Do the Hustle!

11/08/05 | by silverso | Categories: Photos, Pro-Wrestling

Remember my post a few weeks ago about the interesting "Hustle" wrestling promotion in Japan? As luck would have it they put on a big show in Aomori October 30th, and Kate and I made sure not to miss it!

It seems to me that before the Hustle "Fighting Opera" came along, Japanese pro-wrestling tended to avoid the more over the top and cartoonish aspects of pro-wrestling. I'm not sure if Japanese fans were just slow to catch on to the fakeness of pro-wrestling or what, but traditionally fans here have always appreciated the 'sport' side of "sports entertainment" more than fans in America do. I kind of get the impression that these types of fans however are quite literally dying out these days. The Michinoku shows and the No Rope Barbed Wire Spider Net Street Fight Double Hell Death Match I had previously attended seem to draw mostly old people and weirdos. The crowd at the Hustle event was decidedly younger and much, much larger than any other show I've been too in Japan. Hustle has taken a much more American approach to presenting a wrestling show, with elaborate wrestler entrances, colorful gimmicks and funny storylines.

As I suspected it would, the show for me harkened back to the WWF of the 1980's, rather than the more mean spirited, less creative WWE of today. It seems to be working for them too judging from the turnout at the show, as well as all the publicity they've been getting on TV lately. Much of this of course can be attributed to the popularity of Hard Gay who wrestled in a big match at Hustlemania last week. From the characters to the merchandise, everything about Hustle just seemed a lot more hip than the WWE has ever been. Since I was so far back from the action, I sadly wasn't able to get too many good pictures of the event. Read on for lots of blurry photos and my blurry memories from the night:

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Kiku Matsuri

11/02/05 | by silverso | Categories: Photos

Hirosaki City plays host to four big festivals a year, one for each season. In winter people come from all over Japan to experience Hirosaki Park's nightime Snow Lantern Festival. In the spring the park changes from white to pink as tens of thousands flood the city for Hirosaki's Cherry Blossom Festival. In summer even more people flock to the streets of Hirosaki for the Hirosaki Neputa.

By contrast, it seems like not too many people even know the name of Hirosaki's fall festival, the "Kiku Matsuri" or Chrysanthemum Festival. I've experienced the other three festivals several times now, and have always felt that while they are nice they are all somewhat overrated. This is my third fall in Japan, but it`s only the first time I've bothered to check out the Kiku Matsuri. While the Chrysanthemum Festival lacks the energy and excitement of the Neputa parade or the carnies and motorbike stunt shows of the Cherry Blossum Festival, it possesses a undeniable charm and is no doubt the strangest of the four events and the most underrated. Read on to find out why...

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Cosplay + Halloween = Chaos!

11/01/05 | by silverso | Categories: Links and Articles


Yesterday 450 costumed foreigners decided to do a little internationalization and held a party onboard a train on the Osaka Loop Line for two hours, freaking out Japanese people and causing some kind of delay in service. Apparently this is the fifth year in a row that this has happened. Luckily "nobody was injured in the incident".

Happy Halloween!

10/31/05 | by silverso | Categories: Deep Thoughts

10/28/05 | by silverso | Categories: Links and Articles, Trains


A little while ago I told you about a truly unique website I found that included long videos of nothing more than the view from the passenger windows of various Japanese trains. Well today I came across another creation of a Japanese train otaku, a website dedicated entirely to train seats! Who knew train seats were so interesting?

Compact Single-seat Helicopter

10/20/05 | by silverso | Categories: Links and Articles


This thing looks awesome! Mom, can I have one for Christmas?

Japanese School Rules

10/18/05 | by silverso | Categories: Deep Thoughts

A few months ago as part of a lesson I had one of my classes complete an anonymous survey about Noheji's school rules. Afterwards we then had a discussion about how Japanese schools differ from Canadian ones. My students all seemed to know that most Canadian students didn't need to wear a uniform, but were surprised to learn that they also didn't need to clean the school at the end of the day and could drive a car to school if they had one. I collected their surveys, read various comments such as "I want to go to freedom school", and then dumped them in my big box of old worksheets. Well today for some reason I decided to clean up my desk and was shredding old worksheets when I noticed that one of the things I was shredding were the old surveys. I'm not sure how many I destroyed before I stopped to look at them, but luckily I was able to preserve enough to tabulate the following very unscientific results:

Percentage of Students that AGREE with the following rules:

89% Students must wear a uniform at school

31% Students must not wear their uniform improperly

37% Students may not wear make-up to school

31% Students may not color their hair

37% Students who behave badly should be forced to stay after school for detention [There is no such thing as detention in Japan]

89% Students may not smoke outside of school

58% Students may not drive a car at any time

63% Students must help clean the school at the end of the day

47% Teachers should patrol the streets and look for rule breaking students [They do sometimes]

74% Students should have a spare period each day to relax or study [They don't]

79% Students should sometimes go to extra classes after school or on weekends [They do quite often]

The remaining percentages either disagreed with the rule or failed to answer. These results are from just a small sample of students from one class, and several surveys were destroyed, so it's hard to say if these results really mean much of anything. I can't even be certain if the students even fully understood the questions since they were in English. Nevertheless, it was still interesting to see the results. I had no idea that the students were so strongly in favor of staying after school or coming in on weekends for extra classes. I also find it a little odd that students are almost universally in favor of wearing uniforms to school, but don't want to wear them properly. I'm curious what the results of a much larger survey of students in Japan would be like, but somehow I almost doubt they would be much different.

Puzzling Signs 2

10/17/05 | by silverso | Categories: Photos

Don't be a dirty school girl.

A few weeks back I posted a bunch of photos of strange, confusing and disturbing signs I've come across during my Aomori journeys. Here are some more with the usual humorous captions...

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10/17/05 | by silverso | Categories: McDonald's


TOKYO - Struggling to lure customers back amid increased competition, McDonald's is adding a new item to its menu in Japan: the shrimp burger.

The 270 yen ($2.40), burger, shown to reporters Friday and set to go on sale this month, is the latest effort by the Japan unit of the U.S. fast-food chain to win over Japanese palates ? and spark sales... [Read the rest at Yahoo]

As Mehan pointed out in the comments, MOS Burger already has an Ebikatsu burger. Don't expect any taste comparisons from me however as I'm not a big fan of ebi.

Tokyo Cheap Sleeps

10/14/05 | by silverso | Categories: Links and Articles


I just discovered on Watashi to Tokyo, one of my favorite Japanese English language blogs, this really handy list of affordable accomodation in Tokyo and thought I should share it with all of you. Thanks to this site I also found out that there`s a Japanese grocery/video store just off Yonge street in my hometown of Toronto. That should help when I start going through Pocky withdrawl this time next year.

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Avoiding life and teaching English in Noheji, Aomori, Japan


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