I am currently out of town will not be able to update my blog for the next couple of weeks.
April 24, 2011
March 11, 2011
There was a huge record breaking earthquake in Japan. The US Geological Survey is reporting that it was an 8.9 magnitude quake. Tsunamis and aftershocks are still happening. And the full extent of the damage won’t be known for some time. I just wanted to write a quick post to say that I am fine. My area had no damage and is not expected to be effected by tsunamis. (Even if big waves come our way, I am not very close to the coast.) My thoughts and prayers are with everyone who is effected.
October 3, 2010
You know you’re in a rural area, when the back of the parking lot behind your building has a little grave in it and a sign about the trees saying that thy are watched over by the town Forest Promotion Board.
September 30, 2010
September 8, 2010
Once upon a time, there was a cat and she was called Tama. She was a stray calico, but she found a nice man who would feed her by the train station. That train line was in a fairly rural area and did not get enough riders, so the local government decided to get rid of the station agents to cut costs and asked local business people to help out and become station masters. The man who fed Tama became the station master for Kishi station.
But one year later, the railway decided why not make Tama the station master? Then she would have a job and no longer been an unemployed stray mooching off the goodwill of others and instead of paying for a full human salary, they would only need to provide cat food and one made to order hat (higher cost up front, but big savings for the company in the long run). Tama’s job is to greet the passengers while wearing her hat.
She did such a good job that ridership went up 17%. Tama was promoted to “Super Station Master” and is now the only female with a managerial position in the whole company, not to mention the only cat. She is so busy that she had to hire 2 assistant station masters, Chibi and Miko (who also happens to be her mother…awkward!).
Last weekend, while in Okayama city, several prefectures away from the train line with the original Tama, I found a Tama themed tram (Tama-densha or Tama-den for short). I guess her popularity has spread pretty far. Tama has also inspired other stations to have all sorts of honorary station masters, from rabbits to 2-year-olds.
September 7, 2010
Now that we have entered September, it is almost time to harvest the rice. As I travel around my city, I see people on little tractors harvesting their other crops. Yesterday, I walked by a field near my apartment that was a sea of tall green plants a week ago and now, there are only the stubs of all the plant stems and a few smashed kabocha (Japanese squash).
Right now most fields are still covered in green, but soon the scenery will change.
In Japanese tsuru (鶴) means crane (as in the bird, not the vehicle).
Apparently they live near me because I have been seeing cranes quite often.
September 6, 2010
A lot of Japanese anime characters are known for unnatural hair colors. This girl, for example.
But at your typical Japanese drug store, there is actually quite a lack of variation in the hair dye that is available. It tends to mostly be shades of black and dark brown.
But among young people, strange orange-y colors and bleached hair is popular and one often sees old ladies who dye their hair purple.
When I was on the train the other day, I saw a fairly young person with purple hair and was a bit surprised. I wonder how common that is…
September 3, 2010
Japan is hot right. The English newspaper recently reported that this is the hottest summer since 1946. And even though we’ve entered September, the heat will likely continue for several weeks. And it’s not just the heat, but the humidity is also fierce. Thankfully, I have A/C in my apartment and at work, so as long as I stay inside, I can stay cool.
People here always talk about the weather and I’m often told to take care of my health during this hot weather. Even when I watch the news, they talk about the heat and tell the audience to stay cool and take care.
I recently noticed a clever way to lower A/C costs and keep a building cool. Bamboo sheets are all over the place. Mostly, people have them leaning against buildings in front of the door. I wonder if they help keep bugs out too.
September 2, 2010
Good day to all!
Today, I have a picture of a lighter I spotted at my local 100 yen store (Japan’s version of a dollar store). It has some nice Engrish on it. Engrish is the word used to describe the messed up English found around Japan (and people often use the same word for strange English finds from other Asian countries). Enjoy!