Monday, 19 September 2005

Back in the saddle

So we’re back to the blogging this week after a hiatus last week as I was too drained, mentally and physically, after England’s fine series victory in the Ashes. My how that final Monday was tense, especially when McGrath took two wickets in two balls (poor Bell) and almost then had Pietersen. But more worrying for me as I sat listening at my computer, was that passage of play just after lunch when Pietersen decided to go after Lee and started smacking him for fours and sixes, over the heads of the retreating fielders – my heart was in my mouth and whilst it was exciting to listen to, part of me was saying ‘you don’t need to do this, take it easy’ etc, but he wasn’t listening to me anyway, thankfully I suppose, in the end. So anyway, this little green stretch of the Arakawa riverbank will always now remain a part of England (but don’t tell the locals) and in the not too distant future I will be out there with Marcus, boring him to death with re-enactments of the final day’s play from the Oval.

Apparently some other news happened as well, but didn’t really catch too much of it to be honest. The election came and went and, as I am sure you are now fully aware, The Kool Kid Koizumi astounded the nation, and probably himself as well, by romping to a landslide victory, increasing his majority to... a bigger one than before, crushing the DPJ as one would a slow moving cockroach and making his New Komeito (I think) coalition partners just a little jumpy as he doesn’t really need them quite as much as he did before.

However two stories did come out of it that I will share. The first was a little pre-election gem from a chap named Konoike. He was one of the original LDP (Kool Kid’s party) rebels who voted against the Kool Kid in the upper house election, thereby precipitating the election by forcing Koizumi’s hand. As we all know then Kid was not in the least bit happy about this and so kicked the 37 out of the party and crossed them off his new year’s card list – a fate worse than losing someone’s business card in this country. A bunch of these oldest of old farts, including Konoike, then set up the new New People’s Party of Japan (Splitters!) in an attempt not to loose his very lucrative money-spinning venture, otherwise known as his seat. But then, about a week before the election, with all the opinion polls showing the Kool Kid with a very healthy lead, Konoike began to get a little antsy so went to the LDP chairman and said, well, if it appears that the will of the people was that postal reform was ok, well, he, having no principles, morals or most importantly scruples, would quite happily rejoin the LDP and support the Kid in whatever krazy schemes he could cook up. Well isn’t that jolly magnanimous of Mr Konoike?

I am not sure what the upshot of that all was. I sincerely hope that the Kid told Konoike to bugger off. Given Koizumi’s record, and the fact that he kicked the lot of them out of the party to start with, I think there is hope. But then again I am not stupid or naïve enough to really believe that and suspect that back room back scratching has been indulged in the Konike will soon find himself Minister of Postal Reform, or something.

The other thing that came up is a follow up to something reported by this very blog a week or two back. I mentioned that members of the SDF risking their necks in Iraq had been criminally left without recourse to vote, well it seems that a top judge in Japan actually reads this blog and thought he’d do something about it (and Judge, please leave a comment, it’d nice to have something highbrow on the comments page for a change). I’m not sure of the in’s and out’s of this one as I haven’t been able to get much paper reading done recently, but I can confirm that after a campaign of sustained pressure by Arakawa Riverview, the Judge confirmed that it was indeed, and literally, criminal that the SDF couldn’t vote and ordered, firstly, that the govt make some symbolic attempt at compensating the troops by giving them 10,000yen each (that’s fifty quid), and secondly, that the govt take its forefinger out of its collective arsehole and do something about this so it had better not happen again.

Nice to know that blogs can make a difference.

So what else? Well, golf playing brother had a birthday, as I am no doubt everyone is now aware, as did Curly Joe Smyth. I am still waiting to see if Curly responds to the birthday wishes we sent to him, but strangely I have heard nothing back from the record company as yet.

Yours truly also had a birthday last week and in doing so reached the ripe old age of 33. This has a certain resonance as it was at the very tender and green behind the ears age of 23 that I first pitched up on the shores of Japan, though that was in the April following the birthday so a little way to go before we have the anniversary. Indeed about that time will be Marcus’ first birthday, which seems auspicious – actually next year will be chock full of anniversaries as it will my ten years in Japan, tens years since the Guru and I got together and also, sychronicitously (he says, trying to make up a new word), our fifth wedding anniversary. Oh, and we’ll have birthdays as well, but don’t go expecting that anyone else’s will get a mention. Anyway, for my birthday I bought an Ipod, which is sooo cool I can’t imagine how I ever coped without one before. The problem with it is that this poor NEC laptop is in no way capable of dealing with it. First up it is still running windows 98, which it does quite happily, thank you, but Ipods are way too cool and modern for that and will only run on 2000 or xp. Now I have disks for 2000 that I could install, but I figured that I’d bring my xp’d work computer home first, install everything on there first to see how it works and then do the same on the NEC (as I did with the digicamera software, very sensible option). So I did this and everything worked jolly well (though note to Apple, if you are a foreigner living in Japan, you can’t register with the Apple network as foreigners don’t have kanji names, one of the required fields. Doh!) so now I have copied a whole bunch of cds onto the itunes thing and have already used up about 1.5gb’s of space. The problem here is that the NEC is so old that it only has 8gb’s of disc space in total, so if I install itunes put a third of my cd collection into it, I’ll overload the computer and meltdown will ensue.

(I know meltdown will ensure as today, at the Guru’s behest, we installed our snazzy new(ish) Canon photo printer as the main printer for the computer, finally replacing the stalwart Epson we got from Dave when we came back to Japan. Anyway, to install I had to hook up the external cd-rom drive, which even without a disk in, made the computer crash 4 times before it decided that it did recognise the drive (have we met? Were you at the Finkelstein’s bar mitzvah?) and then twice more before it would accept the data from the cd-rom (f*cking thing)).

So at the moment it all works (ipod, itunes on work computer, home computer with new printer) – so, bets please, gentlemen, for what will go wrong first...

PS hope you like the small changes I’ve been trying to make to the blog – still can’t manage to get the photo to stop tiling across the title, any not too technical suggestions gladly received

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