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Suntory Dakara promotes civil unions?

The label on my Suntory Dakara drink (which as near as i can tell is just like Pocari Sweat and Coca-Cola's 'Aquarius') has a picture of a heart on it and it says 'Life Partner' on it... not exactly sure why.

The reason I bought it today was cause it came with a prize... it had a plastic bag around the cap with pictures of Speed Racer and G-force (in other words old school anime). so I opened it up when i got back to the lab and my prize was a small figurine (apparently one of 24 available)... but unfortunately not from an anime I have ever seen:

Any anime nerds know what that is? (My labmate Nakano actually told me the name, its something-mon, but i forgot what it actually was). Anyway, its a guy with a die for a body and weird gears for eyes....

I also decided to load up this random picture I took while packing on saturday night:

this is my old school free '1992 Night Court' shirt I got freshman year. Before I parted ways with it, I'd thought I'd take a picture for posterity.

Anyway, back to the present - last night I went on a mission to find a jacket. It got chilly yesterday, especially once it got dark so I decided to go downtown to find a jacket, since I accidently left mine behind when leaving Emeryville on Sunday. I went to 'Canal City', a big urban mall type deal here in Fukuoka, it has a movie theater and stuff too. They had pretty much every type of clothing store I could have wanted... North Face, Eddie Bauer, Stussy, Gap, and yes, even a Helly Hansons ! but they were all pretty pricey, so I ended up getting a nice light parka type deal from The Sports Authority. I think its for snow boarding or something. anyway, it was on sale so it was only $50! its a good thing i bought it cause it got even colder later on that night.

I also managed to get in touch w/ Michiko once she got off work. We met up at the mall and got dinner. There was a 9:45 showing of The Punisher, but she correctly noted if we went to see it, we'd miss the last trains to our respective homes. (the last one is like 11:30 or so for me). Last summer i had a bicycle so i didn't really care about the schedules, but now i need to... (its a long walk back otherwise).

Maybe I'll try to catch an earlier showing tonight? Speaking of movies, there are a bunch of old movies just coming out or recently released in Japan playing now. Around the World in 80 Days for example. I just saw it like 3 times on the plane on the way here, so I don't think I'll go see it again though. Collateral just came out too, I missed it in the US, so maybe I'll check that out.

Today Takagi and I went to the bank and after another run back to the municiple govt. office, were able to get an account opened in my name. The big sticking point is that I don't have a name stamp. In Japan, rather than verifying people's id with signatures they use name stamps... which has its own problems... like anyone could steal your seal and pretend to be you... but at least if you have one you don't have to worry about your signature changing or you messing up while signing something.

But since I don't have a japanese name, they'd have to make a seal for me in Katakana, which would be like 3x longer than a regular japanese name, plus it'd cost like $50 and take time to make, so we convinced them to let me open an account using just my signature. Once the bank account is set up I'll be able to get direct deposits from the JSPS for my salary... once the first one goes through I'll have enough money to put down a deposit on an apartment.

They told me we had a guest speaker at 11, but turns out it was this guy I'd met a few times before (most recently in Salt Lake City at that conference I went to), he graduated last year and scored a plum tenured faculty position at Tokyo University. He sort of did a bilingual presentation 1/2 japanese, 1/2 english, unfortunately he and my boss went off on long tangents in japanese, leading to much wandering of attention span by me! :-P

Afterwards we all went to eat at a local restaurant. I got a pork katsu type deal, cause it was the only thing I could tell that clearly wasn't fish. They gave us each a scratcher-lottery-ticket type game piece with our meal, I was lucky, I won FIVE HUNDRED YEN! before you get too excited, 500 yen is only about $5. :-P but still, thats on a $7 meal... unfortunately they don't let you use the ticket til your NEXT meal there. which is just a trick to get me to go back! The other highlight of the meal was the fact we were sitting at one of those japanese style short tables... which means you either have to kneel or sit 'indian-style'... which gets really tiresome after about 15 minutes, your feet start falling asleep, etc (go ahead, try it... you'll see)... such is the way of Japan!

Afterwards two of my labmates took me to the DoCoMo store to check out phones. they have this super fancy one for only $250 (with plan). pretty fricking crazy...

unfortunately no mp3 compatability? that might be a deal breaker!

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April 13, 2007