Friday, June 29, 2007

Call to Action

I know that as citizens in a consumerist nation, it can be hard pressed to feel like what you do has any weight. Everyone decides for themselves what steps they decide to take. You may choose a company that make environmentally friendly products, but are based overseas in workshop like conditions. Maybe you choose to buy American, but they have ties with unsavory political groups. We each choose our own, but I believe the information, regardless of your view, should be available nonetheless. So I am reposting this message I received from some local queer activists, that post on myspace from their page The Queer Revolution. Maybe it will spur some of you to be more conscious or where you shop or even better, make a phone call.



At 4:00 p.m. on Sunday June 24th (gay pride parade), a very good friend of The Queer Revolution was in the Homeland at NW 39th and Penn. She was waiting in line to pay and the woman in front of her was complaining about the traffic and huge crowd that had assembled in the vicinity waiting for the parade. She said that the lack of available parking was “bad for customers.” The manager, who was assisting the cashier behind the counter said, “Yeah, well … I WISH I COULD SHOOT THEM ALL.”

The following day (Monday), a phone call was made to the Homeland District Office to lodge a formal complaint. Judy (at 405-216-2200) with Homeland took the complaint and promised a returned call from a District Manager to discuss the situation. To date, this call has not been returned.

Based on this incident, The Queer Revolution is hereby calling for an official boycott of this Homeland grocery store, which is located in the middle of Oklahoma City’s Gay District. Not only has the manager of this store exhibited the type of homophobia TQR fights daily, but also Homeland’s district office has shown no interest in attempting to resolve this situation.

Revolutionaries, we ask that you repost this bulletin in hopes to spread the word of the kind of blatant homophobia that was experienced on (of all days) the year's most open celebration of gay pride.

Please feel free to contact Judy at the Homeland District Office and relate your concerns about this incident. She can be reached at 405-216-2200.


Please Repost!

We love you all,

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Japanese Culture and Shopping

More info on Japan. Not only to show you, but to remind myself of what I want to see when I get there.

Harajuku refers to the area around Tokyo's Harajuku Station, one station north of Shibuya on the Yamanote Line. It is the center of Japan's most extreme teenage cultures and fashion styles, but also offers shopping for grown-ups and some historic sights.

The focal point of Harajuku's teenage culture is Takeshita Dori (Takeshita Street) and its side streets, which are lined by many trendy shops, fashion boutiques, used clothes stores, crepe stands and fast food outlets geared towards the fashion and trend conscious teens.

In order to experience the teenage culture at its most extreme, visit Harajuku on a Sunday, when many young people gather around Harajuku Station and engage in cosplay ("costume play"), dressed up in crazy costumes to resemble anime characters, punk musicians, etc.

Shops, cafes and restaurants for all ages are found along Omotesando, a broad, tree lined avenue, sometimes referred to as Tokyo's Champs-Elysees. Omotesando Hills, a recently opened shopping complex along the avenue, has been attracting particularly lots of attention.

However, Harajuku is not only about teenage culture and shopping. Meiji Shrine, one of Tokyo's major shrines, is located just west of the railway tracks in a large green oasis shared with Yoyogi Park, a spacious public park. Beautiful ukiyo-e paintings are exhibited in the small Ota Memorial Museum of Art.

Takeshita Dori
The symbol of Harajuku and birthplace of many of Japan's fashion trends, Takeshita Dori (Takeshita Street) is a narrow, roughly 400 meter long street lined by shops, boutiques, cafes and fast food outlets targeting Tokyo's teenagers.
Shops along Takeshita Dori tend to be open daily from 11:00 to 20:00.

Referred to as Tokyo's Champs-Elysees, Omotesando is a one kilometer long, tree lined avenue, serving as the main approach to Meiji Shrine. Numerous stores, boutiques, cafes and restaurants, including several leading fashion brand shops, stand along the avenue.
Shops along Omotesando tend to be open daily from 11:00 to 20:00.

To Add To the Last Post

Of course, part of the experience of eating is the liquid refreshment that accompanies your food. In this case, alcohol. I basically just split the posting into two entries. Knowing my friends though, they will probably take more interest in this one. Also from the same website,

A large variety of alcoholic beverages can be found in Japan. Some of the most popular ones are listed below:

Beer is the most popular alcoholic drink in Japan. The biggest Japanese beer breweries are Asahi, Kirin, Suntory and Sapporo. Beer was imported to Japan in the early Meiji Period by foreign specialists who were invited to Japan for the development of the northern island of Hokkaido.

Happoshu, a recent invention by Japanese brewing companies, literally means "sparkling alcohol". It looks like beer, contains the same amount of alcohol as beer, but is made with less malt than beer, giving it a different, lighter taste. As a result of its lower malt content, happoshu is not classified as a beer for taxation purposes and can be sold at a lower price.

Rice Wine (nihonshu or sake)
Nihonshu or sake (sake is the general Japanese term for alcohol) is basically made of rice and water. Besides major brands, there are countless regional rice wines. The alcohol content of rice wine is about 10-20%, and it can be drunken cold or hot.

Wine is very popular in Japan, especially among women. Most wines are imported from overseas. Yamanashi Prefecture is the most famous wine producing region within Japan.

Japanese plum wine (umeshu)
A sweet alcoholic beverage made of Japanese plums (ume).

Shochu is a distilled spirit with a high alcohol content. Rice, sweet potatoes, wheat and sugar cane are some of the most common bases for shochu.

Chuhai are flavored alcoholic drinks with a relatively low alcohol content. They come in many different flavors such as lemon, grapefruit and pineapple, and are based on shochu.

Western style liqueur
Whisky, in particular, is very popular in Japan, where it is often enjoyed with water and ice.

Alcoholic beverages can be bought in supermarkets, department stores, convenience stores, specialized alcohol stores (sakaya) and at vending machines. The minimum legal age for purchasing and consuming alcoholic beverages is 20 years.

Drinking Manners

When drinking alcoholic beverages, it is a Japanese custom to serve each other, rather than pouring the beverage into one's own glass. You are supposed to periodically check your friends' cups, and serve them more once their cups are getting empty. Likewise, if someone wants to serve you more alcohol, you should quickly empty your glass and hold it towards that person.

While it is considered bad manner to become obviously drunk in some formal restaurants, for example in restaurants that serve kaiseki ryori (Japanese haute cuisine), the same is not true for other types of restaurants such as izakaya, as long as you do not bother other guests.

Do not start drinking until everybody at the table is served and the glasses are raised for a drinking salute, which usually is "kampai". Avoid using "chin chin" when drinking a toast, since in Japanese this expression refers to the male genitals.

A Look of the Tastes to Come

As most of you know by now I will be leaving soon for my trip to Taiwan and Japan. I have been to Taiwan many times and I am excited to return. Although I must say that I am extremely excited about my visit to Japan. I have never been to Japan, but have done much research into various parts of Japan's history concerning male/ female relations, homosexuality and its treatment, and Japan's relations with the rest of Asia, especially concerning Taiwan. Besides loving Japanese food, Anime and segments of its technology, I am very excited to actually experience how the Japanese live and interact today. Since I have a very limited amount of time in one the biggest and busiest cities in the world, Tokyo, I am doing as much research as possible to fit in as much as possible. While I will be making postings from my trip, I figured I'de share some info, with some of you as to what I do not know, but will soon find out. Of course those that know me will find it no surprise that I am starting off with food. This plethora of information is from a handy website called

A large number of restaurant types can be found in Japan. Below is an attempt to introduce some of the most popular restaurant types in categorized form:

Specialized Japanese Restaurants

Many restaurants in Japan specialize in just one type of food.

* Sushi-ya
Sushi-ya are restaurants which specialize in sushi. In most sushi-ya, customers can sit either at a normal table or at a counter (sushi bar), behind which the sushi chef is working.

* Kaiten-zushi
Kaiten-zushi are sushi restaurants, where the sushi dishes are presented to the customers on a conveyor belt. Customers can then freely pick the dishes that they like or order dishes which are not available on the belt. In the end, the number of plates is counted to determine the cost. There are usually a few kinds of plates (differing in color or pattern), each being associated with a certain price. Kaiten-zushi tend to be less expensive than usual sushi-ya.

* Soba-ya
Soba-ya specialize in soba and udon noodle dishes. Most noodle dishes come either cooled with a dipping sauce or hot in a soup with different toppings. The menu often changes slightly with the seasons, with hiyashi (cold) noodles popular in summer and nabeyaki udon popular in winter.

* Ramen-ya
Ramen-ya specialize in ramen dishes, Chinese style noodles served in a soup with various toppings. Every ramen-ya has developed its own soup, the most crucial ingredient for a restaurant's success. Several other dishes of Chinese origin, such as gyoza and fried rice, are usually also available at a ramen-ya.

* Kare-ya
Kare-ya are restaurants that specialize in curry rice (kareraisu) dishes. There is usually at least one kare-ya inside or around any major railway station.

* Tonkatsu-ya
Tonkatsu-ya serve tonkatsu, deep fried breaded pork cutlets. Korokke and other deep fried dishes are also available at many tonkatsu-ya.

* Gyudon-ya
Gyudon-ya specialize in gyudon (beef domburi). Gyudon-ya tend to be inexpensive fast food style restaurants.

* Okonomiyaki-ya
Okonomiyaki-ya specialize in okonomiyaki and sometimes monjayaki. Customers are usually preparing their okonomiyaki by themselves on a hot plate which is built into the table.

* Yakitori-ya
Yakitori-ya specialize in yakitori, grilled chicken skewers. They are particularly popular among salarymen after work.

* Tempura-ya
Tempura-ya specialize in tempura dishes, such as tendon (tempura domburi) and assorted tempura.

* Unagi-ya
Unagi-ya specialize in unagi (fresh water eel) dishes such as unajuu and unadon (unagi domburi).

* Sukiyaki-ya
Sukiyaki-ya specialize in sukiyaki and shabu-shabu. They tend to be expensive and are not very numerous.

General Restaurants

The following are some restaurant types that offer a broader range of dishes than specialized stores.

* Izakaya
Izakaya are drinking places that offer a variety of small dishes, such as robata (grilled food), salads and finger food. It is probably the most popular restaurant type among the Japanese people. Izakaya tend to be informal, and the people at one table usually share all dishes, rather than ordering and eating individually.

* Family Restaurant and Shokudo
Family restaurants (famiresu) offer a variety of Western, Chinese and Japanese dishes in order to please all family members. Shokudo also offer a variety of dishes, however, the term is not commonly used anymore, and the difference to family restaurants is small.

* Teishoku-ya
Teishoku-ya are restaurants that sell teishoku (set menus). A set menu usually consists of a main dish such as a fried fish, a bowl of cooked rice and small side dishes. Teishoku-ya are especially numerous in business areas and popular during lunch time.

Foreign Cuisine

Many restaurants in Japan specialize in a foreign cuisine. Especially Korean, Chinese and Italian cooking, as well as American style fast food enjoys a great popularity among the Japanese.

* Yakiniku-ya
Yakiniku-ya specialize in Korean style barbecue, where small pieces of meat are broiled on a grill at the table. Other popular Korean dishes such as bibimba are usually also available at a yakiniku-ya.

* Chinese Restaurants
There are very many Chinese restaurants in Japan. Many of them serve slightly Japanized Chinese dishes, while others offer authentic Chinese food.

* Italian Restaurants
The Italian cuisine is very popular across Japan. Many Italian restaurants have Japanese flavored pasta dishes on their menus besides conventional dishes.

* Hamburger Fast Food
There are many hamburger fast food restaurants across Japan. They include major American chain stores such as McDonald's, but also various Japanese chain stores such as Mos Burger and Lotteria.

* Yoshoku-ya
Yoshoku-ya specialize in yoshoku ryori (Western Food). The dishes served at yoshoku-ya are heavily Japanized Western dishes, such as omuraisu and hayashiraisu.

* Ethnic Cuisine
In Japan, ethnic cuisine means South East Asian food, such as Thai, Indonesian and Vietnamese food.

I will be giving a catalog of my eats from street vendors (good food and cheap) to nice restaurants. Yes, I will try anything while I am there, well except the walrus penis thing I saw Anthony Bourdain eat on his show "No Reservations".

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Remember Who You Are

Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.
Martin Luther King Jr.
US black civil rights leader & clergyman (1929 - 1968)

Oppression can only survive through silence.
Carmen de Monteflores

Nothing is so good for an ignorant man as silence; and if he was sensible of this he would not be ignorant.
Persian poet (1184 - 1291)