April 29, 2008

昭和の日 / Showa day

Today was Showa day here in Japan. Showa day is a national holiday originally started to celebrate the birthday of Emperor Hirohito, and therefore is something of a controversial subject. But to me it just means *no work*!

As the weather was somewhat clement I decided to go on a little cycle tour of Nagoya, going west from my home in Hirabari, through Yagoto, Imaike, Sakae, Tsurumai, and back home again (also taking in lots of other places most people reading this will probably never have heard of).

I also thought I'd give the new camera a work-out...you can view the results here. They're not enormously interesting but they might give you some idea of my surroundings. Plus I've been too lazy to work out how to use my camera properly so I just jammed it into "simple mode" and let it do it's own thang.


April 21, 2008

大掃除 / Spring cleaning

春だよ! 晴れだよ! ビールだよ! よしっ! (でも、もうすぐ夏になっちゃう。。。実を言ったら夏、あまり好きではないし。。。頑張ってね、アンディーさん -_-; )

で、僕のアパートがすごいゴチャゴチャになっちゃったら、「大掃除をしよう」っていう気がしてきた。 今やっているところだ。。。(無精)

ちなみに、新しいデジカメをゲットした ^^  もうすぐ、無暗に写真を貼るかも!


Spring has most definitely sprung here and my apartment is a complete tip, so I have requisitioned an emergency sort-and-file on its ass. Therefore I am too far up to my elbows in suds 'n' grime to post much.

Also, I have (finally) bought a new camera! My previous one steadfastly refused to take non-blurry photographs in anything other than outdoor, daylight conditions...so expect a plethora of photographic wonderments to be posted here!

And finally...not to sound like a bad submission to "That's Life" but I was poking around in my local 2nd-hand store thing this evening and I found an AM/FM radio of a somewhat peculiar design...not to offend readers of a somewhat more delicate sensibility, but upon viewing it I was immediately reminded of a certain personal hygiene implement, the name of which begins with "d"...I present a photograph (together with instruction manual) for your perusal below...

The speaker is on the underside, and the, er, "nozzle" serves as an FM antenna.


April 11, 2008

Hanami ・ 花見

Went to Tsurumai Park in Nagoya last Friday with a group from work for the annual hanami celebrations. Hanami is a traditional celebration of the annual blooming of sakura (cherry blossom). Nowadays this celebration usually consists of going somewhere with lots of sakura trees with a group of friends and/or workmates, sitting beneath said trees, and drinking large quantities of alcohol. Which, if you ask me, is as good a way as any of ushering in the spring.

Whilst indulging in a good deal of "nommunication" I was informed of something of which I wasn't previously aware...namely that the Japanese see the sakura, which is only in bloom for a number of weeks, as metaphor for the transient, ephemeral nature of life, possibly reflecting the Buddhist influence on the Japanese belief system. Also, the symbolism of the sakura was exploited during WWII, as a means of representing the transient nature of the lives of kamikaze pilots.

My workmate Ikeda-san took some fantastic photos of the proceedings, which I have uploaded here for your viewing pleasure (it's all in Japanese but you should be able to navigate OK).

While I'm on the subject...I went to Nakatsugawa to walk a part of the Nakasendo (an historic road-thing) with my lovely workmate Ikeda-san (a different one...I work with 3 separate Ikeda-sans) and her parents...I took some photos on the way, they're not as interesting as the sakura photos but I've put them here if you wanna have a look.


Fun with commuting

Here's a video that's somewhat painful to watch! (don't worry it's not pr0n)


An extreme example of course, but still...apparently the average daily commute of those working in Tokyo (I'm assuming that's Tokyo in the video) is around 2 hours. Once again I am thankful that I live and work in roughly the middle of nowhere (somehow I can't quite picture the good old Meitetsu Toyota-sen (the line I take to work) ever getting quite that bad) and that I work for a company open-minded enough to operate flex-time (meaning that I can avoid busy periods, and also meaning that I can spend those precious, precious extra minutes/hours in bed in the morning).

Haven't had a dumb cat picture in a while so here's a pile of the bastards:


Word o' the day

Adding weight to the old maxim that the Japanese have a word for everything:

ツレション (tsureshon) : (noun, vulg) accompaniment to the bathroom; group urination (short for 連れ小便)


April 9, 2008


。。。に、どういうわけか興味がある >< 今日の仕事はそんなに忙しくないので。。。このサイト、いい勉強になった、へへ。 (英語を勉強している方向けだけど) http://home.alc.co.jp/db/owa/s_kaydic?ctg_in=4


For some unknown reason, I have long held a fascination with gitaigo and giongo...these being onomatopeic Japanese words expressing sounds, feelings, and assorted more abstract concepts. That said, I don't use them very often in daily conversation because a) they are hard to remember and b) they kind of make you sound like a cartoon character. My recent favorites are as follows. I've taken the liberty of providing English example sentences so that you can work them into your everyday conversation.

  • ムカムカ (muka-muka) : queasiness; nausea (I feel a bit muka-muka today)
  • グニャグニャ (gunya-gunya) : having a gummy consistency; viscous (this toffee is quite gunya-gunya)
  • ゴチャゴチャ (gocha-gocha) : being in a mess/disorder (sorry, we can't go to my place, it's totally gocha-gocha)
  • ムニュムニュ (munyu-munyu) : to mumble (whatchoo munyu-munyu-ing about Willis!!)
  • ポカポカ (poka-poka) : warm; nice weather (that lovely Michael Fish from off the telly said that it would be poka-poka tomorrow; oooh I do like him, he wears the nicest sweaters)
  • ブツブツ (butsu-butsu) : (1) grumbling; (2) rash; spots; pimples (his face was all like butsu-butsu and stuff, I mean, like hell-LO? what was Courtney, like, thinking, setting me up with a total baboon like that? Oh, and like oh my GOD you are not gonna BELIEVE how much he butsu-butsu'd on the way to the White Castle)

Ah, nothing beats a nice bit of language butchery.

As a postscript...I've been playing Taiko no Tatsujin on my DS rather too much recently, and I can't get the "Tarako" song (which features in it) out of my head...so I thought I'd look up the full version on Youtube, and...erm...good grief but this country is warped.

Just FYI it takes as it's subject matter a particular brand of pasta sauce, as if that helps clear things up.


April 3, 2008


今日は、日本に来た以来はや2年間がかかてきたところのです。 あっという間にのような気がしているですが、実に長い間ので、内政的な感じも入っています。 「日本の生活はどう?」や「日本語能力はどう?」という質問を、よく自問自答をしているけど、気分が毎日違っているやつなので、いつであろうとはっきり答えられない。

そうは言っても、私の日本の生活はだいたい順調ですよ。 もちろん、外人として、難しいところもあるが、外国に住んでいることは毎日新しくて不思議な体験が得られるものなので、 幸せです。 日本に住む機会も、仕事も、アパートもあって、幸運だと思う。 時々独りぼっちで寂しい感じだけど。。。

日本語能力について、たぶん自問自答しなかったほうがいいんじゃん (^_^;) 。。。っていうより、むしろ内政・緊張しないで自信を持ったほうがいいですよね。 さぁ、頑張ろう。。。


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