The miscs

Just a bunch of other photos from my phone…

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Revised “looking for a Japanese girlfriend” t-shirt design

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Odd thing seen at Camcon

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Things that people made for my work’s charity Halloween party.

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Soho Bullit! Right next door to a good Japanese book shop, which is called, er, “Ultimate Dry Cleaning”.

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Suddenly, and for no reason, these thumbnails have started to be stretched vertically. Anway, a gingerbread house somebody at work made for Christmas. Check out the second photo!

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Third hibernating butterfly to wake up too early. This one I kept in my cabinet with a flower it could eat pollen from, but it died anyway.

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Decorative lamp I got my granny

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The last sunset of the year (2013!) was wonderful. Taken with two different cameras…

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There’s a monthly manga meetup in London, which I went to a few times last year. This year I hope to go more regularly. I had to kill time (it’s on a Sunday, everything shuts hours beforehand), so went to the Embankment, first time I’ve been there, actually.

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Czech big apple cookie thing

Actually I had this closer in time to the “perfume flavoured” Russian sweets than now. But Could never be bothered to get the photos off my phone. Anyway it’s layers of very thin biscuity stuff with dried apple-ey tasting stuff inside. It’s actually kind of like apple Go Ahead! bars, only with more of it, and no brown sugar.

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Bits n bobs

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I got an Olympic gold medal!

Shame it’s made of chocolate, they were silly money during the games, but Tesco were flogging them off cheap. I got one of the last two on Monday XD

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If I lived in Oz, I’d be fat

Aussie chocolates! They’re brilliant, like tiny chocolate oranges (no, not broken into segments XD) covered in smartie covering, though all red. When I next go to Japan I may have to go by Quantas, just to go “through” Australia and pick up a case full on the way XD.

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Blurry, though

Yisty I cleaned a huge, old freezer at work. It looked like it was from the 70’s or early 80’s, all beige and pitted chrome, no digital displays anywhere. Also round the back it had a circuit diagram in that sans-serif, curved-edged font, oh and dust bunnies the size of my fist stuck down the back of the “grille”.

Anyway, when I was cleaning it, I accidentally ripped off a piece of foam, with this amusing label on. Guess they were as unable to follow the simplest instructions back then too, eh?

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Don’t EVER buy these!

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In Japan, they have big, lovely pot noodles you can buy. Some of them even have big chunks of dried beef in sauce in them, and taste lovely. Missing them, I got this “beef flavour” one from Tesco. Except it’s not beef, it’s “spicy beef”. And by “spicy” I do of course mean “APOCALYPTIC”. My lips were going numb from merely touching it! No dried beef either.

The seafood and chicken flavours the same company do are nice, though. But I think I’ll have to troll up Mil Road and see if I can vada any decent Japanese ones.

Recent stuff

The 21st of June was my 28th Birthday, for one thing. I got a nice cake with fresh cream in :3

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On nyom

On Saturday I went to Lincoln for a reunion to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the course I did at uni there. Only one person that I actually did the course with showed up, though XD. But then again I spent all three years wanting to drop out and thinking constantly about suicide, so why did I go at all? I went because Lincoln has great book shops! Here’s some of the stuff I got:

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Bit battered, but the binding is strong

The 1963 Eagle Annual. For some reason I can never find Eagle annuals in good condition. This one is probably the best one I have! These first-incarnation Eagle annuals were heavy on the text stories (though the weekly was definitely more of a comic than a story paper). But they have strips too, including, of course, him!

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Still Frank Hampson style in the annual!

I also found another interesting item, the first Viz annual! This contains various reprints from the first 12 issues, which were self-published around Newcastle in 1979 and the early 80’s.

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Some early versions of characters that are still in it today

The artwork in this early stuff is pretty rough around the edges, but the gags are as funny as always! You can see why this was Britain’s most successful ‘self-published’ (though it had gone to a big company by then) comic ever.

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I also got some older stuff, including the School Friend Annual 1955, and one of those generic XXXX For Boys books from the 30’s or 40’s. Oddly, this one has lots of stories told from the point of view of animals. I did even wonder if it was actually a more modern book, printed in the style of the old fashioned kind, by some animal rights / socialist group. But then I saw one of the other stories is about a black boy who “dares” to come to a British public school and be good at boxing, so whatever.

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Dustjacket crammed in the back too, weirdly cut up.

I also got a book that’s part of “The Magnet Library”. I have another (also got in Lincoln and also with it’s dustjacket well preserved). I used to think the stories were reprinted serials from The Magnet, but actually they aren’t. The books aren’t published by Amalgamated Press, either. The other one I own is about World War 2, and features a “good German”, even though scenes of trench warfare and secret rays suggests it was published during the actual conflict! This story is called Scouts of the Sky, and appears to be about aerial piracy.

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Looks like Porco Rosso’s plane going down

Oh and of course I got the latest Commando’s. Including another of the Gold Collection with a fantastic Ken Barr cover.

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Is it any wonder these libraries lasted longest?

There was also some sort of military display going on in the city. I think I overheard somebody saying it was a commemoration of the 98th anniversary of the start of World War 1. I only caught the very end, though.

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Different regimental flags

I also noticed some interesting writing on a tall building that’s “out on it’s own” right next to the river. Never noticed this while I was there at uni:

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Looks like it was a print works once

Wonder if there was once waterwheel-powered machinery inside?

After the wandering and buying, I went off to the reunion. I also got a few more pictures later on, of the lights of the town and reflections on the Brayford Pool

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Found some Chinese writing

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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.

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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.

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OFF THE CHAIN!

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.

http://crcjapan.wordpress.com/2012/01/12/inside-the-gaijin-tank-dungeon-at-narita-airport/ 

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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:

http://tepido.org/dont-put-your-finger-in-my-ass/629 

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.

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It’s located here.