26 September 2007


How much do I love M.I.A.? This is instantly my new favouritest video in the whole world ever!!

25 September 2007

The Latest News from Nippon

Heavyweights panic as woman dives for sumo ring

Thu Sep 20, 12:05 PM

TOKYO (Reuters) - A woman invaded a sumo ring -- a sacred arena from which females are banned -- in Tokyo during a major tournament, domestic media said on Thursday, then was pulled down by a referee and one of the sport's huge wrestlers.

The middle-aged woman dashed from the side of the Kokugikan sumo stadium on Wednesday and shoved away a female security guard before rolling onto the ring just as a bout was set to begin, the Yomiuri newspaper said.

The Japan Sumo Association insisted that though the woman did enter the raised platform around the batting ring, she did not set foot on the ring, or dohyo, itself.

"It's bad for the heart," said Takamisakari, a popular wrestler who helped catch the woman, told the Sports Nippon daily. "What was the person trying to do while we were wrestling seriously?"

It was not clear why she had attempted to reach the ring during one of the sport's heavily televised six big tournaments, but she was carrying a bundle of flyers saying "help, bad spirits," Nikkan Sports daily reported.

Such an intrusion would be a severe faux pas for the ancient sport, which is so serious about keeping females out that a female governor of Osaka had to delegate prize-giving duties to a male subordinate at a 2001 tournament.

Japan's giant wrestlers battle it out in a ring with a diameter of 4.6 meters (15 feet) set in the centre of a sand stage raised around 50 centimeters (19 inches) from the ground.

Tradition forbids women from entering the ring on the grounds that it is sacred and their presence, considered unclean, would pollute it.

"It's just the way it's been from the past," an official from the sumo association said.

Women were also banned in the past from climbing mountains or entering mines in Japan.

Yahoo News

20 September 2007

French buraucracy will be the death of me!

I went to Immigration today to get my carte de séjour (resident card), halfway across Paris for them to tell me that foreign students need to have their immigration file processed in the foreign student centre of the Cité universitaire (at the opposite end of Paris). When I got there, they asked for several documents that weren't on the list of documents to bring (though somewhat wise now to their bureaucratic shenanigans, I have been amassing photocopies in triplicate of every document even vaguely related to this process). The lady seemed ever-so-slightly disappointed that my file was in order. I, on the other hand, was rather more disapointed that they didn't ask for some documents I had to jump through hoops to get (like the letter from OHIP or a copy of my insurance policy in French). Now I have to do a medical exam (!) in Mid-October (!!) before I can get my permanent card.

I think back to those dreamy, rose-coloured days when I arrived in Japan and a kindly old English-speaking gentleman filled out my one-page form for me at the ward office. Much nicer than the shouting and chaos of the student immigration centre that smacked more of a makeshift refugee camp than anything else.

And I bet you didn't you know that you need 15 different document to open a bank account in France – including a copy of the deed to your parents' house? Honestly! How does anything actually get done in this country? To think of the mountains of paperwork that must get stuffed into vaults every day in France, never to be seen by human eyes again...

14 September 2007

French Toast calling T-Dot. Can you read me T-Dot?

Flight was très normale— totally Dullsville, as per Air Canada standard. Settling in fine, though I though I was going to kill myself and many people around me trying to lug my 80lb suitcase through the many ups and downs of the Paris Métro. The neighbourhood is nice, quite convenient and the apartment is all old-school Parisian mouldings and marble fireplace, which is swank. The roomie seems a bit kooky, but I think it'll be doable for sure. I didn't wake up to him watching me sleep last night, so I guess things are on the right track.

BranTom were in town yesterday and today as they made a train connexion in Paris en route to a friend's wedding in northern Italy. It was so nice to see them and have them around to help me acclimatise a bit. Then it seems as though R&R will make a continental jaunt la semain prochaine and Madame Sly is perhaps hot on their heels. Seems as though I'll be spending more time with Toronto peeps now that I live in Paris than I ever did when we actually lived on the same continent. Strange since virtually no one showed even the slightest interest in coming to visit me in Tokyo...

But I digress. I do have to say that things haven't been all pâtisseries and poodles since I arrived. Ever since I found out that this was going to be a three year deal, I've felt a lot of trepidation about pulling myself up again after so long away and after settling into a really stellar and great bunch of people. While the city is beautiful, it feels very isolating in a way that Tokyo never did (clearly bizarre since Tokyo is definitely the more alien of the two). Perhaps it's because of the shared language that everything seems so tantalisingly close in Paris , but just beyond the surface I can see that I'm still culturally a continent away. So much history and tradition that I just know nothing about (which strangely enough was not the case when I went to Tokyo).

Also I need to find a job toute suite as the lack of cash flow is giving me heart palpitations every time I have to pay for something in this très, très expensive city. I have two weeks now before classes start so hopefully I'll be able to sort something out soon.

Trusting that all is well in Toronto, Japan, or where ever you are reading this.

À bientôt !

07 September 2007

Life is a Cabaret ol' chum

In honour of the day after Labour Day and all things scholastic, I present to you this Youtube. Classroom pranks are always good times, and who doesn't love a little Broadway now and then?

I wish this could have happened even once during university lectures — anything to break up the bone dry monotony of professors prattling away like an academo-speak jackhammer about the semiotics of contexuality and meta-hegemony.

God, how much fun would it be if life was a non-stop Broadway musical? Just think of all the dancing and costumes! And the constant perfect smiles! Of course we'd never get anything done because we'd need to break in to song about going to the bank machine or reheating yesterday's leftovers, but really getting things done is over-rated anyway.

Bring on the spirit fingers!