Friday, August 31, 2007

Eh-hum # 197

I have been busy lately...and schoolwork has little to do with it.

Have been going around the country, within Kansai and the southern part of Japan. Since my resources were limited, I used the train and the very cheap 18-kippu. But the trade off was I had to transfer trains as much as six times. That was when me and two other friends spent three days and four nights at Kyushu and visited Kumamoto and Nagasaki. Prior to that, I went with a friend to Shiga (and went castle-hopping) and to myself.

In Shiga prefecture, my friend and I visited two castles (named after the cities), Hikone and Nagahama, which both had spectacular views of Lake Biwa, the country's largest lake. In the evening, we went to the prefecture's capital, Otsu, to view a water show (fountains) on the lake.
Just an overnight stay since I primarily wanted to visit two places: Peace Memorial Park (Genbaku Dome, Peace Memorial Museum, etc) and Miyajima (Itsukushima Shrine, see picture above for its famous torii). Though not in my original itinerary, I also visited the Hiroshima Castle (one of five I have visited so far). Hiroshima is five hours away from Kobe, so the train ride was bearable. I didn't mind the fact that I went there alone and truth be told, I had a great time. I was not in a hurry to visit the must-see tourist sites and really took advantage of the free (or paid, depends on your perception) buffet breakfast at the modest but well furnished hotel where I stayed. Again, the trade-off was that I had to politely ask complete strangers to take my picture and there were moments that I ran out of things to think about. Nonetheless, the whole Hiroshima trip was worth it and I was reminded how people can be both civil and cruel at the same time.

On the other hand, Kyushu is at the least 15 hours away from Kobe Sannomiya by train. Hence, out of four days, we spent the two days traveling. Wish we could've stayed there for a week, but we had to look after our expenses. Again, I had a grand time, even though I was beat when I got home. Like Kobe, Nagasaki is a port city and where Europeans first saw a glimpse of Japan. We visited its Peace Park and Peace Museum and historical sites such as Dejima and a Confucian Temple. While in Kumamoto, we went to Mt. Aso, the largest active volcano in Japan, via ropeway. That was pretty exciting, because shortly after we took pictures, we had to evacuate the viewing deck because the volcano started spewing smoke that reached the danger level.

I hope to visit more places, particularly within Hyogo and the Kansai region. I also have to do some shopping since will be returning to the Philippines by the end of September. I am excited to go home, but will need to organize the stuffs that I have accumulated in the past year, and that am sure will be a pain in the a**. Worse than spending money on trips and photocopies. Sigh.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Eh-hum # 196

I am not big on shoes (pretty much into sneakers) like most women, but I am an avid reader of this superfantastic blog. And no, he's not Manolo Blahnik. He's simply known as the Manolo (be prepared, there will be a lot of THEs in this post. That's how the superfantastics refer to themselves...might start doing it myself, heheheh).

The Manolo has impeccable tastes when it comes to shoes, and gives wonderful advice to those seeking his wisdom on the right footwear for the right occassion. Plus, the Manolo's honest, subtle, enligthening and witty remarks does not fail to amuse, especially when he is sharing his superfantastic opinions on the rather unusual side of celebrities and fashion. Like this one: the Crocs.

I don't own a pair, and perhaps will never will, because I have been exposed to the teachings of the Manolo. For the Manolo, they are the "hot trend in footwear for the lazy person", and he even went far by describing them as an "abomination". Hence, the Manolo and his loyal readers are one a mission to put a stop to the "rise of the consuming evil that is the Croc".

They seem comfortable, but I agree that one shouldn't wear them unless they are near bodies of water, planting their favorite flowers or are toddlers. Plus, I have heard/read of horror stories about children getting their feet caught in the escalator while wearing these clogs. Obviously, these should be worn only at home, where there are no escalators and no one, save your family, can see you wearing them. Eh-hum.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Eh-hum # 195

I am back from outer space. Unfortunately, this is one of those "break muna" posts. Found this little questionnaire in my brother's blog. Simple lang, its called name game.

2. YOUR GANGSTA NAME: (first three letters of your name, plus izzle): Marnizzle (hahahaha)

3. YOUR DETECTIVE NAME: (favorite color and fav animal): blue tiger. (hmmm, sounds kung-fu-ish :p)

4. YOUR SOAP OPERA NAME: (middle name, and current street name): Linsangan Magsaysay (like a guy's, oh dear)

5. YOUR STAR WARS NAME: (the first 3 letters of your last name, first 2 letters of your first name, first 3 letters of mom's maiden name): Casmalin (hmmm, not bad)

6. SUPERHERO NAME: (2nd favorite color, favorite drink): white ginger ale (yeah!)

7. IRAQI NAME: (2nd letter of your first name, 3rd letter of your last name, any letter of your middle name, 2nd letter of your moms maiden name, 2nd letter of your dads middle name, 1st letter of a siblings first name): Asiutb (I don't know what to make of this)

8. WITNESS PROTECTION NAME: (father's middle name): Togoto

9. GOTH NAME: (3rd favorite color, and one of the name of your pet) Orange Chile (goth?!)


Thursday, August 09, 2007

Eh-hum # 194


I first learned about Scott Meyer, the creator of Basic Instructions, when I logged in to get my daily dose of the word according to Scott Adams. Mr Adams featured Basic Instructions in his recent post and thought it was funny. Like a good Dilbert fan, I decided to take a look. And I was not disappointed.

Its not your typical comic strip because of the format and that its a bit wordy (its suppose to be a guide, afterall). But the humor is smart, sarcastic and LOL hilarous, just the way I like it. The "instructions" are not to be taken too seriously, of course. Nonetheless, the situations found in Meyer's strips can be considered as true-to-life, and perhaps some of us may similar experiences as well. Plus, I like the black and white images/drawings, its not distracting. It kind of reminds me with a certain graphic novel that I would like to get my hands on. Should he decide to compile his works in a book, I would also definitely buy one. Visit the site and prepare to be amazed. Seriously.

A sample of Meyer's humor (just click on the image for a better view):

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Eh-hum # 193

All 1,600 of them, swaying/waving/turning to the music of the Algorithm March, a dance featured in the popular Japanese children's program Pythagora Switch (I remembered embedding the ninja version of the march in an earlier post), was the first video I saw. And then, I found out a couple of days ago, the same 1,600 inmates of a provincial jail in Cebu, Philippines, have also danced and marched to the beat of local pop songs and foreign tracks such as the Village People's "YMCA", Michael Jackson's "Thriller", and songs from the movie Sister Act. And yes, these routines are all available online.

According to this article from Yahoo! News, the synchronized dance routines, the brainchild of special security consultant Bryon Garcia (who also uploads the video on YouTube), is first and foremost a form of physical exercise for the inmates. It was also intended to inculcate discipline among them. However, the videos are now getting a lot of attention online and has become really popular. For instance, as of today, the "Thriller" video has been viewed more than 4 million times! I for one, think that's amazing.

I first thought it was quite strange, but I eventually saw the significance of the Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center's (CPDRC) program. Of course, dancing is a form of exercise, and the complex steps plus the number of the people doing it does involves work. More importantly, I agree that the program help boost the inmates' self-esteem since they are doing such a good job with the routines (video user comments have been positive). Plus, it looks like they're having fun (especially the inmates who gets the chance to perform in the middle of the court and show off those dancing skills).

These people may be criminals, but they are still human beings. The guilty deserved to be in jail, but they're also in need of rehabilitation so that when they return to society, they will be better equipped to start a new and crime-free life. Filipinos, in times of trouble and despair, turn to music for comfort. Its not a sign of weakness in the sense that people use it to escape reality. Rather, music can be a source of hope, inspiration and even strength. Connecting with music, whether by song or dance, as the saying goes, soothes the savage beast (in this case, within). As long as its not hurting anybody else, we can see the pride in doing even the most trivial of things, which may or may not include dressing up like a nun and copying some of Whoopi Goldberg's moves.

Here's a video featuring the inmates dancing to the tune of "Radio Gaga". The song is one of the Queen's succesful singles and I think the line "someone still loves you" is very meaningful. Enjoy!

Eh-hum # 192

What would the result be when you combine a handful of very talented and very patient people (who obviously had a lot of free time) and a pioneering 1970's arcade video game? Definitely something quirky and entertaining. Check this out:

To learn more about that legendary game known as Space Invaders, check out its Wikipedia entry.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Eh-hum # 191

The Conchords are at it again. This song, entitled "Mother Uckers", really cracked me up (from episode 7). I like the part when they cut their own cuss words. Enjoy!