“Jelly smells like taxi driver.” – Akemi, the other day.

Well, Jelly may have needed the bath but it was Akemi who took the dive yesterday.  We had just parked in Yaletown and were unloading the dogs from the car.  I had the treats in one hand and a leashed Bubba and Lulu in the other.  I crossed the bike path and threw a look back to Akemi who, Jelly in her arms, started after me – and trapped. She went like down a cartoon character, flat on her face, arms outstretched and still holding Jelly who landed cleanly on her paws and quickly shuffled over to join me.

Akemi was stunned.  The first thing she did was apologize.  Then, she assured me that she was okay and that we should continue on to the park.  I took one look at her and told her “No way.”.  She had abrasions on both her shins, her right toe which had caught the edge of the concrete, and her right wrist which had partially broken her fall.  We bundled the dogs back into the car and returned home where Akemi cleaned the dirt and gravel out of her wounds, then applied some antibiotic analgesic and vaseline before bandaging them up.  Now she looks like one of those injured anime characters.

As painful as it looked, for her part, Akemi was more hurt by the fact that nobody (but me) stopped to help.  Apparently, if this was Japan, people would have rushed over to help or, at the very least, asked her if she was okay – as opposed to gawking and then moving on.  Which brings up another complaint Akemi has about North Americans: they’re rude.  Whenever someone bumps into her or steps on her foot, Akemi is conditioned to apologize.  Again, if this was Japan, the individual bumping into her or stepping on her foot would apologize in turn but, here in North America, the standard response she receives is: “That’s okay.” or “No problem.”  Well, it IS a problem.  For Akemi.  She feels that  THEY should be apologizing to HER!  I sympathize, but only up to a certain point.  Japanese social conditioning dictates that an individual should launch a preemptive apology, even if they’re not in the wrong, but North American social conditioning dictates that individuals should automatically find fault with others – and if they’re apologizing, then that just makes it all that much easier!

I advised Akemi that she should compromise in the future.  If someone steps on her foot, she can go ahead and apologize (because, being Japanese, I’m sure it would feel wrong not to).  If the other person apologizes in turn, then all is right with the world and she can move on with her life.  IF, however, the other individual fails to apologize, she should wait until they have turned and are about to walk away, then step firmly on their achilles tendon and shove from behind, preferably using a forceful two handed maneuver while remembering to keep that foot (and achilles heel) planted.  THEN you can go ahead and apologize. And really mean it this time.

Continuing our stroll down Stargate: Atlantis memory lane:


Paul and I are big Carl Binder fans for purely selfish reasons.  He writes solid first drafts and is able to incorporate notes quickly with a minimum of hand wringing and tearful reproaches.  He is a show runner’s dream writer, as reliable as a Mustang convertible in his ability to deliver the goods in impressive yet understated fashion, relieving us of the necessity of doing any of our own driving – or, alternately, stripping him for parts and abandoning his gutted chassis in some sketchy neighborhood.  Well, you know what I mean.  He’s great, especially when it comes to character-driven stories.  So it should come as no surprise that Carl was the go-to guy when it came to the Elizabeth Weir episodes.  Before I Sleep was his memorable first writerly foray into Stargate: Atlantis and, two seasons later, he’s lost none of the skill, inventiveness, and humor that landed him a staff position on the franchise.  The Real World is a head-spinner of an episode that takes place in two different realities – one real, one imagined, and yet for all of its illusory setting and fictitious elements, the alternate world offers up the opportunity to see a side of Elizabeth we, as viewers, rarely get the chance to glimpse.

Richard Dean Anderson guest stars in this episode.  I recall he and Torri had a great time shooting their scenes and that, in turn, translated into the palpable onscreen chemistry between them.  Makes me sad we didn’t get the chance to explore this a little more.

Also guesting in this episode was our own stunt coordinator, James “Bam Bam” Bamford who has a cameo as one of the burly orderlies who restrain Weir.

As much as I enjoyed the big space-based battles or team-centered off-world adventures, it was always nice to occasionally have a quieter, spotlight episode that featured a single character.  And this one hit all the right notes.

30 thoughts on “August 7, 2012: Akemi takes an Olympic dive! Days of Stargate: Atlantis Past! The Real World!

  1. I liked the character-driven episodes too, It was always fun to see the characters reacting to what was happening around them. And I especially liked The Real World for that.

    Now, I need a big favor from you, if possible. What I was planning to use for my older son to learn Japanese this year has fallen through so I have some questions for either you and/or Akemi. What would be the best methods for learning the language? Would it be using online websites where conversational practice could happen (and if you have recommendations that would be great)? Would some kind of book or text be better? How about a class or tutor? Or a combination of any of these methods? What have you been using to learn the language? My son is very motivated so that won’t be a problem. I would really appreciate any help you or Akemi could give me.

    Have a great night!!!!

  2. The Real World was one of the few episodes I didn’t like in the whole series. I always skip it when re-watching, no idea why. 🙂

    Poor Akemi! I hope she’s on the mend today!

    @Ponytail: I’ll post Riley pics soon! 🙂

  3. I never apologize when I’m not sorry. A part of me would have to die before I could replace my own convictions with absolute submission to social requirements. I am generous with apologies, but there has to be truth to it or I just can’t make myself do it. Believe me, the consequences for that disability are steep, I would if I could.

  4. Guess my adoptive mom did a decent job conditioning me. I automatically say “pardon me” or “excuse me” when bumps occur, with or without me being at fault. As far as that fall, I won’t say that EVERY time something like that happens, people will rush to help, but both in my personal and professinoal experience, is that locally at least, 4/5 times will see bystanders come to help. And usually once one person steps forward, many others will too. rather heartwarming actually, even if they sometimes aggrevate injuries instead of helping. On the other hand, bystanders have literally saved lives before EMS can arrive. but got to admit I like your way of handling it.
    Real World is a good episode, though it loses some of its punch once the reality/fantasy is exposed. solid actin, though the episode has the disadvantage of where it appears in the lineup. In comparison to those two episodes, it comes off looking a bit weak.
    Off to play with little toy soldiers(yes, really!) in the morning. Hopefully it will be educational as well as fun. Then a weekend of learning to set up animal shelters. Figure humans can do a lot of their own work in setting things up. But our poor four legged friends dont have the understanding of what’s happening, or the capacity to help. And their barking or meowing is a lot less abrasive than human whining….

  5. At least Akemi knows she’s doing the right thing, I can understand her frustration at the rudeness of others.
    The Real World wasn’t one of my favorites – I wasn’t sure why an entire episode needed to be devoted to Weir in a mental institution, nanite connection or not. Seems like every show has to do some form of the stuck in an institution theme and it was kind of a wasted episode for the great Jack O’Neill. Elizabeth was a good character, but not one of my favorites.This would have been better as a B storyline.

  6. Just a head’s up.. It is important to really make sure a wound is clean before applying petroleum jelly as it can seal IN the bacteria and allow it to breed. I just learned this. I am not sure I believe it, but from reputable site.

    I am sorry Akemi got hurt. 🙁 As for apologizing, hmm.. maybe because I have spent much of my life in the South USA where manners dictate an apology I do not think most people are rude that way. In fact, I cannot remember people in in PA/NJ being rude in that way. Others yes. Perhaps her apologizing to them, when they know it is THEIR fault throws them? Maybe she could do an experiment– wait to see if THEY apologize if she says nothing. If not, kick them in the shins. Problem solved.

  7. @ Akemi – So sorry you had a boo-boo! Hope you’re feeling okay! (You may feel more sore tomorrow, so be prepared – sometimes it take 24 hours for our bodies to react to trauma.)

    I have a little story to tell about Japanese manners. Firstly, I know nothing about bowing etiquette. Secondly, I especially knew nothing about bowing etiquette back when I was 16 years old. That was the year I went to Hawaii with my parents. Lovely trip, I even had my own room overlooking both Diamond Head and the lovely Royal Hawaiian hotel (a place I was already familiar with due to my obsession at a young age with Charlie Chan movies 😛 ). I was pretty independent on that trip, able to come and go as I please so I often found myself riding the elevator – sans parents – with Japanese tourists. They would enter the car, and often give a slight bow, so I would do the same in return, and they would bow back, and this would go on for the full 19 floors down to the lobby! I felt like a dipping bird!

    So, Akemi, if you’d be so kind, can you please explain Japanese bowing etiquette for me? It may be many years too late, but I’d sure like to know how to stop the bowing exchange once it starts!


  8. Akemi, there are many of us, born and raised in the South, who apologise , help others and still us”sir” and “Ma’m” when speaking to others.
    So sorry ’bout the boo-boo’s…

  9. If the other person is a fault (by not looking at where they’re going), they should apologize. But a lot of people don’t seem to know how.

    When I’ve gone to downtown Chicago and used the train, I’ve been slammed, bumped, stepped on, and elbowed and only rarely get an apology or even an acknowledgement. For a small-town guy, the brazen rudeness is incredibly annoying.

    I’m not sure if this is only an artifact of big city life, inherent cultural rudeness, or a coarsening of life in general (probably bits of all three). My response has ranged from ignoring it (frankly, sometimes that’s called for), calling out “you’re excused!” or simply saying “can you watch your step?” or something similar.

    Thankfully, I don’t have to ride the train too often.

    I can understand Akemi’s cultural frustration; maybe she can take some solace in the thought that westerners can have their own frustrations when visiting Asian countries. The cultural prohibition against saying anything negative to a guest (even when I was looking for criticism) made it very difficult to fix technical problems on systems we were working on together (no one wanted to say I had done something wrong).

  10. Hope Akemi feels better soon. I agree with her about the bumpers and steppers needing to apologize.

    As for people not stopping to help, it must have appeared that you had the situation under control.

  11. Joe now its your turn to cook and pamper Akemi, with her boo-boo. I am sorry to hear she fell, but glad you were there to take care of her. I think the I am sorrys are maybe How we are raised, I guess. Some soft pillows propped up could help the injury and some hot tea, hot chocolate,, and macarons delivered by you wearing Akemis best apron or something appropriate like that. Oh and dog kisses too.
    ~ I remember watching the Real World and feeling bad for Elizabeth and thinking how well the part was played, I believed it was real for a while, great job Carl. Its always a pleasure to see Richard Dean Anderson in a show, yes, he is that good.(funny). I was sad to see the Weir character off the show, and I know things happen for a reason. All history now, but watching/remembering the stories and you giving us insight into how it was is certainly entertaining once again, so thanks. sleep well, feel better Akemi.

  12. When I was in St. Petersburg, Russia (1996), people would plow through each other on purpose as if other human beings were just objects. Almost as soon as I got off the plane, I got hip checked by an old lady who just had to be on the other side of me so decidedly that waiting for me to get out of the way was apparently a sign of weakness. And don’t even get me started on queuing. They queue, but take advantage of any soft spots in the line. I don’t know if it’s still like that there.

    I got seriously homesick. On the way home, even though I was a country kid, seeing people in NYC actually looking each other in the eye on the street and smiling and interacting was such a relief that I was almost bawling. I did see kindness in Russia. An angel randomly approached me to help me get back to the dorms when I got separated from my group. Kindness was just brazenly absent in a some interactions.

  13. So glad Akemi is okay! (and Jelly) Texans are pretty polite and helpful unless your driving, then all manners go to hell and out the window. Just this morning I saw an obvious homeless man walking along the freeway. A real nice truck ahead of me quickly peeled off and stopped on the shoulder on the road, waiting for the homeless guy to catch up. I thought the truck driver is either going to offer him a day job or take him to a secluded area and kill him. I committed the description of the truck to my memory . . . just in case. I’m sure my first thought was the correct one.

    Once in Sam’s I saw a lady slip and fall. I quickly walked over and
    gave her a hand up. I asked her if she was okay and if she wanted to file a report with the store because I was her witness. She said no, so we just called the bakery workers to come clean up the liquid that was on the floor. But I would have stayed if she needed me.

    Akemi should not be so hard on the people that did not help her yesterday. I think she jumped up too fast and people probably thought she was okay. Had she stayed down a little longer I’m sure someone would have come to over to help. It reminds me of my neighbor once telling me she broke down in her car not too far from home. She pulled her disabled car real far off the road out of the way. She was very mad no one stopped to help her. I told her that was her mistake. She should have let her car block some trafflic and she would get more attention. It would be either help this woman or get stuck behind her. They might have thought she was selling firewood or watermellons or waiting to meet someone.

    I always say sorry if I bump someone even if its not my fault. I don’t want them to beat me up or something. 🙂

    The Real World was just okay. Not too memorable.

    @ Deni – anytime is a good time for puppy pictures. Always enjoy them.

  14. Im glad Akemi is going to be alright but in defense of rude people whom dont stop to help sometimes you never know what you getting yourself into i for instance tried to help some at the grocery store reach an item to hi for her to reach only to come under attach from her for an unknown reason perhaps i was invading her personal space you just never know

  15. @Akemi – sorry to hear you fell. If your right wrist hurts, please be sure to get an xray. You want to be sure it is not broken or even slightly fractured.

    @Joe – cool dude – you did the right thing to insist on checking out Akemi’s injuries first. And, I love your approach to getting even.

  16. Akemi, I hope you heal up quickly!

    @das… after the return bow, just smile and nod. That has always sufficed for me as a gaijin.
    Took me a full three years to stop bowing when I got back to the US.

    In Yokosuka, we were standing a full dress uniform inspection/award ceremony. (Navy). One of our petty officers spent most of his spare time earning his black belt in karate, spent a ton of time in the dojo, and spoke fluent Japanese. When the Commanding Officer presented him with a medal, the PO bowed deeply, and thanked him in Japanese, rather than saluting and shaking the officer’s hand. Fortunately, our CO had a good sense of humor and bowed back. We all couldn’t laugh, being at attention, but he received an abundance of bowing in the days following that incident.

  17. Akemi is a tough lady! I agree with Ponytail that Akemi jumped up too fast. People in the South are usually polite and exchange a small greeting as we pass each other. However, like Ponytail said, all bets are off in the car.

    Alisa Russell: My son tried Keystone online for French last year. A classmate of his is taking Japanese with Keystone now and seems to do well. I’m sure Mr. M. will have a good recommendation for you too.

    I wish every school in the U.S. would start requiring a foreign language study program starting in kindergarten. My son started Spanish class at his school when he was four and he picked up the basics fast. Spanish is the most common second language in this area and I would have loved for him to continue but he wanted to switch to French.

    Das & Maggiemayday: Great stories!

    Mr. M.: Bam-bam was in that episode? Now I’ll have to re-watch it for sure! I found The Real World fascinating! That reality was a plausible one and Tori did a great job too. It seemed like a bad dream that she wasn’t fighting to wake up from.

    I hope Akemi is feeling better very soon!

  18. Akemi, I am sorry you got hurt! 🙁

    I’ve fallen and skinned knees, and it stings! Try cleaning the wounds every day, and use triple anti-biotic ointment — with topical anesthetic to help with pain — if you can. Both things will help it heal faster.

    I think Shane Calhoun was right about personal space! 🙂

    People have told me that it’s a North-American thing to need a protective bubble of 3 feet of personal space around us. It works 2 different ways.

    1) If folks bump and jostle you in public and don’t apologize, that’s considered bad. How rude! Also, if you are speaking to anyone (besides family & friends) and you get closer than 3 feet, then you are “in their space.” It’s considered either impolite, or a even a threat to personal safety. Women are taught to be especially careful around people who do this. (Exceptions would be sitting next to people at dinner or movie theaters.)

    2) If someone falls down and/or gets hurt, it can be highly embarrassing. Some people jump up quickly so that others won’t come help them, to save face. If you fall down and stay down, a bystander may ask your permission to help you before approaching. (See the part about women being careful.) They are showing respect by asking.
    If the accident is obviously bad, it is considered OK to help, as long as you announce yourself, and tell them what you are going to do next, like a medical professional would. When in doubt, ask if they need you to call 911 or another emergency number. When the situation is very bad, just make the call. 🙂

    Here in a major metro area/city in the midwest, there are lots of people, from many cultures, but we still observe rules of courtesy. In big crowds anywhere or huge cities, some people forget about the rules, or disregard them because they are anonymous in a crowd.

    Hope that helps and you feel better soon! 🙂

  19. I hope Akemi will heal well, take good care of her! I have fallen many times thanks to this city’s uneven sidewalks and crumbling steps. My first week of college here involved a trip to the ER for a sprained foot. Then I noticed folks on crutches everywhere in this town. I know way too many people who’ve broken their feet in this town. And no one ever helps, but I think it’s more of a fear of getting involved. But I care and I’m sorry Akemi got hurt, ow! I always say sorry or excuse me when people bump into me, mainly because its usually someone crazy looking and saying sorry usually takes the air out of their aggression. Sometimes people are surprisingly nice, but often they are just stumble drunk.

  20. Alisa Russel: No thanks! I like my sanity (or at least, the amount of marbles I have now). 😉

  21. I’m with Akemi! My mother raised me very polite…to the point where she gets annoyed with me apologizing all the time.lol I just don’t like to upset people. Seriously, though, those people who step on other people’s feet should apologize. I fully support your advice. 😉

  22. I hope Akemi recovers quickly and feels better soon! I’m sure, though, that she would have gotten more attention by passersby if she hadn’t been with you, Joe. Seeing that she had someone with her, people likely just assumed that she was in good hands and didn’t need further help.

    Regarding The Real World, I’m afraid that I agree with the person who said that it would have made for a better “B story”. Also, I think that it was a waste of RDA to have him appear on this episode. I don’t think there was any “added value” to having Jack O’Neill there; you could have replaced him with any other character, and it wouldn’t have made a difference. I don’t mean this as being disrespectful to RDA or Carl Binder, as I am a big RDA fan and have a lot of respect for Carl, I simply would have preferred to see him where his character could have made a significant impact, and to me, that means on SG1.

    IMO, RDA was much better used in The Return, Part 2. Also, I read somewhere (but correct me if I’m wrong), that he had agreed to do 5 episodes during that season, and quite frankly, I would have much preferred to see him on SG1 instead of SGA. I wish RDA could have been reserved for Unending; that episode simply was not complete without him. Just my 2 cents, of course.

  23. Well Akemi, this unfortunately is a ‘good’ reason to not come to another person’s aid, at least here in the insane USA:

    Here in the USA people will sue you for anything and what is even more crazy, is that they are being awarded Millions of dollars by the juries and judges. 🙁

    I hope you feel better soon Akemi. 🙂

  24. Heh. I like your solution to Akemi’s apology problem!
    We Brits are a bit like the Japanese in our social conditioning – if someone bumps into someone else, both people usually say “Sorry!” It feels nicer. But maybe I just feel that because of my social conditioning… hmmm…

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