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Posts posted by badmigraine

  1. I assume you're talking about temporary employment?


    One idea is to go around to the UK offices of Japanese companies to see if administrative or secretarial help is needed. They are usually staffed leanly and might be interested in part-time employment of a native Japanese speaker, to help this or that expat with whatever is going on...yet they have no concept or budget for recruiting. Walk-in or cold calling is a great approach. You can easily get a list of J companies/branch offices and their address/contact info from the J Embassy or Consulate in the UK.


    This was a little-known but successful gambit in Michigan, when I was there with my then-fiancee. There were a lot of Japanese companies there in the auto business, like Takata, Yazaki, Kubota, Toyota, Honda, Nissan, etc.


    It seems a bit better than the usual restaurant worker/cash under the table gambit.


    Also check out local universities and high schools that have Japanese language classes. Native speakers, even if unskilled in pedagogic matters, can earn good money by offering J conversation per hour for cash, and also even get employment as native speaker assistants for the "drill" or "language lab" type portion of the curriculum.



  2. Since marriage and baby, I have given up going to underground rubber/leather fetish parties in Tokyo, and I really miss having private encounters at home or in hotel rooms with some of the truly twisted, kinky women who regularly attend them.



  3. It's terrible, but I'll admit it. After spending just a few minutes confirming that I will get out of Tokyo within the next year and live in the country with my wife and new baby, I started to think whether there are any ways I can get rich off earthquakes.


    You know, anything from selling earthquake kits to clever investment schemes in damaged properties.


    Terrible, really terrible of me to try to take advantage of disasters and their victims...who could just as easily be me or my family.


    But still...it beats thinking about my current job or how to start up that Internet port site that is going to help me with early retirement.

  4. I started around February, 1995. I had just arrived in Japan and was using e-mail to stay in touch with family. I dialed into Compuserve's Japan number using a 14k modem. I used the Mosaic browser, then switched to Netscape. It was unbelievably slow and buggy. Once or twice an hour I'd lose the connection and have to dial in again. Terrible.


    It wasn't until I got ADSL years later that I actually had the experience of logging off the Net because I was DONE, rather than because I'd had enough waiting around for things to load.


    Remember all-night downloads?


    Remember choosing Winsock becuase it was allegedly more "robust"?



  5. Stripper, I know what you mean. You wonder if it's better to run out into the street and be sliced in half by a falling sheet of glass, brained by a cinderblock, or maybe better to stay inside and be crushed like an ant.


    In the San Fran earthquake some years back, when they finally pried apart the two fallen layers of the expressway that had been on trestles, they found the cars that had been there--and the people in them--had been crushed down to a quarter inch in height.


    At least it must have been quick.


    I was living in LA during their big quake in '94. I remember driving home to Westwood from my g/f's place in Venice Beach the morning after. There were buildings with the entire facade ripped away...it was like looking into a dollhouse...you could see all the furniture and windows on the other side... There were houses bent and squatting at funhouse angles...piles of bricks and glass in the streets...signs swinging in the wind like in a western or noir film...


    Anyway, the TV warned of big aftershocks, and I didn't want to be caught nude or be found picking through rubble in my pajamas, so I slept that first couple of aftermath nights in my leather bike pants with crash guard knees and my steel-toed work boots, and kept my Hein Gericke armored jacket and long gauntlet leather gloves by my bedside.


    If I had to go, was going to go out Mad Max style.



  6. Anybody else have that persistent rolling or swaying feeling, even when there is no aftershock? Like you're imagining another earthquake?


    Both my wife and I noticed this. Still happening a lot today!


    (Naw, they ain't aftershocks either! The things that swing or visibly move during even a tiny aftershock are dead still during these false earthquake attacks!)





  7. Flows are the only soft boot binding for me. Super fantastic. High marks all around!


    What I like best is the quick pop-in and lock...it can be done while already moving, and can be done even faster than some skiers can get their poles sorted and go.


    I also like the even distribution of pressure you get from the web strap...not like 2-strap bindings that give a beltlike pressure point that can be painful at times.


    Finally, I like stiff bindings and the stiffer model of Flows is great for me.



  8. If it's Digital Underground, the popular choice is likely


    "I once got busy in a Burger King bathroom"




    But as for me, I am partial to booty rap. 2 Live Crew, Luke, 12 Gauge, etc.



    Lookit that donkey butt and them big ol legs

    I ain't too proud to beg

    Get on my knees and break it down like James

    Please, please

    Lemme ride that donkey donkey!

  9. Those are some interesting working hours.


    I worked on a contract basis (paid by the hour) at Kmart's world HQ in Michigan, and the job order was to spend 35-40 hours per week on it.


    This often had us leaving around 5 or 5:30. But we were the contract guys, so I figured we were special. I figured the regular hires would be working longer hours.


    Well, one day I stayed until 6:30, and when I popped out of my cubicle the place was a graveyard. Everyone was long gone! Amazing. It was like that episode of the Twilight Zone where the guy wakes up and there's nobody left in the world except him.


    I passed the legal dept. on the way out and one guy was in there, looking totally defeated and swamped with impossible, urgent tasks.


    "Working late?" I asked.


    "Yeah, about once a month there is a day when I have to stay until after 7, just to get things done on time..." He sighed the sigh of a martyr, and leaned back in his leather chair in his big clean private office.


    A memory of dirty old concrete-and-cigarette-smoke flourescent-lit work spaces with no partitions, cubicles or doors flashed in my mind. In the memory, it was after 8 p.m., as usual, and more than half the crew was sitting at their desks and shuffling slowly through some kind of report or apple-polishing job. That, or playing mah-jong on the computer.


    If only he knew, boys, if only he knew how bad it could be.



  10. My company was admonished by the labor authorities for making people work too much overtime. Since then, we have monthly internal meetings to arrange fake overtime numbers to ensure we are reporting overtime figures that are below the official limit.


    But people continue to stay in the office for 60-80 hours every week, while only getting paid for a few hours of overtime.


    In the US, you couldn't get people to work 1.5 or 2.0 jobs for take-home pay of maybe US $20k and a 2-hour commute.


    It's hard to even explain this to people back home. They figure I'm making it up.



  11. Ocean's right. You do what you can. Education and information is a big part of it, but unfortunately the first layers of information visible to people are shaped by ad revenue and entertainment concerns.


    Even when people hear about the other side of things, a lot of them don't want to hear any more or figure there's nothing they can do about it. Look at me. I am filled with dread, but don't do much beyond make nasty comments to relatives with blue toilet water or gallons of lawn insect killer in their garage. "Um...where do you think that stuff GOES when you flush it away? Want a drink of water? How about a fish dinner?"


    I guess it comes down to what you can live with, both outside and inside of yourself. It helps me to hear things like what Ocean said. I have other friends who say similar things. Education and information.


    With friends and family, you have to avoid the I'm good/you're bad, I'm right, you're wrong approach. Ocean's post was exemplary in this regard...it just says what he is going to do. A fine example. Thanks, Ocean.



  12. Man, landscaping and road work are tough!


    As a boy I always wanted to grow up to be the guy with big muscles in denim overalls running the jackhammer, because I figured the gals would like me better. That was before I learned that having a cute puppy on the beach is the best way ever to pull chicks, and no hangover or hearing loss required.


    I've been back in Tokyo since March, so I'm changing my sig! Ta glider!

  13. Standard HR calculation is 8 hour day, 200 working days per year.


    At 800 yen per hour, your annual salary is 1,280,000. After 24% deduction for income, residence and health taxes, you take home 972,800 per year.


    That's 18,700 yen per week. Can you live on that? Rent, food, transportation, clothing, heat, water, gas, medical?


    Get real. These are wages for people who are subsidized by another wage-earner...i.e., living at home with Mom. No future, no savings, no retirement fund, nothing...just a chance to take a hit somewhere else in order to serve the giant wheel of commerce.


    These are not real jobs in the sense that you can't make a living off them. They are like those jobs in old company towns where the company dormitory and mess hall took away more than you earned each week.


    The great glittering wheel of commerce has found a way not only to take up your day's worth of energy, but also to drain off the labor and income of others in your group, such as by requiring a housing, food and clothing subsidy from your Mom, just so you can show up at this 800 yen-per-hour McJob.


    Maybe this kind of job is OK for a high-school student, the way a paper route is appropriate for a 10-year-old boy. But is this really a viable option for 25 or 35-year-old adults? Maybe they have no other option.


    It's just me, but frankly speaking, I'd rather live in a tent in Yoyogi Park or open a tiny B&B in Alaska than work my life away full-time for 800 yen per hour in a flourescent-lit shrine to hormone-fed beef or plastic gewgaws. I don't have any Mom's Place to sponge off of, and I'll be damned if I'll drain myself dry and hide from my loved ones in a clown suit all day so a fast food franchise or a clothing store can rack up more profits. A pointless life.



  14. I have a built-in expectation that a normal business day is about 9:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. But in my J company job, it is usually 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. or 10:00 p.m.


    My old boss complained about this company and the lifestyle, then changed jobs. I just heard his new working hours are 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. By choice I guess.


    Am I losing touch with reality, or is a 12-hour-workday somehow normal? It seems crazy to me. Maybe some lawyers and hotshots have to work those hours, but EVERYBODY?!


    It gets worse. I sometimes come in early, and when I do, they are all already here, all of them, sitting looking at papers and computer screens as if they'd been here hours.


    I got in at 8:24 a.m. this morning, and they were all already here...they were all here when I left last night too.


    Most of them have a commute over 1 hour. What do they do, besides work? How can they live like this?




    What are YOUR working hours?



  15. It's tough when you think of all the people in soon-to-be consumerized nations getting up to speed using resources for all the great stuff that it's their turn to have...China being the example that comes to mind.


    The arithmetic is not in favor of a happy result. The whole thing is picking up speed and becoming ever more wastefully ravenous, polluting and destructive.


    As Ocean pointed out in another thread on Peak Oil, a car is only one way we depend on oil. Anything made of plastic, anything delivered to your market or konbini, planes, trains, most electricity, even things not made of plastic are using oil to get made and get to you.


    The more you can drop out of this cycle, the nicer it is for the planet. But it seems things are going to get much, much worse. I wonder what kind of water, air, transportation and lifestyle my baby will have when she is my age, in the year 2045.


    Sad to say I have little faith in any solution or agenda for change, just fear of an apocalyptic or completely poisoned denouement. Dropping out is an option for now, but one day there may be nowhere to hide.



  16. Maybe the suggestion here is that the microbrewed beer goes into the tank and cleanses the buttocks with a thousand tiny bubbles.


    I'd recommend a lager or pils. The higher sugar content of the dark beers could lead to yeast infections and maybe piles.


    Brand magicians will soon bring out the Guinness Washlet (UK), the DB Butt Blaster Washlet (NZ) and the Buttweiser Butt Wiper Washlet (US). These fine branded goods to go along with the clocks, bottle openers, ashtrays and t-shirts.


    Mogs, based on his recent work at a hotel in Dubai, can select the Washlet Girls to model these things. In evaluating them, for once, he'll have to consider something other than breast size.



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