Sunday, October 07, 2007

2003 Oita JET Sayonara Party


Now that I've converted my old VHS to DVDs I'm able to add some video components to this retrospection project.

This is from the 2003 JET Sayonara Party, and was originally part of a much longer video filmed by my friend Greg. I've excerpted here only the 2 minutes or so in which I appear.

The Oita JET Sayonara party is an annual event to say good-bye to all the outgoing JETs (although it takes place a couple months before the big change-over happens).

The video is fairly self explanatory. Greg is behind the camera and comes over to our table where he first tries to interview Sanko-Mura Mike. Mike deflects the video camera by saying, "No, go to Joel, go to Joel, get the political commentary" (I had developed a reputation in those days for turning every conversation political, something I don't think I do quite as much anymore). I then make a brief attempt to take over the narration of Greg's video, but he quickly pulls away from me and works his way around to the rest of the table. [Among the babble escaping from my lips is the untrue claim that the JET Sayonara party is where we say good-bye to old JETs and welcome the new ones. the new ones wouldn't arrive for another couple months]. There's a small blip where I edited out a couple of obscene jokes not suitable for public broadcast on the internet. And then the video camera comes back to me as I ask Greg some mundane question about a cell phone text message. And that's pretty much it.

You may notice I'm drinking a glass of beer at the party. This was before my non drinking policy became a hard and fast rule, but even back then I still rarely drank. After the usual youthful experimentation, I decided I just didn't care for it all that much and would only drink if I felt it was socially obligatory. (I later decided that this was exactly the wrong sort of reason to have a drink, and after decided to cut it out altogether, but that wasn't until a couple years later.)

On this particular night, I initially declined a drink at which point Mike responded, "This is our last night out together, you better have a drink with me". Which was a blatant lie, because this party was about a month and half or so in advance of his actual leaving, and we had many subsequent nights out in the interval, but I agreed to have a few drinks after all.

One of the dangers of almost never drinking is that you don't have a good idea of what your limits are when you actually do drink, and the night ended badly for me. But probably the less said about that the better...

...other than to say that I was never again pressured to drink by this group after that night.

Link of the Day
Via Phil's blog is this link to an article in the Nation rebutting the claim by right wing historians that the Vietnam War could have been winnable. I've not read the actual books being rebutted, but I agree with Phil that "The essay is an invaluable study of how bad information, which is easily shown to be wrong, can still get out there in book form with a bunch of high-class blurbs on its back and become part of the cultural narrative about "history.""

And while we're making comparisons to Vietnam, I think this song is getting more and more relevant every day.

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