so the olympics are over and thankfully japan secured a medal just a few days before the end - breaking the image of riots in greater tokyo that I'd forecasted earlier in the week, mid-drought. the opening ceremony was tastefully arranged with typical italian flair - the props simple but well scaled.
the time difference made viewing difficult but the press had given generous air-time to several contenders who were now to feel the pressure of the whole nation upon them. it felt almost inevitable that they wouldn't deliver the goods just as the english press frequently imortalise their footballers before chewing them around and spitting them out - nhk et al had indeed 'pissed on their chips'.
today's rain is hard and loud. all the drain's are coming alive and taming the water into a show.
Posted by stupot at 11:38 PM Sunday 26 Feb
distant mist and the saga of the chair lift
despite the threatened sun, we ended up on top of a mountain in snow and rain. the snow was pretty, the rain pretty shitty. the day out was superb though - a steep learning curve (or remembering curve) and soon we were carving up the slopes with at least a smidgen of grace. or at least not falling over so much. we were also lapping up the ever changing landscape of mist through mountain tops: due to being a part of it all, we went from low visibility to having the whole range revealed in a matter of minutes.
for any british readers interested, saiyuki (monkey) has been re-released in Japan by fuji-TV. it has already been bought up by various stations in different countries including the UK and is meant to be heading to your screens sometime later this year. the new version of the cult programme which both confused and left an indelible mark on my generation, will star SMAP member shingo katori which is the equivalent of ronan keating doing a remake of rentaghost. a damn shame I'm otherwise engaged on monday nights........
Posted by stupot at 06:30 PM Sunday 19 Feb
my name is kerr and it's understood here. it's obviously not a usual name, so it's usually clarified properly. in britain this was often over-looked. I would get mail from suppliers down south addressed to 'mr kur', 'mr car' and most amusingly, 'mr care'.
for me, the name has always seemed a pretty straight-forward word to pronounce. like kerosene but without the flamability. perhaps it's just that it's uncommon even in england, but I thought more people would have made the 'simple minds' association and worked it out. seems people have forgotten about poor old jim kerr, the front-man who famously opened a japanese restaurant in glasgow which had about as much atmosphere as eating sushi in a morgue.
anyway - the name is care in japan. I'm possibly the gentle giant. the syllables used to create the name pronounce 'ke' & 'a-'. care. and as I live in a medical district with ke a- centres all over the place, I feel right at home. which is just as well, considering I'm a clumsy bastard.
Posted by stupot at 02:15 PM Sunday 19 Feb
commemorative zori sandals released in irish tricolour to mark shunsuke nakamura's move to celtic fc.
Posted by stupot at 11:55 AM Sunday 19 Feb
sugar and spice
I got four seperate chocolate gifts for valentines yesterday! definitely a record. certainly since primary 5. it's one way traffic in japan, for those who don't know, with the guys returning the gift on white day (march the 14th). incredibly commercial it is, but in the country where gift-giving is the national pastime, it all seems somehow more natural.
Posted by stupot at 11:59 PM Wednesday 15 Feb
being cooled down by snow on a climb is one thing but having your feet frozen on a descent is quite another. "he knows not his own strength that hath not met adversity." - Francis Bacon.
or so I keep telling myself.
Posted by stupot at 01:50 PM Sunday 12 Feb
I don't get why plastic bags are still used. like I don't get why schoolbags in japan cost $600. but at least the former lasts a few years and comes with LED's and a tracking device.
new habits, it seems, die hard as the country is at a juncture of still trying to buy its way to the top of the capitalist ladder whilst being sympathetic to kyoto in both senses. pressure from china and others has become the weight on the back of the salaryman whos 'just work like a bastard and it'll be alright' philosophy is becoming more and more redundant. the uncouth yet essential creativity and youth are crying out to be heard above the bellow of the out-dated suit with the large framed spectacles. japan could be nearing the point of working smart and not just hard, but the plastic bag remains.
I was looking around the train yesterday and saw the familiar sight of so many commuters catching a cheeky 40 winks when I spied a chap further up the carriage who was slumped forward with eyes shut and seemed to be deep in sleep. then, suddenly, his hand reached to his mouth and he gulped down some canned coffee, swallowing it he tilted his head back briefly but his eyes remained shut. and then he resumed his lifeless pose.
how we have progressed from being monkeys.
Posted by stupot at 09:59 PM Saturday 11 Feb
I presume the everchanging weather fronts that make british weather what it is also make the forecasting a nightmare. you are never certain what the next day will hold. in japan the predictions tend to be pretty accurate as far as I've seen - probably due to the more stable and reliable weather system. for weather forecasting in japan I find the jma site to be pretty comprehensive. all regular needs are catered for as well as having good information on, amongst other things, earthquakes, which you can track back over the past week to chart exactly how many there have been and in what magnitude. unsurprisingly these are frequent and weak but it makes interesting viewing none-the-less.
Posted by stupot at 12:03 AM Wednesday 8 Feb
when I set off on my ride today I spotted the skeletons of the red and white stalls that are synonymous with festivals. by the time I returned, the small streets of abiko felt like osaka station on a weekday morning. after a soak and some scran I headed down to the local temple to check out the action: the roads were all closed off and the hundreds of stalls lined every route in.
the pocket rockets
I never really think about it, but when our bikes are side by side there is no mistaking the size difference between me and some of the guys I ride with.
Posted by stupot at 11:53 AM Sunday 5 Feb
there's always something to celebrate and as winter has been dragging it's heels somewhat we got the sushi in last night to celebrate the wonderfully pagan mid-season festival of setsubun which now-a-days sees the shops bursting with families buying up the soy beans and sushi like they were peanuts and pumpkins. despite lacking child or pet to dress up as a demon and pelt with the traditional dry beans, we still observed the fact that we're half way through the cold bit. as we wolfed down our giant rolls of rice we buried ourselves under the kotatsu to hide from the howling wind outside and hoped that that would be enough to ward off the bad luck.......
Posted by stupot at 10:42 PM Saturday 4 Feb
who needs a playground when you've got bollards that are made of rubber? these things are great. I'll sometimes go a detour just to mess about with one - although I attract enough attention because of my hair and eye colour. they make good seats as well and have even been known to stop cars without damaging them. living in a tight space serves up a smile yet again.
it's all become a bit competitive. the calender clinging to the fridge door is inescapable and as I'm a grazer as well as a big eater it means that I not only 'clock in' every day but have to face up to any slacking with every visit. my big push to learn more japanese is under watch as well as the bike training. as it's the off season I'm trying to do 3 rides a week but the weather often means I find 'pressing jobs' to do instead. I'm trying to get in about 160 kms tho. I'm also trying to get in three quarters of an hour worth of the old nihongo every week day but it's amazing what will try and distract you from hard graft. even ironing shirts suddenly becomes attractive.