Battle Royale – Cat KO



Cheesecake didn’t win this round!

I bought this book a while ago, but I’m just getting started with it now. I saw a Japanese movie adaptation a few years ago and I’ve been wanting to read the original story.

Bad News For New York City Smokers Tomorrow

Notice stating that there is no smoking allowed in NYC parks after May 23rd.

The acceptable areas for smoking just got a lot narrow, but I can’t really argue with this.  I mean, I still smoke, though I’m planning on getting around to quitting sometime soon, but even so, I can’t be upset about this.  People that don’t smoke have a right to not inhale second hand smoke.  That’s the whole point of not smoking right?  Still, it’s gonna be kind of sad that I can’t lean back on a park bench and enjoy a cigarette while watching all the people pass by anymore.

This reminds me of something I was told by a guy in Japan.  I don’t remember who it was now, but he was saying that in Japan, they banned smoking outdoors, but not indoors.  He said the reasoning is that it’s all about choice.  If you’re a non-smoker, you can choose to not go into a smoking establishment, but you can’t choose to not walk outside.  So, you ban smoking outdoors, but leave smoking indoors up to the establishment owner.  To me, that makes a lot more sense.

Given the Japanese stance on smoking, it makes me wonder how much freedom and choice we really have in this country.  Smoking isn’t illegal, but pretty soon it might be illegal to smoke anywhere.  I remember hearing a story a few months ago about a housing development where people were complaining that they could smell the smoke from neighboring units.  Would it be fair to ban smoking in an entire apartment building?  I can imagine a no smoking policy for new tenants, but could you really ask people to move out if they don’t stop smoking?

Donation Point For Japan in Union Square (Manhattan) Today

New York Japanese-American Lions Club in Union Square requesting donations for Japan.

Earlier today, on my way to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, I saw members of the New York Japanese-American Lions Club in Union Square, asking for donations for relief efforts in Japan.  I made a donation myself, directly to the Japanese Red Cross through Google’s Crisis Response page.  Even so, I found myself wanting to donate more, but I had just gone to the bank and only had big bills on me.  I know that sounds cheap, but I have a budget I have to follow too, so I don’t wind up looking for handouts.  I wish I had more to give, but it’s encouraging that companies and prominent individuals are also giving donations to Japan.

New York Japanese-American Lions Club in Union Square requesting donations for Japan.

I saw a Tweet a few days ago that was reminding people to not forget that the tsunami in 2005 (?) killed about 230,000 people.  I wonder why it is that this earthquake and tsunami in Japan is eliciting such a greater response?  Or am I misremembering what happened in 2005?  I might have missed the outreach efforts.  I spent part of that year in Kuwait and the rest of it in Singapore and I just don’t remember it being reported on much.  I had actually forgotten about it until I went to Phuket in Thailand with my wife and saw a memorial there for the people who had died on that beach in that tsunami.  Is it because Japan is important economically?  Is it because it’s a world power?  Or is it because of the character and history of the people?  Personally, I’ve always been fascinated with Japanese history, the ancient history more than the recent history, and I do enjoy Japanese anime and I’ve been toying with learning Japanese for some time.

New York Japanese-American Lions Club in Union Square requesting donations for Japan.

Anyway, if you haven’t taken the time to donate money to the relief efforts in Japan, there are still plenty of ways to get it done.  They’re a wholly deserving people in a time of great need.

The Sake Inn


The Sake Inn isn’t actually an inn, though it would be a good name for one with a free sake gimmick.  The Sake Inn is a store in Singapore that sells mostly sake, but it’s also where I picked up the canned drinks I showed in a previous post.  I’ve never actually tried sake before, though I’m interested.  My wife and I bought a bottle of sake from a Spring Kyushu Fair in another mall in Singapore, but never had the opportunity to drink it.  We got busy with packing and wound up giving it away as a gift.  Maybe next time.


I was impressed with the amount of Japanese goods that were available in Singapore.  Besides sake stores there were Japanese themed bakeries, restaurants and clothing stores, like Uniqlo.  I’m a little disappointed that there isn’t as much available here in the Philippines, but maybe I’m just not looking in the right places yet.  If you’re wondering where in Singapore this sake store is, it’s in the basement of Tampines 1, located right next to the MRT station.

Beginning Japanese and Beginning Japanese Workbook


I picked these books up in Singapore before leaving for the Philippines so I can start my adventure with learning the Japanese language.  I’ve also been using to help build vocabulary and familiarize myself with hiragana, katakana, and some basic kanji, but you can’t learn a language without understanding the grammar, conjugations and particles.  That’s just the tip of the iceberg of course, but you get the point.

I haven’t had time yet to crack them open and get started on studying them.  Things have been pretty hectic around here.  Later on, after I’ve gone through them both a few times, I’ll post a review about how effective they are.  In the meantime, has anyone used these books before?  Thoughts?  Opinions?