family, goodness, life, manfolk

Hawai’i: Day five

this year is the 12th.  I also spoke at the 5th.

this year is the 12th. I also spoke at the 5th.

Today was the first day of the Hawai’i International Conference, where I’ll be speaking soon, and which was my impetus for coming over here at all.  Boyfriend and I had breakfast (the rest of the eggs with tobasco and the last of the toast with honey), then drove across the island to the hotel where the conference is being held in Waikiki.  I attended a couple of talks: the first was on the sexual attitudes of university students (but turned out to be about Filipino students in the Philippines, and not pertinent to my interests), and the second was about race-based marketing (but was really just a presentation about a case study that proved the obvious: black people are more likely to pay attention to advertising aimed toward black people).  I checked out a poster session after that which was surprisingly poorly attended, but had some interesting stuff about the relationships between shapes and language with young children, and the relationship between gangs and religiosity (no correlation, even though being religious should keep one from becoming violent, right?).



Boyfriend was super hungry after that (he hung out by the hotel pool while I was busy), and found an amazing udon place called Marukame Udon not half a mile away that makes its noodles fresh (and in full view of their customers).  The line was long but moved super quickly.  You get to watch them make the noodles, then they put them in a bowl with the broth you order (hot or cold), then you get to choose whatever tempura you want and oh my fucking god they all look amazing.  I wanted them all.  Boyfriend got a cold ontama udon with one shrimp tempura, and I got curry udon with pumpkin tempura (of course).  Delicious.

boyfriend sang the theme for Jurassic Park as I drove

boyfriend sang the theme for Jurassic Park as I drove

We didn’t have time to go to the zoo like we wanted to afterward, so we headed back home and got caught in some Los Angeles-grade freeway traffic.  So brutal.  We jumped off and took streets to the 61 to get home, which took us through a really beautiful stretch of land that looked mysterious and awesome with all the mist hanging around the tops of the mountains.  We came out of a tunnel to see some deep green in low-hanging clouds.  Just gorgeous.

pictured: not a centipede

pictured: not a centipede

We took a short swim in the ocean for a bit, took a shower, dressed and were about to leave when we noticed we had a visitor on the window: a baby gecko.  I explained to Boyfriend the first time we spotted a baby gecko in the cottage that they’re good to have in the house because they eat bugs.  The second gecko we saw in the cottage, however, was a full-sized gecko, which was only a problem because the previous day, during a walk with Nancy and Bella, we came upon a dead centipede.  Centipedes are disgusting and horrifying and they fucking bite, so no thank you.  Naturally, I mistook the harmless gecko scuttling across the wall of the kitchen for a centipede and blurted out “OH SHIT!  OH SHIT!  OH SHIT!” before realizing my mistake.  Boyfriend almost had a heart attack because, as he put it, “You never freak out about anything, so when you said that I thought there must be a dead guy hanging by the ceiling in the kitchen or something.”  Sorry, Boyfriend.

Anyway, we headed over to the house to say goodbye to whomever was over there, chatted with uncle Bobby for a while (and gave Bella some love since she had been bitten on the snout by some fucking Labrador earlier today) before heading back across the island to Aiea to eat dinner at a sushi place called Kuru Kuru Sushi.  It was Boyfriend’s and my first time at a sushi place with a rotating conveyor belt, and it was so tasty.  I expect all conveyor belt sushi to be a little gross, but this one did not disappoint.  It was recommended by my cousin when Sister came out here with her new boyfriend last year.

Boyfriend has had a runny nose all day long, so we got him some Benadryl.  I sang him a song in the car that made him laugh: Gonna go get some yummy drugs for my boyfriend… Yummy yummy yum, drugs drugs drugs.

goodness, life, manfolk, school

Hawai’i: Day one

photo 1 (2)Boyfriend and I are in Hawai’i!  We arrived in Honolulu last night and will spend ten days here.  I’ll be speaking at a social sciences conference next Saturday, June 1st, held at a hotel in Honolulu, but until then, Boyfriend and I are bumming around the island in my uncle’s old Kia.  There’s no air conditioning, the breaks are crap, and the interior reeks of wet dog.  Neat!

Uncle Bobby and his super cool wife Nancy picked up me and Boyfriend from the airport and showed us around their guest house (they call it the cottage, and it’s fucking amazing) where we’re set up to stay for the first five days.  They gave us some eggs, milk, cereal, fruit, and macadamia nuts, so tasty!  This morning we woke up around 715, got dressed and went over to have breakfast with them and their adorable golden retriever puppy, Bella (we’re obviously best friends now).  After cereal with banana, some tasty mango, lychee from a neighbor’s tree, and tea, we discussed our plans for the day.

the leis Nancy gave us when we arrived

the leis Nancy gave us when we arrived

Nancy, Boyfriend and I took a walk with Bella down to Lanikai beach where we walked waist-deep in to the water for a while and threw a stick for Bella.  On the way, we ran into Barbara and her mother, Mrs. Fox.  It was nice to see them.  Barbara’s niece will be moving to LA soon and wants to be part of the industry, so I’ll introduce her to Boyfriend and our friends who will show her the ropes.

After our walk, Boyfriend and I drove into town for malasadas (a family tradition), then got lunch at K and K, then sat on the beach a while to digest.  it was super windy today, so there were a bunch of kite surfers out (Boyfriend and I liked it when they would go up high, then crash down into the water with a splash).  Then we headed back to the cottage to dump our stuff so we could head back down to Lanikai beach to swim around.  The water was really choppy due to the wind, so we got tossed around a good amount.

colors like a cartoon paradise

colors like a cartoon paradise

At one point, Boyfriend said, “Ow!  I think something stung me!”  He said it didn’t hurt much though, so I figured he was hallucinating or something.  Turns out he was definitely stung by a jellyfish, probably a man-o-war, since we saw about a dozen of them floating around today, but neither of us saw what got him.  He has a very faint red dotted line along his right trapezeus that flows down toward his shoulder.  It doesn’t hurt or even itch though, so he’s just excited to have had a new experience.

After we rinsed off and changed, we drove across the island to Shimazu’s for shave ice (Matsumoto is good for tourists, but Shimazu’s is a local favorite).  Even their small size was WAY too big (as big as my head!), but it was pretty tasty.  I called my dad to see how he usually gets it, and ordered one of the same: azuki beans, ice cream, and green milk tea royale.  It looked like an unripe, mishapen, frozen coconut, but tasted pretty good.  Boyfriend got orange and milk tea with mochi cubes.

photo 4

traditional male and female hula

On the way back to the car, boyfriend’s sandals started irritating him, and he had to take them off 😦  So we headed toward our next destination and bought him some $8 sandals that he’s super happy with now.  Then we speed-walked to a spot on the beach where there was a free hula demonstration.  So cool!  Boyfriend and I really liked it.  He particularly liked this one old guy who was amazing, and clearly the instructor for the men, who wore long, royal blue loin cloths that they constantly pulled at to make sure they hid their junk, haha.

Then we walked a couple of blocks to a great hole-in-the-wall sushi place called Hanna no Sato.  Delicious.  After a long drive back across the island, I’m totally pooped (and a bit sunburnt) and ready for bed.

delicious tuna

delicious tuna

anime, badness, goodness, life, martial arts

Japan, you are loved

A 8.9 earthquake is really, really huge.  The scale America uses is scary because the intensity of a quake is measured with exponential values.  Meaning a 4.0 quake isn’t twice as intense as a 2.0 quake, it’s eight times more intense.  Now look at the number again: 8.9.  On a scale of 0-10.  Scary.  Plus, you’re a coastal country, so the tsunami that inevitably follows a quake of this magnitude only exacerbates the problem.

Japan is going to make it through this because the world needs their economy to get back on their feet, but also because the Japanese are an amazing group of people.  Period.  Who blogs about the amazing ideas Russia comes out with on a daily basis?  No one, because Russia sucks.  The Japanese have a repressed culture that somehow allows its people to think outside the box in ways the rest of the world marvels at.  And for that, we love them.

In honor of how awesome Japan is, here’s a list of ten reasons why I love Japan, in the order they occurred to me:

1. Anime


Paprika made my brain melt

Who the fuck would think that there could be billions of tiny, diverse ghosties floating around that effect us (Mushi-Shi), or that dreams could be your next form of therapy (Paprika), or that a young girl could work in a bath house run for (and by) spirits (Spirited Away)?  And who else would write a fully-realized, philosophically-driven, action packed science fiction series on the future of human-cyborg robotics (Ghost in the Shell) that actually makes sense?  The Japanese direct my imagination in directions I would otherwise never explore.  Thank you.



2. Sushi

I realize that raw fish has been a celebrated dish for (tens of?) thousands of years, but it was the Japanese who spread it across the globe for my pretentious Los Angeles palate to enjoy.  It’s a simple pleasure that always makes me think, “Wow, the Japanese are geniuses.  And bears.  Bears who eat salmon all day and sleep all winter.  Fucking genius.”

3. Cars

I’ve had two Pontiacs, and I’ve had trouble with them both.  My roommate has had her Honda for over a decade, and she bought it used, and it’s still running just fine.  Am I buying American again?  No way.  The Japanese know how to make a damn car.



4. Maru

The cutest, and most famous cat in the world lives in Japan.  He has his own website, loads of YouTube videos, and millions of fans.  His owner keeps us up to speed on his newest toys, favorite napping spots, and intense fear of crows.  He’s the only life form (other than his owner) who I feel like I’ve kinda gotten to know over the past year, so his well-being was one of the first things that occurred to me when I heard about the earthquake and tsunami (sorry humans!).  Turns out he’s safe, yay!



5. Samurai, Ninjas, Martial Arts

Where do I begin?  The samurai bushido “way of the warrior” will never be replicated en masse the way it was in feudal Japan.  The intense philosophy that ran throughout every aspect of the samurai’s life from the way they fought to the way they ate and slept is just incredible.

Raise your hand if you never wanted to be a ninja.  You, you, and you; you’re all liars.  EVERYONE wants to be a ninja at some point. I just learned recently that ninjutsu is not a martial art, but an art of war.  Yikes.  Awesome.

I’ve been practicing martial arts since I was 14.  I earned two black belts, and now I work at a dojo where I get to teach kids how to be polite, work hard, and beat the shit out of their siblings who are too stupid or unlucky enough not to be included in class.  With all my experience, I can safely say that everyone on the planet would benefit from learning a martial art (especially a soft style like hapkido or aikido).

6. Nintendo

It’s not just some 8-pixel side-scroller.  It’s a virtual world.  My generation grew up with the gray-box Nintento, and Mario was as real a character as any idiot on reality TV today.  Nintendo set the bar for video gaming.  It started an entire sub-culture.  With a video game.  Cultural references to the original Mario Bros. will never end.  There will always be a “Sorry, Princess is in another castle” joke for unforeseen failure.  Coins will always be shiny, floaty thing we all yearn for.  Stars will always look like a chance at temporary invincibility.



7. Godzilla

Haha, oh my god.  I can’t believe Godzilla is #7.  Where was my brain.  The Japanese took fear of giant monsters to the ultimate extreme.  So classic.  I still haven’t seen this movie, btw.  Must remedy soon!





8. Noh

If you don’t know anything about the theater of Edo era Japan, wake the fuck up.  The makeup, the masks, the nuances, the costumes, the stories… amazing.  Google it.  It’s the oldest form of theater (even older than the famous Greek tragedies).  Kabuki centered around drama, love and all that mushy crap.  Kyogen was mostly comedies.  The actors were huge celebrities.  Some even had trading cards.  It’s true!  And one of my favorite comics is based on the masks worn during these iconic plays.





i will never understand it

9. Sumo

I wonder if this should go under martial arts… haha just kidding!  Can you picture one of these guys rounding a corner in full battle gear?  Hilarious!  But seriously, there’s a ton of ceremony that goes into every match, which are fun to watch.  Giant dudes pushing brutishly each other out of a small ring?  While the referee holds a fan and wears traditional robes?  And the attendees get crushed whenever one of the sumo guys tumbles off the platform?  What a sport!

10. Takeshi’s Castle

This is a little-known series that aired in 1989 that started the wave of shows that put normal people through ridiculous obstacle courses for the world to laugh at.  America has a show called Wipeout that does the same thing.  Genius.

I want to write more about each of these but I’m at work, and no one wants to read that much about this stuff (including me).  Suffice to say, the Japanese people have my adoration and respect.  Now if they could just give a serious apology about invading Korea, and the whole “comfort women” thing, that’d be great.

UPDATE: March 15, 5:32pm

Wait!  I thought of another reason to love Japan: the Polysics!

I mean people do fun, silly stuff people do in music videos.  The Japanese are clearly no exception, and for that, I love them.