last updated July 30, 2005


Posted by stupot at 09:25 PM Saturday 30 Jul

really big televisions

our local stadium has one thats 9.3metres by 24.8. impressive.
unfortunately the football team is pish.

In an attempt to distract ourselves from a typical summer evening, we got tickets for Cerezo Osaka versus Fiorentina. one of the many European teams to be over doing a tour of Japan (for very large bags of cash judging by the ticket price). unfortunately Cerezo are, well, crap. and given that Fiorentina are only marginally better - even if Nakata does play for them - lets just say it wasn't the spectacle of the year. I'd rather have endured baseball. to cut a long story short it was 3-0 to the Italians.

so anyway - as happens in every country after a defeat - about 8 of us decided to get mad with the asahi. a short walk later we were in the local supermarket buying vast quantities of beer and fireworks. a great combination in theory. we got a load of roman candles - the hand held kind that fire off about 5 shots a go - and headed for the wee park nearby. yuka turned out to be the best shot, missing a colleagues head by not much at all. I think, in the excitement, she'd forgotten that these were fast moving explosives (not to get over dramatic about it) but it was a good fight and all seemed fine apart from a little shell shock.

on thursday we also heard of Celtic FC's new aquisition - Shunsuke Nakamura - the first Japanese to play football in Scotland. the story seems to be that he wants to go to Spain, but only after a decent Champions league run and experience with Celtic - presumably so he can choose to go to Real and not Mallorca. sadly for the him not only will he have to endure the pissing rain for the next year but his new team have shot themselves in the foot by losing 5-0 in that very league. and his new team mate will be Chinese. as long as he wasn't one of the twenty thousand attending the anti-Japanese rally in Beijing recently (and subsequent riot at the embassy) - they should get along famously.

Posted by stupot at 09:24 PM Saturday 30 Jul | Post comment (2) comments

cold blooded heathen

In a pretty innocent conversation the other day I was talking to a Japanese chap about the heat. through one thing and another we got onto the subject of body temperature and to my utter astonishment it turns out the accepted average temperature of the Japanese is 36.2 degrees celsius. assuming he was wildy mistaken I have been asking randomly since, and there has been alot of sharp intakes of breath as I tell them (certainly northern) europeans are over 37 degrees.

I guess it's not so odd given that bodys have to adjust to their given climate, and counteract any extremes, but not being too scientifically minded I was very impressed. I got home and shoved a thermometer under my arm and would you believe it - I'm 36.3 - almost acclimatised but no cigar. give me another year.

As I understand it, humidity also makes sweat evaporation harder - which probably explains the sweat blisters.

If only I'd listened in science class.

Posted by stupot at 09:03 PM Saturday 30 Jul


Posted by stupot at 11:49 PM Wednesday 27 Jul

oh do shut up!

now I've seen everything: sandy's on tv as well! remember the tall, serious one from monkey magic? I've seen monkey and pigsy frequently but this was a shock. he was still looking grumpy and pretty run down to tell you the truth - but not as bad as tripitaka: sadly it seems she died of lukemia in the eighties. oh well. maybe I can find a photo of the horse.

Posted by stupot at 11:49 PM Wednesday 27 Jul

a close shave

having your haircut in Japan is a superb example of just how good the service industry is. despite Abiko having a hair salon on every corner (it has to be seen to be believed) I opted for the wee shabby sweeny todd-esque barbers just near-by. It's the kind of place that can look a bit daunting at first (old men sitting about reading sports papers and smoking filterless cigarettes) but infact, feels quite the opposite on departure. the obligatory barbers pole is a nice, traditional touch, but as I sat watching what I was about to get, I couldn't help but wince at the hygiene in this place. after all - I was about to get very friendly with that open razor - and it didn't look as if it had seen a wash in years.

the place was very similar to 'wiggy and biggot's' on woodlands road in glasgow - (the very-kitch-without-knowing-it duo of racist and toupe-wearer) - with stylish, if tobacco stained, wallpaper, formica on every surface and pictures of nik kershaw in the window.

the experience is a great relaxant though. my japanese was enough to order a short back and sides which of course would come with all the trimmings; first your cut (there were no electric clippers in this joint); then your face steam; a shave (the fingers pulling the skin taut before the blade cuts); a little face massage; some more shaving; a little more of the top; wash of the hair; something at the back; moisturiser to face; menthol to scalp and a spray of something industrial to finish.

unlike your very feminine salons, the guy is happy to leave you in peace while you are done. the 'beauty products' were interesting in themselves - the aftershave looked like brut, the shampoo smelled like clay, the talcum powder used whilst cutting my hair (what is that for?) smelt like a great aunt and the spray he used at the end said 'aerosol' on it. all very retro, and so it's fitting that I now look like adolf hitler's brother.

Posted by stupot at 05:46 PM Tuesday 26 Jul | Post comment (2) comments

Danish - to go

this weeks bad luck award goes to michael rasmussen - the Dane who rides for rabbobank pro cycling team.

starting the penultimate stage (individual time trial) of the Tour de France in St. Etienne he was sitting in 3rd place - a podium finish. however (get this) 2 crashes, a series of mechanical problems and 4 bike changes meant that about an hour and a half later he had fallen (pun intended) to 7th place overall. despite the 4 bike changes he apparently put his loss of 7 minutes down to drag created by the rip in his shorts.

Posted by stupot at 02:18 AM Tuesday 26 Jul | Post comment (1) comments


Posted by stupot at 01:47 AM Tuesday 26 Jul

yokata yukata

yukatas really are one of the big fashion items this summer and it's nice to see. in town for a big festival today, it was very refreshing to see yukatas instead of louis vuitton and his pals. yuka thinks the new female ones are very garish but she also realised that if they weren't - nobody would wear them. the guys ones were very swish - grays and blacks - and with a pair of shades, they really looked cool. and I'm not talking airy.

yukatas look good to wear, but having seen one foreigner far from carrying it off, I'll stick to my semi-traditional cut off PJ's. only the wife gets to see how stupid I look in them.......

Posted by stupot at 01:46 AM Tuesday 26 Jul


Posted by stupot at 05:37 PM Saturday 23 Jul

out of the frying pan...

sitting down to a fairly typical afternoon of earthquake announcements on TV (actually narita airport has been closed), sounds of a local matsuri (fesival) in the distance and fans doing their best to move the hot air around.

at the end of a busy week, yuka and I are basking in 5 days off work. we saw danny krivit, down-town, last night where we enjoyed some very classy house until the wee oors. it was really the perfect tonic for a hot night: go somewhere even hotter and dance for 5 hours solid. it was a good crowd and the grand cafe is certainly a great venue.

Yuka has 'sweat-blisters' too, but my heat bumps are all over my feet and hands. slightly worrying, but as my unfazed wife puts it, I'm just "acclimatising".

She received some lovely rice sweets from her work - presumably for working un-godly hours for the past while - and they are the type with flakes of gold in them. as if to concrete the view that japan is an expensive place to live, even the sweets are made of gold.

Posted by stupot at 05:36 PM Saturday 23 Jul

seriously cool

there was a jacket showcased on TV earlier this year which has built-in fans to cool your body (by a company called PC2B) which has been well documented on japanese blogs. there was a time that I would have laughed at it - but now it all makes perfect sense. it's a serious product. it sells.

I have actually developed a heat rash (bumps) on my hands which have disfigured them for the time being. I look like a witch.

Posted by stupot at 02:02 AM Wednesday 20 Jul

how d'ya like them apples?

just as many Americans find ryhming slang a difficult art to master, I've never understood this phrase.

anyway. what I wanted to say was that I don't think it's necessarily all that wrong to sell apples at 250yen each. when you think about it.

Posted by stupot at 12:39 AM Wednesday 20 Jul


Posted by stupot at 10:54 PM Tuesday 19 Jul

watch I did

I saw star wars this afternoon. I had had a craving for cinema for a while - it's been a year at least, and although the first two episodes were utter pish, I sensed there would be more to this one. it was like I had been drawn in by a force.......and I was right to have listened to my feelings.

I eventually arrived at the new town, mall complex just before the movie started but the seats were 2400yen (or �12.25) in the premier cinema, so I went for a salad and a nan-curry-hot-dog over at mos burger - quality fast food. I even had to wait. it's funny that you get a menu-calorie chart as the paper on your tray at mos. only in japan, neh? anyway - I guess my meal equated to the difference between a reclining chair and big speakers in the premier cinema and waiting for my absolutely adequate 1800yen seat in economy at the next showing.

there was only 8 people in the cinema which probably accounts for the high seat prices. or is it the other way around. and you know women get in for 1000yen on wednesdays? bloody sexist - mind you I think wages aren't equal. and most things aren't, so actually it's probably fair. I should have waited til tomorrow and put on some lipstick.

they say malls are our new cathedrals and certainly many aspects of this statement are true: they're gigantic structures. alot of people go there on a sunday. you go there if you feel down. you get brainwashed by salesmen. and so, like a modern urban dweller I headed off on my weekend to worship my religion.

and, you know, I really felt better for it. yoda never threatened burning in hell.

Posted by stupot at 10:54 PM Tuesday 19 Jul

'no, no. I'm straightening my spine.'

in an attempt to cure my posture problems, my walking home from the train tonight with a half-full, 2 litre bottle of water on my head seemed to help. but I think the neighbours are talking.

Posted by stupot at 09:39 PM Tuesday 19 Jul

cold showers and lollies

the tsuyu or rainy season seems to be ending which means I'm going to have to water the plants properly. actually I've been syphoning the air conditioning excess into the watering can which is satisfying in a rather sad sort of a way. but all this means, more than ever, I'm sweating like an eight year old in a nike factory.

on the plus side, between monty giving woods a run for his money at st andrews and basso staying by armstrongs side in the pyrenees, the sporty month that is july is keeping me on the edge of my damp seat.

by the way, does anyone know if the heat affects your consistency and regularity? I've certainly been eating my all bran but......

Posted by stupot at 01:51 AM Sunday 17 Jul


Posted by stupot at 12:12 AM Sunday 17 Jul


The urban landscape in osaka is pretty mental. It's like a chaos theory. Or like looking at kanji for the first time - it's interesting but it's difficult to define what you see.

There's certainly no consistency - a massive jigsaw puzzle of old-meets-new. apartment buildings, 'detached' houses, shops and then the vegetable plots. For one, that probably explains why vegetables are so expensive in japan: considering I live 14 minutes by train from the 2nd most 'expensive' city centre in the world (and having been to a supermarket) I know that the veggies in my neighbourhood are worth their weight in gold. (maybe I should get up in the middle of the night and start pinching them).

but back to the buildings, and in particular houses: I've been having trouble understanding how they have developed as they have. Today we have houses popping in a matter of weeks, some of which look as if they have been built by the disney faction of Ikea: scantily clad in bright, brick-effect, plastic panels. All bling until you see up the sides and they look like a poor public building designed by John Major.

Indeed most are lifeless, bland, temporary looking boxes and when I first questioned this during an early visit to japan I thought it had something to do with earthquakes. or typhoons. you know, nature - the big bad wolf. huff, puff, blow your house down.

So why am I curious? Well, because traditional Japanese houses are not so bad to look at.

I've read a couple of things which may or may not be true but certainly could explain this phenomenon. A single-family detached house in Japan apparently lasts an average of 26 years. this is an astounding fact, but correlates with the culture of replacing that exists and has existed in Japan - ie. a house is replaced not just for structural reasons, but more commonly for aesthetics.

Also, a 'demolish and rebuild' philosophy seems to have remained due to the short life span of the typical Japanese house and the need to replace large numbers of cramped, poorly built (and visibly sick looking) homes constructed after the Second World War. There's also a very small second hand house market here and it would appear the buyer essentially pays for the land, with the assumption that they will rebuild.

So, it would appear my initial idea that earthquakes have something to do with the flimsy nature of buildings was not correct. Perhaps though, with changing views regards sustainability, and in a land with state of the art, disaster-proof engineering, there may be a future of more quality, permanent housing and less that look like plutos kennel.

Posted by stupot at 10:27 PM Saturday 16 Jul

soul food

feeling a little off today, yuka mailed me to ask what I'd like for tea and when I said 'some soul food', I should have guessed she would suggest nikujaga. or mick jagger as we affectionately refer to it.

it's a traditional food of sorts but odd in the respect that it's meat 'niku' with potatoes, onions and sugar. yes folks, it's sweet mince and tatties. a variation on a scottish national dish - but the japanese add sugar - the cheeky monkeys. don't tell anyone though - if scotland, the sick-man of europe, finds out, he'll be demanding golden syprup poured over every main course. it does beg the question though, of why the japanese diet is so healthy even when they add sugar to alot of cooking (take sushi {rice} as the obvious example).

I suppose it's moderation. and I guess it's the fact that uncle mick is just an occaisional dish which is one of those filling and simple comfort foods. tonight, being a fairly average meal, consisted of a tofu salad, natto (see tramps-muccus, june), rice, chicken salad as well as mr jagger; our little sweet friend.

so there you are. nihongo ryori is not just about raw fish and seaweed (though more often than not it is). and it's comforting to know that no matter how different we all are, we often fall for the same things in time of need.

ps. I clattered my head a cracker on the back door to our apartment building on my way to the hospital today and it really, really hurt. this is a main exit to a 'public' building for goodness sake. I'm going to check the building standards.
as soon as my vision returns.

pps. oh. I sniffed out a macha (green tea) kit-kat today. another unique take on a quality snack.

Posted by stupot at 10:39 PM Thursday 14 Jul | Post comment (3) comments


Posted by stupot at 02:44 AM Thursday 14 Jul

...get miffy to do it

the epic saga that is the Osaka station refurbishment continues. actually I've no way of justifying that last statement but it has surely been a while. certainly since we arrived almost a year ago. anyway - for the apology notices, JR has employed dick bruna to do some posters, miffy style, that rocket off the cute scale and in turn must surely keep the customers happy. who could possibly comlpain that miffy is taking 'a bit too long with the steel structure'. it's a clever tactic.

on another note, I thought the trendy shopping area beside the station was very aptly named - 'Gare' - in keeping with the love of all things french in japan. unfortunately, Yuka tells me, it is pronounced 'Gary' in Osaka. just like wot it is in essex. so close, yet.......

Posted by stupot at 02:40 AM Thursday 14 Jul

why don't we do it in the road?

I always, subconciously I think, listen out for double meanings in what people say. it's just a symptom of having been a teenage school boy in Britain and probably having read too much of the Viz magazine. this goes for seeing too - probably a symptom of being educated in design.

so anyway - I was listening to the beatles the other day - as a kid I had a big relationship with records, due to my fathers good taste and obviously the white album was a record which enthrawled me. a blank jacket and big, glossy photos inside. as well as a huge poster with crazy drawings and photos. and the words to all the songs. and 2 records. and all this before the music.

bliss. crouched over the deck, picking the needle occaisionally and flipping to the other side, trying not to scratch it. an experience.

but even knowing all the words to all the songs off by heart (my dad helped me with 'comrade' in 'back in the USSR'), I was programming them in as a child and only hearing what a child should hear. everything was very innocent.

now though, 25 years later, and with a separation of a few years from the fabulous four, I've been re-hearing the lyrics. not that I've been conciously disecting the words, but now, with Ipod, the clarity and meaning is all you seem to hear. your senses are focused in a way only headphones allow. Suddenly 'jo-jo's snow peaked mountains way down south' are no longer just that, but something all together more exotic. or maybe it's just me and my twisted mind.

in any case, it was nice to recall the first time I heard the record and the hours I would sit, listening to vinyl. but as much as I love it, it's now in the past, the records are boxed in a cupboard and will stay there for a long time. digital music is far too convenient, clear and exciting to search for.

post script: the Miracles, 'Way Over There', is currently the tune which is astounding me. oh - and speaking of which, I have concluded that 50's music is a good tonic for hangovers.

Posted by stupot at 03:26 PM Wednesday 13 Jul

another use for my umbrella

Incredibly, I found myself dragging my feet last week after tutting at the end of last summer with all the people scraping their shoes around me. I think it's the heat. but it could be from the tradition of sandals. in any case I seem to be changing in yet another way. and to complete the transformation I go in for surgery next week. if only I could master the language. and lose some height.

something else I never imagined using was the compulsory mini-towel which lies in every japanese bag. I thought this was simply to do with lack of towels in toilets but I've since realised that with the amount of sweating that goes on in an average summer day - it's essential. I go for the multi purpose onsen towels which I've picked up free on hot-spring visits. granted - they're a bit bigger than your average flannel, but I find myself tieing it around my neck, builder style, enroute to the train as I lose another litre of body fluid. there is no escape. I now use my brolly as a makeshift parasol if it isn't raining. it's survival of the fittest.

Posted by stupot at 07:32 PM Tuesday 12 Jul


Posted by stupot at 08:31 PM Monday 11 Jul

101 uses for.......

I'm not big on eating crap - usually because I'm allergic to it - and I don't seek out home comforts from the motherland. but yesterday I found a new favourite - green tea flavour mcvities digestives. a quality snack to go with a nice cup of tea and a sit down. as you can imagine they're a bit on the sweet side, but being japan there was only eight mini-biscuits inside (so the diabetes will be kept at bay for another week or two). I think they say that the extra air pumped into the packaging is to keep the stuff in reasonable nick opposed to deceiving you that you're actually getting your moneys worth. but to be fair the biscuits were in all intact. there was even foil wrapping to prolong freshness so I knew it was money well spent.

all washed down with a carton of green-tea flavoured soymilk. although this concocts thoughts of chai and exotic asia it unfortunately tasted of piss. recommendation - stick to the biscuits.

Posted by stupot at 08:31 PM Monday 11 Jul


Posted by stupot at 11:26 PM Saturday 9 Jul

one friday night in summer

arriving at the station after work tonight, tired and in need of a shower, we found a backlog of trains and would-be commuters going nowhere. immediately we decided it was a 'human-accident' and sure enough on the white-board upstairs it's written in big kanji. another business man takes to the tracks. and all we can say is how it would have been cheaper to do it on the JR line.

the departure boards were lifeless and so we voted to go to the pub and so there we were toasting the person who had put us in this position (it's funny how fate arranges things).

we eventually ride back toward the city and watch as train after overflowing train screen past us in a solid blur.

arriving home a little weary I was soon blessing cold showers, as I sat hosing myself down. then I went to the balcony and do the same to the plants as cheers from a baseball game in the park nearby occasionally float over. more frequent, like a background hum, are the almost continual zapping noises coming from the insects being drawn into the electric killers lying in wait beside the floodlights.

then as the floodlights are turned off and electricity flows into the rest of the neighbourhood again, fireworks bang and echo off the buildings without celebration. they just keep exploding as if someone is trying to break the atmosphere and get rid of the blanket of heat. and I wish them well.

Posted by stupot at 11:23 PM Saturday 9 Jul

auchterarder no more

it has been a rather curious sight, for the past few days, seeing shots of auchterarder (the tiny village beside gleneagles) on Japanese TV.

as the worlds media focus on the G8 meeting amid the madness of mass rallies in edinburgh, riots, the live8 concerts and now the sad terrorist attacks in london, the pictures of rural perthshire remind me of the irony of having all this happen in such a beautiful but nondescript place.

working on a job at gleneagles last february I frequently made the drive from glasgow to perthshire in the middle of winter. the blue skies and the countryside enveloped in layers of frost and lying fog, made it a most serene and tranquil journey. even mr bush was saying today that, after a bike ride, it's a spectacular part of the world. he liked looking at the views so much infact that he crashed into a police officer at speed.

what an endorsement said indeed. what an endorsement.

Posted by stupot at 02:06 AM Friday 8 Jul


Posted by stupot at 11:17 AM Wednesday 6 Jul

it's a matter of pride

I mentioned the whole phenomenon of hair loss and subsequent options back in december. it was one of the first things I wrote about - a very big and well advertised industry. what I still have trouble understanding though, are the marketing techniques. the largest exponent of hair implants is propia. they have a long advert on tv which mainly includes 40 or 50 somethings discovering the product and then gaining the ability to surf and other traditionally young male activities.

all very well. but then cut to a cute schoolgirl who has an enormous mole on her arm of disfiguring proportions (see above) and proceeds to tug on it. now thats when you and your other half turn to each other in shock and say - aaaayyyy??

Posted by stupot at 11:17 AM Wednesday 6 Jul


Posted by stupot at 08:13 PM Tuesday 5 Jul

the tigers versus the giants

living in Osaka suits me fine - Osaka is not normal japan or depending on how you look at it (if you're Osakan), it is the only normal part of japan. certainly - things here are just a little different.

people stand on the right hand side of escalators. now - given that driving is on the left and even walking in arcades is on the left, this seems a little odd. however, when you consider Osakans are always in a rush, it seems fair that the walking lane should remain on the left. in other words it is assumed that you would continue to walk on the escalator. in Tokyo, people use it as an energy saving device.

the accent of Osaka(ben) is a bit like scouse or glaswegian in that it's not the prettiest or easiest to understand. however, like its UK counterparts, there is a certain friendliness attached to the colloquialisms. it's perhaps feels more like a community whereas tokyo remains, arguably, a city of strangers in the same way so many modern cities tend to be. furthermore, humour is abundant. most japanese comedians hail from here. alot of people you meet make you laugh. my father-in-law is pretty typical. after a neighbour died a few months ago the mother-in-law said to him at dinner (after he had just arrived home from work) that they had to go to the dead mans house to lend support to the family (as is customary), he says - he's dead: I think he can wait another five minutes.

we have more power - infact the reason for different frequencies is because when imported in the Meiji Era, the 50 Hertz operator was imported from Germany for the Kanto area and the 60 Hertz operator was imported from America for the Kansai area. and no-one ever got around to changing it.

In Tokyo, people often like to tell you how expensive something was. Osakans though, perhaps because traditionally international merchants, are always out to find a bargain and love to tell you about it. they still like their gucci though. and vuitton. and when I say 'they' I mean everyone. this is similar to the tragic burberry epidemic that ravaged the UK at the turn of the milennium and left so many without any sense of taste.

Posted by stupot at 08:12 PM Tuesday 5 Jul

too cool for school

rather disturbingly, PLAYBOY merchandising is everywhere in japan, not least when worn by an eight-year-old girl. Justify it as you might, I still find it a little odd. my neighbours' elementary school kid has been wearing jeans recently with Playboy written all over them. more commonly the cute bunny logo can be seen on junior/high school girls socks and I've seen mothers in HUSTLER t-shirts too.

but the thing is, sex, nudity and homosexuality are much more accepted as ideas here. family's and neighbours go to the local hot bath for a communal wash and chat at the weekend, leaving social rank with clothes at the door. some early shinto sects accepted homosexuality between monks and of course cross dressing in the theatre in japan is an institution. pornography, too, is very visible.

all this is surprisingly far from the ultra-conservative and polite christian ideals of the UK. people even wear Y-fronts in a sauna for gods sake. it's perhaps a pity that we lost our pagan roots to such right wing propoganda - nature is what we are. that's why these things feel natural.

I read recently, after developing an onsen habit, that until a hundred or so years ago, the japanese bathed in hot-springs together until western-imposed laws banned unisex bathing. so immoral. so un-christian. damn those early travellers and their imposing of laws. if only the japanese had come to the UK a hundred years ago and imposed their diet on us.

Posted by stupot at 08:13 PM Monday 4 Jul

waking up

I enjoy sleep alot. I don't like waking up. I especially don't like it if the earth shakes me into waking up. yuka reckoned this mornings earthquake had a little vertical lift before the shake. it just leaves you a bit anxious for the rest of the day. then it started raining so now the plants seem happy. even if the gods aren't.

Posted by stupot at 11:24 AM Sunday 3 Jul


Posted by stupot at 01:26 AM Sunday 3 Jul

urban trees

ugly or acceptable, high level trunking means that roads aren't continually dug up. that means less traffic-jams and better road conditions. I suppose it also means that after an earthquake you don't have to search for the needle in the subterranean haystack. I've always marvelled at 'telegraph' poles here because they are so descriptive of whats happening around you; the busyness of modern life; information; clutter. and as the pace of life grows, so do they. maybe we should paint them green. they are our trees.

Posted by stupot at 01:26 AM Sunday 3 Jul


Posted by stupot at 11:07 PM Saturday 2 Jul

the rain hath cometh

at last the rain has come properly. how it was anticipated.

the rainy season is another element that adds to the clockwork running of this island. it just happens. after the humidity of the last two weeks I realise its neccessity, although when it stops I know the heat will only increase. yuka reminds me, like a wise old woman to a child, that the mosquitos will only increase too. ever the realist.

I was sitting with friends on friday when the skies just opened and the noise overtook everything. this was not the average, calm harmony of a june rain, this was like a swimming pool had just been emptied over our building. but it kept on going. and then there was some satisfying thunder and lightning which seemed to soak up the humidity like a sponge. the feeling felt so good it could have been religious.

whilst many locals feel disgruntled about the whole thing, I love it. one thing coming from scotland is that you get to know alot about rain whether you want to or not. and there's a real purity attached to it. it's cleansing. in the city its an added blessing as it feels like it's washing all the pollution away too. even if just for a short time - nature reigns.

Posted by stupot at 11:07 PM Saturday 2 Jul


Posted by stupot at 11:52 PM Friday 1 Jul

hotaru zoku

the japanese have a collective term for office workers and the like who smoke outside. they are called 'firefly set' or 'hotaru zoku'. I thought this was a really nice bit of language. it immediately creates a scene in your head. and a wonderfully tranquil one at that.

I've thought alot about the use of language since I've been living here - both english and japanese. examples like us calling the shinkansen a bullet train - very descriptive, but rather aggressive.

and whilst I just genetically have problems with american english, there are certain words such as 'fall' (as in the season) that I have found a real respect for. the grammar's still appauling, but.

Posted by stupot at 10:52 PM Friday 1 Jul


coolbiz is the newest japanese word to hit the streets. it's the new fashion and it comes straight from the top. koizumi has 'challenged' his cabinet to leave ties and jackets at home during the summer months in an attempt to increase air conditioner temperatures in offices and thus decrease global-warming emissions.

from someone who used to work in a laid back design studio in the UK where jeans and T's were the uniform, Japan has been a massive departure. the salary man image is very much a real one but although I'm not terribly fond of ties, only recently has this become a 'problem'. it's the heat. it makes a tie the perfect insulation device to raise the temperature in your body (well - it hardly encourages air flow now, does it?).

women often complain of arctic temperatures due to men being layered up in tradtional western kit, so the government is suggesting that offices raise the temperature setting to 28c on all air conditioners and have therefor approved of the new casual look. a real departure for japan. it'll be interesting to see how it takes off.

some have said that they wouldn't know what to wear if they had to dress down and if bosses don't set the trend, in japan, none will follow. clients expect it. there are, sadly, enough excuses going to put me to sleep but it's a trend none-the-less and if there's one thing that japan loves - it's a trend. coolbiz.

Posted by stupot at 12:03 PM Friday 1 Jul