living covertly in Japan

I have lots of stuff, but I just never think to upload it. Blame Netflix, Skyrim, and my adorable daughter…

Teaching stuff

Google+ is scaring me


(I really just did a quick pass at this. If anyone wants to do a better job and send me the image that’d be awesome)

Youtube comment migration

Recent stroke of genius by Google. First, they made it nigh impossible for me to YouTube comments…

I just gave up on finding them for about a month…


That was around the beginning of 2013 I think. I’m not sure when it happened because I don’t check my YouTube account on a regular basis. One day I went to check it and my inbox had disappeared. This is a mother of all 1st world problems, but it was still annoying. Why would they do that? Did they only do it to me? I didn’t notice any massive internet petitions going about demanding YouTube bring back the inbox link, but seriously what the hell right? Were they being passive aggressive? Were they trying to teach us that nothing in life is constant. You could wake up one day and suddenly find yourself lost in a dystopian world. Was it a prank? Did they all get drunk on Bailey’s Irish Cream and say to themselves, “You know what would be hilarious? If we moved all the links and stuff on YouTube around for no reason at all!”
“But wait,” another chimes in, “let’s just hide their inbox!”
“Yeah! It’s completely uncalled for!”

But then six months later…
“Hey, you know how we hid everyone’s YouTube inbox?”
“Oh yeah… man we were dicks!”
“Yeah, we should totally fix that, but instead of really fixing it, let’s make everyone have to use google+ to comment now.”
“Google+?… Oh… yeah… Totally forgot we had that.”
“But you ‘liked’ our Facebook page…”
“Whatever, yeah! Let’s do that.”

I actually did a google hangout maybe a year ago, and I had to use my google+ account… It’s been collecting internet dust ever since though…


But with the new integration, finding all activity on my youtube account is always there all the time.

The number changes when I’m on just plain google…


So bravo google… very shrewd… Hide it, then give it back but only if I use google+…

I’ve made a new blog named Motnock’s Corner. It’s for more personal posts, less Japanese stuff, more looks into my life with my loveable twisted sense of ultra dry humor. Only one post up so far, it’s so brand new!

It’s connected to my google+ accounts. Also, annoyingly enough I can’t post links from Gaijin Chameleon to my FB page. FB has been a real douche about that saying it’s spammy. GC isn’t spammy! It’s hilarious! Whatever…

srsly… FB… you’re like that annoying girl at the bar who the more you keep fishing for more information the more I don’t feel guilty for lying…

Don’t worry! I’ll continue to sporadically update this blog as well. Thanks for all your reading through the years!

I need to hire an artist for my illustrations probably...

I need to hire an artist for my illustrations probably…

Teaching Materials Update

I’ve added my recently designed, “Castle Game” to my teaching materials page. Use and enjoy.

Castle Game


may i castle game

This game uses no dice. Game pieces can just be the student’s erasers or pen caps. One student is the ‘King’ and the others want to become the new king. Best played in groups of 3-4. The students will take turns playing rock-scissors-paper with the ‘King.’ If they win they can go 3 spaces, if they tie they to 2 spaces, and if they lose to the ‘King’ they will go one space. They must ask the ‘King’ for permission as they land on the appropriate spaces. e.g. if the 1st student loses to the king and lands on (1) then they have to ask the king, “May I go to 4?” Then another round of rock-scissors-paper is played. If the player wins then the ‘King’ grants the request, (Yes, you may.), and the player can move to (4). If the ‘King” wins then the request is denied, (No you may not.), and the player has to stay put. Each space that has a request asked to the ‘King’ has the Loss / Win results beneath the request.

In my game using “May I…” the students have a chance to gain “bazookas” which can then be used when they are attacked. The ‘King’ holds the bazooka cards and must give them out when it is requested. If the students have no bazooka cards they then they have to try to escape instead.

When a student reaches the end and becomes the new king the game begins again from the start.

You may change the Loss / Win values if you want or use the blank template I’ll provide here to use your own grammar point. Even if you don’t know how to use photoshop you can simply write in your own target grammar as long as your handwriting is legible. You can also use whiteout, type your new stuff in word or something and then cut and paste and then run it through a copier. That’s old school, but I’m willing to be at least some of you have never thought of doing that before which is pretty sad…

castle game template



Bazooka cards. One sheet should be enough for a class of 35-40 kids.

My Gay Thought

I remember a kid a few years younger than me back in high school. I was playing basketball with his twin brother while he watched. I was wearing a WWJD bracelet and he asked me what it meant. I told him. Then he asked me the strangest thing. “Does God hate gay people?”

I shrugged, “He doesn’t hate anyone, I don’t think.”

“But if you have sex with a man then you can’t go to heaven right?” he pressed.

“Hmmm, if you’re gay, you can ask for forgiveness and God promised to forgive you.”

“What about if you had gay stuff done to you?” he asked quietly.

Taken aback, I really, at that time, didn’t know. “I don’t know,” I told him. “It’s not your fault.”

“Could you still not get into heaven?” he asked.


“Would you still have to ask for forgiveness?”



This memory hit me the other day, jarring like getting laid out by a linebacker. That kid was probably being sexually abused, I feel awful about it now. I don’t even remember his name. What the hell did I say to him? I don’t blame myself. I answered him as best I could with the knowledge that had been passed down to me from the pulpit, Sunday school arts and crafts, and youth group trips filled with sexual tension.

I’m kind of peeved that the best thing I ever heard in a church about homosexuality is that, “All sin is equal in the eyes of the Lord.” I don’t remember what the worst thing I ever heard was, but then at the time that I still went to those sorts of churches I didn’t really see anything wrong with what they were saying.

Is it really all equal? Is loving someone of the same sex the same as child rape? Do you really need to ask forgiveness for both. Are both the same in the “eyes of the Lord?” Is God wearing beer goggles while he passes judgement and damnation, salvation and redemption through grace?

It’s not a simple matter.

No one knows the answer really. To know the truth would be to know what God thinks and the ultimate hubris of man is forming religions and labeling things black and white when in reality we have no fucking idea how to judge the beautiful and ugly rainbow of colors that make our big weird world.

People will always look for ways to divide ourselves. Political parties, sexual orientation, race, nationality, income, football teams, geographic locations, diet, Star Trek captains, music, Jennifer Anniston and Angelina Jolie…

Christians are supposed to love God and love their neighbors. Do unto others as you would do unto yourself. There must be church pews filled with self-loathing…

I didn’t know what the fuck a mantis shrimp was before I came to Japan. I am a lover of shrimp though. I have been for as long as I can remember. Be it the artery clogging Long John Silver’s popcorn shrimp or tossed delicately in angel hair pasta an any overpriced Italian restaurant, shrimp is a food that (I’ll be damned) I love.

This guy's a shrimp right? Or is he a cockroach?

This guy’s a shrimp right? Or is he a cockroach?

Mantis shrimp are called shako in Japan and don’t really look like shrimp in my book. I mean… if I were to see a mantis shrimp and told to name it on the spot I’d probably go with “technicolor sea preying mantis” or something like that…

This is a mantis shrimp.

This is a mantis shrimp.

My introduction to the mantis shrimp however wasn’t from a youtube video or The Oatmeal.

The first time I laid eyes on a mantis shrimp was on my dinner table one fall evening. I don’t know where half of my food comes from and I don’t really ask ever. These badasses caught my eye though, because they looked like some strange sort of alien bug that must have fallen out of a meteorite.

Now, I’m an adventurous soul. I was highly interested in marine biology when I was younger, but unknown to my parents and teachers my intense interest wasn’t fueled by curiosity or hopes to be a dolphin trainer. Marine life interested me because I had an insatiable curiosity and desire to eat sea creatures.

Also the dolphin trainer girls were intriguing for both different and yet similar reasons...

Also the dolphin trainer girls were intriguing for both different and yet similar reasons…

The first time I saw a mantis shrimp this is what I saw:

Okay... I'm exaggerating...

Okay… I’m exaggerating…

Yeah… well that’s what it felt like. What I actually saw was more like this:

Slightly less horrifying...

Slightly less horrifying…

For those of you who don’t know how incredibly awesome and terrifying mantis shrimp are let me educate you very quickly.

  • Mantis shrimp’s eyes have 3 separate focal points and can see 13 more colors that our human eyes and brains can’t even comprehend.
Sometimes less is more...

Sometimes less is more…

  • Mantis shrimp have arms that can bash in oysters and crab shells. They’re spring loaded and can strike with the force of a rifle shot, about 1500 Newtons, nearly 2500 times their body weight. They move so quickly that the water around them boils…
To put it in perspective the average kick force of a soccer player is 270 Newtons...

To put it in perspective the average kick force of a soccer player is 270 Newtons… If a 70kg soccer player could kick like a mantis shrimp strike then he or she could send a bowling ball into orbit…

  • Related, they have an exoskeleton that allows them to rifle punch through sea shells while superheating the water to create shockwaves.
Dead heat in flamboyancy... my money's on Mr. Shrimp in a fight.

Dead heat in flamboyancy… my money’s on Mr. Shrimp in a fight.

Of course in Japan no sea creature is really safe. (Except for catfish and mahimahi for some strange reason.) I’ve not cooked these myself, but the way they’ve been served to me makes me believed their either boiled or steamed and then allowed to cool. They’re often served chilled.

The meat is soft and delicate. It has a lot of flavor that’s probably close to crayfish if I had to make a comparison. We typically eat it dipped in soy sauce or just on it’s own.

But eating these little bastards is like trying to eat evil. Like shrimp, the tail section is where most of the edible meat is. Once you get past the fact that these are some of the buggiest looking things that aren’t grasshoppers that you’ll ever eat, you have the unpleasant task of trying to get at that tail meat.

I've even eaten bugs before... still though...

I’ve even eaten bugs before… still though…

Peeling regular shrimp is a pain the ass, but not dangerous…usually. Peeling a mantis shrimp means you’re going to be stabbed repeatedly. If mantis shrimp were a Pokemon it’s body type would be SPIKES (and maybe DARK too.) You have to use a pair of scissors to cut the tail open, and the tail is where 99% of the mantis shrimp’s spikes are kept. There’s too many for me to keep track of and I’m always finding new mantis shrimp spikes as it’s lifeless body impales me. Short of using kevlar gloves your risk of injury while eating mantis shrimp is pretty much 100%.

For as awesome and deadly the mantis shrimp is the cold fact is this. A live mantis shrimp has never injured me whatsoever. The dead ones want my blood and have left me scarred (for a few days).

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