Saturday, January 30, 2010

"All Japanese are real perverts"

It's true that Japan sometimes has a reputation of being pretty kinky in terms of what it pumps out in the form of adult videos and porn. Generally I'm pretty strongly arguing against any conclusions on the mentality or sexuality of the Japanese people based on this because it's the oddities that get picked up and presented as ordinary in foreign media, partly because of ignorance but partly because it makes people more confident with themselves that there are other people out there that are much worse than themselves and that can be laughed at. So, there's sometimes some slightly racist undercurrents in such talk that I'm not completely comfortable with.

Not being an expert in culture and sexuality I don't think I can say anything with any real authority on the subject, but my general feeling is that Japanese culture is more forgiving to sexual deviations (not necessarily that they are more "perverted" on average, just more forgiving to stuff that falls outside the norm), the reasons for, I would suspect having to do with religious history among other things.

Ok, with that serious disclaimer out of the way; I found the most disturbing Japanese porn that exist out there; cockroach porn... No, not people dressed up as insects or anything like that, real actual pornography including insects and cockroaches. I'm pretty jaded and not particularly sensitive but seeing just a few small pictures of the stuff will haunt me for quite some time. You can show me the "two girls one cup" deal and I will find it disgusting, but mostly I feel sorry for the people involved in the whole deal, but this, this is really really bad...

So, with that out of the way; if you don't believe me or am more curious than what's good for you, you can see the cover and a few pictures here. But be warned that, if you have any aversion to insects, it is very very disturbing!!!

Next time someone brings up "all Japanese are perverts" I will just shut my mouth. Shitty box! Come back, everything's forgiven!

(Edited 20120801: I realised that the link I had previously provided had gone dead (for understandable reasons it seems like removed that horrible horrible movie) but to not disappoint anyone I updated the link with another disgusting insect porn movie although it does not seem as horrible as the original one)

Friday, January 29, 2010

Sumo wrestlers have a really gay girly purse!

You know that you've lived a long time in Japan when a fully pimped sumo wrestler passes you by on the platform to the subway as you are waiting for the train, and it doesn't register at all as odd or exotic, but the only thought that goes through your head a few seconds after he's passed you by is:

"Hmmm... Why does sumo wrestlers have such girly purses, ok that they don't really have any pockets in the kimono but that purse make them look like German tourists with what we in Sweden call a "bögslunga", couldn't they have made something a bit more manly? Hmmm... it's pretty annoying that some Japanese toilets are really low..."

Thursday, January 28, 2010

That was a bad idea!

On my way to work, on the train in my iPod, too crowded to change songs since two commuter terrorists were trying to crotch press me and I had to do my best to defend myself while trying to stay on my feet.

Carter the Unstoppable Sex Machine - Sheriff Fatman

then, followed directly by...

Transvision Vamp - Baby I don't Care

...and just when I was gasping for air it hits me with...

E.M.F. - Unbelievable

and just before it was going to hit me with the Primitives and Crash I manage to get one hand free and change to Nitzer Ebb and the new album Industrial Complex...

What the hell was I thinking putting together that playlist and what made me think it would be a good soundtrack to the commuting war?!

(Is anyone else getting alarmed how much my life seem to be circling around toilets and commuting?)

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Commuter Guerilla – The Seat Sniper

Although I have given my observations about commuting in Tokyo the label "commuter terrorists" I should also mention that there are also legal combatants in the field that you have to deal with in addition to the more direct terrorists. But I don't think that there's any doubt in the mind of anyone who has spent any longer time commuting in Japan that every commute is a battle in a war that never ends...

Seat sniping is a skill that some people have developed and I must say that I am still working on developing my own skills. Part is pure gut feeling and intuition and part is knowledge and experience with your surroundings. The art of seat sniping is to scan the area and find a person sitting down who you "know" will get up at a station close to the current location. Then you have to bruise your way to the standing position in front of the person (this can be done by legal "excuse me excuse me" or more rougher illegal pushing means), you need to be placed in a way that makes you the prime candidate for the seat; if you know that he/she will go out of the trains the doors to the right for instance, the best situation is to stand a little to the right since you can pour yourself down in the seat while the person is getting up in a beautiful coordinate seat swapping ballet and completely block any other potential sniper.

Learning the faces and commuting patterns of your fellow travelers is one way to get better, if you recognize one person who you know get off at a certain station, energy should be directed to getting in the pole position for this. But you can also learn to read the signs of people about to get off the train soon: nervously looking at station names, watches etc. is one possible indication, also putting down the book, Nintendo, iPod etc. in the bag can be one (the one I hate the most is the "teaser", the one who puts down the book in the bag, sits for a few minutes and then busts out a bigger book...). But it is not easy and takes time to master and I am working on my skills to become the best.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Which slide was this again?

Setting, one of the dreaded telecons (the joys of which I discuss here) with one of our European sites. A French manager is starting up a presentation which apparently has been revised and re-sent by one of the managers in one of our Swedish sites who is also involved in the project. Apparently she has added one extra slide for some reason but the French Manager has missed this new and improved version and uses the previous version.

French Manager: So, if we look at slide five to…(interrupted)
Swedish manager: (female with a very high pitched voice) Slide six!
French Manager: (drones on about the project), then turn to the next slide, slide six…(interrupted again)
Swedish Manager: (voice with a hint of panic) slide seven!! the next slide, the French Manager seem to have caught on and tries to be preemptive...

French Manager: (realizes that he's watching at his slide seven, but everyone should turn to slide eight) so now, turn to... slide eight, right? (said with a hint of a smile to disarm the situation)
Swedish Manager: (panic subsided, but still high pitched and nasal) Slide eight!!

(Ok, fine, I admit it, the picture illustrating this post doesn't really fit with the post at all even with a huge stretch of the imagination, but hey, it's a great game and deserves some exposure! Good 'ol times, that guy was tricky...)

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Commuter Terrorists - The Crotch Presser

This particular type of commuter terrorist is not really evil or deliberately out to hurt you, so in fact, it's probably wrong to call it a person as much as a situation that happens sometimes even from the most well meaning commuters. I am of course talking about the crotch pressing issue that can happen when you are standing in an extremely crowded train after maneuvering your way through the blockers and when there is no more room for the hangers to hang.

So, you're standing there in the completely packed train with very little room to move except when the train is accelerating or decelerating for stops at the stations and the whole population of the train move together as the tide, no longer are we individuals, we are a force of nature. In best case you enter the zen-like state of commuter meditation, just holding on and waiting to reach your destination, zoned out, trying to not think of the warm humidity, body odor (worse than a room full of IT helpdesk (Happy Penguin?!) people), people pushing from all directions on you. At some level you are at peace, but then you realize that the man behind you, of similar height as you, is standing with his whole body, including the crotch, firmly pressed against your back.

The guy is not doing it deliberately and with no sexual intent behind it, you would not know that it is his crotch pressing against your butt unless you had happened to look behind you and realized the person's height and can assume the general level of the crotch... This tears at least me, out of my zen-like state and back into intense commuter distress, there is no way to avoid the situation until the next stop where you can try and twist away a little. Since the pressure is constant from all sides, it is not a problem until you think about it, ignorance is bliss here...

Personally, I obviously try to avoid becoming a crotch presser, but sometimes I end up being the presser until I can turn a bit... And yeah, if it’s not soft, it might be a train molester and those guys are straight up illegal!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Manage what quality?

Earlier I did discuss the IT department and my experiences with them (post here).

But, another department in the company that deserves a little more mention than what I have given the previously is the QA (Quality Assurance) department. I have touched a little on what's going on there since I'm quite fond of Cpt. Awkward and his behaviour (it has not worsened).

It’s the most ungrateful position you can have in a company that sell controlled devices and drugs that directly can affect human life; if you do well no one will thank you, but if there is a problem (and believe me, there will be problems) you will be the target even if it’s not your direct fault. I have been working a little closer with Cpt. Awkward and his peons recently and have seen first hand how they have intervened and barely stopped disasters to the company. When they bring it up people nod and think they're being needy and annoying.

If you are thinking of a QA job in the healthcare industry, my advice would be to try and see if you would enjoy playing an old game & watch game on high speed all the time, but if you miss once there is a disaster waiting either for the company or for some patient out there. If you think this sounds appealing, then you should get out there and get a job in QA!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Getting married in Japan Part 9: The Seating Order...

I think that putting together the seating charts in a western wedding is quite challenging in how it strive to mix the guests up and alternate ladies and men to make sure everyone has a good fit in terms of seating partner and meets new people.

In one way the Japanese wedding is more straightforward; you got those six guy friends from your college baseball team? Sure! Whatever, just put them together at a table and let them entertain themselves, you don’t have to think about mixing in ladies or other guests. Seating the families is not that much of a problem either although I found it a bit puzzling (still do actually...) why the closest family members get seated at the tables furthest away from the main table of the newlyweds.

So to say that seating charts is a big issue in a Japanese wedding would actually be a lie, in theory it's quite simple since it's just a matter of squeezing in groups of friends together and mix up whatever stragglers you have at some loser table. But... since a Western wedding usually mixes guests up a bit and I, stupidly, thought it could be fun to try and implement a little of this practice at our wedding since our wedding by itself is a mix of cultures. Ms. Sunshine wasn't aggressively against the idea, in theory, but progressively as we tried to piece things together it turned out that some groups of friends would be next to impossible to separate or risk inducing terrible culture shock injuries.

In the end, what happened was that some of the larger groups got broken out into sub-groups and placed, trying to alternate men and women at least a little bit. In the end it turned out to be quite futile and some of the comments on the seating I received was:

From the group of consultant colleagues I split up under the stupid assumption that since they meet every f**king day anyway it would be more fun to split up a little at least and meet some other people: "(Whiny voice) f**k Salaryman, why can’t we just sit together?!"

From a friend who specifically had requested to be seated next to some hot chick and whom we placed next to a friend of Ms. Sunshine, known for her slightly loose morals assuming that it could be a good combination: "(Whiny voice) f**k Salaryman, why did you place me next to that woman- man-thing who just kept drinking, not eating the food and speaking in a loud voice when people were giving speeches?" (Ok, this was a slight miscalculation since I had been led to believe, by Ms. Sunshine, that this girl was of considerable hotness in addition to promiscuity and being a masseuses as profession, but turned out to look slightly transvestitish and being generally loud..).

From a friend I had placed next to a person with a common interesting in cooking, in response to a question from me whether they talk anything about food: "f**k Salaryman, there hardly was any time with all the events going on all the time”

I get one thing that is more simple at a Japanese wedding, but I guessed I dropped the ball completely on this one! In the end, it was a lot of work for nothing, we should have just gone with the groups from the beginning!

Coming up, one of the last installments in this series; the actual wedding...

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

It takes a taxi

As I have recently been quite tired from the general hardships of being a salaryman, the current winter climate and also the effort I put into learning how to convert the video booth movie to a workable format and then learning and downloading the tools to subtitle it, I'm a bit too exhausted to post my normally witty and insightful posts for the time being.

Instead, I will treat you all to a classic case of "Engrish" found here in Japan, granted, it's not the worst or anything but I found it quite funny for some odd reason.

Please stay tuned, we will resume the regular programming momentarily, but I still can't figure out how one of the most fun and interesting things I've ever posted on the blog in the form of the video booth tour doesn't get any comments at all...

Sunday, January 17, 2010

The porn video booths of the Kintaro Group in Japan!

This topic actually goes way back from 2008 after a porn video booth shop had burnt down in Osaka and I blogged about it (post here). You might think that nothing has moved in my plans of having this seedy aspect of Japanese sex-culture, but in reality I have had ongoing discussions and negotiations with the Boy ever since that time...

As the negotiations continued recently and the Boy claimed that he could consider going but didn't want to go far from his filthy lair. After going online and actually locating a shop within 10minutes walking distance from him, I found this great video on the Kintaro group homepage! This guided tour is pretty great, so instead of having a crappy non-cooperative peon going there for me I thought I'd slap some subtitles on this movie for all to see! It actually is pretty far off from glory-holes and semen stained furniture (well, it looks like all the furniture is easily wiped off...). My favorite part is how the pornstar several time mentions that Kintaro is "the friend of the salaryman" and also shows how convenient it is to go there during work time since they have LAN sockets so you can answer mails and pretend to be available, pretty great so I should do that!

Let's Kintaro!!!

Friday, January 15, 2010

It was a bit awkward actually

Captain Awkward comes into the office slightly later than everyone else and is met with plenty of questions from his peons asking how he feels and if he's recovered now. Me being out of the office for a few days have no idea what it's about, but can safely assume that he has had some form of health problems that I must have missed and had been taken a day or two off.

With him sitting pretty close to me I ask "what happened to you" to which some of his peons eagerly launches into an explanation on how he sprained his ankle pretty badly at an outside event recently. After a few seconds I feel the need to set thing straight and say to his peons across Cpt. Awkward "look, I didn't ask because I care about his health, I asked to make sure I wasn't going to get infected with anything nasty".

The vicinity fall dead silence until they realize that I'm at least half-joking from my smile. All through this Cpt. Awkward has kept awkwardly looking at his computer monitor without moving a muscle in his face. Two minutes later I hear him humming a merry tune with a serious face...

Thursday, January 14, 2010

It takes a little while, but it's worth the wait!

First of all, be patient for the time it takes to count down, it'll be worth you while, I promise!

One of my honorable readers sent me the link to this little film that I think shows what many of you are thinking! Thanks to you all, I couldn't have done it without you! Click here for the video and wait for the countdown!

Thanks to Tsuriken for adding my picture to it, appreciate the effort! Now you can all go and make your own!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Yep, it's the annual "it's cold here and I want out" post

I do realize that this is turning into an annual event, but Japan is pretty cold and miserable at the moment...

Back in 2007, the cold didn't really start to get to me until almost the end of February, in 2008, I started getting frozen to the core in the beginning of February and in 2009 it was already in the latter half of January, and this year in 2010, I'm starting to lose my toes gradually already now in mid-January... To add insult to injury, there exist no escape plan at the moment, what does exist is a possible trip to the cold northern parts of Europe, out of the frying pan into the fire as they say...

Coming back from a business trip and some parts in the area around Kyoto looked more like Hokkaido, covered in snow as I passed it by in the shinkansen... Also, puddles are starting to freeze, making the treck from the station to the home quite dangerous...

Two more months to endure until things turn to the better... Two more months...

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Can we do interview now?

Following up on my horrible horrible post earlier which was both distasteful and offensive, I also remembered another event in conjunction with this that I thought I should share with you.

I had just come home from a hard day at the office the same day that the news that the killer had been caught by the police broke, news that dominated the media completely that day in Japan. As I was watching the news, they called up the father of the victim in Britain to get his comment on having the accused murderer of his daughter arrested after more than two years of waiting for this day. As a separate note I should say that this man has made a very sympathetic impression during his many visits in Japan in his desperate efforts to raise awareness on the case and get the help of the public to catch the killer. The anchorman asked him a number of questions in the vein of "how do you feel?" and "what will you do next?" questions to which the father answered passionately and many many times expressing his thanks to the Japanese people and media who had helped catching the killer.

However... the news channel apparently had missed having a translator ready for this call and after the interview basically was done, the anchorman was made aware of the fact that no simultaneous translation had been provided and him himself claiming to not have had good audio (more likely he did not have good enough English skills to understand what was being said in reply to his questions). After keeping the father on hold for a few minutes while getting the translator available the anchorman simply stated that they will redo the interview. It was at the same time painful and humorous to watch the "second take" of the interview with the translator in place and from the exchange I very much doubt that the father had gotten an explanation on what was going on and why he was put on hold and then asked the same questions again.

When the anchorman asked him "How did you hear of the news that the killer had been caught" for the second time in a few minutes, he replied with a pained and exhausted "I heard of this for the first time just a little while ago when you told me these news?!". Then followed up by "Have you told your family members and what is their reaction?" to which a desperate sounding "No!!! Because you are calling me and taking up my line I haven't been able to, I want to tell them and really need to finish the call, I appreciate everything you done but I need to talk to my family now". Apparently the anchorman either fails to understand this or just completely ignores it since he smoothly follows up with "What will you do next?" and I squirmed in the sofa as the desperate reply "I want to get off this call and talk to my family, can we please finish this now?”.

Mercifully they finished the call briefly after that...

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Enjoyment time - 3.6 Litres of it!

In response to a general work related mail from me, one of the sales managers, Mr. Chinpira, replied to the question and for good measure added, in English, as below:

"A Happy New Year!
Could you take refresh time with your family?
I could do with plenty Sake. I drank 3.6L per 2days. It was really enjoyment time for me!
Now it’s a time for working..."

That the English is not perfect is nothing special, you gotta respect that he, with limited abilities tried and the message came across. But what is noteworthy here is that he drank 3.6 liters over two days, and knowing the guy, this is the shouchuu type of liquor and not what goes for "sake" outside Japan. So the percentage of the stuff is between ~25% alcohol (normal "sake" would be ~13%).

He's a really nice guy and I could feel his happiness that he could have his "enjoyment time" with the booze while with his pretty large family (I have no information what the rest of the family thought of his enjoyment time), and I can also feel how hard it feels for him to be back at work...

The life of the Salaryman is hard and merciless so enjoyment time is precious!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

You will know me by the trail of…

As I have alluded to, the Salaryman-Sunshine household has moved away from their previous haunting grounds, something that will be described in all the gory details in the upcoming "buying a house in Japan" series that I'm sure you all are eagerly awaiting.

That said, I can't stop myself from rushing in advance here a little bit since this new lair has a hi-tech toilet of the type that Japan is famous for. Out of all the functions (spray, blow, heat etc.) that the little critter is capable of, one has left me extremely impressed; the auto-flush function... This function has revolutionized the way I go to the bathroom; I do my thing in the toilet bowl (this basic function has not yet been innovated upon), and then I just walk out, no looking back. As I stride out I can hear the toilet flush behind me, but I can focus my energy on other, greater things and need not to worry.

But there is a nastier side to this as well... I'm now getting so used to my new "fire and forget" style of toilet behavior that regular, simple toilets without the auto-flush function can cause problems.The problems are not as much to me as to the person coming after me to use the toilet finding a surprise that wasn't automatically taken care of.

Meanwhile I'm on my merry way, perhaps whistling a gay tune as I make my way to the next bathroom without a care in the world except that little pressure in my bowels!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Why do you keep treating the foreign games so unfair?!

As I've mentioned several times before, I like computer/video games. Most of the time I prefer to play games before watching tv and/or a crappy movie and this goes way back from the time me and my brother entertained ourselves with Jetpack for the Vic-20 our dad bought before the C-64 had it's big break. The main vehicle for games that I use is the PlayStation 3 (I have a Wii too, but the lack of good games is pretty painful and not very much fun unless you're a few people playing).

One of the things that annoy me to no end is how foreign games can be mistreated when introduced to the Japanese market. Going back quite far in time, Japanese made games taking place in the US or outside of Japan by tradition are voiced by English voice actors with Japanese subtitles. I believe that this has to do with the game developers aiming for a cinematic quality to the game and even though most movies are available in a dubbed version, the subtitled version is the one that most people watch. In the early days the voice acting was usually pretty crappy, but this has changed lately to at least semi-professional actors. This I feel is a good development and perfectly reasonable; if a game takes place outside Japan with an American protagonist, it's natural that the language spoken should be English. Please note that this route is the one taken by most Japanese games developed by Konami, Tecmo, Square Enix etc.

So far so good, but the problem that comes in here is that when buying a US developed game here in Japan there is no guarantee that the English voices are kept and not replaced with Japanese dubbing with no option to chose English audio... I find this pretty amazing since a blue-ray disc can store huge amounts of data and the English voice acting exist already and that a deliberate decision to not include English audio is just dumb.

I recently bought the latest "Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2" game here in Japan, released not too far behind the launch in the US and assumed that English audio would be available, but no... Not even an option to chose English even though it just sounds plain stupid to me to have the American soldiers speaking in Japanese to each other. But not only is that a source of annoyance, the Japanese dubbing is pretty bad and most of the characters sound like they are trying to speak in a "rough" voice which sounds disturbingly unnatural (a good example would be the dubbed voice of Jack Bauer in the tv series 24, listen here, it's a commercial but the voices are the correct ones).

If I would play the game with English voices, Mrs. Sunshine-Salaryman would at least recognize some degree of cinematic coolness to the game, but now with the Japanese audio I instead have to endure comments like "what are you playing? It sounds so stupid". Not only is in Japanese, but they also mix in plenty of semi-American phrases with the Japanese that makes it even more cringe worthy (those of you who can read Japanese can image how painful it is to hear phrases as グッドショットソルジャー or ナイスキル).

To me, this strategy just doesn't make any sense at all and I strongly suspect that it's some form of tradebarrier to make sure that US games do not take too much share here in Japan...

Monday, January 4, 2010

Leave those turtles alone, what did they ever do to you?!

For reasons I'm not completely sure of, I previously looked up dolphins on Wikipedia and found the following part describing dolphins and play...

"Play is an important part of dolphin culture. Dolphins play with seaweed and play-fight with other dolphins. At times they harass other local creatures, like seabirds and turtles."

This really made me a bit upset, who do these dolphins think they are nowadays? Previously I thought of dolphins as highly intelligent peaceful creatures of the ocean but they're actually just the biker gang of the ocean harassing the seabirds and turtles as they just try to live their life making an honest living without bothering anyone...

Sunday, January 3, 2010

You know, there probably was some better picture you could've picked?

Quite some time back, I lightly touched upon the topic of usage of old fashioned racist imagery against black people that is encountered from time to time here in Japan. Since I'm not black, I guess I'm not the person who would be most offended by it, but I can't really muster up any big feelings of indignity because of this most of the time. The main reason is that it's almost never meant to be malicious, it's just misguided and some Japanese people have no idea that anyone would get offended by usage of such imagery and would surely apologize if actually made to realize that usage of such images can be hurtful.

The picture below was the actual motif of a new year's card I received from one of my Japanese relatives, a very very sweet person who wouldn't hurt a fly and thinks the best of everyone. However, living a bit in the countryside of Japan and not really exposed to the "modern world" as younger urban people.
Some quick research also revealed that the image is a picture very similar to the Japanese version of the story "Little black sambo" which apparently got pulled of the shelves in Japan in 1988 due to the racist imagery (hey, read the link, I just learnt about this).

Well, I believe that Japan still has some growing up to do in issues such as this, but at least it's not used with a malicious intent if that counts for anything...

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Getting married in Japan Part 8: The "Events"

As I have alluded to in several of my previous entries, Japanese weddings are usually pretty eventful affairs with a tight schedule to keep. This obviously makes the previously discussed toastmasters job a lot more difficult, but it also puts higher demands on preparation before the wedding since everything has to be carved in stone before the event kick-off...

Now, I'm of course talking about major events such as the "profile video" that need to be scheduled in, but also keeping in mind that Japanese people are far from spontaneous in formal events such as a wedding reception, all the speeches need to be agreed upon and put in the schedule. That a Japanese friend or relative would spontaneously decide that it would be nice to do a brief improvised speech is basically unheard of. Friends and relatives basically need to be intimidated with violence or bribed to agree to take on this task... One of Ms. Sunshine's friends agreed only after she had been reminded how Ms. S. had given a speech at her wedding quite a few years earlier and how it was time to return the favor...

There are plenty of "standard" events such as speeches, the profile video, cake cutting etc. that are common with western weddings, but the Japanese take this one step further with the tight management of time (our schedule was down to the minute...) and reluctance to have any prolonged time of downtime where nothing exciting is occurring. This makes the wedding a very very nice market for the hotels and sites arranging the wedding since they can sell in pretty interesting "events" to strategically place at the wedding, for a hefty price. Let me give you an example that can help you to perhaps visualize how a typical event would look like:

The bride and groom has departed the room a little earlier and now the guests are enjoying the food and perhaps actually having time to converse a bit with the person next to them. All of a sudden the lights go out and a spotlight focuses on the door which are opened by some hotel peon, revealing the bride and groom holding a bottle of fluorescent liquid of some exciting color. The toastmaster announces something in the vein of "now the newly married couple will share a little of the love they have for each other with all the guests". The couple goes to each table of guests and pour a bit of the liquid into some vase already placed on the table and "light" up each of the tables, when all tables have received their little share of the "love" the couple goes up to stand by the main table. The toastmaster follows up "now the couple will together, as husband and wife, go on and create a new family and love and cherish each other". Now the couple poor the liquid into a large vase already filled with a clear liquid and as they do that the liquids react and the vase glows brightly with a new color. Cue the smoke machine and soundtrack emphasizing the amazing event that just took place...

I think you can get the gist of the general corniness of these events and both me and Ms. Sunshine were in full agreement that we did not want to resort to this type of events... However, for a while it was a bit dangerous since we had an calm period of ~10min in the agenda that "needed" to be filled with something. But at the last minute, an artistically gifted cousin on the Japanese side agreed to sing (under severe threats of violence, bribes and flattery mixed) filling the schedule to the brim...

Coming up next... The horror of the seating charts...

Friday, January 1, 2010

I was just thinking...

Now it's a new year and the beginning of the year is a good time for thought and reflection on things past, present and future. Personally I started the year with peacefully pondering how the meeting between Hitler and his publishers might have played out when he was pitching "My Struggle/Mein Kampf" to them...

Maybe, just maybe, it was something like this:

Hitler sitting together with Hess to discuss his pitch with publisher Max Amann and one of his junior peons. Hitler is a rising star in German politics although not yet the absolute ruler of Germany, but the Max and his peon are loyal members of the NSDAP and don't want to upset their leader.

Hitler: (Excited) Well, so what did you think of the book?
Max: (a bit too enthusiastic) I was just; wow! "Wow, this must be the best book ever" I said to myself, I read it in one sitting
Peon: (filling in) Yeah, I lent it to my wife and she loved it too, it's just amazing!
Hitler: (satisfied) Which part did you like best?
Max: (momentarily off balance) Eh... best? Well, it was all so good, I don't know which part to pick (cold sweat coming from his forehead) (whispering to peon) did you read the goddamn book?
Peon: (whispering back) no... the first chapter was so incredibly dull that I stopped...
Hitler: (impatiently) Well, just pick one!
Max: (stuttering) W-w-w-ell, I really, uh, liked that part where you wrote about the jews and stuff...?
Peon: (eagerly filling in) Yes, I absolutely loved that chapter, so great!
Max: (whispering through his teeth to peon) shut the fuck up!
Hitler: (confused and slightly upset) What chapter are you talking about? I write about the jewish issue in almost all of the chapters? Are you mixing it up with something else?!
Max: (a bit too quick) Yes! I mixed it up with something... else... (quickly switching topic) but have you thought of a title of this brilliant piece of literature yet?
Hitler: (triumphantly beaming) Yes, I've decided to call it "Four and a Half Years of Struggle Against Lies, Stupidity and Cowardice"!

(...awkward silence fills the room, Max is scratching his nose, peon is looking down on the floor and Hess is thinking of when would be a good time to go completely crazy and fly to England...)

Hitler: (looking back and forth between Max and peon, facial muscles starting to contort...)
Max: (looking awkward) Eh...
Hitler: (a bit concerned) Well, it's a great title, isn't it?!
Max: (nervously) It's a bit long, don't you think?
Hitler: (passive aggressively) What do you mean? You don't like it?!
Max: (fake smile) Well, personally I love the title, just love it
Peon: (sensing relief) just love it
Max: (getting slightly more confident) but you know Herr Hitler, it's the 1930's now and the kids want more catchy titles on the books. If we look at it again, when it boils down to it, what is the book really about?
Hitler: (offended) Well, it's about my four and a half years of struggle against lies, stupidity and cowardice?!
Max: (sensing a way out) How about we just call it "My Struggle/Mein Kampf"?

I'm not sure if this was how it played out, but I think that I might be pretty close to the mark here...
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