Having heard so many glowing reports I decided to go to the 'illuminarie' event in Sannomiya with a friend. I later found out it's been going every year since the Hanshin earthquake in an attempt to attract business to the once ruined city, and bring people it certainly does. In the middle Saturday of December 600,000 people flocked to see the lights and so I was quite excited about the prospect of seeing such a spectacle on my birthday.
The countryside is always littered with specks of orange throughout the autumn and into winter. I say winter but things here are not exactly cold - the last week has barely warranted the wearing of a scarf. There have been a few days when you've been in no doubt that the wind (which could take your face off) has been coming down from the frozen north, but in general it's been pretty comfortable (people love to herald the end of the world with the odd climate but I have no such guilt).
thursday night dinner
I thought I'd document a mid week dinner. I'm not sure exactly why but perhaps like a lot of stuff on this blog, it may turn out, in ten years, to be interesting to look back on. Tonight I had mediteranean food with Mr Lee in the fancy Kita Horie part of Osaka (god I've not had cous-cous for a long time) but last night was a fairly typical mix of natto, atusage tofu, greens, meat (beef) and miso. Notably there was no rice but almost every day I eat it along with the tofu and natto. Miso is much more on the menu as the temperature drops - a quick and easy soup which lasts a few days. If my accupuncturist is reading this - no, that's not my beer on the table. I've suddenly realised that the reason for this post is to let my mum know I'm eating properly. The lego men in the background are slowly taking over the living room........
Posted by stupot at 12:43 AM Saturday 9 Dec
about five days after St Andrews day
Sunday, whilst also seeing the end of the exhibition, was the annual Japanese Language Proficiency Test. As I didn't study at University in the exam sense (I was judged continually), I haven't really smelt an exam since secondary school - back in a time my memory has almost erased. Erased because I'm not big on exams - I was reminded on Sunday of my contempt for petty rules and regualtions. I found the third level a little tricky but found out my strength is in reading - probably a result of sending and receiving emails every day. The examiners at St Andrew's University (that not being the University of St Andrews) had a system of yellow and red cards if anyone was found breaking any of the rules, which I couldn't bring myself to take seriously. Fortunately I managed to keep my head down and straight. For some reason I was surprised that most taking the test were Asian - I sat outside with a few Vietnamese chaps who were freezing their wee balls off in a rather fresh north easterly. The University was in a nice setting near the mountains but was ultimately a very confused place with the buildings looking like they might blow over, being propped up only by the bought-in heriatge. I headed up to Umeda and took the exhibition down, rather happy to have off loaded 3 peices.
Posted by stupot at 07:45 PM Tuesday 5 Dec
The Day After St Andrews Day
It was a busy week: the culmination of months of preparation along with St Andrews day and the start of advent. I met up with my Language teacher at the exhibition on Friday and ended up in a Scottish bar. Actually it was her friend who had booked it and I had never met her before. It was a bizarre coincidence, triggered as we went through the door as I spotted the name Deeside which set bells ringing. The soltaire bar mats made concrete the thought.