All Hallows’ Eve Alliteration

HELLACIOUSShould we say,
Hope you have a happy Hallowe’en?”
No Way!”
“Happy” is definitely not what this night is!
So, in the spirit of the occasion…

Here’s hoping you have
A horribly horror-filled
and horrendously horrific,
even hideous and heinous
Hallowe’en holiday.

The terrible truth be told,
’tis a terrifically titillating time
of torturous, tantalizing terror.

And forever will our foul fellows
Fulfill their fickle fancies
With a frightfully fiendish feast
of fear and phantasmal folly.

When grotesque gangs
Of Goons, goblins and ghosts
Go aground in ghoulish garb
To grab the gory guts
of unguarded guys and girls.

So save your silly, selfish soul —
Carefully collect a creepy costume,
Wear a witch or wizard wardrobe,
Make a mask of murderous amazement,
And leap along lithely
in the illuminating lantern light.

Attend to your anal anxieties
As ancient angels of the Antichrist
Attack at All Hallows’ Eve
With an abundant arsenal
of absolutely annoying alliteration.


In Japan, the ubiquitous hand-held fan is an easy and environmentally friendly way to beat the sultry summer heat.

You can see people of both sexes and all ages casually fanning themselves on train platforms, in parks, walking along crowded city streets, and even astride a bicycle while waiting at a red light.

Hand-held fans come in two basic types:


a flat fan called an uchiwa


and a folding one called a sensu.


Different regions of Japan have their own styles and Kyoto claims to have the best.

uchiwa 団扇

mg_6681The uchiwa is traditionally made from a piece of bamboo that is solid for the handle and divided into spokes to support the paper fan.

These days plastic frames are more common and the traditional methods of constructing bamboo frames are a dying art. Classic uchiwa have elegant hand painted or printed designs applied by expert craftsmen or even renowned artists.

Advertisers often hand out cheap versions of the modern plastic handled ones on the street to promote their products.suntory

These giveaways are decorated with classic reproductions, kawai manga characters or pop stars, product photos or even political slogans.

They feature the sponsor’s logo and a message selling anything from computer games to soft drinks, or listing the services of banks, restaurants, or massage parlors.

Gumbai-dansen 軍配

Wakisaka_Yasumoto01The gunbai-dansen was a large uchiwa used by military generals in the days of the samurai to signal their troops on the battlefield.


Sensu, 扇子the universally recognized folding fans, have a colorful history that includes different uses, some rather odd.

While the uchiwa was imported from China, the sensu was invented by Japanese more than a thousand years ago in the Aska-Nara Period (6th-8th Centuries).

Fan_of_Japanese_Cypress_ITUKUSHIMA_shrineDuring the ensuing Heian Period (784 – 1185) the status conscious rulers established laws regulating all matters related to the sensu.

The law specified how many ribs a sensu could have depending on the owner’s rank and certainly the images painted on the paper surface must have been strictly censored.

Other laws decreed the proper ways sensu could be used in religious rituals and other ceremonies.

To this day sensu are part of the formal wear of the royal family used in court functionsand Shinto priests still use them in religious rituals.

Sensu were also recruited into military service; fighters carried iron tessen 鉄扇, to ward off ninja-style darts or other small missiles.

Of course, traditional artists such as geisha, rakugo storytellers, Noh and Kabuki performers carry sensu as part of their costumes and performance.

The average Japanese needs a sensu as an accessory for weddings and funerals and in the tea ceremony tradition.

There is a wide array of styles of sensu; color, size, materials, and of course, unlimited choices in designs including classic Ukiyoe, modern art, self-made designs and solid colors.

Often they have a tassel or beads hanging from the place where the spokes meet.

There are stands to display the sensu and silk cases that can be as gorgeous and as expensive as the fan itself.

Souvenir stores carry a range of styles, designs, and prices and some stores sell nothing but fans, everything from cheap imports to exquisite hand-made ones produced by skilled Japanese craftsmen.

High quality sensu and uchiwa are considered a form of art and prices can reach into the hundreds or even thousands of dollars.


The Late Show – 30 June, 2017
Stephen Colbert’s opening monologue

Here’s the Youtube clip followed by my transcription to be used for an advanced class in Contemporary American Politics.

I’m going to say something right now that I didn’t think was possible, anymore.
I am shocked by something Donald Trump said.

I thought by now, after five months of this,
that my soul had calcified into a crouton.

Not true, because today, the president…of the United States tweeted:
“I heard poorly rated @Morning_Joe speaks badly of me (don’t watch anymore).
Then how come low I.Q. Crazy Mika, along with Psycho Joe, came..
…to Mar-a-Lago 3 nights in a row around New Year’s Eve, and insisted on joining me.
She was bleeding badly from a face-lift. I said no!”

Where to begin?
Haha..It’s a buffet of shit.

Uh…First of all…a steam table. A steam table as it were.
First of all, someone bleeding badly at your door and you say “No”!
It sounds like your healthcare plan.

I mean, turning them away from your hotel during the middle of winter
is literally the story of Christmas. Only there wasn’t a wise man in sight.
This is shocking and vicious; so on brand!

And, the reviews are in:
LA Times:
“Another day, another vulgar Trump tweet.
The president clearly isn’t learning on the job.”
Vulgar. Crude. A new low.”
No. No, it’s the same low.

We’re at a cruising altitude of like the bottom of the Mariana Trench,
right now.
There are giant squid looking down at America right now.

Of course, Mika responded with her own tweet today;
A picture of a Cheerios box and; “Made for little hands.”

Really Mika? Really Mika?
Making fun of the size of his hands?
I’m more worried about the size of his brain at this point.

Of course, this is shocking to everyone who is not employed by Donald Trump.
Republican fan Ben Sasse just tweeted,
“Please just stop. This isn’t normal…”

And Lindsey Graham tweeted,
“Mr. President your tweet was beneath the office
and represents what is wrong with American politics,”

Hold it right there Lindsey!
This is not what’s wrong with American politics. Okay?
You don’t see Paul Ryan throwing shade at Chuck Schumer’s eye job. Okay?
This is what’s wrong with the American President.

Let’s stop pretending…Okay…
Let’s, let’s stop pretending that Trump is the symptom of something.
He’s the disease.
And, the only cure…
the only cure is three-and-a-half years of liquor and bedrest.

Of course the First Lady, naturally,
defended her husband via her spokesperson.
“As the First Lady has state publicly in the past,
when her husband gets attacked,
he will punch back 10 times harder.”

Yes, as the first lady says, “When they go low, we go ten times lower.”
So, so, the focus on cyber-bullying is going well so far.
We just didn’t know she was going to be a super-fan of it.

And, you know who had the courage to agree with Melania’s spokesperson?
The president’s spokeperson.
“When the president gets hit, he’s going to hit back harder,
which is what he did here today. He fights fire with fire.”

He fights everything with fire!
And first he soaks all of us with gasoline.

And Huckabee-Sanders explained;
the president had a very good reason to go after those mean meanies on the TV screen.
“The things that this show has called him…
and not just him but numerous members of his staff,
including myself and many others, uh, are very deeply personal.
So to then turn and pretend like, you know, this approach is..uh…
I, I, I guess it’s kind of like we’re living in the Twilight Zone…”

Oo! I love the Twilight Zone!
Um, which one is he, again?
Is this the one where the little boy with no morals has the power to kill?
‘Cause it’s definitely not the one where the guy just wants to be alone reading books.

Oh, oh, so..scary! Ooo!


59336ecd5d052.imageMy job is to help Japanese students of English improve their ability to understand our amazing, mongrel tongue and hopefully, to express some of the less inscrutable mysteries of Nipponica.  Mr. Obama gave me plenty of effective material with some excellent examples of the wit and seamless logic English can deliver.  Now Mr. Trump is helping me show the Japanese that English is capable of being even more inscrutable that their own ambiguous vernacular.

I got the following article from The Guardian online newspaper, made several alterations to both content and layout to make it a more effective teaching device, and then made up a vocabulary quiz since the prime motivation for many masochistic Japanese learners is to endure a painstaking test at the conclusion of each lesson.

I insist they lock up their ubiquitous electronic dictionaries and simply follow the text as they consider the meaning of each word. You can download and print out the test if you are into verbal self flagellation.TrumpTrans1TRANSTRUMP 2TRANSTRUMP MATCH 1TRANSTRUMP MATCH 2

We Got Trouble!


David Horsey, The LA Times – 8 Nov. 2016

(Fake lyrics lifted from The Music Man)
(Apologies to Professor Harold Hill and Mr. Meredith Willson )
Citizens of America!
Heed the warning before it’s too late!
Watch for the tell-tale sign of corruption!
The moment the president wakes up,
Does he grab his cellphone,
run to the Lou
and start tweeting?
Is there a copy of “The Camp of the Saints”
laying on his nightstand?
Mein Kampf” hidden in the oval office?
Is he starting to memorize hateful lines?
Lines from Il Deuce and V. Putin?

 Are certain words creeping into his conversation?
Words like “PURGE?”
And that fake patriotic rally cry

Well, if so my friends,
We got trouble,
Right here in the U.S.A.!

With a capital “T”
That’s a ‘hyuuge’ golden “T”
And that stands for Trump!

We’ve surely got trouble!
Right here in the U.S.A.!
Remember the babble;
The Wall, the Mimic,
Grab ‘em by the P*ssy
And the Muslim Ban!



Portrait  Presidential Candidate Donald TrumpThis 13-year-old, 2nd year junior high school boy didn’t answer the question but he gets an ‘A’ anyway. Last summer he wrote a perceptive speech critiquing President Obama’s Hiroshima speech. This term I gave him Trump’s inaugural speech to study.

8. What are some differences between the Obama Hiroshima speech and Trump’s inaugural speech?

[Actually, couldn’t find the differences between Obama and Trump from their speeches. I only found that Trump’s strategies are related to his business skill. (But I’m not so sure he’s that good at business).]

Trump said too many extreme things during the election campaign. I thought, “That crazy, old idiot won’t be chosen,” but he became the president!

Recently, I thought he might be calculating what people want to hear. He had his eye on poor workers who weren’t happy with Obama and those people voted for him. But then I thought maybe he is not clever enough to calculate those strategies. He is good at business though, so I thought his strategies might be related to business management.

First he had to catch people’s attention, so he used the media to let people know the Trump brand. People thought, “I’ve never seen this kind of funny politician. He could be good.” And they bought it. (this means they voted for him). After the Trump brand became famous, and was chosen by a lot of people, he could expand his market. (This means he can sign a lot of executive orders.)

Now we don’t know what is going to happen. But I guess there are only two possible ways; Trump’s brand will flourish or his brand might perish.