When you can't live without bananas

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Monday, December 31, 2007

"If history repeats itself, and the unexpected always happens, how incapable must Man be of learning from experience." - George Bernard Shaw


Western Mathematics: The Secret Weapon of Cultural Imperialism

"Of all the school subjects which were imposed on indigenous pupils in the colonial schools, arguably the one which could have been considered the least culturally-loaded was mathematics... This article challenges that myth, and places what many now call ’western mathematics’ in its rightful position in the arguments - namely, as one of the most powerful weapons in the imposition of western culture...

But where do ’degrees’ come from? Why is the total 180? Why no 200, or 100? Indeed, why are we interested in triangles and their properties at all? The answer to all these questions is, essentially, ’because some people determined that it should be that way’... [Ed: We also drive on certain sides because some people determine it should be that way. Feel free to drive on the other side and kill yourself (hopefully not other people who aren't as ideologically driven as you. And I'm sure driving on a certain side of the road restricts us and prevents the subaltern from having a voice.]

We are now aware of the fact that many different counting systems exist in the world. In Papua New Guinea, Lean has documented nearly 600 (there are more than 750 languages there) containing various cycles of numbers, not all base ten.’ As well as finger counting, there is documented use of body counting, where one points to a part of the body and uses the name of that part as the number. Numbers are also recorded in knotted strings, carved on wooden tablets or on rocks, and beads are used, as well as many different written systems of numerals. The richness is both fascinating and provocative for anyone imagining initially that theirs is the only system of counting and recording numbers. [Ed: Try adding up your supermarket bill with knotted strings.]

... Nor only is it in number that we find interesting differences. The conception of space which underlies Euclidean geometry is also only one conception - it relies particularly on the ’atomistic’ and objectoriented ideas of points, lines, planes and solids. Other conceptions exist, such as that of the Navajos where space is neither subdivided nor objectified, and where everything is in motion. [Ed: Try designing a plane using Navajo space instead of Euclidean space. Just don't take anyone else on the test flight.]

... Regarding trade and the commercial field generally, this is clearly the area where measures, units, numbers, currency and some geometric notions were employed. More specifically, it would have been western ideas of length, area volume, weight, time and money which would have been imposed on the indigenous societies... as Jones’ informant showed in Papua New Guinea in a recent investigation: ’It could be said [that two gardens are equal in area] but it would always be debated’ and ’There is no way of comparing the volume of rock with the volume of water, there being no reason for it’. [Ed: You can use measuring systems where volumes can't be compared and remain as isolated indigenious tribal societies.]

... There are four clusters of values which are associated with western European mathematics, and which must have had a tremendous impact on the indigenous cultures.

First, there is the area of rationalism, which is at the very heart of western mathematics. If one had to choose a single value and attribute which has guaranteed the power and authority of mathematics within western culture, it is rationalism. As Kline says: ’In its broadest aspect mathematics is a spirit, the spirit of rationality. It is this spirit that challenges, stimulates, invigorates, and drives human minds to exercise themselves to the fullest. With its focus on deductive reasoning and logic, it poured scorn on mere trial and error practices, traditional wisdom and witchcraft. [Ed: I wonder if Alan J. Bishop has ever gone to a witch doctor instead of a real one, and thus been complicit in the marginalisation of indigenous cultures.]

... A third set of values concerns the power and control aspect of western mathematics. Mathematical ideas are used either as directly applicable concepts and techniques, or indirectly through science and technology, as ways to control the physical and social environment. As Schaaf says in relation to the history of mathematics: ’The spirit of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, is typified by man’s increasing mastery over his physical environment. ’ So, using numbers and measurements in trade, industry, commerce and administration would all have emphasised the power and control values of mathematics. It was (and still is) so clearly useful knowledge, powerful knowledge, and it seduced the majority of peoples who came into contact with it.

... Certainly, even if progress were sought by the indigenous population, which itself is not necessarily obvious, what was offered was a westernised, industrialised and product-oriented version of progress, which seemed only to reinforce the disparity between progressive, dynamic and aggressive western European imperialists and traditional, stable and non-proselytising colonised peoples. Mathematically inspired progress through technology and science was clearly one of the reasons why the colonial powers had progressed as far as they had, and that is why mathematics was such a significant tool in the cultural kitbag of the imperialists. [Ed: Subsidising AIDS drugs to the Third World is cultural imperialism, and it's not necessarily obvious that they want to live longer.]

In total, then, these values amount to a mathematico-technological cultural force, which is what indeed the imperialist powers generally represented. Mathematics with its clear rationalism, and cold logic, its precision, its so-called ’objective’ facts (seemingly culture and value free), its lack of human frailty, its power to predict and to control, its encouragement to challenge and to question, and its thrust towards yet more secure knowledge, was a most powerful weapon indeed. When allied to the use of technology, to the development of industry and commerce through scientific applications and to the increasing utility of tangible, commercial products, its status was felt to be indisputable."

--- Alan J. Bishop, Race & Class (2000) 32: 51-65

Someone: if the western powers didn't teach mathematics, they would be accused of leaving 3rd world people in the dust, depriving them of knowledge
Something someone sent me:

"MSN 07-08 Countdown
be there or be gay
Hokkaido Trip
Day 6 (17/12) - Narita, Narita Temple (Narita-san)
(Part 1)

Instructions on pets. The best bit: "Whether intentional or unintentional, when the Guest checks out leaving the pet inside hotel property, the possession of the pet changes over from the Guest to the Hotel 7 days after check-out."

We were given potato wedges at most breakfasts. The Japs seemed to be fond of them (or maybe it's the Koreans). Meanwhile, cold soft boiled eggs which we got on two mornings (they crack them into cups after cooking) are disgusting (and amusingly called "温泉蛋").

After checkout, while most of the rest of the group extending went to Aeon shopping mall for yet more shopping, we went to the Narita temple.

There were Christmas carols playing in Narita town also.

Map of the area

Even Jap construction signs are act-cute.

"Lotion tissue". Uhh.

"After the corner was turned, the trash was tossed away. It was a blind spot in the city." (Complete with diagram explaining how the foul deed was carried out); won't this encourage improper cigarette disposal instead?

"Soaking in the rain, a cigarette butt grows, and grows." (Complete with diagram illustrating disintegration). I thought this was a gracious society. Maybe tobacco makes people take leave of their senses (time to ban it!!!)

Jap monk

Street in the old part of Narita. Helpfully, there are lanes to walk.

"May Peace Prevail On Earth" in 6 languages. In a restaurant display. Go figure (maybe it's a subtle way of saying "We speak your language")

Dried/preserved stuff


Public toilet outside temple complex entrance with strange opening hours - opening at 5:30 in the warmer months and 6:00 in the colder ones?!

Carvings outside entrance


Through the gateway

Statue through the grilles in the building at the top of the staircase in the photo 2 spaces prior

Plaques (?)

Smelly urn

Inhaling the fumes is supposed to give you good luck. Here, you can see me choking on the miasma.


Information in English was pretty much non-existent (I have a pamphlet in Traditional Chinese but it's as good as useless for my purposes), so most of the following photos will not be labelled.


Carvings. The rock carvings were almost exclusively in Kanji, since it's used for formal occasions.

View from top of stairs

House with bell (attached to the rope) which you ring for good luck (or something like that)

Interior of one temple

"Perhaps in time the so-called Dark Ages will be thought of as including our own." - Georg Christoph Lichtenberg (1742 - 1799)


"While many of its critics felt that the subject was not radical enough, most complaints came from conservatives who feared that it was part of the dangerous new politicisation of the academy in general, and humanities in particular. Today, that trend continues and postcolonial studies (along with feminism, gay studies as well as other forms of social critique) are regularly held responsible for polluting an academy that ought to be safeguarding Western culture...

At the same time, we cannot dismiss the critiques that postcolonial theory can be often written in a confusing manner, is marked by infighting among the critics who all accuse each other of complicity with colonial structures of thought, and although its declared intentions are to allow the voices of once colonsied people and their descedants to be heard, it in fact closes off both their voices and any legitimate place from which critics can speak (Jacoby 1995: 30). Many of these criticisms are shared by those who are sympathetic to the aim of postcolonial studies. I am routinely irritated when objects, food or clothes (and perhaps ideas) from my part of the world become 'ethnic' in Europe or North America; within India, 'ethnic' applies to the cultures and objects of tribal, or rural folk, especially when they are displayed in trendy markets...

This book is written in the belief that postcolonial theory does not have to be 'depressingly difficult'...

Essays by a handful of name-brand critics have become more important than the field itself. Students feel the pressure to 'do' Edward Said, Gayatri Spivak or Homi Bhabha or to read only the very latest article. What Barbara Christian (1990) has called 'the race for theory' is detrimental to thinking about the area itself. It is the star system of the Western and particularly the United States acaddemy that is partly responsible for this...

In The Tempest, for example, Shakespeare's single major addition to the story he found in certain pamphlets about a shipwreck in the Bermudas was to make the island inhabited before Prospero's arrival (Hulme 1981: 69). That single addition turned the romance into an allegory of the colonial encounter...

The most bizare instance of [whites being the agents of colonial rule] may be South Africa, where nationalist Afrikaners 'continued to see themselves as victims of English colonisation and... the imagined continuation of this victimization was used to justify the maintenance of apartheid'...

Foucault's notion of discourse was born from his work on madness, and from his desire to recover an inner perspective on the subject, or the voice of insane people, rather than what others had said about them... [He] found that literary texts were one of the rare places where they might be heard. He started to think about how madness as a category of human identity is produces and reproduced by various rules, systems and procedures which create and separate it from 'normalcy'... This includes not just what is thought or said but the rules which govern what can be said and what not, what is included as rational and what left out, what is thought of as madness or insubordination and what is seen as sane or socially acceptable...

Said argued that knowledge of the East could never be innocent or 'objective' because it was produced by human beings who were necessarily embedded in colonial histoy of relationships... Said's book denies the claim of objectivity or innocence not only within Oriental studies but on the part of any Western scholarship. [Ed: Like that no knowledge is ever objective]...

the historical experiences of colonial peoples themselves have no independent existence outside the texts of Orientalism. ... At a theoretical level, then, Said appears to have placed himself in the position of denying the possibility of any alternative description of 'the Orient', any alternative forms of knowledge and by extension, any agency on the part of the colonised. The fact that this theoretical position runs counter to Said's professed political aim of effecting the dissolution of 'Orientalism' could be seen as an ironic validation of his own theory, since even he seems trapped within the frame of Orientalism, unable to move outside it. (Vaughan 1998: 3)

... Foucault also discusses how dominant structures legitimise themselves by allowing a controlled space for dissidence - resistance, in this view, is produced and then inoculated against by those in power... One can see how such a pessimistic theoretical framework would be criticised by those who are beginning to uncover the histories of women or colonised subjects as histories of resistance and opposition and not just as stories about oppression...

It is interesting to note that Spanish colonists increasingly applied the term 'cannibal' and attributed the practice of cannibalism to those natives within the Caribbean and Mexico who were resistant to colonial rule, and among whom no cannibalism had in fact been witnessed. The idea of cannibalism was directly applied to justify brutal colonialist practices (Hulme 1986; Miles 1989: 25)...

Grove's work cautions us against too simplistic a reading of the European will to power: Western science, it points out, developed both as an impulse to master the globe, and by incorporating, learning from, as well as aggressively displacing other knowledge systems. Through the 'objectivity' of observation and science, Europan penetration into other lands is legitimised. Natural history is thus as much a form of writing and representation as it is a discovery of something already there in the natural world. [Ed: They can try eating mercury pills to live longer and see what happens.]...

In the debates on women's intelligence and psychology too, we can see how scientific knowledge is refracted through the prism of prejudice, so that age-old ideas about women's instinct as opposed to men's rationality, or about female behavioural patterns, are regularly recycled as 'latest' scientific knowledge. [Ed: Similarly, contemporary prejudice is also recycled as 'scientific' 'knowledge']...

Scientific language was authoritative and powerful precisely because it presented itself as value-free, neutral and universal (Stepan and Gilman 1991). For this reason, it was extremely difficult to challenge its claims. To some extent, European scientists' own racial and political identities prevented them from radically questioning scientific theories of racial difference, and on the other hand, people who were constructed as inferior by these theories had little access to scientific training, and their objections were dismissed as unscientific. [Ed: I wonder how one can make scientific objections without scientific training?]"

--- Colonialism/postcolonialism / Ania Loomba (2005)
"The music of Le Sacre du Printemps baffles verbal description. To say that much of it is hideous as sound is a mild description. There is certainly an impelling rhythm traceable. Practically it has no relation to music at all as most of us understand the word."

--- Musical Times, London, August 1, 1913, quoted in: Slonimsky, Nicolas (1953). Lexicon of Musical Invective: Critical Assaults on Composers Since Beethoven's Time. Seattle: University of Washington Press. ISBN 0295785799 (from Wikiquote)
"There's no point in being grown up if you can't be childish sometimes." - Doctor Who


Facebook | A Jihad for Love -A Documentary by Gay Muslim Parvez Sharma

"Name: A Jihad for Love -A Documentary by Gay Muslim Parvez Sharma

Type: Entertainment & Arts - Movies

Description: The people in Parvez Sharma’s new film have a lot to teach us about love. Their pursuit of it has brought them into conflict with their countries, families and even themselves. Such is the quandary of being both homosexual and Muslim, a combination so taboo that very little has even been documented on the subject. Indian Muslim director Sharma bravely enters these territories by illuminating multiple stories as diverse as the many worlds of Islam. Often he filmed in secret when obtaining government permission was not an option.

In the Western media, the concept of jihad is often narrowly equated with “holy war.” However, the literal Arabic meaning is “struggle” or “to strive in the path of God.” We meet several characters in this film engaged in their personal jihads for love. The journey takes us from the Middle East to Europe to South Asia and beyond. In South Africa, the imam Muhsin Hendricks faces condemnation when he publicly comes out of the closet. In Egypt, where homosexuality is outlawed, a young man named Mazen has to flee after being imprisoned and tortured following the well-publicized 2001 raid on Cairo’s “Queen Boat.” Once in Paris, he befriends lesbians from other Muslim countries, and their bonds help to supplant the families left behind.

Where there is struggle, there is also hope. We find a Muslim mother in Turkey accepting her grown daughter’s lesbian partner. And four gay Iranian men seek asylum in Canada, a quest that delivers one of the film’s most emotional moments.

As a Muslim, Sharma makes the film from within the faith, depicting Islam with the same respect the film’s subjects show for it. Producer Sandi DuBowski previously explored similar issues within the Orthodox Jewish community in his acclaimed 2001 documentary, Trembling Before G-d.

For non-Muslims, A Jihad for Love offers a unique look into the complexities of one of the world’s fastest-growing religions. The film works to bridge religious divides and to portray the humanity of its characters. No matter what you believe or where you come from, this film will remind you that we are all engaged in the same struggle – for love.

Contact Info
: parvezsharma@gmail.com
Website: ajihadforlove.com
City: New York, NY


After 12 countries, 9 languages, and 5 1/2 years, After 12 countries, 9 languages, and 5 1/2 years, director Parvez Sharma and producer Sandi DuBowski are proud to announce the World Premiere of A Jihad for Love at The Toronto International Film Festival, September 6-16, 2007. The film is the first feature documentary to explore the complex global intersections between Islam and homosexuality.

From countries as diverse as Iran, South Africa, Egypt, India, Turkey and France, lesbian and gay Muslims speak about their experiences within their religion and their communities, and their desire to find love, relationships and acceptance.

“We are thrilled for such a prestigious global launch of this challenging work,” said Sharma. “I am extremely proud of the hard work that went into this film over the years, to create a cinematic experience that is visually stunning, emotionally moving, daring and challenging.”

“We are living now in challenging times,” added DuBowski, “and both of us believe A Jihad for Love has to do justice to the lives of the subjects. These people courageously came forward to tell their stories despite enormous risks. We have always intended that these stories, and this film, have a profound impact the world over.”

The following screenings are scheduled at the Toronto International Film Festival:

Public, September 9th, 8:30 PM, Cumberland 3
Public, September 11th, 1:15 PM, Royal Ontario Museum
Public, September 15th, 11:59 PM, Varsity 7
Press & Industry, September 10th, 1:30 PM, Cumberland 3
Press & Industry, September 12th, 11:30 AM, Varsity VIP 3

A Jihad for Love has been selected for screening at the Berlin Film Festival, the Sheffield Documentary Film Festival, the Morelia Film Festival (Mexico) and the Rio Film Festival. A Jihad for Love is a five-country co-production of ZDF-Arte, Channel 4, SBS-Australia and LOGO."

I'm sure this would count as inciting religious hatred in some quarters.
"Being in politics is like being a football coach. You have to be smart enough to understand the game, and dumb enough to think it's important." - Eugene McCarthy


Seal meat is black and stringy (the fibres are very evident, even though it was presumably stewed in curry for quite a while), and also somewhat sweet.

I think I preferred tarantula. Perhaps the curry overwhelmed the flavour of the supposedly delicate meat; it is spicier than normal Jap curry, yet has a certain heaviness about it that presumably comes from the seal meat.

Hopefully the bear will taste better.

"A small amount of game goes a long way. This is meat with an intense flavor and little or no fat. Seal has the texture of steak and tastes like mild beef liver. It's not bad fried with onions, grinds up nicely for meat balls to simmer in a spicy tomato sauce, and holds its shape in a basic Iles de la Madelaine four root (onions, carrots, potatoes, and turnip) stew. " (montrealfood.com: Off the Back Burner)

Maybe I should've bought the meat in the boxes and prepared it more suitably, but then it would probably have been treated in some way too. Much easier to just open a can of curry.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

"Some have been thought brave because they were afraid to run away." - Thomas Fuller


Hi all,

Thank you for attending the Secondary 4 Farewell/Alumni Gathering 2007. On behalf of Raffles Voices, I would like to thank all of you for your continued commitment to Raffles Voices even after graduation.

Regular updates from the choir regarding concerts, alumni gatherings and other events will be sent out from this address. If you wish to send out information for other events that you may wish to invite choristers (both past and present) to attend, please do submit the details of the events to: rafflesvoices.alumni@gmail.com

At the same time, if you have friends who did not register last evening at the Farewell but wish to join this mailing list, please do have them e-mail their full names, e-mail address and contact number to: rafflesvoices.alumni@gmail.com

We wish you good luck in the upcoming year and see you soon!

Yours sincerely,
Law Kang Jie
Secretary, EXCO 2008

For further information, please email them to rafflesvoices.alumni@gmail.com
"Where facts are few, experts are many." - Donald R. Gannon


Girls, Girls, Girls | Points in Case

"The great mystery of the universe is, of course, why the hell do girls behave the way they do? Hoping to shed some light on the subject, I present 36 questions. I hope some girls out there feel free to answer at least a couple, and maybe, just maybe, this world will make a little more sense.

1. If size doesn't matter, how come you never see supermodels with midgets?

2. Why does there always have to be talking? Silence is golden, and girls like gold, or so I thought.

3. Does a guy have to be a dick for you to like him, or does it just work out that way?

5. Why do girls pick baby names constantly, but refuse to have sex? Isn't this counter-productive?

6. If this is really the era of the independent woman, why does the guy still pay for everything?

7. Why is it wrong for a guy to say the C-word, but "dick" gets thrown around like it's nothing?

8. How come women actually fought against not having to work? Do you realize how many guys would take that in a second?

10. If Lifetime is "television for women", why are all the movies on there about women getting beat?

11. Why won't a girl ever make the first move? (Come on ladies, take charge.)

12. Women spend upwards of $5,000 on their wedding dress. Men spend $75 on a tux. Did you girls, uh, miss an economics class somewhere?

14. Why can't it just ever be yes or no? Why must we always be subjected to "I'll Think About It"?

16. How can girls possibly have a bad relationship with daddy? Did dad ever wake you up at 6:30 am on a Saturday to help fix the damn pool?

18. If you ask a guy what he's thinking, why can't "Nothing" ever be a suitable response? Most likely, it really IS nothing we are thinking, along with, "Why won't this girl be quiet for 5 seconds?"

20. Why must you make us guess why you're mad at us? That's like trying to do the advanced math section of the SAT while getting a full rectal exam.

21. How can you possibly spend $30 on underwear? I spend 7 bucks for a 3-pack of boxers. Again, girls: counter-productive.

22. How do you fit all of that stuff into your purse? Seriously, I've seen girls with lipstick, makeup, a wallet, a crocheting kit, a first aid kit, a functional landmine, and a Soviet tank in a tiny little shitbag from Nine West.

23. How come girls get mad if you ask them to bake a pie or mop the floor but as soon as an engine needs fixing, the guy has to go to work?

24. Explain to me how fighting off hundreds of yokels and spending untold amounts of dollars for overpriced goods all day is considered "relaxing."

25. Girls always say guys think with their penis, but don't girls think with their vagina? Yeah, I'm sure every girl loves A Knight's Tale because of its rousing (and historically accurate) storyline.

26. Why is it that when I'm at CVS and the woman in front of me gets her change back, she spends several minutes placing it back in its rightful place in her purse (right near the tank), and won't move over so I can go up and pay and go about my day? Stop holding up the line!

29. Why do girls like those reality dating shows when they always portray the women as the dumbest bunch of skanks in the world?

30. Why do women dress to "impress other girls"? I've been told this. Why? Unless you're a lesbian, what do you give a shit what other girls think about your appearance? I've never considered buying a shirt and then stopped to think, "Hmm will my guy friends like this?" And moreover, stop criticizing what every other girl is wearing. Life isn't a fashion show. Thank you.

31. Do girls realize that all of those Hugh Grant-Julia Roberts-Sandra Bullock romantic comedies are all the same exact movie?

32. Why the hell would you spend $70 on a bathing suit? To impress other girls?

33. And why spend $50 on underwear, especially if you're a prude? That's like buying a Mercedes that you're just going to leave in the garage forever.

35. What happens to intentionally-faded jeans once they get worn out?

36. Why do girls feel the need to "not eat for a month"? Eating's not the problem. If you did more exercise than lifting the remote to watch Lifetime's "Why Men Suck III", maybe you wouldn't have the extra coal in the caboose. And if you do have a little extra junk in the trunk, just find a nice black man. You don't need Dr. Atkins, you need Sir. Mix-a-Lot. Problem solved, now have some more pie.

Disclaimer: By reading the above, you have waived your right to fill my mailbox with feminist diatribes and death threats. I'm just jokin' ladies, y'all know I love ya!
Hokkaido Trip
Day 5 (16/12) - Shopping, Flight to Narita, Narita
(Part 2)

Then we were brought to a factory outlet cluster (where almost all the brands were non-Japanese) for 3 hours, which was 2 hours too many for me (and I didn't buy anything, because everything was for Spring or Winter, and I am a simple man with simple needs).

I saw yet another Ang Moh at the factory outlet, then later an Ang Moh couple and their kid.

"Welcome!! This shop is a popula shop in SHIBUYA-109 of Tokyo. It is the Hokkaido's first ianding. It is only here that I can buy a trendy item at an OUTLET PRICE!
What can I do for you? The sticker price of this shop becomes the price that I cut. I do not free it from taxation. I still less accept size exchange, the return of goods. Please purchase it on a tortoise."
spiderpig: it probably means what it says right?!?!?! you're supposed to be jack sparrow and ride in on a tortise

The shops in the outlet cluster also had open signs that said the same thing ("Open") on both sides. Maybe they were tired of pranksters flipping them.

Pamphlet with barcode you can scan in. I just noticed my phone has one inside it too.

This was on the menu of "New York Kitchen". They also had waffles and crepes in the window. And no New York Cheesecake. Go figure.

VUMPS - Very Upwardly Mobile Papas

The food court had a 'Steak Mountain', but more than half the dishes were Japanese, including curry on steak, curry on katsu and curry on ebi.

300Y cheesecake sliver I had. Impossibly light, it could give the French a run for their money.

It's hard enough walking in snow and ice with new trainers. I don't know how Jap girls do it in boots.

"Hunting World" sold mostly leather bags, and also ties and coats.

T-shirt seen in "Big John": 'Busty Babe!! Over 100,000 original pics. Enter here. Join now!! 18 years old'

There was a shop, "Mitsumine. Fine clothing for gentlemen established 1949". I looked inside and 1/3 the clothes were for women.

I walked by Wacoal and Triumph - they had western amounts of padding. Maybe this was because they were western brands, though. More direct modes of observation were confounded by the temperature, though.
Correction: Wacoal is a Jap brand.

One shop sold 60g Made in Austria cream wafers for 105Y. I don't know how they got them so cheap.

A lot of the Jap girls in the outlet in shorts/skirts weren't wearing stockings. Those in the city had had more sense.

Boy mannikin about to give a two-fingered salute, and girl mannikin flashing the V-sign. Luckily there were no Malaysian or even pseudo-Malaysian mannikins.

Ganguro girls are disgusting. Poshh! magazine had 5 of them on its cover. Argh.

Apparently the male toilet has a compartment for pregnant women (the same sticker was on the sign pointing to the female toilet).

Apparently they have a problem with (Chinese) people not flushing toilets. They should've put the sign in Simplified Chinese.

There was a cool touchup battery-powered depilator which refused to say how it worked (it had a patent pending, no less). Maybe I should've bought one. Maybe it did IPL hair-by-hair.

The most number of recycling bins (types too) I've ever seen

The door handles in the outlet were made of wood. Maybe too many people had gotten zapped.

We had Chinese food for dinner, in a restaurant staffed (if not run) by PRC Chinese, whose accents marked them out as part of the Second Generation of Chinese Diaspora. It wasn't very good. Surprisngly it had egg drop soup - I thought that was a Western staple.

At Chitose airport I found the Holy Grail:

The only toilet ("Shower toilet") I saw with the feature to blow air at your buttocks. Maybe it was because it was a disabled toilet.

Automatic soap and hand dryer. It must be terribly inefficient.

Urinal - "for boy only". Maybe too many gaijin were splashing the place.

I saw 2 more Ang Mohs at the airport.

Just before boarding the plane, my Shiroi Koibito box broke. Guess it wasn't quality guaranteed, like the confectionery.

Broken box

"Welcome to Japan" - this was at the entrance to an aerobridge. Which means passengers arriving at Chitose would be very unlikely to see this. Uhh.

Decorated aerobridge


Plane thinking

More funny lines from the JAL pre-flight video: "The marshaller works in harmony with the pilot to make sure nothing strikes the aircraft". Gah. Then the JAL safety video has sound effects (eg blowing into the life jacket, it auto-inflating and it being buckled), unlike other airlines'.

Earphones which looked like a stethoscope

After JAL flights, they announce that "your cabin attendants are looking forward to seeing you onboard again", whereas other airlines use "we". Hah. I can't remember what SIA says.

They sell Skytime in bottles.

Narita was a lot more racially diverse. In the hotel I saw one North Africa guy, who was exchanging suggestive displays of body language to a Japanese girl. I also saw two Indian guys.

In the Narita Hotel there was a broadband cable in the room (though access was not free). Someone who just returned from Hokkaido told me, though, that there was access at most of his places, so maybe it was just the places I was brought to.

It was also the first night since coming to Japan we'd gotten normal pillows (in Hokkaido all the hotels had pillows with beanbag stuffing inside).

Later in the night, I got a nosebleed. I swear it was because of the running nose I'd been having for days, and not the Jap girls.

Aside: The explanation I've heard for the nosebleed thing seems silly. Wouldn't the blood rush to the other head instead?

Twenty Sided » Blog Archive » Panties, but at what price?: As an aside: I really, really hate the nosebleed “joke”. In Anime, often there will be a character who’s wound a bit too tight who ends up seeing something exciting (like a teenage alien robot cat girl from the future in her leather & titanium underwear, or whatever) and his pulse rises so much that he gets a nosebleed. It was never funny, and 4,000 iterations and variations of the joke made it even less so. Wow! A cartoon girl with a huge bosom! Now an image of a man with blood and mucus jetting from his face! Now more boobies again!

After the blood and fainting the audience is pretty much done looking at girls in their underwear for a while.

Animator A: “I’ve got it! When he sees the pretty girl he gets so excited that a chestbuster alien launches from his chest, covering his friends in entrails!”

Animator B: “So sexy!”
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