Friday, March 30, 2007

Eh-hum # 140

Die hard Harry Potter fans get more and more excited every day, and for good reason (or reasons). First, the latest movie adaptation of J.K. Rowling's hugely successful book series, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, will come to theaters this July 2007; second, the seventh and last volume of the series, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, will be in stores also in July; and third, news that Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson will reprise their roles in Harry Potters 6 and 7 has been confirmed.

And in honor of these developments, I give you: Harry Potter (Puppet Pals) and the Mysterious Ticking Noise. Kind of catchy. Enjoy!

There's more where that came from...visit YouTube. Hehehehehe.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Eh-hum # 139

My sister started this. Eh-hum, excuse me while I gush like a gurly gurl.

I WANT TO WATCH THIS MOVIE!!!! Set in Ancient Greece, the movie 300 is based on the graphic novel by Frank Miller (Sin City), which in turn is a retelling of the Battle of Thermopylae wherein King Leonidas and and his army of 300 Spartan men fought Persian King Xerxes and his HUGE army. Their courage, strength and sacrifice inspired the whole of Greece to unite against the Persian invaders. ASTIG!

Before this, I always have been interested in historical accounts/stories/myths of ancient Greece and Rome. When I was child, I have memorized the names of their gods and goddesses. I have read the Illiad (an adaptation, of course), am familiar with the story of Odysseus and have watched HBO's ROME's first season(for the second season I only get to read the episode guide online, tsk, tsk). And yes, there is my fondness for strategy games, such as the Age of Empire and the Age of Mythology (and of course, Battle Realms). I also bought a book, the Last Legion (by Valerio Massimo Mandredi, and its movie adaptation will soon by released) , and I have plans to expand my collection of books/novels on Ancient Greece and Rome. But, this is not WHY I am gushing...

Heto ang dahilan:

Gerard Butler and his abs of steel. Please note that his physique was not CGI-enhanced; he and the rest of the "Spartans" had to endure months of rigorous training to achieve this look. *Sigh*, could Lena Headey be any luckier (heck, I wouldn't mind being sorrounded by Spartans wearing their, uh, "uniforms")? Hwehwehwe...

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Eh-hum # 138

Hisashiburi desune!

I just came back from a one-week trip, away from Kobe. It started when a friend of mine mentioned to me that she intends to spend one week in Tokyo to do research work for her dissertation and then visit some places near and outside Japan's capital. When she invited me, I thought about it first and went on to do some serious accounting (we stayed with her friend, also a Filipina, who is a Ph D student at Sophia University). But in the end, I said yes; and I am glad I did.

We used the very cheap Ju-Hachi Kippu offered by Japan Railways (JR). The kippu, or ticket, costs us 8,000 yen (it normally costs 11,500, but they have a special promo for Spring 2007) and can be used 5 times and back and forth anywhere in Japan (just as long you use JR lines and use it within one day or before midnight). Convenient, yes; but for first timers in Japan (like me), I recommend you use it when you are traveling with someone who has used it before or has lived/studied in Japan for a long time. In our case, we had to transfer trains SIX times and overall, the trip (from Kobe to Tokyo) was 10 to 11 hours.

My friend and I kept saying that the main objective of this trip was to do visit the National Diet Library, and we did; we spend THREE DAYS of our (precious) vacation time there. I am still in limbo as to what my MA thesis should discuss, but I have limited it to Japan and Maritime Security (bigat ba?). The trip to the library wasn't so bad; actually, it was quite an experience. I was impressed by the library's (borrowing) system and its vast collection of materials. The references I got (and photocopied) dates back to 1910 (a survey of Japan's military arsenal pre-WW I) and to the SCAP years (after WW II). Visitors don't go to the catalogs and look for the books themselves; you use the computerized/online catalog to search for the book. After a clicking a few buttons, you wait until your registration card number is flashed on a flat screen TV located at the lobby and the library staff will hand you the book/reference material you requested. Not bad eh?

After the research work, my friends and I went around and beyond the Tokyo area. The places we visited (in no particular order) include: Ueno Park (minus the cherry blossoms...sayang), Ame-Ya Yoko-Cho Market in Ueno, Asakusa and the famous Sensoji Temple, Roppongi Hills and Mori Tower (with a view of the Tokyo Tower), Kamakura (highlight was the Great Buddha), holy Enoshima Island and its shrines, posh Odaiba and Fuji Television (Main) Office, Nikko (3 hours away from Tokyo), the Japanese Parliament (Diet) and Shibuya's busy pedestrian lane(s) and Hachiko's statue. Whew! Kakapagod..lalo na ang bulsa...hehehe. That's why we also went to a Sento located in Senagawa (aaahhh, the public bath...something I was initially afraid of).

I grew up in Metro Manila, (particularly in Quezon City); hence, I am basically a city dweller. But, I pale in comparison to Tokyo's residents. If there's one word to describe the city and its people, its BUSY...very, very busy. People walk as if they're LATE (this is Japan; NOBODY gets late). And the trains and subways; its PACKED, even on SUNDAYS. Plus, one can get lost easily with all the buildings, the streets and the subways. Kobe is also a vibrant city in its own right, but it is more laidback than Tokyo. That's why I reckon it will be harder for me to adjust to Japan life if I was studying in Tokyo; Kobe's relaxed atmosphere suits me well. But that is not to say I did not enjoy my trip to the Kanto area. As I mentioned earlier, I'm glad I joined my friend on this trip. Not only I get to visit some fantastic sites, I also saw how diverse Japan really is, starting with the differences between life in Kobe and Tokyo. I had fun, but it was educational as well.


I did my best, but I guess my best wasn't good enough. I am talking about a four letter word. Not that word, but this: blog. Well, come to think of it, its not really a new blog. Yesterday, I signed up for a Multiply account. I have been receiving invites from friends to create one, but I kept ignoring it (sorry po!) because I am cool with the henyo blog. But when my sister started asking me to visit her account, I decided to create one so that she could easily view my pictures while I'm here in Japan. Anyway, it turned out OK: But as I said in my short intro, this account is for pictures, dake. Eh-hum.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Eh-hum # 137

Ancient history plus revolutionary cinematic style plus Gerard Butler equals LOVE. Watch this trailer and prepare yourselves for war...

To know more about this movie, please read this article from


Here's an interesting post from Scott Adams' blog. FYI, Mr Adams is the creator of the (intelligently and wickedly) funny comic strip Dilbert. His point on getting paid to not do anything is interesting. Enjoy!

North Korea – The Funniest Regime

There are many amusing things about North Korea: The national color is gray. Their Dear Leader is a cross between a Chia Pet and a douche bag. And they used up all of their food money to make nuclear weapons, so they can trade those nuclear weapons for food.

The North Korean recipe for stir fried chicken looks like this:

- Build a nuclear warhead
- Trade the nuclear warhead for a chicken (remember to ask for change)
- Kill the chicken
- Stir fry it

Recently I had the thought that North Korea might NOT be a country full of douche bag-worshipping ignoramuses. What if they are super geniuses and we’re totally being scammed? I can see a few signs of that.

For example, whenever you see a picture of a city in North Korea, it’s always empty except for a random guy or two, and a car in the distance. My theory is that these are fake cities, and the people are actors. The real North Korea is underground, in palatial, futuristic cities. Everything above ground is strictly for show.

The North Korean appearance of desperation allows them to trade nukes for massive amounts of aid. If the West knew that the North Koreans live in underground palaces, and have lots to lose, we’d just threaten to blow the crap out of their favorite stuff. But we don’t know about the secret underground cities. And there’s nothing on the surface of North Korea that’s worth blowing the crap out of, except for that one car, and it’s probably a rental. So we figure it’s better to send them money in return for – and this is the genius part – North Korea NOT doing something.

We’re pretty smug about our capitalism, where we exchange actual goods and services for money. But I think you’d have to agree that the North Korean system of agreeing to NOT produce any goods and services, in return for massive amounts of money, is a better way to go. I haven’t seen the ROI, but it has to be pretty sweet.

You should borrow a bit of the North Korean method the next time you’re negotiating a raise: “I want $80,000 per year to do the work, and I want another $100,000 to not set the building on fire.”

Let me know how that goes.