Thursday, November 30, 2006


Further Carter USM nostalgia

For any of you who, even in the light of my recent post about Carter the Unstoppable Sex Machine, didn't race out and buy their b-sides album from your local record store, here's a song of theirs that's been stuck in my head all day, for no apparent reason.

Put your hands on your head.
Get out the van
Simple Simon says.

Get out the van and stretch your legs
Simple Simon says.

He says,
You are weak
and I am strong-
and it won't take long...

That was how the story went-
they found her face down in the Trent.
Battered, broken, bruised and bent,
I guess God gave her up for Lent.
She was weak and he was strong;
It didn't take that long.

It didn't take that long...

This is her song.

Do you remember the date of birth
of the salt and pepper of the earth?
Starry eyed and twinkle toes,
Mother's pride and Daddy's nose.
She packed her satchel, brushed her teeth
and left for Blackpool Pleasure Beach.
On the helter skelter with a stick of rock,
in her mother's little helper frock.

Get off the streets and do in now-
You've got to get yourself some firepower.

Na Na Na Na Na
This is her song.

Her song
Carter USM


Poetry in the unlikeliest places

Riding up Sakaisuji to Kitahama station, previous night's liquid consumption thumping in my ears, sandpaper behind my eyes.

Suddenly I found myself riding between fallen hand towels, all neatly rolled and in their clear wrapper, strewn across the road like petals on Ophelia's coffin. I guess that one of the hand towel vans was involved in some kind of mishap.

It was strangely beautiful. Like the first snowfall of the year.

I went to work and busied myself handing out the black spot to the my colleagues. Some of them really earned it today.

Friday, November 24, 2006


Real football

For football fans who, like me, despaired of the abundance of violence, conniving and gamesmanship during the World Cup; here's the chance to see the real thing.

The first weekend of December will see Real Osaka attempting to defend their trophy for the second time on the green, green grass of Awaji shima.

And here's our group draw!

Group A

Osaka Cinquecento
AC Kokusai Nagoya
Real Osaka

The most interesting point about this is the grudge match it allows us with Osaka Cinquecento (a collection of gaijin from the multimedia centre, named after a particularly squalid bar in Shinsaibashi.)

To scout out the opposition, I went drinking with a couple of them last night. Unfortunately, my espionage was not at its best; I got very drunk and kept insisting that they kick our manager, Tricky.

In order to redeem myself, I hauled ass to the gym this morning and ran off 10 km on the treadmill, spiced up with varying degrees of steepness (the machine has a button which says "hill" in Japanese) and the effects of the previous night's liquid dinner sloshing about in my stomach.

Dan passes 5.5 km, breathing hard. Sudden panic registers on his face as gas levels reach critical. Glancing around, he confirms that the other patrons of the gym are all wearing earphones. Then, without, breaking stride, he lets out a horrendous fart that sounds like a dinosaur's dying breath.

The stench also has much of the Jurassic about it, but this is of no concern; it is unlikely that anyone would be bold enough to pass comment and even if they did, the chicken that crows loudest is the one that has laid the egg, ce n'est pas?


Carter, take a bow

Exhibit F, the reporters said
loved you to death after the watershed
Between the Open University and closedown
you were dead

He'd warmed your cockles with his magic tricks
glasses, bottles, bottles, filter tips
John Player Special
Number 666

Exhibit G from the family firm
his bride-to-be taking twisted turns
To give you French kisses
and Chinese burns

You see, she'd had a skinful and she couldn't stop
like a pitbull in a china shop
And all the King's social workers, the ghurkas and the cops
couldn't love you back to life again now

A black eye for a black eye, a chipped tooth for a chipped tooth
a fraction of a half life some housework and some home truths
And nothing but the home truth

And it's goodbye Ruby Tuesday
Come home you silly cow
We've baked a cake and your friends are waiting
and David Icke says he'd like to show us how
to love you back to life again now

After The Watershed (Early Learning The Hard Way)
by Carter USM


There was a time when, if you'd asked me to name my favourite band, Carter the Unstoppable Sex Machine would have been the first name out of my mouth before I'd even thought about it.

That was a long time ago.

I mentioned Carter in school yesterday and nobody remembered. One guy even asked me if I was making the name up. Worse still, everyone remembered one-hit trouser snakes EMF. Unbelievable.

I remember, though. I remember Jim Bob on stage at Coventry University calling the students "wankers" to a huge cheer. I remember owning that awesome video of their gig in Zagreb. I remember the last time I saw them being a huge disappointment and the fact that they weren't even enjoying it any more being plain for all to see.

Just the last week or so, I've been spending a lot of time listening to their greatest hits album, The Straw Donkey. They'd probably be pretty cheesed off if they read this page: apparently they hated having to make a greatest hits album.

I guess your heroes can't be your heroes forever. Sooner or later, you have to be your own hero.


Carter vs Placebo deathmatch!

Not dead ringers, obviously, but some striking similarities:

1. Punk music with a pop influence

2. Lyrics riddled with puns and twisted meaning

3. Singer has a really annoying voice

Wednesday, November 22, 2006


'Tis the season for fire safety

I have a new favourite advertising poster, beating that of a rival English franchise into second place: this Autumn`s fire safety poster in Vivre.

anata no kokoro no
chuui no hi

Extinguish it not:
the fire of caution
which burns in your heart.

A quick net search revealed that this slogan is all over Japan. I hope to have an image up soon.


Kids- don't set fires. Cut yourselves.
Rejected slogan from idiot Brother's public-awareness play. Copyright Dan.


Silly buggers

The three snorkels broke the surface of the ocean, tiny specks far off the Pacific coast of Costa Rica, and at a steady clip skimmed towards the United States.

Six feet beneath the waves throbbed a vessel like no other, a 15-metre (49ft) long wood and fibreglass submarine carrying a fortune in cocaine and a crew with a mission improbable.

Taking turns to breathe through the PVC pipes jutting over the waves, the four smugglers were risking a vast expanse of sea, US and central American coastguard patrols, and the possibility their home-made U-boat would disintegrate.

Six feet under the ocean, a sub with snorkels - and cocaine worth £47m
The Guardian
Tuesday November 21, 2006


And I thought stuffing it up your backside was a poor strategy. Which it is.


Tuesday, November 21, 2006


My lucky day in Hell

Awoke with a nasty jolt today: was it my imagination or had it been an uncommonly long time since my first alarm?

A glance was enough to confirm my suspicions: my second alarm hadn't gone off, it was 9:15 am and I was due in class at 10 am. I was pretty impressed with myself for waking up while I still had a fighting chance to make it in on time and avoid the ignominy and financial ramifications of a late penalty. Despite the urgency of my departure, I decided that it must be my lucky day.

Holding onto that thought, I sprinted out of the door without the time-consuming and tiresome ritual of putting on underwear. I figured that, unless it turned out to be the mother of all lucky days, no one would be looking in my trousers.

A world-record time up Sakai suji and no serious collisions even afforded me the luxury of a pit stop at a convenience store before I jumped on the train. Better was to follow: a blunder with the schedule meant that I was able to get a free second lesson in which to gather my thoughts.

When the head honcho showed up, I told him about my serious of jacksy windfalls. "It's all coming up Dan," he observed, although what he meant by this is a mystery to me.

As if to prove the point, he started sorting through our cupboards and clearing out old CDs; lo and behold, what turned up?

A copy of The Best of New Order, that's what. And now it's my copy.

How did life ever get this good?


Vermin of the sky and pests of the pavement

Aah, diddums

Yeah, so the sign says (as even the non Japanese-dekiru amongst you may be able to gather): DON'T FEED THE SODDING PIGEONS.

It mentions the inconvenience and general badness of having pigeon cack lying around all over the show. Meanwhile, the pigeon protests that it is in danger of becoming unable to live independently of humans.

There are two approaches to the pigeon question: the wrong approach (as demonstrated above) and, of course, the Dan approach.

image by Dan

Monday, November 13, 2006


Red rage

Had a bit of a moment playing football yesterday. Picture Dan improving on the team's usual black and red colour scheme by sporting a very nice Chairman Mao t-shirt in said hues.

Picture new Japanese player grabbing a handful of said t-shirt whilst trying to get the ball past Dan.

In fairness to the lad, he did get the ball past me rather nicely. He didn't get very far, however; shirt pulling has always been one of my pet hates and I wasn't in the mood for letting some Japanese urchin in a faux Brazil top take liberties with the glorious leader (or with Mao, for that matter.)

Turning faster than I have in many a moon, I took a huge bounding stride after the shirt-tugging fashion victim, before wiping him out with a full-blooded slide which resulted in him crashing down on the nasty "dry play" rubbish we have to play on.

The would-be Rivaldo took it in good spirit, I'll admit; getting to his feet, he complimented me with the words "nice fight" (used as we'd use "good hussle.") I still allowed myself some satisfaction at how he shook and bled.

This incident also went some way towards compensating me for getting knocked over earlier and landing on a manhole cover which had lain concealed beneath the layer of sandy grit. I'm beginning to wonder what it would be like to live in a developed country again.

Friday, November 10, 2006


The end times are here; you'd better not shout, you'd better not cry...

A young woman's rooftop suicide bid in Germany sparked a mass brawl between spectators encouraging the 21-year-old to jump and a group of homeless people trying to protect her, authorities said Tuesday.

The homeless people were angered when some teenagers in the crowd of hundreds started yelling to the woman she should throw herself from the roof of the town hall of the southwestern town of Loerrach, said police spokesman Dietmar Ernst.

"The homeless people started shouting at the kids not to say that, using some strong language," Ernst said. "Morally speaking though, the homeless people were in the right."

A punch-up involving around 40 people then ensued, during which time police managed to coax the woman back indoors -- three and a half hours after her ordeal began.

Some 35 officers, six of whom were injured during the fight, were needed to break it up. Eight participants were arrested, most of them school children aged between 16 and 19.

Ernst said he was doubtful that the brawl, which involved at least one girl, had stopped the woman from jumping.

"She was about 70 metres (230 feet) up and probably wouldn't have seen much of what was going on," he said.

Suicide bid sparks punch-up among spectators
Reuters Tuesday Nov 7, 2006

Suggested further reading on the subject of suicide baiting


Damn, I thought. If the above scenario wasn't mentioned in the Book Of Revelation as one of the omens of the end times, then it should have been.

I checked out the entry for Revelation on Wikipedia and was further alarmed to discover the following.

In the 4th century, St. John Chrysostom and other bishops argued against including this book in the New Testament canon, chiefly because of the difficulties of interpreting it and the danger for abuse. Christians in Syria also reject it because of the Montanists' heavy reliance on it. In the 9th century, it was included with the Apocalypse of Peter among "disputed" books in the Stichometry of St. Nicephorus, Patriarch of Constantinople. In the end it was included in the accepted canon, although it remains the only book of the New Testament that is not read within the Divine Liturgy of the Eastern Orthodox Church.

suck my nuts u s.o.b

DAMN! The end times were evidently even closer at hand than I'd originally thought if Revelation was pumping out the word of Satan.

Considering myself a good citizen, I edited the Wikipedia page, purged the word of the infidel and resisted the urge to embellish the entry further with my own theories about Armageddon.

Armageddon scenario #1: Student books into Dan's free lesson. Dan flies into an angry rage and destroys the entire universe.

Armageddon scenario #2: Mr Craig Gamble offers some insightful comment into Dan's footballing weak points during a tight match. Dan crams entire universe into the boot of a stolen car and drives it off a cliff.

Armageddon scenario #3: Dan stops to ask a policeman for directions. Policeman asks to see Dan's alien registration card. Dan swallows entire universe, then disgorges it into a wood chipper.


Friday, November 03, 2006


NY: weathering the storm

Woe is me, I checked my schedule for today before I went home last night (via the bar) and it looked bad, bad, bad: a broken up mess of a day, rounded off with the chance to renew my acquaintance with NY (click here if you need to refresh your memory) in my penultimate lesson. Worse still, I had Voice before, which is exactly where the turd was bound to be killing time before his latest, ahem, venture into the realm of, ah, English conversation.

Woe is me, for this proved to be just as I'd expected.

As usual, it was an awful lot of, ahem, verbosity and not a great deal of reward for an English teacher who'd just spent 40 minutes trying vainly to persuade a group of four ten year olds that kicking each other between the legs is not in the best interests of remedying their country's declining birth rate.

NY was waxing protracted about his family's new car, which, for some reason, they allow him to drive.

"...But the other day, mm, I was actually on the highway, in fact, and I passed the car in front, I felt it could accelerate much more, mm-mm, smoothly than my old car."

(Notice the abused "my" there; I never use "my" to describe anything that's, ahem, actually, my Mum's.)

So I asked NY how fast he'd driven this raw, throbbing, penis-extension, ahem, beast of a car.

He told me 120 kmph and mentioned, ah, in passing that this was the fastest he'd ever driven. Er, actually.

I wrote this down on the board, next to my own modest record of 135 mph.

NY said that 135 mph "seemed" to be faster than 120 kmph. I took a time out to have a quick inner dialogue with Albert Einstein, who is always right there when I need him:

DAN: Larger unit of measurement and a larger number; he says it "seems" to be faster.

EINSTEIN: Yes. That's because, actually, as you know, NY is a sweaty arse picker.

DAN: Ah, so.

My day was made complete when, as I had also suspected would be the case, this page's Japanese readership waltzed through the door and had to struggle to suppress a fit of giggles when she saw who I was locking horns with; doubly so when she found out that I was teaching him in the next class as well.

I taught him weather. That's right: weather.

Desperate times call for desperate measures.


Disclaimer: the author of this page always drives his Mum's car.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006


You know you've been in Japan too long when...

Via our e-mail correspondent

scene: 9.30am, i (a) is helping mr. shinji tanaka (s) with his airline class. i sit down in a group of 5 girls to practice english conversation. i have had better mornings.

a: hey haruka, how are you?
h: fine
a: (waits for not coming 'and you?') great, how was your weekend?
h: great
a: (ditto) what did you do?
h: i went shopping?
a: where did you go?
h: the supermarket
a: what did you buy?

h: food

a: (a moments thought) haruka, you are comfortably in my top 5 most boring people ive ever met. and that includes canadians.

s: mr. andrew, i want to speak to you outside now please.
a: (stands up) haruka, i go to the supermarket everyday love!

s: now andy.

yeah, another good day at the office!


Included in its original, unabridged form with thanks to Andy for making me laugh so hard I nearly widdled myself and with my heartfelt prayers that he has a better day at the office tomorrow.

A note to my Canadian readers: the author of this page wishes it to be known that he does not perceive Canadians to be boring; merely loud.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to put on a tin helmet and pull the duvet over my head.

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