Andreas’s Japan journeys

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Out of the nest

Filed under: My blog — Andreas @ 7:25 pm

So! I got some great news today. I was handed a note secretly by the teacher during first class. “Meet Ms. Takagawa, 1 floor, lunch-time”. Wow, I thought. A secret rendevouz with some Ms. at the first floor at lunch. Do they set each other up with students that excel? So I waited. And waited. And finally third class was over, not before the teacher could exceed the time by 10 minutes as she always does every Tuesday lesson before lunch. Seriously, I’ve just got to tell her some hard facts. But not at that time. It would disrupt my precious schedule even more than had been done.

When I got to the first floor, it hit me. I had no idea who Ms. Takagawa was. How was I supposed to find her if I didn’t even know who she was. Was I supposed to look for the hottest girl amogst the staff or something? Well, I didn’t have to worry for long because the Ms’s found me instead. HOMUSUTEI mitsukemashita, she said. Yes! I went through the roof. Finally, after one failure right when I came to Japan (though not my fault of course), I am given a second chance to live in a real Japanese family and experience some family life. I’m moving in just days. Feels so good. Two sons (unfortunately they both have already moved out despite being younger than me), no pets, meat eaters, smoking allowed, though that doesn’t apply to me, my own room, internet connection. It is too good to be true I thought, so what’s the catch, I asked. The trip to school will be 30 minutes or longer, should I go by bicycle or train, it doesn’t matter. Doh. Well, I quickly accepted anyway. Ride to school back home is about 20-25 minutes anyway so it will not differ much there. Since I have a bike already I’m going to ride that one, as taking the train will both take the same time, and be very expensive. I have to ride two rails meaning I have to switch trains at one time. Also, the two rails are owned by two separate companies, meaning I have to buy twice as many tickets to get to my end station, and from there walk to school. With the bike, I can move fairly swiftly, stop by any place on the way if need be, and I don’t have to wait for any trains. Kimeta! When can I move in?

My new way to school

– – –

Today’s word is mendounainconvenient


Monday, November 20, 2006

Video Japan VI

Filed under: My blog — Andreas @ 7:17 pm

And so I have come home from the breath-taking journey to Sekigahara. It was breath-taking alright. All those stairs we walked, and the mountain slope was pretty tricky too, it sure took it’s fair toll on my knees. But 10 minutes rest and you’re alright. But, do I have some cool stuff to tell you now or what.

First of all, the coolest thing wasn’t Sekigahara itself actually, but the castle that was built next to it. Why? Because that is the castle where they recorded the major part of Shogun the movie! Wha, I freaked out when I noticed it. I was walking along this huge stone stairway with walls on either side, and I thought to myself, wow, this looks just like the road that Blackthorne takes when walking up and down in Ishido’s castle. And then when I went out through the gate and out on the bridge, I knew I had seen the place before, because of the structure of the road beneath the bridge. And then suddenly our guide, the Declan from school says, this is the place where they recorded Shogun and the bridge-scene. WHAT?! I went loose on that place with my camera, so if you’ve seen the movie, I hope you’ll find it amongst the pictures I’ve uploaded to my gallery. If you can’t remember how to get to my gallery (it’s in the link list to the right) here is a link:

I also got some very nice pictures of a reconstructed castle, with gun ports (where it says teppo in the pictures) and tatami mats. Even the steep stairs are frightengly realistic. At least they have installed steel railing so you can support yourself while climbing them.

Soon the third and last of the Spiderman trilogy will be released. I already have the story figured out in my mind, and when seeing posters and the like I think that the real story will pretty much be the same as I have already pondered on. It’s frightening really. Either there is a telepathic bond between the director and I and he’s stolen my ideas for the movie, or the only logical way to present the next enemies in Spiderman 3 is to base it on previous events in Spiderman and Spiderman 2. But that is hightly unlikely. I think that the director has picked my brain. Literally.

Anyway, to get in the mood for Spiderman I watched some Spiderman episodes on Youtube, and I got the tip from my Canadian friend (whom I btw got a picture of from the car together with my Greek friend) that I should watch the Japanese version of Spiderman. I thought, is he out of his mind, but it turned out to be the truth. There really is a Japanese Spiderman series, and not just a few episodes, there are apparently a season or more of them. Be sure that you are very resilient towards the 70s, because this is how basically every single tv series that were worth watching in Japan during the 70s looked like.

Just look at how he’s running… and the song. And… everything. It stinks the 70s so much it’s unbelievable. And the way he enters. And his voice…

To give a better impression of Japanese tv, let me show you a clip of a Japanese music video instead.

Hm, ok well maybe it wasn’t that much better. At least be glad I didn’t post you the version with guys instead of girls…

Korikki Night of Fire

Here is another version of the video. I am not allowed to embed the video from this site because it may not be secured according to wordpress. So be it, but you have my word that the link is safe, should you go ahead and press it.

I’m not sure why, but I’m going crazy about this song. It’s addictive I’m telling you. I probably have watched it about 20 times already and I slowly begin to like it. Is this some magic embedded into the video; to take over and control the listener to like it? At least I can safely say it’s not because of young girls waving their hips about. Especially that orange one. Yeah. Perfectly safe. *starts the video once more* Oh no…

– – –

Today’s word is sakushuexploitation

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

“There is no I in team, only wii”

Filed under: My blog — Andreas @ 8:12 pm

Yesterday night I went to bed early. I had to be properly rested for the challenges of today. That would not be the case. My bed had sworn an oath to keep me as uncomfortable as possible during the night, and when the alarm clock went off my back hurt like hell and my eyes would’ve fallen down if I hadn’t used extra ordinary powers to keep them from doing above mentioned action. In order to beat my bed I have now bought a new pillow so I’m going to try that one out tonight, see if anything changes.

But back to the challenges. Today was the day of judgement. Two tests in one day. I had prepared myself but as usual my stomach was acting up. Always nervous for a test. I mean, if I perform poorly the world will end! So I just got to get good grades. Or something. I won’t see the results of my labour until 1 or 2 weeks from now however, so until then I guess I don’t have to sharpen my sword…

In happier news, Nintendo Wii was released in Japan about 1 and a half weeks ago. I’d sure like to get one once I get back to Sweden. It looks so cool and I’ve waited years for a new Zelda game to be released. I didn’t really think that the Wind Waker was a “real” Zelda game and therefore no true successor. So when rumors of Twilight Princess were spread on the net, I got excited. A game like Ocarina of Time. W.o.w. And it is released to Wii no less. That seems to be one cool controller. I would like to try out Red Steel as well, looks really cool. Now I’m just rambling.

Back to reality. Wii will cost be money, but at least it is quite cheap compared to many other consoles out there. Actually, it’s the cheapest one for being newly introduced to the market. Don’t get me wrong, I’d sure like an XBOX360 too, just going to wait a few years for it. Don’t really want to pay 4000 for it without knowing if any good games (like Shenmue III) will be released for it. Ok so Halo 3 is coming and it looks so good, but right now Twlight Princess looks like the cheaper choice. I’m actually for all consoles with good games, instead of stupid fanboys who can only love one. “Nintendo ftw, XBOX go and die!” *sigh* Damn 30-year-olds acting like they’re 12. And 12-year-olds acting like… themselves.

EDIT – Ok so the one who supplied the video is a bit cranky… you have to go to this address to watch the video. Stupid really…
“Wii would like to play.” Yeah, so would I

Some Japanese Wii commercials

– – –

Today’s word is isshonitogether

Monday, November 13, 2006

Video Japan V

Filed under: My blog — Andreas @ 8:39 pm

Alright, so I’m back. I don’t know how, so don’t ask, but my computer is working as it should now again. After several restarts the other night, I thought my computer was ready for the scrap yard, but alas it shut itself down during the night, and when I awoke the next morning and turned it on, it was working like before. Strange indeed… Divine intervention, self-destroying virus (if that was indeed what made my computer act up in the first place), or perhaps the computer developed a self awareness and did not want to die (who knows, it worked in Star Trek), I don’t know if I even want to know. What is of import is that the computer is working now and I can once again update this blog!

I discovered this dog on Youtube the other day, and I just had to put him up here. It’s not a very cute dog like the other one, but it is still definitely a must-see. I can guarantee that you find it amusing. It will only steal 1:30 minutes of your life, so just go ahead and click the play button before you shut your browser down!

– – –

Today’s word is tasukattasaved (as in rescued)

Saturday, November 11, 2006

A man leaning against a tree

Filed under: My blog — Andreas @ 9:54 pm

The title says it all. In Japanese, the sign for yasumi – to take a break, pause, rest – is a combination of “man” and “tree”, thus a man leaning against a tree taking a break. That is what I am going to do now with this blog. My computer has suffered, and is still suffering, a serious virus attack. Even as I am writing this my computer is running the anti virus program, but the virus is hindering the progress. The virus apparently slows down the working speed of my computer, making everything lag and freeze. Since it is a second hand computer, I do not have a windows cd, even back home in Sweden, and I am in a country with no new windows cds in Swedish available, I am actually seeing the worst case scenario appearing before my eyes: I may have to realise that this computer is gone. I do not look forward to buying a new one, since electronics are pretty expensive here in Japan. And if I did, it would be in Japanese. Sure I could probably insteall a Swedish language pack later on, but still. So for now, you’ll hav eto wait until I somehow miracously save my computer from the virus, or I make a new update at another computer.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Suite suit

Filed under: My blog — Andreas @ 5:00 pm

Ok, somebody hit me. Hard. In the face. I’ve just gone and spent 35,000. I am so broke I can’t believe me. That was half the money I had on my bank account after transferring money from my VISA to my newly created Japanese bank account. First I had to wait an hour at the bank to get the money transferred, all because today’s banking lesson at school proved to be a bit inefficient. Luckily there was a girl at the bank who was there last time, who could speak frustratingly little English, and she was very patient and helpful. Ok, so I got my money transferred and withdrew some of it to try out the ATM machines. Wow, they looked high tech, but in the end, I felt as if Sweden actually does have better ATM machines. Especially after finding out that I must have my bank account book with me every time I want to withdraw money, and not just my bank card.

Anyway, once the banking procedure was finally over, I headed for Aoiyama. It’s a clothing store, and they seem pretty big in Japan. And all their posters have foreginers on them posing with clothes, and not Japanese. Strange. I went inside and spat a few lines from my Berliz pocket Japanese hand-book which proved effective enough. I got help selecting some pants, and the jacket I had chosen suited me already. I chose the same brand for the pants as jacket to get a matching set, colourwise. The sales clerk also wanted me to buy some shoes, but after calculating the price (35,000 I had to say it again), I decided that shoes for 10,000 (though I would get 3,000 off if I bought them now), was not worth it. My own shoes have to do for the moment, and to tell you the truth I don’t plan on ever buying those black shoes anyhow. A bit too snobbish for me. With only the suit, I think I turned out pretty good anyway actually. It’ll be fun to see the reaction in the classroom next Monday.

Wowee! Watch out, here comes Mr. Gum (says so inside my jacket). I hope I’m not mistaken for some foreign maffia dude… Damn, forgot my sun glases though

– – –

Todays’ word is kakko iicool as hell

Tuesday, November 7, 2006

Video Japan IV

Filed under: My blog — Andreas @ 10:05 pm

Warning for a storm. That’s what’s on the news. The destruction is unbelievable. I first thought they were shooting a scrap yard, before I realised it’s the destroyed houses, cars, and everything else that’s been in the way for the tornado in Hokkaido. “Only” 9 people have been killed, and an unknown number of other people are wounded or missing still. I don’t think it’s going to come down south to my place, but who knows. It’s storming quite enough here already. Been raining all day, and the wind sure hasn’t been any less relentless than yesterday evening when my room-mate’s laundry smacked against the windows until he had to take it down.

To cheer things up I searched around on YouTube for some fun videos and I found this. How could I not include this one, especially when they sing about spinning! This is one of their earlier videos, which can be seen quite easily. It still rocks. And the song rocks even more of course. All I can say is ittadakimasu!

– – –

Today’s word is mawarimasuspin

Sunday, November 5, 2006

100% kirei and silk

Filed under: My blog — Andreas @ 4:40 pm

There I stood together with my Canadian friend, outside the entrance to the orchestra hall, on the third floor of the local civic building. It is one a clock and they let us in. It’s a once in a year show, so I figured what the hell. It’s free as well. I’m naturally talking about the Okazaki kimono exhibition show.

The first part was a bit sleepy, and not that beautiful kimonos really. It was the second part that was interesting, and that’s where I’ve got pictures from that are decent as well. There are two things about my camera that I hate, and they’re that there’s no sound to my video clips, and that my battery lasts for like 30 min tops. Once the red battry image started flashing, I had to turn it off and save battery for the final part of the show. But it was worth it. Also, it was pretty dark and I didn’t want to use my flash (even though everyone else did, so next time for sure) so many of my pictures turned out poorly. But I managed to get two fairly decent ones.

The show was about different kimonos used at different occasions, so I saw both wedding kimonos, festival kimonos, and the last one – what my friend and I thought – was some sort of high society kimono. I heard the word “bethrothal” mentioned, so I guess it was a special sort of dress when meating a future husband or so. Ten layers of clothing, it was impressive to say the least. Starting off with a white, there was a deep red, pale green, deep green, pink, light red, orange red, red, dark green, deep red with white flowers on it, in that order. To finish up she had a white sort of… cape from the waist. And her hair was longer than herself. Must’ve been a wig. Though you never know with the Japanese…

kimono1.JPG kimono2.JPG

– – –

Today’s word is fukuclothing

Saturday, November 4, 2006

Video Japan III

Filed under: My blog — Andreas @ 3:24 pm

Ok, so yesterday did not turn out as well as I had hoped for. Not that many girls out until we accedentally hit the red light district. But by then the clock was half past ten and we were absolutely pooped. The night had begun at the local shopping mall, but a coffee and an hour later we still didn’t find anything worth, and so the adventure continued as we ran along small, poorly lit streets without anyone except your occasional drunk business man heading home. We were looking for a bar where supposedly there are Japanese who want to meet with foreigners, and vice versa. To learn Japanese, of other cultures, and perhaps a bit more too… When we couldn’t find the bar, we instead decided to try one place, the first we stumbled upon, just to get something down our bellies, and I’m not talking about food. However, we just happened to enter a no-foreigners-allowed bar, so we were kicked out. Japan excells in tech, economy, education, but they still haven’t let go of a 400-year-old prejudice towards aliens. One thing that I find charming about Japan is their dedication to keep traditions, but this is sure one they could discard, especially in today’s modern society where more and more foreigners are moving to Japan, and are integrated into their companies and very lives. Needless to say, we had to go home empty handed.

Once we did get back home at half past eleven I checked the online map and saw that had we only continued down the red light district just a bit more, we would have found the bar! Well, we’re not going anywhere special next weekend, so who knows.

In any case, to make up for the lost action last night, I decided to buy some manga and get some action today instead! So I first went to the bicycle shop to register my bike, since it would otherwise be a 45 min walk to the book store. So instead of doing it on Monday, I just took a detour and registered my bike. Then I was off to Book-off. Once there, I bought manga for 5000 En (about 350 SEK)… I feel broke. But at least it’s good manga since I’ve read it before and know it’s stuff that I want, instead of just random books that might be really bad. Now the only problem is how to figure out the cheapest way to get all the books home. Cheapest would probably be via sea mail, according to the school homepage. I’m going to investigate it more later on.


I’ve also found this band on YouTube, Metal Safari. I had never heard of them before, but I think I’m going to buy their CD if I can find it in any of the local stores. What they play, you ask? Nothing else than Japanese death metal, my friend!

– – –

Today’s word is shippaifailure

Thursday, November 2, 2006

Watch out in the slopes

Filed under: My blog — Andreas @ 6:21 pm

Ah, there’s nothing like finishing the last day of the week in school! It sure brings me back to secondary school, if only the other guys in the class were a bit younger… It actually seems as if many wants to be younger than they actually are. We’ve got this 33-year-old Greek who acts like 13. Though we figure that’s more because he doesn’t like the way the school conducts its teaching, and he expresses his discontent in a very strange way. The only girl in the class has actually told the teacher that she no longer wants to sit next to him. Today at class I could see the desperate expression in her face when she once more had to work with the Greek guy. We were sitting 4 people to her left, thus 2 pairs were already made and she had to form the third pair with the Greek to her right. She actually recounted the groups, hoping to be paired with me instead of the Greek (I was on her left, of course she’d want to have different groups *coughs*vanity*coughs*). At least she’ll be pleased that on Monday we are changing seating places, and hopefully she won’t be sitting next to the Greek guy again. I sure hope I don’t either. My friends said they’ve never seen me in such a bad mood as I displayed in Monday (the girl was abscent that day and the teacher made me pair with the Greek guy instead of my Canadian friend).

But back to the age thing. Other than the Spanish guy we’ve got the English guy who says he’s 26, but when writing a biography of himself in Japanese he’s suddenly 36. Ayashii!

Then we’ve got the 34-year-old American who did the right thing in declining when offered to go out on a round downtown. He said he had trouble seeing himself with a 17-year-old. I did too honestly… At least I have reasonable goals. 18 or so! *thumbs up*

So all in all, our class is almost like seconday school. We’ve got the guy liming on the teacher, the guy playing hooky, the studying nerds, the not so good guys, and the lone girl fighting for survival. It’s as if everyone who has come to the school wants to relive their youngers days or something. Except us young ones. We’re content in how it is right now. Though it would be cool to be like… 17 again. Easier to – as the declan of the school so delicately put it (another thing by the school to get us to date girls?!) – “investigate the social and cultural planes of Japanese life”. As long as we didn’t allow it to interfere with our studies, he was rooting for our success. Now where did I put that time machine again…?

Today I also bought a bicycle. One hour ago actually (when I’m writing this of course, ahou). It’s a bit small, I’ve seen how Japanese ride their bikes, so I figued I’d get one too. No it has nothing to do with their size… (sigh), it’s because of the horrendus traffic in Japan. You must be able to stop really quickly, so if you cannot reach down to touch the ground steadily you’re fucked. So everyone is riding their bike really low. The salesman raised my sadle quite a bit so I thought that perhaps I would be saved from the ridiculous pose, but no. Once I got on the bike I was still riding as low as everyone else… And the pedals are really short too so you cannot get any speed if you’re not riding downhill, probably so you can’t fly past everything and ride right into the side of a car; another traffic-safety measure.

All I got to do now is to get a sticker that I turned down at the bicycle store because I didn’t understand what it was. That sticker makes me bulletproff against the Police’s harrassment of foreigners. If you don’t have the sticker, the Police have the right to take you in to the station, because that sticker registers the bicycle to Okazaki city. Without it, there is a high chance that the bicycle is stolen. But no one but foreigners are stopped… I’m getting one first thing on Monday after school.

Zooom! My bicycle can match the speed of a turtle, beat that!

The bicycle is fairly good, with a dynamo lamp in front (the Japanese don’t use lamps at the back) and with a sturdy lady-like basket to put my school bag. In Japan everyone uses it, so you don’t need to have the bag on your shoulders when riding. Even guys, yes… Once I get back to Sweden everyone’s gonna laugh at me and my Japanese style of doing things.

– – –

Today’s word is koutsuuno kichigaitraffic maniac

Older Posts »

Blog at