Thursday, December 25, 2003

Merry Chrismas!

Isn't it? Wouldn't know over here, it's just business as usual. Turned on the TV and didn't see a single Santa, snow flake, chrismas tree or anything to indicate it was actually christmas. Stopped in at the supermarket on the way home to pick up a few things. They have a huge tree out the front, and they've been playing christmas carols for a while now, but otherwise nothing especially christmasy, no "meli kulisumasu" katakana-english equivalent of Merry Christmas from the checkout girls or anything. Not that I feel the need to have a winge about it or anything, I don't really care, but I've been asked what christmas is like in Japan, so here's something similar to what might be an average Japanese take on christmas:

Santa-san lives in Scandanavia, or somewhere in Northern Europe.
On Christmas eve he sneaks into your bedroom while you're sleeping and leaves a present on your pillow for you.
On christmas day you can look forward to a romantic dinner with your partner, after work.
No, it's not a public holiday.
Yes, shops and businesses are open as usual.
No, they're not particularly crowded, and nor were they on Christmas eve.

I have my own Santa costume which I will don this evening to impersonate the fat happy chappy himself and try to give Tyler a little bit of fanatasy to enjoy while he's young enough to believe it. So however you spend you're day, have a nice time, and have a "beli meli kulisumasu!"

Saturday, December 20, 2003


It's amazing, the weather doesn't make gradual transitions here, one day it's kinda cold, the next day it's dumping with snow, right here in sanda! Woke up this morning because I was too cold, despite the mountain of fleecy blankets and doonas I was sleeping under, and after fighting the reality of the fact that I'm not going to be able to get back to sleep I thrust open the curtains to reveal a scene that confirmed my suspicians - a white christmas wonderland! The thing I love most about Japan is the increadably accurate weather forecasts. Still dumping down out there, it's great. Took some pics, but I can just never be bothered uploading any to my geocities page, and blogger doesn't host images for you, I don't think.

Holidays! It's good, good, oh yes.

Tuesday, December 16, 2003

streaming tunes

Found a cool site full of streaming music - Digitally Imported. Get winamp if you haven't allready got it, or the X Multimedia System XMMS if you're using a real OS and enjoy!

miserable failure

he he he... this is too funny, or just plain stupid - at the time of this posting the first result from google when searching for "miserable failure" is a very prominant and interesting person, who would have us believe that he's anything but a failure. check it out The most hilarious thing about it is that the page itself is a .gov! It's official then.

Monday, December 15, 2003

Anpan Man pachinko game

Although Tyler's bday was actually last monday, we got all the family together for a celebration on the weekend. It was actually a weekend event - arrived sat arvo, stayed until late sat night while most of the relos stayed at Misaki's parents' house and waited for us to return the next day for lunch. Tyler got a horde of presents, nearly all with a Thomas the Tank Engine theme except for the Anpan Man pachinko machine someone gave him. (seriously! it's very realistic...) I've never played the real thing, but from the kids version it seems that Pachinko is nothing more than a vertical pinball machine with a few minor differences. Firstly the objective is actually to sink the balls into different sections of the board, and secondly, instead of only having one ball in play at a time, they're launched in a constant stream with a dial on the front which allows you to vary the velocity of the balls and thusly aim them towards the different goals. It's actually quite entrancing, but it must take a special kind of person to spend a day in a Pachinko parlour immersed in a white wall of cacophanous sound, flashing lights and a think plume of cigarette smoke. Not behaviour I'd encourage in Tyler. Anyway, it's cold and we're running late today, so gotta go do the salary man thing...

Monday, December 08, 2003


We spent the weekend at Shirahama, a healthy 2 1/2 hours away by train. It was great. Saturday we began our adventures by taking a tour in a glass bottomed boat. Shirahama is a really nice ocean town, and the scenery is beautiful. We then went to some amazing cliffs and got very close and personal with some huge waves surging into an ancient cave which looked to have been inhabited by a community of boat building samurai sea farers, although it was difficult to get any conclusive information. Next we took a plunge below the waves in a funky observation tower which lets you walk around on the sea floor and observe the local marine inhabitants. Saw a few fish and stuff. Tyler went crazy and just started running around the bottom of the tower in circles. After checking into our hotel it was time for the main attraction - a traditional japanese hot spring. We booked a family onsen, so we wouldn't have to be seperated as is the custom with the public baths. It was really nice - outdoors, night time, natural surroundings, and the bath itself was chiselled out of a sandstone boulder. I really enjoyed my first onsen experience with Misaki and Tyler.
We arose on Sunday and began with a huge buffet breakfast before heading out to Adventure World - a big safari park kind of thing. We spent the day getting friendly with all kinds of animals and creatures and all had a great time. Tyler really loved it. Misaki and I enjoyed spoiling ourselves with catered meals and no cooking or cleaning. It was a really nice weekend.
Today is Tyler's 2nd birthday. Thanks to everyone who sent messages and presents. He doesn't actually know it's his birthday as such because we didn't have time to do the presents thing this morning. After such a fun filled weekend it was kinda hard to arise to a freezing cold monday morning. I'm guessing he's going to have a mini party tonight. This weekend is his official party with all the family and stuff.

Friday, December 05, 2003


The season's seem to change really suddenly here. Up until a few days ago it was still quite comfortable weather, but now it's freezing! I can't feel my toes. It's moments like this that I'm reminded of my designs to build a steel capped pinky toe protector. Really missing my knee length ugg boots at the moment.
We're off to an onsen tomorrow for a weekend trip. Onsens are natural hot springs, heated by the abundance of volcanic activity under the precarious collection of islands that Japan is comprised of. At least they're supposed to be natural - I wonder about that when I see them located in the middle of a city. That's probably something different, somthing which could be described as a public bath kind of thing, and I don't think they make any false claims about their source of heat. (man my toes are cold!) So we're getting up early and training it out into the country side somewhere for my first onsen experience on the morrow.

Monday, December 01, 2003

good weekend

not bad at all really. Bit cloudy and rainy, so we watched a bunch of videos and did some shopping and stuff. Bought a little pine tree to be our christmas tree. We watched The Ice Age with Tyler to see if he'd be interested in seeing Nemo at the cinema. They're both graphics animations. He was actually quite interesting in Ice Age, especially because he loves elephants I guess. He lost interest in it at one stage and tried to start playing with other stuff, but he eventually settled down and watched most of it with us. I'm guessing he'd probably stay with us right through nemo because it's a lot more colourfull and the screen's a lot bigger and everything. I stilll haven't seen revolutions yet, but anyway.