Update - So another earthquake just rocked my building and my world....but not in a good way. It was a long one this time. I swear that my heart stops everytime. We switched on the tv at work and there was an earthquake in northern Japan and we felt it here! It didn't even look like it was that big there, which makes me think that noone knows what is going to happen when the big one hits. Size it seems doesn't really matter.....no pun intended. Seriously. It doesn't help that I sit on the 20th floor in a 21-floor building. Gotta get that flask of whiskey.
Train driving just isn't a 'sexy' profession. I don't know if it is the white gloves or the particular shade of brown uniform that they wear on my train line. It's just not sexy. F1 race cars maybe, taxi drivers maybe, truck drivers....there's a possibility BUT with train drivers it is a resounding NO.
The other day I stood right up the front of the train on the way to work. I usually just read, but I must admit I kind of enjoyed standing up the front, right behind the driver, and pondering about the life of a Japanese train driver. The weather was perfect and I was in the sweetest position to take some photos, but alas no camera!
So anyway, I guess I don't find them sexy because they all seem like geeks/nerds. Actually that's not true, I like geeks...hell, I'm a geek at times. Aren't we all??!! A more appropriate word for these train drivers is 'otaku'. This is the Japanese word for geek or nerd. However I don't think the English REALLY expresses the true meaning of the Japanese. I mean there is a bit of nerd or geek in all of us....an otaku on the other hand is wholly nerd - 100% the real mccoy. I just looked the word up in a dictionary and the explanation of otaku went something like this - a man (for some reason girls can never really be true otaku) wearing an anorak standing on a train platform rain, hail or snow for long, long periods of time truly being excited by watching the passing trains. That is an 'otaku'. It can be applied to a variety of hobbies, another being anime.
I do put my life in these people's hands everyday and them seem to do a bloody good job considering. Who else has to go to work everyday wondering if they might see someone commit suicide. It's a horrible but true fact - it DOES happen everyday. If they love their job I guess that's all that matters and I guess it is more than some of us can say.
Here is what a google image search on 'otaku' in Japanese provided (click on image to view larger):
I took a deep, deep sigh of relief this morning. Three actually. My first sigh was after I paid those bills I've been meaning to pay! The second was after making it out of the subway train this morning alive - there were THAT many people, but the most important sigh of all was because the beautiful autumn weather has returned. Yesterday was nasty - cold, rainy and cold.....BUT today is beautiful - blue skies, warm sun, cool air. BIG SIGH!
So last night I finally watched one of my favourite shows on Japanese tv. I say finally because we haven't had a tv for the last three months, well that's not totally true - we did have a tv, we just didn't bother to hook it up.
It's pretty much crap, but parts of it are really funny. The show is called, 'Let's go to school' (gakko ni ikko) and is hosted by the boy band - V6. It's on TBS every Tuesday at 7:54 pm. Love that Japanese accuracy. They describe the program on the webpage as 'kids are alright groovy after school'. The webpage is boring and in Japanese - it's the show you gotta see. True, quality mindless entertainment.
So, there are a bunch of segments. My favourite is B-School Rap. It is sort of an American Idol concept BUT way funny. A bunch of contestants just come and do their own specialized rap. It's special trust me. They usually just do it in a studio somewhere but last night they did it in a hotel room in front of Quentin Tarantino. My favourites were 'musha' and 'sexy lady'.
Another inane and meaningless segment is one where the hosts of the show break up into teams and must walk the streets of Tokyo looking for a mother-daughter couple that look more like sisters. Riveting, huh!
First up, thanks to the talented Darin for my new pink cat - it's exactly what I wanted. She's sassy, sexy and smart!
Darin heads off today for sunny, cheap, warm Thailand. Lucky him. Think of all that delicious Thai food! My requests are for him to eat mangosteens (my most ever favourite fruit since March) and to bring back a shitload of pirated dvds for our collection. We are working on creating a total entertainment system, which will hopefully be completed by Christmas. Actually we are both covering a bit of Asian territory over the next couple of weeks as I will be heading to Beijing for work next week. My job (apart from real work) is to find a commemorative taikonaut poster!! There should be some good ones. I am super excited about heading back to China - it's been eight years since I was last there - am keen to go back to the Forbidden City, maybe the Great Wall, time permitting, and I will probably pick up some pirated dvds too!
There is nothing better than sitting in the sun on a Sunday drinking a beer. Yesterday was the final round of the AJSA (All Japan Skateboard Association) Championship in Oiso, Kanagawa and there we drank beers and watched some serious skating. Since I am no skater, but definitely a lover of sports, I won't go into any technical detail (since I can't) but will elaborate on the atmosphere, beer drinking, and the warm, warm weather.
First of all, the skate park is located right next to the water. Well, actually some tennis courts, but the ocean is real close. You can find it by heading to the Oiso Prince Hotel. This hotel is a massive complex of fun - bowling alleys, tennis courts, pools, onsen, and a skate park by the water. It costs just over 1000 yen to get there from Tokyo by train and takes just over an hour from Shibuya - good distance for a day trip. We got off at Ninomiya station which is about a 15-20 minute walk to the hotel. I recommend to head straight to the shoreline and walk there along the beach - it is a little rocky, but there weren't many people and it would be a great place to throw around a frisbee.
Beautiful autumn day - blue skies, sun warm on your back, ocean breezes. About 40 to 50 people - a few dutiful girlfriends filming the runs and minding their boy's helmet. My favourite helmet of the day was that of a 17 year old Japanese boy - it was animal print with little ears. Unfortunately no photo, but we did notice that once the contest moved into the final rounds he changed into a serious black helmet - probably more aerodynamic!?!
Well, I only managed to take photos from the one place where we were sitting, so angles are limited, but they tell the story pretty well! Also, until I have time to upload all the photos, here's just three.
Oooh, I am really excited about this page. I have so many ideas.
We have been really into cooking and growing our own herbs lately, so I thought it would rock to have a recipes page - any submissions heartily welcomed. I am also hoping to convince my buddy Jitty to be our Kyoto correspondent. She has lived in Kyoto for a few years now and knows what is going on! Actually check out her site on Kyoto.
Since the theme of my page is pink, I am also considering a 'pink item of the week' section. I know y'all learn to love pink.
Another fun section will be 'Dazza's new word corner'. For those that don't know, Dazza has an absolutely amazing ability to come up with brand new words. Such a brilliant talent should not go to waste. Here is one of my favourites, just to give you a taste of words to come:
MERIOD noun (pronounced the same as period)
(time of) occurrence of male menstruation - an interesting concept!
Here are another couple of words that seem to differ across the Pacific!
to shout (a person) (Aussie)
Look Bill I won the lotto yesterday - of course, I will shout you to lunch! equals Yo Bill, I totally scored on a lottery ticket at the cornerstore yesterday - lunch is on me bro!
shout out (American)
I'd like to shout out to all my peeps equals I'd like to say g'day to all of my mates.
Last but not least, Here is a photo of a snake similar to the one Dazza came across in downtown Tokyo yesterday - in Japanese it is called an aodaisho or a Japanese rat snake!!!