Strange Feeling

I was getting dressed this morning and I noticed that I felt strange.  The hairs on my arms were standing up and I couldn’t work out why I felt this way.   Marty hadn’t felt too well last night and I started to get concerned that maybe I was going to feel ill as well.  And then it hit me.  I felt cold!  For the first time since around April I actually felt cold in Japan.

Blue Bike

I went out to look for a bike at the weekend and ended up in a shop that sells bikes made by Giant.  I fell in love with the Citystorm – but this was the most expensive bike in the shop.  And given that I’m not really a cyclist I don’t think I can justify spending so much on a bike.  But it was so beautifully designed and is painted with blue flowers.

I am going to have to get it out of my head before I go and look at other bikes.

One Response to “Blue Bike”

  1. Khaos » Blog Archive » Another Blue Bike Says:

    […] finally got round to buying bikes last weekend. I wasn’t able to get over my love for the first blue bike I saw so I sent Marty out on his own to pick the bikes. He brought me back a bike that is also blue […]

Music Books and Clothes Pegs

I have been trying to learn to play a Weber piece but I keep getting frustrated with the music book.  I have no idea why these are bound in the same manner as ordinary books.  Why can’t they use something like a spiral bind so that the pages are easy for the pianist to turn mid-piece?

And not only can I not turn the pages but I am also having difficulty getting the book to stay open. So, I have to fold the book.  It’s bending the spine badly and also ruining the pages.  For some of the pieces I need to clip the pages in place with something like a clothes peg as the pages keep closing whilst I’m playing.  But this solution doesn’t work in a piece that requires the pages to be turned.

Music Book on Piano

Music Book on Piano

One Response to “Music Books and Clothes Pegs”

  1. Jessica Marie Says:

    That always drove me crazy when I took lessons. What do the publishers think we are doing with these books, sitting out on the deck with a lemonade for a leisurely read?

Friday at Tokyo Disneyland

Yesterday, Marty and I went to Tokyo Disneyland.  There is a national holiday on Monday but we had expected the park to be quite quiet yesterday.  We were wrong.  Yesterday was the first day of their Hallowe’en celebration.  When we entered the park we noticed that there were a lot of people dressed in Disney costumes.  At first we thought these were Disney crew members but there seemed to be far too many of them.  In Tokyo Disneyland it isn’t strange to see adults wearing Mickey Mouse ears or Tigger Tails as the Japanese really do enjoy getting into the spirit of things.  But even the Japanese adults don’t usually go dressed as Cruella de Vil or Belle from Beauty and the Beast.

We picked up an entertainment guide and discovered that for a limited number of days they were allowing adults to enter the park dressed as their favourite Disney character.  I really wish I had taken a camera as there were so many great costumes.  I particularly liked some of the interpretations of the Cheshire Cat.  No-one wore a face mask and reading the Disney site today it seems that these aren’t allowed.  But there was a whole variety of wigs and make-up that made the costumes fascinating.

The park was really full but somehow managed to maintain a fun, lively, party atmosphere without being claustrophobic.   In the evening we decided to queue for more than an hour to get in Disney’s Haunted Mansion.  Normally we wouldn’t do this – we have been in there many times before – but it was refurbished and re-opened yesterday.  It has been themed on “The Nightmare Before Christmas” and I thought the changes were much better than the attempt they made to change the Pirates of the Carribean ride to reflect the films.

2 Responses to “Friday at Tokyo Disneyland”

  1. Geoff! Says:

    When Margaret’s in Disneyland Paris, it’s not unusual to see adults with Mickey mouse ears! Also Neil went in costume as Peter Pan, which paid off handsomely as we were moved to the top of the queue for the Peter Pan ride on authenticity grounds. Sadly the same didn’t hold true for the Buzz Lightyear ride!

    Not enough mermaid stuff in Paris for my liking – have to go back to DisneySea for that!

  2. karen Says:

    Neil would look cute as Peter Pan. I’ll not tell Marty about the queue jumping bit as who knows what he would go dressed as so he could jump the queue on the Tower of Terror!

    There doesn’t seem to be a lot of mermaid stuff in Disneyland here either. Though as you mentioned DisneySea has a whole mermaid section. I did see some beautiful collectors glass with the Little Mermaid though. I was looking for something special from Jungle Book to buy as a gift and I could find nothing referencing the film at all.

Sunday in Karuizawa

We have had a lot of visitors over the past year.  Now, when people come, we try to find at least one place to go that we have not been to before.  On Sunday we went to Karuizawa.  We were a bit concerned about this trip as we went via the Shinkansen which made it more expensive than our usual journeys (11,000 円, 58 GBP).

When we arrived it was raining.  Raining so hard that we couldn’t actually see into the main street from the train station.  Thankfully this heavy rain only lasted for around 15 minutes and we were then able to venture out.  The first thing I noticed was the lack of humidity.  I knew it was in the mountains and that it would be cooler than Tokyo but it was so good to be able to walk around and not feel sticky and uncomfortable.

The area was really beautiful and I would like to go back on a clear day so that we could take the cable car up the mountain.  I love that Japan is as green as Ireland.  Though walking through Karuizawa I was reminded more of the towns in Canada that are in the Rockies.

I wonder how much it would cost to rent a house in Karuizawa next summer?

Forest in Karuizawa

Forest in Karuizawa

Another Day in Kamakura

Today I went to Kamakura with my Dad and Step-mum.  I really do love going to see the Daibutsu.  It was very hot today which nearly stopped me from taking any pictures as I find it hard to hold a parasol and focus the camera at the same time.

Daibutsu at Kamakura

Daibutsu at Kamakura

Dieting - Does it work?

I mentioned to a friend that I was on a diet.  Their response was, “dieting doesn’t work – it’s a waste of time”.  And it’s not the first time I have heard that said.  But what exactly doesn’t work?

My mother used to diet when I was a child.  Her approach was to eat as little as possible and to cut out everything from her diet that she really liked.  If she was very lucky she managed to do this for about a week.  Her weight is perfectly under control now as instead of doing this she eats healthy food.  You could, however, eat the same things as my mother does everyday and still claim that dieting doesn’t work.

It’s not that dieting doesn’t work it’s that our expectations are too high.  Even if you follow a strict eating plan put together but a very experienced dietitian it does not mean that after a couple of months that you will have a body like one of the models you see on the cover of a fashion magazine.  Those models work really hard to look like that and surely everyone knows by now that even pictures of the most beautiful people in the world are modified for print.

Why am I writing about this?  Today I stepped onto my Wii fit and realised that I weigh exactly the same as I did one month ago.  Does this mean I should give up my diet?  Surely it’s a waste of time being careful what I eat if I weigh the same?

I am not dieting so that I am lighter when I step on the scales.  I am dieting as I want to be healthier.  We have become so obsessed with how much we weigh and being fashionably thin that we have forgotten that it’s possible to be thin and unhealthy.  That by cutting out whole food groups from our diet we can damage our internal organs.  That people who live in affluent countries can suffer from malnutrition because it’s more important to fit into a particular dress than to worry about what’s happening inside our bodies.

So I will continue eating healthier food even if my weight stays exactly the same.

3 Responses to “Dieting – Does it work?”

  1. Jonathan Hollin Says:

    Don’t get hung up on a diet Karen. Eat well, enjoy your food. Remember it’s moderation that matters.

    The best advice I can give you is to worry more about exercise than diet. The body can cope with a few excesses if it is kept active enough to maintain a high metabolic rate.

    So run, swim, cycle, walk… climb stairs instead of taking the elevator, etc., etc.

    Keep the machine active and the fuel will be burnt rather than stored.

    Kindest regards.

  2. karen Says:

    I have been trying to find a way to fit exercise into my normal life.

    In an ordinary day I spend about 45 minutes walking. At the minute I am averaging about 4 hours per day but that’s because I have visitors here.

    We aim to buy bikes in the autumn once it cools down a bit. It’s still over 30 degrees C outside and I don’t feel like cycling.

    I know that I need to exercise more but must admit that I hate gyms. I also haven’t gotten up the nerve to try going to a yoga or a martial arts class. We are moving apartments in October and the new apartment block contains a gym – so Marty is hoping that I will consider using it. It’s also right beside a swimming pool and sports centre. Maybe if I feel too nervous I’ll ask my Japanese teacher to go with me and explain how everything works!

  3. Jonathan Hollin Says:

    Well martial arts would be great for you as would boxing. Swimming is a good whole-body exercise and walking at a decent pace is also good. Stair-climbing is a much under-rated exercise. One thing worth remembering is that the best burn rate is achieved when you vary your heartrate – changing pace is a good way to do this. For example, when walking change your speed frequently, do some hill walking, break into a jog from time to time.

    Remember also that you have to exercise for 20 minutes before you’ll even begin to burn fat.

    It’s also very important to remember to rest. Your body needs a recovery period. So vary your exercise along with your diet. Rest muscle groups by switching to a different activity.

    You don’t need to go to a gym, all you need to do is make slight lifestyle changes.

Dad's Birthday

Last night we went to Roy’s Bar & Grill in the Mori Tower, Roppongi Hills, to celebrate my Dad’s birthday.  It was the first time I had been there and I would definitely go back.  It’s more expensive than the restaurants we normally eat in but the food and service were excellent.  And they worked really hard to make the experience memorable for my Dad.

Table Setting at Restaurant

Table Setting at Restaurant

More Travel Plans

I am trying to decide which conferences to attend in the last third of the year.  At the minute I think I have decided on the Pittsburgh Perl Workshop and SHIFT ’08.  I was considering going to OSDC 2008 but at the minute I am exhausted just thinking about arranging the trips nevermind actually having to go on them.

2 Responses to “More Travel Plans”

  1. Dan Wright Says:


    Looking forward to seeing you again at PPW ’08! Think you could drag along a few more people and maybe a talk or two?

    Best regards,

  2. karen Says:

    Hi Dan,

    I do hope I get to go. I haven’t finalised my plans yet as I have to have surgery to remove wisdom teeth and I am waiting for a date for this.

    I did try to talk one of my friends into going from Europe but it didn’t suit him this year.

    I’ll get in touch once I know for sure what I am doing in October – and I’ll think about a talk 🙂