Tag Archives: Japan

An Update


Just an update to say that the area in which I live is fine.

There have been a few big aftershocks over the last few days, but no damage: 4am in the morning seems to be a popular time for them.

Life is continuing fairly normal here: the garbage trucks pick up the garbage on garbage day, the stores are open and have stock, the schools and most businesses are still open.

This area isn’t in the rolling power outage affected area: probably because there are so many hydro-electric dams close by. I don’t know if that is actually the reason, but gas, water, and electricity are running normally.

People have been asked to use less electricity.

The company I work for decided to close up until Sunday. I think the availability of gasoline was a major factor. Who wants to waste their gasoline driving their kids to English and Cram school classes?

So, apart from visiting a local kindergarten this morning, I’m just chillin’ at home for the rest of this week.

I’m stressed about the nuclear reactors in Fukushima, but I’m more stressed about the people who are a lot closer to them than I am, than I am about radiation coming here.

It’s a bit surreal sitting at home, with the same comforts as I did last week, knowing that now thousands/millions of people to the north of here are suffering … and there isn’t much I can do; except stay calm, save electricity, stuff money into charity boxes, and hope for the best for them. … but it’s the best I can do.

It’s just like last week, but extremely different somehow.


note: I am in awe of the nuclear power plant staff who have been working around the clock over the last 4 days in Fukushima, the Japan Defense Forces who have been getting relief to the affected areas, the disaster teams from other countries, the Japan Government who seem to be doing the best they can, and the people of Japan for not freaking out.


Today # 150

Today I realized that I use a lot of things that I don’t really need to use as much.

Mother Nature’s A Mother … Sometimes.


I don’t usually think that I’m living on a crust

… until there is an earthquake.


note: I am fine. I live up in the mountains about 300km away from Sendai. It shook this area up, but no damage.

double note: my heart goes out to those in Sendai and Northern Japan who have lost their lives, relatives, friends, homes, livelihoods and all the other stuff we get used to as permanent.


Today #148

I don’t feel so funny today … more sad and shocked.

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.


Today #143

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

Nipponderings #2: Daruma

Daruma are papermachè heads people buy in Japan to make special wishes: to pass a big exam, recover from an illness, find a good job, get married, …
The eyes are blank when bought. People colour in the left eye and make their wish. When the wish is fulfilled, the right eye is coloured in … and then the daruma are burnt in a ceremony in early January.


note: I’ve had the same daruma for 10 years. I wished for the other eye to be coloured in … but if that wish came true, how can I colour in the other eye?
I guess I should have wished for world peace … or something more likely.

double note: the doll represents the Indian priest Bodhidharma, the founder of Zen Buddhism in China, who is said to have lost the use of his arms and legs after spending nine years meditating in a cave.

triple note: Nipponderings #1: Rice is here.

quadruple note: in this area the burning ceremony is called “Dondonyaki” and people burn their New Year’s pine door ornaments, daruma, and other old goodluck charms that might be lying around the house. Some people throw coins into the fire; and kids retrieve the money … once the fire is out. (I would throw chocolate coins. hee hee!)


Today #108

Today some kid imitated how I speak. I may file a “Speech Patternity” suit against him.

Nipponderings #1: Rice


Here are the facts about rice in Japan:

the average tan produces happyo per year.

Just thought you should know … in case you were interested.

in other words:

The average field/paddy is 99.9 square meters (or 300 x 2 tatami mats) and produces 480kg of rice. (1056lbs)


note: from my source: the average person nowadays eats only 60kg (132lbs) of rice a year at home due to restaurants … and potatoes, bread, and pasta being readily available.   I probably eat about 40 kg a year at home and another 40 kg while out and about.
How much rice do you eat?

double note: I don’t know how much wheat, corn, or potatoes grow in the average wheat, corn or potato field, but I’m sure there are wheat, corn, and potato farmers telling their Japanese teachers the facts at this very moment.

 triple note: my source is old school, so I’m sure he eats about 100kg of rice a year … and other people not so much.

quadruple note: what the hell is a bushel? Farmers all over the world need to update their lingo!


Today #88

Today passed by faster than a kidney stone!

Is Statue?


Some statues are better in situations than others.


Some statues are more tolerant than others too!


note: I think I’m monumental.

double note: Tenaga and Ashinaga (long arms-long legs) on a bridge in Takayama, Gifu-ken.


notes to myself #183

We like travelling not to see something amazing, but to see something amazingly silly.



Is it just me or are anime characters getting sexier looking?

oh! okay.



note: in response to omawarisan over at Blurt who has a photo of a truck with testicles  on it. I’d call this a rebuttal, but I didn’t take a picture of the otherside car with that on it.


notes to myself #181

It takes us about 30 years before we actually know what the real lyrics to AC/DC‘s “Back in Black” are. They mention a Cadillac!

Evidential Evidence


I really don’t know what I’m saying sometimes.


note: I lose myself in translation.


notes to myself #159

When you go to Japan and sign a contract, no one comes for your liver.





As I sat in the hot spring pool, I listened to six elderly gentlemen discuss what they were going to eat for lunch.

A few were going to eat at home, one was going to try a new family restaurant, another was going to eat sushi, and the remaining two were still undecided.

One man asked me what I was going to eat for lunch.

I don’t usually think about that at 6 pm” I replied.


note:lunch! it’s not just for breakfast and dinner anymore!

double note: my world doesn’t revolve around food: my world is food! … and yours too … if you’re not going to finish that little bit on your plate.

triple note: I’ve made myself hungry. I might slip out for a late night ramen feed after posting this.


notes to myself #158

You feel good when you eat a big salad for lunch. You feel hungry and unsatisfied as well, but good none the less.

An Unbalancing Act


I don’t want a balanced meal when I eat fast food.

I want an unbalanced one that slides down that little burger chute quickly.


note: McDonald’s is selling sweet corn niblets in Japan.  … and it’s pretty expensive too!

double note: why do I always have to look up McDonald’s to see how to spell it?

triple note:

I love corn!
I just would never in a million years order a bowl of niblets in a restaurant.

Is it because it’s too ordinary?               No.
I’d order toast, an egg, a potato or even a glass of milk.

It’s probably because I know someone is just opening up a can in the kitchen and heating it a bit.

There’s just not enough work involved.

… and I know it only costs about 50 cents a can.

quadruple note: if they can make multi-vitamins in pill form, why can’t they just stick all those vitamins and minerals into the meat?

quintuple note: I’m starting to sound all Soylent Green in my best Charlton Hestone.

sextuple note: Charlton Heston was born John Charles Carter in No Man’s Land, Illinois.  I’m not making this up! … there really is a place called Illinois!

septuple note:fasting food” chains aren’t very popular … and don’t have any combo deals.


notes to myself #117

Once the “no dessert unless you eat all your vegetables” phase of your life passes … you really start eating unhealthy.