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This evening's dinner

Mar. 6th, 2007 | 09:34 pm

Well, I wasn't expecting our hosts to top last night's feast but I was wrong. It turns out that the 5th floor of the hotel is devoted to a piano bar and about 5 teppan rooms, where a single party gathers around a Japanese-style bbq. The head chef for the hotel did our teppan. Even though I'm not accustomed to eating most of the food served here it was still fantastic. I'm going to kinda miss Taiwan.

Our chef: fastest spatula in the east. Note the holsters for the knives.


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Taiwan Pix

Mar. 6th, 2007 | 09:27 pm

It was rainy and cold today.. less than 50 degrees! Shot some pix along street outside our hotel anyway.

Street view outside hotel. Note gratuitous picture of nekkid lady (the Botticelli Venus billboard).



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Just ducky

Mar. 5th, 2007 | 08:32 pm

Had a good meeting today here in Taiwan with some execs from a trading company who we hope to have manufacture our stuff here for Asian markets. Afterward we celebrated in our hotel with a traditional Chinese meal. We started with Peking duck, then something ill-defined, then crab, lobster, squid, and abalone. Still not a big shellfish fan but I'm eating it.

Some highlights:

Me poising to re-enact the restaurant scene in Christmas Story.


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Welcome to Taiwan!

Mar. 4th, 2007 | 08:15 pm

We spent our last morning in Tokyo and got ready to fly to Taiwan (about 3.5 hrs). Taiwan is tropical... at the moment only 75 deg. outside but very very humid. This time we're in a 5-star hotel, and for about $90/night. We have 2 days of meetings here and then go back to Japan Wed. Bill and Jim fly home and I take the bullet train to Kyoto and work there Thurs. and Fri.

This is a Japanese john. It's a hole in the floor that flushes. Younger Japanese are said to prefer the Western commodes that you can actually sit on. Western women are said not to like the Japanese johns; I wonder why.

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Pix of random Japanese stuff

Mar. 3rd, 2007 | 08:03 pm

On Thursday we went to dinner with Henry Utsimoya, who is SBAM's local consultant. He has a favorite hole-in-the-wall French restaurant in a Tokyo suburb (Shinjuku) so we endured a 45 min. subway ride to go there. (Dumb! an extra 5 min walk to the train station would have got us there in only 15 min., we fixed that on the way back). Here are some pix (sorry, not of the food, it was red snapper and was good).

Our restaurant. Daniel may not have liked the food but at least he could read the menu.



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More from Japan

Mar. 2nd, 2007 | 08:00 pm

The hotels in Europe are tiny and you sleep in a sleeping bag. In Japan, there are heated toilet seats and bidets. Pictures of the toilet is behind the link for those interested.

Went to Akihabara, a district in Tokyo where they sell all the latest electronic gadgets. Shopped for a Wii and was told "we just sold out 3 days ago; check back this weekend" by an English-fluent (rare) clerk who had the infelicitous name Asshat. They had some OK prices on Canon digital SLRs but the ones I saw had warranties valid in Japan only. Will be definitely going back Saturday for gift shopping.

Funky escalators.


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(no subject)

Feb. 28th, 2007 | 07:55 pm

Flew to Osaka yesterday via All Nippon Airways, who fly 777s as commuter planes around Japan. Wild. Their in-flight magazine had a little pictorial of Oahu, in particular, Haleiwa. Japanese are always interested in food so the pictorial included a menu board that had traditional items such as plate lunch and Kalua Pig. Anyway, after our meeting we toured Osaka including the Emperor's palace and a shopping/eating district. We ate the local specialty, which I called Osaka pizza, which consisted of intensely flavored veggies with cabbage, mixed with raw egg and BBQ'ed right on the table, smeared with soy sauce, mustard and mayo. Not bad at all, but I smelled a little funky the next day.

Today we took the Shinkansen (bullet) train from Osaka to Nagoya, had our meeting with Fujitsu, then Shinkansen again to Tokyo. There we met with our Sumitomo hosts and dined at their company restaurant on the 39th floor.

This is the restaurant where we ate this morning:



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Un dia sin reconquista 2006

May. 1st, 2006 | 09:46 pm

Went by the Albuquerque's Day Without an Immigrant festival. Before I get into this, why do they call it that, when downtown appeared chock-a-block with immigrants? And if they REALLY want to fix our collective wagon, why don't they take the whole YEAR off and go home? But I digress...




Yeah, we'll make that happen, right after we give drivers licenses to illegals so they can register to vote.

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Reconquistas on the loose in Nuevo Mexico

May. 1st, 2006 | 11:06 am

Today's op-ed from our Mexican Irredentist amigos at the Santa Fe New Mexican:

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With all the anti-immigrant nonsense being spewn about good fences making good neighbors, we can’t help thinking about someone else’s notion of boundaries: Longtime Latin-American heartthrob Leo Dan, in a song called Toquen, Mariachis, Canten, posed the rhetorical question: ¿Fronteras, porque fronteras ?

To which we in his amen corner ask why, indeed, borders ? If the cantante and his music had their way, only God would put up such things.

And from our vantage point in a land where the Spanish Empire, far from being fenced off, merely petered out in the vastness of the Rocky Mountains, we can’t help wondering why gringolandia must end or begin at Naco or El Paso and why official Mexico makes its abrupt appearance right across the river. Sure — the war, the purchase, Winfield Scott, Santa Anna and all that. But despite sporadic political hostility, personal friendships run deep between many on both sides of the border. So do business partnerships and academic-andcultural exchanges, not to mention the flow of tourists back and forth. That country’s culture reaches far into ours — and ours pervades theirs.

So instead of more border, as our demagogues are demanding, how about less of it?

Twenty-five years ago, Joel Garreau and some of his Washington Post colleagues came up with the notion of MexAmerica. It included New Mexico, Arizona, Southern California and some of Texas, as well as most of Mexico. That land, as Garreau went on to explain in a pipe-dreaming bestseller, would be one of The Nine Nations of North America — which, he imagined, made more sense than the 90-odd states and provinces making up today’s Canada, Mexico and United States.

He wasn’t talking secession; he was merely pointing out that the needs and desires of people might better be met by facing up to geo-anthropological facts that transcend today’s line-in-the-sand borders.

His line would be so vague that the crossing from MexAmerica into Colorado, for example, would recognize what New Mexicans have long known — that the arbitrary state-border sign up near Costilla is just that. Up the Rockies — and down the Sierra Madres — the airwaves are increasingly dominated by Spanish.

So why not embrace that reality instead of forcibly rejecting it? And why not do what we can to reduce the need for a border wall — or even what passes for a border fence out in the remote stretches of the 1,933-mile U.S.-Mexico boundary?

Why doesn’t our nation, which barely blinks at blowing hundreds of billions of dollars destroying faraway Iraq, spend even a fraction of that amount on a Mexico from which millions don’t feel the need to flee?

Contrary to nucaroja notions that it’s just jobs the illegal immigrants are trying to take from some readywilling-and-able work force they imagine, those pouring across our border are attracted at least as much by our abundance of cheap goods. The North American Free Trade Agreement has helped put many consumer items in Mexican households, but much more could be done.

Steven Hill of the New America Foundation, in a recent commentary for The Washington Post, suggests massive subsidies from the United States to Mexico, “a Tex-Mex Marshall Plan,” aimed at decreasing disparities on the Mexican side of the border and, in the process, fostering a climate riper for investment. This, he says, would create more jobs in Mexico and a lifestyle few would want to leave.

He takes as a model the European Union, which has brought in some less-developed nations from the oncecommunist world. The economic and political integration going on across the Atlantic could be carried out here, he contends.

It wouldn’t be easy. Nationalism, both real and hokedup by demagogues on both sides of the line, would be a major obstacle. It would call for kid-gloves diplomacy, but the commercial advantages to our side, and the material ones to still-poor Mexico, would aid the effort. Education — especially the bilingual/bicultural kind — could accomplish wonders.

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If these folks are advocating the US annexation of Mexico, OK, bring on the debate. If they're advocating anything else, then they are treasonous sacks of shit and shoudl be held accountable for their sedition.

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Where to live?

Mar. 17th, 2006 | 07:00 am

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Your personality type is SCUAI
You are social, calm, unstructured, moderately accommodating, and intellectual, and may prefer a city which matches those traits.

The largest representation of your personality type can be found in the these U.S. cities: Providence, Austin, Denver, Salt Lake City, Charlotte, San Antonio, Albuquerque/Santa Fe, Indianapolis, Phoenix, Portland/Salem, Nashville, Louisville and these international countries/regions Turkey, Croatia, Slovenia, Caribbean, Puerto Rico, Iceland, Norway, Ukraine, Sweden, Denmark, Spain, Netherlands, Russia, Japan, India

What Places In The World Match Your Personality?
City Reviews at CityCulture.org

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