Not Everybody’s Happy With the Bitches

Those of you who know me will know that I am currently in my last semester at Rutgers University, in New Brunswick, New Jersey. As one of the oldest institutions of higher learning in the former colonies of North America, Rutgers has a long history of largely forgotten traditions; her many accomplishments range all the way from inventing the game of American Football to losing more matches of said game than almost any other school in the country. And now, one of the Raritan’s most noble traditions is under attack.

As the Rutgers student newspaper, The Daily Targum reported a week ago (2/11)

The Grease Trucks, a staple of University life, were forced to cover up several of the items on their menus last night in order to comply with University rules following complaints of harassment and inappropriate sandwich names.

The cluster of fast-food trucks – which open at 6 p.m. and close early in the morning – have been the source of food for Rutgers students, staff and faculty alike on College Avenue.

The complaints have mainly come from members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered community at the University, who said they have experienced a different side of the trucks – one they see as being homophobic and intolerant toward sexual minorities on campus.

Read rest of article here

Not all students are as joyous about the censorship as the complainers.

A Grease Truck worker – who wished to be identified as “Mr. C” – was visibly upset yesterday about covering up certain names on his truck.

“I’m very upset. We’re all very upset,” he said. “I’ve been selling [Fat] Bitches for 14 years.”

John Graney, assistant director of Operations at Parking and Transportation Services, asked Mr. C to cover up the names as soon as possible.

But Mr. C said he has never had a complaint about the menu names.

“Everybody’s happy with the Bitches,” he said.

Read rest of article here

This has apparently made its way into the ‘serious’ New York City area television broadcast news, so I’ve decided to provide some coverage of it myself, presented Masamania style.
Click below for a series of photographs.

The trucks.
Continue reading Not Everybody’s Happy With the Bitches

French lessons: French must sell arms to the Chinese now.. or else

Our good friend Saru the White Wizard recently had this to say about reports of French Defense Minister Michele Alliot-Marie defending arms sales to China:

No time to write this up as a blog, so if any of you want to pick it
up, have at it.

I don’t think any of you know this, but I can speak a little bit of French. Or at least, I can understand a little bit of it. For example, I read in the FT this morning that the French Minister of Defense, one Michele Alliot-Marie (Condi, she ain’t) told an FT reporter:

“The lifting of the [EU arms] embargo could be a better protection forus than maintaining it… China is rapidly developing its industry, and today our experts say that in five years China could make exactly the same arms that we have today. And they will do it if they cannot
imports. So maybe if we can sell them arms, they will not make them. And in five years’ time, they will not have the technology to make them.”

English translation: “If we don’t hurry and sell the Chinese arms, think of all the business we’ll lose out on!”

Is this woman fucking serious? First of all, in what way does China threaten France such that it needs “better protection.” And who the hell is this “us” to whom she refers?

And isn’t her logic flawless? “If we sell them arms, they won’t make them. And, the won’t have the technology to make them” Great idea! Only one small problem – the technology won’t matter because they’ll already have the arms!

Maybe if the French had just given Sadam chemical, biological, or nuclear arms years ago, he wouldn’t have tried to make them, and then this whole nasty war could have been avoided.

Anyone who thought that absurdism died with Ionesco (and yes, I know he was Romanian, but the French at him up) has a lot to be excited about with someone like this making public statements.

I mean hey, don’t they say, “give a man a gun, he kills for a day, teach a man to make guns, he kills for a lifetime?” Makes perfect sense if you think in terms of axioms.
Continue reading French lessons: French must sell arms to the Chinese now.. or else

No beer and no gyudon make ossan go crazy!

Last year, after Yoshinoya ran out of its famous gyudon (see here for background), there were multiple cases of ossan (middle-aged men) getting violent and demanding their beef bowls. It seemed as though these men couldn’t understand just what was going on and were hurt by the change.

Well, last week those wounds were ripped open as Yoshinoya resurrected its long-absent gyudon — for one day only in commemoration of the first anniversary of the ban (一年ぶりに、一日だけ). I don’t know where they got the beef, but it was a momentous day that brought people out of the woodwork to get their hands on that sweet beefy goodness. And right on cue, some people got way too excited about it and did stupid shit like this:
Car crash
The headline: Car crashes into Yoshinoya on “gyudon resurrection day”

The arrows point to people “still eating” despite the fact that they were almost killed by a runaway car. That’s dedication, folks.
Continue reading No beer and no gyudon make ossan go crazy!

Spam in Japanese part 2 いろんな迷惑メールその2


“Nice to meet you. I’m Yukari. You were looking for a sex friend, right? Mind if I apply? Umm, I have a boyfriend, but he’s not satisfying me, so please become my fuck buddy. It looks like we live close to each other, so first of all I’d like to confirm our sexual compatibility. Here’s a simple profile:
Sagara Yukari (My real name, but the kanji are secret for now lol, 24 years old, work as a telephone operator. My 3 sizes (bust, waist, hip?) are 92-61-88 (cm), and my breast are G-cup (about a D in American sizes). I’m kind of like an albino, so if you prefer tanned gyaru then you might not like me. Umm, I’m kind of a masochist when it comes to sexual habits… That’s why I’m a little unsatisfied when I have sex with my boyfriend. I’d like soft SM, like where you’d tease me by inserting from the back, or taking me on dates in a miniskirt with no panties, how about it?
Or are you looking for a normal sex friend who isn’t a masochist woman? Um, anyway I await your reply☆”

It’s written well enough so that someone with their guard down might actually respond. Click “Read the rest” to see the original Japanese.
Continue reading Spam in Japanese part 2 いろんな迷惑メールその2


Bringing together Adamu’s post on nostalgia and mine on the wide world of cola, I bring you CCCP Cola. I saw a bottle of this in the supermarket in Almaty, when I was in Kazakhstan, and just had to try it. I asked our local host about it and found that despite the name it was actually created after the fall of the USSR as a nostalgia product. For the curious, it certainly tastes as if it were brewed before Communism fell, perhaps when Stalin was still alive-and aged in Lenin’s formaldyde-preserved armpit. And no, it isn’t in the Cola Database. Maybe I should write them a review.

Also have a gander at this awesome Kazak bar that Curzon, Saru and I saw while we were there.


The General Theory of Nostalgia

Nostalgia has been a recent theme of several sites I frequent.

First up is the puzzling surge in Soviet nostalgia among the former Socialist bloc. He and MF witnessed it firsthand in Kazakhstan. Why on earth would people wish for the days of Stalin, when, for example, millions of political dissidents were killed and fear reigned the day? Curzon posits that “many feel they have lost their national pride, and they want it back.”

Now, what is meant by nostalgia? Curzon talks of nostalgia on a national level: a combination of the older population feeling nostalgia individually for things Soviet, and the youth who yearn for what their grandparents told them of their nation’s history.

Then we have Dr. David Thorpe, reknowned music snob, feeling nostalgia about bad music from a few years ago that we think is good. He gives an insightful explanation as to why we look at songs like “November Rain” differently from when they were played 20 times a day on the radio:

Those of us who bear the burden of an unhealthy obsession with pop culture are often stereotyped as being unreasonably nostalgic. I’m not sure I buy that. Those of us with more discriminating tastes know that the pop music of the past isn’t really better than the pop music of today, but the appeal of shitty songs from the past is no less mesmerizing. Nostalgia isn’t the right word; I don’t yearn for the days when Whitney Houston battled Eric Clapton for the year’s biggest tearjerker. I don’t fondly remember turning on MTV and seeing the “Unbreak My Heart” video three times in a row. Regardless of this, cultivating an appreciation for pop music I once hated is a vital part of my education as a music snob. Sure, I may spend my days studiously furrowing my brow at high-minded avant-garde music that plebeians like you could never properly appreciate, but that doesn’t mean I won’t throw on a Color Me Badd record once in a while. Continue reading The General Theory of Nostalgia

Feel the burn-out

Just spent the whole night translating a project I shouldn’t have taken. It was a hard assignment (lab notes on drugs to treat vaginal cancer) and I really didn’t have the time this weekend. The other translators on the project were great, but I couldn’t really pull my weight because I took the job amid personal shit that I needed to attend to.

They say there’s no satisfaction like a hard day’s work, but I just feel burnt out at this point. Note to self: think about what your schedule is actually like for the next couple days before you accept a big job.

Anyway, this blog has been pretty quiet for a few days. Both the MF and I have been busy. I haven’t even been following the news!

When he gets back and things calm down for me expect more. I have fascinating questions to pose the gaijin community and something about a trip I took.

Random Picture:
“レンジャー” Ranger (as in Power Ranger) in Japanese.

Dangerous Revolving Doors

In the course of one of my jobs, I encounter many newfangled electronic revolving doors like the one above. The idea is that you can have all the elegance of revolving doors without the hassle of actually pushing them (a convenience as useful as Mustardayonnaise if you ask me). That would be great if they weren’t DEADLY. Check this out from The Economist:

Many to blame

Six executives are facing charges of criminal negligence after a six-year-old boy was crushed to death last March in a revolving door at Roppongi Hills, one of the city’s glittering new skyscraper complexes. Police are charging three executives from the Mori Building Company, which runs the Roppongi Hills complex, and three from Sanwa Tajima, which made the door.

The police decided to go forward in January after finding out that six other accidents had occurred at the same place. They allege that Mori executives did not act on all of the safety recommendations their companies devised. One of the accidents was nearly identical to last year’s fatality: a six-year-old girl had her head caught in the door, but was freed with minor injuries. Hisanobu Kubo, who worked for Sanwa Tajima, allegedly failed to report a blind spot in the censors that stopped the door, fearing unattractive safety measures and slow sales. The case seems to have spurred many to act: one survey found that 30% of building managers have removed or plan to remove their revolving doors, and 30% more have stopped using them.

About half of the major hotels in DC use these death-traps, and I almost get caught every time I pass through the things. Stop the killing now!

Xerox Chairman Threatened After Criticizing Yasukuni Visits

From The Economist:

Shrine controversy

Yotaro Kobayashi, the high-flying Chairman of Fuji Xerox, got some threatening packages after he criticised Japan’s prime minister, Junichiro Koizumi, for visiting a shrine honouring the Japanese war dead. A package sent to Mr Kobayashi contained a bullet, and Molotov cocktails (which failed to fully ignite) were found outside his home. Yasukuni, the controversial shrine that Mr Koizumi visited, was once a famous backdrop for war propaganda and emperor-worship. The dead commemorated there include convicted war criminals from the second world war.

The prime minister’s visits to Yasukuni have earned him criticism from a number of Japan’s neighbours, which are still bitter about the country’s long history of waging war on them. China in particular has said the visits show a lack of remorse from Japan, and has called for them to stop. Mr Kobayashi has been a target of right-wing groups since late last year, after he said the visits were fraying relations between Japan and China, which have been fragile lately.