Wednesday, 29 June 2005

Some pictures from the riverbank

Taken on Sunday afternoon during a stroll with the family. Bit cloudy, unfortunately, but still nice and green.

Arakawa Riverbank #1
Originally uploaded by tokyobogue.

Arakawa Riverbank #2
Originally uploaded by tokyobogue.

Arakawa Riverbank #3
Originally uploaded by tokyobogue.

Arakawa Riverbank #4
Originally uploaded by tokyobogue.

Arakawa Riverbank #5
Originally uploaded by tokyobogue.

Monday, 27 June 2005

Wouldn't you just know it...

Got the sky tuner working last night, just a quick strip of the antenna cable, reattach and hey presto, working again - bastard machine, I know when I'm being mocked...

Young Marcus seems to be impoving re his eating, or rather keeping eating down, problem. Definitely less in the chucking up sakes now, and has rushed through the 4kg barrier to post a high (as far as I know, though the Guru may know otherwise) of about 4222grams, which is pretty good in my book. Also did an enormous poo the other day that leaked up the back of his nappy - first time I have seen this and my goodness didn't he look happy with himself. Indeed the little 'un is turning into quite a smiley little chap, as long as you make high pitched squeaking sounds at him, which he seems to enjoy.

But the hot has started now, over 30 degrees on Sat and Sun, which ain't too good for him as he can't control his internal temperature, apparently, especially when in his high chair whcih seems to make him hotter. So anyway the aircon came on yesterday for the first time, don't like it but a cool kitchen is ooooh so nice - I mean cool in the sense of colder, not stylishness, it can be as uncool as anything as long as it is cool, if you take my meaning.

Sunday, 26 June 2005

don't know why the post below doesn't seem to fit into the column. Oh well...
My Lion’s evening

Saturday had started so well. Up early without too much notice of a hangover, day with the youngster, bit of DIY and the Guru sorting out her clothes, or something. A trip to Oh! Kawa, they of the whale meat for sale in the past (for bona fide scientific research purposes that only a supermarket can do) for a whole chicken that will be rather pleasant when roasted with salad for dinner (not roasted at the same time as a salad, of course) and a few beers bought on the way home as well. The game’s on at eight, dinner’s on the go, young ‘un is getting excited about the first test...

But then:

1830 turn on sky tv to watch something on bbc world, but nothing happens. Rack brains to thing to back to last night, was there a problem with sky? No.
1831 begin swearing
1832 Think about today, what did we do? Move ps2 away from sky tuner as tuner was getting too hot as it is summer. Did we knock any sky leads askew? No.
1833 swearing takes off in earnest
1835 check all leads to and from sky box
1840 all seem to be in place. Start checking sky card thingamajig, reset button and every other lead.
1845 swearing plus plaintive cry of “why me, why to-f*cking-night?”
1850 pull sky box out and attach telephone line for first time in three years to see if they have sent rude email or something
1854 nothing from sky -> more swearing
1855 Guru suggests that if can’t watch hear better bugger off to Shinjuku to watch there. Much appreciation of the suggestion
1900 (halfway through roast chicken cooking time) still no joy from Sky plus website mentions nothing odd
1905 ok, I realise I have a two month old son at home, but this is the Lions. Off to Shinjuku
1940 arrive Shinjuku, start towards the Clubhouse, number of questions in my mind: 1 can I remember where it is; 2 are they showing it seeing as kick off was 4pm and only sky are so shite as to show it late (uninteresting Japanese baseball deemed more important even though Every. Single. Fecking. Game is available on sky or domestic tv).
1950 arrive Clubhouse, has that ‘things have been watched this afternoon’ feeling about the place. Order beer and ask random punter if they are showing the Lion’s at 8? Affirmative, he asserts.
1953 settle back to watch a bit of the Australia vs. Bangladesh one dayer that is on in the UK.
2000ish notice through the bar that a team in red seems to be playing a team in black at rugby...
2001 someone stretched off the rugby pitch – not nowing anything at this stage assume that this the end of the game and therefore should avoid for a few minutes until they have rewound the tape, or something
2003 unsure as seem to be carrying on
2004 turn to bloke sitting next to me, conversation goes something like this:
Me – is that the Lions?
Some f*cking French C*** - I do not know. I am ear to watch za game of France and za South Africans.
Me – ah, I see.
SFFC – ah you ear to watch za red team?
Me – yes I am, I think they’re showing the match at 8.
SFFC – Zer is no need to watch, New Zealand wins something like 20 to 3.
Me – Oh...thanks...I didn’t know that...

2005 maybe I misheard him. Maybe he doesn’t really know. Let’s watch just to see what happens. All these thoughts go through my mind, but no, I know the result but I am I bound to endure the next 90 minutes or so by the code of watching rugby (same as the code of picking of scabs), I know I don’t want to watch but I have to.

2006-2130 woeful. Just woeful. One of the worst games of rugby I have watched. Ever. All eyes were on Wilkinson at 12, he didn’t have a sparkling game, but it would be unfair to single him out as every single player played badly (except perhaps Ryan Jones who, having nothing to lose, perhaps, gave everything and more).

2215 home and sky still not working
2245 expected dinner of roast chicken salad transformed into pasta and packet sauce as can't be bothered cooking properly now – still, at least the beer bought earlier and the chicken are both still there for tomorrow...

Thursday, 23 June 2005

OK, then...

the boss is away on holiday

I'm in charge

the world is my oyster, bwahahahaaaaaa......

(hope nothing goes too wrong)

Monday, 20 June 2005

So a few things to mention this week...

...obviously the first being my total inability to 'mini-post' on this blog through the week so here I find myself again, tapping away at the keyboard on slightly humid but breezy Monday evening.

As mentioned in the last text post (hope you liked the photo's last week), the Friday before last was 'baby head wetting' evening, finally, about six seeks after the youngster was born, but better late than never. As I had announced this over the ether waves, it rapidly became an international affair with various family members, father parental and old drinking cronies deciding that things being as they are, they had better all join me and various august personages in Japan for the head wetting. Except that they were not to do anything as silly as actually come to Japan, oh no, they would raise glasses in whichever part of the UK they found themselves in. Nice work, except for the simple yet complex factor of international time zones. So whilst yours truly was sipping the first of not a few Yebisu beers in downtown Tokyo at 7pm local time, various persons were a loin girding in Blighty so at the appointed hour of midday UK/8pm Japan, we could all raise together.

But this wasn’t wholly acceptable to some who, unfortunately having to work, were not able to fully participate. However best foots were put forward and at least some were able to give it a crack and even, in a couple of cases, contact me via the magic of international subscriber trunk dialling to mobiles, or something, and so whilst I was not too pissed, I was able to talk nonsense to like minded individuals. And then do it all again at 3am Japan time which had been designated official UK toasting time as it conveniently fell at 7pm in the UK, or a nice time to get to the pub. Luckily I was still compos mentis at this time as was able to have quite probably the same conversations I had had not 8 hours before. At least I assume I did, buggered if I can remember.

Also mentioned in the last post was (at the time) forthcoming trip to watch rugby, this year Japan vs. Ireland Except For Their Good Players, who were on a two game tour of Japan as seems to be the want of European teams at this time of year – last year Steve and I got to watch Japan vs. Italy. Anyway Japan got stuffed 12-44 in the first game in Osaka and so all were hoping for a much-improved performance in the second game. And, whilst Japan were stuffed again, they did actually improve and at least take the fight to the Irish, scoring two tries (to seven), something they signally failed to do in Osaka. For Ireland David Humphries overtook Ronan O’Gara as the leading points scorer and, on his two performances, can think himself unlucky that it is O’Gara in New Zealand right now and not him. Japan tried their hardest, but their lot was summed up by this: Ireland kicked downfield from a ruck, the ball didn’t find touch, the Japan back three run it back and as the fullback takes the tackle the chasing Ireland line meets him at the Japan 10m line ahead of the still retreating Japan pack, turnover, two passes, stroll to the corner. Afterwards we carried on the general theme of rugby = drinking by wandering over to Shibuya and visiting this bar, which proved most convivial indeed.

What else? Now I know I seem to mention this an awful lot, but the whole Yasukuni/PM visit thing just won’t go away. The Yomiuri ran a series of articles a week or two ago trying to outline the causes of the issue and something came up that gave me pause. Seems that Yasukuni has only been a bone of contention since about the 1960s. After the war the souls of untold Japanese war dead were enshrined there but at the time the war criminal, as designated by the Tokyo war crimes trials, were not. In the sixties, then, a group representing the bereaved families of crims got together and began to lobby the govt for their ancestors to get some kind of recognition, although as the govt of the day pointed out, this decision was actually to be taken by Yasukuni shrine itself, or rather the priests thereof. So in, in think 1969, they decided to do so. At this stage the paper is unclear if there was much of an outcry, I suspect there probably was, but nothing like today it seems. Also I can’t remember if the article said that PM’s were visiting before the crims were enshrined, but they certainly are now.

Anyway, the interesting point I found out was this. One suggestion been mooted is to dis-enshrine the war crims, making the shrine a sort of tomb of the unknown soldier, but the main opposition to this comes from the group of bereaved families. Their argument, which worryingly appears to accepted at all levels, is that if the souls of their forebears were dis-enshrined, this would be tantamount to accepting the verdicts of the Tokyo war crimes trial. I don’t know about you, but I find it astounding that the country as a whole refuses to accept that they had any responsibility for the war and that the trials, and their outcomes, were not justified. I am sure their were issues with the trials, but to reject any notion of culpability means that these days, I fear, internationally they get what they deserve.

And on that happy note, I shall leave you.

Monday, 13 June 2005

And some of Marcus by himself

Marcus not interested
Originally uploaded by tokyobogue.

Marcus slightly interested
Originally uploaded by tokyobogue.

Marcus very interested
Originally uploaded by tokyobogue.

Marcus' first trip to the Arakawa

Mum with Marcus at the riverbank
Originally uploaded by tokyobogue.

Mum pushing Marcus at the riverbank
Originally uploaded by tokyobogue.

Dad talking to empty pushchair
Originally uploaded by tokyobogue.

New baby blessing at the shrine photos

Yokosone Shrine
Originally uploaded by tokyobogue.

Mum with Marcus at the shrine
Originally uploaded by tokyobogue.

Dad with Marcus at the shrine
Originally uploaded by tokyobogue.

Wednesday, 8 June 2005

Lions on the radio

In the usual show of programming license nonsense, BBC five live can broadcast live lions radio commentary over the internet only to listeners in the UK who, of course, can use a radio to listen.

Us poor punters in the rest of the world were buggered, until now...

If you find yourself without radio commentary for the games they're not showing on Sky, go here , find the sports bit and all your lions prayers will be answered.

Tuesday, 7 June 2005

Two quick things to add...

Congratulations to Brian and Setsuko after the birth of baby number two at
4am last night. Maisie Lillian Smith has entered the world hale and hearty by all accounts, good luck to all concerned.

Here’s a weird one that could, if I had any more examples, be filed under molly-codling-Japanese-state-that-refuses-to-allow-you-responsibility-for
-your-own-life (assuming I had a big enough tab on the file. If you have to have an operation in
Japan, especially if you are a Japanese national, you need to get the signatures of three people for it to go ahead. So say you are in hospital for appendicitis, you sign the board, your spouse signs the board and then you need to get a relative as the third signatory. Does that seem weird to you? Seems mighty strange to me, I mean, what if your family has all gone rocker-off and joined a cult that says no to modern medical procedures? Be a bit fucked, I reckon...

Monday, 6 June 2005

To be honest with you...

it's getting pretty difficult to find the time to write long an involved posts about post modern Japan, what with having the young 'un here with us. There are a whole raft of things I want to mention today but, and here I suppose, is the nub, I just can't be arsed to sit here and tyoe for about an hour and a half, penning my thoughts etc, when I could be with Marcus, or probably more important, helping the Guru out.

Just in case you were wondering, by the way, he came out of hospital on Saturday, not exactly witha clean bill of health, but we have ideas about how to keep him healthy, how much and how often to feed him, that sort of thing. Goodto have them back home, obviously, but after haivng spent 2 weeks living by myself it was a shock to the sleep patterns and no mistake.

So anyway, I think we might evolve into a more often but shorter posts type blog, with photos added as well as a way of hiding the fact that I'm not writing as much. Or something.

Other things that I wanted to mention recently but have been too involved with other things to do so are:

1) in the annual survey of what elementary school kids want to be when they grow up (yes, this is an official government survey - what a great job that would be), top of the list for boys was pro-baseball player, closely followed by pro-association football player, nothing too surprising there. For girls, the runaway winner for the eight hundredth year (or however long the survey has been going) was not lawyer, or high powered business woman, or anything interesting at all - it was to be a shop assistant. Looks like women's lib has a looooong way to go here, then...

2) cool biz is here - Kool Kid Koizumi has a plan, and actually it is a pretty good one. To stop everyone using quite so much aircon in the summer, all the politico bigwigs and top business bods are to not wear ties, or hopefully jackets either, through to September. Considering the glut of +30 degree days last summer, this seems a winner to me and I am actively trying to get the company in on it as well. Although this all be an attempt to deflect attention away from the fact that the Kool Kid hasn't actually done anything of note for the last six months (except visit the graves of class a war criminals blah blah blah)

3) the lions are roaring in NZ - except for poor old Dallaglio. But better even than is the fact that I, along with some thousands of others and a few chums, will go to watch Ireland beat seven shades of shit out of Japan on the 19th June (ok, it's not better than the lions being in NZ, but it is still pretty good).

4) golf playing brother, sis in law and godson had their non-demoninational, agnostic naming rite yesterday, in lieu of a christening - went well, by all accounts, as grandfather #1 relayed to me yesterday, though not difficult with the winning equation of warm sunshine, bbq, old farts and red wine. Strangely didn't get a drunken phonecall at 4am telling me I was their 'besht mate', which was disappointing as for one I was up and cradling a noisy infant.

5) Friday this week is to be offical baby head wetting piss up. A bit late, perhaps, but no one seem to know when it should be done. Anyway done it will be, reports to follow.

And that is the lot for the moment. So probably a move away from the Monday evening big post fomula to the rapid reaction force like musings of an off the cuff sort of nature.

Or probably same time next week...