I so need to clean the house

I so, so need to clean the house from top to bottom.

I feel the clutter and the mess holding me down, like a big weight. It's holding me back from doing so many things! Argh.

I need to make a list of where to start, I think. And I start playing with iGTD and OmniFocus beta and get all distracted.

This can't do at all.


I am grateful to my parents for many things, and resent them for a few others. I think that's fairly average. But if there is one thing for which I will harbor a grudge against them until I die, it's that they didn't have my tonsils taken out when I was younger.

Every year, often several times a year, I get tonsilitis. Most of my colds come via my tonsils. I woke up this morning, unrested and tired, because my tonsils felt like two burning rocks of pain.

eh, what?

(English speakers, please excuse me. This rant is in Japanese.)

The Japanese culture boom, from the outside looking in

Last week I tentatively opened up a new site dedicated to bento, the Japanese meal in a box. I have been kicking around the idea of such a site for quite some time now but I was not sure if I should open a new site, or just fold more bento-related content into my existing, more general food site, Just Hungry. While there are already several bento blogs out there, I was not sure if there would be enough interest in a whole site dedicated to Japanese-style lunch boxes, so I procrastinated, before decided that I wanted to organize all that information in one, separate location.

In less than a week, the traffic to Just Bento, discounting the lack of search engine generated visits, has almost equalled that of the almost 4 year old Just Hungry. I'm simply astonished.

But then it's not the first time that I've been surprised at just how much interest there is in things Japanese, from non-Japanese people, in recent years. Whether it's anime or manga, gadgets or toys, fashion or sushi, amigurumi or Hello Kitty, each time I see how 'hot' and 'cool' something Japanese is it throws me for a loop. The funny thing is that all of this interest seems to have come after the collapse of the Japanese bubble economy in the late '80s to early '90s.

How I spent my summer

Compared to Japanese school summer vacations, the summer vacations doled out by English and American schools are heaven. The Japanese school year goes from April to March, and summer vacation occurs during, rather than at the end of, that school year.

How to make sure your movie gets pirated

Some Hollywood studios have a better clue about how to release their movies worldwide than others. Take the Lord Of The Rings trilogy for example, which got a same-day (with a stagger of a day or so in some cases) release all over the world. Here in Zürich, we even got to see The Return Of the King the day before it got released in the US, because of the time zone difference.

On the other hand, you have this ridiculous release schedule for Disney/Pixar's Ratatouille, a movie I've been waiting to see for more than a year.

Middle class guilt and doing the 'right thing'

I caught the last half of a somewhat quirky documentary on BBC Two the other night, called The New Middle Classes (it was part of the excellent Time Shift series). While it was talking about the "new middle classes" in the UK (which still has to be one of the most class-conscious nations in the world), one point they made rings true, I think, for 'middle class' people everywhere: the sense of guilt alleviation and self-satisfaction that is brought along by doing the 'right things'.

Men taking their wives' last names is not uncommon in Japan

I find this story in USA Today about more American men taking their wives' last names (via kottke) rather interesting as a snapshot of gender attitudes. My impression of the American Male is that a lot of them are awfully defensive about their masculinity, much more so than men elsewhere, which explains the "sissy juice" comments received by Sam Van Hallgren (who, incidentally, is co-host of the one podcast besides This American Life that I listen to religiously, Filmspotting.)

In Japan, men have been taking their wives' last names for a long time. This may seem surprising in light of the view of Japanese society as being very male dominant. In fact, it's done for practical, usually business, purposes. If the woman's family has a well known business which is run as a family concern, and the man marrying the woman is going to enter, and eventually take over, that business, he is legally adopted by the woman's family and thus takes her surname along with it. This is called becoming a yo-shi. The word and concept is the same as for a child being adopted.

Starting a Twitter experiment

I am one of the fairly large and vocal minority of people who are skeptical about the usefulness of Twitter. I don't see how it's better at communication with people I know than the phone, email, Skype (Skype IM is a very useful tool for people you are frequently on the phone with), IM, IRC channels, snailmail letters, what have you. And I am not that interested in what people I don't know are eating for dinner. Heck I'm not that interested in what people I do know are having for dinner, unless they can write it up and photograph it beautifully and give me the recipes (yay for food blogs).

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