Thursday, 28 July 2005

New Ipod

This amused me.

Wednesday, 27 July 2005

After the typhoon

Bit of a damp squib, really, yesterday's so-called typhoon number seven, but what it did do, as typhoons are wont to do, was launder the atmosphere. So, when yours truly got up around six this morning the air had a most pleasant and refreshing, freshly scrubbed feel to it, which, apart from being pleasing on the skin, meant that Mt Fuji was displayed in all it's glory. So beguiling, did it appear, that I thought I'd better share, so here you go.

Fuji after the July typhoon #1
Originally uploaded by tokyobogue.

Fuji after the July typhoon #2
Originally uploaded by tokyobogue.

Fuji after the July typhoon #3
Originally uploaded by tokyobogue.

Fuji and Chichibu hills after July typhoon
Originally uploaded by tokyobogue.

Tuesday, 26 July 2005

Bit of a lack of a post this week, but here are some photos of the youngster to keep you going. Shame about the cricket, but at least the footy season is only just around the corner though, eh?

marcus in karate kid pose
Originally uploaded by tokyobogue.

Originally uploaded by tokyobogue.

bit dark but lovely smile
Originally uploaded by tokyobogue.

Sunday, 24 July 2005


A five minus trembler wandered past the greater Tokyo area at 4:30pm this afternoon, the first real biggy since Marcus was born. Luckily I was holding him at the time and so dashed to the front door, just in case (in the sense of just in case the front of the building falls off, which will happen, judging by the cracks around the balcony). Worrying about yourself during an eathquake is bad enough, but worrying about a three month old is something else. Oddly, no one from the other apartments seemed that worried.

Anyway the 5 minus was centered on the Chiba area, closer to where we used to live and closer to where the Guru's folks live. Apparently it was the biggest quake in the Tokyo area for quite a few years, which I feel is a bit odd as the effects of the Niigata quakes last year felt stronger to me, but there you go. But not to fear (too much) as we are all fine and dandy.

Oh, and apologies about the jinx on the cricket, listening to Saturday afternoon's play, as I currently am, we are117 for 4 'chasing ' 420 and, I fear, we are buggered.

Thursday, 21 July 2005

So the Ashes start...

And what a corker, Australia 66 for 4 before lunch, fantastic (but it is a long way to go, I know Pratty).

Anyway, had to share this quote from the cricinfo preview of the first test regarding England captain Michael Vaughan's record during the coin toss at the start of the game:

"Vaughan, who earned a reputation as a luckless tosser in his early captaincy days"


Wednesday, 20 July 2005

don't know if you've seen this yet...

Tuesday, 19 July 2005

the shape of things to come

The guru and I went to see star wars episode three last weekend, it being a bank holiday after all (umi-no-hi, or day for the sea, but not a lot of sea in Saitama (though the river does smell a bit fishy at times)). But how, you may be asking yourself, did you go and see a film with a two month old baby son? Easy really, I went on Sunday and the guru went on Monday, meaning we both enjoyed a pleasant day out and visit to the cinema, though not exactly with each other. Oh well.

This was a shame as we both enjoyed the film very much. For my part i thought it was a lot better than the critics had given it credit for and certainly the best of the 'new' series (though admittedly not difficult!). OK, it has some crap dialogue, but all star wars films have, it's what they do. I was especially annoyed by one critic saying how out of place it was for Obi-Wan to say "I've got a bad feeling about this" towards the start of the film - does this critic know nothing? Has he not seen episodes 4-6? All the way through, in every film including the originals, someone like Luke or Han or Leia say "I've got a bad feeling about this". Yes, it's cheesy, your point being? Now move along.

So, the FX were cool, the spaceship battle scenes fantastic, the light sabre duels just rocked (though got a little tired of Yoda's jump/spin thing), Padme really looked 8 months pregnant with twins, someone had had a word with George Lucas so there was no 'cute' in the film and the story sort of made sense, if you didn't ask too many questions.

But more important than that was what transpired last week. As Japan is sooo behind the times, episode 3 only came to these shores last week, so on domestic telly they have been showing all the other movies, newer ones and the originals. Last Thursday they showed the re-mastered version of Return of the Jedi and of course it had all the extra little scenes and what not. But then, at the end , a travesty. The final scene on Endor has everyone jolly happy and ghost version of Obi-Wan joined by Yoda and then, finally, Anakin Skywalker. OK, but in this new version the actor playing Anakin, whose face we see when Luke rescues him so we know what he looks like, has been replaced by Hayden Christiensen, the chap playing Anakin in the new movies! Talk about a Stalinist re-writing of history! This is my childhood they are fucking with! Why did they need to do that? We've seen Anakin's face already and the person at the end of the film is not him.

Unnecessary and annoying (and probably not worth getting angry about, but, dammit, someone's got to have standards).

Saturday, 16 July 2005

Summer's here

I know this for two reasons - firstly because NHK have told me, well, they have told me that the rainy season (the bastard offspring "5th" season that no one talks about) has finished in Kyushu and Shikoku. Eagle-eyed action men amongst you will realise that this does not cover the kanto region, of which Kawaguchi is a part, but it probably will tomorrow and that is near enough for me. Indeed today was warm enough and humid enough to be considered summer in my book, though the actual sunny-ness of summer is still somewhat lacking.

The second, and far more important and trustworthy, reason I know it is summer is that I purchased the season's first bottle of gin and have, this evening, been quietly and pleasurably supping on a number of pleasant G&T's. Even better is that this year, after reading something in some newspaper that says a G&T must be made with 47.5% gin, I have decided to splash out a little and gone for Bombay Sapphire, rather than the usual Gordon's or cheapest other alternative. Well I say 'splash out', but for some reason gin, in Japan, is ridiculously cheap. A regular bottle of 40% Gordon's is less than a fiver (980 yen in the marvellous alocholic emporia that is MyMart) whilst aforesaid Bombay is eight quid, against a price in the UK of about sixteen (so thedrinkshop reliably inform me - and that's for the 40% stuff) and is, I can now confirm, very much worth the extra 600yen or so that I paid for it.

So, roll on the official summer proper. I will be off to Seijo Ishii international supermarket to get my bottle of Pimms No. 57 very soon as well.

And also...

Something that caught my eye in the paper today that I thought I ought to comment upon, incase you missed it, of course. Currently in Japan there is a concern about the the future, the ageing population, lazy youngsters and what to do about it all and luckily, in June, there was a symposium to sort it all out. The meeting singled out a recent SMAP song entitled "Sekai ni Hitotsu dake no Hana" (One and only Flower in the World) as, essentially, being at the root of all Japan's social and economic woes. Apparently the group and song have the temerity to suggest that each and every person is special in their own way, as far as I read it, which is, according to Masaaki Taira, chairman of Japan Junior Chamber, Inc's Kanto District Council, nonsense.

Apparently (and I am not making any of this up) "SMAP's song includes a line that says, 'You don't have to be No. 1. You're always special and the only one.' But such a 'special and only one' doesn't exist. Education should aim to teach students how to prepare to fit in with life in the competitive society." [my italics]

He was referring specifically to Japan's problem with NEET's (those Not in Employment, Education or Training - aka people who don't want to get a job) and Freeters (not sure exactly what it stands for but refers to graduates who take part time jobs in, for example, convenience stores to ensure ample free time to enjoy oneself, but still have some cash available, thereby doing the minimum to get by). These types of young renegades are doing irrepairable damage to people like Taira's chances of getting a decent pension as they don't pay into the national systems like full time employed people, and he is not happy about it, obviously.

Naturally this is SMAP's fault, rather than Taira's or the government's, as SMAP are encouraging young people not to work. It is, of course, quite plausible that SMAP could provide education, jobs and/or training to the millions of people that this affects, or Taira and the govt could do something about it...

But luckily for both, I have the solution - something that is simple, won't cost the govt any money. If Taira and the govt are really worried about NEET's and Freeters not working and not contributing to society all they need to do is pass a law that says no one between the ages of, say, 25 and 55 (thereby allowing for that potentially tricky time between graduation and first 'real' job - and later looking after aged folks), is allowed to live with their parents but must go out and rent, and eventually buy if possible, a place of their own. Having to pay their own rent, rather than sponging absolutley everything off their parents and making no contribution to the household budget whatsoever, will ensure they get themselves motivated to work pretty damn toot sweet I reckon.

Becomming more conservative in my old age? Not me...

Monday, 11 July 2005

Stuff about London

So london wins the right to host the 2012 Olympic games and then the very next day some deranged people blow up tube trains and buses - strange old world, eh? Sort of makes you hark back to the IRA, at least they were civilised about trying to kill the British, coded warnings and often military and/or politcal targets (I realise that a number of their targets did not fall into these categories, the Harrods bomb, for example) whereas the perpertrators of Thursday's explosions went for regular commuters and workers who could not defend themselves and who, to some extent, may well have been sympathetic to their plight (if the bombers were indeed Islamic fundamentalists then the anti-war demonstrations of last year should have been a hint). Had we still been living in London then I think I would have been ok as I would have been at work, however the Guru would have been going through King's Cross on her way to Old Street at about the time of the bombings, so she might, just might, have been caught up in it all. Of course that is a lot of ifs and buts. There is not much I feel I need to add to all of this as there is, I am sure, reams and reams being written already. So well done London on the stiff upper lip approach to it all.

As for the Olympics, will we be back in Blighty for them? Possibly, possibly not, who knows? Of one thing I am quite certain, however, and that is if we are back in Blighty in 2012, we won't be living anywhere near London, hole of a place that it is (yeah yeah yeah, Doctor bleedin' Johnson). I've read a few blogs, especially since the bombings, and not a few have mentioned that suddenly, with all the focus on the old place, they are feeling a tad nostalgic for a bit of litter, crap transport, pollution, overpricing, surly "service" and agression. Can't see it myself. Anyway, we lived in Japan and moved away when the footy world cup came so I can't really see us moving to the UK just because the Olympics are on there.

Stuff about Japan

We have been buying stuff as it is the only way to prove you are a patriotic person in Japan (it seems to me). Anyway, we've got the excuse of a new member of the family so that means we get to buy stuff that we 'really' need. Most fun was the futon storing bag things. As we now have a extra bed for the little 'un, and extra futons, summer duvets, winter duvets and blankets for any unexpected guest that might show up, storage space is becomming a luxury we don't have much of. Futons and duvets take up a lot of space, especially the hollow fibre jobs, so we bought the storage bags. These are fab - bloody great plastic bags with a zip lock side; when eveything is in you stick your hoover into the corner valve thing and, hey presto, air sucked out and thin, rock hard duvets that are *so* much easier to store. I could have watched the air being sucked out all day...maybe I need to get out more.

Also was have purchased a multi-region dvd player which is great and, much to the Guru's surprise as it was from a dodgy looking ad in an English magazine, it actually arrived and it works. I'm still not truly convinced of its foreign dvd playing qualities, but it does play a vcd that (not-much)-golf-playing-(anymore)-brother sent us of Charlie's naming ceremony. We've only watched the speeches so far, about an hour of them, and all seems to be jolly, so thanks for that.

And, of course, we've been buying baby stuff. But that, I fear will never stop - or at least will evolve into buying toddler stuff, then kid stuff etc etc

Japan itself, it seems to me, is pretty quiet at the moment. Koizumi has been off to the G-8 summit and didn't appear to say a lot. The postal sell off/privatisation thing seems to be going ahead, but that is, I think, just a tax dodge and a pretty dull one too boot. Krazy Kim over in NK has gone all coy, perhaps he has taken up semi-professional snail racing, who knows. And of the politicos here no one seems to making gaffes to any extent and keeping their noses clean as the scandal-o-meter is alarmingly low right now. Must be due to rainy season, which looks like it is approaching its last throes. Actually rainy season has been quite pleasant this year in that it has been quite cool, in fact distinctly chilly at times, so much so that the summer hasn't really had a chance to heat up yet. Yes we've had a few hot days, but nothing like last year, thank goodness, where we were topping 30 degrees/90% humidity in early June and it didn't stop until October. How English, talking about the weather - you can take the boy out of Blighty, but...

The little 'un is doing much better now and seems to have got over his eating problem. Although he still can't take in as much food as his contemporaires, he's doing a lot better than when he came out of hospital. Also his weight now seems to be going up at someting like a normal rate and, after spending ages hovering just below the 4kg mark he is now up to 4600grams - so fight on there, little one.

Wednesday, 6 July 2005

and the winner is...

bloody hell!

but let's be honest about it, those images of jubilation in Trafalgar Sq? They're happy about winning, yes, but more importantly, we beat the French.

Monday, 4 July 2005

Kawaguchi by satellite

The image above was taken by satellite and is of our little bit of Tokyo and Saitama. I got it from Space Imaging which is a cool website that I think I first saw on Bondibooks and have been trying to work out how to use it ever since. So anyway, the big, dark rivery looking thing through the middle of the shot is, as you can probably guess, the Arakawa. To find our little bit of it, first click on the image and then click again on the magnifier doohickey to get the most zoomed in one. Then look to the far right and you can see a smaller 'y' shaped river coming off the main river and going (or actually coming from the) north - north conveniently being up on this image. You can see the slightly lighter grey of the grass river bank moving right before curving down, we are just st the beginning of the curve looking south over the river and into Tokyo, so if you are passing, give us a wave.

Other points of interest on this image are (ok, I think they are interesting): towards the centre of the image, just above the river, is a dark oblong, this is the National Rowing Centre at Toda where they had the rowing events for the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. Goodness knows how long the course is, probably 4kms or something, and there is also a speedboat racing centre attached as well, which I suspect brings in the cash so they can keep the place open as it appears to be universities that use the rowing course more than anyone and I guess they don't have too much money.

Further to the left you can see what looks like a lake, mainly beacuse it is a lake, part of Toda Doman Green Park, which I would love to find a link to so you can see it, but can't seem to find one. Anyway this is usually the area I go cycling around at the weekend for a bit of exercise, if I can't be bothered to go for a run. I went there yesterday and took some photos, but because the weather was so grey and overcast they didn't come out too well. Still, I will take some more when it brightens up after the rainy season. Suffice it to say this is a most pleasant pak area where there aren't any cars so kids can play, there is windsurfing and boating on the lake, footy and baseball pitches and a great big adventure playground for the young 'uns. I haven't seen it in the height of summer but can guess it will be pretty packed, but who cares, Marcus will be taken there in the not too distant future.

On the far side, next to the river and away from the main people-y bits, it has been really quiet every time I have been there, a real get away from it all area right next to Tokyo - fab, I reckon. Also there is a golf course which I don't dislike as much as ythe others as it has been built in two halves along side the river, so players have to get a boat across the river half way through their round I (so a golfing ex-colleague told me), which seems better, for some reason. Again I have grey and overcast photos which I will not share just at the moment

And that's about it. Apologies if there have been/are some weird spacings around these days, don't know what I've done and so don't know how to stop it, though trust me I have been through the template trying. Oh well. Pity about the Lions as well, as I have said before, this time last year perhaps, it comes to a pretty pass when I have to rely on the England cricket team for some sporting success...

Saturday, 2 July 2005

Someting for the golfers...

And now, by popular request, pictures of some pleasant open space now off limits to the majority of the population so sad little people can hit sad little white balls 'here' and, let's face it, 'there' in the name of "sport". And, oh look! There are some people putting in the bottom corner of the first photo! How exciting! [apparently...]

Golf course towards Akabane
Originally uploaded by tokyobogue.

Golf course towards somewhere else
Originally uploaded by tokyobogue.