Monday, September 27, 2004

Natasha Bedingfield. These Words.

Natasha Bedingfield. These Words. I heard it on the radio. I know it is kind of candy pop, but she talks in the lyrics about writing a killer hook... I think that "I love you, I love you" part is a killer hook. Bravo.

Sunday, September 26, 2004

Last FM

From Joi Ito. Sounds like a good idea. I'll try it... but for now I can't access the website... has been around for awhile now and they've even been covered in Wired so many of you may already know about them. It is a music site based on collaborative filtering. Using one of the many Audioscrobbler plugins, you can set your music player to upload the titles of the music you are playing to their site. This starts to create your profile. You can also go to the site and browse songs and artists and add them to your profile. It will recommend similar artists and also show other fans of those artists. You can browse the profiles of those fans as well. Eventually, you will have enough songs in your profile for it to calculate your neighborhood. These are other members with similar taste. It's quite uncanny how similar some people's taste in music can be. You can visit these people, see what they are listening to, send them messages or add them as friends.

Friday, September 24, 2004

Wendell Berry - The Failure of War

Obviously, we would be less absurd if we took better care of things. We would be less absurd if we founded our public policies upon an honest description of our needs and our predicament, rather than upon fantastical descriptions of our wishes. We would be less absurd if our leaders would consider in good faith the proven alternatives to violence.

Such things are easy to say, but we are disposed, somewhat by culture and somewhat by nature, to solve our problems by violence, and even to enjoy doing so. And yet by now all of us must at least have suspected that our right to live, to be free, and to be at peace is not guaranteed by any act of violence. It can be guaranteed only by our willingness that all other persons should live, be free, and be at peace—and by our willingness to use or give our own lives to make that possible. To be incapable of such willingness is merely to resign ourselves to the absurdity we are in; and yet, if you are like me, you are unsure to what extent you are capable of it.

Here is the other question that I have been leading toward, one that the predicament of modern warfare forces upon us: How many deaths of other people’s children by bombing or starvation are we willing to accept in order that we may be free, affluent, and (supposedly) at peace? To that question I answer: None. Please, no children. Don’t kill any children for my benefit.

If that is your answer too, then you must know that we have not come to rest, far from it. For surely we must feel ourselves swarmed about with more questions that are urgent, personal, and intimidating. But perhaps also we feel ourselves beginning to be free, facing at last in our own selves the greatest challenge ever laid before us, the most comprehensive vision of human progress, the best advice, and the least obeyed:

"Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust."

via Paul Fromont

The Daily Show's Steven Colbert - Media Culpa

Dan Rather is the head, the Commander-in-Chief if you will of his organization. He is someone in an ultimate position of power who made a harmful decision based upon questionable evidence. Then to make things worse, he stubbornly refused to admit his mistake, choosing instead to "stay the course" and essentially "occupy" this story for too long. This man has got to go!!!

Small is Better?

Napster allowed people to hear what they are going to buy before they buy it. The result is that good indie records are selling more copies, and bad major-label records are selling less.
Despite what the RIAA would have you believe, the shifts the industry has witnessed haven’t been a matter of quantity so much as they’ve been a matter of quality. People are making their purchasing decisions less on the basis of hype and blind faith, and more on the basis of what they actually enjoy listening to.

And that has really screwed up the trend-driven marketplace it took the major labels more than 40 years to perfect.

LA Weekly article via Gen Kanai

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Fun with home videos...

If you are interested, and have the time and bandwidth, check out Simon's first music video. We got a new toy a little while back (camcorder) and have been having some fun with it.

But it is big (about 30mb) so if you want to see it, better right-click and choose "save target as".

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Minn. Trooper Writes 205 Mph Ticket

Man, I remember those days. Cople bored young guys on an empty prairie road. Except in our town the coffee-shop-cop gossip was that the fastest they ever clocked was 160mph. Said they didn't even chase. No chance of catching something going that fast. But 205... wow... I mean wow, that's stupid. But, maybe that's 20 years old a lot of times too. Used to think I was invincible too. Only took nine years to convince me of my vincibility.

A Conspiracy of Cordiality

What we call "church" is too often a gathering of strangers who see the church as yet another "helping institution" to gratify further their individual desires. One of the reasons some church members are so mean-spirited with their pastor, particularly when the pastor urges them to look at God, is that they feel deceived by such pastoral invitations to look beyond themselves. They have come to church for "strokes," to have their personal needs met. What we call church is often a conspiracy of cordiality. Pastors learn to pacify rather than preach to their Ananiases and Sapphiras. We say we do it out of "love." Usually, we do it as a means of keeping everyone as distant from everyone else as possible. You don’t get into my life and I will not get into yours.

Stanley Hauerwas in Resident Alien from the Daily Dig

Temperature tops 30 C in Tokyo for annual record 68 days

I know at home they had one of the coldest summers on record, but after this many days of this kind of heat, a cold summer doesn't sound too bad to me. And it's still not over. Yesterday was still hot and humid. We will see what today brings.

Monday, September 20, 2004

Do you speak English? Or American?

A list of words that Brits say that we don't. Especially important knowledge for living in an environment that mixes English speakers from all over, like we have here. I met a friend of mine from the UK who I hadn't seen in a while. Asked him what he was up to and he said he had changed jobs from the company we both used to work for. Why? He told me that he had been "pinched". I start freaking out, imploring him for the details of this apparent sexual harrassment. He says, No, no. "Pinched". Means stolen. A student from another company offered him a better job and thus "stole" him away.

Right. Gotcha. hehe.

Micah's pics

A few more pictures of McJunior over at the Phlog. I figure it is my job to think up every strange variation of his name before the kids at school do.

Sunday, September 19, 2004

The importance of detachment from things

"The importance of detachment from things, the importance of poverty, is that we are supposed to be free from things that we might prefer to people. Wherever things have become more important than people, we are in trouble. That is the crux of the whole matter."

Thomas Merton

The Daily Dig via Mike

Coco in Tokyo

Just reading this blog by a girl who grew up in Canada, but is Japanese and now living in Tokyo. Her entry describes something who encounter quite a lot here, the notion among many that if you have lived outside of Japan for a time and then come back, you are not quite the real deal anymore:

Being returnee is often considered as plus. Language, perspective or etc. but actually in Japan, returnee is not treated as 100% Japanese. We returnees are called "Gaijin" (means foreigner) often. When I can not read some Kanji, when me and someone Japanese have different opinion, when I tell Japanese I rarely have miso soup or not owning rice cooker, they say "you are returnee/gaijin". However there are many Japanese who can't read Kanji, have different opinion or not like miso soup or steamed white rice, only people who have 100% Japanese parents and born in/grown up in Japanese are treated as Japanese. Many of Japanese people refuse mutual understanding with returnee. It is sad. or is it only happening to me?
On the other hand, the country I was born Canada is not my country either. However I still keep Canadian citizenship, I am a foreigner there. I'm Japanese in overseas, I am not Japanese in Japan. I am foreigner in everywhere. Permanent solitude.

I have been here over three years altogether now, so I am quite used to the feeling of always being a foreigner, always being "visible". But some people hate it a lot more than I do. I suspect those are the people who don't stay here very long. But being from here and feeling like that might be tough.

Saturday, September 18, 2004

Japanese volcano calmer after five straight day of eruptions

And this is what was going on when he came into the world. I should have said something, but last week there were four earthquakes, two typhoons, and a volcano. Whoah, that makes this prairie boy a little nervous. The only natural disaster I ever saw at home was the river getting a little too high. But where I come from, the ground doesn't just start moving.

It's a boy!!!

Well, we all knew that, but now it's for sure. He came yesterday evening at 9:20pm. He weighs in at 3.5 kg, 49 cm, dark hair, and gooooood lookin! His name is Micah Raine Janzen. We'll call him Mick.

Andrea was happy that the whole ordeal only went on for seven hours. She is doing just fine, though in Japan they make you stay in the clinic for five days. So Simon and I are bach'ing. Simon was a little freaked out at first at the sight of this intruder, but today he was a lot happier with the whole idea.

Friday, September 17, 2004

Baby's on the way and we are off to the hospital! No posting for the next few hours... hahahahahahahaha

"…Leadership is not a person with a plan or vision for the future, a leader is one who forms environments in which the people of God, among whom the Spirit resides, can get in dialogue with others and narratives of Scripture…”

Winn Griffin via Paul Fromont

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Just a bit more on the Russian Orphan site. I was getting all inspired again reading a news article about the guy who started it up. I posted once before about what a great thing it is when someone decides to be deliberate in constructing their lives in such a way that they can extravagantly give to others, and it seems that this guy is one of those.
These seem like good folks. I've been chatting with them by email. Think I would like to learn more about them. Vladivostok is not too far away, and I think they could probably teach us a few things. Send them some money... I mean really, go read some of the stories of the kids you can sponsor, and at least think about it.

Monday, September 13, 2004

Saturday, September 11, 2004


I am just changing things over, updating template-wise, and I don't fully understand what I am doing so some links aren't working etc. Trying to figure it out....

atonement chat

A good discussion of the atonement that I just wanted to store the link to. At djchuang's site.

day with the boy

Spent most of the day with that guy. Pretty soon number two will be here. That is uncharted territory for me, two boys. I grew up as the only boy, number one son. And all I remember about guys with brothers is that they punch people a lot more than I did.
I read today that it is a good practice, good for your writing and getting into the swing of it, to write for just two minutes everyday. To let that be your start. Well, when it comes to blogging, I am petrified of committment, as my record has been so bad thus far, but I want to say I might be interested in possibly giving that a shot... maybe.

So here are my two minute for today. I just came back from Sakae, downtown Nagoya. I live the center of the city, especially on a Friday night, but it does feel somewhat incompatible with being a married father of one with one on the way.

So I am back at home, wasting time on a computer while my wife sleeps.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

I am having so much fun I had to share this. I am really mad at a teaching company I do ome part-time work for tonight, because of a bunch of extra meaningless work they are making me do. I have to do these really in-depth evaluations of students in a two-day course, because the company we did it for wants to see something. As teachers, we told our bosses that such detailed reports taken from a period of two days really have no meaning at all, but they adamant, suggesting that it really isn't about the English learning anyway, it is about the business.

Well, if it isn't about the English, then I have found a great way to entertain myself for the evening. For the comments section, I am working hard of thinking up things to say that have basically no meaning, but will make everybody happy because, well, obviously something has been done.

So here are a few:

I recommend buying some English learning software such as Rosetta Stone. It's a good one. And remember lucid imitation of recommended structures may seem constricting, but is always commendable.

Good work on the presentation. Very creative. Keep reading and watching English media that suit your interests. Immersion is relative even in its most ubiquitous contexts, but its outcomes infinitely reliable.

Very interesting presentation. And excellent work in the dialogues. Regard fluency as a guide road to lingual intra-applicability. Function and context always work together in coherent dialogue - with one another that is!

Send me a few more. I likely won't be finished tonight...