Monday, September 19, 2005

Blog Day Afternoon

19 September 2005
Im writing this during my lunchbreak at work.I usually jot down a few ideas and flesh them out at the internet cafe.Cheaper and easier to catch the errant spelling mistakes that seem to occur with alarming frequency.
This being a National Holiday "Respect for the Aged Day"I had a 10a.m start which meant getting up at 7a.m to ensure enough time to catch the 8.20a.m subway train that connects with another train which gives me sufficent time to then catch a bus which leaves me with time to walk to the shopping complex where my school is located.
If nothing else Ive become adept at reading timetables in Japanese and improving my time-management skills.
Anyway this day is given over ostensibly to celebrate the more age advanced members of Japanese society.Those citizens who crowd public events such as the Expo site leeming-like ...(280,000 people visited the Expo yesterday),those sterling individuals who jump queues with impunity,who remain oblivious to frantic bell ringing as they weave back and forth on the footpath.Those beloved people who find it necessary to yell down their cellphones on crowded public transport or smoke in a packed elevator regardless of others discomfort.
Random Thoughts
Finished the fourth and final book in "The Number 1 Ladies Detective Agency" which i wrote of last week.Was interesting to learn a little about this former British colony that became independent in 1966.Apart from diamonds and being the home of the Khalahari Bushmen i knew nothing of this landlocked African country.Also enjoyable coming across a new writer and a memorable character and setting.There was the added bonus i got 3 of the 4 books in half price book sales but i still probably would have bought them given the quality of the writing.
Wee Beasties
Not quite a plague but Ive been eradicating cockroaches at the rate of 4-5 a night for the last 2 weeks.If I work a late shift and come back round 10.15pm I can usually find 1 or 2 scuttling for cover under the sofa or TV.Others just seem to wander in from the balcony as I leave the door ajar to air out the apartment if its been locked all day.
Jog Day Afternoon
Ran 10km on a running machine at my gym last Friday.Hadnt intended to but the instructions were all in Japanese and the thing was so hard to stop.I eventually decided to just jump for it whereupon the machine shut down and emitted a loud ringing noise which a staff member evidently shut off while i stood there sweating and bowing my apology profusely.
There were no serious after effects though my right ankle swelled up a little and my left knee protested; the remmants of a soccer injury.However all things considered I'll battle on and attempt to get in shape for the 10km race late November.....

Monday, September 05, 2005

Dont Leave Me High Dont Leave Me Dry

Dont Levee Me High Dont Levee Me Dry
Monday 5 September 2005

For some perverse reason RadioHeads "High and Dry" sprung into my mind all week.High rotation.Possibly Hurricane Katrina and the resulting floods.Funny how ones mind works at times.
Meanwhile Typhoon 14 bears down on Japan.The largest typhoon so far this season.Should arrive Wednesday.Lots of heavy rain and strong winds.Unless it petulantly decides to veer towards Taiwan and mainland China at the last instant.

:books,films etc that show sexual activity in order to cause sexual excitement.
Oxford Dictionary.
Im not sure if Id consider "9 Songs"from the fertile mind of Michael Winterbottom as porn.Certainly theres sexual activity.A lot.Between the 9 songs.Explicit.Physical bonding.
9 songs 8 bands 1 couple.A review called it "fucking rubbish" which is a tad harsh while another criticised the dull dialogue.Sure it lacked the penetrating wit of say Intolerable Cruelty but who wants to live with a wise cracking partner 24/7.Besides which is more realistic?
The actors themselves werent exactly outstanding either and the music-contemporary rock groups of the Franz Ferdinand ilk hardly whipped me up into a sexual frenzy either.
An interesting movie conception but I enjoyed his earlier 24 Hour Party People and the recent Code 46 much more...a bit of an anti-climax really.

Book Bargains
Managed to purchase a couple of bargains last weekend.Half price.Literature in English in Japan is hellishly expensive be it in magazine ,book or text form.Most of the people I work with dont read either so its difficult even swopping stuff thats not the Da Vinci Code or requires crayons.
Anyway I got a short history of Japanese baseball and Ichiros effect on the MLB and its Japanese counterpart.Also I got a rather serious 700 page tome comparing Hitler and Stalin as dictators.I think it will give me a hernia lugging it back and forwards to work.

Currently enjoying a light entertaining book "The No 1 Ladies Detective Agency" by Alexander Mcall Smith.Set in Botswana the main character is a kind of African Miss Marple who invesigates missing persons cases and the like.Shes a vehicle or a conceit.......
(i hesitate to call her" a tool" after seeing "9 Songs") for the author to describe his impressions of the African landscape historically,socially and geographically.Id always lumped the African continents people into the one stereotypical basket.After reading this book however I can now appreciate how each nationality is distinct and has its own character merits and failings.
Simply written I was reminded of Rumpole of the Bailey in terms of characters and its recounting of human behaviour and foibles.The concept of people being promoted beyond their talent it seems is a universal problem.
Running on Empty
This years entry form for the annual 10k Nagoya fun run arrived in the post last weekend.Havent missed a year.Except for 2004 last year when I was tooling around on crutches for 2 and ahalf months having broken my damn right ankle in Prague.Not sure if its up to trainning and running that distance.I`ll have to check it out on a running n\machine at the gym later this week.Ive got almost 2 months to pysche myself up or out of it.Would be a shame to miss it and i could do with the exercise as well.
The Only Living Gaijin In Konan
Its funny.The help shift school where I work is only 20 minutes by train from Nagoya.Yet I might as well be in deepest,darkest Africa for all the odd stares and finger-pointing that goes on every Monday.As if I was some object of curiosity.From another planet.
Maybe Im paranoid but such a view seems justified when this morning I was pestered not once but twice by well-meaning if somewhat naive passers-by.Peppering me with their questions as I was drinking a Starbucks coffee.
Trying to read I was."Where live you?" and "Do English you speak" in their best Yoda English.
I replied in kind.
To the first question i said in my best Japanese phrase learnt by rote to combat such situations"I come from Mars".
To the second inquiry a brusque "Mais non je suis francais".
Both answers had the desired effect the inquistors were vanquished and left bewildered while i finished my coffee and my book.Yes i know im rude and its hardly a good cultural exchange but really i would have thought with the increase in overseas travel and the number of foreign visitors to the Expo a more enlightened attitude would have began to prevail..zut alors....