Monday, March 06, 2006


Nice end to a nice weekend. Yesterday afternoon, the boys met at Tullys for a coffee before we initiated Matt to the joys of Yamaya, our friendly neighbourhood (well somebody's neighbourhood) liquor and foreign foodstuffs store. It was a nice walk, relatively nice weather, and I was glad I brought along my backpack since I filled it with 3 bottles of Mission St-Vincent Bordeaux, to bring to a few dinner parties we've got coming up along with some pasta and other stuff.

The plan was then to head back to my place, cook up some Mexican and watch a couple of flix. When we arrived, Matt made up some fabulous guacamole, which is much easier to make up than I expected... I think I'll try my hand at it sometime. The gods of Yamaya had provided us with some great black corn chips, and we chowed down on the guac while watching Hurricane.

It's quite a good movie, but after doing a little research online I was surprised that the debate is still raging about his guilt or innocence. Essentially people are saying that either an innocent man was convicted twice by two separate juries and wrongfully jailed for 3 years or a triple murderer was released from prison in a gross miscarriage of justice. There seem to be some major discrepancies between the movie and the real case. For example, there is no racially motivated detective in real life, in fact a series of detectives arrested him throughout his life, one of which was black and sent him to jail for 4 years for a mugging. Carter was not a top contender at the time of the murders, his career was in a slump and he'd recently fallen to 9th place following a 7-7-1 record for the year. The Canadians involved in the case never actually found exonerating evidence as the movie suggests, and Carter has never been declared not guilty of the crimes in question. There are many other things I found different between the movie and the facts of the case, and it was certainly a reminder that "based on a true story" doesn't mean the facts are straight in a Hollywood movie. Of course it is still a great movie, and Denzel is amazing in it, but it shouldn't be taken as factually accurate. People are always looking for a cause, and sometimes the truth gets in a way and has to be ignored.

Following the movie, it was my turn to cook up some grub. Since Scott is culinarily challenged, he provided the wine, juice and tequilla for the evening, and I decided to make up the last box of fajitas my folks sent me for Christmas. Made up beef and chicken with peppers (at 3 dollars a pop... ouch!) and onions... they were mexicali-licious!

We then watched Billy Elliott, which while good couldn't help but make us laugh throughout due to our somewhat inebriated state. We couldn't help but make cracks about it, but it was interesting that the story had the mining disputes of the Thatcher era in Britain as a backdrop... it added a certain je-ne-know-quoi to the story. After the movie, the boys headed on home and I cleaned up a bit. Then I encountered something which was at the same time funny, disturbing, scary and disgusting.

As I went outside to drop off my bag of trash at the foot of the trash tree for the block, I was surprised to find a car up on the sidewalk blocking the driveway to my building. The car was still running, had a guy passed out in the driver's seat and a pile of puke on either side of it. The scary part was that he apparently jumped the curb and clipped the pile of trash on the way up and still had a couple of bags lodged underneath his car. Lucky no one was putting out their trash at the time. How he managed to vomit on both sides of his car I don't know, but I'll leave that up to your imagination. I briefly considered going to the Koban a few doors down and having a cop come down and take care of this drunken jerk but quickly thought better of it. Language skills, endless paperwork and a possible search of my apartment (I've heard some interesting stories about people reporting crimes in Japan) made me forget about getting involved. It's amazing how one's civic duty evaporates when one doesn't trust the police. I'm assuming he either slept it off or someone else called in the cops since he wasn't still there when I woke up this morning.

Now, all morning I've been hearing this truck going around the neighbourhood blaring some message over a loudspeaker. Since it's all in Japanese, I have no idea what the heck he's moaning about but I finally got a glimpse at the vehicle in question. Neighbourhood electronics recycler maybe? He's got a TV and some speakers in the back of the truck, either a recycler or a thief, I dunno. I am still annoyed at the amount of noise pollution generated here in Japan. Intersections chirp, buses and elevators talk and bleep, stores often have recorded messages playing in the streets, biker gangs prowl the streets all night with their overly loud mufflers, vendors are always yelling welcome to passersby, there is a multitude of vehicles driving around blaring music or recorded messages, and this only gets worse during election time! If this were Canada, I'd be out there with a baseball bat to knock the speakers off these loud stupid trucks who interrupt my peaceful existence... and I'm in a quiet neighbourhood! I've heard the stories from Alex, Scott and Matt who've had to deal with much more of this than I have and I'm thankful for my location.

Anywho, better start thinking about possibly getting ready to go to work. Oh yeah! Blackys, the tanning salon across the street from Cafe Praktica which I pictured here a few months back is pictured on! Check it out here. It's nice to know Utsunomiya is well represented. I submitted my picture of the strawberry abomination I spotted in Motegi the other day, we'll see if it makes it up.

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Blogger Anskov said...

Michel, my man, thank you for a most FAB-U-LOUS time yesterday. You are an awesome host! Next time you and Scotto are invited to my place for Indian food (maybe with some India Pale Ale) and some classic Hitchcock movies.

8:11 AM  

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