Spring Thoughts

It’s been far to long since I updated this blog. I fear that spring this year has made me tired as the natural world around me blooms and procreates.

Cherry blossoms at night

There are several things that spring brings in Japan.

There’s the wild vegetables we go to the mountains and ditches to harvest. For warabi, we trek to Kumamoto and climb tall hills that serve as cow pastures. The bitter plant is a fern that can be eaten while the fronds are yet unfurled. Tsukushi sprouts up in ditches and drainage spots, though to pick the plant from those locations means you brave dog shit. We like to go to the unplowed rice fields where the plant sprouts up in the inclined slopes that receive the most sunlight.

The winds from the West bring China’s smog and desert sands that blanket skies and savage our sinuses. It’s called kosa, which means literally ‘yellow sand.’ It’s terrible stuff and most of Japan hates China for it. Chine of course couldn’t give a shit, but I’m unsure what Japan would have China do… I suppose they could go “green,” but it’s not like China can control their deserts or the winds as much as they’d like to and contrary to their martial arts movies.

Asians like it windy

School ends and starts again in April. In Fukuoka spring is undokai season. America doesn’t really have “sports day” and if they did I’m sure half of the students would refuse to participate. Undokai is a day long even that mostly involves running, lots and lots of running. There’s usually some tug-o-war, dance routines, obstacle courses, and sand bag lifting tossed in as well. It’s a huge deal. Families will erect tents to watch their children compete just as their parents once watched them compete. The kids seem to love it, even the handful of ones who are on the thicker side.

Yeah… I can’t see my 8th grade classmates doing that…

What the F*ck Weak People?

Philip DeFranco doesn’t own that does he? Seems like he might, but whatever.

The schools I teach at are spending the next month getting ready for this year’s undokai, or “sports day.” It’s a nation wide event in Japan, while the date differs from school-to-school every school from kindergarden to high school participates.

Essentially it’s one big track meet… They run relay races, lots of relay races, compete with weight lifting competitions, run hurdles, run obstacle courses, dance, sing, build human pyramids… and lots of other activities that would make anyone with high blood pressure die from heart combustion.

Japanese women are weird. They kept complaining about the P.E. clothes until Japan got rid of these little gems seen above. In doing so they created an odd fetish niche…

I come from the home of the red, white and blue.

“At least Toby Keith isn’t color blind…” (My response when asked to say something nice about Toby Keith)

One thing about Americans is we’re men. The men are men. The boys are men. The women and girls are like smaller penisless men. We do manly things.


Change our own oil.

Just soak it up with newspaper and then throw them in with the rest of the garbage.

Eat lots of sausage and meat.

Mmmmmm…. sausage….

Go camping in the great outdoors.

Just like Adam and Eve.

And root root root for the muther focking home team!

Bonus! Shirtlessness, body paintness, football helmetness, drunkenness, setting bad example for young sports fansness, and using animal parts as decorationness is all part of true manliness! And we already covered sausage right?

 So if America is a country of manliness and Europe is populated by either sissies who parle Français or got their asses handed to them in one of those World Wars where we kicked so much European ass or all of the above; then why on earth are American’s children being raised like Jake Gyllenhaal in Bubble Boy?

Not so Persian Princely now are we? Does anyone realize that Donnie Darko and Bubble Boy both came out in 2001?

The state of New York’s Health Department recently released a list of risky activities.

After some digging around I’ve pieced together some of that list.

  • capture the flag (2009)
  • steal the bacon (2009)
  • red rover (2009)
recent additions:
  • dodgeball
  • kickball
  • whiffle ball
  • freeze tag
  • arts and crafts

Let us ignore the last one there. I can’t imagine may extreme arts and crafts that should be considered “risky,” unless there were some New York children making cutouts using 9mm instead of scissors. NY isn’t exactly Afganistan where macaroni posters is a distant second behind home made bombs…

I was unaware that “capture the flag” had any real rules. I can imagine a problem with it though. The most recent form of capture the flag I played was with a bunch of teenagers in  Australia, Germany, and Oregon over the internet in the game Halo.

Should have called in sick today…

So if kids are dumb enough to take the lessons learned in a video game, (and let’s face it, American kids aren’t really winning academically), and they manage to get their hands on SPNKr rockets, plasma rifles, and sticky Covanant grenades, they yeah… “capture the flag” is a bad idea I guess.

I’ve never played “steal the bacon” but I imagine that it’s either a non-Halal version of “capture the flag”, or a version of “capture the flag” that only overweight children play.

Talk about non-Halal…

Red rover is the one on this list I totally agree with. I played it once in Kentucky with a bunch of white kids. Their version of the game was to always call over the one Asian kid in the school and then clothesline him and stomp on him “accidentally” over and over again.

The new additions drew a lot of criticism and media attention. The originals got little attention at all, but that could be because no one actually plays those games anymore. I can see dodgeball being dangerous if you used baseballs, billiard balls, hacky sacks, rocks, hedgehogs, axes, or coconuts.

Hedgehog pwn!

Whiffle ball is a stretch, but I’ve thrown whiffle balls through windows easily enough. But that was when I was 17 years old. Unless you have the child version of Randy Johnson then it’s a light weight plastic ball and a plastic bat… Same with kickball. As long as you’re using a kickball ball and not a bowling ball or large hedgehog it’s kind of challenging to make it a risky game…

Do not. I repeat. Do not, try hedgehog kickball, hedgehog dodgeball, hedgehog volleyball, or hedgehog whiffle ball….

Freeze tag is the most ridiculous to me. I mean, even if you don’t really want to play just sit still and let someone tag you, they you get to continue sitting still unless some jackoff risks their own freedom and tries to rescue you. And it’s not like games are a place to teach kids stuff like trying to help and rescue their friends.

So recap. In Japan kids are getting ready to spend a day running and running and building human pyramids and stuff like that.

Now imagine American kids trying to do this. Haha, I just pictured a bunch of fat shirtless kids falling over.

American kids are being essentially told being that any form of motion is possibly hazardous…

Now the NYHD recently reversed this whole controversial “risky list.” But the wording they chose was fucking weird. They said that;

After a review spurred by a lawmaker’s questions Friday and subsequent news reports, [the new additions to said “risky list”] have been judged too detailed and amount to micromanagement.

They make it sound like the only reason they changed things back was because of some clerical detail. The real reason is because the whole world turned around and called them pansies. They went on to say that the changes were instituted during the previous administration and that the current administration will revisit the matter and make their own decision.

I’ll make it simple. Life is fucking dangerous. Weather it’s crossing a road, riding a bike, or telling your mom dinner looks like something the dog coughed up, the act of living is a gamble. There’s no easy way in or out. It’s usually harder than it is simple.

Games are fun. Physical activity and games with other kids is fucking awesome shit that if you’re blessed with the ability to run around you should take advantage of that because soon enough you’re old. Grown ups don’t play tag, we don’t play kickball, we don’t get together and play whiffle ball in the front yard while our mom orders pizza and makes lemonade. We go to work and make money so our children and grow strong and have fun while they’re children. Kickball isn’t dangerous. You might get hurt playing it, but diabetes is also dangerous and kids that don’t move around get fat. Kids that don’t have friends become grownups who don’t have friends. Competition isn’t always bad. Having fun is usually a good thing. So….

Wut da fuk weak people?