2015: My Year in Review

I think a lot of people found a lot of fault in 2015. I empathize with them. However, for me, it was a pretty big year on a lot of levels.

It began in quite a chaotic state. Kate’s job necessitated a move north to San Jose – an area I’m still struggling to appreciate in any meaningful way. The shift wasn’t made easier by my returning from tour less than a month before the shift started to take shape.

I went to Japan in March, by my lonesome. While I can lay out several reasons for the trip, I’m still not sure how to adequately explain the desire to go nor the end result. If anything, it strengthened my desire to be there and immerse myself in the country’s benefits. It became more relevant later in the year. Continue reading

Justin’s Japan Announcement

March 2014: I went with GWAR to Japan. It was their first tour there, and I thought I could be of service. I met up with them in Osaka for the first show, then traveled to Tokyo for show number two (Dave Brockie’s last). Would you like to know more? I wrote a travelogue on the trip.

March 2015: I went to Japan solo. There were many reasons – to reward myself for busting ass on fall tour with GWAR; to practice my Japanese-language skills; attempt to make some contacts that could lead to work; to pay homage to Brockie; to see my favorite Japanese group open their tour. It wasn’t as productive as I hoped but was still very worthwhile.

March 2016: I will be going back to Osaka Japan. And there I will stay for 13 months, as I have been offered (and accepted) a gig as a performer at the Universal Studios Japan theme park.

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A strong American, alone in Osaka. 03.08.2014

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7 Reasons to Buy My New Novel!

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My novel, The Siblings Who Shook The World, released today on Amazon Kindle. It’s the sequel to my first book, Still Man Fights. I’m very proud of the book, and I’m a pretty harsh critic of my own creative output. I would like you to check it out. Still not convinced? Well then, here are…

7 Reasons To Buy The Siblings Who Shook The World

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Putting The Bands Back Together: Guitar Hero vs. Rock Band

I am fascinated that both Guitar Hero and Rock Band have actually returned after a multi-year hiatus, much less that both have come out within weeks of one another! On top of that, both take such different angles in their comeback special!

Let me state first that I have yet to play either either franchise’s newest entry. But I’ve kept curiously up on news and features, and find so much of this compelling. As such, I felt inspired to write about it. Wanna read it? Here it go.

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Early preview for 360 port of Guitar Hero 2

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10.13.15 Democratic Debate In Review

I try to stay abreast of politics, even if it is often a source of rage. I think last-year’s me would be upset that I’m so invested so early into the 2016 presidential election hype, but that’s how it is. Here are my thoughts on last night’s debate.

I tuned into some “pre-game” on CNN. Is there any argument that major media outlets are treating Hillary Clinton like the home team on a local network channel’s sports coverage? I don’t think so. This theme remains any time someone from CNN gives their “take” on the debate, or the race as a whole. It is plain that they want Bernie Sanders to go away. And can you blame them? He abhors corporate media, and he says so early and often. He won’t play their games; he just wants to talk about the issues. Not to mention that he’s not being financially supported by giant corporations – who in turn advertise with these corporate media outlets thereby having some semblance of power in their coverage perspective.

Anyway, on to the debate. I will say the Democrats as a whole had a strong showing, and it was an issues-focused discussion that I thoroughly enjoyed. Continue reading

Japan Travel Cheat Sheet

I’ve been to Japan 10 times now. I’ve studied the language pretty intensely for the last two years (thanks to the awesome app, Human Japanese). Japan has become my happy place, and a lot of others are interested in checking it out as well. I couldn’t recommend it more! To help facilitate travel, I’ve put together a cheat-sheet of (hopefully) valuable information and tips, along with several helpful phrases to get you by. Feel free to ask any questions in the comments. Enjoy! 楽しんで下さい!

General

  • Don’t forget that you are not only representing yourself, but your nation and your ethnicity. Leave the Japanese people with a good impression of us!
  • The flight(s) will suck. Things that will make flying to/from Japan suck less: plenty of snacks, good headphones (preferably noise-cancelling), an eye mask, toothbrush/toothpaste in your carry-on.
  • Jet-lag is legit. Try to get on Japan’s schedule ASAP. Don’t nap after noon the first day, and don’t go to bed before 10:30pm.
  • I suggest always having your passport with you. It’s your most important possession.
  • Do as much legwork and research as you can before you go. You can’t be too prepared, though I also love wandering around aimlessly.
  • When a Japanese person makes an X with their arms or looks like they’re swatting a fly, that means “No.” If you see one of those, maybe stop what you’re doing.

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Sucky Sony Customer Support

In the latest console wars, I chose PlayStation 4. Late last gen, my PS3 was the preferred gaming device (PS+ and my 360’s loud-ass fan were contributing factors), and their first-party stuff interests me more. So when they went on sale at Target in December of 2014, I bought one. Had I known what kind of customer support I was going to receive, I may have bought a different console.

Playing Bloodborne (an awesome game), I noticed at times my character stuttered when I was pressing up on the left analog stick. It was intermittent so didn’t really bother me. However, the issue kept getting worse. And as I was getting further in the game, those hiccups became costly. Then it became noticeable in Batman: Arkham Knight (another awesome game).

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Great game (as long as you can move up)

I had no choice but to contact support. After all, new controllers are freaking $60 – the price of a big-budget, new-release game – and I’d only had mine for about 8 months. And some Googling showed that it was a very common problem, so I assumed Sony was well-equipped to fix their faulty hardware. Continue reading