Monday, October 29, 2007

Happy Halloween 07

Wishing all a Happy Halloween!

More respect to pumpkins and other vegetables, indeed!

decoration from our school

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

NOVA's teachers on strike

Latest development:
A labor union representing teachers from scandal-plagued NOVA Corp. went on strike Tuesday demanding the English conversation school chain pay unpaid wages and agree to collective negotiations.

The Nova teachers' branch of the National Union of General Workers Nambu also joined with other unions from western Japan to ask Labor Standards Supervision Offices in Tokyo and Osaka to pursue a criminal case against NOVA and its president, Nozomu Sahashi.
mainichi news

According to the union, salary payments due in mid-September were delayed for some 4,000 foreign teachers and Nova notified them that the payment scheduled for the middle of this month will be postponed until Friday.

Pay was also delayed for some 2,000 Japanese staff in July and August, and they have yet to receive payments that were due in late September, the union said.

The union submitted a report to the Osaka labor office Sept. 27 claiming Nova is falling behind on paying employees in violation of the Labor Standards Law. The office has repeatedly called on Nova to pay its workers as scheduled.
Japan Times

Monday, October 15, 2007

Friday, October 12, 2007

Please hear me out!

Would you spare 5 minutes to watch this, dear sir and madam?

I am against preaching. I don't want to advocate any one candidate. I'm ready to watch America rot. Let me tell you, in the US of A, individual Americans are wonderful people. As a country, it sucks and runs a trend of not only destroying itself but a chunk of the world with it.

I'm taking my risk with Ron Paul as our last hope for a better (modern) USA.

Political positions of Ron Paul

Foreign policy
leave Iraq
leave Iran alone
free trade

minimize federal interference
income tax resistance

Civil liberties
Habeas corpus a must
against domestic surveillance
non federal involvement of stem cell research

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

little things that made our wedding extra special

Every wedding is more or less the same. It's the little things that add up to an unforgettable day. We put a lot of thoughts into the wedding and its preparation. Here are some of the things that you, if planning for one in the future, might find useful. Following are what worked for us:

shinto ceremony

If you're in Japan, don't do a western ceremony. All the churches in Japan have a tiny teeny chapel. The scene is unspectacular at best. I understand why the Japanese tend to do that because they like all things Western. We had a fantastic experience at a local shrine (luckily a proper one). Its total size is at least 20 times of a typical church here. The ceremony hall is so majestic it commands our respect.

a slide show
Mix your pictures with music and video clips from your family and friends who can't make it. Use a projector or a large TV in the lobby so everyone can see it. And when the guests are waiting to go inside, they have something to talk about.

a dessert buffet

Why have one dessert? have a few, in fact have 10. When your guests stand up and walk around, they have a chance to mingle with everybody else.

candle lighting

The atmosphere is great. We go to all the tables to light their candles so to greet everybody individually. After all the candles are lit, the guests stand and blow them out on a count of three, wishing the couple good luck. Then the room goes very dark for a moment.


My wife says I suck at surprises. I bought a black diamond ring (They're less expensive than other diamonds and are not coal.) but insisted we won't waste more money on gift for each other. Boy was she touched when I proposed to her at the end of the wedding! No one proposes to his bride at the wedding, EVER. That's exactly why I did it. I didn't ask her to marry me. That would be silly. Instead it's more like a vow but the rest is pretty much the same... down on my knee. The first time I proposed to her, (with a proper diamond ring) it didn't quite work out the way I planned it.

We had a surprise fireworks display show. It was at the end when everybody is drunk and fed. They step outside expecting a present but they got an eyeful of colors exploded in the night sky. A pyrotechnic team costs quite a bit but certainly worth it if you can arrange one. Our photo cameras didn't catch the high-flying ones. Its entirety is on video but it hard to stick cameras out when it rains.


Don't wait until they're seated to start pouring their glasses. Start the first moment they set foot in the premises. Of course all you can drink and arranged transports would be a plus. The quicker they're drunk, the more fun they'll have. (for most people)

a personal touch

(image: flickr)
In Japan they give out "petite" gifts when the guests leave to thank them for coming. Kazumi and I roasted our coffee beans for that purpose. My father-in-law is a coffee roaster and I help out sometimes so we have access to a coffee roasting machine.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Aurora, Stars, Meteor, Lake, Alaska

Explanation: Sometimes, after your eyes adapt to the dark, a spectacular sky appears. In this case, a picturesque lake lies in front of you, beautiful green aurora flap high above you, brilliant stars shine far in the distance, and, for a brief moment, a bright meteor streaks by. This digitally fused breathtaking panorama was captured late last month across one of the Chena Lakes in North Pole, Alaska, USA, and includes the Pleiades open cluster of stars on the image right. The shot is unusual not only for the many wonders it has aptured simultaneously, but because lakes this far north tend to freeze and become non-reflecting before a sky this dark can be photographed.
Nasa astronomy

wedding photos!

I have literally a billion pictures that need to be sorted out. Here are some of those I could post while it's underway. We had the time of our lives. It was a pretty luxurious wedding. I'm still drunk from the champaign on that day. I'm very grateful to everyone, especially Kazumi's and my families!

Welcome board made with cookies (Kazumi made it) a little larger than my laptop computer.

the front door of the wedding hall; picture with our parents

Kazumi and I made our first official appearance in the banquet hall; beautiful looking guests

our traditional Japanese Shinto ceremony; us looking thrilled and photo perfect ^_^

guests making their way into the wedding ceremony shrine; "It's rainnnnnnnnn on your wedding day"

us happily signing our freedom away; the atmosphere is serious and formal

the mothers; my family

equivalent to walking down the aisle; damn good looking couple

still making our way to the stage; and already they can't stop snapping a few

brother-in-law (cameraman of the day); and his wife and cute kids (our flower girls)

guests came a long way to celebrate us

sisters snap-happy (great pictures)

Thursday, October 04, 2007

wedding report

We had a pretty spectacular wedding!

Here is what happened chronologically:

7am wake up
8 leave house
9 arrive at our guests' hotel
hand over their lunch
10 arrive at Espoir (wedding reception hall)
11 make-up, dress up in traditional wedding kimono
12pm en route to the shrine
1 wedding portrait, family photo, w/ friends
2 Shinto's wedding briefing
3 Shinto ceremony (unforgettable, serious, special)
4 a little late for our scheduled return to Espoir
5 greetings, cake cutting (in gown and tux)
6 banquet, speeches (in kimono)
7 finale, I propose to her again, surprise black diamond ring
8 return to hotel, drink w/ friends til 12am