Notyalcsdrawkcab’s Weblog

March 29, 2010

Some thoughts on Winning

Filed under: Football, Life in Japan — notyalcsdrawkcab @ 12:27 am

Once a month I teach a kindergarden class.  I had been teaching them how to play “paper scissors rock” in English.  The game originally comes from Japan, and seems to be used by kids to resolve any and every dispute.  They quite seemed to enjoy playing it in English.

I got the whole class of 30 something kids to play a Paper Scissor Rock tournament.  And a champion was found.  I held up his hand and cheered him.  But holding up his hand, I thought “well, someone had to win”.

Reading through Jonathon Wilson’s “Inverting the pyramid”, one of the people he quotes talks about this feeling – how winning of itself doesn`t mean much, cos soccer, like paper scissor rock, is designed to crown someone the winner. The opposing view is also supported by some quoted in the book – that winning is all there is.

The last winners of the WC – could feel great pride in meeting their potential and adding to their tally.  For being there at the end when “better” teams fell.  But to the neutral, this was not a team that will be talked about down the ages, this was a “last man standing” rather than a “first among equals” kind of winner.  Like the kid in the PSR tournament.

The neutrals will be hoping that this year`s tournament finds more than just a winner.  But whoever wins it is gonna feel happy anyway.

March 1, 2010

Life in Japan – making someone wait while you cross the Zebra crossing

Filed under: Life in Japan — notyalcsdrawkcab @ 12:29 am

Life is full of unspoken conversations.  And unspoken conversations that happen even while people are speaking.

Take the following.  I was at a zebra crossing, and walked across it.  A car was approaching.  I looked at the car, made eye contact with the driver, and walked across while the driver waited for me.  After I had crossed, the driver went past the crossing, then “zoom!” sped up a little bit.

Here is the unspoken conversation.

This is the bit at the crossing.

Me – “I am gonna use this crossing.  You are gonna wait for me.  You don`t like eye contact with a stranger?  I can do worse things than make eye contact with you. ”

Them – “Bastard.  Making me wait like this.”

This is the little speed up after I passed the crossing.

Them – “Fuck you!” (in a whiny voice, while getting away ASAP).

December 31, 2009

2010 – a to do list

Filed under: Life in Japan — notyalcsdrawkcab @ 2:36 am

What to do?  What to do?  Hmmm …

– Keep my next book in the house … so there is never not a new book to move on to …

– Never look at the same website 2 days in a row … I spend a lot of time zoning out reading about football or videogames.  Have I spent more time recently reading about games than actually playing games?  Too many game consoles available, too many games, not enough time …

– Watch a movie every week … a good movie really rattles around in my head and can move me emotionally a lot … I should be a movie buff.

– Each month, get a new album from an artist I don`t know …and delete 1 from my collection.

– Put a word ring on my key ring, so I can write down English words I don`t know when I see them.  Gotta work on that old word power.

– Do my own personal Triathlon – in one day, do the run leg, swim leg and cycle leg of a normal triathlon.  I really live out in the Boonies – no weekly soccer league to play in, no triathlons anywhere near my town.  There is a really big road bike race though.

What the fuck, I`m gonna sling some metaphorical shit at the wall and see what sticks.  List is about to get long folks.

– Summer night time picnic / bbq on the beach.

– Cook something I have not made before.

– Eat something I haven`t eaten before.

– Go to a live concert.

– Go to a dance club – with friends who dance.

– Go go-karting.

– Fall asleep at the beach listening to the waves.

– Cook a bread pudding.

– Make Hommus.

– Go fishing.

– Write letters to home, my bro, my sis, my nephews, Ali, Aimee and Yokosan.

– Go horse riding.

– A weekend in Sydney.

– Go to an Onsen/Food Ryokan.

– Watch a movie at some old Indy Cinema.

– Take a 2 day hike.

– Take a 2 day bike ride.

– Print this list out at work.

November 26, 2009

Did you know there are 2 taxmen in Japan?

Filed under: Life in Japan — notyalcsdrawkcab @ 11:47 pm

There is the “Income tax” man – who takes a small chunk of your salary and gives it to the National government.  It is a pretty damn small amount for poor English teachers, 5%.

Then there is the “City tax” man, who usually doesn`t catch up with English teachers, cos we never stay in the country that long.  Most English schools don`t pay this tax out of your salary – this is your responsibility.  This is based on your last year`s salary, so English teachers don`t have to pay this for their first year anyway.  This is actually higher than income tax – 10% or so.

I have been over here for 2 and a bit years now, and the City tax man has got around to contacting me.  And he wants most of the money that I saved up over the last year.

My choices look like:

– pay it (I have the money)

– ask the city to let me do a payment plan (since I am poor English teacher)

– hope they don`t get around to taking me to court till after I have left the country (thinking to go home in 6 months or so), but if they do, pay it.

Had this hilarious conversation with my Girlfriend last night –

Me – I`ll ignore it

Her – (scrunches up face) that doesn`t sound good

Me – OK, I`ll pay it

Her – (scrunches up face) that doesn`t sound good EITHER.

Hilarious

PS.  Anything I have said in the past about Japan being a low tax country was wrong – it isn`t low, its only reasonable.

PSS. And I found out that the income tax scale slides, like in Australia.  Earn more, pay more.

The Olympic Funding Question

Filed under: Life in Japan — notyalcsdrawkcab @ 11:30 pm

Living away from Oz, I can read newspapers etc but I don`t think I have a good feel for what is happening back home.

I don`t know how big an issue this is, but the recent discussions on Olympic funding and the Crawford report caught my attention.

I am not Anti-Olympic sports, but a couple of recent statements made in support of the Olympic movement caught my eye …

– Adulation of top sportsmen leads to greater local participation in these sports

– Australians want to be one of the top medal tally countries at the Olympics

Well, the first point … is it true?  I`d like to see some research from somewhere on the connection between elite sport and grassroots participation.  The second point … looks like something worth either huge polling on or a referendum; because I don`t care what our medal tally is.  I think it is worth finding out “what Australians want” on this issue.

As a football fan, seeing the dedication and excellence that people can reach in non-popular sports with the only reward (usually) being non-monetary … its worthy of respect.  Like that band that will never reach the top, but they love music so they keep on touring.

 

August 30, 2009

for the love of god do not assume that a car will stop for you at a zebra crossing in japan …

Filed under: Life in Japan — notyalcsdrawkcab @ 1:46 am

yeah yeah, japan.  runs like a swiss watch.  the anti-individual collective loving home of the most anally retentive people on earth.

guilty as charged.

but don`t expect anyone to follow the rules about zebra crossings.

see, there are rules about the rules.  yes, there is a law saying that walkers take priority at zebra crossings, but i think that most people think that drivers have priority over walkers, so the zebra crossing rule is not followed.  sometimes i have had the shits with it, and brazenly walked across a zebra crossing, giving the driver an angry “don`t even think about running me over” stare while they give me a “how dare you!  i should run you over for your insolence!” stare.

even did my really angry stare and held my arm out when this one car kept on coming.

you can pretty much expect any other rule to be followed, religiously.  just not this rule.  because it breaks unspoken community hierarchy chains.

August 24, 2009

taiji is about 30 km down the road …

Filed under: Life in Japan — notyalcsdrawkcab @ 1:50 pm

that is the town featured in the new doco “the cove”.  the town that broome just cut its sister town ties with. probably some of the kids i teach are from families that hunt dolphins.

saw some shorts for the “cove” and i am not really sure if i want to watch it.  got the feeling that i would be bashed around the head a bit with the sight of screaming bloodied dolphins as they are hacked to pieces. without seeing a bunch of cows, chickens or pigs being killed, i would perhaps feel the movie was lacking a sense of comparison.  i would wonder if i was being emotionally manipulated.

dolphins are beautiful.  so are cows.  beauty has never been a reason to not eat something.

not sure i am for or against dolphin eating.  not sure it matters.  it would take a lot to get dolphin killers in japan to give up the practice.  more than just a couple of protests and a doco.

August 11, 2009

an awful listening mistake and questions that shouldn`t be asked …

Filed under: Life in Japan — notyalcsdrawkcab @ 3:08 am

when i first came to the land of the rising sun, i found it quite difficult to get my head around the sounds used in the japanese language.  mistakes were a plenty.  including listening mistakes.  hell, even stuff that may have come from english ends up completely different when it is adopted into japanese.

thank you became something like “sanku-ewe” …

imagine my surprise when i heard the japanese word for a g-string bikini … t-back.

of course – being STUPID i heard it as teabag.  and i could never bring myself to ask anyone why the japanese word for g-string bikini was teabag. it was … unanswerable.  i could not imagine how that name came about.   it was months before i had the chance to hear somebody say it again and realise my error …

July 17, 2009

baseball kids and soccer kids

Filed under: Football, Life in Japan — notyalcsdrawkcab @ 4:19 am

went to footy practice last week.  there is a small indoor space with artificial grass that we use.  its next to the local baseball park.

i was walking past a group of baseball kids and they all said “good morning (sir!)”.  buzz cuts, uniforms the right size, clothes tucked in.  these polite, disciplined boys looked like they would love to join the marines.  jogging in unison.

pretty different to the soccer boys.  big hair, dyed hair, some buzz cuts.  shirts out.  oversized and normal sized gear. practicing stepovers and fancy lifts.  not in unison.  the word “rabble” comes to mind.

the kids who wanna join the marines with their baseball gloves.

the final fantasy rejects with their dazzlingly bright shoes and party tricks.

tis very interesting to see the different cultures these two sports seem to engender.  the different kids that get drawn towards them.

there are pro baseball players with fancy hair etc etc, but the buzz cut seems much more common.  its a necessity with the need to wear caps and helmets and the heat here on the coast south of osaka.

i wonder if we have these kind of group of demographics back home in oz.  do soccer kids look different / act different to bball kids?  or what about the leaguies and the rah rahs and the afl kids?

June 18, 2009

scotland is not a country

Filed under: Life in Japan — notyalcsdrawkcab @ 9:53 am

above is something i said over some drinks to a scottish friend.  whilst i am a contrary bastard, and well, like being contrary, this was more than just pushing a mate`s buttons (even though that is fun in and of itself).  where is the seat at the UN, or the olympics?  where is the scottish passport?  or army?   if you don`t have all of those cool things, then i figured you are not a country.

but then i checked out the dictionary to see what the hell a country is.  and the definitions i found did not agree with my position.

seems like i was talking about something called “an independant state”.  a country is a different kettle of fish apparently.  a country can be an independant state, or it can be part of an independant state.

what i would like to know is who are the other non-independant state countries?  do they exist, or is it just a british thing?

i know of stacks of independant states made up of very diverse pieces – belgium has a flemish speaking south and a walloon speaking north (or something like that), spain and catalonia, indonesia, phillipines, india – places with huge cultural, racial and lingual diversity … but i don`t know who else wants to be called a country despite not having a un ticket.

ps.  through having a foreigner as its head of state, australia does not qualify as an independent state.  i don`t mind.  how many countries have queens?  i reckon thats pretty cool.

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