The Mutha-Bloggin’ Asian

@Kenji_Onozawa Died On Saturday

Posted in Social Media by bigkenjdogg on August 25, 2009

I tried to fight it. With every ounce of strength, I tried. But this past weekend, after months of struggling and holding out, I finally succumb to the pressures surrounding me and did what I swore I would never do.

I shortened my Twitter handle.

For you out there, you might not understand why this is a big deal. “It’s just a Twitter username, dude. Chill out, home skillet,” you might be saying. To that, I say no it is not JUST a Twitter username. It is who I am. With the evolution of the social web, my online and offline personas have completely merged. @Kenji_Onozawa online is Kenji Onozawa in real life. To me, it is kind of big deal.

You see, when I first joined Twitter, I had no idea what I was doing. Things like retweets, hashtags, and other words that started with “tw-” meant nothing to me. Then slowly over time it clicked with me. “Ahh, I get Twitter. Kind of.”

First I had a handful of followers, then slowly that number grew and along with it, so did my understanding of the Twittersphere. And the entire time, I had been using the same handle – @Kenji_Onozawa.

And for those of you counting at home, that’s 13 characters.13 glorious characters.

Why does that matter? Because in the world of Twitter, you’re only allowed 140 characters to write a message which although seems like a lot, is used up much quicker than most people would like and often leaves people thinking up some creative solutions to trim the fat, so-to-speak.

And not only was my Twitter handle long, it was difficult for everyone but me to spell. Not so much Kenji. Kenji is a like a free pass. “It’s like Benji with a K,” I always say. But my last name is like making people remember Pi. It always throws people for a loop. OH-EN-OH-ZEE-AY-DOUBLE-YUH-AY. What the frick? SERIOUSLY? What are you? Mohican?

Yes, I know it’s difficult to spell and to pronounce. I remember I always dreaded the first day of school because I knew the teacher would screw my name up. “Is there a Kenji… err… Ah-non-zawa present? I’d say “yes” and take a seat. But half the reason I continued to hold out on changing my Twitter handle was because @Kenji_Onozawa is who I am.

Gotta be honest though – I have no clue why I added the underscore? It wasn’t as if @KenjiOnozawa was taken… 😉

So I already know your next question. You’re going to ask, “then what changed?”

Let’s just say this week, the anti-long username brigade was out in full force.

On a handful of occassions this week, different people in separate situations mentioned something about my name being too long and hard to remember. It started with my friend, Jenni Hogan (see video above) but as if there was some strange mutated virus going around, it spread to other people. Who caught it next? I’d say Brian M. Westbrook who mentioned my long username while teaching a Twitter basics session to non-profit organization at the Voluntweetup – I was on the “what not to do” list. :/ Finally, the straw that broke the camel’s back was at lunch at Gnomedex one day when Kristy Bolsinger wanted to tweet out something I had said but because she couldn’t remember my username, she handed me her iPhone and asked me to type it in for her. That was the low point.

It was then I decided to change it right after lunch. I mean, IMMEDIATELY after – not five minutes, not two and half. AY-ES-AY-PEE! Instantly, I was @Kenji_O and as soon as I hit save, the Seattle Twitterspher breathed a collective sigh-of-relief. And since I “rebranded,” lots of different people have come up to me or tweeted me saying something positive about the change – See examples: here, here, and here.

So I’ve changed my Twitter username – yada yada yada. Now what? Let’s do some reflection shall we? Let’s see why this seemed to be so prominent in people’s minds and figure out the value in this experience.

5 Reasons You Should Shorten Username

  1. Retweetabilty Factor – Part of what makes Twitter such a powerful medium is that your message can be sent out to networks which are outside of yours. But if people like what you’ve communicated and want to send it out, they might to cut some things to fit within the 140 character limit and chances are (and I’m guilty of this) they will cut your name out. Remember, on Twitter, characters are at a premium.
  2. People don’t want to have to study your handle – More often than not, people take the path of least resistence. If it’s difficult for them to spell or remember, more than likely people won’t take the time to figure out what your handle is. I think this goes double for folks using Twitter on their mobile devices.
  3. Increased odds they misspell your username – If they have to think about your username, I’d say the odds are fairly good they’re going to misspell it (without using automated @ replies that is).
  4. People will say nice things to you when you shorten it – It’s true! People have said lots of nice things to me. I like you too, Twittersphere.

But, but, but there’s no #5! What the heck, Kenji?

I purposely left out #5 because I want to know what your thoughts are. What is the value in having a short Twitter username beyond the four reasons I’ve already given?

*Note: I made this post purposefully melodramatic. I honestly enjoyed the change to my username and just needed a good nudge in the right direction. It’s all in good fun. 🙂


So You’re Not Cool

Posted in Uncategorized by bigkenjdogg on April 1, 2009

Cool. Hip. Suave. MacGuyver-esque. What do these words all have in common? Not once, have these words ever been used to describe me (except for that one time I was doing my hip and cool impression of MacGuyver). With that said, then you could only imagine my surprise when I found myself out in the Belltown district of Seattle this past Saturday night. For those of you who are unfamiliar with Belltown, it’s a neighborhood in Seattle known for it’s ultra-hip nightlife, trendy restaurants, and stylish shops. Was I out of place? YES. I’m still trying to figure out how I wasn’t stopped at the door. In fact, once I got in I almost went into shock when I hit such a cool-saturated environment. It was much like what would happen when you throw a goldfish into ice water (but it’d probably be much cooler).

It was weird being there; seeing everyone all “glammed up,” trying to impress one another and ensure that others knew they were – as Paris Hilton would put it – “hot.” Now, usually this isn’t something that would bother me, for whatever reason it did. Not the fact that I don’t consider myself to be “cool,” but because people but there were trying so hard to get the admiration of complete strangers.

For those of you who don’t know, I spent about a year and half in Japan teaching Engrish, and I loved every minute of it. Everything about Japan was amazing; the culture, food, and people all became part of the reason I loved waking up each morning. However, it can be these same culural differences that cause me to get frustrated being back in the US. And this was the case in Belltown.

Thinking back upon my time in Japan, I remember how easy it was to have a good time. Every person I met was friendly, wanted to have fun, and in general (of course it varies person to person) was enthusiastic. It was because of this that on any given night, anything was possible because the end goal was just to have fun (even at the cost of it being absolutely ridiculous). In comparison in the US, this couldn’t be any further from the situation. Here, I feel people lose out on having a lot fun because being “cool” gets in the way and I’m tired of it. Too often, people are more concerned with what complete strangers are thinking about them to have a good time. It’s really unfortunate. Quite honestly, I don’t care what complete strangers think of me and neither should you.

I’m not sure why I’m worked up about this at the moment. Maybe it’s because it makes me think that insecurity is the driving force in so many people’s lives and that would say a lot about the state of our society.

I guess if you can take one thing away from the post, let it be this: Live your life on your terms.

Oh yeah – Guess what?

Chicken butt – Yeah, this post was too intense.. 😉

Getting Older

Posted in Life by bigkenjdogg on February 15, 2009

I know I’m not old. I’m only 27 years old, but for some reason, recently aging is something that’s been on my mind. Maybe it’s because it’s the one thing in life I have absolutely no control over. I can try and try to stop it, but there’s absolutely nothing I can do about it (who wants to help me make a flux capacitor?). It’s scary because I’m completely powerless to it’s will. Hmm… Now that I think about it, it’s more likely it’s because I know it won’t be long before I have to get yearly prostate checks – yikes! Thinking about it makes those South Park episodes where Cartman gets anal probed by the aliens just a little bit less funny.

Despite my fears over growing older, it’s kind of fun to think about what I’m going to be like when I’m elderly and senile. I guess it’s because it’s only hypothetical. In these day dreams, there are absolutely no signs of my hip replacement, I don’t eat soft foods, and my skin looks awesome (never thought I’d say that).

Imagine this; sixty years from now, as hover cars whiz past the floating skyscrapers guarded by flying sharks with lasers and the fear of the galactic robot rebellion is over, I imagine myself sitting on my throne with my minions waiting on me hand and foot in my fortress made of gold and the dreams of a million dandelions. It will be fantastic. I will have everything as my disposal. I will eat nothing but the world’s finest foods. I will watch oly the Fresh Prince of Bel Air and Man vs. Wild. I will have so much money that I will brush my teeth with lobster (minus the melted butter of course because that would just be ridiculous).

You know, whenever I watch old kung fu movies which I think relates to this situation is I’ve noticed young people always go ask their elderly wise asian “grandfather” for advice. This being the case, I imagine many young people will be coming to me for help, despite them knowing I majored in Communication in college. I can’t wait to help them. I mean, I have so much great advice to give. It would probably be at this point that I would choose to completely screw with them. I would tell them that the purpose of life can be found in Yakima, the Palm Springs of Washington or that if you’re ever not sure what to do, ask yourself “what would Joaquin Phoenix do?” (if you answered, quit your career and start a new one as a terrible rapper and make yourself look like a nut-job on the Late Show, then you win!).

After a couple of more years, I’ll probably begin to act like I don’t recognize my friends and loved ones. Then I’ll surprise them by saying you’ve just been punk’d! and passing out, not before kneeing them in the crotch. Oh yes, they’re going to tell themselves, “Grandfather is so wise yet so youthful.” They’ll probably call me “an older Ashton Kutcher without the trucker hats, the creepy relationship with Demi Moore, and off the charts d-bag factor.” They’ll be in a real surprise during my “put tape on your cat’s feet then light it’s tail on fire” stage… Oh yes, I’ll definitely keep them on their toes.

I guess growing old isn’t such a bad thing after all. I mean, there are so many other things that are worse; showing up late to work, crashing a rental car without the five dollar insurance, trying to stop a cactus with your eye, or eating taco bell then doing anything, are examples that immediately come to mind. Besides I think becoming an elder member of society just means that you’ve lived a long, happy and well-lived life. If I do live to 80 year’s old, I will want some kind of reward from my family for 1) giving them life and 2) not embarrassing humanity by not ending up naked on the internet, which is clearly very difficult to do.  I think I would deserve some rewards. I mean, look at all of the crap I’ve gone through! I’ve survived the robot invasion! Mutated Roomba’s destroyed my house! I think I deserve something, don’t ya think? I mean, c’mon. I’m old.

Ahhh, growing old seems like a lot of fun. The possibilities are endless and it should be an interesting ride. Now, where’s that cat…

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If You Were A Horse, I Would Eat You.. Well, try…

Posted in Uncategorized by bigkenjdogg on February 10, 2009

Just found this old video that I made during my time in Japan. Don’t judge me because I ate horse. Judge me because it tasted awesome!

I’m not crazy — but cats are cool.

Posted in Uncategorized by bigkenjdogg on February 7, 2009

As long as I can remember, my family has always had a cat somewhere in the house. It was kind of creepy at first knowing there was a silent stalker always aiming to attack your feet when they were at their most vulnerable, but I soon became accustom to having them around.  At the time though, they were scary little things. To a five year old, there were nothing more scary than that… Correction: the toilet was much scarier than cats for a plethora of reasons.

The earliest cat I can remember was a gray tabby who we named “Arnie,” for whom I always assumed was named after that show “Arnold.” I’m not sure why we would name our cat after the show with the little person in it, but clearly there was a connection (according to my five year old logic which had rarely failed me outside of the time it told me to pet the yellow and black fly. That was the meanest fly I had ever petted.)

After growing up with cats always around, it’s no surprise that I now consider myself to be a cat person. We did for a stint have a couple of dogs, but I was never much of a fan.  With dogs, I just felt that they were just too much and now it’s clear to me that cats are the far superior animal in almost any way (to dogs, not bears — bears rule). I’m sure there are people who will disagree with me on this, which is fine, but  before you go crazy on me, just hear my logic:

  • Any animal that will bury it’s own poop is awesome.
  • I’ve never had to worry about cat farts that make me set my nose on fire just to make it stop smelling.
  • Cat slobber: Never heard of it.
  • Dog smell in the anywhere sucks.
  • Cat are loyal; dogs will love anyone who gives them a biscuit and call them a “good boy.”
  • Eating their own deuce: which animal does that?
  • I’ve never had to come home to let my cat go outside.
  • Cats don’t meow every time someone is at the door.
  • Dogs are like drug addicts and their drug of choice is being petted and you’re their drug dealer. FREAKING ANNOYING.
  • Cats are like ninjas of the animal world; they are silent, they land on their feet, and if you fuck with them, you’ll get a throwing star in the ass.

In their own right, I can understand why people like dogs and don’t like cats. I mean, dogs don’t get hairballs, don’t shred up couches, nor do they fetch dead birds. Cats peeing on things has also been a problem that I’ve heard of, but I think I’ve come up to a solution to that problem. I would take the cat, I would place it in the bath tub, and begin to urinate on it. Then it would understand how much that sucks. The cat would instantly reflect upon it’s own actions, instantly feel remorse, thus would end of problem (again, bullet-proof logic).

Both cats and dogs do have their own redeeming qualities despite the fact they are, at times, complete pains in the asses and ultimately, which you like is up to you. As for the debate of which is better, who cares; it’s Saturday, time to go out, get a beer, and meet some shorties.

Always a pleasure. Peace out.

My Sister’s Fiance Gets Whooped By Wasabi

Posted in Uncategorized by bigkenjdogg on February 5, 2009

My Dad – The Anti-Starbucks Ad

Posted in Uncategorized by bigkenjdogg on February 4, 2009
This is why I drink Tully's Coffee

This is why I drink Tully's Coffee

Why I Can’t Go To The Sunglass Hut Anymore

Posted in Uncategorized by bigkenjdogg on February 3, 2009

I don’t like this time of year. It’s bitter cold, gray, and no people in their right mind not named Nanook would be caught outside doing anything besides trying to run back inside. Even the sunlight seems a bit different, as if it’s angry at you, it pierces your eyes with a little more angst. It’s like getting kicked in the eyes by a mule who had just walked through broken glass and monkey crap smelling hatred. What can ya do though? At least I don’t live in Hawaii… That would just be the worst. God, seeing those rainbows and waterfalls must get so old.

But it’s always about this time of year with that in mind, I always wish I had a good pair of sunglasses which reminds me of the time I took a trip to the Sunglass Hut and why I can never go back. This was back in 1999. At the time, I was a junior in high school, and although I wasn’t a total geek, I don’t think I was very cool. I did try to be like the cool kids though, like any kid did, though it never quite worked out for me (here’s hoping I’m a late-bloomer).  😉

On that I had noticed an extremely cute girl behind the counter of the Sunglass Hut kiosk in the middle of the mall. Now, regularly I would never go to a Sunglass Hut as I would probably steal a few of my friend’s kidneys and sell them on the black market just to afford them. Not to mention my head is irregularly large and even attempting to put them on is like trying to birthday hat on a hot tub cover.

With that, I headed over to the kiosk where I was greeted with kind hello and a smile. I had noticed that the girl’s name was Lindsey and she looked about my age, so so far things were looking good. My friend had a dog named Lindsey, but I thought she wouldn’t care to know that.

Now, my goal here was to get her name and her number, then go out to dinner, get married in Tahiti, and make lots of babies and live on her amazing Sunglass Hut salary and benefits. Oh yes, that would be grand. At that point, my brain decided to interject, like it sometimes likes to do. “Whoa, let’s slow this down,” I said to myself. “Maybe it’d be better to start off lightly to begin with,” despite my thoughts that she probably likes Tahiti — I mean, who doesn’t like Tahiti?? What could we talk about? What could we talk about?” Oh gosh… Then because clearly public school had served me well, it hit me. “Sunglasses! We could talk about sunglasses!” That’s perfect

At this point, I was perusing their selection and thought I would ask her about a pair of sunglasses I was looking at. I remember it was a pair of Oakley’s and it was red and orange and were the kind that wrapped around your eyes. They were pretty cool and I though these were the pair of glasses that Lindsey and I would talk about 50 years from now. I was almost there! I looked at her and decided this was my moment, as I held the pair of sunglasses in my hand. Now, looking at the sunglasses I wasn’t sure if these were for men, women, or both and I would ask Lindsey about that.  It was at this exact point, my brain failed me forever (damn you brain, you will rue the day!).

At that moment, what I should have said was, “are these sunglasses unisex?” That would have been great! We would have babies! Lots of them! Unisex! At that moment though, that word didn’t come to mind. What did come out of my mouth was, “are these sunglasses bisexual ?” And just like that, those dreams of Tahiti were taken away as I looked up at her face and saw a look as if she had just got a case of Taco Bell eater’s remorse.  I tried to change the subject, but nothing came to mind! Panicking, I then tried to try the sunglasses on and my brain failed me again! The sunglasses hit my gi-normous head and were repelled by it’s shear mass. This was the point, I said “Good day” and made my get away from the Sunglass Hut.

And that is why I can’t go to the Sunglass Hut anymore.

So You Want To Be an Ultimate Fighter

Posted in Uncategorized by bigkenjdogg on January 26, 2009

I went over to my sister’s place last night to watch the a mixed-martial arts PPV fight which left me with the feeling that I could be a UFC fighter. Mind you, I’ve never gotten in a real fight before but I’m not discouraged by this in the slightest. This is because I think I have one of the most important factors when you’re an ultimate fighter; I can look scary which combines my intimidating stature and personality which leaves people generally thinking that if they were to get in a fight with me, I’d go straight up Jean Claude Van Damme in Blood Sport on them. I tend to think that is a pretty accurate analogy.

I think if I did get in a fight, I think for about eight seconds, I would be really hard to handle. My strategy would be to try to keep my opponent surprised by constantly blowing his mind! I would start out by flayling (which would comes across like what happens when your girlfriend mashes the controller when she plays Xbox but still kicks your ass) and then I would start jumping from side-to-side while singing the Fresh Prince of Bel Air.  If he’s not down at that point, I think it would not look good for me.

The coolest aspect of watching these MMA fighters are they each have their own individual styles which often combine several different martial arts. Some come from a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu background, where others come from boxing, wrestling, or sambo.  This got me thinking about my style of fighting. After some thought, I think my fighting style would be a mix between kung fu, what I’ve seen in the Matrix, and shark. If anyone could beat this style, then it deserves to be put on their resumes. I would hire that person.

Actually, I don’t condone fighting though. It’s always such a buzz-kill because fights ruin a lot of fun like when you’re out having a good time and then some d-bag who can’t handle his Zima starts being overly-aggressive because you said that his three popped collars are so 2005. I just wish people could solve problems the way we did back in college; we played Madden.  This would solve a myriad of disagreements; who would take out the garbage, who would clean the moldy rice cooker, who would gain immunity from having pictures drawn on their faces after they have a bit too much, and so on. I’ve never come across a better way of solving problems which makes me think I’m going to be writing a letter to the UN soon.

Well, that’s it for now. Happy Monday my internet nizzles.


Posted in Uncategorized by bigkenjdogg on January 23, 2009

I’ve never been the most athletic human specimen to tell you the truth. As a kid, I was slow, cumbersome, and in general, lacked the skills that made me doubt that anywhere in my gene line, there were ever any hunters. More likely, I think my ancestors were the people who learned that bugs were edible, that moss tastes bad, and were the people that coined the term “mooch.”

It was pretty early on that I learned that my dreams of playing in the NBA were unlikely to come to fruition as once puberty hit the genetic brakes, I stood about 5’9” and probably couldn’t jump over a dollar bill lying face-down.  That’s not to say, I didn’t have my good years. When I played basketball at the local Boys and Girls club, my coach called me a “Mini Rodman.” I’m assuming this meant I was pretty good at rebounding because I don’t ever recall dressing up in drag in the middle of New York or wrestling against Karl Malone.

With that said, I was “wogging” not too long ago. For those of you who aren’t familiar with this term, it combines the words jogging and walking. I have my doubts that I’ll ever run a marathon, but I think it’s good to at least try to run a little bit during a workout — think I’m at 2 miles of jogging now before I feel like a pine-cone has been jammed into my side.

Getting on with it, like I said I was wogging through this neighborhood that I frequent when I saw a squirrel about 50 feet from me. It stops and stares at me, at which point it bolts for the nearest tree as if by just staring at it, my eyes shot bolts of fire and self doubt. I think to myself, “I realize that I’m somewhere above squirrels on the food chain (I think I’m somewhere near mongooses), but really?  Does that squirrel have any reason to be scared of me?” Has the squirrel seen how I run? It could be five feet from me and I doubt I would even come close to catching it. To see the squirrel at full sprint take off just from the sight of me was pretty funny because if you gave me a gun and told me to kill a fish that had been duct taped to a cement block at the bottom of a barrel, I have my doubts that if given an hour, the fish would be dead. I think a more likely outcome would be the fish realizes that I’m no threat to it and eventually starts talking about my mom.

With that said, let me me make an announcement: Squirrels of the world (with an internet connection or an iPhone), I am no threat. Please don’t run away from me. Or if you happen to be more unathletic, wog away from me. Thank you.

Now if I’m wogging one day and you happen to be a wild Kit Kat out in your natural habitat, run like the wind, my friend.