Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Dreaming of Food.

Actually, before I go onto the food issue, on saturday night I was in a dream where I was being gassed by overhead war-planes. I was staggering down a street in some town somewhere (probably in Europe) when poisonous gas started falling from the sky. I fell to the floor choking before waking up abruptly. Anyway, the twist is that on sunday afternoon when I went to check the front page of wikipedia, the daily front page article was about poisonous gasses used by planes in WW1. There could have been millions of other articles on the front page apart from that one. Then last night I had a dream about eating. This story is actually a lot less about coincidence and more about what I'm in the process of doing this week. I'm going the week without eating any food, and I just assume that last night's dream about stuffing my face full of banana pudding was something to do with me not having eaten for the last thirty hours.

After speaking to Hugh's dad the other night about ways in which I could gain better control over my body, and not have the opposite scenario where my bodily and physical desires control my mind, I decided to go ahead with a short fast. Hugh's dad, Jim, reckons that he fasted for up to three weeks before, and he strongly encouraged me to give it a try. The last thing I ate was a bowl of noodles on sunday night. It's tuesday morning now, and I won't lie, I'm hungry, but apparently the first three days are the worst. At first I thought of going the full seven days, but I want to climb at the weekend and there's no way I'm going up the mountain without some food in my belly. So the plan is to go five full days on water alone.

I'll let you know how it goes.

Friday, May 27, 2005

For your attention - a wealth of interesting photography.

I've been spending a lot of time recently browsing through the thousands and thousands of travel photos uploaded to this site, and the above image is one of my favourites. Trekearth is worth a look if you're interested in landscape or culture photography. You have to sift through some pretty bland stuff in order to get to the goods, but it's worth it. It's particularly addictive if you have travel plans for the future and you want to check out where you're thinking of going.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Back, but for how long?

Yes, today I discovered that access to blogger.com weblogs has been re-opened in my school, so I'm assuming that blogspot.com can now bee accessed by all us high school employees throughout the ken. Here's a picture if you don't believe me:

How long will it last? Nobody knows....

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Vegas Baby

I just watched Swingers again for the second time and it's fast becoming one of my favourite films. I think it's the bars and the nightlife in the storyline. Those bars and hang-outs just don't exist here in Hirosaki. And although it's probably a good thing, because I'd end up getting nailed all the time, and in the long run I wouldn't have payed off so much of my debt and saved so much if there were bars like that in this town, sometimes I just pine for nights out with a bit of flair. We came close last weekend at Papa Soul's dinky little shin-dig-gig on Kaji Machi. It wasn't a night I'd write home about, but it was a good laugh and we watched the sun rise which I haven't done in a while. For the good of my health, though, I know I'm in a good situation here in Hirosaki because there really are very few places for bored lonely guys like me to go out drinking.

Haven't been taking many interesting shots lately, so I thought I'd put out some re-runs. Aomori bridge.

I've had a stinking cold this last couple of days. I thought about where I might've picked it up, and the only interesting theory I can come up with is through my ears. Literally, I went and had my ears syringed the other day and the guy pulled two whacking great lumps of wax out. I could hear so much better afterwards. Anyway, I think the wax in our ears works as a kind of protective barrier against germs, you see, and after I removed my barriers all the germs got into my ears and down into my body, and here I am with a manky bloody cold and sore throat. I have to go to work though, it's the Japanese way.

One thing I don't feel like doing after watching Swingers is Pachinko. All the bright lights of the casinos in the Las Vegas shoots were cool, and I'd love to visit Vegas someday (for photographic satisfaction only), but the pachinko parlours in this town will never get their hands on my money. No way. I often go up to the doors of crowded pachinko parlours and take quick snapshots of the rows of guys and girls inside wasteing their money. You'd have to be nuts to waste your money on that nonsense.

You probably remember this one from about a year ago. It was taken at a school cultural performance in the shiminkaikan, or roughly translated (as always), the citizens of the city meeting place. These girls were representing Japan. The kids who represented Britain came out with pictures of the Beatles. Like Britain hasn't produced anything culturally interesting in the last thirty years. Anyway, my cold is asking me to go to bed with it now, so I'd better do what it wants or it'll only give me a headache tomorrow.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Strange findings in the woods

Now, I don't usually go too mad about the 'only in Japan' kind of posts that you find on many Japan based bloggers' websites, but last weekend I came across something that kind of blew me away. I was taking the small trek through the 'Mini Shirakami' area over on the other side of the mountain - a slight detour from the road which follows the perimeter of the mountain. I was on a bike ride at the time. And whilst walking through the woods I came across this little box stood in the middle of nowhere. Literally in the middle of nowhere.

From my very rough translation of what is written on the front it says something like this:

'Maybe you can hear the sound of water from the Buna trees....

Feel free to use (whatever's in side) at your own liberty....

Make sure you put (whatever it is) back when you've done....'

So, without further ado, I opened the box door to see what was inside.

And, just as I'd suspected, a bunch of surgical stethoscopes were lying there inside.

Now, at this point it would have been natural for anyone to close the door and take a good look around for things like hidden video cameras or TV crews, but I hadn't seen anybody for about thirty minutes prior. I was kind of expecting to run into some forest animals like monkies or bears, not public stethoscopes.

I just couldn't resist. There I was in the UNESCO world heritage Shirakami national park, and for the first time in my life I had the chance to play with a stethoscope. I couldn't hear a thing, just in case you were wondering.

You may have noticed that lately the level of activity on this blog has dropped somewhat. The reason for this is because my employer, Aomori Prefecture Board of Education, decided to filter even more of what's allowed through their network, leaving me with a warning for adult sex every time I try to access this blog at school. It's a bummer, but it has forced me to look further afield across the internet for other sites of interest, thus encouraging a bit more variety to my work day.

Finally, on my weekend cycle ride around the mountain I discovered a really great view that I never knew existed before. The backside of Iwaki. Enjoy.

Saturday, May 07, 2005

Golden Week - 相変わらず

This week has seen three national holidays and a day off work that I took from my own little stash of employment benefits. I climbed the mountain three times and biked round it once yesterday as well. My left knee is really sore so I think I must have over-worked it. Most other people have been travelling and doing all sorts of stuff that sounds really cool, but I decided to stay in the ken and spend my time doing more mundane things like eating huge salad sandwiches.

Chilling with the badminton club. Here's Hayato, the ring leader. His arms seem to be full with his mate's little toddler.

Viewing sunsets from parks full of cherry blossom trees.

And of course, taking immense amounts of photos from the mountain.

A descender.

Another descender.

Two quitters and a descender.

A sitter of mountain tops 眩しい!!

And a reflection.

Apart from that I can't really say much else about this year's Golden Week. A guy called Ge Thao came to stay at my house. I met friends in the park and ate lots of carney food. I got a wicked sun-tan from all the time I spent outdoors, and I'm not in the least bit surprised that Slippery Tony got back into office. Whatever happened to Screaming Lord Such and the Monster Raving Loonies?