Posted: February 17th, 2010 | Author: Zeus Thaber | Filed under: Heh, Japan, Personal | Comments Off on Shenanigans
I find that writing ideas flowed much more freely when I was an unemployed college student.
Now that I don’t play Nintendo games on weekday afternoons, or B&E into institutional buildings, for fun my textual musings seem a little more serious and a little less shenanigan filled.
As such, I should probably start plotting more shenanigans. However, I have two reservations. 1) making my employers look bad and 2) being deported.
I can’t imagine being deported is a one time event.
This is probably how it would go trying to return to Japan, after having been deported:
Japanese Immigration Officer: “Um…sir, you were deported, I can’t let you back into the country”.
Japanese Immigration Officer: “Sir…um…Sir, are those ninja stars in your hand?”
Japanese Immigration Officer: “……”
Me: “Sooo….can you at least send me somewhere else in Asia?”
Japanese Immigration Officer: “No, sir, I cannot. And I’m afraid you’re going to have to come with me.””
So, based on my fears I’ve devised a few rules for my hijinks.
Rule #632 for Shenanigans: Don’t get caught.
Rule #633 for Shenanigans: Do no (permenent) harm.
Rule #634 for Shenanigans: Always have accomplice.
Rule #635 for Shenanigans: If caught, blame accomplice.
That’s all for now.
Posted: February 16th, 2010 | Author: Zeus Thaber | Filed under: Japan, Personal, Update | Comments Off on Personal Correspondence
Well, well, well, it’s been quite a while. Again.
I’ve become rather consistent at being inconsistant.
I couldn’t say if it’s the general busyness of life or some manifestation of my innate procrastination habits.
I’m banking on a hybrid of both.
That being said, let’s get to the meat and potatoes of this posting. (Although, they often say “one man’s meat is another man’s poison”. I promise I won’t poison anyone on purpose.)
Since moving to Japan, I have found that I get the most hand written, personal correspondence from two sources:
1) Older relatives and friends of the family.
2) Friends in America (in spite of my neglect and overall terribleness at keeping in touch.)
In this post, I’m mostly going to focus on the older relatives and friends of the family.
The two main culprits in this category are my grandma and the pastor’s wife from the church that I grew up in and called subsequently called grandma.
Now, I’ve done a pretty good job keeping in touch with (biological) Grandma (and Grandpa.)
I call them at least once a month. My reasons aren’t complicated. It’s mostly because I love my Grandparents. But I have to say, a close second is excited Grandma is to talk to me. Living in Japan has become business as usual to me, but apparently still looks pretty awesome on the outside.
Don’t even get me started on the street cred that Grandma gets at her quilting guild because I live in Japan. The crazy “Japanese” fabric [made in China] that I got her last Christmas must have been very envy inducing.
I see it as a “My grandson is a DOCTOR” sort of phenomenon. Apparently, there aren’t any grandson Doctors represented in the guild. To me, that seems to be a little bit more of an accomplishment than simply living somewhere far away.
But, per usual, I have digressed.
The second Grandma, the pastor’s wife, I see very irregularly. Only once or twice in the past few years. And yet, she continues to sent me letters, with updates and encouragement.
So, this got me to thinking.
I kind of just take these letters in and appreciate that people are thinking of me. But shy of the phone calls to Grandma, I haven’t really been reciprocating. I think this is childish behavior. That sort of receptive mode that is acceptable for children, is in turn, irresponsible for adults. I think it is prudent to give in addition to receiving.
They don’t have to be full of feelings, and gooey what nots like the Grandmas letters are admittedly famous for. In this case, I think it really is the thought that counts.
Real adults, real men, send letters when they need to. Because it is important to value people in a way that they will understand and appreciate.
(and Grandma doesn’t have e-mail)
Posted: December 7th, 2009 | Author: Zeus Thaber | Filed under: Heh | Comments Off on Words have multiple meanings.
Hate the game, not the playa.
• an area of flat, dried-up land, esp. a desert basin from which water evaporates quickly.
ORIGIN mid 19th cent.: from Spanish, literally ‘beach,’ from late Latin plagia.
wild mammals or birds hunted for sport or food.
• the flesh of these mammals or birds, used as food.
ORIGIN Old English gamen [amusement, fun,] gamenian [play, amuse oneself,] of Germanic
Don't judge me.
Posted: November 18th, 2009 | Author: Zeus Thaber | Filed under: Japan, Minimalism, Personal, Update | Comments Off on Minimalism
Well, I’m sorry.
Can I get that out of the way? I’ve neglected Zeus Thaber again.
But at least my range of neglected hobbies, anywhere from journaling to amateur photography, make for good company. (On cold nights I can still hear them screaming for attention.)
Truth be told, I’d sell them, but they are pretty laden with emotional value. The camera is about 35 years old, my Mom used it in college. What kind of monster would sell that? And the journal, it has more than a years worth of cultural transition journal entries. Plus, who buys someone else’s journal journal?
But I would argue that a camera and a book aren’t really cluttering up my life in a disruptive sort of way. There are times where a certain item is impossible to throw away. You know the excuses, “But I might use it someday”, “But it brings back such good memories”, etc etc.*
I used to be guilty of this.
I remember when these kind of thoughts started to decline. It was the first time I came to Japan, and in order to raise the money to pay for the trip. I was selling anything that wasn’t nailed down.
In the frantic, garage-sale-esqe countdown, I realized several things:
A) I didn’t play the bass guitar anymore. (I only kept it around because it made me feel cool.) **see note below
B) Pawn shops aren’t very generous.
C) Knickknacks, and anything resembling them, are terrible.
D) If someone won’t give you money for an item, and you don’t know why you still have it, said item probably isn’t worth keeping.
So, for me it came down to stuff, our complicated, co-dependent relationship with stuff.
Naturally, I wanted to see if anyone else questioned this zany relationship with stuff.
I think you’d be surprised at how gigantic the movement against stuff has become.
One of my favorite blogs on minimalism is written by a guy who, on occasion, strikes me as a crazy-ass idealist.*** But at the same time, he puts the movement into very coherent and eloquent terms, that have really spoken to me.
Here is a quote from his book.
“A minimalist eschews the mindset of more, of acquiring and consuming and shopping, of bigger is better, of the burden of stuff. A minimalist instead embraces the beauty of less, the aesthetic of spareness, a life of contentedness in what we need and what makes us truly happy.”
“A minimalist values quality, not quantity, in all forms.”
How does that not sound good?
But…there is always a downside, right?
The concept of minimalism on a personal level can be taken, commercialized, and packaged conveniently for sale.
Want to be minimalist, but still want to keep all your stuff? We can help with that, and all you have to do is follow our system and we will organize all that clutter.
Organized clutter =/= Minimalism
I guess the point is to find what works for you. I’ve been trying to do that for a while now, and I think it would be best described as a work in progress.
* check out http://unclutterer.com/, they had a good article about cutting the strings on hobbies and their associated clutter
** totally cool anyway, regardless of rock instruments involved.
*** http://www.mnmlist.com/, look for the articles on planning and communal living
Posted: September 24th, 2009 | Author: Zeus Thaber | Filed under: Japan | Comments Off on Cosplay
Last Friday, I was talking with one of my Japanese colleagues over lunch. We were having a rather in-depth conversation about the cos-play community. Cosplay (コスプレ), or costume roleplay, is a type of performance art in Japan, and abroad, where fans dress in costumes and accessories to represent a specific character or idea found in manga and/or anime.
I started by telling him that I thought it was very fascinating sub-culture in Japan, especially when comparing it to cosplayers in the States. And in that American context, at times, a little troubling.
He told me that in Japan it was a good chance for people to express themselves in ways that wouldn’t normally be available to them. (see: within the bounds of Japanese culture) He said that he couldn’t see how any negatives in cosplay could manifest in other parts of the world.
He said that every once and a while his family goes to Harajuku, an area in Tokyo known for its cos-players. There are times, he said, that he sees a woman, and admires how attractive she is, only to find out that it is actually a man.
This doesn’t upset him. He seemed honestly impressed that these people could pull of the illusion so well. I’d juxtapose his attitude against some pretty classic American stereotypes, that would be furious if they were fooled by a transvestite or drag queen. As though seeing them, and maybe inadvertently appreciating the illusion, somehow detracts from their own masculinity and calls their sexuality into question.
I told him that I could appreciate the freedom of expression that this gives Japanese people, and that I admire their commitment to the anime and manga that their costumes represent.
But to help him understand the differences between Japanese and American cosplay, and really the heart of my reservations to American cosplay, I asked him to imagine a 400 pound American man dressed as Sailor Moon.
He paused and said, “…Oh my….I see your point”
I rest my case.