Sunday, March 31, 2013

Easter Weekend

Sunday March 31, 8:58 p.m.

Hard to believe that we're almost into April, and there is still the threat of snow tomorrow. And the weekend was so mild, too. Maybe April Fool's is coming a bit early this year. Hey, this is of wacky weather!

Since I'm neither religious nor a huge eater of chocolate anymore, Easter doesn't have that much meaning for me. And since I work almost exclusively at home now, the long weekend didn't really have that oomph. Still, since it was a holiday weekend, our family went out for good ol' Fish n' Chips. But because the Catholics are indeed keeping to tradition and not eating any red meat, the Fish n' Chips places were doing volume business; I think one owner remarked that Good Friday is the busiest day of the year for them. My family hit The Olde York, a venerable old place, on Saturday evening. And sure enough, Good Friday was spilling over into Good Saturday. We had to wait for about 30 minutes before we could get a table, but the service was absolutely friendly and unruffled despite the hungry hordes, and we all splurged for the Halibut. Of course, that fish is the most delicious (and not surprisingly, the fattiest one); whenever I've gone there in the past, I've gone for the more inexpensive but drier Haddock but since I was eschewing the chowder and the dessert, I decided to go for the gusto. Wasn't disappointed.

Got back home to see the Leafs trounce the Senators columnist for "The Toronto Star" has all but anointed the team into Playoff Nirvana. I'm not quite ready to make that pronouncement myself, but it's nice to hear such happy thoughts this year compared to the horror that was on the ice this time last year.

Then, I saw the start of the 2nd half of Season 7 of "Doctor Who" with a new companion and a slightly new outfit for the Time Lord. Apparently, the reviews have been somewhat mixed for "The Bells of St. John". I'm more in the middle of the pack. It was nice to see Matt Smith happy and madly eccentric, especially after that horrid swan song episode to the Ponds, and the accompanying travelogue to London reminded me of "Skyfall". However, the episode didn't have quite the oomph I had been expecting for the 11th Doctor, especially after all of the accolades that the Xmas Special had gotten (still haven't had the chance to watch it). Hopefully, things will be going ever upwards.

Unfortunately, there has been another shooting at another major shopping mall in Toronto in as many years. The Toronto news channels were all fixated on Yorkdale Mall for the rest of the night after some sort of altercation; from the sounds of the victim's and the instigators' names, it may be a Vietnamese gang issue. Just another way that Toronto seems to be resembling more like an American metropolis....creaking transit system and urban crime.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Fun and Games in T.O.

Tuesday March 26, 11:53 a.m.

Well, it's come to the point that whenever Mayor Rob Ford's name pops up in a broadcast, Torontonians' eyes roll to the back of the head with the dependence of an involuntary reflex. And so, the latest in the 2-year series of The Perils of Rob has "The Toronto Star" splashing this exclusive on the front page about allegations of alcohol abuse. Of course, the triumvirate of the Ford Brothers and Deputy Mayor Holyday immediately put up their shields and fired some warning phaser shots almost immediately after the news got out.

At this point, after all of the sturm und drang that has followed Rob Ford for the past couple of years with the court stuff and the recent accusation by a former election rival of sexual assault, it'll probably take even more than today's headline to have this news last beyond the better part of this week. Confidential sources are one thing, but I think it'll take some big names and absolute hand-in-the-cookie-jar proof to even dislodge anything. We've just gotten so inured to all of the bread and circuses.

And what about The Leafs? They took three out of four points from the Boston Bruins. Yep, the Buds aren't exactly great at shootouts but since once the game is at that stage, both teams are gonna come away with something, so it's not such a terrible thing to lose, aside from the pride aspect. But the big thing here is that not a lot of fans had expected Phaneuf, Kadri and company to get anything from the Bruins considering the past couple of years, so three points is pretty darn good.

Took that needed hour's walk today. Nope, not that cold but the winds are out there. I actually got a rare Monday off from translation. I got a heads-up last week from one of my colleagues that things could be a bit slower than usual for the next week or so since Japan is entering the final week of the fiscal calendar. Plus, April is the reset month for a lot of everything over there so the normal course of things will be disrupted for a bit. A lot of corporate parties for welcoming and saying goodbye will be in order for the next several weeks leading up to Golden Week.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Back to Anime and Foodie Sunday

Monday March 25, 1:28 p.m.

Been a while but with all of the translation, Mr. Moriya's return and yesterday being another outing with The Anime King, there wasn't much time for blogging. As for my Skype student, he had a good business trip to Australia for the better part of a week; his fluency certainly showed it. And he didn't have to contend with hay fever over there....something that is plaguing Japan right now as it usually does this time of year.

It was a 3-week absence for The Anime King since he had his own business trip to conduct in Chicago. He was rather disappointed in the food selection although he did say the famed Deep-Dish Pizza was the one highlight. Still, he was grateful to be back in Toronto.

Our Sunday started off with a visit to Eggsmart. I actually went for a new item on the menu which was this plate of Hash Browns using Montreal corned beef and very roughly chopped onion and potatoes. I guess I could say it was a very raw version of the breakfast staple. Nothing like the stuff at Sunset Grill. It was quite good, though, and very filling. And I'm always appreciative for bottomless cups of coffee.

Had our first period of anime involving a couple of movies and some eps from the Precure franchise and then the usual bawdy episode of "Ixion". We took a brief break by heading to the nearest Second Cup. I went for the Poppy Seed Lemon Cake with a thick slap of icing on top. It was actually surprisingly light despite the appearance. The King and I spoke a bit about any future trips over to Japan. I can't see myself heading over there any earlier than Spring 2014; gotta save up the money. The Anime Bishop called up suddenly and said he would be joining us for dinner.

Came back to hear some soundtrack stuff before we watched the 2000 anime of "Blood: The Last Vampire". It had that gritty animation style which reminded me of "Akira", but the voice acting was pretty subpar...frankly, almost as if this had been a high school project. So it was somewhat surprising to hear that Saya was voiced by actress Yuki Kudo from movies like "Memoirs of a Geisha". It was too bad since I think it could've come off quite well.

The Bishop arrived just in the last few minutes of "Blood". And then we were off to a place called Hot Spicy Spicy. We hadn't been there in perhaps 18 months. My first time to the place was just shortly after my exodus home. It's a larger version of the down-to-earth Chinese eateries over downtown, and the portions are quite generous. I had the Mushu Pork on Rice; nothing surpremely spectacular but it fit the bill quite nicely. The conversation between the King and the Bishop went a bit deep into electronics, not my strong suit at all so I was able to focus on dinner. However, we were able to connect a bit more when it came to headphones.

The Bishop ordered a side dish of dumplings. They were quite big so I had one of them. As soon as I took a bite, the package just shot a phaser of meat juice about a metre away. Gotta say that it's been a while I've something like that. But the Japanese gyoza aren't quite as large as these dumplings were. The three of us are still thinking about getting that big get-together of the Court for dinner sometime in the next number of weeks, but with a number of the group now fully-grounded family men, it could be difficult.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Telecommuting and Proud of It!

Wednesday March 20, 10:52 a.m.

Monday night was apparently a hellish one for TTC least, more so than usual. Satan must've been stoking the fires a little harder. It seemed to be a perfect storm of emergency buzzers (one for a fight that broke out on a subway...odd, it's not even the weekend) and one dangerous incident in which the doors suddenly opened on a moving packed subway. The response from the TTC was interesting, though. The top brass, including a pale-looking CEO Andy Byford, went on video to publicly apologize for the lousy service. That struck me as a very Japanese thing to do....mind you, he didn't bow deeply, but still, it was a good thing. Commuters were understandably only fairly charitable to the apology....after decades of lousy service, it's gonna take more than a mea culpa to fix things between The Better Way and the unhappy customers.

When I saw that transportation disaster happen on TV, I just thanked my circumstances that I now work from home. Yup, I'm a grateful telecommuter. Since I tap on my computer all day as a translator, I now just leave my home only to either take that needed walk or go downtown because I want to, not because I have to. There was that big news in business in which some of the large companies such as Yahoo or Google (not sure which) recently rescinded the telecommuting policy and forced all employees to return to the ship and batten down the hatches...perhaps nervous that some of those formerly far-flung employees were taking advantage of working at home or at the nearest Starbucks.

To be honest, there are some people who are just not made out to be telecommuters. The temptations are too great: easy access to regular TV and no access by the powers-that-be to look over your shoulder. It's like being back at university. Some students study better by being at the campus library. Some workers are more productive being in the cubicles. As for me, I seem to be able to exercise far more discipline when it comes to my translating work than when it comes to my weight. If I get an assignment, I get at it until it's done. Mind you, my interest in TV has waned down to a nub and frankly I like my job.

Still, it seems as if this sudden switch in the trend of telecommuting is very localized. According to a newspaper article, people being given sanction to work in the comfort of their homes is still alive and well and probably will not be reversed unless the economy really tanks.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Spring Supposedly

Monday March 18, 12:02 p.m.

Well, rumour has it that Spring is on its way, but despite the expert opinion of several large lumbering rodents in February, it's still gonna be plenty chilly here for this week. Plus, we've got some messy weather on the way as of 4 this afternoon. So, there may be some Vernal enthusiasts who are thinking up of some evil plots to cook groundhog.

Team Japan just lost to Puerto Rico in the semi-finals of the World Baseball Classic in San Francisco, I believe. Probably a lot of disappointed folks over in Japan right now but after winning the first two championships, the country has nothing to be ashamed about. Plus, they can start back on how to regain the big prize for next time, and I think that's always more fun for everyone involved rather than trying to defend a championship.

Had my brother's family over for dinner last night. The usual pleasant time involved, including playing with my niece. But we did have one casualty in the form of the coffee carafe which ended its long life by cracking and pouring some fresh brewed onto the kitchen floor. Mom seemed to be quite eager in getting a new coffeemaker anyways.

Just been taking care of some invoicing and awaiting my next translation assignment which should be in sometime over the next few hours.

Looks like Pope Francis I is having an immediate effect on the world at large with his charm and Gorbachevian openness. I think Pope Benedict XVI is probably grumbling and muttering, "Dang whippersnapper!" And apparently, the leader of the Orthodox Christians is even gonna attend tomorrow's Papal Inauguration for the first time in a millenium. Rather unorthodox, if you ask me. (thank you, I play Vegas til Friday)

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Clearing the Air

Sunday March 17, 12:15 p.m.

St. Patrick's Day again....or Don't-You-Dare-Drive-In-Downtown-Toronto Day. Because of the annual parade and the fact that one major long segment of the TTC is out of commission, driving downtown must be a huge migraine....even more than usual. A couple of my old friends who used to love putzing about in their cars have basically had their love leached out from them due to the horrors of navigating badly-maintained streets, chronic construction, few and pricey parking lots and incompetent drivers. Ah, and we do have those Pan Am Games in a couple of years, right?

Having the windows open in a number of the rooms here just to clear all the stale stuff out. My brother's family is popping over for dinner tonight, so I don't want my niece making any remarks since kids are very straightforward about their opinions.

Met up with The Egg and his wife for lunch out in North York yesterday. We went to the local branch of Asian Legend, one of the popular Chinese food franchises. The Anime King and I often head out to the branch near his place where we usually just nosh on some soy milk soup and perhaps some potstickers. But I was kinda surprised that we all went a bit wild on the quantity of our choices. The Egg and I were champion eaters in our day, and I can still surprise even myself at times but, I think our best days are well behind us now.

I've sorted out my tax stuff so that I can hand over the numbers to my brother since he's got some whiz-bang software. If I were still in Japan, I would've done this a month ago since the due date is actually right now there for returns. Aside from the kanji, it was never all that bad filling out the forms.

The Leafs lost another heartbreaker to the Winnipeg Jets in a shootout. But the news media isn't exactly getting too upset since losing teams in a shootout still earn a point. But that's 5 in a row for the Buds, and so I'm just wondering if recent history is gonna repeat itself, and the players will have to don disguises when they go shopping locally. In any case, I have a feeling that they're probably gonna make the playoffs by the skin of their noses.

I guess the other big news here is this looming pachyderm known as the Big Casino Debate. The casino conglomerates have been courting Toronto like really desperate bachelors, and Mayor Rob Ford has been more than happy to show them inside the house. Meanwhile, a lot of us are not feeling too good about having a bit of Las Vegas (or as my old high school History teacher used to say it, Lost Wages) or Detroit/Windsor/Vancouver/Niagara Falls plunked down in downtown. Sure, jobs may increase but at best, I think it would be a Faustian victory. There was a job fair for jobs that don't yet exist for this casino that doesn't yet exist yesterday somewhere which struck me as somewhat odd. And as it turned out, the turnout was indeed sparse and the so-called job fair was really a badly-disguised group of lobbyists trying to show the merits of having a casino. Supposedly, some of the officials who did come on out were caught off-guard themselves when confronted with the question about this "job fair". The pro-casino side is having a tough enough time of trying to convince a very skeptical city, so false advertising on this level isn't exactly going to help their cause.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Francis the Humble Pope

Friday March 15, 3:16 p.m.

I was just a minute away from having a perfect 3/15 3:15. Beware the Ides of March! Thought I'd throw that in as well.

In any case, I've gone through another muscle-aching round of translations for this week. A lot of my upper-body muscles are feeling properly sore including the one between my ears. I can't really divulge the contents of the source, only to say that it involves tourism, and tourism projects always involve very flowery language. Rather obvious thing to say, even to those not in the translation business, but it's never a straight one-to-one bilingual transliteration; there's always some detective work about what the client really wants to be said. But I can do it and I can make money out of it.

Anyways, last time I wrote an entry here, it was just before the white smoke billowed out of the world's most famous chimney, Habeas Papum and the emergence of Pope Francis I. There are probably a lot of very happy bettors in Las Vegas who went for the Argentinian....the payoffs must've been huge. There was absolutely no mention of the former Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio in any media site or paper; he just literally popped up from behind that curtain from nowhere. Mind you, Chris Cuomo of CNN is probably being even more obnoxious about the fact that he was the only one to have even mentioned his possibility in becoming Pope. Well, in any case, Francis is getting his honeymoon period right now and the world media is talking about how humble and pious he had been in his native Argentina. We shall see what happens after his Inauguration Mass this weekend.

Yesterday, while Pope Francis I was probably lining up to get his Big Mac Meal at the Vatican Golden Arches (again, humility), I was having lunch with Shard at Kinton Ramen downtown. I was back at the counter again which I actually do prefer instead of the Kyushu table at the front. I went for the regular Shio Ramen while Shard went for Miso. It's been interesting going out with different folks in my last three visits to Kinton. Back on Boxing Day, it was with one member of the Anime Court and Automan in which the conversation was pretty regular, while with The Wild Guy and The Banker and Egg a few weeks ago, it was more business-oriented. Yesterday, Shard, who has a deep interest in design, got into the nitty-gritty of the decor inside and outside of the restaurant. I think I have a deeper appreciation of all of the wood that was sacrificed for the place. I'm happy that Shard enjoyed his ramen and the surroundings. My bowl just had a bit of a rancid whiff of pork which was not that great but the karaage chicken was crunchy and juicy at the same time. And the two of us ended up getting recruited into the restaurant's Kinton Bowler program in which if we drain our bowls over the next 10 visits, Kinton will throw in a free plate of gyoza on our 11th visit....that is, if we don't keel over from cholesterol toxicity at the end of the year.

Of course, after such a rich lunch, we fairly waddled our way over to a Starbucks inside Sick Kids Hospital. Shard informed me of this deal with a coupon for a free Caramel or Hazelnut Macchiatto. As it turned out, it was a bit of a hoax by an uploader, but the staff there had been apprised of the ruse and yet were still smilingly willing to give out the free coffee. The other lesson I learned that is if you decide to get a coffee at a Timmies or a Starbucks during the noon hour, getting one at a hospital atrium or being near a huge atrium in an office building will usually guarantee empty seats for you.

It will be a quiet weekend. No Skype lessons and no outing with The Anime King since he is off to Chicago on a business trip. We did have our biweekly telephone conversation a couple of days ago. However, The Egg contacted me to see about dinner plans for tomorrow. Gotta follow up on that.

And by the way, if any of you are having a bad day, just think about the executives at Carnival Cruises, and you'll feel much better.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Neighbourhood Stuff

Tuesday March 12, 11:16 p.m.

Well, it's been mostly a day of translation and watching the start of the Conclave at the Vatican. I'm not religious by any means but as an observer of world events, it's been interesting watching all the mysterious pomp and circumstance surrounding the choice of a new Pope. And now, SmokeWatch has begun....just love how the media can jargonize even a centuries-old tradition. A chimney is getting more attention than it even gets during Christmas Eve. Of course, nothing came of the first vote as expected, but perhaps tomorrow. However, most folks say the new Pope will appear on Thursday at the earliest.

Got through another round of translation. I got a new assignment of hunting and translating for tomorrow which could be intriguing. It looks like I'm getting into a good groove with my new profession.

Tonight, I actually went to a meeting concerning the unit owners of our development for the first time with Dad. The session involved the presentation of a company coming over to increase the efficiency of our toilets and other fixtures, but we went there to primarily talk with the new property manager about that problem with leakage in the bedroom. Not surprisingly, I was the 2nd-youngest guy there and the questions to the slick presenter were refreshingly direct. To the sales representative's credit, he did a pretty good job and he even went right up to one old fellow whose hearing wasn't too good to explain things as best as he could. Having turned into a major skeptic about most things in life, I wasn't willing to believe everything at first speak so I'm gonna see how the board and residents decide. The jury is out on the manager as well. The regional guy was quite sold on him and made it quite known but the oft-frustrated custodian of our buildings before the new management company came in made it known to my parents that he has no love for this new guy. I did get a straight answer from the regional manager about my problem, but it was unfortunate that the property manager said absolutely nothing to us. Not a good start to me.

And buried in all that stuff about the Conclave and translations and toilet talk was the news that life could have very well existed on Mars after all. Geeks are dancing in the street....or in the basement.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Soggy Start

Monday March 11, 12:09 pm

Well, pretty wet and gloomy out there, but at least it's warmer. However, the weather folks are saying that the minus temperatures are still gonna plague us later this week. The snow is melting, though, which is revealing a lot of stuff that the dogs left behind. There is also a dead raccoon nearby which the killer car driver deposited on the curb. I'm now considering calling Animal Services.

Not a great sports weekend for Canada or Toronto. The Leafs were squeaked out of a win by the Penguins on Saturday...the Buds did show heart but just couldn't beat Crosby or Malkin. And of course, there was that kerfuffle with Team Canada in the World Baseball Classic against Team Mexico; there has been some back-&-forth since then with the Blue Jays' Jose Bautista putting in his two nickels by scolding Canada for trying to run up the score. And then Canada had to go home with their tails between their legs after collapsing against the USA yesterday. However, Toronto FC did provide a glimmer of good news by winning its first game since last July.

Still waiting for my regular translation assignment from the company; apparently, things are a bit slow in Japan today. But today is the 2nd anniversary of the big Tohoku Earthquake/Tsunami, so I'm sure people are being quite reflective. I'm finding the media coverage quite interesting depending on the country. Of course, NHK and probably the commercial networks in Japan have been providing very somber and wistful programs about 3/11, and NHK was visiting a lot of individuals in the affected areas to get their impressions and reminiscences, but very little has been shown about the progress of the cleanup. On the other hand, CNN and BBC have been focusing on that aspect of the disaster aftermath, and showing that after 2 years, not much has been done. It was the first time in several months that I've seen anything on the Fukushima nuclear reactor disaster still in progress, and that was through BBC only. The reporter for the British network remarked that in a society where consensus-building is often still paramount, there has been little consensus built about how to fix something this enormous which would explain the delay. I think the Japanese media's take on it is that the ramifications will simply not go away for decades, so it's sho ga nai...let's work on the emotional healing and getting people to regain their energy and confidence to work around the difficulties while the upper echelons deal (or try to deal) with them directly. NHK's report did pick up on one angle and that was whether the memories of the disaster have started to fade; apparently, corporate and perhaps private contributions to the quake-affected areas have fallen by a huge margin, and the weekly protests in front of Parliament against nuclear power have also shrunk (although there was a huge parade in downtown Tokyo yesterday). I think the fading is a natural thing and is part of the healing process, but I was surprised at how quickly the fade has been in the country itself. But at the same time, the national TV network has been keeping up its end of the bargain by broadcasting a lot of programming on the situation over the months.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Springing Forward

Friday March 8, 10:54 p.m.

Looking a bit more optimistic out there in the weather department. Went out with Dad and it felt quite warm. Mind you, +1 degree is pretty relative but it was also quite sunny, and things are just looking better for the weekend. Makes one wonder why anyone would like to head down south for March Break. Well, mind you, the folks down there are getting 29 more degrees than we are.

Finished off a good week of translation, and looking forward to a bit of respite perhaps just blogging and watching TV. Spring seems to be coming in and our clocks are gonna be springing forward one hour as of early Sunday morning. But I saw an amazing instance of springing back...from adversity, that is. I woke up this morning to see a bit of that Japan vs. Taiwan game at The World Baseball Classic. Japan was behind 2-0 in the bottom of the 8th when they started to pull off a major upset by tying things up. Then when Taiwan pulled ahead 3-2 at the top of the 9th, Japan just tied things up again before winning for good in the 10th. That is grit. The Leafs have pulled this sort of feat before, and hopefully they will remember to do so in the latter half of this strike-shortened schedule.

Still, not all lightness and heart in Toronto. There was that tragic case of that 5-year-old girl getting struck down and killed by a garbage truck yesterday; the school and surrounding neighbourhood are mourning very deeply. And then at Thistledown Collegiate yesterday, scum actually had the gall...and ooze in and rob two students of their cellphones and fire a bullet at one other kid before taking off and pulling off some more robberies. Luckily, those kids left a pretty good bread crumb trail in the form of their blue Toyota with a fully-recognizable license plate and security camera footage. It's almost as if they were begging to be arrested. And then of course, our walking trouble magnet, Mayor Rob Ford, is back in the news for allegedly groping a former mayoral candidate at a party the night before, although I'm getting the feeling that there may be holes developing in her story. Never a dull day in this city....kinda wish for some, though.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Tokyo Olympics 2020?

courtesy of Jamie Barras
from Flickr
Thursday March 7, 1:22 p.m.

Was watching NHK News this morning. For the past few mornings, the broadcast has been focusing on the IOC's visit to Tokyo to see if Japan's capital is up to hosting the Olympics for a 2nd time since its inaugural shot in 1964. The Games there happened just several months before my birth, so the only record I have of them is a very old, beat-up but huge commemorative magazine and a coin given to me by my late grandfather.

It's been the grand inu-&-kouma show for the gang at IOC. Prime Minister Abe was abnormally cheerful and gave a fairly bizarre first few words in his speech as he persuaded the visiting group to give Tokyo the opportunity. And during a tour around the city, the IOC stopped at some table tennis training facility where table tennis Olympic darling, Ai Fukuhara, was working up a massive sweat pounding away at the table with a huge nailed-on smile that rather unnerved me. I've seen Fukuhara practice on TV, and she has only had the most serious expression during training.

Do I seem a bit skeptical? You bet. When Tokyo was vying for the 2016 Games under former Governor Shintaro Ishihara, it seemed that the only folks interested in getting the Olympics were the folks talking with the IOC about the possibility. 99.9% of the citizens around the country, however, gave a collective yawn, or if they lived in the capital, grumbled about having to head out of the city to avoid the traffic craziness. It's kinda like how a lot of Torontonians felt about having an Olympics come over here....not very excited. I think the Chinese were excited about the 2000 Games and the British were ecstatic about getting the London Olympics, but Toronto?....meh. We're getting the Pan Am Games in a couple of years, and the news hasn't exactly been all that overwhelmingly approving here about those.

In the NHK report, a reporter who's been on the Olympics beat for years, did some man-on-the-street interviews in front of Shimbashi Station in Tokyo, one of the places to be to get the opinion of the common working person. I'm sure there was quite a bit of editing involved for the report since the man was giving out a lot of "Sumimasen"; I could imagine that a lot of the folks probably just wanted to avoid him to avoid the embarrassment of using the English language despite the fact that an interpreter was there on hand. However, he was able to snag a few people and ask them their opinions of an Olympics in their city. And frankly, my impression of their answers was that they were on the polite "Well, it would be n-i-i-i-c-e...." level, but nothing exciting. Now, the Japanese are relatively reserved when dealing with people they're not familiar with, but I think they can be a lot more excited about things they really support, and I didn't see it with those interviewees. The reporter himself observed that Japan certainly has the technology and the logistics, but he was still looking for more spirit behind the bid. And the expression on his face and his tone kinda said that there wasn't a lot of that.

When Japan was bidding for the 1964 Olympics, I could imagine a people who would rally around the flag, as they were already doing for some years just to rebuild their country. That collective oomph didn't need to be generated by an Olympic committee of old folks or the national government; it was already there, ready to be harvested. A Tokyo Olympics would be the globally-sanctioned welcome back for Japan, and the national celebration for the people to say that Japan was becoming healthy again. The Japanese then had something to prove, and any grumbles about traffic and overcrowding probably didn't exist to a great degree since the people had been going through much more hardship. Nowadays, most folks have been accustomed to the good life, even in the last two decades of economic doldrums, so that they will grumble loudly about an international sports event invading their city in terms of what it may do to their surrounding infrastructure for 2 weeks and their tax payments for the 7 years leading up to the Games. Probably a lot of people may feel that there is nothing to prove about their country. Plus, they've got plenty of smaller international sports events such as The World Baseball Classic or the numerous running marathons, they would say.

It's possible that people could be brought together on behalf of all those who have suffered from the 2011 Earthquake/Tsunami/Nuclear Disaster. Obviously that was an environmental maelstrom that had international coverage and its effects were felt well beyond the Tohoku region. However, I'm not sure if even something of that magnitude would rally people around an Olympic bid these days. Some people in the quake-ravaged areas may question the sense of spending money on a sports event years down the line when there is still so much that needs to be done in the short-term alone. Some Tokyoites may wonder about the sense of supporting an Olympic bid just because a totally separate area got wrecked. But then again, the Tohoku may reap dividends from the fact that thousands of foreign tourists may visit the area during their time attending the Games.

But it all comes down to how much the Japanese want the Games. That reporter stated something that stuck in my head: "The IOC won't give the Games to a city that doesn't want them." I think the next 6 months will be critical to see how much Tokyo and Japan want them.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Madoka Magica at Fairview?!

Monday March 4, 2:41 p.m.

Found out from the exiled Anime Chamberlain this past weekend that an anime series that I had watched last summer, "Madoka Magica", has its movie version scheduled for showing right here in Toronto at the Cineplex at Fairview Mall next week. May explain the strange increase in pageviews for my posting on it.

I'd be interested in not only watching it for the bizarre clash of animation styles and just to be able to understand it via the miracle of subtitles (saw the series that The King had lent me via USB without any, and my Japanese isn't too good on the esoteric stuff), but also to see who comes on out to watch this anime.

I will reiterate..."Madoka Magica" ain't your Precure franchise, despite the cute girls.

Fun and Work

Monday March 4, 2:30 p.m.

Well, just to link back to what I'd said last entry....I should've knocked on wood a bit harder. As soon as I mentioned that I would be having a slight respite from all that translating, a big assignment landed on my lap which I've finally completed for hand-in tonight. But I'd also mentioned that that textbook wouldn't get to Mr. Moriya in time?.....well, it got just there in the nick of it, miraculously enough.

However, I was able to spend some time enjoying more ramen at Kinton on Friday afternoon. As usual, I was the first one in line at about 11:10 a.m. Believe me, I don't mean to be so early but I don't really have a very good temporal sense so I always err on the side of caution. Luckily, all three of my ramen companions showed up in plenty of time. We got the Kyushu table right at the front. And as usual, it didn't take long for the place to get filled up. I could actually eat the Extra Pork Ramen with a sampling of gyoza and karaage without re-enacting one of the climactic scenes of "Alien". Then, it was up to the Second Cup across from U of T for a bit of coffee, conversation and digestion.

On Sunday, it was the usual get-together with The Anime King for a round of food and anime. Did Asian Legend for lunch and then that Chinese hot pot place on McNicoll for dinner. That hot place wasn't too bad but unfortunately, the chicken was pretty chintzy. I get far more stuff on the bones in my mother's hot pot.