Monday, July 30, 2007

I need God-Jesus in my life!

I know it and I feel it. I have gone on like this now long enough and I need God-Jesus in my life. I have know it for quite some time but not really taken the step towards it, but now I'm ready, I want God-Jesus! The fortune telling robot version of it manufactured by toy company Bandai in the 1980's in Japan.

I first saw a picture of it a number of years ago on the wonderful site Engrish and knew that I wanted to have one of those. Thinking that it would be impossible to find one of those, I've never really looked for God-Jesus and kinda put it out of my mind. However, by chance I came to think of it today again and did a search in Japanese. What do I find? I find a Yahoo auction expired just the day before today listing God-Jesus. My heart sank... Was I this close? I would be willing to put up a considerable amount of money for the chance of owning my own God-Jesus even though I'm in no way an avid toy collector. Just as I was about to wallow in the misery of this lost chance, The Hag, whom I showed this noticed that the auction had expired, without any bids...

I have messaged the seller and hope that he either replies and sells it directly to me, or that he puts it up for another auction so I can bid for my chance of owning one of these!

So, why do I want a God-Jesus so badly? Well, it's a fortune telling robot called God-Jesus and that should be enough for anybody. Also, it appeals a lot to me since I have no love lost for any organized or disorganized religion in general and Christianity in particular, so the sacriligeousness of this particular toy is just wonderful. Also, it has fortune telling abilities which should come in useful every now and then, after all, who would I be to argue with what God-Jesus predicts? There's no logical or proven reason why this should be less accurate than Tarot, palm reading or any other more mainstream fortune telling technique.

So please keep your fingers crossed for me on this one! If I get one you can expect more details on what really drives God-Jesus, I know you want to know!

Saturday, July 28, 2007

"I hate minority"

That Japan is a land of interesting and sometimes amusing t-shirts has been touched upon before as you might remember from the infamous "I'm your c***" t-shirt incident (she complains that after she realized that it might say that she cannot wear it again, except maybe when in the Japanese country-side without risk of running in to native English speakers) and I can also recommend an amusing post on the subject from my nextdoor blogger's site here.

The latest favorite I've seen was a guy with a slightly provocative t-shirt saying: "Public - I hate minority". I think it was very brave of that man to be so up front about his hate, the t-shirt didn't specify which minority he had the hatred for, but considering the broad message I assume that it's a general hatred for anything minority-like. After all, it's not like they've got strength in numbers or anything.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Straight Outta Ikebukuro

Last week was really rough at work, lots of stress hurrying to finish and clean up a mess of a project, it kinda felt like being in a bar that's always closing for the whole time. But some new great material came out of that and I will probably share some of that at some point as well.

But this post is about the ghetto area in which I live. Last Saturday Dr. Y came over to my place since we needed to work and the office had some reconstruction work and since he's a family man with a small baby it's difficult for him to work at home. Anyway, that's beside the point, he's very easy and fun to work with so that was no problem at all.
We're happily working our poor asses away in my crib when he hears a message blasted out in the streets outside from a car driving around the neighborhood. The message basically talks about how you should be careful if you see strange people and to not walk alone in the area as a woman. I hadn't really reacted to that before since I assumed that it was some kind of standard thing everywhere in Tokyo. But he had never heard a message like that in the nice area he lives in and was really surprised.

Granted, the area I live in, called Ikebukuro, is very close to the "water business" as the sex/drinking/entertainment district is called here in Japan. Everyday on my way too and from the train I pass through that area and there are some sketchy people around.

So what's the point of this long winded and pointless post you might ask yourself? Well, it's simple; I'm gangsta. That was all I wanted to say.

Sunday, July 22, 2007 you into Karate?

I had a date this Friday, an introduction from one of the girls at work and to begin with I probably should say that I had plenty of fun and she's a great girl.

However... There is one thing that stands in the way of this developing further... This conversation took place:

Mr. Salaryman: So... what do you like to do after work?

Date: Well, most weekdays I go directly to the Dojo to practice my Karate

Mr. Salaryman: Oh, that's great, and what do you like to do during the weekends?

Date: Well, most weekends I go to the Dojo to practice my Karate

Mr. Salaryman: Do you have any plans for the summer vacation?

Date: Yes, I will got to a Karate training camp to practice my Karate

I think you understand my dilemma here, if this relationship is going to develop further, something's got to give... I got a number of invitations to come to her Dojo and practice, but when you've passed 30 and never really practiced any martial arts before the attractivenes of starting is pretty low...

There is also something both scary and exciting of the prospect of being with a girl that could beat me up in 2 seconds if I should do something displeasing.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

All things must come to an end...

Recently has been sad days in my neighborhood, I've seen it in the eyes of the dwarf in a suit, the whores on their way home after a hard night's work and in the eyes of my fellow salaryman I meet on my way to work...

My neighborhood has suffered a big loss, the local military gear store "Anaconda Vice" has closed down... So many "should have"s and "would have"s are floating through my mind right now. Where will I buy used military jackets now on my way home? Not to talk about the nazi paraphernalia they sold there as well. No more SS t-shirts and no more brave Japanese buying them because they think it looks so cool...

It is sad and I feel the loss but I guess I will have to move on with my life, eventually...

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Justice for All!

I must admit that I am a bit of a superhero fan and I have a project undergoing that is not going as much forward as I would like due to the unavailability of some of the items. I am looking to have a full t-shirt collection with the logos of the classic '70-'80s DC comics Justice Leage of America characters. One aspect of this is the collection and the satisfaction I would get out of owning these items, but I also have one more practical aspect in mind.
It would be great to, each morning, use the t-shirt of the hero I feel most like on that given day. Currently I own Superman, Batman, Green Lantern and the Flash t-shirts and they are used in the following moods:

Superman - I'm feeling pretty good and think I can handle pretty much anything that gets thrown at me
Batman - I'm feeling slightly more moody and dark, but also like the world's greatest detective
Green Lantern - For those days when I feel a bit freaky and creative
The Flash - When I feel like doing things quickly

In addition to these mainstays I especially would like to add these to my collection:
Hawkman - When I'm feeling a bit on edge with some repressed aggression it would be great
The Atom - For those days when I'm feeling a bit insignificant
Aquaman - Well... mostly beachwear I guess...

I can live without Martian Manhunter and Wonder Woman t-shirts since I can't really imagine a day when I would feel like them, but never say never.

Monday, July 16, 2007

New project: Partnership Screening Project

I have noticed that this blog has suffered from a slight scope slippage, it is still not meant to be a deep personal blog but considering that some of the maddness that has been going on in work seem to have infiltrated my personal life as well some stuff might sneak it's way in here.

The fact is that Mr. Salaryman is since a few months back, now single, just out of an almost 10 year relationship.
Now, this is a both scary and exciting prospect and I quickly realized that I will need some help in managing this situation. I have gathered what I consider the crack team in the office to do a market opportunity and partnership screening project for me. The scope is quite wide and it will be a very challenging project for the team, but I am convinved that they will have some interesting findings in the end. Some of the questions that I hope to see answered are as follows:

Overall Mr. Salaryman market attractiveness - How interesting am I on the single female market, is there even a chance for me or might it just be a waste of time and energy in going out in this market. Perhaps my time can be better spent knitting or me devoting my life to the finer arts instead?

Target Segment - What segments of the market is most interesting considering my product and service offering? We are talking about age, education, nationalities and other factors that might serve to segment the single female market. I am very much looking forward to see what the team can do with this.

Channel Access - In order to access the target market segment, what kind of channels do I need to develop? These could be introductions from friends, bars, Internet or other innovative channels such as speed dating.

End-User Needs - So when I have a target in mind, how should I promote myself. Should I try and focus on my rugged handsomeness? My prestigious work? My financial assets and stability? Or it might even make more sense to try and charm prospective targets with random trivia about serial killers and/or modern and historical nazi organisations and characters?

Case Study - A case study of Mr. M will be performed, even though he has difficulties closing the deal, he has a stable channel access and studying how he developed these channels could serve as very interesting learnings that possibly could be applied to my situation.

Entry Strategy Recommendation - This will be the team's final recommendation and I am keeping all options open at this stage, I might be best served through a joint venture with another party and it could even make sense to acquire an existing Japanese competitor; take over his life and woman.

The plan has been developed and the team is actually ready to start working on this, but unfortunately real work seem to come in between all the time. I still hope that something can be done here even though it might be difficult to have a $150K type of project performed for me just because it's amusing and bizarre.

Since I happen to live in a country where the majority of women for some reason seem to be Japanese it seems likely that I will be dating Japanese ladies mostly. Believe it or not, this is something I never have done since I had an imported version previously. There might be coming some interesting dating stories in the the Japanese Oddities section later on (calm down, I said dating and not mating!).

Shaking things up

There are good things with a typhoon after all, to be more specific, the day after a typhoon has passed is usually very pleasant. The opressing humidity is completely gone and the sky is blue and clear and the sun is finally shining after one full week of rain and gray skies.

However, just earlier this morning there was a pretty heavy earthquake in Niigata on the western coast of Japan that was felt pretty strongly here in Tokyo as well. Here it felt like a pretty gentle rocking back and forth that was kinda pleasant but I guess it was much less pleasant up in the Niigata area. The same area was hit by a pretty heavy earthquake a little over one year ago.

This also reminds me of an entertaining event when I just had join my great company and The Hag was also new, basically just of the banana boat from the US. We were happily working on something when a minor earthquake hit. It was a pretty mild earthquake and the response it evoked among us Japan veterans was basically a raised eyebrow and a casual "do you feel the earthquake?". However, the Hag, as soon as she felt the earthquake jumped under her desk and sat there. When she noticed that noone else made any move to dive under their desks she looked up at me with scared bambi eyes and asked "Why are you not diving under your desks? Isn't this what you're supposed to do?". The only response I could offer was a mild "Well, yeah, but this was a really small one you know...".
I wonder if she dove under whatever desk she was near when this slightly larger quake occurred this morning...?

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Blown away

It's that time of season in Japan again... The rainy horrible season with extremely high humidity and lots of rain. However, when the rainy season is over, it will be replaced by the nice summer which is characterized by equally high humidity and even hotter. I hate them both equally much. But then the summer is over and the Typhoon season begins, which is characterized by plenty of typhoons and extreme degrees of humidity when they approach. I hate this slightly more than the previous two. But just so you don't forget what's in store, sometimes a typhoon decideds to pass this way just to keep us on our toes. Just this weekend a Typhoon passed along Japan and cleared out of Tokyo this morning when I was sleeping safely in my bed. Yesterday was hot, humid and rainy. Today has been hot, humid and rainy. Tomorrow looks like it will be hot, humid and rainy.

Contrary to popular belief, a normal typhoon is actually not particularly dangerous unless you are extremely unlucky and get a tree or a sign falling over you, but it is generally not a good idea to stand on ladders fixing things or deciding to go out on a little fishing trip.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

In-office prancing (Peter Pan style)

Last Friday was a great day from entertainment purposes. One of my co-workers who will remain anonymous since threats were done that even I won't challenge.
However, yesterday he wore a shirt that the instant I saw it reminded me of this old Internet classic. Which I of course immediately brought up and to my suprise noone seemed to have seen it before, that's what happens when I'm one of the few in the office older than the Internet.

However, if you come into the office wearing a Peter Pan shirt some prancing and/or stupid smiling should be in order one would think, but we got none of that. Just a surly attitude, like most days...

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Hopes and Dreams

I can tell you, 2007 so far has not been a very good year for your Mr. Salaryman, it kicked off with a nice little depression in the beginning of the year, followed up by a sudden and particularly nasty phobia that is difficult to shake off, then I went through a particularly un-Mr. Salaryman friendly break-up with my girlfriend since almost 10 years back and now a family member is going to have a serious operation in a few weeks.

Well, the good news is that I don't think this year can end up much worse after all. From now on it can only get better I hope!

I do have hopes and dreams you know, there are things that I am looking to achieve with my life and not only continue with this consulting thing. Since quite a few years back I have set up some things that I want to achieve with my life:
1. See the faces behind the voices of the Simpsons - This one is already taken care of, with the when the Internet became useful for other things than porn I managed to get this done.
2. Be able to call myself Mr. Salaryman Ramone - Unfortunately this one is impossible now since both Joey, Johnny and Dee Dee of the Ramones have passed away... You can't have it all I guess...
3. Play the US President in a movie - This is a more long term thing, might take another 10-15 years before I get a clear shot at this. Preferrably it should be some Tom Clancy style thriller but I am open to ideas.
4. Find a mistake when Luke explains something about food and/or wine - This one is pretty new, he always impresses me with his knowledge in food and cooking, but just once I'd like to hear him make a mistake...

I'm working hard and focused, these are my hopes and dreams and it's only me who can make them real!

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

How to exceed in Business, lesson 1

* Always write e-mails as bullet-points
* Even when using messenger
* Don't stop if anyone tells you to

One of us is crazy and I don't think it's me...

I think you have had one of those moments, it happens sometimes. I had one of them the today. One of those legendary moments when someone tells you something that sounds so stupid that the first thought that comes into your head is "Wow, either I'm completely stupid or he/she is". The fact that you find it so unreal that someone throws out something that is so blatantly stupid makes you first question yourself since you think that you must have misunderstood something. Then it strikes you that, no, the other person is 100% serious.
Dealing with severe stupidity is not easy since it usually is not a good strategy to retort with a "Are you stupid or what?" to your boss. My usual strategy is to try and ply around the edges with gentleness to see if something comes loose, but no such luck today. The stupidity wouldn't budge this time and I believe I did what I could without risking a confrontation.

So, what happened you ask? Well, Mr. Chin (obviously) mailed me and wanted me to summarize a power point presentation for him in an excel sheet with page numbers, tag lines of each slides and a brief summary of the slide. Perhaps it is in it's place to mention that tag lines of individual slides are designed to summarize the content of the slide they are in?

The exercise was amusing in it's stupidity and the whole office erupted in a brief moment of merriment of my little predicament at trying to handle this with Mr. Chin over the phone to try and make him see the pointlessness... That it would be too difficult for him to handle clicking through a presentation and try to grasp the content of a presentation just astounded us. This is for a project that he is said to be main responsible manager for and which he would be expected to know the details of...

More of this and I have to start a separate label called "The Stupidity of Mr. Chin"...

Getting with the Convo

Most of the people in my lovely firm are quite a few years younger than me, The Boy is for instance almost 10 years my junior and we have had serious talks about me adopting him as my legal son.

One of the more challenging things in working with younger people is for me to get the hang of how young people of today talk. One of the more useful words I recently learnt must be the word "Convo". The word is used to describe conversations on messenger, especially long ones and is an abbreviation of "convoy" due to the likeness of these long lines of text and a convoy of trucks.

Remember it was here you heard it and feel free to tell everyone around you about this great new word and the original meaning of it. If anyone tells you that "convo" is not derived from "convoy" they are lying to you. Me on the other hand has no motivation at all to lie to you, why would I do that?

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Beware...of the tooth fairy

Now, I know that it's not really right to be amused by another persons misery, especially if that person is a friend and colleague. However, I cannot really help but finding the current predicament Luke found himself in pretty funny.

Like some people sometimes have, he started having some problems with his wisdomteeth and went to the dentist to have them checked out. The dentist did what he was supposed to do, took a look and recommended to have one of them pulled. So far so good, right? Luke got a time booked for this quick little manouver and during a conversation just before this he talked about how great his dentist was and so conveniently located close to his home.

Well, the day comes, the tooth gets pulled and he comes into the office talking in that amusing way people just coming from the dentist does because of all the drugs they pump into your mouth. Luke even managed to entertain us with some fascinating tales on how it felt when they pulled out the tooth and the twisting breaking noise that was heard. A couple of days pass and we even begin to forget about this thing since more disturbing and annoying things come up instead making us pass our days at the office. Then I encounter a seriously pissed off Luke in the bathroom, telling me; "You know what Mr. Salaryman?! They pulled the wrong fucking tooth".

Turns out that the dentist had managed to miss the wisdomtooth and instead pulled out one of his, useful and in perfect condition, molars. Japan is not the paradise of lawsuits that the US is, but Luke is currently considering his options. The clinic is willing to do what it can to make up it's mistake through arranging an implant or so. However this will mean that Luke will need to go to the dentist a number of times and spend time on this in addition to the overall suffering and operations...

All this pales in the amusement of the simple fact: The dentist pulled the wrong tooth! This is what he does, he spends all days long looking into people's mouths and still he pulled the wrong tooth and now Luke has to go through another round of suffering because they couldn't do their job properly. If you think about it, it really is kinda funny.
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