Tuesday, August 22, 2006

The First Tomato and Other Garden Stories

Clockwise, from top-left: 1) My mini-tomatoes, 2) the tomato plants outside our dining room windows whence my mini-tomatoes come, 3) eating the first fruits . . . 4) . . . which happened to be four pods from my garden peas carelessly planted next to my tomato plants as an after thought.

Actually, I never did eat my first tomato. I put it on the mantle piece pending the perfect moment to take a picture of me eating it. Several days later, after all our guests went home, it was still sitting on the mantelpiece with a squishy bottom, spilling its substance all over the woodwork.

What’s more, my middle-sized tomatoes have been mysteriously disappearing. I count eleven missing not-so-mini-tomatoes just in these two clusters.

The mystery was partially solved when I discovered this lost tomato on the lawn. I blame the crows. Our neighbourhood crows are impudent. One of them even used our lawn to teach her young to hop around and fly. The other day when I went to get a hoe from the school’s tool shed my head passed within two feet of a crow sitting on a fence——it didn’t even blink. The next time that happens I will hit whichever crow happens to be doing it with a shovel and hang it’s carcass in front of my tomato plants. Or maybe I won’t. As the ambassador of all foreign peoples to this village, I have to be careful about what sort of images of foreignness I am projecting onto the collective consciousness of the local population.

Either this is a very big boot, or else these are very small corn stalks . . . the truth is out there.

From certain angles, though, my garden doesn’t look that bad anymore . . . especially now that the junior high school’s potato plants have withered away, leaving my earth mounds juxtaposed against a barren waste. The squash plants seem to being doing all right, and the marigolds are holding there own.

Could it be that we shall actually eat of the fruit of my squash vines?

Also, where my potatoes once grew, I have now planted daikon. Since I am not going to apply the required chemical fertilizers, they will probably be mini-daikon, just as my potatoes were mini-potatoes and my corn is mini-corn.

The Making of Operation Bearwatch

6 min 28 sec
Compiled and Narrated by David Emery

OBW Special Edition is meant to be supplementary material to the movie, however it is still enjoyable on its own. The special features include:

-Never before seen footage
-Commentary by the Director and editor
-Actor commentary
-Behind the scenes look at the making of Operation Bearwatch
----David Emery, Monday, August 21, 2006

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Boring Movie 4: The RooTube One Month Anniversary Special

2 min 18 sec

Warning: This Movie is Boring! This is not your baby. If you do not know this baby, then don’t bother watching this video. It’s boring. Just go to the video posted a few inches below this one . . . the Keitai Cinema movie called Operation Bearwatch: The Movie. It might be boring too, but at least Keitai Cinema is supposed to be Gaijin for Life’s department of interesting videos. RooTube is our department of boring baby videos. The choice should be fairly clear to you: don’t watch this video; if you have to watch a video, watch the Keitai Cinema videos . . . or better yet, watch that Dear Gets Revenge video on Google. If you watch this video you will probably regret it for the rest of the day. By supper time you will be saying to yourself, “Man, I can’t believe I wasted 2 minutes and 18 seconds watching a stupid baby video made by some bearded lunatic in the backwoods of Japan.” Well I have news for you, mister. I warned you not to watch this video and, what’s more, if you had even a rudimentary knowledge of pogonology then you would know that “In the course of history, men with facial hair have been ascribed various attributes such as wisdom, sexual potency, or high status” and possibly a love for making cute baby videos. Oh yeah, and “also a lack of cleanliness and refinement, or an eccentric disposition.” But that last part isn’t very well documented. Besides, it has nothing to do with the reason why this video is so boring. The only reason it could possibly be boring to you is that it bores you.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Keitai Cinema 002 -- Operation Bearwatch: The Movie

5 min 27 sec
Soon to be Released

In spite of being exhausted from going on monkey patrols and shooting monkeys, the Gaijin for Life staff has completed the final cut of Keitai Cinema 002--Operation Bearwatch: The Movie. The Monkey Wars trilogy should soon follow.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Back in the Office Again

Monkey Season Has Begun for the Kazamaura Board of Education

Dave and Emi are gone. Yuko’s father left this morning. Yuko’s mother is still with us, but for the most part we are forced to return to normal life. For me, that means back to “work.” On the bright side, while I still find it necessary to carry out the normal humdrum duties of an ALT such as training selected students for the English speech contest, summer vacation means that I am able to join the board of education’s anti-primate special operations unit as a kind of reservist. Standby for Keitai Cinema 003—Shimokita Monkey Wars Episode I: The Primate Menace and (KC-004) Episode II: The Revenge of the Simians. But it gets even better! Dave and I were not idle during Dave and Emi’s 43 hour visit to Shimokita, and Gaijin for Life is in the final stages of preparation for the international release of Keitai Cinema 002—Operation Bearwatch: The Movie.

My Favourite Educational Aid
Purpose and Usage: Educating monkeys in the fundamentals of proprietary etiquette, trespassing and how it relates to gardens, human-primate relations, and the hierarchy of species.

For background information on the Shimokita Monkey Wars, please refer to In Which I Am Almost Engaged in a Board of Education Special Op but Get Thwarted by the Monkey and Simian Wars in the Wakinosawa System.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Aomori Living English Camp—Summer 2006

Far Left: Emi Kato and Dave Emery
A Special Blessing: We were going to be short staffed for English Camp because my parents didn’t have any short-term missionaries living with them this summer, but thankfully Dave Emery of tHE lIFE eMERY and Emi Kato of Emi-can (エミ缶) were visiting at the time and volunteered to fill the gap.

Dave took a small study group . . .
-Photo Courtesy of Emi Kato
. . . and Emi interpreted my father’s morning messages into Japanese in place of Yuko . . .

. . . who was quite busy.

The King and I, Word of Life Canada Version
-Photos Courtesy of Emi Kato
Dave and I used to work together at Word of Life Canada in Owen Sound where Dave was always on the program staff and I was always on the counselling staff. We hadn’t seen each other for several years, so it was really great to relive some or our great camp moments.

Other Camp Skits, Clockwise from Top Left: 1) Dave as a NYC cabdriver, 2) The Unprepared Camper skit (Sister #1 and her husband were the bikers who beat up Dave four separate times), 3) a skit about a class reunion trip to Hawaii, and 4) my own group's skit in which I got bitten by a poisonous habu (a snake native to Okinawa)
—Photos courtesy of Emi Kato

Song Time with my Mom

Elective Time . . . the “Play Board Games and Stuff” Option

Aomori Living English Camp, Summer 2006—Aomori Christian Centre (a.k.a. Moya Camp)

The first time my family went to Moya Camp I was four, so the place has a special place in my heart. When I was about six, my parents started helping out at English Camp (we called it English Seminar back then) and it became one of my favourite times of the year because a) everybody spoke English, b) there were other white people there (that was very special for me when I was six) and c) TEA TIME. I was only allowed two “biscuits”, but Curtis Olsen was younger than me and I would send him on secret cookie hunts from the safety of the stairwell. My nemesis was a middle-aged Australian aunty who would send Curty back to me with no cookies and an evil message. Now I am on staff and I can have all the cookies I want, but somehow I don’t seem to want them so much anymore.

For more information about Aomori Living English Camp, checkout the English camp homepage.