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Strip 74


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< Piro >

yeah, that's me at Tadao Ando's Himeji Children's Museum

"tonari no piro"

Wednesday - January 31, 2001

[Piro] - 02:23:00 - [link here]

I'm out of coffee.

Like most people, I have a morning ritual. I'll drag myself out of bed, pull the computer out of sleep to see what damage has occurred overnight, a Brown Sugar Cinnamon Pop Tart goes into the toaster (which, btw, actually has a 'Pop Tarts' setting) and then I fire up my Krups coffee maker and brew up some coffee! Now, I know damn well that coffee doesn’t really wake you up - it just satisfies a chemical dependency you have developed over time - but at 7:00 am ... i just don't care.

This morning, the can of Folgers Breakfast Blend is empty. I swear, i must have used a spatula to get the last of the grounds out yesterday. I even contemplated digging some old grounds out of the trash, just to brew SOMETHING... thankfully there was some other stuff on top that prevented me from digging deeper. Why the big-455 can of Folgers rather than the fancier, stronger, better tasting blends like Starbucks and the like? Mainly, because i can buy more coffee with less money so I don't run out. Like today.

I just have to do without this morning.

Last night when Seraphim called she told me it was my turn to make dinner, which of course meant that we were eating out. Like most people, we have a variety of haunts that we visit on a regular basis, but for the most part I am a big fan of Chinese/Japanese/Korean/Thai cuisine. Well, mostly Japanese, in my case. There are a lot of really good Japanese restaurants here in Ann Arbor, and since we also wanted to hit the Asian grocery store we decided to head over to Godaiko (hmm, buy one California roll get one free, buy one Sapporo get one free... hmm, must remember Tuesday night special) I'm pretty fond of Sushi and Gyoza, as well as most other Japanese foods (some of the pickled stuff takes some courage ^_^)

The search for a 'favorite restaurant' is considered fun by some and frustrating by others. I'm actually the type of person that likes to have specific haunts and menus to choose from - when i experiment it can lead to disasters. When Seraphim and I lived in Atlanta, we really did have a hands-down favorite restaurant. In fact, whenever we eat sushi out, inevitably we talk about the place. Over on Buford Highway there is a great little restaurant called "Satsuki" It's not a fancy sushi place where you are expected to drop $80 a person for dinner - it's a swell little restaurant run by very nice people and always reminded me of my own side street experiences in Japan. If you live in the Atlanta area, you are hearby ordered to eat there. Tell them the American couple that used to eat there at least once-twice a week back in 1999 says 'hi'. We really do miss the place.

Oddly enough, when I was in Japan, I didn't eat any sushi at all. I spent most of my time running around visiting buildings by my favorite architect Tadao Ando (that's the Children's Museum in Himeji, Hyogo, one of my favorite Ando buildings - note that it was pouring when I was there... it was an interesting experience. And yes, that's me.)

Eating in Japan was a fun experience, because i did it 'on the cheap'. Box lunches at Lawsons or 7-11, a bowl of Udon at a small restaurant, or my infamous encounter with a friendly older Japanese couple in a Okinomiyaki restaurant somewhere in Osaka... (sigh) it was fun, it really was. We kept passing beers back and forth to each other, even tho we could barely communicate (I had forgot my dictionary - my Japanese is not as good as the comic-piro's Japanese, FYI) I distinctly remember standing in a park overlooking a river in Osaka near the hotel drinking very bad sake from a vending machine. Everything was blue, very blue. The neon signs on the buildings across the river filled the sky and the park with a electric neon blue. I guess I was feeling kind of sad that evening, because I was going home the next day...

Ah, I am digressing again.

The only 'western' food i gave into was in the mornings, when I was tired and cranky and had to get my ass moving in the morning. I would find a Mcdonalds and get a Sausage McMuffin with Egg and a Coffee. I needed my coffee. And the canned stuff just didn't do it for me in the mornings.

Ah, almost forgot a few things. Before I get another email with these questions, I'll answer them here. It's easier. ^_^ 'L33T' is 'l33tspeak' for 'elite' - its slang, its computer-eese born out of a text based environment. I find the variations and use of l33tspeak interesting because it's similar in some ways to the ways that the Japanese use english in thier own culture. It sounds cool, even if you don't always understand the real meaning of it. 'b4k4' is l33tspeak for 'baka', which is a Japanese word that roughly translates to 'fool' or 'idiot'. If you have ever seen Hoshino Ruri in 'Nadesico' you will understand how effectively it can be used to comment on the idiots around you.

Speaking of Nadesico and Ruri-ruri, the character that Piro is playing in today's strip is slightly different than the 'RuriQuake' concept that surfaced a few years ago. Out of respect for the creators of Nadesico, Keiji Goto's marvelous character design, and the desire to avoid future problems with using the name and visage of Ruri herself, i've tweaked this idea a little. 'PiroQuake' as i've been calling her is a cross between RuriQuake and Piro. I want to pay homage to Ruri with her, but i think a few twists in the character design that I have made are rather fun. :)

Finally, at the request of Seraphim, who seems to be in a rather romantic Cupid-like mode lately (must have something to do with this megabear thing) Anyhoo, this poor guy made a deal with his girlfriend that she would marry him if his site made 1 million hits by Valentines day. Ah, what the hell. Give the guy a hand, we don't want to give him an excuse to get out of marrying the girl.


< Largo >

you're already here.


Thursday - January 25, 2001

[Largo] - 00:22:00 - [link here]

Piro talks too much.

I mean really now, there was a time these rants would only be a few paragraphs at most, yet now they seem to just drag on forever like the final years of M*A*S*H*.

It's been my view that the purpose of writing is to communicate ideas. A simple enough analysis, but if you think about it, the most effective way to communicate is with as few words as possible. This is the 'less is more' concept. This concept also applies to the Sports Illustrated swimsuit calendar.

On with the show, first up MegaTokyo is proud to present the "Mega Bear" just in time for Valentines Day. These bears are the perfect gift to make sure your significant other realizes just how much they mean to you. Then again, there is the chance they'll just think you are a big freak for giving them a bear with a webcomic on it. Either way, things will never be quite the same, and that isn't half bad! These bears will be done as a limited run, so please get your orders in quickly, because once Valentine's Day is over, these bears will no longer be available - in fact, the last day you can order these bears will be February 6th.

For those of you that don't currently have a significant other, I'm going to let you in on a secret. The bears make great gaming mascots. Just place the bear near your PC or Console and its magic powers go to work instantly. However every Mega Bear is unique and so results may vary.

Recently MegaTokyo lost the coveted #2 spot on BigPanda - the defacto standard webcomic ranking list. Even with the site's record hits this past week we've been falling behind everyone else, ahwell - as someone bluntly put it to me today 'the honeymoon is over, now the marriage begins' � This does not bode well for the advocates of marriage.

Speaking of webcomics, there is a newcomer to the scene by the name of NeoBaka which has been the cause of a lot of email sent my way. The comic is done in a manga style and is targeted towards anime fans and gamers, it also sports a strikingly similar site layout to our own. However let me set the record straight on this one, contrary to the posts in their forums, I do not think they are a rip-off of MegaTokyo. In fact, I think their work rocks. Piro and I did not write the book on manga style gamer comics, nor are we the sacred keepers of the side-by-side yin/yang rant format. As writers and artists, we all find inspiration differently, and a few trivial similarities between our sites should not detract from the coolness and originality of their work. I think they are off to a great start, and I wish them the best of luck in their new endeavor.

Tonight I found a new way to kill some time and listen to some tunes by pointing my browser over to All Game Radio, after listening to their show I've determined two things, they like some weird music, and they are much better at leveling in Asheron's Call then I am.


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