I’m going to the fuckin’ Olympics!


Pictured: The fuckin’ Olympics

With Olympic fever gripping the nation, and news of the not-going-to-be-used sponsor’s tickets being “confiscated” and sold to members of the public who can actually be arsed to show up, I thought I’d have a go at buying some. I was also inspired by watching the 100m final, and the incredible atmosphere and jubilation of Usain Bolt’s lap of honour. Soo I looked into it, and made a purchase… I’m not going to the Olympic Stadium, though, but Wembley, to see these ladies:


Who are currently the Women’s World Cup holders, and who are going to SMASH the Yanks in the final! Can’t wait! I’m gonna have the whole day off and troll around the Olympic park, watching events on the big screens. Gonna go down the Japan Centre to get a Japanese flag and “kamikaze” headband too. It’d be nice to go to an event in the proper stadium, and see the flame, but I spent ‘a bit’ on the tickets for this match, and will have to save every penny. Especially if my holiday in Japan does convince me to go and work as a language monkey.

Mind you, Tokyo is a candidate city for the 2020 Olympics – and how could they not be held in Japan? Great sailing, loads of huge arenas (the Tokyo Big Sight deals with Comiket twice a year, and that has millions through the doors – the guys there know their stuff), massive investment in sport (Japan’s elementary schools have facilities baseball and small football teams in Britain would kill for) and, of course, the best public transport in the world. Want a “green games”? Driving in Tokyo is fucking insane – at the city centre events damn near 100% of the spectators will come on trains.

Of course, If I do move to Japan, it’ll have to be forever, and so I’d have to become a naturalised citizen. I could potentially manage that by 2020 – and would have a second Olympics “on my doorstep” in the space of 8 years! Make it happen, IOC! I wanna watch Japan’s women get golden football medals more than once!


I’m going to fuckin’ Japan!


Pictured: Fuckin’ Japan

Remember I said I was thinking of applying for an ALT job? Well I’m… a coward. So Instead I’ve booked a 2-week(ish) holiday there for the end of September. The previous two occasions when I went to Japan were just wanders around Tokyo, with my then-girlfriend Yasue doing all the talking. As I’ve broken up with her now, this trip will be more about testing out my own language skills. I’m also going to make reams of notes on the prices of everything in the shops, so I’ll have a better idea of how I will survive on a private ALT company’s salary (I think I’m going to develop a taste for instant noodles).

But I’ll save posting about this to my Japan-related blog: http://thingsjapanese.crystal-knights.co.uk/

That’s also where the numerous pictures will go, though I’ll probably repeat amusing / cool ones here with swearing-filled comments.

Not updated this thing for ages

So let’s have some random waffle and odd pictures I had kicking around. And then a bunch of separate posts on various things that deserve to be singled out.

First, it’s DOWNLOAD! But I ain’t there, though looking at the virtually non-stop rain we’ve had since Wednesday I’m kinda glad. Though I am missing Nightwish, Anti-Nowhere League and various other great bands.


A pic from about 10:58, there’s probably no band on

That said the rain did stop at about 2:00 in the afternoon today (at least in Cambridgeshire). It was not exactly hot, but not cold, and the wind was very strong. If those conditions persist in Donington it might “blow dry” the ground and make it nice and soft, but not muddy. Ideal if you ask me, people will bounce if they fall over in a pit XD. Also the one bad memory of every Download I have been to is sore feet, from walking too far / on rock-hard, baked mud.

I saw this the other day: http://www.cam.ac.uk/research/features/falklandsmalvinas-a-national-cause/

The mention of Argentine comics about the Falklands War got me interested. I’m interested in the history of the comics of all nations, and a look at “the other side” ought to be interesting. I’d also love to see Japanese comics from during World War 2 and German story-papers from the 1890’s – 1918. Unfortunately both of those countries lost the respective wars and have now taken on a more pacifist viewpoint, preferring to act as if the “imperialist propaganda” in their comics of the time never happened.  Indeed, many histories of Japanese comics jump straight from the Ponchi-e of the 1850’s to Sazae-san and Osamu Tezuka in the late 1940’s, ignoring everything in between!


Take this the next time you go to a talk about manga.

British comics have hardly mentioned the Falklands either. Apparently Battle (by then probably the shitty, ruined Battle Action Force version) did a story about the war while it was happening, but set it in the future, and made the enemies some sort of weird terrorist force. Commando did 2-3 stories about it in the early 90’s (reprinted circa 2009/10), but they were mainly about the lives of SAS soldiers, and the action they saw in the Falklands was only part of the story.

More recently Commando did two more Falklands stories, though only one was set in the actual war (feuding RAF brothers, one a Harrier pilot, the other a Sea King pilot). The other was again about the SAS, this time on a secret mission in mainland Argentina. They discover a crazed fanatic (at a time when the country was ruled by fanatics and murdering it’s own people left, right and centre) working on a biological weapon and have to arrange for the base to be bombed. In real life the Port Stanley airport was stretching the range of Vulcan bombers, let alone going any further!


Some cakes

If only there was some small presser doing a patriotic, jingoistic adventure comic, who could produce the definitive comic version, eh?

Oh yeah, on the subject of Commando, it’s recently upgraded it’s paper quality enormously, and has reached issue 4500. I trust you are all doing your bit to help it on the way to issue 5000? Well somebody must be, a new “batch” comes out roughly every 2 weeks, but if you don’t get to them on the ‘first weekend’ (and sometimes even that’s too late) you might not get the full four. For a while I thought this was because WH Smith’s staff were idiots and not putting enough of them out. But the varying numbers lead me to another explanation. They are selling out! A Boys’ Own war comic, in 2012!


A cute girl



Only certain people will get this

Mind you, I do have a couple of “promising” friendships at the moment. I had more, but they were far out of my league and I’d better not delude myself. My first crush, who is still single and still beautiful, was liking my Facebook updates an awful lot. Then I hinted at a possible date and she switched off – that was a wake-up call XD.

Other recent things have included Camcon, cambridge’s “first” comic / anime / nerdy stuff convention… apart from 3-4 in the 80’s (including another one also called Camcon, but run by completely different people. The current crew were babies then XD). It was pretty good, and sold out. Plans for expansion are already being made. I hope to become one of the “moving spirits” of the convention, with my Union Jack-bedecked table welcoming people year on year.


Hopefully with increasing numbers of comics. And neighbours who turn up.

I also had an idea to hand-animate a Julian and Sandy sketch advertising the next one. Anybody want to voice act? I need an RP-speaker and a raving queen. I will of course play the other raving queen XD.

I also went to the ‘rather’ bigger MCM Expo in London. This is held twice a year (there’s also other MCM’s in Birmingham, Manchester and, er, Telford) and gets 60,000 people through the doors. It’s in the gigantic Excel centre, though the convention proper only occupies one ‘room’ of the building. The forums are always full of complaints about overcrowding, things are going to reach a crunch point soon, I reckon. The qeue for convention tickets uses another room, which is left half empty. I don’t know why they can’t put some stands in there too, to open things out a bit.


The hallway in the middle of the Excel Centre

Mind you, the MCM forums are always full of complaints about free huggers and the (hilarious) Yaoi Guy. Miserable fuckers.

I’m going to be going to an anime convention on the 30th, even though I don’t really like anime, my favourite one is 5 minutes long. Oh well, I can meet some interesting people and maybe obtain some more ‘promising friendships’ XD. Also it’s in London so I could slope off to the Japan Centre or Gosh. Probably the latter as I’m about ready to give up on Japanese and switch to learning a language that will be both easier and more useful to me.


I think you know what I’m talking about

There was probably more, but I’ve just hit that sudden tiredness wall. Plenty to do tomor-erm-later today, including getting the latest Commando comics, trying to find this Falklands conference (if it’s even open to the public) and of course checking out the Cambridge University Anthropology Museum, which has recently been re-opened and apparently contains examples of art and design down the ages, from 40,000 years ago to may 2012 XD. I doubt there’s many comics, mind you.


Only certain people will get this

BUT I’ll also get a Euromillions ticket. If I won a gigantic prize on that I’d create a huge and truly international comic museum. The “International Manga Museum” in Kyoto sounds more like a big reference library for Japanese comics, with a small ‘exhibit’ of pages stuck on a wall (Okay, maybe I will go to Japan once more, to see that museum… and the Mikasa… and Jinbocho…).

My museum would have vast wings dedicated to each continent, with bigger or smaller galleries depending on the comic output of each nation. Japan and Britain would of course have huge ones XD. They’d also treat each country’s evolving comic culture on it’s own merits. The Magnet and Hokusai Manga were not picture-strip “comics”, but both played thier own part in thier respective country’s comic development. I’d also give cave paintings, hieroglyphics, early Chinese writing and The Bayeux Tapestry their dues!

Visit St Petersberg? I’d rather go to Peterborough


Did you hear the one about the Russian politician who wouldn’t take a bribe?

Me neither.


Did you hear the one about the Russian who got a fair trial?

Me neither.


Did you hear the one about the Russian cop who turned up to work sober?

Me neither.


Why do Ladas have the engine in the back?

More room at the front for the bodies.


Did you hear the one about freedom of speech in Russia?



Did you hear the one about the 20,000 murdered Chechens?

No, I only get Russian TV.


Did you hear the one about how much Russia has changed since 1916?

Me neither.


What did the Russian sailor say when he saw unarmed British fishing boats?

“Battle stations”


Did you hear the one the Russian sailor told when he saw the Japanese navy?

The punchline was a washout.





What did the Russian soldier say when he saw the Japanese army?

They don’t have eyes in the back of their heads.


Did you hear the one about the Tchaikovsky performance in his hometown?

They used canister.


In America you march on gay pride. In Russia gay pride gets marched on!

My phone can take decent pictures…

 …when it feels like it anyway. We’ve had some spectacular sunrises and sets lately, but I keep forgetting my proper camera. The phone camera is crap at capturing them unless you get in exactly the right position. Even then these looked a lot more beautiful in real life.

 nice01.jpg – nice02.jpg

The second one is actually now my background. The first doesn’t look as good on the small screen. My old phone’s camera was better in some ways, though the pictures it took were more grainy they captured colours better. Still the up button on that phone broke so I couldn’t scroll as easily through my girlfriend’s cute texts and the photos of her. Also my new phone can receive Hiragana so she could send me Japanese passages for me to translate. So getting it was a bit pointless really wasn’t it? Also it’s big and flat and feels awkward in my pockets so I have to take it out when I sit down for break times at work. Still it’s having it’s own keyboard problems, namely over-sensitive buttons that make menu navigation about as predictable as a roulette wheel.

Still I did use it when I discovered an IRL texture misalignment.



Recently I read a deranged article about a guy who was deported from Japan. This is not a link to the original article, but to another site containing a copy of the first draft. The article is a “work in progress”, meaning it keeps changing every time awkward questions get asked.



Picture related

(skim) Reading the article made me more and more angry at the country that begat my coldly-dumping girlfriend. I went to bed vowing to give up learning the language and never set foot there again. However I’d fallen into the same trap that debito.org and the red-top gutter press set – that blend of unsubstantiated claims and out-of-proportion-blowing with little bigoted snipes slipped in that makes you start thinking “yeah, these people are capable of that”. With a clearer head and the filter of tepido.org, a much more amusing picture emerges:


There’s plenty of rather glaring holes in the story and questions the guy refuses to ask. If you ask me the picture is more like…

– He had a work visa for Japan that had either expired, or was for a specific type of work (which was almost certainly teaching English in some chain school). His constant reiteration that he’s “been legal” in Japan for years and “paid taxes” are but poor excuses for illegal immigration. If your visa has expired you ain’t getting in. Countries aren’t in the business of selling citizenship.

–  If he did have a work visa for English teaching and had instead been working as a ‘journalist’ or ‘public speaker’ (he implies that some anti-nuclear speeches he gave are “the real reason” why he was deported. In the same way that the anti-whaling protesters and dolphin-protecting “Cove Watchers” keep getting deported for “anti-Japanese activities” eh?) then he was violating the terms of his visa. And that means it’s time to say bye bye.

– Somebody on Tepido also did a number-crunch and worked out that his claim that 20,000 people were being randomly plucked from immigration at the airport and thrown back out of the country was actually a rather big fact-twist. Actually 20,000 people in total were deported in that time period. A lot of them for committing real crimes!

Oh also while on a vaguely Japanese thread… Yo Sushi opened in Cambridge in 2011 (on Armistice day… to an utterly pathetic spectacle of protest by old codgers who know nothing about history claiming that “the young people” know “nothing about history”. No, nothing about the Wakamiya, or the Dogger Bank Incident in my memory. Of course Cornelius T. Soundbite, erm, I mean Julian Huppert, had to chime in with some cod-patriotic bollocks. Fuck off, the Lib Dems are even worse than New Labour.) and is fairly decent, if monumentally expensive. Then last year a tiny establishment called U Sushi appeared. It was just as monumentally expensive and didn’t have conveyor belts, so I didn’t bother trying it as I couldn’t be bothered to work out what I fancied in advance. However more recently they bought out a series of set menus, the cheapest of which is £8.80. Today I thought I may as well trot in…

MY GOD. I’m never going back to Yo Sushi! U Sushi is so much better it’s like it’s from another planet! Or maybe just the opposite side of the same planet.


It’s located here.

The new year

eleb01.jpg – eleb02.jpg

Last sunset of 2011

I was magnificently lazy over the Christmas holidays, I just sat about eating chocolate and writing short half-arsed reviews of a bunch of small press comics for a magazine. Oh wait, that’s bad! I meant to do a heap of comic drawing, including finishing off my ill-fated manga for a competition the Japanese embassy was running. I’d failed to get it even near finished before that closed, but I hoped to get it finished by tomorrow for inclusion in the next “issue of” (it’s no longer a ‘regular’ comic) Non Repro. But won’t finish it in time for that either now.

The reason? Sherlock! Yes the BBC finally got off their arses and made another three (three! When are we getting a proper series?) episodes of this. And BY GOD are they awesome. The first one was shown on New Year’s day and the second last night. The second was based on the Hound of the Baskervilles… except now “Baskerville” is a secret bio-weapons research facility. You can see where this is going… except it doesn’t go there, actually XD.

Speaking of Sherlock Holmes the latest Hollywood film is incredible too. It’s 2 and a half hours long mind you. But actually there’s only 8 minutes of story and the rest is filled up by slow motion (troof). Still it’s incredible, even if some anachronisms annoyed me… no, his car is not one of them! But the fact there’s nobody walking in front of it with a red flag is. Mind you though, Sir Conan Doyle never liked Sherlock Holmes using motor vehicles, and still had his hero riding around in horse-drawn cabs even after he’d bought a motorcycle. Of course Sexton Blake’s writers had no such qualms, and a motor-car featured in those stories as early as 1898. Later he was thundering around in a Mors car at thirty miles in the hour!

An even more annoying anachronism (to me), though, is the fact that they got the German flag wrong! Germany wasn’t using that flag in 1891 (though had used it earlier), they were using a Black-White-Red tricolour up to 1918. Mind you though, “The First World War in Colour” managed to get it wrong too. As did an old docudrama about the early days of Albert Einstein.


My 2011 Calendar, from Sweatdrop Studios. It kind of sums up the person I was in 2011, very interested in Japan to the point of considering moving there and even becoming a naturalised citizen (eventually). I was working diligently on learning the language and spending hours reading blogs by foreigners who had gone to live there.

I was also giving vague thought to converting myself to drawing manga style, in the vague hopes of “doing a Bakuman” once I was naturalised. But then my girlfriend dumped me in November, and in December I found myself constantly saying “Nanaji” for Seven O Clock, when it ought to be “Shichiji”. Also I read a load of Debito (though a lot of it “through the filter” of Tepido). I still think he’s bonkers and his followers a bunch of commie shitstabbers. But you can’t argue with clear cases of shitty policing, insane working hours with no recognition and GIANT FUCKIN’ INSECTS. If I never set foot in neon hell again, it’ll be too soon!

On to the 2012 Calendar, then…


Yep, that sums up the kind of person I want to be in 2012, the same person I was in 2006! I’m getting the Mini on the road no matter what and waking the echoes of a July afternoon out in the fens (without going over 50 XD). I’m also doing Download and as many local rock/metal/blues/ska gigs as I can cram in. Oh I’ll be collecting more antique comics rather than horror movies though. (Bring back Silverscreen! Those shops were great). Starting with this…

 eleb05.jpg – eleb06.jpg – eleb07.jpg

It’s 6 months worth of The Boys’ Friend (aka the best British comic ever) from mid 1904. I got lucky on this one, nobody else bid and It went for £50! I was expecting to pay over £100. Maybe the low price was because it’s January. Anybody else out there wanting to sell bound volumes of the Boys’ Friend/Realm/Herald, Union Jack, (Halfpenny) Marvel or Skipper please do it right now or wait until Jan ’13 eh?

Boys Friend Price fluctuations…

Complete year 1903 – 04 – £49.99 (Was “pickup only” and BIN, I cheekily offered to pay extra postage and the seller agreed, bargain!)

Complete year 1902 – 03 – £170 (! And I had to drive down to Enfield to get it. Well worth it though! they look great on the shelf)

Half year Jan-Jun 1910 – £110 (great condition)

Half year May – Nov 1904 – £49.99 (woohoo)

Plus loads of individual issues at about a fiver each. Anybody out there got any they want to unload?


Other crap I can’t be bothered to write at length about…

– Helicopter crash! I saw it fly over my work, it seemed to be ‘skidding’ in the air and the wind was really strong that day. It exploded near Ely and crashed into a field

– The strong wind! Part of our fence blew down. A panel of fence at work somehow not only blew down but ‘jumped over’ a big wheelie bin.

– The Pheonix, and it’s dire distribution: http://blog.crystal-knights.co.uk/2012/01/09/the-post-formerly-known-as-wheres-your-pheonix/

–  Despite the lazy last days of 2011 work is going ‘decently’ on comic for 2012. I hope to do at least 6 issues of the Red, White & Blue, 3 of the The Trident, 2 of The Sentinel (a ‘red top’ for comic collectors) and 1 of the Small Press Digest (encouragement-filled magazine with yellow covers). I’ve got a table at Camcon in May, seemingly the first nerdy convention in Cambridge for many a year (possibly since the Old Boys’ Book Club met there!). Gonna be great! Also got a ‘premeet’ in April.


I tried…

Today I hoped to knock out a quick 12-page magazine full of short articles about British comics. But written in the style of a highly opinionated right-wing tabloid with lots of underlined closing sentences about how this is a national disgrace! (how can this blog software have strikethrough but NOT underline?). However my now-unemployed dad decided that today was the perfect day to sandpaper the doors upstairs. Because obviously a time when nobody else is here and trying to concentrate on drawing some ‘quick’ illustrations is too much to ask. Also obviously sandpapering the doors requires several windows to be flung wide open ‘because’, so I had to draw slowly and shiveringly while wearing a thick coat.

Still this slow door work will no doubt have a wonderful effect on my plans to knock out a heap of comic art over the Christmas holidays won’t it? I can’t draw with people around me at the best of times, let alone when said people were born incapable of embarrassment or situational awareness and keep leaning over asking “Uz thus fer yur curmiiiic?”.

Still it renewed my desire to go and work in Japan long-term whatever the cost. It’s like merely leaving the house is not insult enough, I have to go to the other side of the world to solidify my joy at things like quiet, warmth (well, maybe not in Japanese buildings in winter, but at least it will be cold of my own choosing!) and availability of bread because I’ve got more out of the freezer ahead of time.

Oh and I recently found a funny webcomic about eikaiwa workers that illustrates just what the ‘cost’ I’ll be going there ‘whatever’ is XD. http://www.teachenglishinjapan.ca/?pw-a=144468&pw-ab=30849&pw-b=110285607

Recent stuff

I can’t be bothered with any pictures.

Update: Okay, here’s two.

toddy01.jpg – toddy02.jpg

I broke up with my girlfriend of 2 and a half years a couple of weeks ago. But wasn’t really affected as i’d seen it coming for months. Mainly since July when she asked me not to text her so often.

There’s several other girls and one guy that I like around me at the moment, of different hopefulness levels. One of them is so beautiful I can hardly bear to look directly at her *-* but that clearly won’t happen because things like that don’t happen to me.

Also re-applying for the JET programme. It was all a bit last-minute. In fact I posted my paperwork after the online applications had closed. Initially I panicked because I hadn’t downloaded the PDF of the filled-in application form, but after ringing them I discovered it would be made available even after the online applications had been shut down. Now I have to wait for the postcard to be returned (ought to be in the next week or two) and then see if I have an interview or not (ought to find out in Jan/Feb).

I had a very cool dream the other night that I may turn into a story and write up on here.

Issue 2 of the newest British adventure comic, Strip Magazine, is out tomorrow. I’m going to go into Cambridge to get it on Saturday. Forbidden Planet stocked issue 1 and sold out of it, but I’m not absolutely confident they will bother to stock issue 2 (the first issue had an article about them in it). Bakuman book 8 also comes out tomorrow, they WILL stock that, but if they don’t have Strip Magazine I won’t get either from them… or anything else!

Yasukuni Shrine

I’ve wasted two weekends worth of comic making time reading this huge blog somebody’s written about Japan. Anyway near the end (or the start, as it was furthest back) he did the usual waffle about the Yasukuni shrine and enshrined war criminals.


It actually looks different to most big shrines which all kind of blur into one after a while

There seems to be plenty of nonsense talked about how they have enshrined war criminals, as if they’re proud of what those criminals did and now “worship” them. Well actually Yasukuni is a place where all dead Japanese soldiers are enshrined, stretching right back to the time when “Japan” first existed. Plus in Japan they enshrine fuckin’ everything. In fact some famous characters of Japanese history or legend are enshrined in more than one place!

Then there’s the regular controversy about Japanese politicians paying their respects at the shrine. But why is it controversial exactly? Shouldn’t they remember their country’s dead? “Bcoz Japan did war crimez OMG” goes the cry. Well actually every country has “done war crimes” and other such atrocities. There’s places in Britain where the heroes of the empire such as General Gordon are “enshrined”, and the empire did some horrific things. And beleive me, coming from a pro-empire jingoist such as myself that admission means something!

Another complaint is that a nearby museum presents Pearl Harbour as a “pre-emptive attack against percieved US imperialism”. Er, well…. wasn’t it? People also complain about the museum presenting the Japanese view of the “Greater East Asian Co-prosperity Sphere” (apparently “Japanese Empire” was too short) as a “uniting” of asian countries under one government. Various atrocities and massacres took place in the creation of this… but did not various massacres and atrocities take place in the creation of the United States? Was not modern Scotland created by throwing out most of the people who lived in the nice looking bits? Let him who is without sin cast the first stone. And being “a long time ago” doesn’t make atrocities “better”.

But murders, bloodshed and inhumanity go hand in hand with war and empire building, and they always will. “Celebration” of such things comes in with the remembering of the individual soldiers involved, who went to do their duty and had to suffer terrifying conditions – with many making the ultimate sacrifice for the cause they believed in.  That is what the Yasukuni Shrine is really about, and that is also the call made in this issue of my favourite comic:


Apparently still on sale at the museum!

The museum in question is the National Army Museum in London – one of Britain’s own “Yasukuni Shrines”. It’s also currently running an exhibition of original Commando artwork called “Draw Your Weapons”. I have the day off work tomorrow, and really ought to be saving money and drawing my own comics (currently working on a futuristic war story, actually). But what the hell…


Let’s go!

Also anybody who opposes the sex shop in Sawtry is a cowardly traitor.