Archive for September, 2008

Strange Feeling

Tuesday, September 16th, 2008

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

Monday, September 15th, 2008

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.

Music Books and Clothes Pegs

Sunday, September 14th, 2008

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

Friday at Tokyo Disneyland

Saturday, September 13th, 2008

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.

Sunday in Karuizawa

Wednesday, September 10th, 2008

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

Monday, September 8th, 2008

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?

Thursday, September 4th, 2008

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.

Dad’s Birthday

Wednesday, September 3rd, 2008

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

Monday, September 1st, 2008

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.