Sunday, January 27, 2013

It kills everything

Even Superman mixes things up sometimes
I work with health care and have done so basically all of my career. One of the pillars of health care is clinical evidence based on medical science. Basically whenever a new treatment is proposed, it needs to prove itself through scientifically solid evidence that it is better or comparable to the currently available treatment (even if that is doing nothing). I'm inherently skeptical towards any "alternative" treatments like homeopathy, "healing" or prayers as no evidence up to date has shown any favorable outcomes and although the patients health might not negatively be impacted, someone is preying on the gullibility of the sick.

Generally my colleagues agree with me and are sensible in this, but I have often been engaged in discussion on the topic of using face masks to avoid getting a cold. The Japanese often use the masks in the belief that it actually helps in preventing getting a cold although no evidence exist that using the flimsy masks that the Japanese use actually improves the end-point here; getting a cold or not. Until there is any evidence I will continue to refuse to wear a mask.

Around a year ago one of my colleagues, Mr. Short, had purchased some form of "bacteria killer" device, I am unsure on exactly how it was supposed to function, but it was worn around the neck and supposedly would kill off bacteria in the general vicinity and thus protect the wearer from nasty bugs. This initiated some friendly discussion on whether it actually worked or not with me checking up on it on Internet and not finding any evidence apart from the manufacturer's own lab testing (which might or might not be correct, but it's all meaningless anyway unless it actually can prove to reduce the number of times the wearer gets sick). My colleague insisted that he thought it would work, but relented to the fact that he had no evidence to back him up.

The topic was forgotten about until last week, when he was suffering from a particularly nasty cold but still came into the office (wearing a mask, of course). This made me remember the anti-bacteria talisman thing from earlier. The conversation went something like this.
Mr. Salaryman: (genuinely curious) Oh yeah, what happened to that thing you wore around your neck, are you still using that? Wasn't that supposed to stop you from getting sick?
Mr. Short: (silent for a few seconds) ... no, I stopped wearing it...
Mr. Salaryman: (sending amusement) Oh really? How come?
Mr. Short: (embarrassed) Well, apparently it stopped selling it as it proved to be a little too efficient and could pose a danger to small children and you know that I have small kids, so...
Mr. Salaryman: (cannot refrain from rubbing it in) Huh? There you go, so I was right in the end, better to wait for some real evidence, huh?
Mr. Short: Yes, you were right, next time I'll wait for at least some evidence before getting a thing like that...

...I do however overuse nose-spray on occasion despite the overwhelming evidence that it's not good to do so...

Sunday, January 20, 2013 baby, but not too far off...

Daddy? Is that you?
The other day, I was sitting in the sofa with the iPad reading the comments on my latest post with 2 1/2 y.o. toddler Sunshine sitting next to me. As I was scrolling down the screen she screamed out with glee andpointed at the "Our Mumbai Escorts" picture I used in my last post, happily exclaiming "Mommy!" (more specifically, the right one "Rina"). As a parent, I felt that I needed to set her straight with a "No baby, that's not Mommy, that's... someone else..." after which she went back to doing whatever she was doing.

Apparently a few days earlier she had been going through one of Mrs. Sunshine's fashion magazine and stopped at a one page advertisement with a sweaty hunk staring horny into the camera, happily exclaiming "Daddy!".

I guess I can say that I probably am closer to a sweaty hunk than Mrs. Sunshine is to an Indian prostitute at least, but that might be stretching it... 

Monday, January 14, 2013

The year of the snake 2013!

That's not a normal snake? Is it a cobra?
Considerably later than other years so far on this blog, but I thought I should give it a shot to try and summarize 2012. As the remaining readers of this blog obviously have figured out, other prioritizes made my blogging schedule irregular to say the least. The start of the year I was kept busy by Toddler Sunshine, Mrs. Sunshine's late stage pregnancy and trying to get into the job I started in the summer the previous year, after the birth of Baby Salaryman things just passed by in a bit of a blur. 

Biggest Event of 2012 was of course the birth of Baby Salaryman, born to restore balance to the battle of the genders in the Salaryman household and ensure that my name lives on for eternity in the island of Japan. May his seed burn strong and brightly.

Biggest Revelation of 2012 is much harder to pinpoint... Looking back, it feels like most of the year was spent looking after kids or working with not much in between. Of course, seeing the Avengers movie in the movie theater was great, there came out some good new music as well, thinking especially of Agent Side Grinder with the song Wolf Hour and old school EBM band Orange Sector with the hit Der Maschinist, the comeback of Daybehavior, but nothing that really changed how I view the world.

Biggest Staying Power in 2012 was the iPad, the little tablet has not gotten me bored with it yet. In fact, I like it so much that I upgraded to the newer iPad during last year (the one with the faster processor) after some negotiating with Mrs. Sunshine ("Do you really really need it?" "Well..." "If you really really need it and you absolutely must have it you can buy it, but there are other stuff we need..." "Ok, thanks, I'll buy it then!"). To toddler Sunshine's delight, this means that we now ended up with three iPads in the household and one that she has claimed her own. I have even seriously considered getting one of those water proof iPad bags so I can bring it in the bath with me as well. I'm still waiting for the toilet model of the iPad as well.

Best Blog of 2012 is also really hard as I have not found any new particularly interesting ones and for my favorite ones both Corinne and Chris have run into a bit of a blogging fatigue similar to mine it looks like. Former "Green Eyed Geisha" started a new blog that I was looking forward to, but the posts there also stopped coming. Kamo with the blog This is how she fight starts is the most interesting thing to pop up in 2012 (but not sure if I actually started reading it in 2011?). Even if I am embarrassed to say that my commenting manners is lacking, I still check out Project Me and was happy to see Ninja Without a Clue make a comeback in posting.

Keep at it, it'll get better with time!
Favorite Comment Dropper of 2012 is the people behind Mumbai/Dehli Escorts who ferociously started leaving comments on my posts advertising their exclusive services. In the beginning I deleted them as soon as they came up, but their eagerness to drop comments won me over and I decided to let them be (at least on older posts). As an interesting tidbit it can be mentioned that I have very few visitors from India, I have myself never been there with no plans to go and I doubt that many of my readers visit India often and even if they did they would not trust those guys with their physical needs. Good work Mumbai escorts and happy 2013!

Other Stuff that kept me Entertained in 2012 was (to my surprise) the King of Thrones TV-series, it's rare to see fantasy done well but this show has pulled it off. The Walking Dead TV-series and comic has kept its staying power, but ultimately they all still lose out to a classic like The Wire (which I started re-watching during autumn and still working my way through). Some good games came out as well in 2012, thinking particularly of Mass Effect 3 (I was ok with the ending), Dishonored and the remake of X-Com. But still, nothing like Skyrim from 2011...

To all my readers, a belated Happy New Year and wish you all a fantastic 2013! This year happens to be the Year of the Snake, something that is supposed to be good, contrary to what the Western image of snakes would make you think...      

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Japanese New Year's TV

Last year's "Stewardess training" version!
(This time I'll keep myself from apologizing for the long time between postings, the little offspring and work has kept me quite busy and what little energy I have had left has been spent in other places than this blog. In the coming months I hope to be able to get up and running at a slightly better pace though, I do not intend to stop this blog)

Although the annual new year holidays this year came in quite nice with a full week of from work, the Salaryman family decided to stay put in Japan as the two small kids and the excessive price hikes from the travel agencies/airlines make vacation outside Japan a bit difficult. Instead, we braved the train crowds and packed us on the shinkansen train to Mrs. Sunshine's grandmother's place in Kobe for a traditional Japanese new year.

There's very little I actually like about the traditional Japanese new year celebration, the food is not to my liking, not much is actually done and I have no emotional attachment to any of the traditions. But at least it's a break in the pace from everyday life and Mrs. Sunshine's family were more than happy to give us a break and entertain toddler Sunshine and baby Salaryman for us. 

Then there's the TV... The big Japanese TV tradition for new year is to watch the annual song contest "Kohaku" were all the biggest music start of the year gets divided into two teams and somehow "compete" against each other. Basically it's just a show with live performances one after another and as neither J-pop nor enka is anything that I listen to unless forced to it's a combination of dull, boring and uninteresting. 

However... At the same time as Kohaku is going on, there is another TV show that also traditionally runs every new year... The show is, roughly translated, called "This is no kid's play - You're not allowed to laugh". It is pre-recorded, runs for about six hours and does not in the slightest acknowledge the strike of twelve and the start of the new year, just carries on. The show is hosted by the comedy duo "Downtown" and features them and four other comedians. The basic concept is that the group is put in absurd situations around them for a period of a full 24 hours and are not allowed to laugh, the location and theme varies each year. If anyone in the group laughs, a loud "OUT!" is announced and a bunch of guys dressed in fatigues, berets and black balaclavas armed with rubber batons run in and proceeds to give each of those who laughed a hard spanking after which they quickly run out of picture again. 

The show is definitely an acquired taste, it is extremely stupid, however to dismiss it on the grounds of being "stupid" is a huge mistake as the whole point of the show is to revel in stupidity. I admit to mistakenly taking this stance for quite a few years until I realized that the level and intensiveness of the stupidity somehow creates comedic brilliance! The amount of effort put into it and level of people the producers manage to recruit into doing some extremely stupid character with the only purpose of making the group laugh so they can get a spanking is amazing. It does help to have a decent knowledge of Japanese celebrities, pop stars, comedians and actors as well known and respected people turn up in the most absurd roles. On occasion they have even roped in well known politicians to participate in the absurdity. Of course, to fully appreciate the show, a certain level of Japanese knowledge is required, but even without it some of the brilliance can glimpse through.

So, I sit through the Kohaku on new year's eve but take comfort in that the big TV event of the year is recorded at home. Me and Mrs. Sunshine, not having the comfort of being able to sit through 6 hours of TV in one sitting, work our way through it in bite sized chumps over January. Toddler Sunshine watches us laughing perplexed but sometimes join in just for the sake of it.

It might be hard to get an image of what this really is about and what's so great about the show from reading my poor synopsis above, but here you can find the whole of this year's show streaming. Skip through the studio talk and straight into it and you just might understand what I am talking about!   
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