Friday, June 22, 2007


Neutral this

"If Switzerland's neutral, why does it need an army? And why do they need such a good knife?"

"...and at this point, I thought I was never going to stop laughing..."


Right after Adam had said his piece regarding the insidious Swiss, the image of The Swiss Army Gun appeared in my head.

The Swiss Army Gun would be capable of firing:


Those flimsy metal chairs that are always conveniently lying around ringside at pro wrestling bouts

Bengal Tigers

Argumentative lawyers in cheap suits

Hand grenades


Horses with no stones stuck in their hooves

Hydrochloric acid



Hot gravel

Sleepy wasps

Boar spears


Former leaders of the Conservative Party

Expensive cars with drunk eight-year olds at the wheel

Two bowling balls, joined with an eight-foot length of piano wire


Adam's idea: it would also have The Flag That Says "Bang!" for people who are surrendering.

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Thursday, June 21, 2007


No news is good news

The Economy, Trade and Industry Ministry said Wednesday it ordered N Corp., the nation's largest English language school chain, to suspend for six months its recruitment of customers for new contracts of more than one year or 70 lesson hours, starting Thursday.

According to sources, the ministry has concluded N's practice of telling prospective customers they can reserve classes at any time they choose, even though classes at certain times on some days are difficult to book, constitutes giving a "false account" of the company's services and violates the Specified Commercial Transaction Law.

The Yomiuri Shinbun


Just recently, amongst the various fyis, faqs and not-quite apologies that have been available for students on the front desk, there has also been a booklet of press clippings about the company, dating way back.

I purloined one for Japanese reading practice. It wasn't particularly racy stuff: just drivel about speech contests and whatnot.

If they made one from this year's press clippings it would be awesome. The company's name has popped up in the press innumerable times and the only occasion when it wasn't linked to some kind of wrongdoing was when it was about the teacher who was murdered in Chiba prefecture.


Edit: Having finished the above post, I logged on to the Yomiuri. Lo and behold, what did I find?

N Corp. in Osaka, the nation's largest English school chain, won a public tender for an Osaka Municipal Board of Education program to dispatch assistant language teachers to municipal middle schools in spring 2006 with a price matching the closed ceiling price of 54,850,200 yen, The Yomiuri Shimbun has learned.

A board official said the matching prices were purely coincidental. The board, however, plans to investigate whether information about the tender had been leaked, since the bids matched within a margin of only 100 yen.

Can't we go 10 minutes without some kind of scandal? 10 minutes? Is that too much to ask?

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Dealing with that Doris Day

The man in the high castle was waxing murderous about the girl in his local supermarket. Misanthrope that he is, he's not fond of people trying out their English on him when he's not on the clock. (For those of you back home, a lot of English teachers in Japan get this way after a while.)

Anywhoops, when comrade goes to pay, the girl in the supermarket will always ask him if he wants his parking validated. This not only stinks of smart-aleckry, but is made doubly fatuous, he claims, by the fact that she always sees him arrive on his beaten-up bike.

Therefore, readers, let's have some suggestions for suitably caustic responses that'll put the fun back in grocery shopping for homeboy, and put Doris Day in her place.

Here's mine:

SHE: Would you like to have your parking validated?

HE: No, I'd like to have my visa revoked.

SHE: ?


Wes's suggestion!

SHE: Would you like to have your parking validated?

HE: No, I"d like to have my groceries bagged.

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Friday, June 15, 2007


The return of the native 2007

Big news: I'll be back in England from the 5th to the 17th of July. Anyone who can grab some free time to party with that man Dan from Japan: come one, come all.

Bad news is I'll be flying in aboard the airborne Expoland rollercoaster of death that is KLM.

Watch the skies!



10 injured as KLM plane hits turbulence, goes into free fall
By The Yomiuri Shimbun

OSAKA, Japan — Ten people aboard a KLM Royal Dutch Airlines plane heading to Japan's Kansai Airport suffered injuries after the plane hit air turbulence at about 33,000 feet above St. Petersburg, Russia, early today. The Boeing 777-200 plane, carrying 276 passengers and crew members from Amsterdam, continued its flight after the 12:43 a.m. incident and made a safe landing about eight hours later at Kansai Airport in Osaka.

There was no damage to the airplane. Seven passengers in their 40s to 60s, including five women, and three Dutch crew members, suffered minor injuries.

According to passengers, the plane began pitching soon after an announcement was made instructing passengers to fasten their seat belts. After the announcement, the plane reportedly went into a free fall, causing some passengers to hit their heads on the ceiling.

The pitching lasted for about three minutes, scattering food and drinks that burned some passengers. A male doctor among the passengers reportedly attended to the injured.

Kiyoko Nishikawa, 62, of Shimamotocho, Japan, who suffered head injuries, was returning from a 10-day vacation.

"I felt the plane rolling and free falling," she said. "People screamed, and wine splashed on the ceiling. A flying cup and a plate fell on my head."

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Thursday, June 14, 2007


1478, the Winter of Discontent

Don't have two pieces of brass to bang together? So tired that every time you sit down you might not be able to get back up? Then you be shoulder-deep in the 1400s, my son, and will need this month's prize selection from youtube to aleviate that pre-payday Winter of Discontent

Sega Saturn shiro...
Yubi ga oreru made!

(Until your fingers break!)

"Did you film it?"


Monday, June 04, 2007


Nice going... CARD!

Real Osaka, avec poncy new Valencia rip-off kits from Thailand, took a trip up to Nagano at the weekend for the Eastern Japan ALT football tournament. I drank half a bottle of whisky in the car on the way up, which took some of the sting out of the seven-hour journey from Osaka, via Nagoya (twice).

Due to drop outs and injury, we were reduced to 11 players, but were still able to make the semi-finals, where we lost 1-0. We played seven games over the weekend and were fairly well knackered after the tournament.

Highlights of the tournament:

1. My customary janken (paper-scissors-stone for those of you who've not played Alex Kidd in Miracle World) mastery. I warned the British Embassy captain that I was a master of janken, instructed him to look me in the eye, beat him with a well-selected scissors, then announced that we would take kick off over my shoulder as I strode contemptuously away. Wonderful theatre.

2. My second-ever yellow card, awarded for a clumsy challenge from behind in the 2nd round. This happened early in the game, so I should have been on my best behaviour after that. On the contrary, I went in for an almost identical challenge right before half time. To my horror, the referee had his whistle halfway to his mouth, but I made contact with the ball this time and avoided a red.

3. Spectacular injuries! I had so much blood trapped under one of my toenails that it fairly squirted out when I went to work with the nail clippers this morning.

And it just happens that we have another tournament next weekend in Awaji, so I'd best recuperate pretty fast.

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