Monday, November 26, 2007


No pain...

Woke this morning and weighed myself: came in at a trim 75.4 kilos, which is at least a kilo lighter than I have been any time I've weighed myself in the last two years.

What's the secret of my successful streamlining? Well, could be the violent attack of food poisoning I suffered last night, that had me launching rusty water out of both ends. To make matters worse, I was staying at a friend's apartment. I don't know if his wife's going to allow him to have any more visitors any time soon.



Smelling pistakes: another happy memory of childhood

Sally McKeown (aka my mum), casts an eye over the profane graffiti on the bedroom wall, then turns to face the two potential culprits: Daniel and Katelyn, both very young indeed.

MUM: Daniel, how do you spell "bugger?"

ME: (Slowly, but accurately) Er, B-U-G-G-E-R

MUM: Ok. Katelyn, how do you spell "bugger?"

KATE: (looking panicky) B-U-G-E-R?

Mum has another look at the scrawl on the wall. It reads:


MUM: Katelyn, clean this wall.


Whilst my sister Katelyn and I are very much alike in most respects, there are a couple of key differences between us.

Firstly, she always had more problems with authority than I did.

Secondly, I'm better at spelling.

And thus justice was served.

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Picture this

Bog-Irish Mick, barlord of Murphy's bog-standard Irish bar confided in me that one time, on the infamous Osaka loop-line party, the erstwhile highlight of halloween in this grey city, he threw up over the head of a child.

Whilst dressed as a priest.


"Honest to God, Dan. Biggest sin of my life."


Saturday, November 24, 2007


You got stalkermail!

YOKOHAMA--A 41-year-old woman in Ota, Gunma Prefecture, was arrested Tuesday on suspicion of violating the Antistalking Law by continuously sending e-mails to leading trampolinist Daisuke Nakata asking him to become her boyfriend, police said.

According to the police, former teacher Yuko Osawa ignored a previous warning from the police to stop stalking Nakata, and sent 11 e-mails to him from July 17 to Nov. 6. The e-mails included messages urging him to drop charges against her.

Nakata, 33, won the All Japan Trampoline Championships for seven consecutive years from 1995 to 2001.

From around 2000, Osawa attended every tournament held in Japan and overseas that Nakata participated in, and also went to the places he stayed during each competition. She allegedly made various requests to him, including asking him to marry her.

Woman held for stalking trampoline champion
The Yomiuri Shimbun, Nov. 22, 2007


Got the inevitable "friend request" on Facebook a few weeks back: "Stalky McNew-surname would like you to be her friend." Er, sure- why not have my gmail address and a list of places where I change trains as well?

I have to admire the woman's boundless optimism when it comes to Dan-stalker relations. Don't think I'll be clicking that "accept" button though.

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Sunday, November 18, 2007


Taking the rusk, part II

Note: this post is dedicated to Andrew "Rosenthal" Talbot, formerly of Real Osaka, whose kind heart, filthy mouth and villainous antics made me laugh through good times and bad. Wish you could have been here to laugh at Gamble with us, Mince.


Had a nice little diversion yesterday: playing for Murphys in a 7-a-side football tournament in Kobe, hosted by KRAC (Kobe Regatta and Athletics Club.) Our list of players for the tourny looked pretty decent, so I was hopeful of a bit of silverware.

The day started well: emphatic victories over our first bunch two opponents and I got a couple of goals. One in particular, a completely mishit lob, which the keeper misread and ducked under, left me with the impression that it was going to be my lucky day.

Roll on the crunch match against the Osaka Jets.

Key points in the build-up to the match:

1. Murphys are not my first team: my first team is Real Osaka. I play for Murphys when I get the chance though.

2. Likewise Mark Bailey, Real Osaka full back, was wearing the green of Murphys and doing a damn fine job.

3. Gamble, on the other hand, our erstwhile teammate, had thrown his lot in with the Jets and their fruity pink kit.

Key moments in the match:

1. Gamble, playing in goal for the Jets, fields a cross, rolls the ball out in front of him, and pegs it out of his penalty area (Mince, you can probably see how this is going to end up already). Having made a lot of ground he plays the ball up the line to his right winger. Dan intercepts the ball and, from the touchline, employs the old hit-and-hope with his trusty left peg. Ball sails over the stranded Gamble, curling gently in the crisp November air, and sneaks inside the post. 1-0 Murphys, Dan contemplating another "taking the piss" award; Gamble contemplating another "thanks for coming" award.

2. Ball comes into the Jets area, Gamble stranded again, Yutaka fires home. 2-0 Murphys. Pink kit does look nice, though.

3. Final whistle.

This result secured the trophy for Murphys and my goal got me the MVP award, although, when the MC was reading out the names of the MVPs from each team, mine was given as "Dan the twat." Still, a free pint and something to hold over Gamble's head for a while.


Readers beware: Real Osaka web page coming soon!

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Contemporary interviewing techniques

Big day on Friday: an interview for an ALT position covering various schools in the Playagawa area (props: VMM).

I arrived twenty minutes early, went for some convenience store coffee and made it back with the impression that the uniform Circle K employees are rocking may even be more horrible than that of their Daily Yamazaki counterparts.

First of all, I got chucked into a room with a few question sheets: one grammar/spelling quiz, a sheet of questions on Japanese culture and a self-evaluation psychology quiz (which came with a bibliography of which self-help books you can send off for once you've pigeon-holed yourself.)

This latter was a bit of a joke. By answering a series of closed questions, I was supposed to identify myself as either a Thinker or a Feeler. Sample question:

Do you prefer writers who:

a. Say what they think

b. Use symbolism and metaphor

WTF? I thought. How anyone can be expected to draw up a psychological profile based on this kind of non-data is entirely beyond me. How about changing the question to:

Do you prefer writers who:

a. Are mediocre to the last degree, but at least provide children with some decent, sterile morality, eg. Enid Blyton

b. Are absolute geniuses, but prefer sodomy to more biblically-acceptable forms of sexual intercourse, eg. Christopher Marlowe

It was once I got to the unexpectedly tricky marking scheme that the penny dropped: the whole purpose of the exercise was to test how thorough I was at marking test results. Suitably impressed with my insight, I double checked my marking and was rewarded when I found that I had recorded one of my answers incorrectly.


Non-threatening interviewer (hereafter NTI) finally comes in to see if I've finished my mountain of paperwork.

NTI: How did you go? The psychology test is pretty time-consuming isn't it?

DAN: Yes... was that by any chance to test how thorough I was at marking?

NTI: Oh no, we prefer our teachers to be the "Feeler" type: they're generally better with children.

DAN: Oh.

Silently laments the fact that his test score identifies him as a hard-nosed rationalist roundheaad. I knew that bloody test couldn't be trusted.


Fortunately, my demonstration lesson went off without a hitch and I did ok on the Japanese roleplay. If the worst comes to the worst, I've got another interview Wednesday morning. Fingers crossed!


Thursday, November 08, 2007


So THAT'S why the girls don't stay

Been in the net cafe for almost two hours, sent off any number of job applications, been rude to people on Facebook, nothing left to do.

I know, why not read the spam folder on my gmail?

Here's my top ten first lines.

Hi ya daniel.mckeown every guy wants big dick and so do you maribeth Drelicharz Nov 6
hello darling danielmckeown i think your taking the small penis thing way too lightly, it needs … Nov 6
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Great stuff. I may have to check how my spam filter works though: half of these were from my mother.



Job opening for English teacher

YOKOHAMA -- A drunk high school teacher who exposed his private parts on a train Wednesday night was arrested after hitting a station worker who attempted to question him, police said Thursday.

Masato Sato, 45, who teaches English at Meguro Gakuin High School, stands accused of assault.

Sato admitted to exposing his private parts on the train and also hitting the station worker. Police are considering hitting him with indecent exposure charges.

At around 8:10 p.m. on Wednesday, a passenger on a Tokyu Railway Denen-Toshi Line train notified the conductor that a man was exposing his private parts, according to investigators. Alerted by the conductor, a worker at Azamino Station in Aoba-ku, Yokohama, asked Sato to come to a station office for questioning. The suspect then hit the worker in the face.

Sato attempted to escape, but the station worker overpowered him and handed him over to police officers. Sato was on his way home after drinking with a colleague.

Teacher who flashed private parts on train arrested after hitting station worker
Mainichi News

So there you have it folks, an English teaching vacancy opening up in Yokohama for anyone with enough self-restraint not to get their cock out on the train.

Sadly, this excludes me as Mr Craig Gamble will testify. If anyone else fancies trying to jump in this guy's grave, go for it!

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Tuesday, November 06, 2007


Nocturnal symptoms

Dream tomfoolery and possible interpretations: last night, I dreamed I was in a passenger jet being piloted by the unlikely combination of Melinda Messenger and Gary Barlow.

Unlikely, not to mention inauspicious.

Melinda Messenger, as one might expect, proved to be absolutely duff at the piloting game, losing control and sending the jet into a nasty tailspin. Fortunately, Gary Barlow proved to be a dab hand at the emergency landing. The plane was a write-off, but the passengers were unscathed.

Potential interpretations of this dream:

1. Dan has some pretty retrograde views about women in charge of machinery buried in his subconscious

2. Dan's sanity is now officially at melting point

3. Gary really was the talented one out of Take That


Monday, November 05, 2007


Counting the small victories, still waiting for the big one

And so the wait continues: mail today from bug-eyed psychopath staff (she means well) states that Avon will not be choosing its sponsor until the 8th (Thursday), which means that I certainly won't be seeing any of the money they owe me this week.

That said, financial salvation beckons in the unlikely form of one of my (ex?) students, who will be paying me cash in hand for a lesson tomorrow.

Potential drawbacks:

1. I'm not charging enough.

2. Given the inconvenient location and attendant travel costs, I'm definitely not charging enough.

3. Given that the student in question is none other than HK legend "Deady McHusband" (nickname derived from her favourite conversation topic: her dead husband), I'm definitely, definitely not charging enough.

That said, I'm not feeling too trapped between days: Monday has been a day of small victories.

First of all, I paid my bills without waiting for any of my utilities to be cut off first.

Secondly, I got my pain-in-the-neck computer to actually run a functional Japanese dictionary program. I celebrated this quantum leap in academic potential by neglecting my studies for the rest of the afternoon and playing computer pinball until I finally managed to force the obscene entry I made while drunk off the high score table.

Thirdly, I got my test voucher for this year's Japanese proficiency test: rather than having to hoof it out to the unlovely Osaka University campus I've visited twice before, I'll be taking the test in Owada, which is on my usual train route and much better for my inner calm.

Came to the net cafe after 5km on the treadmill at the gym and found that someone's finally offering me a job interview! Took you long enough, dumbasses!

(Bad news is that the interviewing company make Avon look like a human rights organisation, according to what I've read about them on the internet. Still, Rome wasn't built in a day.)


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