Friday, September 29, 2006

Friday Flash

Originally uploaded by pookie_san99.
These red nerine flowers have been blooming in the entrance of my apartment building all week. A sure sign that autumn is upon us despite the warm weather.Today Friday we're expecting a pleasant 28 degree celsius day.
According to the BBC gardening website nerines come from South Africa in a variety of soft pastel colours.
Here in Nagoya City,nerines along with cosmos seem to be the plants of choice in the local public and park garden and flower beds.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Quick Book and DVD Review

Originally uploaded by pookie_san99.
Triangle The Fire that Changed America.
2003.David Von Drehle.340pages published by Grove Press.

I bought this book in New York after visiting the Fire Service Museum and learning of this tragedy.The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in Greenwich Village March 1911 killed 146 workers.It was the worst workplace disaster in New York until 9/11.
Von Drehle traces the background of those involved in the fire and its aftermath.The immigrant sweatshop workers,the owners,the early union organisers,city officals and politicians.
He also details how the susequent trial and fallout changed laws and led to political changes on a local and national front.
Particularly harrowing were the accounts of the fire.They eerily recalled scenes of September 11th 2001.
Judging from the extensive reference section at the end of the book and extensive notes and sources Von Drehle spent a lot of time researching this important event.This is reflected in the compelling highly readable book he has produced.Recommended.

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang
I watched this dvd earlier in the week.Its a comedy of sorts.Detective noirish.Buddy movie.Set in New York.With a plot that gives a knowing wink to such classic gumshoe detective movies as The Maltese Falcon and ChinaTown.
Robert Downey Jnr stars and narrates while his sidekick Val Kilmer plays a gay detective.Its fun trying to unravel the plot and keep up with the twists.
I also think the directors commentary is worth a listen as Kilmer and Downey together with the director go off on various tangents and name drop.An enjoyable movie and as they joke "wheres our franchaise deal"...

Sumo Round Up

With a final scorecard of 13 wins 2 losses Asashoryu won the Autumn Grand Sumo Tournament on Sunday.He lost his penultimate bout to Chiyotaikai in a humdinger of a match.Slapping furiously, Chiyotaikai managed to stay on his feet longer than the lunging falling Asa.with cushions flying into the ring the four judges conferred and awarded Chiyo the match.

It was pretty academic as Asashoryu`s closest rival had lost earlier ensuing him of his 18th Emperors Cup.He is now just four Emperor Cup victories from Takanohana (22) on the all-time winners list.
Baruto ended up with a 4win 7 loss record before withdrawing with a leg injury.Kaio ended up with a 1 win 6 loss record before he retired injured as well.
Unfortunately both Hakuho 8-7 and Miyabiyama 9-6 winning records werent enough to warrant their promotion.It doesnt seem at the moment there is any wrestler,Japanese or foreign, able to challenge Asashoryu consistently.He remains the sole yokozuna....

Friday, September 22, 2006

Friday Flash

Originally uploaded by pookie_san99.
A late takeout lunch today.I got up late to a cool fine autumn morning.
In the post was an application for this years Foreign Artists Exhibition at the end of October.
Four weeks.Panic!
I havent a clue if I want to put anything in or any idea what to put in.
Ah well theres the sumo on the tv later maybe I'll get some inspiration...

Monday, September 18, 2006

Respect for the Aged Day

Today was Respect for the Aged Day.A public holiday.For most people an excuse to play golf and go shopping.
I had an early shift today at my help shift school.I started at 10am.It takes about one hour and fifteen minutes to get there.The journey requires a subway ride,a bus ride and then a ten minute walk.Its ok if the weathers fine.Today I was weary as Typhoon 13 was passing.I didnt fancy braving a walk in strong winds and rain.Luckily neither eventuated.
As it was a public holiday and I finish early the company dont provide a taxi ride to the station.The only alternative is to catch the bus to the station.As the last lesson finishes barely 15minutes before the bus arrives its a mad dash from the school,past the security check and a furious run for the bus stop.Thank God it wasnt raining...

Sumo Update
With his third loss to date Hakuhos possible promotion to yokozuna seems to all but have disappeared.
Asashroyu lost to Kisenosato on Friday but got his revenge next day by quickly disposing of Baruto.To date with one loss he retains a share of the lead.
Kaio has withdrawn from the tourney due to injury while Miyabiyama continues to look good for promotion to ozeki rank.
With a number of wrestlers still in contention the remaining eight days should be interesting....

Last Weeks News Recap

The new prince was named last Tuesday.He'll go by the name of Prince Hisa Hito which translates as "relaxed,easygoing,virtuous person".The symbol chosen for his personal crest is the umbrella pine a species native to Japan.The umbrella pine apparently grows strong,sturdy and tall....

High Prices Everyday
To clarify last Mondays photo it seems the business buys second hand motorcycles.The ad tries to atract potential sellers by offering them top dollars for their used bikes.Obvivous when you think about it....

It sure aint Bonsai...Before

It sure aint Bonsai
Originally uploaded by pookie_san99.
Each year towards the end of summer gangs of local council workers break out their chainsaws and leafblowers.
The annual tree pruning took place last Monday.If you squint or look closely you can make out one worker in the cherry picker basket while another is perched in the tree happily hacking away at the foilage.
This is the before shot.Its still quite warm and the trees provide welcome shade and protection from the sunshine.
If you look below you can see the results of the workers labour in the next photo.Same tree.Next day...

It sure aint Bonsai..Aftermath..

Originally uploaded by pookie_san99.

This is the after shot.Same tree.Sans leaves.Sans branches.Sans everything.Stark.Stunted.Sullen.I have no idea why such brutality is meted out on a seasonal basis.It may be to prevent falling leaves in autumn from blocking drains.Or even to minimise damage and injury from flying debris in the upcoming typhoon season.
Whatever it still example of urban vandalism...

Friday, September 15, 2006

Friday Flash

Sushi Takeout Lunch
Originally uploaded by pookie_san99.
A closeup photo of my sushi lunch takeout today.Theres something about autumn that makes the food and colors worth waiting for after the steamy, stinking, summer season.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Everyday High Price

Everyday High price
Originally uploaded by pookie_san99.
I did a double take when I saw this advertising poster.I'm not sure what the deal is.The sign appears outside a local business that hires out motorcycles.
Just another example of how difficult the English language is or a ploy to get new customers...go figure...

Its a Boy

The big news over the last week has been the birth of a new prince.The first male born to the Japanese Imperial Family since 1965.With his birth it seems any revisions or amendments to the Imperial House Law allowing both males and females to ascend the throne will be put on hold.
The government was to introduce a Bill in 2007 to begin procedures to revise the laws of ascession but the point seems moot.The birth of the prince means theres a male successor for the next generation has been found.
The prince will receive his name tomorrow Tuesday at the Meimei no Gi or Imperial naming ceremony.At the same time he will also get his offical oshirushi or Imperial crest that will be used to mark his belongings.

The Autumn Grand Sumo Tournament got underway yesterday.Hakuho who is still in line for promotion to yokozuna got off to a bad start.Unfortunately he lost his first bout.As his 13-2 record in Nagoya wasnt considered good enough for promotion he cant afford to lose another match in the current basho.
Asashoryu,the sole yokozuna started well with a straight forward shove out win against Kokkai from Georgia.Kokkai,whose name translates as "Black Sea" was recently promoted to the komusubi ranks was no match to the powerful Asa.
Chiyotaikai won his bout against Barauto who fell awkwardly on his left leg.He seemed to be favouring it as he left the ring.
Hopefully it isnt serious...

Friday, September 08, 2006

Friday Flash

Marmot Hat
Originally uploaded by pookie_san99.
Earlier in the week I got this baseball cap in the post.
The Marmot Recovery Foundation were good enough to send it to me after I renewed my membership in the the Adopt-a-Marmot Club.
For those of you who dont know the Vancouver Island Marmot is Canada's most endangered animal.
Check out the Foundations website at or click on the link on my website.

Monday, September 04, 2006

There Goes The Sun...

Originally uploaded by pookie_san99.

Fall is in the air.
Almost arbitrairly autumnal.
Come September 1st shops clear their shelves of summer sale stock.Despite remaining broiling outside.Fall fashions,food and fancies fill the stores.

Its cooler at night.And Dawn.Making sleeping a much more viable proposition than even a week ago.Cicada cadavers crowd the pavement.Crunch crunch underfoot.

My own contribution to summer has been this modest sunflower grown on my balcony.The sole survivor of seeds sown earlier in the season.
It battled pests and the rainy season.Withstood a leaf curl attack and my neglectful watering.While not exactly thriving it did flower which must count for something.Five floors above a smoke choked six lane highway.
Evidence of natures stubborn wilful resilence..

Gokiburi Dango (Cockroach Bait)

Gokiburi Dango
Originally uploaded by pookie_san99.
Despite my rigorous cleaning schedule the apartment lately seems a target for gokiburi(cockroaches) to relocate.Maybe they have been transferred or are on summer holidays.Whatever,they seem to regard my living space as fair game.Prime real estate.A Club Med for creepy crawlies.
A student was kind enough to give me a homemade remedy,gokiburi dango,to battle the unwelcome squatters.
These small balls are made up of the following ingredients-flour and sugar,salt,onion and boric acid.Obvivously the boric acid is the killing agent while the onion apparently lures the pests to their last suppers.
I've put about a dozen round the perimeter of my rooms.So far no bites.Nor any new arrivals.Nada.I dont know if the deterrent value outweighs the dangos killing power.Still no cockroaches is good cockroaches....

Friday, September 01, 2006

Friday Flash

Bento Lunch Box
Originally uploaded by pookie_san99.
This bento or lunchbox consists of cold soba noodles and three sweet rice cakes.Some small strips of pork and egg are also included along with chopped green onion.A small bag of vinegar like sauce is also provided which you pour over the noddles.
A cheap (¥360) small light bite for summer.