Thursday, June 26, 2008

Resisting the Urge to Blog

Do you ever have one of those days when something or someone has p*^%ed you off so much that you really want to blog about it, but try to resist?

Take today for example. *** Sorry, I have now edited this part out. I had my rant, now I'm back to resisting ***

I really wanted to blog about it, but I'm going to resist.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

One of those Japanese Sounds

Many countries have different sounds. I remember when I was in Indonesia, the sound of the Muslim call to prayer. In Japan, there is the sound of the roast potato man driving through the streets selling his wares. The garbage trucks sound like ice cream vans and then there's the awful noise created by politicians driving through the streets before election day.

One that freaked me out the first time, and still does to this day is the air-raid siren. At least that's what it sounds like, and it's probably what it used to be.

It just went off here a few minutes ago. It means that there is a fire in town somewhere. Many of the firefighters in Japan are volunteer, so the siren is rung to call them to the station.

In a town I used to live, they used both the siren and loudspeakers that are permanently rigged around the city. At four in the morning the siren rang and someone announced the location of the fire. It was a bad one, a restaurant near my house. Then again, at five, the siren rang again and we were all woken up to be told that the fire had now been extinguished and thank you to the firefighters. Thanks, but I would have rather slept and found out at a much more reasonable hour.

Morning Routine and Morning Panic

Wayne has a one hour drive to work every day, I have a five minute bike ride. Wayne's a morning person, I'm not. Actually, Wayne is a any-time-of-the-day person, I'm a late night and early hours of the morning person, but can't live those hours during school term. Wayne gets up at about 5.30am. I sleep through my 6, 6.15 and 6.30 alarms. Wayne wakes me at seven when he's leaving for work and I get up then.

Today is Sunday. Wayne is working. He doesn't normally work on a Sunday, but one of his school's has an open day, so they swapped a Sunday for a Monday. In Australia, you couldn't simply swap a Sunday for a Monday. In Australia, Sunday is still for most, a day of rest, a day of family, a day of recovering from hangovers. But in Japan, a Sunday can simply be swapped for a Monday.

I heard Wayne get up and I went back to sleep. At seven, Wayne kissed me goodbye and I went back to sleep. Later I rolled over and looked at the clock. It was nine. I knew Wayne had gone to work. I remember him in his shirt and tie. I panicked. It must be a school day. It was nine o'clock. I was late for school. I knew this would happen one day. It was Monday, OK.. what's my Monday class schedule.. that's OK, my first class isn't until eleven. I'm late for school, but not for class. Why didn't anyone call me?

Slowly, I remembered that it was in fact Sunday and that Wayne's Sunday was swapped for a Monday. Not mine.

Now I'm worried about tomorrow morning, when it's Sunday for Wayne. Will I get up?

Friday, June 13, 2008


Sorry, I don't have the energy to blog properly tonight, so instead, I'm going to copy from Wikipedia;

"In Japan ... Jizō ... is one of the most loved of all Japanese divinities. His statues are a common sight, especially by roadsides and in graveyards. Traditionally, he is seen as the guardian of children, particularly children who died before their parents. Since the 1980s, the tendency developed in which he was worshipped as the guardian of the souls of mizuko, the souls of stillborn, miscarried or aborted fetuses. In Japanese mythology, it is said that the souls of children who die before their parents are unable to cross the mythical Sanzu River on their way to the afterlife because they have not had the chance to accumulate enough good deeds and because they have made the parents suffer. It is believed that Jizō saves these souls from having to pile stones eternally on the bank of the river as penance, by hiding them from demons in his robe, and letting them hear mantras.

Jizō statues are sometimes accompanied by a little pile of stones and pebbles, put there by people in the hope that it would shorten the time children have to suffer in the underworld (the act is derived from the tradition of building stupas as an act of merit-making). The statues can sometimes be seen wearing tiny children's clothing or bibs, or with toys, put there by grieving parents to help their lost ones and hoping that Jizō would specially protect them. Sometimes the offerings are put there by parents to thank Jizō for saving their children from a serious illness. Jizō's features are also commonly made more babylike in order to resemble the children he protects.

As he is seen as the saviour of souls who have to suffer in the underworld, his statues are common in cemeteries. He is also believed to be the protective deity of travellers, and roadside statues of Jizō are a common sight in Japan. Firefighters are also believed to be under the protection of Jizō."

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Please do it at home

Poster at a Tokyo subway station.

Other than the obvious, what I also find funny about this poster is that they've written it in English as well. I've seen plenty of this (and hair curling) going on in the trains, but it has always been Japanese women. Would love to hear if anyone has seen a western woman preening herself like this on public transport.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008


I hadn't realised until I started posting random Japan photos, just how much I like taking images of footwear. Japanese footwear at least. You'd never guess that I was into shoes would you?

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Do you think I could be a cartoon character?

Maybe then, I could finally get my wish (that I made when I was five years old) and marry Astro Boy. Sorry Wayne!

Monday, June 09, 2008

Number 52

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Fuji Flower

Teaching Fun and the Japanese Language

In my junior high classes this week I'm teaching the question "Do you like...?" After we've gone over the question, answers structure and some examples, I go around the class to ask each kid a different question.

I like to tease the boys a bit, and will choose one confident kid, stand over him looking menacing (not that I do that so well apparently), and ask "Do you like me?" It gets a laugh every time.

On Thursday, I did this, but rather than answering straight away, the boy asked "Can I ask a question?"

"OK..." I answered.

He then rattled something off in Japanese that I didn't understand. I told him that I didn't. So he asked the question again, this time slower and with gestures. It went something like this;

"Do you mean "like" as in (gestures a handshake), or do you mean "like" as in (gestures hugging and kissing)?"

I laughed "I mean like, as in a friend."

"Well, OK then, Yes I do!" he replied. He certainly didn't want any confusion there.

On another topic, I chickened out of going to the doctor yesterday, but may have to today. In preparation, I've had to translate my symptoms into Japanese. No matter how scared I am, I think I'm going to have trouble not giggling when telling the doctor that I have "Piripiri, mukamuka, kurakura and girigiri."

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Japanese Bandit

Taken in Harujuku

Friday, June 06, 2008

Sumo Shoes Girl Shoes

Photo taken in the entrance way of a Sumo Beya in Aichi.

Sorry I've haven't posted any photos for a couple of days. I should be back on track now.

Tomorrow, I'm going to try to brave another doctor's visit (a different doctor from the last time), wish me luck!

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Dancing in the Street

Monday, June 02, 2008

Hiding in the Shadows

Sunday, June 01, 2008