Whenever I go to Japan and visit the mega department stores like Takashimaya, Mitsukoshi, Isetan or Seibu, I love to window shop and look at all the pretty things they have there.  But I rarely buy anything, because just one look at the price tag and I go into sticker shock.  For someone whose favorite store is Target, the $100 t-shirts just don’t seem that appealing.

But the one section where I will go crazy at, is the basement food hall. Locals call them “depachikas”.  “Depa” is short for department store and “chika” means basement.

When I enter the seemingly endless corridors of the depachika, I feel like I’ve died and gone to food heaven. Individual stalls hawking pickles, cakes, confectionaries, fried foods, sushi, bentos, yakitori, fruit, meat and liquor can all be found here–probably overpriced and probably overpackaged, but guaranteed tasty.   In fact, if I had to be holed up anywhere due to zombies or end-of-the-world disasters, I can’t think of a better place you’d want to be.  (Sorry, I just finished watching “The Road,” so I needed to revisit my “end of the world” strategies.)

Holy Homoeroticism, Batman!

Last week, I stumbled onto this panel from an old issue of the World’s Finest comic book featuring Superman and Batman (which was also posted on our Facebook page). I’m sure it was purely unintentional, but it’s still pretty damn homoerotic:

Now, I’m not suggesting anything that hasn’t been suggested countless times already when I say that Batman is probably the gayest of all the major allegedly heterosexual superheroes. And that’s even if you don’t count the nippled Batman:

His close relationships with his best friend Superman and his young ward Dick Grayson a.k.a. Robin the Boy Wonder have always been a little…weird. And does anyone really buy the whole Bruce Wayne/millionaire playboy thing? I’m just saying, if it looks and feels like a beard…

But the most damning evidence for Batman’s alternative lifestyle comes straight from the comic books themselves. I present this evidence below and leave it to you to come make your own decision.

Banned on YouTube

My friend Philip Huang’s Youtube video titled “Masturbating with the Bible” got banned on Youtube. Youtube also put Philip’s account on a “6-month probation.” Residing in Berkeley, California, Philip is a self-taught and self-styled video artist who makes quite “out there” videos. Some of them are more irreverent and others are usually funny. For me, it’s cool that there are some “out there” Asian Americans making some irreverent works. His last video called “How to Destroy a Bible” is still up:

I gotta give it to Philip for being brave. I wouldn’t be able to post a masturbation video of myself on Youtube. According to his blog, Philip made the masturbation video as a statement against censorship as the Smithsonian pulled David Wojnarowicz’s video from an exhibit due to right wing groups’ pressure. So in protesting against the religious right, Philip wanted to make a point about the bible as an agent of censorship. In the video, the bible literally blocks your view of his penis as he’s masturbating. Read more about the banning on his blog.

What if Pixar’s UP had been made in 1965?

Imagine that in some alternate universe, Disney/Pixar’s animated feature Up was made in 1965 as a live-action film starring the late, great Spencer Tracy. Check out the following awesome trailer that shows you what such a film might have looked like. And yes, everyone is here including Asian Wilderness Explorer Russell, Dug the talking dog and the floating balloon house:

My Son Wakes Up Whistling Every Morning. No, Really, He Does.

And he’s been doing it since the age of 8 (he’s a ripe old ten now).

And while it sometimes feels like a skewer in my ear – years of dj-ing have left me with tinnitus and hyperacusis – I wouldn’t have it any other way.  I have to shake my head in awe at this kid’s joie de vivre.  Let me reiterate: he wakes up whistling.  I hear “Hark the Herald Angels Sing” or “Jingle Bells” coming from his room at about 7:15 every morning (Christmas songs are his favorite).

Oh, sure, we’re all more or less happy to be alive, but how many of us are ecstatic to wake up every day on this spinning rock?

Original Offenders: Afong Moy, the First Chinese Woman in America

The world is so small these days that it’s hard to imagine being the first of your people to visit a foreign country that you’ve had no real contact with or know nothing about. But back in 1834, the idea of an Asian woman coming to America would have been akin to someone today visiting a newly discovered alien civilization on another planet. Yet, that’s what it must have felt like for Afong Moy whom history has recorded as the first Chinese (and most likely first “Oriental”) woman to set foot on U.S. soil. But the circumstances under which Moy became a pioneer was not the most pleasant one.

In 1832, American traders Nathaniel and Frederick Carne made their first trip to China. Up to that point, they had made their fortune importing items from France but realized there was an untapped market in the Orient they could exploit. Their search led them to China where they started to import fancy, but affordable Chinese goods that the growing American middle-class population could afford.

The Carne brothers were also showmen, always searching for ways to better market their business to the public. And they hit upon the ultimate marketing ploy when they decided to go one step farther and import a real live Chinese woman to America for the first time.

Being in a Gym is Weird for Me.

Because I am vain, I admit to working out part of the time each day. Let’s not beat around the bush: I was the fat kid who talked his way out of physical education by giving the coach tips on how to beat the latest Nintendo 64 Star Wars game.

At some point in my life, I realized that knowing the most effective way to beat Boba Fett was not gonna help me lose weight and I haven’t looked back ever since.  I’ve done most of my working out at home, always fueled by that pudgy specter of my past standing in the corner, out of breath with the stretched Pikachu shirt.

As part of my New Year’s Resolution, I finally stopped being such a hermit and started trying out one of my local gyms.  If you’d like to stop reading now, here’s is a Cliff’s Notes version of what happened:

Exactly like that, but not really, you lazy twat.  For those of you who are sticking with me (and why shouldn’t you?  I mean, it’s not like you’ve got anything better to do), this was like that part of the Hero’s Journey where he goes from the known to the unknown, the known in my case being the creation of ass-indents into furniture and the unknown being any sort of strenuous activity to speak of.

1,001 Reasons I Love Movies: (#20) John Belushi and Me

Had he lived, John Belushi would have been 62 today. The star of films like Animal House and The Blues Brothers as well as one of the original Saturday Night Live cast members, Belushi died in 1982 at age 33 from a drug overdose, but he still remains one of the most influential comedians ever. He may have also been the first person to encourage my creativity.

I’m not the type of person who usually meticulously follows rituals or traditions, but there is one that I’ve observed for many years. On my birthday, I check into the bungalow at the Chateau Marmont where Belushi died. It’s usually just for the day and I go there alone to write, reflect and soak in the vibes. There’s nothing morbid about it. It’s just a way for me to honor a man who had a profound affect on my artistic life and to be re-inspired. And Belushi was definitely inspirational. There’s no doubt that my sense of humor was shaped by Belushi’s style of comedy. When I try to be funny in my blogs here, it’s really just my poor attempt to emulate his comedic voice.

I met Belushi when I must’ve been around six-years-old in a classroom setting. I don’t remember much about it and I certainly didn’t know who he was at the time—I was too young and he wasn’t a big star yet. But I remember him being very funny and very encouraging of my creativity (he must have seen some story or drawing I had done in class). He pulled me aside and said that if I had an interest in the arts, I should pursue it. He told me his parents were immigrants like mine (from Albania in his case) and that when he was a kid, he wished someone had encouraged his interest in performing because for the longest time, he thought it was an impossible dream for an immigrant kid like himself. But he wanted me to know that nothing was impossible if you worked hard.

Dear Nike,

I am unabashedly a Nike fan. It’s not just because of the branding or the endorsements (although they do put out some kick-ass commercials and marketing campaigns), but rather because the performance and comfort of Nikes are far and away better than most other shoe brands, at least in my personal experience.

But despite being a lifelong Nike fan, I do have a bone to pick with my favorite shoe company.

Nike, I want to know: where are my Air Manus?

Now, I already forgave Nike for never releasing and pushing a signature Yao shoe to the masses (at least in the U.S.) because I understand big men aren’t as solid endorsers for basketball shoes compared to faster, more athletic players. But I’ve waited patiently for years, wondering: why won’t Nike mass release a signature shoe for Manu Ginobili? I’m not counting the super rare releases or the shoes that he happens to wear/endorse. I’m talking signature lines along the lines of the Jordans, the CP3s, the Melos, the Kevin Durants where you clearly know whose shoe it is you’re wearing. Come on, Nike–


SAF Seeking… The Right Penis

Is it a better deal to get one big penis fish or a few smaller penis fish?

Size does matter. (Although, I personally think personality and technique matter more, but wait, let me finish my first train of thought…) Size DOES matter. And it’s not what men think, that bigger is BETTER. It’s not that either. It’s that ‘perfect fit’. Where your canal matches the length of his shaft… it just works.

For example, I have a casual partner I love to sleep with. I do. He’s awesome. The foreplay and sexual tension is FANTASTIC. The oral, very nice. It’s very Natalie Portman and Ashton Kutcher. I love him very much but there is very little chance of us ever getting together as a couple. He has the need to sow his seed; I have the need to kick his ass every he does. Together, we’re not so good at monogamy.

What I Learned on YOMYOMF This Week – January 16 – 22, 2011

Someone wondered if I was Hispanic this weekend.  I was at this amusement park which will remain unnamed and I struck up a conversation with someone waiting at one of the ride exits.  The conversation had veered away as far as possible from race – chocolate milk – when she asked me in the politest way, “Are you Hispanic?”

I’m not, so, of course, I answered, “I’m not.” and followed that up by asking, “Why do you ask?”

She said simply, “Because you’re brown.”

She had me on that one.

Yeah, so this week, your trusty league of Offenders talks about vagina ambushes; a shaky way of increasing your breast size; and, naturally, dating advice for all you aspiring Lotharios.  Aspiring Lotharias will have to wait till next week – throw me a bone, Beverly?

Japan (and monkeys) in slo-mo

Check out this cool video from artist/photographer Trey Ratcliff. He uses a slow-motion technique to capture images of “normal” life in Japan, which apparently includes a bunch of monkeys hanging out in a hot spring (at 1:56).

Makes me miss Japan. Anyone want to subsidize a trip for me to do research in the Land of the Rising Sun for a super-secret project that I guarantee will make you millions? Yup, that’s the ticket…

Happy weekend!