Friday, November 30, 2007

Friday Flash..Nana Chan

This six metre or so tall mannequin stands outside the Meitestsu Department store near Nagoya Station.Here she is sporting a seasonal Christmas outfit.She seems to have a large wardrobe of clothes.In summer she wore a pink bikini and recently she was clad in the Chunichi Dragons baseball strip when the team won the Japan Series for the first time in about fifty years.
Apparently Nana chan is the largest doll-like figure in Japan and first appeared in 1973 to mark the anniversary of the Meitestu Department store opening.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Christmas Illuminations

Around this time of year the streets are ablaze with Christmas lights or what are locally known as "Christmas Illuminations".The Santa Claus decoration above is postioned beside an intersection in central Nagoya.

The largest concentration of lights and decorations however can be found at Nagoya Station.On the wall above the main entrance to Nagoya Station a huge illuminated castle draws crowds of camera bearing people eager to pose under the display.

As you approach Nagoya Station from Sakae and walk up the steps there is what can best be described as a lit garden display.In this area there are illuminated arches to walk through and various illuminated animals such as bears and penguins as well as the requisite Christmas trees.All bedecked in red,green and white lights.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Friday Flash..Paper Mache Lizard

I finally got round to finishing this small gecko/lizard paper mache creation over the last few weeks.It had been lying around in a semi-completed state for about six months.Its only in the last month or so while being "unemployed" or "on standby"I have had the oppurtunity to add a few more layers of paper mache to it as well as paint and varnish it.
From the tip of its nose to its tail it measures around 25 centimeters in length.The black and silver paint and varnish sheen is quite deceptive.One of my friends thought it was metal rather than paper and glue.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Clinging to the Wreckage

Well I finally got rung last Thursday night by a G.Com rep around 10:45pm.I was asked to go to a school last Friday which was across from G.Coms headquarters in Nagoya.
There were about 20 or so instructors who turned up.
So far so good.Lots of bits of paper and information flying around.There are plans to open 30 or so schools shortly.It will be interesting to see how the Nova and EC school systems are intergrated both in terms of resources and management styles.
Today Im off to a school in central Nagoya only ten minutes from my apartment which cuts down travelling costs and time.

Autumn in Shirotori Garden

I bicycled down to Shirotori Garden yesterday,buffeted by strong northerly winds which apparently herald the onset of winter.Suitably clad in coats and scarves,many people were taking the opportunity to stretch their legs and observe the autumn foilage.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Friday Flash..Apple KitKats

This small KitKat box contains two apple flavoured KitKats.On opening each KitKat wrapper you are greeted with a sweet apple scent.The creamy apple flavouring and biscuit are surrounded by thick dark brown chocolate.
Im not sure that eating one of these apple KitKats is "a moment of precious indulgence" as written on the box front but nonetheless its a pleasant enough treat.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Haagen Dazs Kokuto and Kuromitsu

This new flavour has a distinctive bitter coffee/burnt caramel taste.Kokuto translates as brown sugar while kuromitsu translates roughly as sugar syrup or treacle depending where you google.It seems that both kokuto and kuromitsu originally come from Okinawa where the main sugar cane fields are found in Japan.

Hanging on the Telephone....

G Communications Co,the offically annointed sponsor of Nova held meetings in Tokyo,Osaka and 23 other locations on Saturday.I attended one in Nagoya.
Along with multitudes of other hopefuls I sat crouched in a corridor while the three and a half hour meeting unfolded on a small TV linked to Tokyo.
There wasnt much information given out that was specific or even new.The meeting was prolonged due to the need for translation both Japanese and English.The government official translating the legal documents merely referred to the page numbers and different sections as if those present couldnt read that for themselves.Not particularly useful or encouraging.
Anyway,it was confirmed that G Comm would take on those who wanted a job.An official from G Comm,which is based in Nagoya stated it planned to open 30 branches by the end of the month.Eventually its planned to open 200 schools in total.Umm 30 branches and 4,000 odd Nova instructors.Oh and they would still pay wages even if there wasnt a branch near you.Skeptical?A little.
Due to the numbers at the meeting the planned short interviews were cancelled but we were told we would be phoned by Wednesday.Im not holding my breath...

Friday, November 09, 2007

Friday Flash..Mild Bitter Kit Kats

In between applying for jobs,trying to keep up with the continuing Nova saga and attending meetings I spied these Mild Bitter KitKats on the shelves of my local convenience store.
My first thought was...WHY? Mild bitter...KitKats for the indecisive?
After sampling a couple of bars(there are 6 in this pack) I thought they still tasted rather sweet so Im not sure who they would appeal too.What next sweet and sour kitkats?

Monday, November 05, 2007

Stand by at Home

The receivers or now as they are termed "interim trustees" of Nova Corp announced on the company website today they were approached by around ten companies in their quest to find a sponsor company.
After screening these companies the interim trustees in their words"would like to determine the sponsor by Thursday this week November 8th".Later they ask that"you wait at home until November 8th".
Thats all well and good but every day that goes by ones savings decrease.Ive been applying for various jobs in schools and ALT(assistant language teacher) positions in Nagoya and further afield even China.My lack of Japanese is a considerable hindrance and rules me out of many jobs.If Im here in a months time I'll make a serious attempt to upskill.

Trying to stretch and eke out my savings Ive been buying a few packets of moyashi(bean sprouts) each week.At twenty yen a bag they represent good value and can be eaten fresh in a salad or sandwich or stir-fried with other vegetables.

Foreign Artists Exhibition 2007

The Foreign Artists Exhibition finished last night having been held at the International Centre in Nagoya.It was the twenty second exhibition.There were around fifty two artists exhibiting from seventeen different countries.Some of the exhibits that caught my eye are below.The first is a painting by Glen Spencer.

This paper mache character was created by Marcio Minoru Ueno.Apparently he assembled it on site with just a couple of Japanese newspapers and glue in a matter of hours.

Finally a ceramic tile carving by Rezeq Boshnaq.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Friday Flash...Its Been One Week Since..

Its been one week since Nova Corp sought court protection from its creditors.
One week in which it was announced schools would be closed indefinitely.
One week in which Japanese staff and foreign instructors were told via the company website to stand by.
One week during which the government appointed receiver has been trying to find a sponsor company to operate Nova.
One week in which Ive been spending my time trying to decide what to do next.
One week when Ive applied for countless jobs both in Japan and overseas including China.
One week in which Ive divided my time between trying to get to grips with the whole situation regarding employment,resignation,certicates of job separation and unemployment benefits and sitting in at the Foreign Artists Exhibition that runs this week.
Hopefully the situation will become clearer on Monday 5th November when the receiver will apparently make some sort of announcement regarding the company.