it could have frozen the balls off one today. the start was tough - the first club run of the new year - a pre-dawn rise in freezing conditions. never a great combination. my face felt numb after the 10 minute ride in the dark to the meet point. dawn turned out to be beautiful but just after the short descent when we made our stop to regroup, I noticed my water had frozen over. the bottle top had become solid with ice and inside was a gatorade slush puppy which I can only dream of in the summer. you certainly need to keep a keen eye on any water on the road in winter after the slippy leaves in autumn. the wind chill coming down a mountain certainly doesn't help - today my climbing partner got to hear previously unreleased swearing - the really bad stuff - my tourettes at it's best. going up was a struggle too - fitness has definitely taken a nose-dive since mid december and the legs and lungs were not responding. there was even wheezing at the end. it can only improve.
glass, concrete and stone
they started building the apartments beside us about a year ago and finished around december. when we moved here last february construction was only a floor or so up and I started taking pictures of it for some reason. anyway - I took a few and then it became a habit: after I put the coffee on in the morning I'd nip outside with the camera and see if things had changed much. even if they hadn't, often the lighting or weather made it a different scene. the collection of photo's now make an interesting flick book which you can see as a slide show should the fancy take you. the only unfortunate thing was what was waiting when they took off the tarpaulin...........
Posted by stupot at 12:44 AM Sunday 29 Jan
shiver me timbers
our house, my skin, the whole of japan is as dry as an alcoholic in ramadan. I believe even where the mountains of snow have landed, it's dry. to give you an idea of how dry it is, our house is having some serious contractions. the window frames and wooden structure literally creak with lack of moisture and from all the cold. in a quiet room it can be a deafening noise. it reminds me of the drama das boot when the u-boat is trying to hide from a destroyer deep in the ocean and the thing starts to crush. it feels like the whole place will imlode. I'm going out for a run.
Posted by stupot at 12:58 PM Tuesday 24 Jan
au have just brought out a phone called neon by naoto fukasawa. it's fairly plain with hidden text that appears from under the surface. it's part of the au design project, a kind of annual event where they have someone famous design a phone. I think the talby by marc newson is still my favourite although most of these phones aren't billingual and often sell out faster than others.
a friend stayed over last weekend and helped finish a bottle of 12 year old caol ila (which was threatening to evaporate) as well as the oatcakes I'd brought back from scotland (in japan - the sought after authentic compliment to whisky during the bubble years). having put the night to the back of my mind, yuka returned home with some sun-dried kaki which he'd brought from his grandparents in ishikawa as a 'thank you'. I like the fruit but I hadn't realised people dried them. I suppose there's so-bloody-many in october that you have to find something to do with the ones you can't sell. apparently they are really expensive to buy so we'll make the most of them. they taste similar to dates.
Posted by stupot at 12:09 PM Sunday 22 Jan
in british cities the high street newspaper vendors have developed a secret language over many centuries which they use to loudly advertise their fish'n'chip wrappers. to the untrained ear and on a busy high street, it may sound like a madman's call for help, but locals know it to be just that. in japan primal screaming is reserved for petrol stations. I woke up proper today on the way to work as the call of an experienced attendant docked a people carrier in to fill up with a tank of diesel. it's quite a sight and noise: certainly very theatrical - everyone runs around busily, one is waiting to polish windows, one is ready with nozzle - it really is like f1 stuff without all the gear - at very least it looks like some kind of mad ballet. HHIIIIIIAAAAAAY! (forward a bit) AAAAEEEEII! (forward a wee bit more) he shouts. or it could've been a london standard guy, an evening news guy or even one of the evening times nutters. eventually the bowing commences and the driver is shown a safe passage back onto the road. today though, I'd turned the ipod up and was already halfway to the station. it's too bloody cold - it's even threatening to (hold the front page) snow in osaka.
Posted by stupot at 11:45 PM Friday 20 Jan
Turn your back for a second......
When I came back from my three week trip there was a house in our neighbourhood, just near the train line, where an empty plot of land had been when I left. It takes getting used to - a neighbourhood that metamorphosises as soon as you turn your back - you have no choice but to move with it. Life also seems to get more disposable by the day - Yuka's already discussing a possible change from her three month old mobile phone.
Continue reading "Turn your back for a second......"
Posted by stupot at 11:17 PM Wednesday 18 Jan
there are a lot of small, irritating things that happen everyday, that you often just put up with. our oven (of the small, electric variety) wasn't the most expensive in the shop and so every morning when I heat my soy milk, the oven does its poor calculation of weight and zapps it to burning point. occaisionally if I'm concious enough I'll stop it 30 seconds early. anyway - the point I'm getting to is found in the unwanted comedy moustache you get when you drink it and the milk skin attaches to your top lip. or worse - you actually drink it.......
a day in the desert
thanks to the baggage handling problems at dubai my return to japan was extended by a day in the emirates. a delay in getting home it was but it was also a chance to visit somewhere I might never. when you stay at an airport hotel though it can seem like you are waking up in any city, but the sun being no where near the horizon meant I had definitely said goodbye to the scandinavian winter gloom.
heavy but good
so since food is the great japanese pastime, and since british cuisine is held with such low regard here, it was nice to try and eat some good food while I was in scotland.
on my first day there I visited the ship inn in irvine (pron. irvin) and had, along with my pint of eighty shilling, lamb shank and vegetables. the food there is unpretentious and wholesome - a bit like the food in general. on my second day I had a lamb curry (the lamb theme tailed off a bit after this) in portobello whilst visiting my sister and it was good to try some dry basmati rice for a change. as well as curry with some heat in it.
Posted by stupot at 11:13 AM Sunday 1 Jan