budget and an entire nation full of similar TV shows, comics, and movies ready to feed the cult underground fanbase. Before the advent of computer-generated imagery, Katsuhiro Otomoh‟s epic used animation to present a sprawling, vivid city of the future on a scale not


everything entertainment

楽しい / tanoshii

feasible for live action at the time. However, once Hollywood had cost-effective means of creating such environments, rumors of an American Akira began to spread. Stuck in Development Hell for nearly a decade, the latest rumors have placed Leonardo DiCaprio with the project and a supposed 2011 release date. Of course, the plot is shifting the story from 2019 Neo Tokyo to Neo New York some thirty years from now. Let‟s hope they fix that redundant name before then.

ing jazz score and neo noir style of animation, Cowboy Bebop also indoctrinated adults into the fandom just as well as its child- oriented brethren and led to a late-night Saturday morning counterpoint. With its significance, the author is actually a bit surprised that news of an American remake took nearly a decade to surface. But one is now on the way, with everyone‟s favorite type-casted messianic deadpan hero, Keanu Reeves, taking the lead role of Spike Spiegle.

Cowboy Bebop was part of the second wave of anime fandom that occurred about ten years after Akira. While Sailor Moon, Dragonball Z, and Pokémon were indoctrinating the youth into anime culture on Saturday mornings, Cowboy Bebop was assuring the late night crowd that anime would not desert mature audiences the same way western animation had. With an amaz-

The newest addition to Hollywood’s “To Adapt” list is the franchise very near and dear to Japan‟s heart, the ever ganbaru-ing Gundam. With the success of Star Trek and Avatar, Hollywood is learning that the Star Wars prequels didn‟t quite exhaust the people‟s interest for scifi epics like originally thought. And with Star Wars done, no one wants back in the game more than Lucas himself, which is why he is now attached as producer. While Star Wars purists and Gundam fans might balk at the possibility of needless CGI characters, ridiculous political plot lines, and over-hyped underperforming villains, Lucas was quick to declare his intent to stay on only as a producer, saving a great deal of his efforts for the still massive Star Wars franchise. Gundam in Japan owes a great deal to Star Wars, and to have the series creator take time to bump up Gundam’s mainstream popularity outside of Japan feels oddly fitting. Not much has been revealed on the project yet other than a desire to use the very first Gundam plotline (utilizing the Universal Century timeline). Mark Hamil, once known as Luke Skywalker, is in talks to play Noah Bright, captain of Gundam‟s flagship White Base, and a teaser poster appeared briefly online last month (before being yanked off) which depicts Japanese idol Yoshikazu Kotani as famed pilot Amuro Ray – a role he recently signed on for and which will be his English language debut. No word yet on who will play his rival, Char Anzable.

The first teaser poster for the American Gundam film.

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楽しい / tanoshii

everything entertainment

What Makes a Movie

Greg Ferguson finds enlightenment in entertainment

Avatar has now surpassed Titanic to become the highest-grossing movie of all-time (inflated figures notwithstanding). Obviously, in that regard, it is successful. Yet, just last month, in the heated Oscar race for Best Picture, it lost to The Hurt Locker, denied of that eternal, gilded prestige afforded to all such laureates. So in that instance, it was not successful. But not all Best Picturewinning films are as readily remembered in time as others. Who among you have seen, let alone heard of, Marty (it won instead of the legendary Seven Samurai, which was not even nominated) or Mrs. Miniver (it bested the oft-declared “Greatest Movie of All-Time,” Citizen Kane)? Clearly, box

Sorry, Orson, but Hollywood had to help win the war.

office figures and the Oscars, as with any quantitative system of merit, are not always an indication of quality. You all know that, just as you all know on some level what makes a movie successful whenever you watch one and pass judgement on it afterwards. The thing is we all have different ideas – sometimes conflicting – of what makes a film successful. Yet, as slippery a concept as success is, it is very much worth considering these different ideas before accepting them plainly and agreeing to disagree. 28

Image Credit: Loew‟s/MGM

I think it’s fair to say that for many, the first requirement of a film‟s success is its entertainment value. People ask themselves, „Did I laugh? Did I cry? Was I scared? Did I feel like singing along? Did the actors look sexy? Were the special effects sufficiently mind-blowing? Was there lots of action? Did its twists surprise me?‟ and if the answer is „Yes‟ then bingo – success! Inherently, entertainment is good. It‟s satisfying. But this argument for visceral tickling is sadly accompanied by the pernicious misconception that films which aren‟t entertaining to some degree must be boring or bad. How wrongheaded. It boggles my mind that people could bemoan Zodiac‟s lack of resolution, bellyache over the languid pacing and abstract nature of Last Year at Marienbad, or fault any other movie for being something other than sheer escapist fun. (And who‟s to say movies like those can‟t be?) When people dismiss a film for being „slow‟ or „predictable,‟ I feel … disappointed. Not angry or incredulous, but actually let down. It‟s like they are saying, “I refuse to think. I just react.” It‟s depressing.

A successful film, I submit, should on some level make you think. But now I‟m thinking … did The Hangover make me think? I loved that movie. It was entertaining. But why was I entertained? Perhaps it‟s because a lot of the fun was in seeing myself in the dentist character and imagining what I‟d do in that impossible situation.


everything entertainment

So there, I thought about it. Success! But bad movies make you think too. Take V For Vendetta, a movie which – after having watched thousands – is absolutely one of the worst I‟ve ever seen. For me it was morally reprehensible and ideologically irresponsible (and vice versa … blech!) despite being viscerally slick and cool. And while wundercritic Roger Ebert has said of many movies that “It is not what it is about but how it is about it,” in some cases the what easily trumps the how. You can‟t have a successful movie without having a sound message to communicate.

Terrorism is only bad when brown people do it.

Granted, a sound message is only as strong as its presentation. This is so often a problem that the term „message movie‟ has definite negative connotations. It sounds „preachy‟ – even „uplifting‟ or „inspirational.‟ It suggests you‟re being told what to think, which oddly enough sits about as equally unwell with people who like to think as with people who don‟t like to think. Messages are good though, so in order to get conveyed, you need style – an attractive, inviting, or otherwise unique method of delivery. This is where most of the fun happens. It is how a movie like Avatar, which is basically a re-tread of the John Smith/Pocahontas saga, can get re-told to millions already familiar with the story. It’s Image Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures/DC Comics

楽しい / tanoshii also why, in large part, the home video industry has thrived so well for roughly 30 years. People will collect tapes, DVDs, and so on, and re-watch their favourites. Of course, some styles have thrived longer than others, or proven more influential across international borders than others, so in that sense I suppose you can‟t help but call them successful. But could you rightfully call silent films unsuccessful, given the fact that very very few are still made today? What about black & white films? Hardly. Success for one does not necessarily mean failure for another. Style has many practical considerations as well as subjective. Sometimes a film can stumble or fail because of misdirection, editing, acting, writing, continuity goofs or other errors. Other times, such flaws are an indelible part of a film‟s character, and whether or not that character sticks with you is going to be for deeply personal reasons. I love The Last Emperor in spite of its rushed ending, Dawn of the Dead (the Romero/Argento version) in spite of the pink blood, and countless action extravaganzas in spite of logic (or rather, the absence of). You can try your best to explain these weird attractions, and try you should, but accept that you may never be able to. And you certainly don‟t need to explain them to anybody else. A man by the name of Pierre Rissient once said, “It is not enough to like a movie. You must like it for the right reasons.” I firmly believe this. Not all opinions are created equal. The best opinions are developed and refined, over time and – in the case of cinema – movie after movie. As a consequence of watching more films, you may become pickier and harder to please. That‟s fine. If you keep an open mind, a healthy curiousity, and an insatiable hunger for knowledge and novelty, the successful movies are going to be that much more rewarding. You‟ll know them when you see them. 29


Anything useful…or not useful

Aries: A mistake you made when you were 12 will come back to haunt you. Think back. What were you like when you were 12? Right. Brace yourself for some karmic comeuppance in 2010. Taurus: You‟re going to eat the most delicious food you‟ll ever eat in your life in 2010. This is a mixed blessing. On the one hand, this will have been the tastiest thing you‟ve ever sampled in your life thus far. On the other hand, you will never ever eat anything this tasty ever again. It‟s unknown how much of this food you will consume nor how long you will savour it. But take what you can get. Gemini: Your parents never told you this, but you were separated at birth from your identical twin. Your polar opposite, this twin seeks to thwart you and take over your life in order to make up for the one they never had. Beware mysterious gifts and invitations. On the bright side, if your friends, family, or significant other are angry over something you did recently, you can blame your doppelganger. Cancer: Being the embodiment of the crab, you have a natural connection with fish. This will manifest itself in 2010 in the form of a talking fish which only you can comprehend. Any attempt to share this revelation with others may result in alienation, both professional and romantic. Nevertheless, enjoy your newfound friendship. Leo: In 2010, you‟ll encounter a group of Americans at a local restaurant. After finishing their meal, they will leave a small sum of money on their table. Feel free to collect this money and pocket it for yourself. There is no tipping in Japan. 30

何でも / nandemo


何でも / nandemo

Anything useful…or not useful Virgo: Love is in the air in 2010, dear Virgo. All. The. Time. You are a non-stop love machine all year long. If you are shy, then you‟ll become markedly less inhibited. If you‟re extroverted, then batten down the hatches and fasten your seatbelts! Expect to cultivate between 5 and 8 new fetishes this year.

Scorpio: You‟ve been dancing around the issue your entire life, but it‟s time you face the fact that you are pure evil at heart. Cheat your taxes, tie shoelaces together, and stop signaling before changing lanes. Find some friends with bizarre, yet unique, physical attributes to stand by you through the hard times. It‟s also time to start working towards that underground super-complex you‟ve always wanted.

Sagittarius: The stars are aligned in your favor, and all endeavors you undertake are bound for success. Talk to the one you‟ve had your eye on, ask the boss about that promotion, and take up cliff diving. With all your good fortune, start investing in Blockbuster, Polaroid, and General Motors. Not that you have to, but it would be cool if you did; my portfolio needs all the help it can get. Capricorn: Your pride in being the dominant planet of the twelve colonies will face the ultimate test as all those robots you built a while back will revolt and create nuclear Armageddon. It‟s time to strike off for new horizons, but after a few seasons you‟ll find yourself stuck in an oddly out-of-place family drama.

Aquarius: A discovery you make in 2010 will go unnoticed by the majority of people around you. This is because, unbeknownst to you, it was already discovered decades ago. Don‟t lose heart, though. You‟ll be standing where a great mind once stood. Isn‟t that enough?

Libra: 2010 is your year of health. Newfound free time and energy will lead to an improved exercise regimen and diet. However, there are other considerations by which you must abide in order to ensure your health. Avoid tall women, foods with calorie counts ending in odd numbers, and making left turns while driving.

Pisces: Did you ever see E.T.? Remember how he loved Reese‟s Pieces? Those delicious peanut butter M&M knock-offs in the bland colors of yellow, orange, and brown. Too bad you can‟t find them in Japan, at least not easily. … Horoscope? Oh sorry, Pisces made me think of Reese‟s Pieces, and I‟m really hungry. Sugary confections are in your future. 31


Anything useful…or not useful

何でも / nandemo

Easter Joke Answers

Only one – after that it’s not empty anymore! By hare plane!

He was having a bad hare day!

Need a career change?

An cheap and innovative way to collect water! Recycle those bottles. Hopefully we‟ll see this design on sale soon. 32

Do you enjoy tempting people and possibly ruining their lives? If you do, become a wakaresaseya, a private detective who brings an end to relationships of all kinds. Wives, husbands, and employers are now hiring wakaresaseya to end unwanted relationships. For example, perhaps a man wants grounds for a divorce. He can hire a detective to get his wife to cheat. Or maybe an employer wants her employee to resign. Sounds like a job for the wakaresaseya. An initial consultation might be 10,000 yen and the average case takes about three months. Chaaching!

The Shimane Black Taxi: April 2010  
The Shimane Black Taxi: April 2010  

This month, the Black Taxi offers its take on success in all its forms. Read up!

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