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smart  sexy  cool  japan Lived on the Inside.  Seen from the Outside.  


Prayers and Wishes for a Wonderful New Year.

Slim votive candles (one of them mine) lit at a small shrine in Kyoto. January 05, 2010

Cheers!  Kampai!  

a shitty happou-shu beer-impostor toast to drinking better than this... (but wouldn't protest this elegant lady serving me a bucket or two)


This reads as "KinGaShinNen" and means "Happy New Year".  

This festive set comes courtesy the front windows of the huge DeMasse Pachinko & Slot gambling emporium along Kawaramachi near Marutamachi, Kyoto.

This phrase is never spoken, but only seen written, much like you might get an invitation to a Summer BBQ but not say, "Hey, let's go to Ted's BBQ tomorrow!"  Japanese students say "BBQ" all the time & I use the above phrase to explain by analogy.

This panel is just a palette cleanser, like eating the pickled ginger gari between different fish dishes at a sushi shop.


the kanji after "ECC" reads as KouShi and means "instructor". see in context below.

(p.s.  no, I don't know who this guy is, but I bet on top of that native English speaker / sensei cachet, this poster fame ain't hurting him none in the snagging of J-leg.)

His Magic Johnson!

oops...wrong affable black sports superstar with sex hassles.

(actually, other than guys mating solely outside their race, not much to do with Japan; just a little topical observation destined to age like so much room-temp sushi)

subway rails via otaku-cam

two cute friends standing in a carpet of fallen ginkgo leaves, admiring the tree that offered them up.

encroached upon by a balded guy.

Today, one of my cutest & smartest & sweetest 2nd-year students turned 20. We celebrated by the whole class singing Happy Birthday in English to her, after which she showed around prints from the sonogram of her unplanned baby.

All the girls (after the to-be-forgiven shock-pause) congratulated her warmly & with sincerity.  And most patted the baby bump as she showed that around, too.

To explain her recent absence & lack of focus, she'd informed me of her condition a few weeks back, and told me that she would not be returning to the college next year, or probably ever.

It is her first boyfriend, he has a job in a factory, they quickie-married around Christmas.  The baby, a girl, is due this spring.

I will miss you as a student...Best of Luck.

Happy New Year!  Happy (I hope) New Life!

vice is nice... 

smoking the smokes and drinking the drink (nihon-shu sake) right outside the convenience store where he got them.  

Now that's convenient!

same guy, same night, same stuff.

 this shot is cleaner & clearer, but got to say I like the body language in the panel above.

if you got the money honey we got your disease....

(...and if you're not not-Japanese)


On the clock & on the phone, the Maitre d' at a buffet of pay-to-play, Kiyamachi, heart of the floating world for centuries, Kyoto.  I guess it's kind of like catalog shopping out of Sears-Roebuck, back in the day. Or ordering off the McDonald's picture menu.

Dennis Lodman

...exiting the train.


2010  Year of the Tiger

Alex Yeoman, he's a Pro man.

From the new train ad campaign for ECC language house, still featuring Beat Takeshi, but apparently now only as a sidekick...and no longer shilling those use-free idioms. (remember: In the doghouse; It's your baby; At a good clip, etc.?)

there is also a poster in the series with a pretty female instructor opposite Beat T., but couldn't get a good picture of that.  next train ride.

get in where you fit in

--Too $hort, Geto Boys


1 train, 3 superstars... Yeoman, Takeshi, Lodman

(alright, enough of this.)

pikachu...larger than life at the Game Center.  


Fancy a bit of the old in-out in-out?

Some gripping photojournalism showing the entrance & exit, both clearly labeled, to a Love Hotel.  A former student told me that young people call them "H" Hotels. "H" (pronounced eh-chi) comes from it being the first letter in "Hentai" (familiar to many from hentai anime porn) a Japanese word connoting sex.

LIGHTWEIGHT ANECDOTE:  A few years back, we taught some specialized English courses at Heian High School in west-central Kyoto.  This school is famous for its powerhouse baseball team and has a lot of jocks.  To work on following simple instructions in English well enough to something, one of the female teachers suggested the students make cookies in the big institutional kitchens.  In a drawer, a group of the boys found cookie-cutters of the school letters H-E-I-A-N, and one of the cleverer guys crafted a "T" from two "I" cookies.  So this group is showing much school spirit baking trays of HEIAN cookies (mixed in with the Ts no one espied) and out they pop, and the kids start organizing and arranging letters and pretty soon there is cookie "HENTAI" spread across all the tables and much jostling & hilarity ensues.

All the students thought it a great hit; the teachers, not so much.

Heian-kyo is the old name for Kyoto.  The period from 794 to 1185, when the capital of Japan was seated in Kyoto, is referred to as the Heian Jidai or Heian Era.  Therefore, you see this word a lot. (+_<)
 Room at the Inn!

This green kanji is a good one to know.  One meaning is 'empty'; it is the kara in karate, meaning 'empty hand' fighting (holding no weapons).  If you see this in a taxi window it means that cab is for hire, flag it down.  If you see it outside a Parking Lot, it means there are empty parking spaces available.

It also reads as sora meaning 'sky'.

Here, on the price board for the Love Hotel, it means you don't need to go for a knee-trembler in the alley.  We got your room.

STAY means overnight, like a real hotel.

REST is the base hourly rate.

Beware Romeo, you will see only the left side red/white kanji, which translates to SOL, on Christmas Eve, Valentine's Day.

dirty old smug fuck smoking on everybody waiting for their train, and not really giving a shit about it. go die somewhere, prick.

p.s. he didn't like how many pictures I was taking of him. neither did his mincing little minion there.

(sure hope he's just the Lalph Kramden bus-driver type he looks, and not, like, yakuza or something.)

it happens...

watched these two coo at gion matsuri.  seemed truly happy in the company of each other. Good Luck!

a cool young couple, nice people. chatted with them on the street for a bit.  that's her BF in the BG.

Rode the train today and, as promised, here she is--the ECC female Pro.

I present one Antonette Gum

 (wow...names right out of Central Casting with these guys.  But we all have to admit she's lovely.)

Beat likes what he sees...

I woke up analyzing why I hate these people who break the rules so much...like old smoker douche (seen below turning his porcine face).  And I realized it's because it is just so easy to do here.  95% of everyone follows most of the rules, and other people don't enforce the rules on those who don't.

No one is going to get in his face about this being a No Smoking area, or slap the cig from his mouth, or knock his glasses off as they might in other countries.  And he knows this.

This society functions well because people cooperate willingly.  People act properly in most situations because that is how to run a society, not out of fear of punishment if caught.  If that changes, the machine stops...this small island country of hyperdense pockets implodes.

 And then it's back to the USA, trolling pawn shops for guns and looking for a new place to settle.

mid-term essay by a 1st-year college student.  not bad, comparatively; syntax better than most.

and looks like she used all the letters.


Gaijin Eye 2010

Japanzine is a good, free, English language magazine that is available nationwide.

Every year they run a special feature called Gaijin Eye highlighting photographs taken by resident foreigners in Japan.

This year they received about 1300 submissions, and there is some pretty engaging stuff, take a look.  They published 4 images by japandemic.  Thanks & Good Luck!


Gaijin Eye 2010  (page detail)

Pretty Cure discount towels.

We are Mighty and Pretty! 'nuff said.

take a card, any card...don't matter which, cuz I'mo still hustle ya.

I'm a pimp, you can check my stats
an' rollin' a Fleetwood that's how I mack. 
(--a li'l Kid Rock 4 y'all that's all)

lookout!!! bruthah!

The Man...coming at ya!

(riot cops keeping the peace at Gion Matsuri)


do a little bit this and little bit that and a little more something I like to call the flim-flam and BOOM!  I gotcha ducats, chump.

setting up for night at the BLUEFISH AQUARIUM bar

Beat...you sly fox.

(Remember, she's a pro...treat her like one.)

a door closes, and a window opens...

sweet dreams are made of this...

big screen TV selection at a local electronics store; sizes listed in inches, just like in the USA, though nobody here knows what they mean.

big red numbers on placards below sets are prices in Japanese yen; to get rough equivalent in US dollars (depending on how badly whoever's running Wall Street is fcking up that day) just scratch off the last two zeroes. E.g., that Y288,000 52" SHARP TV, front & center, costs about $2,880.

mascot in exterior wall tank of BLUEFISH AQUARIUM bar.

man, I got this fcking monkey on my back...

Heading to the matsuri...

(just bought a helicopter for aerial shots, seeing how it works.  not bad.)

a little positive thinking as you enter the mall...I likes!

alone again, at a special spot in the Kyoto Gosho

otaku sexxy soxxx!

Sapporo beer.

maybe she's wearing some under these boots.


never mind.

 nan de mo nai.



Unused pews, Kyoto Cathedral

Look through my window...



Life is a Cabaret, My Friend...

getting ready for the night ahead



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won't you come in...?

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