Tag Archives: Gunma

Hobbytual

 

 

I’m going to become a “trainspotter spotter” until that becomes popular

… then I’ll probably become a “trainspotter spotter spotter”.

I don’t know what I’ll do next, when that becomes popular!

 

note: there’s an old steam train around here that shoots out of a mountain tunnel onto a trestle bridge that goes over a river every Sunday around 11:30 am. It must look pretty cool: there are always a half dozen trainspotters waiting for it.

double note: here is the steam train on another section of the track, if you are into trains and stuff.

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Today #266

Today I missed the train again … and the boat … and the bus …
but I thought about them.

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Stop Taking Crappy Photos: Tip #1

 

I’ve discovered how to stop taking crappy photos of moving things!

 

 

I let Mr. Pettit  take the photos.

 

note: I went to a BBQ on the weekend expecting this:

 

… but this was on the menu before the steaks

 double note: sometimes I’m in the right place at the right time … and even invited!

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Today #260

Today didn’t have any BBQing or Tahitian Dancing in it. … bummer.

The Numata Matsuri 2011

 

  

The Numata Matsuri has come and gone for another year.

It arrived too slowly and departed too quickly: like the slug that turns into a race car … that I saw somewhere … or another.

When I think about the Numata Matsuri, all 5 senses are involved.
My 6th sense, about not drinking a lot of beer, isn’t involved so much at all.

Sight: seeing this many people doing cool stuff because they want to blows my mind.

Hearing: “The Tengu Drummers” hold everything in the Matsuri together. This year I’ve finally realized that “The Tengu Drummers” are the straw that stirs the drink: without them … it just doesn’t gel.

Taste: Kebabman” is my favourite food stall  player. (I don’t see too many Kebabs during the rest of the year sadly)

Touch: the feel of room temperature cork as I load it into my air rifle for the kill shot. (actually I’m banned from doing this because of me poking all the stuff over by just using the gun barrel last year)
I don’t have any pictures of me sweating and drinking cold beer … so this had to do.

Smell: the smell of another Numata Matsuri next year … and kebabs … and hot sweaty weather … and everything attached to the Numata Matsuri!

 

 note: I have P.M.S.Post Matsuri Syndrome.

 double note: 362 days of anticipation to follow
… crap! Next year is a leap year!

triple note: apologies for not visiting your blogs … I’ll be back lookey looing soon.

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Today #224

Today I’ve realized that I am a “homer” … just not from where I grew up though.

Gunma Holiday

 

I live in Gunma-Prefecture.

I’ve been on a Gunma Holiday for the last 5 days: visiting places in Nagano-Prefecture, Tochigi-Prefecture, and Niigata Prefecture.

A Gunma holiday is more involved than other places … or involves more other places … for some reason.

 

note: Gunma is pretty big! … you have to drive through it on the way to where you are going quite often from here.

double note:

The road of life twists and turns and no two directions are ever the same. Yet our lessons come from the journey, not the destination.
Don Williams, Jr.
“Gunma: it’s a journey.”
planetross

triple note: apologies for not responding to comments. It was a split-second decision to actually go somewhere: I thought about it for a second, then I split.

quadruple note: the poster in the picture was created to make Gunma look more cool as a tourist destination. A person doesn’t have to live in Japan for too long before they understand that Audrey Hepburn is/was/will always be the best foreign actress ever … and “Roman Holiday” the best movie.

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Today #185

Today is the last day of holidays before going back to work for a day … then it’s the weekend! woo hoo!

Another Of The Big Three!

It was the best of times, it was the end of Februaryist of times.

One of “The Big Three” on my calendar has come and passed again … like gas … or wind … or farts. It’s also past … or over … or not happening again for another year.

Dance Recital Madness 2011 was a lot like last year and the year before but with different kids … or the same kids, but a year or two older … and with different costumes.

One kindergarten went with a colour theme: all the major colours were represented. Teal was overlooked.

The other kindergarten’s dancers’ costumes were colourful too, but they didn’t represent anything I guess.

For a week or two afterwards I say things like:

– “You were a super Super Ninja Shadow!”
– “I liked the Frog Dancers … a lot!”
– “Hey! Cowboy!”
(enthusiastic imaginary pistol shooting mannerisms accompany this response)
– “You were the best raindrop out of the bunch.”
– “I really thought you were a Mexican!”
– “Next year I’m sure you will get to be a dinosaur.”
– “Nice cartwheel!”
– “I was a tomato when I was your age too!”

I wish I was 4 years old again: I’m sure I’d be the best raindrop.

 

note: the past “Big Three” are here:

Numata Matsuri 2008 / Numata Matsuri 2009

Kinder Olympics / When Was The Last Time?

Dance Recital Madness / Dance Recital Madness: Day 2

double note: I didn’t miss last year’s “Big Three“, I just took worse photos than this year’s … and thought I’d give it a break for a year.

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Today #143

Today I dropped the thermometer, but it didn’t get any colder for some reason.

The Video: Really Bad Things

 Here is a little video Kelly Pettit  and I made.
It’s a mixture of the “Really Bad Things” series with a bunch of new ones thrown in too!

 

 

 note: a very very very very special “thank you” to Kelly Pettit  who did all the work on this one: director, producer, cinematographer, sound engineer, and most especially editor. I really couldn’t have done this with out his expertise in things I know nothing about.
He also carried half the pool table around with me looking silly for a few hours.
Kelly rocks!!!!

double note: I should have smiled more in this video.

triple note: Really Bad Things, More Really Bad Things, and Still More Really Bad Things are still being bad.

 

notes to myself #10

When you are 9 years old do not do Morris’ paper route for him. He’s not going to pay you; and him and his dad are douche b … oh! … you don’t know those words yet! … they are jerks.

Human Soup

cult stuff

 

I’ve joined a cult!

It’s not a crazy one or anything.

It probably falls somewhere between dog breeding and bowling on the culto-meter, but there are no dogs or breeding or funny shoes involved.

The cult isn’t trying to destabilize the government or destroy the world. It’s working with the government to save the world. But … it’s all hush hush.

We are the first line of defense against alien invaders!

human soup bowl

Basically the members sit naked in outdoor hot spring fed pools up in the mountains as bait: waiting for the eventual invasion of aliens that I’m sure will happen sometime soon, but hopefully while I’m not there.

another human soup bowl

The master plan is to offer delicious human soup to alien invaders before they decide to go destroying all those important places where all the most important people are doing amazing things to make life better for all mankind: talk show audiences.

 I think they might blow up the White House and other crap too as secondary targets … or just for fun because they’ve watched all those crappy movies.

another human soup bowl

While the aliens are hovering over these pools, dipping their big spoons in to the human soup, and possibly arguing over whether to add crackers or not; great minds will be figuring out the most effective way to defeat the aliens.
I’m sure saltwater, yodelling music, and koala bears are high on the list of weapons to be tested.

  human soup compound with alien thing in front

 I usually fulfill my duty in one of the regional branch centers, but when I visited the main control compound … or Takaragawa Hotel and Onsen, as they prefer to be known because it’s very super top secret, I was very impressed.

There are a lot of interesting things that the average person probably passes off as memorabilia or antiques or something, but all the stuff has significance once you join the cult.

 possible alien artifacts

 These things ward off aliens … and prospective mating partners, if you pull them out and get excited about them.

 possible alien dinner bell

This bell sends an audible sound through something called “airwaves” to attract aliens to dine at the pool.

 possibly things aliens don't like

Supposedly aliens don’t like recycling, Curious George, clamps, drums, or teddy bears. It’s a well kept secret only told to the indoctrinated.

 possibly cool stuff behind this door

 I haven’t reached a high enough level in the cult to find out what secrets lie behind this door, … but … I was tall enough to stand on the rocks in front to see that there wasn’t much back there except a bit of garbage.

There is no brainwashing involved, only a bit of body washing before entering the pools.

And if by some horrible coincidence the aliens do drop by while I’m bathing, I’m sure I will be so relaxed and mellow that I won’t really care what happens to me.

 

note: don’t ask other cult members in the pools if they think the aliens will come today: that’s a no-no.

 

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Dance Recital Madness: Day Two

After the big show on Saturday, I thought Sunday’s offering would prove anti-climactic.  I was wrong.

I collected my program at the entrance, bought a bottle of milk from a vendor, and entered the darkened auditorium.
The place was filled to the rafters with an expectant crowd: many of the women seemed to be expecting more kids soon too!

The hall was humming with excited chatter; while others in the audience just seemed to be humming for some reason.

I thought this must have been what it was like in The Cavern Club in Liverpool before The Beatles came on stage.

In this more intimate setting without seating, the  moshpit area was jammed with people full of excitement, anticipation, and extensive video equipment.

Whereas the Saturday show pandered to an older generation from a few generations ago, this one started with a …

David Bowie Medley/Montage/Re-envisionment …  retrospectively speaking.

ground control to Major Crybaby!

 Space Oddity.      Ground Control to Major Tomohito.

having a bad day in front of a lot of people

I guess one of the dancers didn’t like floating in his tin can far above the Earth. He seemed blue like planet Earth and there was nothing anyone could do … until they closed the curtain.

Sin... Bad Dancers

There was a bit of The Jean Genie next.  Poor little greenie.

too cute

I must have missed this Bowie reincarnation, but it was pretty good anyway.

possible Grease #5 dancers

Let’s Dance was next.  It had everyone swaying under the serious moonlight.

Blue Jeans

It finished up with Blue Jeans.  
They didn’t do any of that Tin Machine crap thankfully.

I was a bit disappointed nothing from the Hunky Dory album was done though.

It seemed to seamlessly stream in to a Japanese Pop Music driven section for a while.

future girl band

Girl band stuff.

 future boy band

 Boy band stuff.

The end of the program got really out of control with some sort of experimental, sci-fi, fantasy, conceptual, re-interpretationalistic routines.

The Go-Ongers!!!!!

 Boys in quasi- Power Ranger costumes doing what they usually do after a few chocolate bars: punch, kick, scream, and run around a lot.

camera shy

 And the finale were some camera shy kimono clad groovers doing something traditional in an attempt to cool down the crowd so they could possibly drive home sensibly and not forget to leave their empty milk bottles with the vendor on the way out.

Overall the performances were very strong, like sniffing a bleach bottle; hard driving, like a tricycle on a muddy day; and edgy like 1,000 origami cranes.

The performers left it all on the stage … along with a few pompoms and assorted hats.
The 4 to 6 years old kids made their statement:

This is me. This is real. This is what I am: love it or hate it … you can’t stop it.   Now I am spent and need help getting out of my costume … and I may need a nap too.” 

 

The Beatles

Hey! I knew The Beatles would show up in some form or another.

 

 

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Wednesday Mornings

I don’t work until 1 pm.
So, usually once a week on Wednesday mornings I go for an onsen (hotbath) at a place that’s a 40 minute drive away.

Probably 75% of the ideas I get for this blog come while I am driving to this place: ideas float through my head at irregular intervals regularly for some reason. I jot them down when I am at stoplights. I don’t know why I think of such stupid things; I just do.
It’s all quite normal if you live here.

This is what I saw and thought on the way to where I was going this week:

dirty van may appear larger than it really is

Oh! I like driving behind these trucks. It’s like having a massive rearview mirror!

“I guess technically a person that has their legs amputated is delapitated.”

north

There are a lot of ski resorts in that direction … and in all the other directions as well.

“Do people wear jean belts with leather pants?”

sleepy place

The drive to the onsen takes me up in to the mountains through little sleepy communities with sleepy pockets of people living in them.

“I’m wearing an irreversible sweater!”

 

hobbit house

There are a lot of houses I notice as I pass by them unnoticed. I like this one for some reason. Sorry my air-freshner got in to the picture: it’s stale cigarette scented.
I put up a new one after I took this photo. Now my van smells like a giant coconut!

“It must be tough being  Brad Pitt. What a crappy name really. I choose to pity him. He could never name his daughter ‘Cherry’. That must suck.”

 

another hobbit house

This is the only thatched roof house I see on the way.

“Can throwing up vegetables be classified as re-producing?”

not a hobbit house

This building always makes me think of English architecture for some reason; it’s a bit out of place.

“Anorexics should start 2nd helping themselves.”

 

mainstreet nowhere

I pass convenience stores and small restaurants; open skidoo shops and closed apple markets; small wood factories and smaller car lots; open rice fields and closed businesses.

“Spoonlifts are needed to empty swimming pools.”

 

pretty quiet in the fields at the moment

The fields are pretty quiet and brown this time of year, but at other times they are very busy and green.

“Aquaduct tape! I bet the Romans would have paid big money for that stuff.”

available spaces

And finally I arrive at the onsen’s parking lot. It’s usually pretty quiet since everyone normal is at work. It’s just me and some old guys usually.

“There should be a parking lottery.”
(hey that one kind of goes with the picture!)

 

I enter the lobby, put my shoes in a locker, pay my money, and flirt with the ladies behind the counter with incredibly witty lines like: “I have a pre-paid ticket” and ” Good morning” and “Thank you”.

“Edible Pizza Boxes: Money Making Scheme ????”

the cleaning lady saw me in my underwear!

 

This is the locker room. It was pretty empty today; usually I wouldn’t venture a picture. The shower room and the inside onsen are through those doors at the end.

“Cartoon character are pretty typecast usually.”

 

the pools

These are the pools where I always sit and think “if I built a house over there and bought a good quality telescope, I could check out the ladies bath!

But  usually I’m just thinking that a lot of the old guys who come at the same time as me are really not following the onsen rules. I don’t think they can read pictures! 
The “top left hand corner” rule is seriously being broken repeatedly again and again.

readable pictures

 Easily followable guidelines for the onsen.

 

you'd probably want to stop there

 After the onsen I get back into my van and make the trip back home. I always have to wait too long at this intersection.

 

maybe a double bypass in the future

 I live on a bypass around the city. They keep sticking new sets of traffic lights in which tends to slow traffic down for some reason. The city should think about building a double bypass maybe.

 

almost home

My house is just through the lights on the left. I usually just go in for a few minutes and then head to work for the day … where I will write up some ideas and throw out other ones.
Not everything makes the cut on planetross.

 

note: I even started drawing a little illustration to accompany the “Can throwing up vegetables be classified as re-producing?” before I realized that one was a bit nasty.

ruuupp ruuuppp ratatouille spewy

 

double note: I’ll put on the one I thought was the best of the bunch next.

 

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Vest Human

Simply The Vest!

 

I know my Japanese is less than great, but … I wouldn’t make up stickers for my van without getting a second opinion.

 

note:  a basectomy doesn’t sound so horribly bad now.

double note: b‘s and v‘s take a veating ober here; r‘s and l‘s do too! I think in Japan I’m “pranetloss“!

triple note: I think that kid is holding a broccoli icecream cone too!

quadruple note: I’ve put on 3 entries tonight: check out the other 2 if you are so inclined.

 

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