The Sporting Life

Chaos in Print

I’ve never been a big fan of skiing. Now, it’s not because I have an aversion to all things physical. I’m sure most people will look at me and say, “Oh, of course he doesn’t like skiing! Look at him!” Most will equate a lack of a sporting life with a fear of trying new things. Now, it’s not that I’ve never tried skiing. I have gone skiing. It was a very popular pastime in my hometown. Every winter, there’d be at least two or three class trips to the local ski hill, Lake Eden. Most of my classmates regarded Warren Miller with the same kind of reverence I have for Steven Spielberg and George Lucas. Naturally, I’d go along on these class trips, take a few skiing lessons, and do a few runs on the bunny hill. Every time, I’d walk away from the ski hill saying, “Know what? I really don’t care for this.” For me, not skiing isn’t a fear to try new things. It’s just simply acknowledging what I don’t like. So, when a few coworkers asked me if I wanted to go skiing with them, I naturally said, “Of course!”

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A Complete Episode Guide to Visionaries

Chaos in Print

Well, Chuck just went and did the nicest thing he’s ever done for me. Nicer than buying me my URL, nicer than convincing me to work in Japan, and nicer just simply tolerating me. He just got himself high speed Internet, and I told him of a wonderful thing called the Kazaa network. Chuck’s been using that to get all kinds of obscure cartoons and watch them over and over. He also got himself a CD burner for Christmas. So, then, what did he do? He went on the network, downloaded every episode of Visionaries, burned them to CD and sent them to me! How nice is that? Now that I’ve watched every episode several dozen times, I’ve decided to let you in on the world of Visionaries! Once you review my feature Visionaries 101, come back here and read up on all 13 adventures of the Spectral Knights! These 13 adventures left me craving for more. This is truly one of the forgotten classics of the 1980s. Without further ado, here is…the guide!

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Go Native

Chaos in Print

Like all people, the Japanese will be amused and delighted to hear the gaijin say something in their language. But when you start to get fluent, you will meet the opposite reaction with strangers. Somehow they feel it is an intrusion on their privacy when they meet a gaijin who speaks fluently. In fact, they really don’t know how to react. – From the company-required reading Culture Shock! Japan.

As I have previously stated, I really don’t intend to learn Japanese, despite the fact that I am living in Japan. It’s not so much that I don’t care, it’s that I’m too lazy. I’ve never really had a knack for learning languages. And besides, when I factor in the amount of social interaction I do outside of my English-speaking workplace, it seems to be an unnecessary expenditure of resources. I could spend my time in a classroom somewhere, hunched over Japanese texts, or I can get outside and look around. So far, I’ve been able to battle off the taunts of “blood-sucking parasite” and “apathetic bastard.” But, recently one label has been applied to my attitude that I feel I must respond to. That label is “culturally insensitive.”

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What I Like About Japan #3: Trains

Chaos in Print

I’ve loved trains since I was a child. Having the CN mainline from Edmonton to Vancouver slicing through your hometown will do that to you. My neighbouring village of Evansburg used to be a stop for Via, as a matter of fact. I remember getting soft ice cream with my family and heading on up to the train station to eat it, mainly because the old train station was such a majestic, old-fashioned rural train station. Being in such a small town, it felt like the train station was a gateway to the world. Then, in about the mid-80s or so, Evansburg no longer demanded such an ornate train station, so it was demolished and replaced with an ATCO trailer. The Evansburg train station survived until the late-90s, when it was finally removed as part of Via’s cutbacks. Sadly, Via has been cutback all across Canada. It’s become little more than a commuter service in the central corridor: that strip of land that runs between Montreal and Toronto. So, if you’re a rail travel aficionado, you’re pretty much screwed if you live in western Canada. Good thing I came to Japan, where rail travel is as popular and convenient as ever.

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