Teaching In Socks


This makes coal look good.
November 2, 2009, 4:45 pm
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This is easily the most amusing thing I have found in Japan. Be nice or it is also your Christmas present.

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This is not what Back to the Future II had in mind

I found this contraption (The name appears to be haircut jumper-for Men) in the bargain section of JUSCO (The Japanese equivalent of Walmart). The first time I walked by it caught my attention but I was in such rush that I didn’t stop to examine it. I intially thought it was somesort of  vest used for doing laundry. A week later I had to fortune to come across it again and this time I was able to stop and realize that while my laundry-vest idea was absurd this self-haircut cleaning vest surpassed it on the absurdity meter in a most spectacular manner.

I can’t tell you how delighted I am to learn that there is a gift out there for the person who hates paying for a haircut but is bothered by the mess  created by cutting their own hair at home. Also this person would have to be of the opinion that garbage bags, newspapers, brooms, vacuums and affordable plastic sheeting all do an inferior job of hair-waste management .

I do have some questions though;

1. Why is this product marketed to people cutting their own hair? Theoretically, couldn’t this product be used by a person cutting someone else’s hair that doesn’t want to clean up the mess.

2. If someone is so cheap that they cut their own hair, are they really the type of people that are going to shell out the cash about $13) for a hair-catching vest? Are they really going to be able to justify this purchase?

3. It appears that for this “device” (I use that term loosely) to be effective you have to cut your hair standing up. Do not named Richie Tenenbaum people cut their hair standing up?

4. How do you cut the back?

5. Doesn’t it look like this guy on the package is smiling just a bit too much?

6. Does the vest qualify as appropriate attire for casual fridays? or is it too formal?



a Christmas Torii
December 4, 2008, 2:37 pm
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torii, torii, torii

torii, torii, torii

I spent the last weekend in Kyoto, praying to various pagan deities, taking in the charismatic tail end of Autumn’s arbor-explosion and finishing my Christmas shopping. One of the dieties must have been listening, because the weather was phenomenal–a little cool, and optimum for putting your hands in your pockets and scowling like young Bob Dylan, and my present hunting was consistently fortuitous.

Unlike my last tiem in Kytot, this trip had a more eccentric feel to it. Upon arrival I immediately took a train to the  the Fushimi Inari shrine, two stops on the local line from Kyoto Station.

I have wanted ot go to this shrine for a while. It’s a small, but relatively famous shrine known for having a substantial number of Torii–the large orange gates you often seen at shrines, that line hiking trails inot the mountains. Churches and Cathedrals are nice, but this layout seems a but more elegant and impressive to me. Also, the cornucopia and ferquency of these Torii makes the whole “Gates” project in Central Park a few years ago look rather amateur.The God Inari uses foxes as his messengers, so there were also a lot of badass Fox statues which really any modern installation art project, let alone the Gates, could use more of.

As I entered the shrine, young British girl in front of me undertook the task of counting all of the torii as she passed them.  I walked patiently behind her until she got to “67” then I squeezed my way past her family to move ahead the trail at a more reasonable pace.  After I stopped a particular shrine for a while, I started back on the trail to find myself behind this girl and her fmaily yet again. I was greeted by the sound of her choice, “ninety-eight, ninety-nine, one thousand one hundred”. I forgot how ignorantly perservering young children are. As I attempted to move past this entrourage a second time an American father with his son passed the family in the oppostie direction and coyly mentioned, “you know I think there’s some more ahead for her to count. The British parents ignored him. I guess it was hard to have a sense of humor when there was still another six or seven kilometers of torii to be counted.

Fox gods at work in Arashiyama

Fox gods at work in Arashiyama

I also took my first ride on the Shinkansen (bullet train) on the way home. From Ako to Kyoto it’s a bit of an extravagance: twice the price, but only thirty minutes quicker. Therefore, I coneventiantly rationalized the extra cost on the basis that I didn’t want to see my friends and family over the break and not be able to brag about riding a bullet train (yes, I’m that petty)  and I also didn’t want to ruin a good trip fighting for a seat amongst the plebes. On my last trip to Kyoto, I had to stand for a large portion of the ride home, and the woman in the seat next to me decided to eat something that smelled absolutely rancid in the middle of a crowded train. The Shinkansen seperates the wheat form the chaf, and assigns seats, because you can’t be standing when traveling at bullet-like speeds, that’s juts madness. While not riding on the fastest line of Bullet trains, the ride was as smooth as butter we were home within two episodes of Fawlty Towers.

The only let down is that finishing my Christmas shopping in record time is not as a great a relief as I imagined it would be. Instead of feeling a weight off my shoulders, I’m just imagining that I haven’t bought enough or have forgotten something. This in spite of the fact that I went crazy this year and made a bleeping excel spreadsheet this year to sort it out. I might as well do a TPS report for Santa while I’m at it. Oh well, getting all this on a plane should be a good story.