I just called, to say, I think you’re due on today

Astonishing what new technology is capable of. NTT DoCoMo’s latest mobile phone, the snazzily named Foma D702iF has been carefully crafted with women in mind.

What you do is tell it when your next period is due, and it then predicts your cycle for the next year. Best of all, it emails you 3 days before you’re due to come on, and on the day itself, just to remind you you go out equipped. After all, you’ve only had the whole of your life since you were 12 to get into the rhythmn.

The experts, however, are not impressed. Dr. Kunio Kitamura, head of the Japan Family Planning Association was quoted as saying:

“If this is able to determine menstrual periods for a year in advance, it deserves to go into the Guinness Book of World Records. Women aren’t cyborgs and there’s no way the timing could be perfected so simply.
Who’s going to take responsibility if somebody, especially some young girl with almost no sex education, gets pregnant when she thinks that trusting her phone will make her safe from conception?”

On a similar note, I read this week that more and more Japanese women are suffering from “iku iku byou’, or Persistent Sexual Arousal Syndrome, a condition which sees them orgasming 24 hours a day for no apparent reason. Some women claim that the vibration of their mobile phone is enough to set them off, whilst others say a mere tap on the shoulder more than they can bear.

Come to think of it, *Twinkle* shows signs of this condition. Mind you, that’s harldly surprising now is it…


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JJ’s Bike Rides Again!

It’s no good. I NEED chocolate. It’s a physical thing, my body just won’t function without it. I’m going to have to go to the supermarket. Like last night, at 10pm, when we went out just to get a carton of milk. And came back with with 8 chocolate eclairs, 7 of which I ate in 10 minutes.

I’ve had a wonderful Thursday today. It’s a national holiday in Japan, “Worker’s day” I believe. Perhaps that explains why all the shops are open as usual.

John John’s Bike Rides again! Yes, his famous yellow bicycle (as pictured here, ridden by John John) which has been standing rather forlornly in the garage since his death is back on the road! My thanks to Steve for getting it fixed up, and riding it halfway to where I live. I’ve discovered that it will actually probably be quicker for me to cycle to uni than take the train, due to the walk at both ends. I reckon it would take about 25 minutes if I took the direct route down the big main road. Of course I’ll need to build up my energy and strength in order to ride it fast – thus there’s clearly a need for chocolate.

I other news: I’m happy. Just starting to plan Christmas – Exciting!!


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Buy a donkey this Christmas and save someone’s life

Oxfam Unwrapped
Oxfam America Unwrapped

Every year, millions of people in the developed world spend vast sums of money on Christmas presents. New computers, new MP3 players, new books, new socks; shops are packed with folks trying to choose something for Aunty Ann, whilst struggling to support the weight of the many carrier bags they’ve picked up that day in a bid to complete the Christmas Shopping.

Their friends and relatives will of course be happy to receive whatever gift they have been bought, even if it is not something that they asked for. It’s the thought that counts afterall.

Think back to last Christmas. How many presents did you receive that you really needed? How many presents have had a huge impact upon the quality of your life this past year? The chances are, not that many. Can you even remember what you were given?

Just imagine if every one of those presents had been a Godsend, something that actually made the difference between living and dying. The difference between having a roof over your head, and being out on the street.

Well, this year, every one of the presents you give and receive CAN be that important. Every present CAN be the difference between having enough food to survive, and dying. In fact, every present can make a huge difference not just to the life of one person, but to the lives of a whole family.

Oxfam Unwrapped 2006 has just been launched, and has a huge range of gifts that will make a huge difference to some of the poorest people on the planet.

How does it work? You go to their website, you select your gift, you enter your details and yoru friend’s address. They receive a card with a photo and details of your chosen gift, plus optional Fair Trade Chocolates or another small gift Fair Trade gift of your choice. The donkey / goat / essential medicine is sent to those who desperately need it to survive, really giving them something to celebrate this Christmas.

There’s something to match everyone’s budget: just £6 will provide school dinners for 100 children. £18 will provide safe water for 25 people. For £24 you can buy a goat (my romantic choice for *Twinkle* last year). £50 will buy you a friend for Bob the Donkey, whom I bought for my family and friends last year. Training programs, medicines, entire classrooms; they are all desperately needed.

Your money, which may otherwise go into the pockets of the shareholders of Woolworths, Dixons and Debenhams, can make a huge difference to the lives of many people, who otherwise may not even be able to enjoy a clean glass of water for Christmas, let alone a turkey.

Oxfam Unwrapped
Oxfam America Unwrapped

We forget just how lucky we are, in our comfortable homes with running water and a Tescos just around the corner. It’s quite horrendous to think what crap we spend our money on at Christmas – what is it they say? 10% of UK waste is produced in the 7 days between Christmas eve and New Year’s Day…

Help to make the world a fairer place. Don’t ask your family for socks, ask them to save someone’s life.

They may be out of sight, but that’s no excuse to keep them out of mind.

Oxfam Unwrapped
Oxfam America Unwrapped

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The Matrix of Control

I desire something sweet. Chocolate ideally. Nice bar of Crunky. I look around the house. The three bars of chocolate that I had to hide from myself in the cupboard are gone – they were bought yesterday for a cake that was made today, a cake that was then taken away to a house elsewhere in Japan. Quite a remarkable cake actually: the ingredients? Chocolate, and eggs. Nothing more. Baked in a saucepan.

Nothing sweet in the kitchen. I finished the honey. It’s served me well. I first bought it when living in Ogikubo, the only toast-topping that wouldn’t go mouldy in my room. I rummage around under the sink. I’ve already had two bananas today, shouldn’t have a third. Then I spot the tetra pack. I didn’t know what it contained when I obtained it, but learnt the kanji for “Plum” last night (the tree that provides every day), thus I now understand it contains Plum Wine – Umeshu. Not my favourite at all, I prefer warm sake, but I’ve broken the seal now and poured myself a mini-goblet-full (bless you John John for that particular piece of house-furniture.)

Another fascinating day at university. I have heard some horror stories of what some of my classmates at other institutes are going through and thank my lucky stars. They say that at Hiroshima uni they have only just covered the ‘te’ form, and that’s in the second-from highest group! Keio and ICU do not appeal either – as my friend said, the International Department at Keio University is only examined once every ten years, it’s no wonder they have such shoddy teaching methods. And this, one of the top two Tokyo universities!

Take the red pill. Show them a world without rules and controls.

It was last week that I started to cross the main road when the lights are still red. It’s the control again, something which most of them are unaware. I’m not doing it to deliberately antagonize Japanese people. Nor am I doing it in order to get run over (the sequence in which the lights change on that long, straight dual-carriageway provide an ample window for crossing even when the lights are red). No, I am doing it in defiance of the system, the system of control that extends beyond the borders of Japan, the system that engulfs all civilised societies. I get positive delight in not walking in the pavement on my way to uni. The speed most of those students walk you’d think university was to be their final resting place.

There will be no revolution however, for the simple reason that the system works. The effect is so complete that the Neo’s and Truman’s of this society can’t even have their ‘consciences’ pricked.

To refrain from imitation is the best revenge.

The (British) Tea Ceremony talk went well, despite my bumbled attempt at giving a definition of “Jumping Ship” earlier in the class. Humour was once again my key to success, success being defined as only semi-wishing I was halfway between a broken 5th-floor window and the ground below. Had a great debate in our society and culture lecture about robotic girlfriends. Jordan, a stereotypically loud (yet very nice and friendly) American student was adamant that this computerised doll, which had a conversation memory bank covering 30,000 topics, was a truly horrendous idea, and no-one would dream of purchasing one. I played devil’s advocate, arguing that such a doll differed in no way from any other girl: just like it’s human counterpart it would respond appropriately to pretty much whatever you said to it, it would, no doubt, have a personality that matured through interaction with its owner, and so on. After all, isn’t a human brain just a super-computer without the solder? He was having none of it though. At the end of the lesson he asked our lecturer where she had seen the article that she had cited – he said he wanted to know more.

Ha! When you don’t show up for class next week we’ll all know why – too busy exploring 30,000 different topics with your bosom buddy, Mandy the Cybourg!

We all laughed. It was a good end to a long day.

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