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» Moving House in Japan
» Manifestation & Magic on the Streets of Tokyo
» Media Jobs in Iceland & England
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» Traditional Japanese New Year in Shikoku
» Earthquake Migraines
» Maniac High -- Part One
» World Expo 2005
» Summer Stay on the Banks of Lake Suwa
» Doing Kyoto for Under US$40
» Donating Blood in Japan
» Lesbian Japan -- Part One
» Chiba and Saitama -- Tokyo's Dormitory Suburbs
» Akiko in Aoyama
» Russian Girls in Japan
» Hobbits of Indonesia
» Coredo Department Store, Nihombashi
» Dreams, Flights of the Imagination
» Into the Year of the Goat
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» Chatrooms and BBSs and Masturbation
» Niu Gini On My Mind
» Travel Resources in Tokyo
» Japanese TV Stars
» Singapore Airport
» Israelis In Asia
» DropOut
» Love & Being a TV Star In Japan
» Love In Japan
» A New Hope
» Akiko's Ambush

Tokyo Attractions

Akihabara - The otaku freak capital of Japan!
Akihabara Harajuku - Tokyo Extreme Street Style
Harajuku Hon Komagome - Old Tokyo Temple Town
HonKomagome Morishita in Tokyo, home of metropolitan museums, and plenty of temples and old homes
Morishita Charming old Edo Period district of Nezu, in Tokyo
Nezu Roppongi and Roppongi Hills
Roppongi Shibuya Streets
Shibuya Shinjuku
Shinjuku Ueno -- Homeless Heart of Tokyo

Rest of Japan

Jomon Japan
Jomon Japan Kyoto, the most beautiful city in Japan
Kyoto Matsumoto Castle, one of the highlights of central Japan
Yokohama City -- The City By The Bay

Best of the World

Australia Guide
Australia Denmark
Egypt in the 1990s
Egypt Iceland, North Atlantic
Mumbai City Guide
Korea Malaysia Travel Guide

Girl Hunting

Russian Girls in Japan -- Even Better than the Japanese Girls!
Russian Girls in Japan

my first lesson in clinical trials | drugs and drugs don't mix | tokyo japan | october 16 2007 | mister asia
TODAY WAS SUPPOSED TO BE MY INTRODUCTION TO THE WORLD OF CLINICAL TRIALS, and in typical style I made my debut by commiting a whopping faux pas -- by mixing drugs with drugs. I don't know what possessed me to think I could away with it, but I have learnt my lesson the hard way. This is what happened: last night I got home from my telephone job anxious and excited about my first trip to Kagoshima, Kyushu, scheduled for the following day. It was to be the first of hopefully three trips to the southern tip of Japan (it's the southernmost tip if you exclude Okinawa), and I was going down there to be prodded and pricked by the examining team, to see if I was made of the right mettle, to make it into their medical trial. Since it is a diabetes drug trial, I thought nothing of drinking and smoking pot right up until my screening date -- after all, I reasoned, diabetes is about insulin and blood sugar levels isn't it, not alcohol and THC? (For example, read the report by S.G. Wannamethee, A.G. Shaper, I.J. Perry and K.G.M.M. Alberti from Department of Primary Care and Population Sciences, Royal Free and University College Medical School, London, UK, which concludes: "There is a non-linear relation between alcohol intake and the risk of type II diabetes. Serum insulin and HDL-cholesterol explained a small amount (20%) of the reduction in risk of type II diabetes associated with moderate drinking. The adverse effect of heavy drinking seemed to be partially mediated through its effect on body weight.") Since it seemed to me that drinking can help reduce the risks of developing diabetes, and marijuana was obviously completely unrelated to the disease, I kept on drinking and smoking, right to the end.

What a fool I was (but I have learnt my lesson now!)

Getting home last night I took a toke from my can in the hermetically sealed bathroom, cracked open a cold one, and decided it would be a good idea to reread all the emails I had received from the clinic concerning my clinical trial. My heart froze when I read these words down at the bottom of one email (strangely I hadn't noticed it before): "Refrain from:
"Exercise, alcohol, and recreational drugs, and pharmaceuticals.
There will be a recreational drug screening."

Errr... how long does marijuana stay in your system anyway?

My clinical trial screening was due to begin in less than 36 hours, and I had a cold beer in my hand, and plenty of hot THC buzzing through my cells! What was I going to do?

BioTrax International, an independent volunteer information, advisory and support group, claims that generally trial volunteers are "are required to abstain from social drugs for a minimum period of 28 days prior to participation in medical trials. Clinics will perform medical tests to confirm this." And according to my agent down in Kawasaki, the Kagoshima clinic would hold tests concentrating, in particular, "on things like cannabis and so on."

My blood ran cold.

A paranoid delusion began to form itself in my mind: the clinic would detect traces or by-traces of marijuana in my body, and report me to the police. The police, who failed to convict me back in May when I was arrested with Maniac High busting out of a Shimokitazawa karaoke box without paying the bill, would seize this opportunity to finally put me away, forever. I quickly hid my stash of choco in a can of green tea. I deleted any recent emails from Maniac, Crystal Meth, and others, even vaguely touching on a drug subcultural theme.

my 2nd lesson in clinical trials | think before you drink | tokyo japan | november 07 2007 | mister asia FORTUNATELY I DIDN'T GET ARRESTED BY THE COPS DOWN IN KAGOSHIMA OR EVEN KICKED OUT OF THE COMING TRIALS AND BARRED FROM ALL FUTURE EXPERIMENTS, WHICH IS APPARENTLY THE STANDARD PUNISHMENT FOR FAILING A DRUG TEST IN JAPAN. After coming straight with my trials agent and confessing to my recent marijuana transgressions, my agent and the guys in the lab came up with a novel suggestion: simply transfer me to a different group of the trial, and postpone my screening to November 12. "The guys in the lab reckon that will give you enough time, for the THC to get out of your system," my agent said. "So, what do you think: can you keep yourself from huffing and puffing, for a whole month?" (My agent is a Japanese guy who speaks English with a strong Scottish brogue. Kind of a cool guy, as I am slowly discovering. And here I was worried that he would have turned me into the police, if I tested positive in the screening. Talk about paranoia (then again I have cause to be paranoid, after my recent collision with the Japanese law!)) He went on to say: "Of course we wouldn't have turned you in, all our results are confidential. But if you tested positive in the screening you would have been turfed from the trials, and you would get a black mark to your name. You wouldn't be allowed to take part in any future trials." And I am sure I would have died of embarrassment, to fly all the way to the other side of Japan, to have some guys in white coats tell me that I am a drug addict.

I am just glad I didn't follow Maniac High's advice, which was basically to drink a lot of water (and eat half a Japanese daikon radish), in order to try fool the lab technicians. As if they haven't seen it all before, all the various desperate tricks used by desperate druggies, to influence the test results. When I told my agent Maniac High's scheme for cheating the drug test, he laughed.

So anyway, I have a lump of choco in my apartment and nearly a full month to refrain myself from smoking it, which is actually not that hard for me, so long as I have something to drink. Alcohol is for me far more of a crutch than pot, much as I like getting stoned. I am I guess what you would call a heavy drinker, although that might be set to change in the near future, when I come to appreciate how much money I can save by not drinking. It would be in the order of US$5000 a year, enough to fund me a full month of drinking and riotous behavior in Reykjavik Iceland, or somewhere cool like that. The problem I face today, which was an otherwise excellent Tokyo autumn day, is that with the trial screening less than a week away, the time has come to really bite the bullet, and refrain from drinking as well. They are going to do a liver function test down there in Kagoshima, and several volunteers have already failed, for having by-products of alcohol in their system. It is time to go sober for nearly a whole week -- and maybe for a whole lot longer, maybe forever...

What is a liver function test, and what are some of the things they look for? How can alcohol give you away in a clinical screening environment? Here is one chart I found on the Internet, which describes some of the common liver function indicators, especially in connection to alcohol use (and abuse):

{short description of image}
Helpful Hints for Interpreting Liver Function Tests

Mildly elevated ALT level (less than 1.5 times normal) ALT value could be normal for gender, ethnicity or body mass index.
Consider muscle injury or myopathy.
Alcoholic hepatitis Laboratory values can appear cholestatic, and symptoms can mimic cholecystitis.
Minimal elevations of AST and ALT often occur.
AST level greater than 500 U per L The AST elevation is unlikely to result from alcohol intake alone.
In a heavy drinker, consider acetaminophen toxicity.
Common bile duct stone Condition can simulate acute hepatitis.
AST and ALT become elevated immediately, but elevation of AP and GGT is delayed.
Isolated elevation of GGT level This situation may be induced by alcohol and aromatic medications, usually with no actual liver disease.
Isolated elevation of AP level (asymptomatic patient with normal GGT level) Consider bone growth or injury, or primary biliary cirrhosis.
AP level rises in late pregnancy.
Isolated elevation of unconjugated bilirubin level Consider Gilbert syndrome or hemolysis.
Low albumin level Low albumin is most often caused by acute or chronic inflammation, urinary loss, severe malnutrition or liver disease; it is sometimes caused by gastrointestinal loss (e.g., colitis or some uncommon small bowel disease).
Normal values are lower in pregnancy.
Blood ammonia level Blood ammonia values are not necessarily elevated in patients with hepatic encephalopathy.
Determination of blood ammonia levels is most useful in patients with altered mental status of new onset or unknown origin.

ALT=alanine aminotransferase; AST=aspartate aminotransferase; AP=alkaline phosphatase; GGT=gamma-glutamyltransferase.
{short description of image}
Alcohol consumption and the incidence of type II diabetes 2 Department of Public Health and Epidemiology, University College Cork, Ireland 3 Department of Medicine, University of Newcastle upon Tyne, UK Correspondence to: Correspondence to: Dr S G Wannamethee, , London NW3 2PF, UK; Background: This study examines the relation between alcohol and type II diabetes and the possible mediating effects of HDL-cholesterol and serum insulin. Methods: Prospective study of 5221 men aged 40–59 years with no history of coronary heart disease, diabetes, or stroke drawn from general practices in 18 British towns. Results: During the mean follow up of 16.8 years there were 198 incident cases of type II diabetes. Occasional drinkers were the reference group. A non-linear relation was seen between alcohol intake and age adjusted risk of diabetes, with risk lowest in light and moderate drinkers and highest in heavy drinkers (quadratic trend p=0.03). Further adjustment for body mass index decreased risk in heavy drinkers. After additional adjustment for physical activity, smoking, and (undiagnosed) pre-existing coronary heart disease, only moderate drinkers showed significantly lower risk than occasional drinkers (RR=0.66 95% CI 0.44 to 0.99). Alcohol intake was inversely associated with serum insulin and positively associated with HDL-cholesterol. Adjustment for these factors reduced the "protective" effect in moderate drinkers (adjusted RR=0.73 95% CI 0.48 to 1.10) but the quadratic trend remained significant (p=0.02). Conclusion: In the evening I went down to Shimbashi where I snapped these pictures, of the skyscrapers caught in a rare dose of late afternoon sun:

Shimbashi Skyscraper Scene in late afternoon sunshine, summer 2006Shimbashi Skyscraper Scene in late afternoon sunshine, the start of summer 2006
Shimbashi Skyscraper Scene in Sudden Summer Sun

group echo | a modelling agency in tokyo | tokyo japan | june 02 2006 | uncloned world I TOOK part in another modelling/acting/extra'ing job this week, making it the fourth such job I have undertaken since returning to the scene on May 10, 2006. That's four jobs in one month, which must rank as some kind of personal record, and further proof of the accelerated upswing in my life, which began about two months ago. To put it in perspective, during the freelance age of 2003/2004, when I had oodles of free time, and the most flexible schedule you could imagine, I did I think a total of five TV/movie jobs. That's five jobs for two years. In May of 2006 I did four jobs (one of them admittedly was for the Internet, but who cares, it is all fame and money, after all.) The irony is I haven't gone out of my way to approach modelling agencies or signal my desire to work. The jobs have come to me almost miraculously. I interpret it to mean that the gods are on my side this time around, that my time has come to shine. And I am having a lot of fun in the process!

Earlier this week, I played the role of an extra in a Japanese World War Two movie, which was filmed in the beautiful Ibaraki Prefecture north of Tokyo. Me and my crew played the roles of American soldiers during the Occupation in 1946, and according to the script, we were supposedly stationed on the southern island of Kyushu. In the story we stumble upon a vintage kamikaze plane left out in the fields, and in our anti-Japanese hate, we burn the plane down! Yes, that is right, this was another role in which foreigners are cast as devils, insensitive to the hurts they inflict on pure-hearted Japanese folk. But what the hell, it was a great day out in the sun, the birds were singing, the sun was shining, and it was a beautiful day. I earnt 12,000 Yen (about US$120) for my efforts. I got to see a part of Japan I had never seen before (maybe I will be back there one day.) When the shooting was over and I was back in Tokyo, I headed out to Kichijoji, to team up with old Aussie bud Garnet. We decided to head in to Shibuya, to take photos of all the girls on the street, and all the cool shops.

You can email them on, or call production manager Hikaru Furukawa on this number: 03/5282 5321. Group Echo have branches in Tokyo, Nagoya and Osaka.

Below lie some forbidden photos from the shoot in Ibaraki Prefecture, and some photos from my jaunt around Shibuya and Harajuku later in the day, with my buddy Garnet Mae:

This is me dressed up for a Japanese war movie, which I will appear in either 2006 or 2007On the set of my vintage Second World War movie, a vintage kamikaze plane in the background

australian colony in japan | australian colony in iceland | tokyo japan | may 29 2006 | uncloned world A FAIRLY amazing day from a part of my life, which is rapidly developing amazing characteristics. In short, these are the headlines of what happened today:
++++ My Australian colony took another great leap forward, and the possibility of an Australian colony in Iceland was greatly enhanced.
++++ A full scam report from the Cannes film Festival was delivered by my friend Garnet Mae, the notorious scammer of Cannes.
++++ In an amazing development?CGarnet then delivered me a list of contacts in Iceland?Cwho are waiting to meet me and show me around, as soon as I arrive there next month in June. Did Fire Burning manifest these new Icelandic friends?H In the evening I returned to one of my haunts?CMachida?Cwhere I had a kind of date with my old girlfriend?CA. While she has a boyfriend in Europe?CI kind of feel like a new relationship is starting with her. She invited me to her pottery exhibition in July. She wants to smoke hash with me. Maybe after the failures and disasters of the C. relationship?CI am going back to ?urelationship school?v?Cto learn how relationships are done?Cwith all the pressure of the real thing removed. Well?Cits an idea at least!

It is funny how things can change fast, when luck is on your side. In the past month or so my life has been getting better on an almost daily basis, although there have been some big upsets as well. But I am beginning to think that my life is taking off and I am doing the things I want to do (like working as a restaurant reviewer for one of the magazines in Tokyo.) It is just the start of the good times and plenty of more good things are on the way.

I know some people sometimes promise the world and then don't deliver on their promises, but I have got a good feeling about being able to meet with them. My angle when I do meet them is going to be that I am Garnet's assistant -- I am his script writer, and I am doing some research for a movie he wants to make in Iceland. So I am going to ask them to show me some places we could feature in the movie -- like bars, nightclubs, that sort of thing, and if they could introduce me to some of the local characters (celebrities, rock bands, etc.) You have got to remember that Iceland has a population of only 300,000 people, so it probably isn't that hard to get to know even the famous people there. Reykjavik the capital is smaller than Wollongong. It is a hell of a lot more interesting, though.

Fresh from infiltrating the Cannes Film Festival, Garnet Mae chilling on the floors of the Tokyo Skyliner station at UenoGarnet is dressed in the latest Cannes styles, and reading Candy, an Australian book about love and addictionIn his pocket was the key to my success in Iceland

back to iceland | and this time for good | tokyo japan | may 27 2006 | uncloned world I AM heading back to Iceland in three weeks for my second visit in three years, and this time, I have a way to stay there permanently (but on a part-time basis.) In other words, I have found a way to ensure that I can spend a good proportion of my life in Iceland, using Japanese money. And my goal is to spend at least one month of every year in Iceland. I also want to spend like a month a year in Thailand, a month a year in Thailand, and a month a year in either India or Vietnam. In all of these countries I want to develop contacts and local knowledge which I can express through my homepage, to help boost viewers and advertising takings and most importantly interest. This has always been my dream life -- to be able to slowly circumnavigate around the world, rotation after rotation, with my finger in every pie going/with my finger on the firmly on the pulse in every country I visit. I want to be able to speak Japanese and Icelandic and conversational Vietnamese and I want buddies (and gals) who can show me around all of these respective countries. It used to be my dream, an idle dream... but now I have found a way to fuel this dream, and blow it up into reality, a fantasy made real in my life. And here is how I am going to do it: medical tests. Yes, you read that right: medical tests. On various film shoots in the past few weeks I have met a bunch of foreign guys who regularly take part in Japanese medical/clinical drug trials, with very lucrative results. The deal seems to be this: you spend a week or two in a Japanese hospital testing a drug new to the Japanese market, and at the end, you get paid something like $5000 to $10,000 American. Talk about easy money! US$10,000 for two weeks of lying round in bed in a Japanese hospital -- I can do that! It sure beats teaching English for US$15 an hour, which until recently, was all that I did. Those days are coming to an end, thankfully.

My plan is, a few times a year I will do a stint in a clinical trial in Japan, which is supposed to be something of a junket in itself (you get flown down to the southern island of Kyushu, spend a week or two in hospital, and then at the end get treated to an all-expenses paid couple of nights in a beachside hotel). Once the trial is done and I have got my money (which could be up to US$9000), I will bank a proportion of it for the future (say a third of so), and then head to one of my international home away from home's: Iceland, Thailand, Vietnam, India, Australia, Greenland, wherever. And once in my new location I will set to work developing media contacts and collecting materials for my web. It is the perfect life plan for me, and it will give me the chance to "live" in a lot more countries than just Japan. It will enable me to become an International Vagabond at last. But even if I go down the medical/clinical trial path, I am still going to have to spend at least half of every year in Japan. That is not so bad, because there are endless pleasures to be had in this land, and endless new vistas open before the jaded traveller no matter how many years he or she has lived here. Here are some photos I took today, in the Shinjuku skyscaper district of Tokyo:

Shinjuku Street Scenes
Shinjuku Street ScenesShinjuku Street Scenes
Shinjuku Street ScenesShinjuku Street Scenes

tv job in harajuku | next stage of international vagabondancy | harajuku japan | may 26 2006 | uncloned world TODAY I took part in my third modelling/acting/extra'ing job since I made my triumphant return to the scene at the start of May. The three assignments have collectively netted me 24,000 Yen, which is about $240 American, for I guess what has been about 1.3 days of work. Today's assignment was one of the most lucrative on the time/money scale -- 6000 Yen for only about an hour's work. My Australian friend Chris Mae tipped me off about the shoot (and probably earned a commission), which was set on the streets of Harajuku, one of my favorite parts of Tokyo. My new dude Dom (from Ai Nori) was also in attendance, and looking suitably disheveled. The job was like a fake vox pop with passing Australian males stopped on the street to be asked their opinion of two current Japanese celebrities, Kyoko and Mika. (Everyone there was supposed to be an Australian, but there were a couple of Russian guys passing themselves off as Aussies just to qualify for the 6000 Yen pay cheque, and a couple of people of others nationalities.) Specifically, we had to decide which of the sisters (at least I think they are supposed to be sisters -- at least they come across as sisters on TV) we fancied the most. And we had to answer in Japanese. Now while my Japanese skills have been poor for a long time, they have been getting better -- but I still find it intimidating to be asked rapid fire questions in Japanese in front of a camera and crew on the street, with crowds of gawking shoppers and schoolgirls gathering around. I had some witty lines prepared for my match with the camera, such as: "Kyoko san wa newhalf mitai!" ("Kyoko looks like a dragqueen!"), but once I found myself in front of the camera, I lost my nerve, and all my jokes came out wrong. Anyway, who cares? I had a lot of fun, met some great guys, and spent another morning living the dream of being a model/actor/extra in Japan. It only took a few minutes and then I was free to go. And I got 6000 Yen which is nothing to sneeze at!

The nature of my life is this: long periods of stability and stagnation, followed by rapid and amazing bursts of creativity and change and growth, taking me up to a whole new level of existence. Ever since the start of last month, I have been in one of these upward thrusts. For me these seem to happen every five years -- the last Upwave took place in 2001, when I was new to Japan and earning big money as an English teacher in the elementary school system. A lot of water has passed under the bridge since then -- I have spent five whole years in Japan! I have spent more than five years in Japan! Since that heady time my life has stagnated a lot, although I still remember 2003 as the best year of my life -- mainly because I had a freelance lifestyle that year and a lot of free time, an escalating series of girlfriends, and I made a trip to Iceland in that year. 2004 and to a lesser extent 2005 were downer years compared to 2003, and I lost my freelancer lifestyle, even though I gained a permanent girlfriend, compared with the flaker girlfriends of the previous years. Come May 2006 and suddenly, unexpectedly, my so-called permanent girlfriend is gone, the freelancer lifestyle is back, and in fact I look set to take it to a totally cool and sublime level -- that of the International Vagabond. The International Vagabond is here, waiting to assume command of my life. According to my own astrological forecasts and understandings, I have entered the Scorpio Upwave. During the last Upwave which kicked in at the end of 2000, I left behind my old deadend job in Australia, and moved to Japan. It has been a heady and exciting time since then, and despite a lot of hardships I have established myself in this country, forever. I want to live here forever, and now I have the contacts and the means to achieve that goal. Living in Japan has always been exciting, a new experience every day, and I have done things that I would never have done back in Australia. But despite the novelty factor of being a stranger in a strange land, during the past two years I have started to feel like I am wasting my time, missing out on life, getting left behind by the pack. Little by little, my life in Japan has come to resemble my deadend life in Australia, with even less of a chance to escape. Astrologically (according to the Uncloned World creed of astrology at least!), 2004 and 2005 were the years of the Scorpio Downwave. According to my astrological theories, this was the time when the element of Scorpio was introduced to my life... but in a negative way. Or rather, shortcomings were revealed in my life which are to be resolved and transcended in the Scorpio Upwave, which will run from 2006 to 2009. It is only just the start of the Upwave, it is just the opening chapter. But I can already see what these three years will be about, and I have an inkling of the ways in which I will be transformed.

Here are the traits I have to overcome in this Scorpio Age of my life, according to the Esoteric Astrology of Alice Bailey and Djwhal Khul:

++++The Nine Subdivisions of Scorpio++++

The three tests in Scorpio also concern the three aspects of the human being as they fuse and blend upon the physical plane. They are, first of all, the test of appetite. This appetite is the natural predilections and tendencies which are inherent in the animal nature and these are mainly three: Sex, physical comfort, and money, as concretized energy. They are, secondly, the tests connected with desire and the astral plane. These are subtler in nature, producing automatic effects upon the physical plane; they are not inherent in the animal nature but are imposed by the desire nature and are again three in number: Fear, hatred and ambition or desire for power. Then there are, thirdly, the tests of the lower critical mind which are: Pride, separativeness and cruelty. Remember that the worst kind of cruelty is not of a physical nature but is more mental in character. Therefore, you have in the category of that which must be tested and proved to be non-existent the following categories, which I am re-enumerating because of their basic importance: [206]

Category I
Sex - the relation of the pairs of opposites. These can be selfishly utilized or divinely blended.
Physical comfort - life conditions, selfishly appropriated.
Money - selfishly cornered (if I may use such a phrase).

Category II
Fear - which conditions activity today.
Hate - which is a factor in conditioning relationships.
Ambition - conditioning objectives.

Category III
Pride - which is intellectual satisfaction, making the mind the barrier to soul control.
Separativeness - which is the isolated attitude and which makes the mind the barrier to right group relations.
Cruelty - which is satisfaction with personality methods and which makes the mind the instrument of the sense of power.

When these faults are realized and are overcome, the result is twofold: the establishing of right relations with the soul and also with the environment. These two results are the goal of all tests in Scorpio.

Agent Smith in actions screwing stuff up near Harajuku Station in TokyoAgent Smith in actions screwing stuff up near Harajuku Station in TokyoAgent Smith in actions screwing stuff up near Harajuku Station in Tokyo

the goonie feeling | intervention and inspiration | kichijoji japan | may 22 2006 | uncloned world From the Guardian: "If it's biology, and not a lack of willpower, that explains why exercise fails so many of us as a weight-loss tool, then we can still find reason for optimism. Since insulin is the primary hormone affecting the activity of LPL on our cells, it's not surprising that insulin is the primary regulator of how fat we get. 'Fat is mobilised [from fat tissue] when insulin secretion diminishes,' the American Medical Association Council on Foods and Nutrition explained back in 1974, before this fact, too, was deemed irrelevant to the question of why we gain weight or the means to lose it. Because insulin determines fat accumulation, it's quite possible that we get fat not because we eat too much or exercise too little, but because we secrete too much insulin or because our insulin levels remain elevated far longer than might be ideal. To be sure, this is the same logic that leads to other unconventional ideas. As it turns out, it's carbohydrates - particularly easily digestible carbohydrates and sugars - that primarily stimulate insulin secretion. 'Carbohydrates is driving insulin is driving fat,' as George Cahill Jr, a retired Harvard professor of medicine and expert on insulin, recently phrased it for me. So maybe if we eat fewer carbohydrates - in particular the easily digestible simple carbohydrates and sugars - we might lose considerable fat or at least not gain any more, whether we exercise or not. This would explain the slew of recent clinical trials demonstrating that dieters who restrict carbohydrates but not calories invariably lose more weight than dieters who restrict calories but not necessarily carbohydrates. Put simply, it's quite possible that the foods - potatoes, pasta, rice, bread, pastries, sweets, fizzy drinks and beer - that our parents always thought were fattening (back when the medical specialists treating obesity believed that exercise made us hungry) really are fattening. And so if we avoid these foods specifically, we may find our weights more in line with our desires."

++++The Goonies++++

One thing that makes acting in films a worthy endeavor for me is how the movies take on a life of their own over time. The degree to which Goonies lives on in the hearts and minds of millions of people continues to amaze me. I suppose we were able to tap into a spirit of magic and adventure that resonates with kids! People want to believe that it's still possible to discover treasure -- or win the lottery.
A film like Goonies is a terrific fantasy that allows kids to enjoy the notion that some game they play in their backyards could become the fantastic adventure of a lifetime. I've had so many people tell me that they used to "play" Goonies in the trees behind their house or that they would "be Mikey" when they and their friends would re-enact scenes from The Goonies.

Chris is a master of manipulating the Tokyo media -- in association with the recent The Da Vinci Code boom, he played Jesus Christ in some biblical documentary on Japanese TV. He showed us the video and I kind of thought, he looked more Charles Manson, than Jesus Christ. Check out the photos below -- what do you think?

Is it Jesus Christ, or Charles Manson?Chris as Christ

gatecrashing the da vinci code | cannes film festival | france | may 19 2006 | uncloned world I LIKE to surround myself with crafty and ingenious people, and my buddy Garnet, from Australia, is as ingenious as it gets. For the past couple of years the guy has been successfully scamming his way into the Cannes Film Festival over there in France, despite the fact that he has no invitation or credentials, and was in fact at one time on the run from the police in two continents! The guy has got class -- he manages to con his way into the festival everytime, whereupon he sets about his mission, which is to find backers for his own movies. Yeah you read that right, he wants to be famous, and he gatecrashes big events like the Cannes Film Festival to con famous entities to support his cause. This guy Garnet is the real Pink Panther of the underground film movement, except he is not clumsy or socially awkward, and he bats for the criminal side of the law. Al Qaeda ought to hire him for assassination missions, he could probably pull it off. In the last email he sent me, he described meeting Sidney Poitier and Samuel L Jackson, and some Indian bird who used to be a Miss World. He also attended the world premiere of The Da Vinci Code, which as most commonsensed people are starting to realize is a complete piece of crap and a waste of the public's time. Here is Garnet's email in full. It is interesting to note that his brother Chris lives close to me in Tokyo, and features prominently in the adventures on this page.

++++Day 1, Cannes 2006++++

How is it used? The blood glucose test is ordered to measure the amount of glucose in the blood right at the time of sample collection. It is used to detect both hyperglycemia and hypoglycemia and to help diagnose diabetes. Blood glucose may be measured on a fasting basis (collected after an 8 to 10 hour fast), randomly (anytime), post prandial (after a meal), and/or as part of an oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT / GTT). An OGTT is a series of blood glucose tests. A fasting glucose is collected; then the patient drinks a standard amount of a glucose solution to "challenge" their system. This is followed by one or more additional glucose tests performed at specific intervals to track glucose levels over time. The OGTT may be ordered to help diagnose diabetes and as a follow-up test to an elevated blood glucose. The American Diabetes Association recommends either the fasting glucose or the OGTT to diagnose diabetes but says that testing should be done twice, at different times, in order to confirm a diagnosis of diabetes. Most pregnant women are screened for gestational diabetes, a temporary form of hyperglycemia, between their 24th and 28th week of pregnancy using a version of the OGTT, a 1-hour glucose challenge. If either fasting glucose or a random glucose is above the values used to diagnose diabetes in those who are not pregnant, the woman is considered to have gestational diabetes and neither the screening nor the glucose tolerance test is needed. If the 1-hour level is higher than the defined value, a longer OGTT is performed to clarify the patient��s status. Diabetics must monitor their own blood glucose levels, often several times a day, to determine how far above or below normal their glucose is and to determine what oral medications or insulin(s) they may need. This is usually done by placing a drop of blood from a skin prick onto a glucose strip and then inserting the strip into a glucose meter, a small machine that provides a digital readout of the blood glucose level. In those with suspected hypoglycemia, glucose levels are used as part of the "Whipple triad" to confirm a diagnosis. (See ��Is there anything else I should know?�� section). The urine glucose is seldom ordered by itself. At one time, it was used to monitor diabetics, but it has been largely replaced by the more sensitive and ��real time�� blood glucose. The urine glucose is, however, one of the substances measured when a urinalysis is performed. A urinalysis may be done routinely as part of a physical, when a doctor suspects that a patient may have a urinary tract infection, or for a variety of other reasons. The doctor may follow an elevated urine glucose test with blood glucose testing. [Back to top] When is it ordered? Blood glucose testing can be used to screen healthy, asymptomatic individuals for diabetes and pre-diabetes because diabetes is a common disease that begins with few symptoms. Screening for glucose may occur during public health fairs or as part of workplace health programs. It may also be ordered when a patient has a routine physical exam. Screening is especially important for people at high risk of developing diabetes, such as those with a family history of diabetes, those who are overweight, and those who are more than 40 to 45 years old. The glucose test may also be ordered to help diagnose diabetes when someone has symptoms of hyperglycemia, such as: * Increased thirst * Increased urination * Fatigue * Blurred vision * Slow-healing infections or symptoms of hypoglycemia, such as: * Sweating * Hunger * Trembling * Anxiety * Confusion * Blurred Vision Blood glucose testing is also done in emergency settings to determine if low or high glucose is contributing to symptoms such as fainting and unconsciousness. If a patient has pre-diabetes (characterized by fasting or OGTT levels that are higher than normal but lower than those defined as diabetic), the doctor will order a glucose test at regular intervals to monitor the patient��s status. With known diabetics, doctors will order glucose levels in conjunction with other tests such as hemoglobin A1c to monitor glucose control over a period of time. Occasionally, a blood glucose level may be ordered along with insulin and C-peptide to monitor insulin production. Diabetics may be required to self-check their glucose, once or several times a day, to monitor glucose levels and to determine treatment options as prescribed by their doctor. Pregnant women are usually screened for gestational diabetes late in their pregnancies, unless they have early symptoms or previously have had gestational diabetes.. When a woman has gestational diabetes, her doctor will usually order glucose levels throughout the rest of her pregnancy and after delivery to monitor her condition. [Back to top] What does the test result mean? High levels of glucose most frequently indicate diabetes, but many other diseases and conditions can also cause elevated glucose. The following information summarizes the meaning of the test results. These are based on the clinical practice recommendations of the American Diabetes Association. Fasting Blood Glucose From 70 to 99 mg/dL (3.9 to 5.5 mmol/L) Normal glucose tolerance From 100 to 125 mg/dL (5.6 to 6.9 mmol/L) Impaired fasting glucose (pre-diabetes) 126 mg/dL (7.0 mmol/L) and above on more than one testing occasion Diabetes Oral Glucose Tolerance Test (OGTT) [except pregnancy] (2 hours after a 75-gram glucose drink) Less than 140 mg/dL (7.8 mmol/L) Normal glucose tolerance From 140 to 200 mg/dL (7.8 to 11.1 mmol/L) Impaired glucose tolerance (pre-diabetes) Over 200 mg/dL (11.1 mmol/L) on more than one testing occasion Diabetes Gestational Diabetes Screening: Glucose Challenge Test (1 hour after a 50-gram glucose drink) Less than 140* mg/dL (7.8 mmol/L) Normal glucose tolerance 140* mg/dL (7.8 mmol/L) and over Abnormal, needs OGTT (see below) * Some use a cutoff of >130 mg/dL (7.2 mmol/L) because that identifies 90% of women with gestational diabetes, compared to 80% identified using the threshold of >140 mg/dL (7.8 mmol/L). Gestational Diabetes Diagnostic: OGTT (100-gram glucose drink) Fasting* 95 mg/dL (5.3 mmol/L) 1 hour after glucose load* 180 mg/dL (10.0 mmol/L) 2 hours after glucose load* 155 mg/dL (8.6 mmol/L) 3 hours after glucose load* ** 140 mg/dL (7.8 mmol/L) * If two or more values are above the criteria, gestational diabetes is diagnosed. ** A 75-gram glucose load may be used, although this method is not as well validated as the 100-gram OGTT; the 3-hour sample is not drawn if 75 grams is used. Some of the other diseases and conditions that can result in elevated glucose levels include: * Acromegaly * Acute stress (response to trauma, heart attack, and stroke for instance) * Chronic renal failure * Cushing syndrome * Drugs, including: corticosteroids, tricyclic antidepressants, diuretics, epinephrine, estrogens (birth control pills and hormone replacement), lithium, phenytoin (Dilantin), salicylates, * Excessive food intake * Hyperthyroidism * Pancreatic cancer * Pancreatitis Low to non-detectible urine glucose results are considered normal. Anything that raises blood glucose levels also has the potential to elevate urine glucose levels. Increased urine glucose levels may be seen with medications, such as estrogens and chloral hydrate, and with some forms of renal disease. Moderately increased levels may be seen with pre-diabetes. This condition, if left un-addressed, often leads to type 2 diabetes. Low glucose levels (hypoglycemia) are also seen with: * Adrenal insufficiency * Drinking alcohol * Drugs, such as acetaminophen and anabolic steroids * Extensive liver disease * Hypopituitarism * Hypothyroidism * Insulin overdose * Insulinomas (insulin-producing pancreatic tumors) * Starvation [Back to top] Is there anything else I should know? Hypoglycemia is characterized by a drop in blood glucose to a level where first it causes nervous system symptoms (sweating, palpitations, hunger, trembling, and anxiety), then begins to affect the brain (causing confusion, hallucinations, blurred vision, and sometimes even coma and death). An actual diagnosis of hypoglycemia requires satisfying the "Whipple triad." These three criteria include: * Documented low glucose levels (less than 40 mg/dL (2.2 mmol/L) often tested along with insulin levels and sometimes with C-Peptide levels) * Symptoms of hypoglycemia * Reversal of the symptoms when blood glucose levels are returned to normal. Primary hypoglycemia is rare and often diagnosed in infancy. People may have symptoms of hypoglycemia without really having low blood sugar. In such cases, dietary changes such as eating frequent small meals and several snacks a day and choosing complex carbohydrates over simple sugars may be enough to ease symptoms. Those with fasting hypoglycemia may require IV (intravenous) glucose if dietary measures are insufficient.
Garnet with Samuel L Jackson and Sidney Poitier at the Cannes Film Festival in FranceSome of the gorgeous sights on view at the Cannes Film Festival in France, 2006Garnet with Samuel L Jackson and Sidney Poitier at the Cannes Film Festival in France

wednesday | may 10 | 2006 | tokyo | japan AFTER a long hiatus?CI am back in the Tokyo acting/modelling/extraing scene... and absolutely loving it. Today was a spectacular day which not only delivered me a reasonable amount of money (15 000 Yen) for relatively easy work (dancing in a hiphop club)?Cbut it also introduced to a bunch of fine fellows. And not only were the fine fellows I met today cool and fun and fresh?Cbut they were also inspirational... and after hanging out with them for the day I began to ask myself?F "What the hell am I doing with my life?H Why can't I lift my sights a little higher?H" Well?Cmy sights have been lifted?Cand I am aiming for the stars. And curiously?CI was able to meet a real life star today?Cas I will presently relate. But first, let me relate, the specifics of the Tokyo media job I undertook today:

This job was a kind of hip-hop video/shoes commercial crossover, filmed in one of the first clubs I ever visited in Japan: Club Asia at Shibuya. Along with a crew of some ten foreigners and about 40 or 50 Japanese, my job was to basically dance in the background while three beautiful women -- a new hip-hop group being promoted in the video -- pranced around in the foreground. That's right, you read that right -- my job was to dance, their job was to prance! There was a lot of time between takes which gave me the chance to become acquainted with my fellow extras -- the good fellows I was alluding to before! -- and they were good, believe me! About half of the group were Russian chicks of the kind who often turn up to film shoots like this -- they are housewives of Japanese gents for the most part, looking to having a little fun and making a little mon during the daylight hours (when hub's away). Of the non-Russians?Cthere was one Canadian guy called Jeff who said he had set up a website to allow foreign models to meet Japanese women (interesting idea). Jeff encouraged me to keep on going with the development of my website?Cuntil I push into the realms of profitability. He also said something which was to hang with me for the rest of the month: "It is possible to make all your dreams come true in Japan?Cbut you have to get out there and make it happen." It made me feel like I have been missing out on life these past few years. Well, it is time I did some catching up!

There were a handful of other foreign guys there?Cand they were all great value in their own way. I kind of got the feeling that after a long time of being shipwrecked amongst the Japanese masses, I had found my kindred spirits... the right people for this period of my life. I spent a lot of time talking to this South African guy called Dom. At the end of the day he astounded me when he revealed that he had been a star on the popular Japanese reality TV show Ai Nori. I have since asked a lot of Japanese people if they know who Dom is, and a lot of them do indeed know. Yes siree my new friend is actually famous in Japan... and I am looking forward to drinking and linking up with him a lot in the future!

This weblog is intended to document the media job opportunities in Japan. To be more specific?Cit will tell you where to find media jobs in Tokyo?Cbecause that?fs the place I live and hang out within. What do I mean by ?gmedia jobs?h?Cexactly?H Well?Cto begin with?Cthere are the obvious stereotypical media jobs?Csuch as writing for newspapers and presenting on TV and the like. I recently started working as a restaurant reviewer for a Tokyo magazine and I will give you some information about that in due course. But more importantly?CI want to use this weblog to capture and relate my experiences in the acting and modelling fields. If you know where to find it?Cthere is so much going on here.
So here is where you find it!
If you are also interested in the Icelandic music scene, this site is also for you! It might seem a big leap from working and acting in Japan to chilling in an Icelandic bar, but it is a leap I frequently make. It is all recorded above and below and throughout, if you care to read on!