emi and jorge

More photos of my God Daughter Emi and her BigDaddy Jorge:


Went to Tsutaya (Americans, think Blockbuster) to rent some DVDs, specfically, Clerks. I knew what I wanted to rent, the problem is Tsutaya is organized into sections like "Actors", "Actresses", "Human Drama", "Still Popular", and New Releases". I wanted Clerks. Is that still popular? Who's in it...that guy, Kevin-something, Silent Bob of Jay And fame...so I ask at the counter, but don't notice that I've asked the dude with the "In Training" badge. So eager to be helpful, he doesn't close his register as he searches on the computer for Clarks? Cloaks? Clerks? Finally he finds it, and we go over to the "Comedy/Life" section and...can't find it. I wander about looking at Japanese Yakuza movies, and finally he comes back with the tape. Lovely, how about the DVD? So back to the computer and yes, they have 2 DVDs, neither of which are rented. Problem is, where are they? Listed under Kevin Smith? Nope. Human Comedy? Nope. Young Life/Comedy? Nope...finally we find them under the "Hot Writers/Directors Older Works" section.
So I give him my membership, my third, because I have to sign up for a new one every year. Which means I get a brand new membership ID, and fill out all the information from scratch, again. I wonder, why don't they just keep using my first id number? That way they can build up a nice big, juicy file of my rental habits and profile me to perfection?
As I'm showing Hiroko the DVDs and spouting off about the above two points, she answers them:
1) They don't arrange DVDs and videos in order by title because in Japan often the titles are slightly different or even totally changed, and people tend to say "That one with Kevin Smith, the old one, about the dude working at the convenience store" instead of "Clerks". Besides which, the more time you spend wandering looking for your movie, the more likely you are to go "Oh Kevin Smith was also in..." and end up discovering more movies to rent.
2) Tsutaya might not know my personal total rental history, but they have the trend data for my demographic, and that's who they market to: 30 year old males who rented Clerks and live in Minami Azabu. Amazon needs to know me personally to give me my recommendations, but Tsutaya just needs to know the general trends of my demographic to push specials and move merchandise. Very "Japanese" if I may say so, in that the individual information is less important than the general trends and patterns of the larger group.
Damn, but Hiroko is a smart girl.

ben miller update

He is blogged.


Had lunch with Ben Miller. Curry in Meguro, coffee surrounded by salarymen. Only blogging about it so that Ben can be a part of the great blogosphere. Then he'll be so grateful to me he will be driven to buy his girlfriend something nice.

cherry blossoms

This week the sakura are in full bloom.

Of course, the cold rain last night did its damage, and most blossoms won't last until this weekend, but as the old saying goes "The cherry blossom is most beautiful as it falls from tree."

lack of g.y.m.

Note how GiveYourMeat is decidedly absent from this list of expat bloggers in Japan. I guess I'm just not prime time yet.

In other news, Lee finally got a job. He's Global Head of somethingsomething over at Deutsche Bank. Now if only Stevie could get a job...

nice weather

I hereby officially acknowledge the beginning of spring by wearing, for the first time this year, a linen shirt.

mugairyu videos and text

Lovely folks over at The Iaido Newsletter did a review of our videos and text. Damn fine of them.


My Aunt Emily is now famous.

reality check

Down and Out On Wall Street
I guess they don't seem to understand; just because you're pretty smart and went to Harvard Business School doesn't mean you actually DESERVE to get paid a million bucks a year. The fact that your timing was wonderful for a couple of years such that straight outta biz school you raked in big money doesn't mean that's what you should be getting, and it certainly doesn't mean you're worth it. A three-legg'd dog with a Blackberry and an expensive suit could have closed a dot-bomb IPO deal in 2001, so what makes you so special? You think there's a premium on being smart? You think living beyond your means makes you special? Here's some career advice, repeat after me: "We also carry that in a loafer, and suede is so in this summer...let me get you some socks so you can try these on."


I have been called many things, but never slim. I remember when Banana Republic had a jeep crashing through the front display window, and sold Israel Army Surplus bags and other cool stuff. Back then then the GAP was cheesy; it had just gotten over "Fall In To The GAP" but still wasn't as cool as it is now. Back then the GAP sold baggy pants. I mean baggy. They had names like "loose fit" "extra size" and, of course, "baggy."
Nowadays, I tried to replace my 6 year-old chinos with a modern pair, and I got "Classic Straight Leg Mercer", "Flat Front Semi-Low Rise", and "Pleated Natural". All of these are shaped assuming I enjoy wrapping my ass in form-fitting plastic wrap, wear moon boots, and have no need to allow blood to actually circulate into my legs. And forget about acutally putting anything in the pockets.
The same designers who invented the show-your-bellybutton-low-rise and coupled it with the show-your-ass-tight-leg and successfully sold it to every female on the planet (disclaimer: I'm a big fan) had the brilliant idea to make GUY's pants the same way. Huge mistake. I guess it works here in Japan, where the skinny guys and the skinny girls are basically shaped the same, but it doesn't work for me.
Finally one of the sales dudes suggested I try the Slim Fit, because he claimed they were the baggiest in the seat and leg. And damnit he was right. Explain to me how in the 21st century Slim Fit chinos are the baggiest thing the GAP makes?