Archive for the ‘Personal’ Category

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Part I …

March 21, 2009

Well, Nihon. I’m going to have to post in parts, chunks, bits. The reason for this is that I observed many different sides of Japan and another flame of interest in me has been sparked (interests are awesome, but they suck all your time when you want to be pursuing other interests).

I saw lots of very cool stuff. I met people that amazed me with their kindness and their willingness to talk and put up with my daft attempt at speaking some Japanese. I saw and listened to brilliant musicians play. I also saw an amazing and different (but essentially the same) form of capitalism. I saw artefacts of Japanese culture that spoke to me from a whole new and interesting perspective. I listened to and attempted to speak the amazing language that can be subtle but on closer inspection very expressive and straightfoward at the same time. I saw some weird things. I saw some dark stuff beneath a rather polite surface. I could go on forever. So, the point is that I can’t just write about all this stuff in one post. Hence… the chunks.

Part I: Food

Food in Japan is interesting. For a vegan, it is both challenging and interesting. It varies, like in any country. Highlights:

– A little backstreet bar ‘n’ grill in Osaka. Grilled vegetables (zucchini, yellow capsicum, sweet potato and others) cooked by the guy behind a glass panel in front of you. All spoke a bit of English and we spoke a little Japanese back. We had a few beers (I liked most Japanese beers) and then a few nips of warm sake. Nice food and nice and interesting people. I think they were taking the piss a few times with us, but it was all in good fun.

– Hiroshima: Sweet potato cart on the side walk along Peace Boulevard on the evening of December 25th (the date when Japanese couples go on dates together). Old man selling hot sweet potato kept warm with gas. Wrapped in foil, a half sweet potato with it’s skin. You kind of eat it in the same way as a kebab, but it’s a really nice sweet potato taste! Perfect for an evening when you’re freezing your butt off ’cause it’s like -2⁰c. Really warm and tasty.

– Fresh noodles with a massive tofu piece on top pretty much anywhere in Kyoto. The tofu piece has a very strong soy taste and I did get sick of it after a few days, but it was great the first time. Fresh noodles with vegetable-based broth again anywhere in Kyoto. It’s easier to get these in Kyoto, where shojin ryori (buddhist inspired vegan meals) are served by monks in temples around Kyoto.

– Hhhmmm. Sapporo. Sapporo was an aesthetically beautiful place and the people were nice (it was also all cold and snowy – which was a novelty for me who’d only really ever seen snow in Tasmania and it was nothing like this), but the tabemasu experience for a vegan was very difficult. Seafood everywhere and in everything. Managed to get by eating, well, salad. One special mention though. At an onsen about an hour and half outside of Sapporo, we got this awesome vegan Nepalese curry. Yum.

– Tokyo: Three words: Fujino Tofu Restaurant! The area of Rappongi wasn’t really my cup-of-tea, but it’s worth going to once for an awesome set of desserts whipped up from tofu and soy-based stuff. These included sponge cake, cream cake, ice-cream cake, whipped cream and other stuff. Nice.

Assorted Pakistani, Nepalese and Indian restaurants in Shinjuku.

Nice Vegetarian/Vegan place about a 10 minute walk from JR Ochanomizu station in the middle of the book district (which is amazing!) serving an assortment of stuff like dahl and rice, steamed and boiled sweet potato, delicious pickled vegetables (I think some were pickled black-bean strips) and assorted stuff. One of the workers insisted on telling me several times that the coffee was definitely from Brazil. OK.

“Vegan Healing Cafe” in Shibuya. Backstreets near “Tokyu Hands DIY Department Store”. Nice organic simple food. Not the best vegan food I’ve had, but still nourishing (everything comes with a cup of steamed brown rice) and some leafy salads (and rather inexpensive).

Yeah, basically everywhere and anywhere. You find them by getting purposefully lost and looking around whilst doing so.

As for the carnivores, you’ll have no trouble finding places that serve up the fourth stage of the subjugation of animals, just like in most other parts of the world.

I’ll be back soon with part II: My impression of Capitalism in Japan.

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Gathering

January 28, 2009

I am gathering thoughts and notes about my time in Nihon. An amazing country. Will be starting to post on that this weekend.

Meanwhile, it was around 40 degrees today during my 45 min walk up the long hill to my place… But, I hardly even noticed the heat because I was listening to Hendrix at full volume… As Bill Hicks once said: “Like an anaconda blowin’ in the wind…”

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Smashing misogyny, patriarchy and sexism

November 24, 2008
As White Ribbon Day approaches, it seems the day where women are treated as equals, subjects and people is still a distant dream. Indeed, for someone who is a feminist, it feels wrong that I should long for the time before I was alive in the 1970s because it seems like feminism was gaining traction and the female fist was raised in resistance and defiance back then. The world has changed, but it hasn’t necessarily progressed. Bleak is the world where:
The above are results of an Australian survey only. These stories are repeated in millions, if not billions of lives around the world.
Bleak is the world where I just watched the news and saw 21 nations at the APEC summit with only 2 represented by women. Bleak is the world where I today heard a 15 year old boy claim triumphantly that he would rape and kill a woman. Bleak is the world where in every conflict that is happening around the world at the moment, rape is used as a prominent weapon to degrade, dehumanise, humiliate and destroy women. Bleak is the world where men don’t speak up about this fucking bullshit – and shame on every man who doesn’t. We are brothers and sisters and we are both subjective human beings who are at one when our minds interact to make this world a better place. We are nothing and no-one if we let it happen and don’t confront it ACTIVELY. Smashing misogyny, patriarchy, sexism and any other form of oppression is a 24 hour a day attitude and activity, not merely an intellectual plaything.
Raise your fist and resist. We have work to do. We have a world to improve.
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It’s been a while

November 19, 2008

Damn – who would have thought that life would take over from blogging? Yes, the posts have been few and far between during the last year on tp. But, in what could only be described as one hell of a year (mostly in good ways – including being rushed to hospital and spending three weeks there – yes I did manage to reflect in a positive manner on this and also spending a few weeks in Spain!), I am now beginning to wind down. What an amazing year it has been all over the world. As I gather my thoughts about several issues, I’ll be back here to post them (including my take on Japan as I’ll be spending a month there soon). So, whoever is still visiting here, expect more flowerly, angry and hopefully insightful shit to show up a little more often over the next six months. Still here – just much more busy in the real world these days (don’t worry – it’s all good stuff contributing to the individual revolutionary activity of the masses of this beautiful shithole of a planet). 🙂

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The Expanse

May 6, 2008

I jotted down this small passage today as it came to me in a brief lull at work.

We don’t even know how big the universe is. We know that it is still expanding (actually, it’s getting quicker at doing this as time – whatever that is – passes). We think that mysterious matter we call “dark energy” makes up 73% of it, but we’re not even sure what this “dark energy” is. We know that there are massive amounts of energy spread throughout the universe, but we’re not sure what ultimate form this energy takes. We’re not sure exactly what time is and how it “passes” (or is that just our perception?). And as this and a myriad of other questions are speculated, theorised or philosophised about by all of us, the striking fact that we are existing amongst this vast expanse of spacetime, matter, energy and each other jumps up and down on my heart as it pumps blood into the reflective consciousness of my mind.

Word.

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Back

April 24, 2008

After 4 months I’m back. It was an interesting excercise (excercise meaning me being too damn busy and in the moments in between too damn lazy to re-connect to the internet on a faster and cheaper plan after moving house). I felt naked without my daily stream of information overload and there’s only so much browsing you can do at work (meaning I get 5 mins if I’m lucky). I kept informed through Radio National and NewsRadio… But, I find if you listen to NewsRadio for more than half an hour, you just get really depressed. Anyways, pointless rambling aside, I’m back and still angry, still concerned, still arrogant and still walking along the fine ridge that marries libertarianism with more general leftist philosophy. Watch this space.

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Shame on you, Channel Ten, You Misogynistic Fucks

December 15, 2007

Tonight, I just finished watching The Importance of Being Earnest and my TV automatically switched over to Channel Ten. It happened to be in the middle of an ad break. An advertisement for the show “America’s Next Top Model” came on saying that it was some sort of Christmas special edition of the show. As the viewer was bombarded with three separate women walking along a catwalk in very revealing clothing, the voice over said “ho, ho, ho”…

It’s bad enough that women and girls are being objectified in subtle ways, but now we as a society are outright not only condoing this fucking bullshit, but promoting it. Bratz dolls, America’s Next Top Model – what the fuck is going on here? I call on anyone who is reading this and seen this ad to call Channel Ten and complain – I have.

I’m not even going to bother explaining why this has outraged me to the point where I am white with anger. If you need to ask, you’re a fucking idiot. I’m a school teacher and I can tell you that this type of shit is having an extremely negative effect on young girls. I over heard some girls in one of my classes talking one day and they were saying how boys weren’t even given an accurate picture of how girls looked because they just see porn or shows like “America’s Next Top Model” portraying an extreme form of un-reality.

When un-realistic and mysogynistic portrayals of women are thrust into young men and women’s faces everyday, it is undoubtedly going to negatively affect the respect that they have for each other as subjective human beings as well as the way they interact. Women, as a man I cannot speak for you and nor should I, but I will say that your battle for equality and independence is far from over… Fuck, I’m angry!