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I know that you're waiting to hear all about the wedding that I presided over on Sunday, but I don't have time to tell you about it right now. Let's suffice it to say that it was trippy and went fairly well.
Today was my last official day at Netyear (although I really haven't been working for a couple of months) and I had a thousand and one things to do at the office -- cleaning out my desk, copying computer files, saying goodbye to everyone, etc. After work I had to go to the requisite going-away party, a small affair at a Chinese restaurant, but I still got home really late.
So, you'll just have to wait a day or two before you can hear about the wedding.
Sorry to leave you in suspense.
In other news, the recent Tokyo-area bloggers party was written up in the Japan Media Review.
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It's illegal to kill birds in Tokyo. That's
why we're expecting an angry knock on our
front door sometime soon: I think that Jack
(my one-and-half-year-old son) may have gotten
us busted for killing those pigeons last
You may recall that on June 25th, 2002 I wrote about the terrible pigeon problem
that we had here in our apartment building,
and how I was eventually driven to kill the
pigeons by using sticky traps, a frying pan,
and a cheap meat cleaver. Yes... I know,
it was just as terrible as it sounds.
When that nightmare was finally over I didn't
even want to look at the killing paraphernalia,
the traps and the bludgeons, so I just left
it all outside tucked away in a corner.
A few days ago, I did a major spring cleaning
of the balcony. Even though we live on the
ninth floor and have a spacious view, the
Sumida river is just to our left, we hadn't
gone out on the balcony all winter, and it
had come to be covered in dust and spattered
with bird droppings.
Since I cleaned the balcony, Jack has been
scrambling out there every chance he gets.
He just learned to walk this winter, so he's
never been on the balcony by himself before.
He loves it out there because it makes him
feel like a rebel.
The other day I was in the bedroom and Jack
was out prancing back and forth on the balcony.
He had a little red toy train in his hand.
At one point he gave me a sly look and then
with a quick darting motion pushed the train
over the balcony through a small gap in the
railing. He laughed hysterically and ran
back in the room to look for something else
I called out to my wife, "Karen, you
won't believe this, but Jack's been throwing
his toys off the balcony."
"What!?! Really?" she said, and
we both walked out on to the balcony to look
over the railing for the toy far below.
At the base of our building, just below our
balcony, is a narrow strip of grass and shrubbery
that separates the building from the adjacent
When Karen and I looked down we could see
the bright red train as well as three or
four other items that we couldn't make out.
As we were guessing at what those things
could be, who should unexpectedly walk through
the toy strewn area but the building's elderly
janitor/groundskeeper wearing his lime green
uniform and cap. He was coming to investigate
the mess. He saw the train, bent over, picked
it up, looked at it for a moment, and stuck
it in his pocket.
Next, he picked up a white fuzzy thing that
looked like our kitchen scrub brush. He scratched
his head and moved on along the building.
Then, all of a sudden, he froze in his steps.
He leaned forward with a slow, hesitant motion,
and using his thumb and forefinger, he picked
up the blood-stained meat cleaver that I
had used to finish off the pigeons.
Karen and I gasped, but he didn't hear us.
Jack must have discovered the cleaver and
pushed it through the gap in the railing.
The groundskeeper started to look nervously
over his shoulder. He kept turning the cleaver
over and over in his hands. Obviously, he
was wondering if he had found a murder weapon
and was debating whether or not he should
turn it in to the police.
We should have called out to him at the time
and told him that it was all our stuff, but
we didn't. We panicked. It's already hard
enough being the 'stinky weirdo foreigners'
in this building as it is. Having to go up
to the one guy that everyone in the building
knows and try to explain to him, in broken
Japanese, why our toddler is throwing bloody
meat cleavers off the balcony was just too
much for us.
So now we're waiting for a knock at the door.
I'm not sure what I'll say if somebody holds
up that cleaver and asks me if it's mine.
I'll probably just use the old 'Foreigner
Free Pass' -- i.e., pretend to be ignorant
and count on the Japanese sense of tact to
avoid getting called on it. I'll shout at
them in my broken Japanese, "For the
last time, I don't want to buy any of your
goddamn kitchen knives", and slam the
door in their face.
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First, some site news.
I'd like to welcome you if you are one of
the many new visitors finding their way to
Hunkabutta via Where is Raed? -- the Iraqi weblog.
As a matter of fact, I've been getting so
many new visitors these past few days that
it's causing my site to go down. I've been
exceeding my allowable daily bandwidth limits.
I'm working on this problem with my site
hosts, and I hope that we'll get it fixed
soon. However, if you come back here in the
next little while only to find that the site
is down again, please be patient and come
back again later.
Now, some Mike-life news.
As you may know, after I got laid off from
my Internet programming job last month I
enrolled full time in a Japanese language
I've been doing well at school. I passed
the final exam for the first level, and now
I have a two week break before I start the
next three-month semester.
Karen and I (mostly Karen) have been working
part time to make up for the lost income.
Well, I just found out recently that I've
gotten the coolest part-time job IN THE ENTIRE
WORLD: I am going to be a 'pastor' and conduct
weddings on the weekends!
Yes! Can you believe it? It's true.
one of those 'only-in-Japan' kind of
Apparently, the Christian-style wedding business
in booming in Japan (they tell me close to
70% of weddings are now Christian), and there
is a big demand for foreign Christians to
play the role of priest/minister.
I'm going to be doing my debut wedding
coming Sunday, and I'll let you know
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One thing that makes Japan a pleasant place
to live is that proselytizers and evangelists
never come knocking on your door. Maybe it
happens sometimes, in some places, but it
has yet to happen to me.
When I was a university student back in Canada
I lived in a townhouse apartment with some
roommates for a year. It was a sweet little
place with two floors, a narrow front walkway,
and a big living room. I loved living there,
but we had one problem: We kept on getting
visits from the Jehovah's Witnesses (an evangelical Christian sect).
The Jehovahs, as we called them, would come
around fairly regularly, always in pairs,
wearing cheap suits and sporting bad haircuts.
They'd show us these cheesy little religious
pamphlets with cartoon depictions of biblical
prophecies, and then they'd try to engage
us in religious arguments.
I was 21 years old and usually woke up on
Saturdays with a hangover that could split
open the side of a cargo ship, so the last
thing that I wanted to see at eight in the
morning was some guy in a powder-blue suit
showing me pictures of children playing with
lions and bears.
Sometimes I'd try to scare them away by asking
them 'religious' questions like, "If
I think about the Bible when I masturbate
does that mean I'll go to hell?", or
"Since you know God so well, do you
think you can ask him to do something about
my hangover?" That kind of stuff usually
sent them running, but for the most part
I was fairly civil.
Returning to my current life in Japan, I
must admit that even though we don't get
any religious people knocking on our door
we do get a lot of sales people, especially
people trying to sell newspaper subscriptions.
However, I can live with that.
The other day, for instance, I answered the
door to find a guy from the Japan Times trying to sell me a subscription. I rolled
my eyes and said, "If I masturbate while
I read your newspaper, does that mean....
Okay, never mind. Forget I said that. Thanks
anyway. Maybe next time."