Archive for July, 2007

I finally know the Japanese for Blogger

Sunday, July 29th, 2007

I have decided to add a blog written in Japanese to my aggregator. Mint has been systematically writing up the YAPC::NA conference and I’ve been trying to read his posts. It takes a lot of effort and multiple dictionaries but it makes a change from reading stories about school children climbing mountains or books written for 6 year olds.

Should’ve Stayed in Bed

Tuesday, July 24th, 2007

I got up early this morning and read my email. That was a mistake. Sometimes my email contains things I would rather not read and I don’t want to start my day feeling angry. So, to take my mind off this I decided to find something to do that would be useful but would also allow me to stop thinking for a while. I ended up mending the hem on Marty’s new trousers. He had tried to do this with a combination of safety pins and some sort of clip like thing that is usually used to hold sheets of paper together. I used a needle and thread.

Some women take toiletries with them from hotel rooms – I take sewing kits. I’m not sure which hotel the kit I used came from but it was really good. Usually these contain one or two needles. This one contained six and all the needles were already threaded. This small improvement really impressed me. I could have threaded the needle myself but sometimes they are awkward and not having to do this saves me time. And if you need to sew in your hotel room you are probably trying to repair a button, zip or hem of something that you had thought you could just put on and wear.

Sewing was one of the things I learnt to do at school. I think in the past I have dismissed some of the things that I learnt at school because I don’t use them directly. It’s easy to think to look back at some seemingly obscure thing that I was taught and wonder what the point was. But the things we learnt in our past become the foundation on which we build new learning.

I have been trying to decide what to study next. As I have recently completed a law degree I was seriously considering a law masters in a computer related area. But that was mainly because it seemed to be a logical step as I was planning on combining two areas of previous knowledge. I think I would be able to do it but I don’t have any passion for the law at the minute. I considered a music degree but really I need to attend a university to do that properly and my limited Japanese prevents me from doing that at this time. I think I’ve decided on philosophy. I asked Marty to print me out the application forms last night. His response was to tell me that it was already hard enough to argue with me and did I really need to learn about logic as well?

Calm After the Storm

Sunday, July 22nd, 2007

Christine and Rachel have headed back home so once again all is quiet in our apartment. Marty took Christine to see the bridge she wanted to see, I took Rachel to see the zoo on a day when it was open and we even managed to go back to karaoke without anyone fighting. And we also took a trip to Tokyo Disneyland.

Rachel Anderson, Christine Bailie, and Karen Pauley at DisneyLand Tokyo July 2007

Tourists in Tokyo

Thursday, July 19th, 2007

I don’t think I make a very good tourist guide. I tried to take Rachel to the zoo on Tuesday but it was closed. Tonight my sister wanted to see the Rainbow Bridge. She had seen this in Lost and Translation and wanted to see it lit up in the dark. Well, I did get her to the bridge but you can’t really see it properly when you are standing on it.


Monday, July 16th, 2007

Rachel was concerned about coming to Japan because she had heard about earthquakes, typhoons and tsunami.  Yesterday we missed the typhoon and today we missed the earthquake.  Marty rang about it because it’s the first time since we moved to Japan that the elevators at his office have been turned off because the building was moving.

Hopefully there won’t be a tsunami.

Stormy Weather

Sunday, July 15th, 2007

I have had family call about a typhoon. I hadn’t even realised that there had been a typhoon here but I have since gone and looked up information on Typhoon Man-Yi. We are all fine if a little wet from spending the day walking about in the rain.

Slippery When Wet

Thursday, July 12th, 2007

I have been really impressed by how willing my sister is to go and see things by herself in Tokyo and today, armed with a guide book, she managed to go and see the gardens at Rikugien. In fact when we met up this afternoon I thought that she had a completely successful day. I did notice that she was wearing a different outfit but since it’s so humid here I wasn’t that surprised that she had decided to get changed.

She told me that she had bought her new outfit in Shibuya and that she had managed to ask the people in the shop to cut the tags off for her and to let her get changed. Now, that did seem weird. When she left the house this morning she was wearing white shorts and an orange and white top. They are no longer white. When she was walking around the gardens it started to rain really heavily and got very slippy. Unfortunately she slipped on some rocks and slide into the mud on her behind.

Again she managed to find help. She went into a tea house and they gave her oshi-bori (wet towels) to help her wipe the mud off. She wasn’t going to tell me about this as she knew I would write about it in my blog but her adventures are certainly keeping us entertained.

The New Adventures of Old Chrissy

Wednesday, July 11th, 2007

Yesterday morning my sister Christine decided to go for a walk while I was studying Japanese. When she hadn’t returned 5 hours later we did start to get a bit worried.

She went out for breakfast and then spent a couple of hours wandering around the local area. When she noticed the time she decided to get a train back as she thought this would be quicker. And it would have been if she had gone in the right direction. She ended up at Ikebukuro which is in the North West of Tokyo when we live in the South West. She was absolutely horrified when she realised that the train station was almost as big as Belfast city centre and had no idea where to go next.

One of the nice things about being in Japan is that people will help you when you are lost. She tried to get help from the information desk and from various people working in the station. However, she hadn’t taken out any of our phone numbers and couldn’t remember the name of the place where we lived. All she knew was that it started with the letter J! No-one she spoke to had any idea where we could possibly live.

She remembered that Marty worked in the Mori Tower and one very helpful man looked up the phone number, rang the tower from his mobile phone and spoke to the people at the tower for her. Unfortunately, because she couldn’t remember who Marty worked for, they wouldn’t put her through. Eventually she decided that she would just have to get the train back to where she had first got on and then walk back to the apartment.

She arrived back at the apartment seven hours after she had left. She is planning on going out again tomorrow morning but this time she is taking our address and one of Marty’s business cards.

The Itchy and Scratchy Show

Monday, July 9th, 2007

Marty has decided to call our visitors fussy and fussier as we aren’t really sure where we can take them to eat. Chrissy has a wheat allergy and isn’t overly fond of rice and Rachel won’t eat any fish or seafood. I was asked today if I could maybe bake some potatoes tonight but as I don’t have an oven or a microwave this isn’t really an option. I do have a rice cooker and a fish grill…

Tonight we went to karaoke which was really good fun until Chrissy and Rachel started a cat fight. I’m not quite sure what happened. One minute they were singing a Maroon 5 song together and the next they were yelling and slapping each other. Families are such fun.

Quiet and Peaceful

Sunday, July 8th, 2007

My sister Christine and my niece Rachel have arrived in Japan. They are really surprised by how peaceful it is where we live. I’m not quite sure what they were expecting but the only word they have been able to come up with to describe Japan so far is foreign.