bon odori

The whole family went to join in the fun at Bon Odori, the traditional dancing festival held at the end of Obon. As it was held on the street in front of Honbu Dojo, we all got matching yukata and practically ran the show.

tasty antique

tasty antique
Originally uploaded by renfield.

say what?

I tend to look upon the chosen profession with a significant amount of disdain, having been a Japanese government bureaucrat myself. I know what it is like from the inside; the rickety metal desks, the endless paperwork bound with string requiring approval seals, the section chief fanning himself with one hand, holding his tea with the other whilst watching high school baseball on the tv and proclaiming how busy he is, how we're all going to be working all night to finish up, and how the most junior guy on the desk should fetch the delivery menus so that they can choose between sushi or ramen.
So when I was called upon to visit the Ministry of Finance, I deferred. I stalled, avoided, countered, schemed and scammed. But in the end, I went.
And it was beyond what I expected.
The halls were dark, dank, and not entirely clean. The air-conditioning was non-existent. The meeting room was a storage closet with one clanking desk fan on top of a cabinet that pushed stale air onto the back of my neck every ten seconds as it rotated.
The MOFers, representatives of the section whose sole purpose is to regulate the securities and finance industry, where...well to be kind, they were just plum clueless.
Did not have the faintest clue about what we were talking about. At one point (only about fifteen minutes into what ended up being a 90 minute meeting) she actually asked, with all innocent sincerity "What's an option?"
Now folks, I don't expect my mom to know the ins and outs of exotic credit derivative pricing, and to be honest I don't even expect the industry regulators to know that much, but at the very least, the basics, the fundamentals of trading and the securities industry should be well within their grasp.
Imagine if you will a World Series umpire asking the catcher "So, what happens when he gets three strikes?"
Needless to say I do not fear any potential retribution from this blog post because, though I know some people in the industry will read it, I seriously doubt anyone at the Ministry of Finance even knows about teh internets.
The highlight of the evening was walking back through the Ministry of Tax, a sweet post-war building that in its glory days (before it was gutted by zombie bureaucrats) must have been splediforous. At least it still had an awesome curved and carpeted staircase.


This afternoon we headed over to Sangenjaya, the hip and cool youngin's neighborhood (kinda like the West Village or Noho).
We met up with Amy and Maya and had some shaved ice at an ancient ice shop that used an old ice shaving machine and blocks of what is probably real (natural, as in cut from a frozen lake in the winter) ice.
After the snack I went to the new dojo before dragging my broken and tired butt home.

got your nose

Grip of death.

open sesame

And now her little monkey brain is starting to figure out how the world works...once she unlocks the secret of the home security system, it's all over.