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:: My Urban Eyes ::

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:: Wednesday, May 24, 2006 ::

Home Safe and Sound



...it's 2 am and feels like 3 pm... but I'm home. ^_^ More later, but flight was good (if long), and all is well. ^_^

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:: Kazen @ Always Doing 10:53 PM [+] ::
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Comments:
WELCOME HOME Love,Love, Love, Aunt Pat
 
Your parents must be happy to have you back!

and to welcome you back to the area - as well as i can from south of the Mason-Dixon....

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7MxFzceF-Wk&search=egg%20tulip

Aim me and I'll get you my cell number so we can talk some. And don't forget to stop on by if you get the chance!
 
Glad yer back safely. Sounds like ye had a blast. Now get yer butt back on YPP, I won't buy the "it won't install" excuse fer long! :P
 
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:: Tuesday, May 23, 2006 ::


Sayonara is the Hardest Thing to Say

(This blasted thing won't let me write in Japanese characters, so this will have to do...)

Demo, sho ga nai, ne. Nihon, iroiro na koto, watashi no kokoro kara, arigatou gozaimasu. Meccha tanoshikatta. Mou ichi do aimashou, ne. Hayakereba hayakuhodo yoi. ^_^

Sayonara.

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:: Saturday, May 20, 2006 ::


Graduation!


Yea for graduation! Boooo for saying goodbye to so many people. T_T Here are some pictures of everyone... omoide!

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This is what happens when it starts raining, a huge gust of wind comes up, and the photographer gets wet and the subjects get worried. Me and Noriko (not my speaking partner, but another Noriko... a really common name).

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Ceramics Sensei is wearing a suit! Quick, take a picture, take a picture! -_^

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Robby ("Robbie" in my mind, though!)'s friends gave him this shirt for Christmas, daring him to wear it in Japan. When is better than at graduation? This is during the luncheon, where they had an amazing spread... and free beer. In huge bottles... like the one Robby is holding.

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Travis! His hair really grew out while we were here, hehe. He's from Texas, but he's really nice. ~huuuuuge wink~

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Ridwan and Karen.

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Robby and I with Komura-sensei, whom we happened to catch at a bad time. -_-

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Me and Matt. ...and the ceiling. -_^

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The darling Elaine, whose Japanese is so good that she's taking classes in Japanese this semester.

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Ian, Robby and I. We were in the same language classes, both kanji and speaking, both semesters.

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Ashley, who I'm really going to miss--especially going to karaoke together.

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With Chae.

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My roomie Georgia. She's from Australia, and we get along so well it's scary.

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Jen rented a traditional outfit worn at graduations... I think it's called a hakama. It's not a kimono, but it is kimono-esque.

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Joe and Josh. Since we always use last names in Japanese class, I didn't know Josh's first name until today. -_-

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Robby and Molly were in my classes this semester, too. And Robby looks... befuddled? Hehe.

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I met Takashi on a trip to Kobe, and I caught him at the graduation. When I asked him why he made the face, he said, "That face is all of my feelings! Happy, sad, sabishii (lit. lonely--sad that people are leaving), hung over, all of it!"

Yea for people! Boo for saying goodbye. Meccha sabishii.

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:: Kazen @ Always Doing 8:37 PM [+] ::
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Comments:
GAAAH! SO MANY POSTS!!! We're so PROUD of you!!!!!!!(lots more "!!!!"'s)!!!!! I hope the trip goes well and smoothly and that they give you lots of those little packets of peanuts and sodas and waters. I hope that you can fit everything into your suitcases! Those ceramics looked so pretty. I sorta feel bad that you have to come home, but I'll be happy to see you. That was such an awesome experiance! Let me know when you make it back to your mom's (like, a short blog post or something).
 
I sure hope they give me a lot of peanuts--the first leg of my flight is 12 hours! Hehe. Last time I flew on Northwest, which stunk, but this time I'm on United, so I'm going to have my own personal screen to watch stuff on, yea! I'm thinking it will be a much better experience ^_^
 
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Ceramics Videos

There is no one in the dorm tonight (everyone's out partying, I think) so the internet connection is actually decent, yea! This means... I could finally upload some videos! These two are from ceramics class.



This is a walk-around, narriated by yours truly (my voice is lower in my own head, I swear), of the ceramics studio at school. It was the last day of throwing, so everyone was working really hard.



Hard to see, but Sensei's kampai (cheers, toast) from our farewell party at Asian Days. The important thing is the audio though--Sensei has a cool way of mixing together English and Japanese, even when he's trying his hardest to speak only English.

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:: Kazen @ Always Doing 8:33 PM [+] ::
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Graduation Day

It doesn't feel like it though. On Wednesday I took the last final of my undergraduate career, and tomorrow I'll attend my graduation here at Kansai Gaidai. By an odd twist of fate, it is the same day UAlbany is holding their graduation.

Due to paperwork issues, however, my diploma will read August, 2006, but in my mind I'm a graduate. I'm not sure how it feels though, since I'm stressing and packing. @_@ So much stuff to do! Cancel cell phone, close bank account, sell bike, get general deposit back from the school, pack up my ceramics, clean, say goodbye to everyone, have a last go at karaoke, not to mention getting my luggage together and getting my butt to the airport (gonna take the highway bus--love the trains here, but three train changes with all that luggage? I'll pass).

The way that the bus schedule works, I'll be getting to the airport something like six hours before my flight. I think I'll know every store inside and out by the time I depart! -_^

My plane takes off from Kansai International at 6 pm local time May 24th, and arrives in Chicago at 4 pm local time, same day. How cool to land before you take off! Then there's a two hour layover in Chicago to get through customs, then it's a two hour hop to Albany, where I'll arrive at 9 pm. 14 hours in the air, 16 total. If you want to be really mean, you can add in my six hours at Kansai International waiting and travel time to *get* to the airport and it turns into a 23.5 hour ordeal. -_^ Thank god my family is picking me up when I get home--I think I may collapse into their arms! Hehe.

If anyone has any tips for beating jet lag I'd love to hear them. I plan to drink a *lot* of water on the flight, but beyond that I don't have much of a clue. I'd love to hear your tips! ^_^

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:: Kazen @ Always Doing 9:34 AM [+] ::
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:: Thursday, May 11, 2006 ::


I Scooped the Times


The New York Times! Don't believe me? Lookie here. Then lookie here. Different angle, but the same story. Boo-yah. Hehe. ^_^

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:: Wednesday, May 10, 2006 ::


Article Roundup

'Cause I'm finding a lot of neato things today. ^_^

- This article from the New York Times says that high gas prices aren't the end of the world, and I have to agree. During the 90's we enjoyed unusually low prices in gas, now it's corrected (with inflation, of course) to "normal" levels. Also, higher gas prices encourage people to buy cars that get more miles to the gallon, drive less, and use public transit. I have no plan to buy a car for at least five years and take public transit instead; it would be nice if more people could pledge the same.

- Bush's job approval rating hit a new all time low of 31% according to this poll. If you think that's low, 26% approve of the way he is dealing with immigration, and a measly 13% approve of his handing of gas prices.

- NPR has posted its Election 2006 website, and oh what a trove of information it is. Click on each state for info on all of the upcoming races, primary dates, and more.

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:: Kazen @ Always Doing 8:24 PM [+] ::
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Ceramic Hurrahs


I love my ceramics class sooo much, and it's quickly drawing to an end. Here are some pictures of the class, in an effort to capture, well, everything. ^_^

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Sasha is working on a huge pot based on the Jomon style. It is simply awesome.

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Things to be trimmed, waiting on the overhead rack.

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Levi and Jane sharing tunes. Most students here have ipods, and most people are listening to them as they work on the wheel. Sensei plays some awesome music, too--everything from classical to Tracy Chapman to the Beatles to Japanese indie bands.

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And here's an artistic (or so I would like to think) shot of Kimie at the sink.

I tried to upload a video, but it just didn't work. ~shakes her fist at the school network~ Maybe soon. ^_^

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:: Kazen @ Always Doing 12:50 PM [+] ::
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:: Friday, May 05, 2006 ::

Ore, Boku... dare?



The Japanese language can be quite complex, especially where politeness levels and how you address someone (even yourself) are concerned. Back home I learned all the textbook definitions, but nothing replaces actually hearing it used everyday.

A really interesting area is how you refer to yourself. There are at least five words to do it, each with its own nuances. The gender neutral watakuchi is very very very polite, and only commonly heard in historical dramas.

Girls get the short shrift, mostly using the netural watashi. Atashi can also be used, but it is incredibly wimpy. Girls who stare at their feet and barely speak above a whisper use atashi.

Guys, on the other hand, can use ore, which is incredibly tough. Guys who are macho and think highly of themselves use it. There is also boku, which is what my ceramics sensei always uses. It sounds kind and a little gentle... nice guys use it. The only way I can think to describe it any better is a guy who uses boku is one you'd want to date, where the ore guy probably thinks too much of himself to be a good boyfriend. That and I don't go for overly tough guys. :P

Some girls cross the line and use boku to refer to themselves, but this is very much looked down upon by society. While it's gentle when a guy uses it, it's a little too tough to be managed by a girl. That being said, female J-pop singers use it with some regularity... no idea how they get away with it, though. I wish I could use boku, but the boring watashi is my only real option, unfortunately.

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Copyright Quandary


Copyright exists to protect the intellectual property of creators, but nowadays it's meaning has been diluted down to dollars and cents (excepting Creative Commons, of course).

Want some proof? The RIAA is an easy target, but here's another one: CSPAN. Yes, you heard me right, the non-profit bringer of Congressional roll calls and White House press conferences. Recently CSPAN had the video of Stephen Colbert at the White House Press Dinner pulled from You Tube, citing copyright (take a look at this Boing Boing post for the play-by-play). No problem yet--they own the copyright to the video, so taking it off is their right. In fact, seeing as how they want to protect their intellecutal property, I bet while they were at it they asked for all of their videos to be taken off, such as dinners from years past. But no.

So why only this one video? It's probably because they're selling a DVD of the performance for a (discounted) price of $24.95. Dinners from years past aren't available, so they can stay.

If it's all about money, then why are they also streaming a (low quality) version of the dinner? CSPAN gets its money from the cable providers that carry it. I'm willing to bet that the more viewership they can account for--be it over cable or fiber optic lines--the higher premiums they can charge. Why let hundreds of thousands of viewings go to waste when you can force people to watch it from your own site, making money in the process?

Now, being a non-profit, I'm sure that CSPAN will do something good with any extra revenue it recieves--maybe buy a new camera or hire a new reporter. But it all still comes down to dollars and cents, not the true purpose of copyright--protecting creators.

Update (5/6/06): The video has now made it to Google video, in a weird twist of fate.

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:: Kazen @ Always Doing 5:11 PM [+] ::
:: ... 3 comments | backtrack ::



Comments:
so THAT'S why I couldn't show it to Justin last night!!!
 
c-span has a history of ip issues
 
Thanks for the awesome link, Mike! Come to think of it, that probably explains why on the Daily Show, if I remember correctly, the CSPAN logo is usually blurred out. Very interesting...
 
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:: Wednesday, May 03, 2006 ::


Colbert is the Man


I hope you all have heard about this, but if you haven't--Stephen Colbert of the Colbert Report, formerly of the Daily Show with Jon Stewart, was the keynote speaker at the White House Press Correspondents Dinner. Instead of lobbing soft ball jokes about gas prices he did a scathing critism of the press and the administration, all in the guise of his president-loving, freedom fighting character. Words do not describe it, so go see it here (update: You Tube scrubbed the video, booo). One of the best bits:

"But, listen, let's review the rules. Here's how it works: the president makes decisions. He's the decider. The press secretary announces those decisions, and you people of the press type those decisions down. Make, announce, type. Just put 'em through a spell check and go home. Get to know your family again. Make love to your wife. Write that novel you got kicking around in your head. You know, the one about the intrepid Washington reporter with the courage to stand up to the administration. You know - fiction!"


When you're done watching that, take a look at Stephen--the real Colbert, not the character--on 60 Minutes here. I'm so proud of Stephen... a pride only rivaled by my pride for Jon Stewart when he was on Crossfire a couple of years ago. Three cheers for the comedians, who tell the truth in ways the rest of us wish we could.

:: Kazen @ Always Doing 9:47 AM [+] ::
:: ... 2 comments | backtrack ::



Comments:
i seriously think it was the funniest because everyone in the audience seemed to scared to laugh too much. :-)
 
From a humanitarian perspective, our fellow human beings, who migrate to support their families, continue to suffer at the hands of immigration policies that separate them from family members and drive them into remote parts of the American desert, sometimes to their deaths. This suffering should not continue.

Now is the time to address this pressing humanitarian issue which affects so many lives and undermines basic human dignity. Our society should no longer tolerate a status quo that perpetuates a permanent underclass of persons and benefits from their labor without offering them legal protections.
 
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