Sad news this week for thousands of slackers avoiding life in Japan. NOVA is teetering on the brink of bankruptcy and many of its employees have been going unpaid for weeks. I don't know if I've ever met a NOVA teacher that was happy with their job, so perhaps this isn't altogether a bad thing for ex-pats in Japan.
Passion also faced Larry Sweeney in a dance-off on night one of the event.
For more exciting photos from this momentous event...
Found via TVinJapan
Thought I'd share with y'all this video I found today. I actually stayed at this hotel a number of times after my old pal Hugh turned me on to an area in Tokyo with amazingly cheap $25/night hotel rooms. The Juyoh and the New Koyo are probably two of the dumpiest hotels in all of Japan. They are located in a rather seedy part of Tokyo called "Minami-Senju", which loosely translates to "Bum Town". The video seems to refer to the homeless people in the area as "daywalkers". Unless I misheard "day worker" you might want to keep some garlic on you just to be safe.
Few Japanese people with the means to support themselves would ever set foot in any hotel is this area. Foreigners on the other hand (accustomed to the shabby state of hotels in their homelands and lacking Japanese-style shame) flock to these dumps in droves. While 25 bucks a night is pretty cheap by Tokyo standards, the really budget-minded traveller can alternatively stay at one of the many flop houses nearby for only $10-15 a night (provided they allow foreigners to stay). Those with a little more cash and/or pride might prefer staying at the Andon Ryokan also nearby, which is much newer, cleaner and more foreigner friendly. My strongest recommendation however would be to by-pass Minami-senju altogether and try spending a night or two at one of Tokyo's many fabulous love hotels. Love hotels can get pretty expensive on weekends though, so if you're gonna be in Tokyo for a while then you might want to think about spending at least Friday and Saturday in good old stinky Minami-Senju.
My old pals at Trailervision have a new movie in Hot Docs this year called "Let's All Hate Toronto". It's all about the animosity shared by Canadians toward their largest city. It's been getting quite a bit of press, much like their old documentary Stupidity once did.
I haven't seen the movie yet, but like most Canadians I've heard my fair share of Toronto bashing over the years. The strange thing about the hate aimed at Toronto is that it seems to be based on no one single thing. Nobody really seems to know why they hate Toronto; they only know that they really, really hate it. I thought as a service to my country bumpkin Canadian brothers I would try to help them find a way to justify their deep-seeded hatred for the T dot. Here are my suggestions:
1. Toronto is boring
When I lived in Japan there was never a shortage of interesting things to blog about on this site. Even in little po-dunk Noheji town there were lots of strange and interesting things to share with you, my loyal readers. Ever since coming back to Toronto I've struggled to find interesting topics to write about and as evidenced by the lack of updates over the past 6 months, it hasn't been easy. I thought joining the writing staff of Torontoist would help motivate me to find things to write about, but really all it has done is made me realize just how uninteresting Toronto can be.
2. It's too cold and too hot
We get 2, maybe 2.5 months of good weather tops.
3. No booze in corner stores
There are lots of cities in the world where you can buy beer and liquor from corner stores and they haven't fallen into alcohol induced anarchy.
4. Nowhere to go skiing
That crappy garbage hill in Etobicoke doesn't count.
5. Government Employee Strikes
Not a day goes by without some kind of strike by employees in the public sector. Teachers, nurses, and bus drivers seem to spend as much time on strike as they do at their jobs. I don't mean to say that I don't think they deserve a fair pay; it's just annoying how often fights over money get in the way of life in the city. In good old Japan, striking means coming to work early, protesting for an hour out front and then going to work as normal. How about we take a lesson from Japan and fire all those striking janitors and make the students clean the schools?
6. In New York people know they are rude, and are proud of it. In Toronto people are rude, but are under the delusion that they are actually quite polite.
8. Kensington Market
It's dirty, full of stupid hippies and highly overrated. The rest of Toronto is also pretty dirty these days too. Enough with the lame billboard graffiti and subway scratchiti already.
9. No love hotels, snack bars, print club machines, computerized toilet seats, ginormous electronic stores, capsule hotels or any number of other cool things in Japan that I miss. Also our only Maid Cafe is inferior in quality to those in Akihabara.
10. The Toronto Maple Leafs
They don't know how to win a Stanley Cup or pluralize the word "leaf", and they never will.
*Update: I think the lingering cold winter really put me in nasty mood when I wrote this. The weather has gotten much nicer since then and I'm starting to like my hometown once again. Maybe I'll be saying mean things again in a couple months when scorching heat and smog hits the big smoke, but for I don't think I'll join in the Toronto bashing.
When I first started this website way back in 2003 you could probably count the number of video blogs on the web with your fingers and toes. Since there were no websites for broadcasting videos free of charge I had to pay to host everything. It wasn't an easy or cheap thing to do back then, but in almost no time that totally changed. Today, according to MeFeedia, there are over 20,000 vlogs on the net, and a good number of them are being hosted for free on such sites as YouTube, Daily Motion and BlipTV.
Since I'm trying these days to break back into the online video biz, I thought I had better get up to speed with all the various video hosting services that are out there now. I thought that the best way to do this would be to upload a video to each and every video hosting site I could find and compare what features they offer. This has however proven to be a very daunting task indeed. I uploaded some of my videos to the following services to see what the results would be like:
An experimental TGV train reached 574.8 kph on a specially prepared stretch of track east of Paris. The train was pimped out with with two supercharged locomotives and extra-large wheels. The record smashed the 515.3 kph set by a TGV in 1990. It also just missed the overall world train speed record of 581 kph reached in 2003 by a Japanese maglev train. Since the train will never actually operate with passengers at anything near this speed, the new record doesn't really amount to much. I would be curious to see how a souped-up Fastech 360Z Shinkansen train would fair in a similar speed test.
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