Thursday, June 30, 2005

However, if you are hoping to see photos of our wedding, you are looking at the wrong webpage. In spite or our best intentions neither Yuko nor I took any photos during the ceremony. I had originally planned to record it all on video using my cell phone, but as regular readers of Gaijin for Life will already know, Mobile Man was not up to the task.

If you absolutely must see photos right away, I would recommend clicking on the link to “Cheese Updates” on the sidebar in the “Japanese WOLBI Alumni” section. Be sure to scroll down to the June 28 entry. Another good page to visit would be “Sunny Days,” a link to which can be found on the sidebar of Cheese Updates.

Konica Minolta DiMAGE X31: Self Portrait

And now, down to business. If you bothered to check out the blogs mentioned above, you will have seen a group photo with a very large number of young, good looking Japanese men and women, the most beautifulest bride in the world, and one hairy gaijin. A good number of the good looking Japanese men and women (WOLBI graduates, all of them) banded together to rescue Gaijin for Life from its recent crisis by contributing a Konica Minolta Dimage X31. And Gaijin said of the X31 “its name shall be called Bear Runner.” And the woman (Yuko) said unto Gaijin: 「もっと綺麗な名前にして・・・because it’s a gift。」 And so Gaijin gave up naming the X31 at that time, and the camera remained nameless.

A Room with a View

Anyhoo, X31 was put to the test on Honey Moon Part I.

I found that for landscape photos I had to choose between a bright foreground and invisible background, or a dark foreground and clear background, but over all the X31 is a magnificent little camera. I am confident that it will clearly and dramatically record Gaijin for Life's ultimate success in the Find a Bear Campaign.

Discovering little perks like the sepia setting . . .

. . . and the black and white setting kept us occupied for most of our honeymoon . . .

. . . although we did pause long enough for afternoon tea.

Once we finished our coffee and cakes, though, it was back to work testing the X31’s capabilities in dimly lit indoor spaces. Although I am irrationally prejudiced in favour of keitai photography, it's nice to finally have a real camera that will actually take pictures at night!

In closing, thanks everyone who helped to make our wedding a wonderful occasion.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Jitters: The Pre-Wedding Nightmares Begin

I have been asked a good many times over the past couple of weeks whether I am getting nervous about the upcoming wedding. As a general rule I have been responding with an affected air of nonchalance. “Well, I’m not actually in Sapporo right now, where it’s all going to take place, and our engagement has been so long that we’ve really had quite a long time to prepare . . . .” However, this past weekend I was in Sapporo where it is all going to take place, and although by day Yuko and I continued ticking off our checklists with clockwork precision, by night I was tormented in the murky forests of my subconscious by one wedding fiasco after another. As is usually the case with nightmares, the residual details clinging to my daytime psyche are sketchy. However, I do know that in several versions I lost all my facial hair in an unfortunate shaving accident. This was not only shocking and painful, but it left me on the wedding day looking something like Munch’s victim in The Scream. Also, I repeatedly found myself alone in the groom’s dressing room at 10:50 a.m., tie in hand, and dressed in nothing but my tuxedo pants————wondering where all the groom’s men were; wondering if this was Friday or Saturday; alternately being terrified that I was about to miss my own wedding and being flooded with unspeakable relief as I realized it might still be Friday. It was probably Saturday, though.

Fortunately, Yuko and I have set our minds to take it easy and enjoy the ride.

Operation Bear Watch News Flash: This is a reminder that on 15 November of last year Gaijin for Life staff discovered bear spoors on the Ikokuma Forestry Road. This evidence is indicative of Gaijin for Life’s upper hand in the Find a Bear Campaign and we encourage our readers to closely monitor our unfolding story as we track these feces back to the mobile discharge unit whence they originated.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Kancho Revisited

Yes, I have broken blog-silence for no particular good reason. I found a new blogging toy on someone else’s blog yesterday, and I’ve been playing with it all day because playing actual computer games would just be too complex for me. The new toy is called Statcounter, and with it I can produce images like this one.

Countries from which people have visited my blog in the last twenty four hours.

Statcounter’s “Came From” tool also enabled me to find out that my “Tao of Kancho” article has been popular in Quebec lately. Its burgeoning fame seems to have started at this site and progressed to this site (look for the word “dongshim”).

Click on the photo for my original “Tao of Kancho” article. David Namisato’s original work of art (which he was kind enough to give me permission to use) is apparently what attracted attention to my article in the first place. Not surprising—it’s my favourite illustration of life as an ALT in Japan.

Anyway, being one of those crass Canadians who never learned the “other” official language of his own country, I had to use Babel Fish to make sure these people weren’t saying anything bad about me. This is what Babel Fish tells me they said:

“(correct to me somebody on the orthography) These Asian students who have fun to aim at the posterior one of their teacher with their fingers. Particular habit rather... for the Westerners.”

And the comment:

“I am unaware of how they call this wretched act in Japan but it is the same business which in Coree. I believe that one needs ecrire ddong chim, which wants to say in coreen acupuncture of the derriere...”

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Luke and Yuko’s Wedding is Coming to a Church Near . . . (left click to read further)

It has come to my attention that I am getting married in less than two weeks . . . . In the Mosaic Law a newlywed man was exempt from military service for one full year after his marriage (Deuteronomy 24:5). It is said that the term “honeymoon” comes from the Danish-Nordic custom of a father-in-law being obligated to provide his daughter’s husband with free honey mead for one whole moon after the wedding. Gaijin for Life will simply cease to function until such time as Operation June Bride and Honeymoon Part I have been successfully concluded. Gaijin himself will rest from his pseudo-military campaign to track down and digitally shoot a Shimokita bear. Then, one moon from now, Gaijin for Life will return in a manner reminiscent of Gandalf the Grey reappearing as Gandalf the White. You will be dazzled by’s fresh look, our new double-“o” series of Keitai Cinema, an exponentially expanding functionality in digital media, and the relentless pursuit of the “Find a Bear” campaign.

Friday, June 03, 2005

Announcing Operation Bear Watch

I don’t think anyone mentioned back in February that the winner of the Sapporo Snow Festival’s international snow sculpture contest was Canada’s entry: “Holding Back the Wilderness.” Background: Canadian Mountie good naturedly restraining an overly enthusiastic grizzly bear. Foreground: Sister #4 holding back Brother Bear. Photo courtesy of Sarah H.

Gaijin for Life has lost Mobile Man but not its faith in the organization’s future. We are therefore announcing the launch of our summer "Find a Bear" campaign. Gaijin for Life will attempt to track down and digitally shoot one of Shimokita’s unique crescent moon bears (ツキノワグマ: tsuki no wa guma) during the summer of 2005. Stand by for the official launch and subsequent updates!!!