Saturday, November 28, 2009

form over function

Some people here love it - superficiality. No way unique in this country but here is a particularly troubling example. A piece of me dies inside whenever it happens.

Euro imports are hot in Japon. A symbol of wealth. The grass is greener. You get the picture. Fees and taxes involved for importing vehicles (official or otherwise) are ludicrously high.

This is probably the worst case: The least expensive Caterham, Roadsport, costs Japanese buyers ¥4.2 mill (~29,000 British pounds) vs. 17,795 UK domestic price tag. Plenty of other examples but I guess the opposite is true too except in the US, where cars have to be priced low to begin to compete. The point is these imports always underlie a bit of a showoff, especially considering Japanese cars are way more reliable, often more efficient.

Aston Martin, being a UK manufacturer, has their cars steered from the right side by default, which is also true in Japan. But don't be surprised you'll find most of them here equipped with steering column on the left, an irrefutable fact these drivers prefer form over function. Left-hand-drives make more flamboyant imports, hence a better platform for showing off of wealth. Calling them retards would be an insult to the mentally insufficient community, err... fucktards!

You may think "What's the big deal?" Well for one, simple tasks like paying tolls (however a solution, ETC) suck. Drivers of LHD vehicles have to get out of their cars at many toll gates, parking lots, drive thrus to go around.
But to me the biggest qualms are
1) you can't pass slower traffic safely on the right due to reduced visibility
2) finding any decent selection of used performance RHD imports
3) shitty resale value of proper RHDs because of lesser desirability
4) suffering the worst inconvenience for the least bit of "benefit"

Common sense dictates personally I find LHDs much less annoying (in Japan) as long as the car's home country doesn't make RHD versions or they are hard to come by.

As a matter of principle, this makes my skin crawl.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Cosmos makes me sad

Watching the late great astronomer Carl Sagan's Cosmos: A Personal Voyage always makes me incredibly incredibly sad.

Is it because of the choice of music?
Is it because of Sagan's unique mannerism?
Is it because he is no longer with us?
Is it because of the vastness of the cosmos?
Is it because we drag our collective feet?


The entire series can be viewed on youtube here

Pale Blue Dot

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

F-R-I-E-N-D-S (U-na-gi)

Friends was a good laugh when it was on TV. Not known for intelligent humor, you really didn't have to commit or even pay attention to it to fully enjoy the show. It was still a lot of fun and sometimes numbingly entertaining.

Can it stand the test of time like Seinfeld, M*A*S*H, Blackadder, and Arrested Development? Rightfully? Probably not. But it had its moments especially for the 90s' generation.

"Unagi" is a state of total awareness. Only by achieving true "unagi" can you be prepared for any danger that may befall you.

Rachel and Phoebe take a self-defense class, and claim they can defeat anyone who attacks them. Ross doesn't believe them, and educates them of a martial arts technique called unagi. Chandler and Monica promise they'd make each other's Valentines Day gifts, but they both forget to make them. imdb

As far as I know, unagi IS a freshwater eel, a staple in Japanese diet.