Archive for March, 2008

Easter in Japan

Tuesday, March 25th, 2008


What? There’s no Easter in Japan. What were you expecting

Wally’s Blog – The Youtube edition

Wednesday, March 19th, 2008

Now, if you are in Japan as long as I have (a whooping 6 months now) you start to get desesitized by some things. This, I fear, has been reflected in my posts. To show you some of the things I have become accustomed to:

My morning television:


Just the thing you need to get you going. The ninja thing was a special btw, normally they get trainconducters/secretaries/streetsweepers to line up and help them. There was also a cover on a comedy show with maid-bar workers, but that one is X-rated. Sorry

Now, surprisingly: going to work here is much the same as it is back home, except that people resemble sardines more than back home. At work however:

OK, mass-morning excercises. Nothing weird there. I work in a company of 6000 Japanese people, you have to stretch before . . . sitting behind a computer.

After a hard days work you have to eat. This can be done by simply pointing at a bit in the menu, hoping for the best and shoveling it in. However, if you want to be a bit more discrete about it, here is a little instructional video

After food, there is Karaoke (well, this IS Japan)

Well, I have to admit that most Karaoke is less lalalala and more lyrics

Well, that was . . . .not Japanese. We can do better than that, all together now

Oh dear god, Can’t trust Gaijin to do anything right. That’s . . .That’s . . . French! You can’t sing French in Japanese Karaoke bars.
It’s supposed to go a little something like this:

And for the real hard-core:

After having screamed our throats hoarse (alcohol, bad sushi and no vocal training usually has this effect) we head to the club

One listenes to this, and similars for a while before proceeding home. If one is not totally exhausted (or drunk) one could have a browse online for those funny videos. Except that here, they seem to be a bit different

Anyway, all this funny stuff should have no influence on a healthy, sober European.
Purikura 2
Purikura 1
So, this is me, a healthy and sober European bidding thee: “Goodnight”
Capsule Hotel

Quote of the day:

You want to do what? HAHAHAHAH, I’m dating a 16 year old Japanese girl

– Raphaelle in reference to the Purikura suggestion

Spring peeking around the corner

Monday, March 10th, 2008

No actual post. I’ll just link the pictures.

I also changed the order in which the folders appear in the Japan tree. Newest ones will be top-left, I have not added dates to older folders because when I add those I will have to alter every link I’ve made to those pictures. And I’ve linked a lot. I’ll push the Random Stuff folder forward every time I added something new, so be sure to check that one out. Also, the newest folder is named “Spring”, sakura season is around the corner and I may be going to see what that does to several different environments, so that one will also be updated occasionally

An unexpected competition

Friday, March 7th, 2008

So, I woke up this morning and I looked this in the face.

Now, this sort of thing happens to me more often, early morning, not quite awake. So I move to the window outside my door.


OK, this is new.

I got to work late today. 3 guesses why.




OK, so I got to work late because I overslept. But the weather didn’t help either.

Anyway, I didn’t type all of this up to bore you with such mondane things. That was what the last post was for.

Tuesday I had my kyuudou training. (That’s Japanese Archery for those of us who haven’t taken a fancy to the language). And at the end of the training I did some actual shooting. Weird as it may seem, archery practice does not actually consist of non-stop shooting. (I was surprised). Now, you shoot per 4 arrows, and as it happened my last 4 arrows had 3 hit the mark. This prompted my sensei to invite me to the tournament the next day.

Well Gee, lemme think. I had plans for . . .


OK, so let me explain how this works.
1st, you set up your target, that’s that thing over there. This is it at full zoom (10X optical, 380 mm equivalent).
Then you put on a pretty dress, and stand all bad-ass. Like only a man in a skirt can do. The motions on the following pictures ensui.

This should see the arrow to your itsy pitsy target. Some people can’t hit the target straight away, so they cheat. Or . . . well, I don’t know what the heating of the arrow head does for your game if it does not need to pass through armor. But it is something you can do apperantly.

Now, Japan wouldn’t be Japan if they didn’t make a big ceremony out of it. In this case a lady who turned 70 (and is still shooting) did the honours.

After that came the time that us mere mortals were allowed to line up. Besides having to go through motions to shoot the damn arrow already, you also have to go through specific motions to get to and from the spot in the first place. So they put me in the first batch to watch me stumble into people. (OK, that was probably not their intention, but it felt awkward anyway) Once I got to my spot (without stumbling into people) I made a fine show of myself.

I didn’t hit a single thing. Oh, and I forgot to put on the dress too. Of course, in the first round 2 of the contestants hit something, so it wasn’t so bad. I managed to remove myself from the active area without bumping into anyone again. Which was good considering I’d hooked my bow into someone elses during a reload and I’d made enough of an ass of myself already.

Anyway, 4 arrows per session, 5 sessions total, and I wasn’t doing as well as I had hoped. Especially not because I started my kyuudou career with this. But at least I looked good doing it. Not quite as good as this guy of course. And he looked quite skilled (he won). I am pretty sure all of them managed to get through the competition without having to address things like this. Ouch.

So, I had a fun time shooting at things. Small little things, far away. (that didn’t shoot back!) and at the end this happened. Because I had actually come in 5th? Really? My name is ワリー in Japanese btw. That’s my tag above that red 5. Holy crap.

An unexpected competition, and an unexpected result.





– Written on a retirement card by Wally


After being asked to write on this card I had to think for a moment what I would write. I settled for “See you on monday”

Daily Life

Sunday, March 2nd, 2008

While this weekend was not spent in any horribly exciting way (It’s raining, I’m staying in) I will tell you the story of my every day life.

OK, I know you already have one of those, and I can’t promise you this’ll be more exciting than yours. . . .But damnit, it’s a daily life FROM JAPAN


So, in the mornings . . . I wake up.


I wake up to this . . .
I wake up on the thing on the right. Once again, I don’t do the bed thing. Good thing too, I’d like to see them get their hands on one I can fit in. The one that was in the room when I got here was, too short AND too narrow. I’ll take the futon.

OK, so let me show you around, you’ve seen the “bed”. On the left we have my “kitchen rack”

Kitchen rack

The fridge doubles as place-of-doing-stuff. Cutting vegatables and stuff. All horribly exciting stuff so far eh.

The room comes further equiped with:
closet 1closet 2 ENORMOUS CLOSET. Which, considering I have a normal sized one too, and am a guy . . . is of relative use.

Well, before I start on breakfast I do the shower thing. (there is actually another action which takes place between waking up and showering, but I leave it out to keep the story neat, short and without useless (and disgusting) sidestories. Certainly this piece would not benefit if I would just keep on saying relatively useless stuff, would it)

ShowerOK, so it’s a shower

I could show you


Which is the other shower room we have. But I mostly shower standing up, so it’s not relevant now is it.
This is actually a really nice place, and on weekends I will take my time and use these sit-showers aswell as laze about in the bath you can see in the back. There are 3 rows of the shower things . . . but they were being used at the time of the picture. There are also 2 of those baths.

Now before you get all excited. There are 6 standing showers, and 25 or so of these sitting thingies. There are 435 people currently residing here. So take this picture and fill it with naked middle-aged Japanese men . . . . THAT is what I see every morning. (Contacts go in after showering)

After the rest of the morning rituals (I’m not taking pictures of me eating cerials)
I hop on this baby


It’s short. Very short. Knee-handlebar-interaction short. But it has a really neat basket thingy for my groceries and it’s green. On this fine piece of engineering I then race towards the station. It’s all downhill, so there is indeed some racing involved 😀 Everything shoots by in a blur. I try to take care not to hit any kids, but it’s hard sometimes. There’s a bit just before the station that busses won’t take if it’s snowing a bit (the entire town’s bus system grinds to a halt with anything approaching serious weather). You can go really REALLY fast. e-careEh? Never mind, probably nothing.

Once arrived at the station I say hello to my “say hello人”Hello hito

This is one of three people who’s entire job appears to be to welcome me to the station. Nicely trained too, “おはよう ございます” and bows for everyone. I mean me, just for Me.

Well then, the trainride won’t interrest you . . .it’s a train. The office (you know, it’s the reason I came to Japan. Though I can understand how you would conclude I was only being a tourist here based on my other posts) . . . Well, I have this confidentiality statement that says I can’t talk about my work. And there’s a bit in it regarding photos. You see, by enhancing stuff on the background the competition could work out what we do and thereby gain an edge over us. So, I’m kinda stuck with the company issues pictures.moving on

Right, moving on.

Nothing to see here

Oh, for the love of pete, scroll down already.

There’s work


Never mind me, I’m just filling some lines here.

Really, no reason to keep reading this

Go on down to where interresting stuff is written

See, there’s some now.

After work, there’s options. I live close to Osaka, so I could go there. But on Tuesdays there is Bulls eye

And then on Thursday there is the Japanese Language class. But that’s all not part of my “Daily Life” so we’ll move on.

First there is more of the not-mentioned train.
Then there’s the bike again
This time, up-hill. Not quite as much fun.

If I don’t indicate I will not be eating at the dorm I could eat here:
dining halldining hall 2food 1

But as the food here sucks, I have to make a trip to the local supermarket.
That’s 4 stores which don’t have English in their name. Well, Comme ca ism could be considered a different language than English, but I’ve been told the French don’t claim it either. I believe I’ve mentioned the degree of americanism here before. Seizeriya warrents a seperate mention as it is a Japanese chain of American style Italian Restaurants (The italians in my program do NOT eat here)I just like the concept . . . not the food. Oh yes, we have a “God Mountain”. Affiliated with the Matsumoto Cafe.
On the other side of the road is a Home Centre and a Shoe Plaza. Very Japanese, everything.

But . . . they do sell food. And that’s why I go there. Food in hand (or basket) I then head to my kitchen (by way of my fridge for cuttage). My Kichten . . . tadaa:

I won’t show the inside of those cupboards . . . I just . . .won’t. Euw.

In said kitchen I will make things like:falafel1falafel 2

OK, mostly I just make stir fries. The kitchen is 60 metres away through a not-heated corridor and looking after simmering chickpeas for an hour is kind of a pain. Those are Falafels btw. Pita bread is hard to find here so I used Nan. And that’s a sesami based salad dressing in that bottle. I had to go to Hiroshima for Tahini.

Anyway, that is sort of my average day. I’ll end with some random pictures of my hallways, the pink dorm and the people at work.

hallcolleague 1colleague 2


Quote of the Day:

Where thou art – that – is Home.

Emily Dickinson