A Japanese wife and a Japanese car

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Owner of many cars

As an owner of many cars over the years, at this point I have to be up to about 30 cars owned and driven but I stopped counting around 20 something, I have been in just about every car there is. Ok, well not EVERY car. I haven’t yet owned a Ferrari or Mercedes or any of the top end super cars of the world of cars. My experience comes from owning a lot of garbage cars which is from a time when I was just starting out driving at 16 with a part time job and little money. My first car ever was a 1979 Mustang that was actually given to me by my mom’s boyfriend at the time. I think he took pity on me to help me out, thank you again. As great of a time it was with that Mustang, it didn’t last very long. I wound up driving it so hard by racing around so much that the drive shaft broke off and ripped out the rear end of the car. From then on for many years to come, I would go through cars like dirty underwear.

For quite some time actually I was finding great deals on very, very cheap cars but with that came the price of them not lasting very long. Without getting into every possible car experience, there are a few that stick in my mind that I laugh about now. One such car experience was a 1982 Oldsmobile Omega. I needed a car fast and found it in the classifieds section of the newspaper. Yes, people used to post used cars in the newspaper at one time. I am sure they probably still do but with Craigslist and other online for sale services, well yeah. What’s a newspaper? Anyway I bought the car and literally 3 days later is broke. I was driving down the road and the car started to shift into gears weirdly. Smoke poured out from the engine bay and there was a stream of oil behind me on the road. What happened was that someone replaced the radiator at some point and must have broken the steel lines leading from the transmission to the radiator. Instead of replacing the entire steel line they only replaced part of it and used rubber hosing on the rest. The hosing is not a problem if you properly put a flange on the end of the steel line so the hose doesn’t pop off under pressure with the hose clamp. I fixed the hose properly but by that point the first gear was burnt up. I wound up trashing the car not to much after that since it was more expensive to fix than it was worth.

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Eating Japanese rice daily

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Staple food of Japan

I never thought I’d be eating so much rice. I mean I went from no rice, to rice all the time. Not that I mind rice but you know how it is. It’s like going to the same job everyday and not wanting to go back the next. It’s like taking that same bus over and over again with that same guy sitting across from you not knowing what he’s thinking, and he just stares. It’s like, well you get the idea. I kid though, it’s not that bad. Rice, among others, is a staple food in Japanese cuisine. It has to be expected that ones Japanese wife would be eating Japanese rice daily. And to clarify, I don’t mean morning noon and night or anything but everyday at least with one meal.

Eating Japanese rice daily for me wasn’t that big of a deal to start doing. I’ve always enjoyed many asian dishes, in which of course in many other asian counties, rice is also a staple food. If not in direct rice form then in some other prepared fashion such as rice noodles. One of which is my all time favorite Vietnamese Rice vermicelli with grilled pork and fried egg noodles. Another is the all time classic Thailand Pad Thai made with wider flat rice noodles. Pad Thai is great with a different assortment of meats. The last one that comes to mind is Chinese Chow Fun with wider stickier noodles. Holy crap I am making myself hungry now.

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Cool Devices

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Dirty talk and Hentai

So the time has come for me to get a bit dirty and talk about something taboo here in the U.S. which is of course, pornography. Specifically porn of the anime type or more commercially known as Hentai. Talking with my wife about this, yes we talk about everything, she said the term hentai is used for describing more, hardcore porn. I thought all porn was hardcore? Interestingly enough tracing back to the origins of hentai I found that one of the first movies was produced in Japan in 1969 called A Thousand and One Nights. It was poorly accepted at the time but set the scene for later films to come. Though there are many hentai films, one that comes to mind in particular is a series called Cool Devices. Not that I’ve watched a lot of porn or anything. Cool Devices is an anime series of 11 episodes of unrelated topics mostly centered around fetish and BDSM types of situations and imagery. Good explanation, right?

But back to my point of porn being taboo here in the U.S. compared to Japan, and elsewhere for that matter. I can’t say I fully understand why that is other than the powers that be have instilled the values of sexuality on the people, rather than the other way around. From my perspective anyway, we here are a more conservative Christian based society that has learned that it’s bad to be sexual in nature or to have thoughts about it. Hence pornography is looked upon as something that is “dirty” and not “normal”. As we have seen in the recent Supreme Court ruling, gay marriage is now legal in the United States. There are still many who oppose the decision and idea the of it based on outdated values. Though everyone is welcome to have their own opinion on any topic, that’s what makes being alive wonderful. Another and more powerful reason why sexuality is looked down upon in the U.S. is that sex sells. The more “taboo” you make something the more people want it. The more you shun sex and sexuality the more money you can make from it. I mean just look at the recent buzz about Miley Cyrus and the “shock value” on her actions being sexual in nature. Don’t think for a moment that was something she thought of doing herself. Once people start to really, really see things for what they are, their mind begins to open to other possibilities. It’s pretty amazing, give it a try.

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Mr. Robot

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Ask Mr. Robot

Though I haven’t had a TV now for over 10 years, I discovered a new show from USA Network called Mr. Robot. It’s becoming increasingly easier to find content online. I mean lets face it, at some point cable is going to be completely gone as we know it. Not to mention all the pirating that is done. I would never do that of course 🙂 I found Mr. Robot from a reddit post about there being a free pilot to watch on YouTube. What an excellent way to get the pilot out and gauge the response other than to post it on YouTube for free? Kudos to USA Network on that one, though I am sure it’s been done before. The video has since been made private for some reason. I guess the response was good enough however to keep the series going.

I watched the pilot without reading the reddit post comments or looking up what the show was about. Being a robot myself, I was interested. I usually don’t like to watch trailers or know what I am watching until the movie or show is going and either I find myself being entertained or disgusted and turn it off. I have to say though I was pretty taken with Mr. Robot. Not for it’s fantastic acting or action scenes or CGI, but for the actual content of the show. It’s refreshing sometimes to watch something that captures your attention enough to want to think about what’s being presented rather than just being mindlessly entertained. Though that has it’s merits at times.

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Death Note

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A notebook about death

There are still many things I have yet to discover about Japan or Japanese or something Japanish or Japaneseish, you get the picture. Through my extensive research so far of everything Japan, I am becoming and expert of course, I have found something called Death Note. Death Note is an anime series about exactly what it says in the name, a note about death. More to the point however it’s a notebook that is used to write someones name in to have them die. Quite something if you ask me. Could you imagine a notebook written for the soul purpose of the systematic destruction of a people(s) of your choosing? Come to think of it, it’s happened already many time throughout our history. Probably the most recent and notable is Mein Kampf authored by Hitler outlining his political agenda and plans for the new world Germany. With that there was also a book at the time called Sonderfahndungsliste G.B or better known as The Black Book which was a list of 2,820 Britons to be arrested by Nazi Germany of her successful invasion of England by 1940. So I guess an anime series about something similar isn’t too far off.

The Death Note series is composed of 37 roughly 20 minute blurbs taking you through a dramatic process of conflict and resolution around the notebook. The series starts with a shinigami or death god that drops the notebook from the “underworld”. Death gods are supernatural gods in Japanese culture who invite humans to their death. In the case of the Death Note series, a shinigami writes down a humans name they choose to die. The notebook is dropped by the god because he’s basically bored with the underworld and wants to give the power of the notebook to a human for his own personal “entertainment”. The notebook is picked up by Light Yagami who is a highly intelligent young high school student who believes the god picked him for the purpose to use the book. He immediately is enamored with the power of the notebook and wants to become his own god of a “new world” to rid the planet of anyone he’s see’s fit to die. Yeah, you can see where this is going already. Light is challenged by L, who is rivaled by Light’s intelligence and youth, to find who the user of the book is and bring him to justice. The notebook also has a set of particular rules to follow when using it. It’s quite an extensive list to describe but basically if you don’t follow the rules properly, bad things can happen to the user or otherwise.

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Going home to family and friends

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It’s been quite a long time

It had been 11 years since I was home the last time in Eastern Pennsylvania. I had moved out to LA in late 2004 for a year and a half and had since moved up the the Bay Area. The reason for going home to family and friends was first and foremost to be at my sisters wedding. It of course was also the perfect time to take my wife with me as she had yet to meet everyone in the family, as well as see Pennsylvania and where I grew up as a boy. We didn’t have a whole lot of time in PA as we were also planning on seeing NYC for a few days. So we made a plan got on a plane and went. The flight was uneventful with the exception of a lighting show off the starboard side of the plane when we got into the vicinity of the New York area. I had never seen a lighting storm from a plane before, it was quite spectacular.

The wedding was great. Perfect summer PA weather with just the right amount of humidity and sun. Held at a small bed and breakfast it was an intimate experience with family and friends. I’ve not seen my sister smile like that in years, it was a wonderful moment for her and her new husband. My aunt and uncle were there along with my niece and nephews. My brother also rose to the occasion which was pretty exceptional. I hadn’t seen any of them for 11 long years. My mother and niece were however out in Cali 5 years ago. It’s kind of weird now thinking about it as the trip was just last week, and so long in between before that. I promised, as my siblings had, we wouldn’t wait so long next time. My wife was a bit out of place there being the only asian on tap but they all made her feel like one of the family. I come from a super small town with little diversity.

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Surfing in Bolinas California

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Surfing is Addictive

I love to surf. Can’t be any simpler than that. I found surfing a number of years ago while on vacation in Oahu, Hawaii. I had been in Hawaii a couple times already but this was my first visit to Oahu and with that, a visit there isn’t complete until you head to the North Shore. It was January at the time and the winter storms from the north in the Pacific Ocean were slamming the northern part of the island and it was going off, as surfers like to say. I remember stopping the car on the side of the road and running across the street to see what everyone else was stopped for and looking at. There it was in all it’s glory, the power of the ocean and the people trying to tame it. It was an amazing site. It was one of those moments which don’t come often in life that when you see something, you know you have to do it. I immediately felt it was something I just had to experience for myself.

Fast forward to today I am still surfing and will continue to until I die or am debilitated to the point where I can’t move anymore. It’s that powerful of a driving force in me to want to continue. There’s something about that direct connection with nature that I have yet to find anywhere else personally. I got my wife to try surfing with me once, but she didn’t like it as she felt too claustrophobic in the wetsuit. Which is understandable if you don’t like tight fitting items on your body. Surfing in Northern California you need to wear a wetsuit all year as the temperature, depending on where you go, is from the low 50’s to the mid 60’s if your lucky. The summer months here are typically colder than other times during the year due to the fog that rolls in just about daily. It isn’t until late in the summer that you get a few consistent days of solid warmer air temperatures. Southern California has warmer water temperatures but also suffers from the summer fog months. It’s also a very dangerous sport. My wife doesn’t like the fact that you can get held under the water by even the smallest of waves, and if you panic, well you just can’t allow yourself to panic.

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