Monday, 21 November 2011

Dere Santa

Dere Santa,
I hav bene a gude girl this year. Pleas can i hav a "camouflage slanket" from the Tokyu Crismas catalog so that i can sit in the parc and rede my book without kids shouting, "Mummy, Mummy, ther's a foreigner!"
Also, can i hav a geiger counta.
And a hazmat suit.
Thank yu, santa.

Sunday, 20 November 2011

A Hands Christmas

Good call! Though personally, after the year I've had, I'm planning to get legless.

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

"Protecting smiles with fire-safety mind"

The Autumn Fire Prevention Campaign has begun! In our town, fire volunteers will tour the town from 7-10pm every night for a week and there will be a parade with 14 fire engines and other fire prevention vehicles. So nobody even light a match during that time because there will be no staff or vehicles available. This year's campaign slogans are, as usual, in Japlish rendering them unintelligible to Japanese and foreigners alike.

The installation of fire alarms only became mandatory in April this year. A maintenance guy turned up to install them in my place while I was watching a documentary on the origins of Fleetwood Mac (the Peter Green years) and we got on like a house on fi ... sorry. He was an old hippy; when he wasn't doing maintenance, he and his son played in a band. Sometimes you meet the coolest people at the oddest times.
So winter is on its way. Japanese homes have poor insulation and no central heating, so keeping warm is a mish-mash of kotatsu (a table with a heater underneath to keep your legs warm), hot carpet (keeps your bum cheeks warm but little else) and giant padded jackets. A lot of homes use kerosene heaters and it is not uncommon to see students with their eyebrows singed off from having the dial turned up too high when they turned it on. Which is why the annual fire prevention campaign is so important. First world country, third world heating. Smile!

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Let's Spell Check.

Christmas is here. Crimbo trees are up in the department stores and 'All I want for Xmas' is on a loop in the malls. (It's a popular song here because it was the theme of a trendy drama several years' ago.) Starbucks have brought out their high calorie festive coffee flavours and here is their gift flyer. Let's spell check.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

From where I am unable to sit ...

I have only two positions: the wall bracket and standing very straight with my neck stretched up like a meerkat on guard. Yesterday I realised that no matter how many stretches I did I was not going to get better by myself so I found a local English-speaking chiropractor online and went straight there. He confirmed that my back is "out" and that one leg is now shorter than the other. I will have a spine x-ray tomorrow and start treatment next Monday. I hope it works. I like chiropractic treatment. I had it on my lower back years ago and it worked very well. I then took up yoga to keep my back in good shape. However at the beginning of this year I decided to work on my headstands. My back has hurt intermittently since then. My new chiropractor, who also does yoga, says I shouldn't do headstands any more and I am not going to argue with him.

Typing at my desk is all kinds of screaming agony so I will instead leave you with two articles to peruse. They are from the "From Where I Sit" column of the Times Higher Educational magazine. The first one I wrote whilst sitting under my dining table the weekend after the quake. The second was an update published last week.

From where I sit - After the quake: we shall carry on

From where I sit - A life still far from normal