We were driving along, discussing Japanese eyelash salons, when Akemi brought up an example of someone with perfectly lush eyelashes.  “Do you know Barbie?”she asked me.

Akemi has a habit of gauging my understanding of various matters by invariably asking “Do you know…?”.  “Do you know pumpkin pie?” or “Do you know Obama?” or “Do you know toothpick?”.  “Of course I know Barbie,”I said.  “So, a lot of Japanese women go to these eyelash salons?”

“And men too,”she informed.  “What’s Barbie’s boyfriend’s name?”

“Ken?”

“No,”she admonished as if I’d just said the most adorably silly thing. “That’s Rika-chan’s boyfriend!”

Rika-chan?

As it turns out, Rika-chan (aka Licca-chan) is the Japanese version of Barbie that, says Wikipedia, tends “toward a more Japanese body in terms of height and features” which I take it to mean she doesn’t have boobs the size of volleyballs.    To be honest, if I was Ken and faced with the choice, I’d probably go for Rika too.

I’m endlessly fascinated by many of the things Akemi takes for granted that she is surprised, occasionally downright shocked, to discover are very different here in the West.  Like her refusal to believe me when I told her that only the Japanese consider corn and mayonnaise suitable pizza toppings, or her insistence that the green traffic light is actually blue.

At a Japanese McDonalds, you can order the likes of the ebi (shrimp) burger, the teriyaki burger, and the McPork.

When it comes to building snowmen, the Japanese use only two large snowballs instead of the Western three.

In Japan, blood type is considered to determine personality and it’s common for people to list A, B, O, or AB in their profiles alongside their astrological signs.

On Valentine’s Day in Japan, it is custom for women to give men chocolate.  Men return the favor on White Day (March 14th).

There are no extra innings in Japanese baseball.

Some of the things that can make you appear like an incredible lout and generally offend those around you in Japan include: blowing your nose in public, failing to remove your shoes before entering someone’s home, pointing, talking loudly, and being late.

Japanese curry is brown and much sweeter than its Indian and Thai counterparts.

A little while ago, Robert Cooper dropped me an email to offer some kind words on “Downfall”, my short story that appears in the superhero-themed anthology Masked (and this month’s Book of the Month Club pick!  You’ve got a week to finish up!).  I don’t know what was more surprising – the fact that he was kind enough to take the time to read the story, or the fact that he was able to resist the temptation to give me notes for old time’s sake.  Well, I can honestly say the writers’ room hasn’t been the same without him and he has been greatly missed – but I’m pleased to hear he’ll be back in town for a few days next week to put the finishing touches on his masterpiece, Malice, and host the big opening week Sunday night NFL game pitting the Washington Redskins against his Dallas Cowboys.

Yes, the NFL kicks off its 2010 season Thursday night and I am looking forward to its return like a kid looks forward to Christmas or a shark looks forward to Senior Swim Week.  Like my love for my comic books, my love of the NFL goes way back.  I’d wake up early every Sunday morning, finish up anything that needed doing, then park myself in front of the t.v. from the 11:00 a.m. pre-game show to the 11:00 p.m.-ish conclusion of the late night game.  On occasions when my mother insisted we eat as a family, I would take the seat at the dinner table that gave me an unobstructed view of the t.v. in the living room. throughout high school, my computer was located right beside the basement television, allowing me to multi-task homework and Monday Night Football. Back then, the fact that I was a Raiders fan living in a region of the east coast whose local affiliates focused on the then crap trifecta of the Patriots, Jets, and Giants did nothing to diminish my love of the game.  Today, I consider myself fortunate to be able to simultaneously watch not one, not two, but every televised game thanks to my local satellite provider’s NFL package.

I’ve also subscribed to the NCAA college football package so that I could root for my newly adopted home-away-from-home team: The Georgia Bulldogs!

Go Dawgs!

This post approved by Lulu.

44 thoughts on “September 6, 2010: Rika-chan? Rob Cooper! NFL! And my new college football team!

  1. While I can understand why you chose the Georgia Bulldogs as your college team, I am so sorry you did.

    You see, I have a Georgia Tech daughter, and the two schools are great rivals.

    May I suggest the Fresno State Bulldogs, the Yale Bulldogs, or the Mississippi State Bulldogs instead?

  2. Ah, men and their sports genes. I dread this time of year. I don’t mind watching a game or two a week during the season, but at work it’s difficult to get anything BUT games. Pro ball, college, high school, pee wee, Slovakian…. if it involves folks bashing into each other while chasing an ovoid ball, someone at work has it on. Though surpisingly rugby doesn’t seem to interest the lads here.
    Glad to see you’re having a blast figuring out the differences in cultures, and that you’re adapting reasonably well to it. You will have to hit a McDonalds just for the photos when the next outing arrives.
    Next week?? I thought the discussion started today!. Ah well, for the best. I’m tired enough that I’d just blather anyways. Which I am in fact doing.
    Thanks for the daily post and looking forward to the sneak peeks at work.

  3. Okay have to ask why you have adopted the GA bulldogs? LOL for you I’d go to a game. Better yet, go with my husband. Then 2 people would enjoy it.

  4. You had a computer in high school, Joe? Now I feel really old. Kids these days…

    And (complete non sequitur, but I’m very excited and have to share): After 15 months of unemployment, I just got word that I’ve finally landed a full-time job! Hooray! Now I just have to adjust to working at USC (given that I’m a UCLA grad). But my soon-to-be colleagues and bosses seem like nice folks, even though it is USC. 🙂

    And finally:
    If Rika-chan’s boyfriend is Ken, then who is Barbie’s boyfriend? Or is Ken just a two-timer?

    – KB

  5. Of course, the Bulldogs! *g*

    How’s the Fantasy Football shaking down? Who’s rooting for whom this year? We have high hopes for the Seahawks this year, but we here in Seattle are known for our Sports Denial syndrome and famous for “coming close;” see Mariners, Sonics, Sounders, etc.

    Smiles, Julie

  6. G’day Joe

    As your footy is gearing up, ours are into the finals. My team got booted out of the finals last weekend, going down by 6 points. Which is only one goal, bugger. Oh well we were not even supposed to make the finals this year, so they tried hard and I will be a Blues supporter always. Win, loose or draw, True Blue to the end.

    Do you still support the Raiders?

    Janet.

  7. So I was brushing up on my SGU before it returns and while I was watching the episode entitled “Pain” (17) I noticed when Greer was walking down the corridor around minute 4:20 it looks as if the top of the set wasn’t on. You can see beyond the pipe and tubing on the ceiling and into the actual studio. Was I the only one who noticed that, or just insane?

  8. Joe, I also have to ask why you’re going for the Bulldogs.

    Also, I’m heading back up to Vancouver in a couple of weeks and looking at new places to check out. Have you ever been to any of the Guu locations? It sounds interesting! http://www.guu-izakaya.com/index.html

  9. @PG15 Fantastic videos.

    Who remembers the “Dawn” doll who was Barbie’s little sister? I have her up in my attic still along with my Quick Curl Barbie.

    Jeff is a die-hard Giants fan. First there is the Giants blow up doll. You know those Christmas things people put in their yards that blow air up them to get them to stay up? It’s just like that:

    http://www.twitpic.com/ir0ax

    Then there is the “Build A Bear” I made for Jeff one year when I went up to my niece’s birthday party in New Jersey. A thank-you for staying and watching Patrick so I could visit my family:

    http://www.twitpic.com/ir0df

    We also have one other thing that when you turn it on does a fan dance. I haven’t taken a picture of it. It was a gift from my sister to my husband because she knew it would annoy the crap out of me.

    The Georgia bulldog looks too terrifying–Sweet Lulu does not. Or is that how she lures in her prey?

    Three weeks until the SGU Season 2 premiere. I cannot WAIT!! I know I have to wait.

  10. i have very long thick eyelashes and i cut them, hate that i have to do that but its become a must. and honestly Japanese will never seize to surprise me.

  11. “Like a shark looks forward to Senior Swim Week” — LOL!! — Or, umm, no; the grandparents, and all . . . although I think one grandma would stand a pretty good chance.

    I really enjoy your accounts of cultural differences between Japan and Canada (and/or the US). The little things can be so telling. For instance, I understand there’s a Muslim Barbie that also has more normal body proportions. I think that’s a good thing, but I wouldn’t care for the “outdoor” Barbie with full burka (correct term or not? Well, you get what I mean.) I know traditional head scarves and so on in school are a huge point of controversy in France at present, but that’s a whole other subject.

    I have to admit to increasingly mixed feelings about the major intercollegiate sports scene. Yeah, it’s fun, and good things happen; but plenty of negatives exist as well. I wonder if, at this point, any truly significant changes will take place.

    Twenty years ago, I would’ve been glued to the set for a Redskins-Cowboys game. Coach Joe Gibbs ruled. Now? Meh, just hope the ‘Skins don’t get their guts handed to them on top of a Texas-shaped platter. I know who Robert Cooper will be backing, though. (Not sure, but I think Brian Smith as well.) Ah well, can’t be helped, I guess. *w*

    If you feel like fielding this question, who’s your favorite pro football player of all time?

    Lulu’s lookin’ cute!

  12. Hmm, I’m not into sports myself so to you Mr Mallozzi and everyone else, I hope your team wins for whatever sport it may be.
    (I think that makes me simultaneously on everybodys good AND bad side)

  13. @PBMom – I remember Dawn and Skipper and I had a Quick-Curl Barbie, Ballerina Barbie and a Superstar Barbie (but she had a broken arm so she soon became 6-Million Dollar Barbie). LoL!

  14. I’m sad to say that the pizza joint I frequent here in Australia does have a pizza with mayonnaise (Country Chicken: Mayo base, chicken, cheese, bacon, diced tomato, capsicum and parmesan crust)… and yes, I’m a firm believer in the fact that mayonnaise pizzas just shouldn’t exist.

  15. 1 the priors of oris used stargate to go to our galaxy
    Was it due to their powers ?
    Did they use a power source like ZPM ?

    2 There is a big difference of size between a supergate and a stargate.
    Is it a problem if we send a traveler without ship by this one to contact a stargate ?

    3 Why atlantis would vaporize if we used the engine with whirlpool?
    Is it possible to mitigate this problem?

  16. Hey Joe,

    I was wondering if you could give a shout out (or dedicate, I’m not really sure of the right word here) in your blog to the people of Canterbury in New Zealand. On Saturday morning, 4:35am we were awoken by a 7.1 earthquake, it was very scary! Fortunately no-one was killed, but there has been extensive damage. Luckily where I live was not too badly damaged, but I will give you a link below if you want to see the damage elsewhere in Christchurch. We are still getting lots of aftershocks, a lot of them quite big!

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/canterbury-earthquake/

    Anyway, onto a better note, I’m taking a holiday in November after I finish my studies, and before I start work next year, to Vancouver, and then onto the US. All up a month. I hoping I can get ice hockey tickets, go Canucks!

    As I will be by myself can you suggest any places I could go eat? As a student my budget isn’t exactly huge. I am in Vancouver for 6 nights. Any other suggestions of places to visit would be great.

    Love all stargate shows!

    Light
    NZ

  17. Tammy Dixon and Elminster

    You would actually eat deep fried pizza? Coated in batter and deep fried? Yuck! You will be having the deep fried Mars bar for dessert also?!

    Mega Yuck !

  18. Well, I guess I’m going to have to root against you this weekend as Georgia will be playing my alma mater, the University of South Carolina. I still live in the area, and it’s one of the biggest games every year. May the best team win!!!

  19. There used to be a time when the ‘Skins could lose to everyone, but would still beat the Cowboys. Those times are long gone, but I still hope they pull it out one more time.

    On the college side, my father’s family are all Dawg fans…so much so I sometimes tease them that I’ll send my kids to GA-Tech. But since my cousin works at GA State, I still have to say “Go Dawgs!” (Plus, red and black with the bulldog looks so much better on a middle-aged engineer than yellow and black with a pudgy bee!)

    If you’re interested in GA Football, you might want to look at:

    http://dawgsvsjackets.blogspot.com/

    It’s mostly college sports writing with a little team rivalry thrown in. It’s only active during spring and fall, so it’s probably written by a staff or a student.

  20. Japan is a bizarre place when you look under the surface. Centuries of isolation have left it in a way of it’s own.

  21. “Some of the things that can make you appear like an incredible lout and generally offend those around you in Japan include: blowing your nose in public”

    So what are you supposed to do if you have a cold or if you sneeze and then need to blow your nose?

  22. Hi Joe have some questions for you about Atlantis:
    1) When McKay and Woolsey appear on Universe will we see a bit of Atlantis set before they go to Destiny?

    2) Does Atlantis have their own set of communication stones given to them by Homeworld Command just in case they need them if they leave Earth in the future or something?

    3) Are Atlantis 3 zpms totally depleted or do they have some power left in them now if I can ask about that?

    4) Can Atlantis build solar collectors like Destiny has so Atlantis can fly into the sun and power up like Destiny does?

    5) Oh and is Destiny slowly repairing itself using some of the collected sun power if it has the auto-repair circuits built in kind of like the Liberator on Blakes 7 did it recharged itself and repaired then recharged some more and repaired some more again.

  23. @PBmom: I think Barbie’s little sister was Skipper. Never owned one, but I did once have a Midge doll: Barbie’s best friend. And Ken. Never played with them much, so they went to my nieces for a while then came back.

    @Joe: Licca dolls – another Japanese cultural revelation. I remember corn and mayo pizzas from my trips to Japan. And mayo is good on other veggies, too.

    Lulu is adorable. What is she holding in her mouth?

  24. @ the Barbie thread

    Oh yeah, I had a Skipper because I wasn’t allowed to have the chesty Barbie. The little boy down the street showed me how you could take the head on and off, and then we tried with the arms and legs. That didn’t work out so well. I think that was the end of my Barbie days. I do remember a Dawn, too, but she must have been a cousin or something.

  25. Mayonnaise on pizza? *shudders* but then I dislike mayo at the best on times, so I definitely wouldn’t want it on my pizza. Corn may not be bad, but then I love smoked oysters on my homemade pizza. Some people may think that’s weird so I’m not gonna throw stones at someone else’s preferred toppings. *grins* (Although come to think of it, I will eat potato, chicken, or egg salad which has mayo, I make NO sense whatsoever do I?)

    What’s an eyelash salon? I know that you can dye, perm and get extensions for eyelashes. Here they’re services offered at a *normal* salon, but aren’t that popular. What else can you do to eyelashes that would require a salon dedicated solely to eyelashes? I have visions of people actually walking (stumbling) around like this…
    http://www.beautyhype.com/images/maccosmetics_lashes_01.jpg

    At one point, I had a t-shirt that I used to wear around the house, it read…. “When I grow up I want to be just like Barbie, that bitch has everything”

    Football season… *groans*

    Have a good one!!
    Kymm

  26. I just saw S2 spoiler image featuring TJ. Actually I avoid spoilers, but I still have to click on random links. Any suggestions on how to lose previous half an hour from my mind?

    And random question that popped into my head during S1 re-watch – Will we ever find out what did the letters Young write to Scott and TJ in “Sabotage” include?

  27. I love fun facts, those are some good ones, keep ’em coming.

    When you say Rob Cooper is “in town”. Do you mean that he since moved or is just coming back to the studio?

    Also, I finally picked up a Book Of The Month Club book and read through it all before the discussion, but I have nothing to comment on!! WTF, I might have to read through it again to think of something.

  28. Did you catch Canada AM this morning? Seamus O’Regan interviewed David Blue, who came across as being very down-to-earth and funny. It was a pleasant surprise to see a recognition of SGU on the national news.

    Rob Feenie was on it, too, demonstrating different types of fish to cook. I think you’re a Rob Feenie fan, if I’m not mistaken?

  29. @susan the tartan turtle Well, I’m not absolutely sure we’re talking about the same thing. But here we have what’s called a ‘Panzerotto’ pizza. It’s deep fried and delicious. They don’t just stick a pizza slice in batter and deep fry… but hey I’d try it your way!

    Elminster

  30. *dashes back in…*

    ACK! I forgotsies: Yay! B.A.G.!!

    *…dashes back out*

    d as in doh!

  31. *dashes back back in…*

    I have like…33.3 seconds….

    Can I just say that B.A.G. is about the funniest guy, ever! Too bad his scenes are already filmed, I think it would have done both him, and the fans, a world of good if he had a shirtless scene…’cause, ya know…we Stargate fans like to see manboobies. 🙂

    *…dashes back back out*

    d as in dillydally

  32. Hey Jo.
    With a bit of luck you may be doing a mailbag tonite so here goes 🙂

    1. I see the stargate itself is coming up for auction soon. and has a fairly large estimate on it. Do you know how much it costs to actually make a stargate?

    2. Will Dr MCcay being only doing one show or do you have several lined up for him??

    3. And will the atlantis set be visited in the next season of SGU?

    P.s cant wait for next season… looks good from the trailers. well done

    Dave

  33. susan the tartan turtle: I might try one bite of those deep fried concoctions….

    Such a cute dog picture!

  34. @susan the tartan turtle Now you did it! All this talk of deep fried pizza and I had to have one for lunch. It was GOOD!

    Elminster

  35. Hey Joe

    Interesting about the snowmen … I took a bit of persuading on moving from the UK to Canada that the ‘correct’ form for snowmen is three balls – we’d grown up using two as the Japanese do … these are the types of things which still catch me out in Canada – the major differences (remembering to say ‘gas’ not ‘petrol’ are easily picked up from anyone who watches any tv, ever, anywhere on the globe. But my co-workers’ confusion when I asked for a torch (not flashlight) and hilarity when I went looking for a rubber (instead of an eraser) still catch me unawares … stupid people!!! How dare they not understand me! Notwithstanding their ridicule … I’m really glad to be here 🙂

  36. Thank you dasNdanger for your 33.3 seconds!! That would be the day if I show my man boobies on SGU, ha!! Ha!! I better start working out, don’t want to see boobies down to my knees!! Take it easy, don’t hurt yourself dashing in and out!!

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