Thursday, 31 January 2008
Wednesday, 16 January 2008
An article in the BBC news website (full article here)
Despite my laziness and general lack of any natural talent for languages; I would have to say that I'm in agreement with Japan's Foreign Minister, that foreigners should have at least a grasp of the Japanese language before living and working here (for long-term visitors)... it definitely would " improve their quality of life". You try living here and getting on with your life without a word of Japanese...
However, I fail to see how it will stop terrorism OR illegal immigration.
I do however, find the closing paragraphs hilarious... and typically* 'Japanese'
"Last year an opinion poll carried out for the government found that more than half the foreigners who live in areas where they mix with Japanese people would like more opportunities to interact with them.But only one in 10 of the Japanese living in the same areas wanted to talk to someone from abroad."
ie. the foreigners want to talk to the Japanese, but the Japanese don't want to talk to foreigners...HUZZAH! (the same is probably true if you swap the word Japanese for British)
*'typical, as in stereotypical... in a highly prejudiced manner... it in no way reflects the behaviour or outlook of the Japanese I ever get to talk to , at any length. Bearing this in mind the only Japanese that will talk to me are 1. the open-minded, want-to-speak-to-foreigners-and-would-like-a-more -rounded-society types, and 2. able to speak English.
The JMA (Japanese Meteorological Agency) [気象庁 - きしょうちょう] - I was actually looking up the weather forecast for the next few days, and got heavily distracted... (but in an educational way...) - and saw that they have something up about their 'Early Warning' System.... I was just having a peek at how much warning they were able to give, just in case they'd managed to somehow miraculously come up with a way to predict earthquakes before they happen - I live in optimism...possibly a slightly deluded optimism...ANYWAY...I was a little disappointed (but not particularly surprised) that the warning of a strong tremor is zero seconds, or to the order of 10's of seconds if you're lucky...
Monday, 14 January 2008
Sooooo.... I've been slipping with the whole posting thing lately: but I've finally found time to
1. catch up with blogging
2. wrestle some photos off Greg...
and just so that you know I've now finished posts on:
Kurobe Dam - Part1 (September 2007)
Kurobe Dam - Part2 (September 2007)
Nikko (December 2007)
Christmas Dinner - Part I (December 2007)
Christmas Dinner - Part II (December 2007)
click on the title and it should link you right to the entry.
...I'm still working on the one about our new year trip snowboarding in Naeba...
Overlord of scripture: wayway at 22:51
Thursday, 10 January 2008
Today my legs and my sides ache. Why? because: yesterday afternoon I finally got my arse into the Uni gym to try one of their classes. Access to all the classes run - including yoga, savate, aerobics, etc...is all included in the gym entrance fee.
I definitely used some muscles that I didn't even know I had, whilst attempting to hold some of the positions. Mind you, I was probably doing everything wrong because the instructor was Japanese, and giving the lesson entirely in Japanese...So, I spent most of the time looking at the people beside me seeing what they were doing - with limited success...
Will try to go back next week, to build on my 'core strength'
Monday, 7 January 2008
Our destination: Naeba 苗場 - an apparently trendy place for young people to hangout and look cool skiing/snowboarding.
It's 930pm and we're at the West Exit of Shinjuku station 新宿 and we just about had time to find a cafe to have a hot drink before we met up with Rei and her friend at the bus station...we spent a good hour standing around waiting for the bus to turn up....which happened around 11. The bus was a glorious pink, and it's roof was covered in snow (good to know, as we wanted snow), in addition to the pinkness of the outside of the bus, the lighting in the bus had been designed by someone who seemed to want to spread a message of happiness to the world, but had mistakenly thought that this could be best achieved by multi-coloured lighting... The Overnight bus trip itself would have been fine, if the bus didn't stop every hour for fifteen mins and turn on all the lights, just to really make sure that you knew it was stopping.
Anyway, we got to Naeba at 5am, whence upon we had to try and find our hotel...called White Palace...which was appropriately painted brown (Amy pointed this out to me...I wouldn't even have noticed the irony of the name...). Reception didn't open to 8am, so we napped in some chairs in the foyer/smoking-room-of-lung-death. There were several other Japanese (who'd been on our bus) napping on the floor too....which was kind of reassuring. At 7am (maybe they pitied us and got up early for our benefit) the reception sprung to life and we managed to get our ski wear hired (apart from Greg and Akiko who had to go to a completely different shop to get kitted out...not a good enough range of shoe sizes apparently...). By 930 we were on the hotel provided shuttle bus and heading to the main mountain...
We had wondered where Amy and Rei had gotten to, as we'd lost sight of them when we got to the ski lifts....after we got down we found that Amy had basically refused to go any where on the slope and had gone for the safe and non-bruise option of having a coffee.
We did stop for lunch, and then we disbanded again to go on our separate slopes to do our thang....or in my case: try not to die.
When it came to dinner time, we all met up near the entrance of the ski resort and waited for the shuttle bus to take us back. We had time to have a nice hot shower and get out of our ski gear before heading to the dining room.
I ate a lot. I was hungry...all that falling over business is hard work, OKAY!?
After dinner there was still time for night skiing! and very conveniently there was a slope just behind our hotel, which even contained some jumping slidey obstacles for the more experience skiier/snowboarder...meanwhile, I was busy imitating a falling leaf and floating down the slope.
Anyway, this was the routine for the next two days, which my body was not very happy about...We did however, manage to get Amy on to some snow, after she bought herself a sled...
And here are some photos of the night skiing to round it up...
from the schedule they have up on their website, the monks are performing TONIGHT!!! ...abit short notice for me....and unfortunately I can't see anything else for the rest of this month...hopefully they will put something up about Feb soon...