Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Sumidagawa Firework Festival Summer '09

Hanabi Taikai (花火大会 - Fireworks Festival) has been a favorite summer event in Japan for hundreds of years, and this tradition is still on the top list of the things that the festival-loving Japanese people loves to do during summer.

I've been in Japan for more than 6 years, and I have never missed going to a Hanabi Taikai at least once a year, and for Summer 2009, last Saturday I went to the Sumidagawa Firework Festival, one of the top 3 Hanabi Taikai in Tokyo.

This was also my first time going to a Hanabi Taikai in the Kanto Area.

Different from my past experiences in Nagaoka, Nagano, Akita etc, Hanabi Taikai in Tokyo is quite different; the number of people attending was just staggering.

Upon arriving at the Hikifune Station, I could see thousands and thousands of people, with many girls in pretty yukatas, flooding the street.

The nearest combini was prepared with extra food for the many crowds.

It's good business.

I went to this Hanabi Taikai with my fellow co-workers (about 20 of us), and some of them are determined enough to get a good place for us that they went to secure the place at midnight, about 8 hours before the show started.

Impressive determination, and I am very thankful for them because if they didn't do it, we would probably end up sitting on hot pavements.

Before the show started, we went to find food.

Then it began.

Everyone was locked looking at the sky.

It was just brilliant.

I hope I could do this again every year.

Anyways, of course watching fireworks while having fun with your mates is great, but using your camera's fantastic zooming capabilities to 'further one's horizon' is also another great dimension of fun, too.

Here we could see that even Japanese girls dig ipod touch! That's the only motive of the picture above: to show you that there are Japanese girls who owns an ipod touch, and they're really into using it that sometimes they forgot to err... put their drinks on more suitable places?

Yes people, you can thank me on the comment section! ;)

Monday, July 27, 2009

Hard Questions: Religion Conversion for Muslim Malaysians

Today’s post is going to be an extension to one of my previous post about answering ‘hard’ questions from my Japanese friends. In that post, I give out 2 different questions that I consider hard to answer, and in today’s post I’m going to attempt to tackle one of it.

The question that I would like to ‘answer’ in today’s post would be about Malaysian Muslims and their freedom in religion.

This is going to be a long, long one so let’s get into it.

Hard Question No 1: In Malaysia, when it comes to religious conversion, everyone is promised the freedom of (or from) religion, but why does this not apply to the Muslim majority?

I have two types of answers here: One for the Muslim Malaysians and the other for the Atheist Japanese.


Answer to Muslim Malaysians:

If you have not heard it already, basically ALL Muslims, Malaysian or not, are prohibited from leaving Islam. The main reason is because it is in the Islamic Code of Law, and like many other laws, there are severe consequences when you break one. In this particular case, one could be granted with the maximum penalty of DEATH if leaving Islam was the offence that he/she chooses to commit.

The confusing problem here is that Malaysia is NOT an Islamic Country (Malaysia as an Islamic Country was just a political label); and the existence of two court system (secular and Islamic) makes it hard to tackle such cases because the Syariah Law only applies to the Muslims, and what makes a Muslim a Muslim is by his/her faith, NOT something written on his/her identity card.

According to the basic teachings of Islam, when someone decided that he/she is no longer a Muslim, no identity card could save him from the fires of HELL when he/she goes to the other world.

So how does such a law could be accepted as a part of Islamic Law is something that we should ponder upon as it was in direct violation with the basis of Islam that promote tolerance, peace and freedom of thought. One very important point to remember here is that this law was passed AFTER the death of Prophet Muhammad, thus making it a human-made law after all, like many of the other detailed elements in the law system we call the Syariah Law.

The only thing that separates Syariah Law from Secular Law is that it was created based on HUMAN INTERPRETATIONS of the Quran and Hadiths.

Well, at least that has always been my opinion about this issue.

The second most popular reason would be the FEAR of negative voices coming out those ex-Muslims. This is quite important because the negative opinion towards Islam that comes from the mouth of an ex-Muslim carries with it a certain weight; as they lived through it and experienced it first hand. They’re not mere Islam-bashers or racist Islamophobes.

The other popular reason that Muslims love to discuss about is the fear that ALMIGHTY GOD might be angry with a community that allows Muslims to freely choose their religious loyalty.

This could lead to GODLY PUNISHMENTS, preferably natural disasters like tsunamis, earthquakes or maybe some newly evolved and dangerously deadly diseases like the new pig influenza.

It could be anything really; GOD could punish them by making their sons homosexuals, of instance, and for the conservative Malaysian community, having a homosexual son is the worst thing ever, no matter how hard the homosexual-activists tries to associate themselves with happy words like ‘gay’ and ‘fabulous’.

FYI, the act of sodomy, even if done in a confined private space and far from public view, is illegal in Malaysian Law, and one could be prosecuted for this backside sexual gratification. Read about Anwar Ibrahim.

To sum it up, I can come out with lots of other reasons, but these are the main three:

1)The Islamic Code of Law itself strictly prohibits Muslims from changing/choosing to be free from Islam. Even if the blasphemer was born into a Muslim family (and this automatically bound him/her with a godly contract to be a Muslim for life), he/she has no choice but to adhere to this law; because a law is a law and if one decides to break it, that person should expect the punishment to be severe.

2)The fear that these 'bound-to-hell' blasphemers might expose and put Islam in a negative way, causing more Muslims to become blasphemers and eventually turns everyone else, hell-bound. Like a zombie disease. If everyone goes to hell, who is going to play with the many many promised virgins in heaven?

3)Fear of GOD’s punishment for being secularly tolerant and abiding to the international human rights and moral values. They don’t want tsunamis or their sons to magically turn gay, so no one should be allowed to un-Muslim themselves. If the natural disasters still occurs, it must be because Islam have not succeeded in conquering the whole world yet.

So that was my ‘answers’ to Muslim Malaysians, and I’ve used these answers on several Muslim Malaysians before, and I guess my simple explanation and brief conclusions seemed sufficient enough to some of them; and through my personal experience, a lot of them accepted my answer without much rejection.

Well, probably the only rejection that I got is something like “ Yo dude don’t talk about Islam man, you don’t go to religious schools and you don’t memorize the Quran. You’re constructing your opinion on bases that you set by yourselves, so just shut up and don’t act like you know everything dude, you might get sinned for that” - kinds of complaints… and these are quite popular: You don’t go to religious schools, therefore you have no rights to voice your opinion about religious matters.

But the same method did not work very well with some of my (atheist) Japanese friends.

Especially to those really interested in discussing and talking about the subject.

(The uninterested ones would just nod even though they don’t really understand/agrees; being careful not to cause unnecessary conflicts, one that I would never start in a discussion such as this.)

The same answers that I have provided above does not work, because they do not adhere to the ‘current’ international standards of human rights, a secular code that were created by men, for men. A code that evolves along/with the change of moral values and what we humans mutually thinks is globally wrong or right.

It does not make any sense to them.

This is why I have to answer the question differently and take a different point of view, so here it goes:

Answer to Atheist Japanese:

Throughout the evolution of human society and rapid development of humane standards, we humans are known to be competitive creatures, and those sitting on the top of the food chain is not the strongest, but the smartest ones; the ones that lead and control other lesser humans.

People have been experimenting with a lot of ways to control people.

Some uses our natural instinct to bond with other that has similarities with us by introducing the ideas of races and clans.

Some uses nationalism and patriotism.

Some uses political ideologies and looks-good-on-paper theories.

And the most powerful tool of it all: RELIGION.

Muslims pray at least 5 times a day and follows a strict and controlled life, and this made them very loyal, passionate and abiding to their religious leaders.

This is a very convenient situation because people are easy to believe whatever that comes from their respected religious leaders.

Just think about what would happen with the powers that these religious leaders hold against the ordinary people, if someone rebels and started to form a new group that did not believe in being loyal with the current people on top?

How are these religious leaders going to retain their power over their people?

They cannot because rebellious ideas are very threatening to people with power.

So they cook up a horror story and influenced their own people to look down and despise these pitiful unbelievers, and when it comes to a point that the method does not work anymore, the only solution is to KILL the rebel, shut him up and justify his death through laws that were made and passed among them.

Pretty basic formula used by many other ancient religion.

Getting pretty hot in here, doesn’t it?

Moving on to the next ‘reason’, I remember one of my Japanese friends who took me by surprise by a simple argument: When someone leaves Islam, that person is automatically free from Islamic Law, so the death penalty for conversion cannot be applied here!

That argument made sense at first but it can be easily put down:

If that is the case, then why does the death penalty still applies to soldiers who defect from their county? This military law is still very common in many military organizations around the world!

The only negative side of this counter-punch is that it put Islam in a militaristic light, something that might not look very ‘nice and peaceful’.

Moving on…

To know the reason why a Malaysian Muslim are not allowed to change his/her religion, we have to go back to the source and understand the real reason why it was prohibited in the first place.

Just a few years after the death of Prophet Muhammad, there were many followers who stopped practicing the Prophet’s teachings, and goes back to burying baby girls and raping random chicks and sucking dicks.

So in order to stop this, they made it a death penalty for a Muslim to abandons Islamic teachings, so that they will not return back to their barbaric ways of life.

Islamic teachings have ushered a lot of moral improvements to their civilization, and do I have to stress how much progress in science has Islam influenced our civilization?


The other reason for this DEADLY BAN is pure military-minded.

As many knew, the early days of Islam is filled with some pretty crazy wars, and a Muslim soldier who abandons his faith can no longer be accepted as a Muslim soldier because his allegiance to his military commander is in parallel with his allegiance with his military commander’s GOD.

At that time, one cannot be a trusted Muslim soldier if he is not a Muslim because the war they’re fighting is mostly based on religious belief; Islam vs Christianity ? the holy war.

So just like any other military organization before (and after) it, it’s a no-brainer to apply this law to protect the integrity in the military ranks, and keep the brotherly group spirit alive among the soldiers.

Hey, it’s easier for men who were thrown into a bloody war to bond with their partners if they have something in common; and religion is one BIG element. The army with the most team-spirit will always win.

Even modern day military organizations nowadays still uses religion to bond their soldiers, heighten up their spirit, justify their war and sometimes makes it look like it is a good thing to kill some ‘unbelievers’.

The last ‘reason’ (that I can think of) why the Malaysian authority does not allow religious conversion among the Malay Muslims is smaller in scale, but quite coy.

It’s totally political: Welcome the New Economic Policy!

But because this has been a very long post already, I plan to lay out and connect this point later when I wrote the second part of this post and try to answer the second question that is: How could a modern society such as Malaysia justify the blatant unfairness that is the New Economic Policy?

Uniquely multi-cultural and multi-religious, the authorities believes that in order to maintain peace, the Malay majority should be given special advantages that could help them in a lot of area; education, employment, health care, loans etc, in order to stabilize the social disparity among the various races, especially against the wealthier Chinese.

Before I end today’s post though, I would like to sum my ‘answers’ given to my Japanese friends:

1) Religion gives power to certain people, and in order to retain that power, rebels cannot be tolerated.
2) The law were created for a good reason in mind, to keep the early followers of Islam from their barbaric ways of life.
3) It To be continued…

P/s: Where did I have the time to write all this stuff? I don’t expect anyone to read all this stuff from start to finish though… Well, if it’s me, I would stop on the first paragraph and start to search for Akiyama Rina videos on youtube for sure!

Disclaimer: If you’ve read my other posts here, you would probably knew that I am not someone with the credibility to discuss about ‘heavy’ stuffs, but that does not mean that I am blind nor stupid. Well, I am a little bit dumb and perverted, but I still have an opinion, and if you disagree, write a comment! Freedom of speech is awesome, let’s use it!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

unagidon on payday

time seems to be flying so fast that i don't even realize that it's payday already.

i decided to NOT get sushi last night, but instead an energizing unigidon bento instead.

i realized that this is the first time i ate unagi this year, and it tasted just great as always.

it's summer in Japan and during summer, eating unagi has been a culinary 'tradition' here.


anyways, i managed to write a new post that would be an extension to my previous post about answering 'hard' questions from my Japanese mates.

in the new post, i tried to tackle one of the two questions that i brought up, and that is the freedom of religious choice for Malaysian Muslims and the New Economic Policy.

i'll be writing about the former first.

i hope i could post it here as soon as possible.


today i'm going to the Nagatsuta Firework Festifal with my co-workers (there will be about 20 of us), and it would be great!

it's going to be a great evening, and i'll make sure to make a new post here and upload pictures on my facebook album.


Saturday, July 18, 2009

1:1 Scale Gundam & Farewell En. Jasri

Last night I went out with my co-workers to a Hawaiian place where the food was Hawaiian; it was a very nice place, the food was brilliant and the Hawaiian make-belief was further strengthen by Hawaiian musicians.

It was a fun night; we even played some old school party games from this old Japanese variety tv program 学校へ行こう! (Gakkou e ikou! - Let's go to school!).

Brings back old memories of my early days in Tokyo.


This morning I woke up around 10 am, with an annoying headache.

I almost forgot that I'm going to En Jasri's farewell party that was held at the Malaysian Embassy's Staff Apartment, so I rushed to prepare to get on the 10:50 am train to Naka-Meguro.

I arrived at Naka-Meguro Station at about 11:45 am, and I went to the nearest Doutour to get some toast and caramel latte while I wait for Bentong to arrive.

We didn't know how to get there by bus, so we decided to walk.

I met En Jasri, En Redha and En Zubir; and we exchange a couple of sentences.

En Jasri was a really great government officer in charge of the Malaysian students, and I was quite bummed actually that he is going back to Malaysia for a new job.

Anyways, En Jasri gave us a little speech, and it was quite a scary one; especially to those still studying in Japan under government scholarships.

They have decided to cut the amount of allowances if the student didn't perform on a certain expected level set by them.

I can felt the gloom surrounding the room when this was announced.

As for me, I'm done already, so I need to only worry about job and how am I going to improve my skills at work.

We said our farewells, then off we go to Odaiba to see the time-limited 1:1 scale GUNDAM!!!

It was such a hot day, and there were thousands and thousands of people crowding the park where the giant Gundam stands so freaking handsomely and strong.

It was really bigger than I expected.

It was pretty much the coolest object that I have seen this year.

I hope the next coolest object that I am going to see this year is a pair of medium sized, mango shaped breasts.

For free.
Anyways, I'm was never a fan of Gundam.

I've never watched the anime.

Never read the manga.

Never took the time to build a gunpura.

So why a non-fan like me would take the journey to Odaiba just to see this?

It's simple.

I'm just trying to make those hardcore Gundam fans jealous.


Good Night people!


Tuesday, July 14, 2009

i ride pink swan boat!

yeah i know.

i really have nothing to post here.

so i'll post pictures of what i did last sunday.

me and 4 of my co-workers (we all live in the same company apartment :社宅) went to Sagami Lake; just a 45 minutes ride by car from our apartment.

upon arriving, we were greeted with a giant tower that looks like a huge dick.


i know i'm cheap like that.

then the five of us rode a pink swan boat that was built for 4.

this is the first time that i rode a swan boat on a lake.

and it was fun.

then we took purikura together.

then we eat ice-cream.


ok goodbye for now.

got to go to bed early, like always!

oh, before i forget, here's something for you perverts:

Nozomi Sasaki
Ai Shinozaki
Reon Kadena

Monday, July 06, 2009

no time for blogging anymore?

i knew this would happen.

ever since i started working, the frequency of new posts here dropped to an unexpected rate.

the reason is quite clear.

i don't really have the time to write as freely as before.

i got home every night, late and tired like a child labor in china making your nike's.

being the lazy ass that i am, i 'll try my best to complete the most basic chores before i could go to bed with the most minimum amount of efforts.

chores like preparing for dinner, taking the shower and maybe doing some light cleaning.

on weekdays, i would woke up very late like a jobless loser, and spend most of my weekends going out, venturing strange Japan; or just avoid the sun completely by staying in playing video games and watching movies.

LOTS, and LOTS of movies.

and i don't really have anything to write.

and even if i do, it would probably be something so inappropriate, so disgusting and morally sick, that it would be wise if i just keep it to myself and among those personally involved directly or indirectly.


because i am not a student anymore.

i gotta be careful with what i write.

but i guess a couple of pictures of sexy japanese girls in a nurse cosplay won't hurt.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

SNSD New Single Genie

here's SNSD's newest single titled GENIE.

So Nyeo Shi Dae/Girl's Generation/少女時代/소녀시대

i love them legs!

** to those who didn't know who and what SNSD is, i suggest you go to youtube and search for their hit GEE.
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