Wednesday, 18 August 2004

Back in the saddle

So even though it is now Wednesday, this post will naturally be all about last week, as this is the way things should be. So what went on?

Well, last week was hols (as is this week, up to tomorrow, ah the bliss of not working...) so the guru and I celebrated by not going away and not doing much at all really. There were a couple of reasons for this, firstly as it was just too damn hot. By Saturday Tokyo had set a new record for consecutive days over 30 degrees c, the new record being something like 40 days, which seems a tad biblical to me, but luckily it wasn't 40 nights over 30 as well (though I reckon it was pretty close).

Anyway it seems we have Tibet to blame for this as excerssive yak dung production created a massive lump of high pressure, which then moved off and deposited itself on Honshu, or something like that. And it made it hot and humid and horrible. On Sunday it was grey, overcast, raining and, blissfully, only 26 degrees - we both felt slightly chilly, which is just mad for a day in August. I had hoped that the worst was over as Mon and Tues were quite cool, relatively speaking, but today is back up there in the hotness stakes, oh joy.

Deep breaths please.

I also took my annual medical on Friday at a clinic just down the road. This is the second time I have been for a medical in Japan and it is still a difficult and slightly nerve wracking thing to have to go through, mainly as I'm never really sure exactly what it is the doctors and nurses are saying to me.

Medicals are big business in Japan as companies generally pay for them and so clinics are quite happy to overcharge. I had expected (the first time) that it would be in some out of the way place in the country side where I could discuss things with the doc, stroll around the grounds in the dressing gown etc, bit like James Bond on a bit of R&R (it is quite amazing just how many events in my mind's eye have me in situations like James Bond, or maybe not). But no, it is more like a conveyor belt, production line medical - go into this room, stand here, don't look, press this button and so on. Makes it all quite impersonal really.

So they checked my ears and eyes, internal organs (piss into a cup, rather than the ejaculate, more's the pity), impedence (whatever that is) and the usual other stuff. Everything seems to be in working order, which was good news, though I did find one aspect of it all somewhat disconcerting.

I was going for the really basic medical check, rather than the full monty, mainly as it was the cheapest option, though not cheap at 50 quid (or is it? I don't know). So my actual contact time with a real doctor was limited, as this, I guess, is what you pay more for when you go for the more thorough/expensive check ups. So anyway I pop into the docs little consultation room a little nervously as if he asks me anything technical in Japanese I am not going to know what he is on about, unless, that is, he asks me to order a couple of beers and some yakitori - which was unlikely let's face it. But when I walk in he asks me sit down in English, hesitantly, it must be said, but in English nonetheless. So far so good.

Then he whips out his stethoscope for a listen to the old chest. What he would really like to say next is "deeply inhale Mr Justin....and exhale".

What he actually said was "deeply inspire Mr Justin...and expire".

It comes to something when your doctor tells you to die on the spot. But I did not take his advice and so I am able to write to you all today.


The rest of last week was quite quiet. After the last day in the office on the Friday a few of us went out for beers in Aoyama. This was most pleasant as we found a couple of jolly pleasant bars in which to sup. One, named NOS (which has a cute litte website, especially the 'room' section, if you can look at it) was very nice as it had a terracy thing that we could sit on and drink red wine after the obligatory first beer on a Friday evening had done its magic. But these chaps only let us stay there until 8pm as the place was booked out. This looked to be a bit rum, but we then found an even better place. We wandered down to Las Chicas, which is quite well known, but this place was packed but upstairs we found a really nice little place, quiet, reserved, with a terrace but a perfect place to continue with the red wine and convivial chat. I wish I could remember the name of the place, but it doesn't matter as it was quite easy to fine - I recommend it to anyone in Aoyama passing by.

Japan itself has been quiet this week in terms of scandals, mishaps, buggering about and the like, mainly as all the politicians and bigwigs are either gearing up for the Olympics or gearing down for the Obon holiday. Naturally the Games have been big over here as Japan has won a bucketful of Judo medals, a few in the pool and also the men's team gymnastics. Well done to all, doing better that team GB, though that doesn't seem to be too difficult to me. By the way, anyone else think the Olympic flame, rising after it had been lit by the torch, looked like a giant penis surging to erection? Maybe it was just me then.

Fantasy football

Last but by no means least, the fantasy football season is now up and running. Go to the CoB website to see just how sad we all are, and to the Telegraph site if you fancy joining - the more the merrier, we have 25 or 26 in our mini league right now. And on this note I would like to say thanks to Mr Steve Denney for providing me with the prize for winning last seasons UEFFA Cup, by buying me the required 'a couple of beers' in the Adgate pub last night.

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