Archive for April, 2005


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I will miss the fruit. I know some people are creeped out by the over-groomed, obsessive perfectionism of Japanese fruit, but I think the colors and shapes are divine for anyone with a soft spot for aesthetics, and this is only amplified by their incredible taste and smell. It will be a hard landing with “quantity over quality” McFruit back in the USA, and I don’t know if I can ever eat American supermarket produce in good conscience again.

On the other hand, my roommate was telling me about a recent (Japanese) television program documenting some of the aspects (packaging, agriculture) of Japanese life which have a severely detrimental effect on the health and livelihood of people living in certain less affluent countries…I don’t know if fruit was an example but it certainly seems like the relentless pursuit of perfection here can be very myopic to any of its ancillary consequences (of course, i’m guessing many people say the same exact thing about America, and most likely with good reason).

Kancho

You probably don’t know what kancho is and you probably don’t want to know… but if you insist, you can read this.

via Gen Kanai

Another Sakura shot and Danchi rules

Sakura

You must have seen a bunch of cherry blossom pictures in everywhere in past couple of weeks. I took many pictures of Sakura(cherry blossom) as well. This is one from my album.

It was awesome. I enjoyed taking pitures of them and view from inside of Sakura curtain.
I jave never seen this kind of Sakura but it is called “Shidare Sakura” in Japanese. Means overhanging Sakura. (could be wrong. if you find a proper words to explain, please update!)

This tree is in “Danchi” yard.
Danchi is a kind of apartment complex. Most of residents are families. Rent is cheaper than other apartment but, there are some conditions to apply. Salary check, number of family members et al.
After moving into Danchi, you still have many regulations you have to keep. Sorting out trashes, no loud music in midnight, don’t paint wall, no carpenting without permission etc etc.

I actually wanted to post this picture while the tree was still pretty though, I found out that I could not write “let’s come to see!” because you will need an escort to get in Danchi yard.

Gokusen

I just watched the first two episodes of Gokusen. My sister turned me on to the show. It’s probably old news for many people, but it’s fun. You can find English subtitled versions on fan sites and buy the Japanese DVDs on Amazon.co.jp. It’s a story about the granddaughter of a Yakuza clan who becomes a school teacher with a class of rowdy students. It’s sort of cliche new teacher vs. rowdy kids who turn into friends, but the Yakuza characters and philosophy are pretty interesting. The network of English language fan sites and the subtitlers is also fairly extensive.

Here is an English language fan site. You can google for torrents.

A True Internet Cafe for the Hicks on the Oume Line?

Moritown and Espa continue to remake themselves into a modern shopping mall. The latest change would be the Moon Karaoke and Internet Cafe. It is replacing Orange House and the traditional Japanese restaurant. It is slated to open sometime in May. w00t!

The Internet Cafe is going to eat up the 3rd and 4th floors. The 1st and 2nd floors will probably be the main counter and karaoke rooms.

Coco, let’s go!

Getting There.

Traveling to work by train can be either a hassle or a joy. My current trip is a joy. It lasts 26 minutes, covers 15.0 km, takes me over two rivers, passes through 5 stations, and occasionally allows me to view Mt. Fuji. On most days, there are a choice of seats on both sides of the carriage. This is good. This is as it should be.

Even though the listed time is 26 minutes, only 18 of those are actually spent riding on the train. The remaining 8 minutes consist of standing around waiting for the connecting train to arrive. This 8 minutes can vary, depending on the time of day. Some days require an all out dash from one platform to the other to make my connection. I hate those days, they make me sweat.

Passing over the rivers presents a visual break from the steady stream of houses and also allows passengers to glimpse Mt. Fuji on clear days. Very relaxing. After typhoons, the rivers are swollen and flow quickly. There are usually bits of tree and general garbage zipping by. I enjoy spotting shoes and clothing. It makes me wonder, “How did that shoe get in there?” My theory is, it belongs to the hobos who live on the river banks. I could be wrong.

The return commute is beautiful when there is a full moon and a clear sky.

Since my commute is done late in the morning, it is important to sit on the proper side of the train to avoid the glare. I do not sit on the sunward side of the train; It complicates playing PSP games and computing. Whenever possible, I pull the shades down over the windows. Some passengers do not seem to appreciate the shades being drawn. Tough shit, I’ve got corners to navigate and blog posts to compose.

That is my commute: I ride through two large stations and three useless ones, see a bit of nature, and enjoy my electronic gadgets.

Cheery Tree [Wk. 3]

Hanami, cheery blossom watching season, is just about done here in the outskirts of Tokyo. Most of the trees have dropped their blossoms and opted to go brown. Kinda sad.

April 10: Still looking good.
April 11: Strong wind and rain knock off blossoms. Boo.
April 12: The parking lot receives a cheery blossom shower.
April 13: Blossoms are falling more from the bottom than the top. If you look closely, you can see blossoms littering the ground beneath the trees.
April 14: Finally, sunshine. There is a lovely blossom carpet forming.
April 15: The top of the tree is still looking good.
April 16: Sick as a dog. No photo. UNSOLICITED ADVICE: Eat your veggies.
April 17: Pretty much blossomless. If I work fast enough, maybe I can super glue the blossoms back on before they decompose.

My other half has informed me that a lot of cheery trees are approaching old age and need a bit of rejuvenation. Kunitachi, the city next door, is in the process of working on their old trees. I don’t know what tree rejuvenation consists of, but I guess it is a decent stopgap until they get new trees planted.

Pre-War Tour


Castle Bracken

Took a walk around my neighborhood today, my first time exploring streets I’ve walked by almost every day for the past ten months but never walked down. I am seriously regretting that, it was really cool. Encountered a few wooden homes that I can’t prove, but gave every indication of being pre-war structures, really neat given the almost total destruction of the city thanks to mostly wood construction and incendiary bombing. I’m sure other people have found pockets of pre-war architecture, if anyone has any recommendations I’m all ears, I’d love to see some more examples before I leave.

Spring was also in effect and many of the homeowners had their planters and flowers out. This curious example is not something I’ve ever seen before, I think it’s a fern? It’s similar-looking next-door neighbor had fiddleheads, but I’m not sure. Again, any information is welcomed…

Japan certainly has four seasons…I think I’m probably just getting older, but I do seem to feel them here more than I ever did back in the States…shrug. :)

Where Is My Ticket?

Has anyone seen the new campaign posters from JR encouraging people to not misplace their tickets? It seems more like a cunning plan to show ticket use as something inconvient and subliminally suggest that Suica is the proper solution. I agree with this plan of action.

He has looked in his shoe, under his hat, and in his bag. Where is that darn ticket?! I know I had it earlier.

Ticket users bad. Suica users good.2

Cheery Tree [Wk: 2]

Here is week two of The Cheery Tree.

April 4: Blah.
April 5: Sigh.
April 6: Progress?
April 7: Looking more like a cheery tree. Finally.
April 8: Yes! Blossoms at the top and bottom of the tree.
April 9: This is a cheery blossom tree. Proper.

NOTE: Due to my inability to drag my lazy butt out the front door and downstairs, a few days are missing ground level shots. Sorry.

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