Saturday, October 31, 2009

Holiday Theft

Halloween in Japan isn’t huge but it’s getting there. Last Halloween about 3000 adults turned out for a costume parade through downtown Kawasaki City. It's sort of sad, almost as if Halloween has been stolen. If everybody has Halloween it just makes Halloween in America a little less special and to me that’s a crime.

At our house we usually carve a jack o’lantern or two (and even more sometimes) and set it out in front of the door to our home in Yokohama. Passersby usually stop to look and some even take a picture. This year no body paid them any mind, I’m afraid they’re becoming commonplace.

I feel somewhat guilty for this "crime." We used to have big Halloween parties for the kids in our neighborhood. We first held them at home. They eventually got too big for our humble abode and so we moved the party to the grounds of the local shrine (which is kind of akin to having a Purim party in the basement of a Catholic Church). They were great parties with traditional and not-so-traditional Halloween party games, costumes, lots of treats and more that ended with groups of four or five kids carving their own pumpkins. When my youngest son, Jonah, hit eight we stopped having the parties. But the parties didn’t stop. The kids who came to our party began having parties of their own and now there are thousands of Frankenstiens and other monsters parading the streets of Japan every Halloween with no end in sight. It’s gotten so that Halloween has become as Japanese as apple pie with sushi on top. Now that’s scary.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Now Crass Lepeat After Me

The other day my 10-year-old son had an English (as a foreign language) class at his Yokohama City public elementary school and came home with an accent. It was weird.

About the photo: High school class in Kanagawa, Japan, ca. 1963 by Takato Marui via Wikipedia

FYI: Japanese students consistently score high marks on international tests for mathematics, etc. Click here to learn more about education in Japan.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


I was going to ride my bike the other day when I noticed the back tire was flat. I tried to blow it up with a pump but it was still as flat as a pancake so I removed the tube and checked for leaks. I found a hole as big as a dime. There was just no way to fix it. I was really bummed out over the loss of an otherwise perfectly good tube until, flash, I remembered my sister's birthday was coming up. I now had the perfect gift for her right in my hands. Well almost, I still had to make a few modifications until I came up with the:


You too can make your own Tubelt.

Here's what you need: one old punctured tire tube and a belt buckle (I got mine at a fabric store for about a dollar)

Here's what you do: Scrub the tube up so it looks as good as new, snip off the valve and thread the ends of the tube through the two belt buckle pieces. Then put it all inside the box that contained the new replacement tube you just put on your bicycle and voila! You've made a totally environmentally friendly fashion statement that adds a whole new meaning to the word ReCycle.

The Tubelt

Expanding and contracting
to suit your lifestyle.

Tube or not to tube.
Tube is the answer.

“It’s like totally tubular man.”

Happy Birthday Maryann!