This piece was originally published September 14th, 2009

Happy Telepghone Icon jpgThe other day while driving around town, in an area that could also be called the wrong side of the tracks, my girlfriend and I were surprised to see an actual pay phone booth that not only still seemed to be in usable service, but it also had a door for privacy!

If you really look around they are still out there, as are public telephones sans the booth part, but they are fast becoming both obsolete and some, very rare objets d’ art.

These days I would wager that the majority of folks around the world in most developed or even semi-developed nations, own and use a cellular telephone.

Most people no longer own land lines, and therefore very few people find the need to use a public telephone. I am positive that there are some people alive today who do not even know what one is.

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Hey Menko! A Look at Japan’s Colorful Little Card Wonders

This piece was originally published April 20th, 2009 Menko Man IconMenko is two things: first, a card game that has been played by kids in Japan since Japan’s Edo period (1603 to 1868 a.k.a. the pre modern isolationist Shogunate era of Japan, usually the period where most bad ass Samurai films take place) and is surprisingly still around today, and second, the name for the actual cards themselves. Menko as a game is similar to marbles and with much respect to this actual game, which is ingrained in a multitude of Japanese childhood memories to this day, you probably won’t be playing Menko anytime soon, nor will I, but oh boy, a piece of cardboard with a colorful printed image on one side has rarely been as visually appealing and fun as the glorious Menko. The Menko card reflects Japan’s cultural history, pop history and team sports history. Being a close relative to the trading card, or even a Pokemon card, kids have collected them, traded them and probably sneaked a few into their pockets at the corner store…uhh, forgetting to pay at the register.


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