Wednesday, September 28, 2005

城西保育園運動会 The mother of all battles

Yes, this last weekend saw a major showdown between the reds and the whites of Jousei Kindergarten. I, myself, chose to side with the reds because my favourite kids were on that team. I was invited to sit and watch the kids do their stuff, sat with a panel of worn-out old ojiisan (grandads), conveniently positioned directly opposite all the parents, so they could see that the school had gone all out and draughted in a gaijin for the event. I got a free bento, so I can't complain.

The Orange Warriors.

The red team really pulled up their socks for the occasion, but I could see from the turnout of events that we lost quite comfortably, even before the scores were tallied at the end. I'm not surprised, though, just look at the competition:

It was a good event, and I would have enjoyed it loads if it weren't for the thoughtless sods downstairs getting drunk and playing music until 5 in the morning. They're going to pay though, cause I've been onto the landlord and he promised to have a polite word with them. And if a polite Japanese estate agent gets a complaint about noisy, thoughtless neighbours, you can rest assured he's going to have a very indirect and vague word with the swines. That ought to put a stop to it!

I know you've been missing them, so I decided to post another picture of Iwaki san. Long time no see:

Speaking of Iwaki, I was up there just the other day. Good God, those damn snakes are getting on my nerves these days. Can you believe one of them actually chased me the other day. I can't understand it, I thought the snakes would be all wrapped up ready for the colder winds at this time of year. But no, I saw at least eight on Monday. Only three of a size worth considering though. Most of them were little 20cm jobbies. The one that chased me was around 60-70 though. It's a pain in the rear, because I really like going up in shorts and I feel like a bit of a target if I do.

And in support of Operation Bearwatch I decided to post this recent evidence, found less than five hundred metres from Akakura Jinja. The one above has been there since last year, but the one below is fresh. This proves little more than that bears really do live in the woods. It's not much, but it's the best I can do so far.

I'm going to buy some spanking new binoculars at the weekend so I might have some more reports to add to Luke's ongoing saga.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

My new Sunday afternoon hangout

The Rat Gym, where I will now be spending my Sunday afternoons. The two walls you can see in this shot are too difficult for me, though I have tried, and pulled some muscles in the process. I'm making gradual progress though, and with one or two regular visits to the Budokan traning room each week I'm slowly getting some strength back in my upper body. My arms shrank substantially after the fracture I had last year, and it'll take time to get them back to how they were before.

The Rat Gym is a chilled out place. The walls are in a big garage place, and most of the floor space is covered with mattresses. There's nothing there but the walls, a fridge with some drinks in it, and a stereo playing live Japanese jazz/rock. I like it for it's simplicity, and the same goes for the sport itself. All you need is some climbing shoes and a chalk bag and you're off.

These guys are really good climbers. The guy on the wall scaled the whole garage (five seperate walls next to each other) and didn't seem to break into a sweat at all. I get wet just doing two or three moves.

Hurricane Katrina.

Here are some links related to the hurricane and the science behind the hurricane. This and this. It seems the majority of climatologists and meteorologists agree that warmer oceans add to the power of hurricanes. This is something that should cause many Americans, and others, to take a more responsible attitude towards the issue of global warming, considering the scale of the destruction witnessed in Louisiana and neighbouring states recently, but whether it will or not is a different matter.

New Orleans.

If you consider the major shifts in policy that took place after the Twin Towers were attacked, and the number of lives that were taken, this hurricane really shoud have huge policy implications. But politics isn't as rational as that, especially the kind of politics that the current US government are thrashing out.

The result is more likely to be an increase in Hollywood apocalypse movies.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Too many eggs, and car crashes

I've had a penchant for yude tamago 湯で玉子 just of late. That's hard-boiled eggs for the likes of you and me. An ex-girlfriend of mine told me that I shouldn't eat more than ten a week for my health, and I'm sticking to that quota, but the damn things are so good and so available at Japanese covenience stores that it's hard to stick to my limits. Here's to eggs, and there simplicity. Hell, here's to chickens!

On a more serious note, I got run over by a car the other day. I was cycling up the alternative side of the road (which in Japan, is not the wrong side of the road. Japanese cyclists always cycle on both sides at the edge of the road.) And usually cars at junctions stop for cyclists who do this, but the car that drove into me didn't. I can't explain it, but I could see it coming, I just didn't stop. I knew she hadn't looked for traffic or cyclists from the other direction, but I just kept going. I was in the right, judging from how I've seen other Japanese cyclists handle the road, but I also know that Japanese drivers are very often thoughtless and careless about potential dangers. I think, at the back of my mind I wanted to prove to her that Japan needs more rules of the road. Not laws, but some basic rules and ways of dealing with the road. Anyway, she pulled out and she hit my bike and I fell on her bonnet, then fell to the floor and under the bumper, where I smacked my head against the concrete. The worst of the damage was done to my bike, which now has skewed handle bars. I have a small scrape on my face, and a scratch on my penis from where the bike was pushed into my groin. No other damage apart from that though. Oh, and my front wheel is slightly buckled.

I was in a bit of shock after, of course, so when I tried to tell her to 'be careful!!' in very firm Japanese language, I ended up saying ' now let's be careful out there' in very casual and friendly Japanese. She probably found that funny.

Let's all be careful, for each others' sakes.