Friday, October 21, 2005

main gallery

After adventures in western Canada, and being a bit of a gear freak, one soon finds one's self on MEC's mailing list. The latest edition supports a new book tour by Bruce Kirkby, an accomplished photographer, author, wilderness guide, and mountaineer. Bruce Kirkby's galleries are very impressive and such an inspiration!

dozens of websrainbow bridge in ShukkeienSo inspiring, that I finally got myself together to return to the Shukkeien garden. I waited about 6 months to complete this post with the pictures. So please take a look, comment if you wish.

A picture tells a thousand words, so get Flippr! - flickr wallpapers for your desktop.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

5 guys, 1 safe, no brains

Welcome to CollinwoodWelcome to Collinwood was finally available to rent from the video shop. This particular still from the movie makes me think of how a few friends and I sometimes feel about life in Hiroshima... Personal mishap seems to be a daily occurence, but between a few friends it's quite easy to have a good laugh about it all.

I went for my usual ¥1,000 yen haircut yesterday. I couldn't find my usual hairdresser anywhere in the salon - she can't possibly have the day off work, she's Japanese. So this other guy lets loose with the clippers after snorting back the biggest boogas I've ever heard in my life! Quite the opposite to my regular hairdresser, this guy could be a former boxer, almost using my head as a punching bag. As my work-mate pointed out, now I look like a marine!

In recent good news, Emilia's birthday party at Bien was a real blast. Earlier in the week I sent the RSVP for both myself and my friend. I ended up paying for her absence on the night. At $50 / head, that's a real stinger on a part-time wage! A great mix of people at her party, some new faces and some familiar, delicious food, cake and drinks. Mike later arranged a refund for those that didn't turn up, so I'll end up getting ¥4,000 back when we next catch up, Hooray!

Monday, October 17, 2005

winter forces

G3 Targa bindingsG3 Targa Telemark Binding - All Mountain is one way to spend ¥20,000 in one hit. Combine that with a set of skis and the absolute minimum of binding accessories and by the time I drank a delicious Vietnam style coffee from our favourite blue flat cafe, I'd spent the best part of my savings! I somehow get the impression that I'll probably be the only person for miles around who is telemarking (or trying at least).

As usual, the snow bound page lists a few good starting points for me. A few hours in an onsen after a day of skiing sounds pretty groovy to me. Yes, I'm getting a little excited about my first ever northern hemisphere winter.

Apparently Sapporo lays undisputed claim to the title of Japan's brewing Mecca. And I thought it was just a city to go skiing from. Given the expense of travelling within Japan, I honestly wonder if my dream of skiing on the northern island will eventuate... I quite like the idea of knocking back a cool beer after a weekend of white powder though.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

turning the web into 'sushi belts'

Let's check the stats:
  • 200+ Japan photos on flickr so far.
  • 100 posts to this blog. This is #100. Hooray!
  • 83 addresses in my Japanese mobile phone.
  • 8 postcards, 2 posters and 1 calendar from outside of Japan. Thanks for helping me decorate my room.
  • 7 books on Japan: 2 guidebooks, 3 language books, 2 novels.
  • 6 months in Japan. Wow, time flies...
  • 5 different branches I have worked at.
  • 5 or so festivals in the local area.
  • 4 games of pool a week on average, maybe...
  • 3 times to Miyajima island.
  • 3 nights a week boozing average - about to decrease with winter hibernation imminent.
  • 3 Japanese pop music albums in my iTunes library.
  • 3 mattresses under my futon, 2 pillows.
  • 2 free Japanese lessons each week (but no self study homework!)
  • 2 Kit-Kats a week on average.
  • 2 different apartments I've lived in. The company lease finished in the previous building.
  • 2 B-52's that were free of charge. Thanks Kevin.
  • 2 times I've seen the same shit movie in 2 different cinemas and rejection resulted.
  • 2 times I paid the ransom on rescuing my first bike, before it was stolen.
  • 1 cat I have palmed off responsibility for looking after.
  • 1 Japanese movie downloaded from the 'net.
  • 1 hour of non-stop table tennis.
  • 1 psycho housemate (N.B. housemate is someone you share a house with, not a room).
  • 1 restaurant experience of eating sashimi, and 1 of tempura. Yum!
  • 1 pair of unsuitable shoes for work bought. Let's go shopping all over again.
If you're not getting enough out of reading my blog, there's a BBC news article, Turning the web into 'sushi belts' that describes how you can now consume 100 times more!

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

when working robots rebel!

Join us on the roller-coaster! One thing is for sure: Life is never boring when you are working in Japan.

Working for a large organisation, it is not uncommon for part-timers and shift swaps to be fulfilled at a branch other than your regular one. At my regular branch, all the teachers had personalised their little piece of desk space with photos of loved ones and other colourful paraphernalia. This makes sense. After all, we are encouraged to personalise our lessons to the students and their needs.

Recently the big wig inspected some branches and forwarded a memo afterward, declaring we must standardise the workplaces and remove all personal aspects. Sounds a bit hypocritical to me... Perhaps our introductions at the beginning of lessons should be along the lines of, Hi, I'm #46239. What's your number?

Monday, October 03, 2005

the bar is open

Kemby's AMKemby's A.M. opened last Thursday night. As regular customers (or frequent fools) at Kevin's other bars in town, Wes and I both had invitations + 1 friend each to the opening. In fact there were 3 openings, each of two hours, and any drink you want from the bar is free... Where's the catch I hear you say. There was none!

Yukari and Wes enjoying the nightSo Wes and I rounded up some friends to join us for some experimental drinking. I'm still disappointed that Butterscotch Schnapps is so difficult to find in Japan, so Cowboys are never on the menu. Instead, I started with a Grasshopper, and explained what one was to our Japanese friends. Then we got stuck into some B52's - I must admit I do feel strange when drinking these in Hiroshima. Furthering my education for the evening, I never knew that Sex on The Beach can be had in more than 13 different ways - variety is the spice of life, right!

Sunday, October 02, 2005

fear of fashion

I now have some idea how the Chadstone shopping centre back home turned into my worst nightmare.

Working at AlPark again today. It's another giant shopping mall. Despite being a Sunday morning, many people are dressed like they own the catwalk.

There is no way I can compete or even keep up with the latest trends. For the ladies, CFM boots, often interpreted as slutty back home, are quite common and proudly worn here in Japan.

Are you dressed right?One of the few arenas where younger Japanese people can rebel against the norm and subtleness of the nation, is in their personal appearance in private time. And never by half measures either. Unlike many local men, I don't think I would make a very good Rod Stewart look-a-like.Rod Stewart

I think I better just find some shoes that are comfortable and cheap!