Monday, March 31, 2014

Simpsonized

Some say life is like a book. I say it’s more like a cartoon: the stuff of everyday life offers plenty of chances to laugh with abandon, while the remainder of the time we spend provokes a smirk or a knowing grin.
Anyhow, I recently commissioned a Rising Family® avatar after I became infected by the internet midnight purchasing bug. I paid for it, might as well share it!


Speaking of cutesy cartoon characters, Japan loves ‘em. Almost all towns, cities, organizations, even the police and military have their own adorable animated mascots.

Another other national proclivity – creating accidentally hilarious English words – combined with the mascot mania here and resulted in “Fukuppy”: a merging of the Japanese word for “good luck” and “happy” in English that got very, very lost in translation.
‘I’m Fukuppy, nice to meet you.”
This resulted in much insider-humor online sharing amongst the foreign community here in Japan last fall.

These two characters from the Kanagawa Prefectural police are just too cute to issue me a parking or speeding ticket…right?

 
It seems recruitment of young women went up when the Japanese Self-Defense Forces drew up these chic new “idols” for the armed forces.

As for me, I’m old school—I’ll stick with the Simpsons = "my weekends"
Courtesy of 20th Century Fox

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Snapshots

Goodbye friends, we hardly knew ye
We said sayonara to two good friends this week--Ms. Highchair and Mr. Stroller, who assisted the Rising Daughters® through the baby, toddler and preschooler stages of their lives.

These two essential items helped our kids eat safely and experience the outside world. We’re grateful for their faithful service.
No nostalgia here folks, they were damn fine accessories which made our parenting easier. But we must move forward. After the years of hard use by Lady E. and ‘M’, recycling wasn’t an option, so we paid our respects and saw them off into retirement.

Japan stuff
Clooney hawks low-malt beer!

Saw this in a train station causeway in Tokyo. Nice to know my man George and I share the same brand. Yeah, right.

Movie poster of the Wolf of Wall Street and Kick-Ass.

I include this just because I still get a kick out of seeing the Japanese view of things. And I will never tire of the hyphenated, multipurpose word Kick-Ass.

And a bit of love for the Blue Oval

With many friends working for Ford, I forced the daughters to model for the Fiesta launch here in Japan when there was an outreach event at a local mall.

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Wednesday, February 26, 2014

10 reasons why I don’t give a s**t about the Sochi Olympics

by M.

 
1. Way too much mixing of sports and politics. Rink Rivalry? Cool Runnings? Incessant media clichés about national stereotypes test my patience...and I am still not forming complete sentences.


2. Ditto on mixing sports and sexual preference.

3. I’m not quite sure what “Olympics” means…bobsled dudes? Science and skill of curling? Wazzat?

4. My older sister likes watching it on TV…therefore I hate it.

5. Russian rock n’ roll: enough already about Pussy Riot.


6. Never trust a commie, even ex-commies. Greater transparency blah blah blah.

7. I can’t reconcile the paradox of the Russian economy emblematic in Sochi: corruption and cronyism, yet it works!

8. I’m in a bad mood generally. We got the most snow in four decades this month in Yokohama and I am getting cabin fever. Snow always falls on the weekends!

9. “Until I see some skin from the male figure skaters, I ain’t buyin’ in.”

10. Olympic spirit and the camaraderie of nations? Luge this!


Editor's postscript: in retrospect, Sochi ended with no terrorism, no boycotts and no cheating scandals. So M.'s analysis is unduly harsh :)

Sunday, February 9, 2014

In yer face, Mr. Summer

Snow!

Mother Nature has exacted her revenge in response to my cyclical griping about winter and championing of summertime. The heaviest snow in two decades has struck the Tokyo area and other regions across Japan. By Canadian standards, not a big deal: about 27 cm (11 inches) blanketed our part of Yokohama during Friday-Saturday. Still, this inflicted some havoc on the transportation system and forced us to forgo our plans for the weekend. We stayed at home instead. Boo-hoo.
E & M enjoyed spry frolicking in the snow and the novelty of snowballs, wet jeans, shoveling, and catching snowflakes on one’s tongue. Many friends have adorned their Facebook pages with similar descriptions and images of happy kids romping around in the white stuff.
 
I even got into the spirit of things and helped build a slightly demented-looking snowman.
 
Of course, no activity is complete without some kind of strife between the sisters. 

The snow had stopped falling in Tokyo by early morning Sunday and started to melt before noon. Tomorrow morning I expect the roads to remind me of home with surfaces as icy as hockey rinks. And no zambonis on the horizon.
 

Friday, January 31, 2014

The Village Part 2 Being Filmed in Yokohama

Did you see M. Night Shyamalan’s creepy 2004 movie, The Village? The director of  supernatural thrillers that feature his signature surprise endings has opted to film the sequel to The Village in Yokohama, Japan.
And Marina and Elena were singled out at a local mall by a talent scout and won parts as minor characters in the movie. Movie stars!
Here is a shot of the two in their costumes in front of their snow shelter on the set.

They are shooting the movie in a replicated farming hamlet from the Edo era (1603-1868) where the inhabitants are terrorized by a group of large, vaporous beings who circle the small village in the winter.

During the filming, to give the actors some acoustic cues and convey the atmosphere he wanted, Shyamalan played a recording – a low, barely perceptible yet ominous thrumming sound – while smoke pots replicated mist blowing over the moat that ringed the village perimeter. The day we were there for the girls' scenes, the villagers mostly huddled in their ice homes, while huge industrial fans blew in gales of snow. 

Here are the girls with their creature heads on after they were transformed into beasts as part of a plot twist in the script.
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Readers (all five of you), I apologize.
I can go no further with this yarn.
Fact is, it’s not even snowing in Yokohama. There is no movie. There is only a web of lies that is this post! See? It’s freaking igloos in paradise.
But it is still winter. We were bored one mid-January weekend. So went to the Sea Paradise amusement park island on a weekend where Akita prefecture happened to be holding a winter tourism promotional event featuring igloo-like snow shelters from the old days of northern Japan. It was about 12 degrees, and the palm trees are still green in the Yokohama area. They had to truck in the snow.  The picture says it all: 
The boring truth is that we did the usual Rising Daughter fandango and had a good ol' family time. But spinning a yarn like this is much more fun than a straightforward account, no? (The Beast Band was entertaining, too.)

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

OPERATION PURELAND

FROM: CDR RISING FAMILY
TO: CIC BLOGGER
SUBJECT: OPERATION PURELAND
OBJECTIVE: BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION
DEPLOYMENT ORDER 7B-D FOR PUMPKINHEAD#1
PERIOD OF REPORT: 201401XX INDIA TIME
TASK ORGANIZATION: 4 PERS / RISING FAMILY TEAM (RFT)

GENTEXT/SITUATION:
A. GENERAL: BIRTHDAY OPERATIONS FOR 7 YEARS
B. ENEMY: NON-LETHAL FORCE / INVASION OF WALLET
C. FRIENDLY: SMALL FEMALE HELLO KITTY FAN FRIENDLIES EVERYWHERE
D. ATTACHMENTS AND DETACHMENTS: TEAM DETACH ONLY FOR BATHROOM PEE-PEE OR POO-POO SUPPORT OPERATIONS

GENTEXT/MISSION
A. COMMANDER’S INTENT: TEAM MORALE UPGRADE ESPECIALLY SUBJECT OF BIRTHDAY
B. CONCEPT OF OPERATIONS:
 1. DEPLOY TO PURELAND VENUE.
 2. ENJOY SHOWS, RIDES, ATTRACTIONS AND FREAKY STYLE
 3. AVOID FIGHTING AMONG TEAM MEMBERS
 4. ENHANCE SINGING AND DANCING SKILLS
C: SUBORDINATE TASKS
 1. AVOID EXUBERANT PURCHASE OF EXPENSIVE CRAP IN GIFT SHOP
D. COORDINATING INSTRUCTIONS:
 1. ALIGNED UNIT LEADERSHIP BETWEEN OIC AND 2IC CRITICAL TO MISSION SUCCESS.

CHRONOLOGY OF EVENTS:
1. RISING FAMILY TEAM (RFT) CONDUCTED BIRTHDAY OPERATIONS FOR SENIOR DAUGHTER OF THE TWO-DAUGHTER FIRE TEAM.
2. RFT HAD MISSION TO CELEBRATE BIRTHDAY WITH MUCH JOY AND LAUGHTER AT PURELAND. (REF: “PURELAND” IS HOME TO HELLO KITTY DOLL CHARACTER CHERISHED BY GENERATIONS OF YOUNG GIRLS.)
3. RFT OIC/TEAM LEADER AND 2IC (HEREAFTER, PARENTS) GATHERED INFORMATION PRIOR TO DEPLOYMENT WHICH FACILITATED DEPLOYMENT PLANS. 
4. RFT DEPARTED BASE AT 0730 ARRIVED AT STAGING AREA 1000 HRS.
5. INTERIOR RECON SHOWED COLORFUL INGRESS POINTS.

ACCOMPLISHMENTS:
1. LARGELY AVOIDED OVERPRICED GREASY FOOD BY SMUGGLING IN HEALTHIER CHEAPER FOODSTUFFS.
2. BIRTHDAY CELEBRANT ENJOYED DANCING AND BOAT RIDE.
3. YOUNGEST TEAM MEMBER BEHAVED WELL. AWARDED GOLD STAR FOR COOPERATION UNDER JEALOUSY.
4. TEAM MEMBERS SAW MANY TRULY FREAKY STAGE SHOWS.

5. OBSTACLE TRAINING WITH GUIDANCE FROM D.I. KITTY

 6. OPERATIONS ENDED SUNDOWN/ EXTERIOR RECON COMPLETED

LESSONS LEARNED:
1. URINAL EXTERIOR TOO DISTURBING/PREVENTED MICTURATION

2. DANCING BUNNY GIRLS GAVE TEAM LEADER BUTTERFLIES AND DELIGHT
CONCLUSIONS:
1. MISSION OVERWHELMING SUCCESS / EXCEEDED EXPECTATIONS.
2. POSITIVE ATTITUDE BY TEAM MEMBERS CONTRIBUTED TO OVERALL TEAM COHESIVENESS AND SMOOTH EXECUTION OF TASKS WITH MINIMAL DISRUPTION FROM CRYING OR BEGGING FOR SNACK FOODS.
3. USE OF THIS MISSION PROFILE FOR FUTURE BIRTHDAY OPERATIONS HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
4. REF: http://www.puroland.co.jp/english/
MESSAGE ENDS //

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Happy Christmas Message

To my family, friends and random folks who may be reading,
best wishes and heartfelt good cheer; Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

We had another terrific Christmas; feel lucky and blessed.
Started with a morning coffee...

The girls were naturally THRILLED about EVERYTHING today.
It was contagious. We simply had a wonderful merry olde, sepia-toned tyme.  

And check out this funky "impressionist picture" application on my camera.