Friday, September 22, 2006


Daikaijuzine has just launched its first issue today. My English is failing me, would it be an "issue" if it is an e-zine? Or something else?

That aside, they were kind enough to accept my story "Mrs. Misaki's Eyes". So if you look under horror, you'll find me. I am going to grab some free time later this evening and read through all the other stories. Excited about that.

In case you're wondering what daikaiju means, this is what I got when I googled it in Japanese. Big Monsters!

Which has nothing to do with my story, however.

Okay, that's all for now.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

My New Favorite Local Festival

Japanese love fire. I'm quite smitten with Buddhism and was always sad to learn that through the ages all these marvelous temples kept burning down. I truly understand why now.

Japanese love fire.

My new favorite local festival is just more proof. It's called okuribi, or the fire that sends one away. (I'm sure there is a better translation but I'm having a beer and want to get this post up quick).

Obon is a sort of a festival for the dead, a time in mid August when all the spirits of everyone's ancestors come back to this world to hang out for a while. The household shrines are decorated all fancy like and incense is burned, prayers said. Before Obon starts people build little fires (usually in fry pans) at the front of their house to 'call' their relatives home.

That's all fine and dandy.

But after Obon ya gotta send all those souls back to where they came. And that is where you have festivals with paper lanterns floating down rivers and what not.

Eh, paper lanterns down rivers is wimp stuff.

Here the dead get sent back in style!

First, they make these enormous straw and bamboo structures (see picture below) and stake them out all up and down the beach. Inside are stuffed all sorts of fireworks btw. You learn that later when you're running for your life from a stray bottle rocket.


They have dozens of these broom stick thingys all along the shore and everyone gathers and waits. When it gets dark they start lighting fires beside each broom stick thing. Then the fun begins. People grab these ropes that have tied to their ends kerosine soaked towels and they dip them into the fires. Next, they begin to spin them around and around, faster and faster until they feel the moment is right and they hurl them at the enormous broom. At first there is a lot of misses and the crowd on the other side of the broom flees or simply moves aside as not to get hit by the large fire ball. This is exciting enough for me.

But it gets darker and darker and everyone is working themselves into a frenzy trying to land one of those kerosine soaked balls into the upended part of the broom. Chants, calling, screams of encouragement. Quite a bit of drunken laughter.

And it happens!

okuri bi line

And they burn.

And they blaze and rain down sparks and flames and explode and eventually set off the fireworks that have been so carefully tucked into their centers. It's pandemonium!

And I'm thinking what else could possible happen? When suddenly people begin to jump on those holding ropes to shake the fire down. It's friggin hot! I smell burnt hair. Is it mine?

There are no lines to stand behind, no one saying this dangerous stay back, everyone there is totally crazed in the moment hooting and hollarin' with total abandon.

Me too!

For Matt and Harbormaster

So this is what happens to retired sumos... (actually most of them go on to become sports casters, masters of their own 'stable', or owners of restaraunts/bars).

The song he's singing is a famous children's song. The lyrics are basically:

"I can hear the frog's song
kwa kwa kwa kero kero kero kero
I can hear the frog's song
kwa kwa kwa kero keor keoro...etc."

Monday, September 18, 2006

AW Chain...Six!

Here we are at Blog Chain number six. The entire chain looks something like this:




Just a Small Town Girl

A View From the Waterfront

Southern Expressions

Mad Scientist Matt

Organized Chaos

At Home, Writing

Writing From Within

Pass the Torch


Fireflies in the Cloud

Sounds of Serenity

Kappa no He

Infinite Vanity

Gillian Polack

Of Chapters and Reels

Curiouser and curiouser

The Road Less Traveled


Before me in the line up was Sounds of Serenity. Here, Melissa blogged about how for the past five years she has enjoyed attending sci fi cons. I've never been to any kind of convention myself but would very much like to. Imagine the people-watching you could do! Not to mention meeting all those famous types. And boy has she really met some famous types! Jamie Bamber, Michael Jan Friedman, Chris Judge, Conner Trinneer! Me? I spent two days thinking about it, and my brushes with fame come to the grand total of...five. And I bet only the last two are well known to the general public.

①My first big 'star' was Henry Rollins back when he was in Black Flag. Yea. This is what he looked like then.
The extent of our conversation went something like this:

(he was coming out of a phone booth and saw me and my then boyfriend)

Him: "Yo! Going to the show?"

Me: "Wouldn't miss it!"

Him: "Cool."

I was ecstatic.

②Various Sumo dudes. Here I am with Koto no Waka.
aw sixsumo

I'm pretty sure no one knows of him. But he was fairly big (ahem) in his day. No longer around (retired, not dead). I actually got to talk to Konishiki (the enormous Hawaiian wrestler). Here's a picture I took where he's a tad perturbed at the camera man beside him.
aw six sumo two
He no longer fights anymore either. Does children shows. Looks like this:
Aw six konishiki

Carmine Appice. Drummer from vanilla Fudge, Cactus, BBA, Blue Murder. This meeting was absolutely HUGE to me, you can imagine how shocked and devastate I was to learn that the disk that had all the pictures of us is now corrupted. I am currently scouring the hard disk of my old computer to find them and will get them on here when I do. We got along soooo great. There was even a kissy-kissy pic. Um, he didn't look exactly like this in the kissy-kissy photo, he's a bit more...mature these days.
aw six appice

④ and ⑤ were the big-biggies though. Viggo Mortensen and Karl Urban. We're talking Lord of the Rings, Aragorn and Eomer.

carl peace _IMG

My good friend called me one night and left a panicky, indecipherable message on the machine. A few hours later we left our family and were on a night bus to Tokyo. We stayed in some fancy-shmancy hotel and woke early to stand in line with the three hundred other Viggo fans (Karl was a surprise, he wasn't even supposed to be there). And man we just barely made it. We thought we were early leaving the hotel at five thirty for getting entrance tickets that are going to be handed out at ten. We arrive to find that already 262 fans are already in line! (many from the night before). We jump onto the tail which runs several blocks away and through a park full of homeless men and two more people come up behind us and the security guy stops the line. No more! and starts sending the hundreds of fans that come after that back home. Some came as far as the southern islands of Japan...sorry, you can't get in. That was painful to watch. Needless to say, being last in line we ended up getting all kinds of gifts to give to Viggo. These were real die-hard fans.

It was all day standing and all night standing but eventually they opened the doors and we got in--all 266 of us. The guys were so incredibly nice. Gave us all chocolates, drank Australian beer, stood on the chair and sang (well Karl did). You know it's hard to be cool when you're munching a gourmet truffle grand mariner. I tried though. Karl was super personable and we chatted so long his manager lady-chick came and pulled him away. But not before he could give me some music recommendations.

The one thing I came away with at each of these meetings was the intense desire to work harder, to learn more, and to be 'famous' myself. Oh, maybe not standing on a pile of dirt wearing a silk thong, but doing what I do. Sometimes I think it would be nice just to be a little famous. And then othertimes I ponder what it would be like to be crazy famous.


You'll all get your autograph...just form a single file line!

Next up on the chain is Infinite Vanity.