Friday, 28 February 2014

Hell, Latte-Cat and Dolls [Roll of 28 (24, 25, 26, 27)]

No comments:
In summery: it rained a lot, and we went sight-seeing.
The "Ocean Hell", a blue coloured hot spring
It's so hot you can boil eggs in it~ There's a basket of eggs on the end of this pole!
Japanese playgrounds are awesome
Since March was fast approaching, girls' day decorations appeared in front of shops everywhere

Continue Reading...

Ninja Village [Roll of 28 (20, 21, 22, 23)]

Nice view while looking for fleas
Reason #2 for the long time between photos is that my older sister came to visit so we have been busy hanging out with monkeys, ninja and playing in the snow.
Love Japan's sunny winters
We were chased by this ninja, but Tiger defeated him
Ninja horse rides
Ninja star range
Family fun
Ninja Turkey!
Take that!
It all got too much for Papa

Continue Reading...

Thursday, 27 February 2014

Roll of 28 (17, 18, 19)

No comments:
Kuri is keeping an eye on the snow to make sure it doesn't come any closer
We had a mini-party to celebrate six months since Tiger moved here, and played a cracking game of Ultra-man Karuta.
And we played in the park. It wasn't the most photogenic couple of days.

Continue Reading...

Roll of 28 (16)

No comments:
The weather was a bit more welcoming by the weekend, so I went for a "run". The weight of the snow had snapped the bamboo, and the once tall groves were a splintered mess.
The stone lanterns fared better. Even the small stones placed there by pilgrims were still in place.

Continue Reading...

Roll of 28 (15)

No comments:
and then our neighbourhood built a kamakura snow house.

Continue Reading...

And Then it REALLY Snowed [Roll of 28 (14)]

No comments:
I'm way behind, but I have been taking pictures. I just haven't been able to get to the computer much to share them. Reason #1 being, it snowed for real. Heaviest snow our elderly neighbour could remember. School was on, of course, but the man person couldn't go to work because:
Yeah. We are technically a semi-tropical climate here. Our house is designed to withstand tropical cyclones, not snow. Carport all over the suburb met a similar fate.
The dogs had fun though!

Continue Reading...

Thursday, 13 February 2014

Roll of 28 (13)

Still snowing. I always feel like Mr Tumnus when I use an umbrella in the snow, but that's the done thing here.
The red new growth on this blossom tree looks brighter than ever against the snow and black branches
I'm not the only one who thinks the snow is magical. Two little boys disappeared into these bushes and came out the other side as snow-boys.

Continue Reading...

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Roll of 28 (12)

No comments:
Since it's been all snow and ice lately, I had the great idea of making some lovely ice crafts from pinterest and leaving them on the way to school to make the other kids excited in the morning. It half worked... the crafts were pretty but Tiger decided that they needed to be an ice fort for various power rangers/kamen riders/ lego people. Oh well!
Continue Reading...

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Roll of 28 (11)

No comments:
While we haven't been suffering from the snow like the people up north, we did have some unusually heavy snow yesterday and it was still in tact when I walked the dogs this morning. Luckily it's just enough to be exciting for kids and look pretty, although the clumps of snow falling from roofs and the sun warms up is making Kuri go berserk.

Continue Reading...

Monday, 10 February 2014

Roll of 28 (10)

Today's google doodle in Japan is a tribute to Raicho Hiratsuka, a pioneering Japanese feminist responsible for Japan's first blue stocking journal, Seitō. I had the journal in mind when I titled this older post No Blue Stockings for Her.

Continue Reading...

Sunday, 9 February 2014

If You're Being Bullied, Change [Roll of 28 (9)]

No comments:

A very long time ago, I was an exchange student in Nagoya. The night before a test, my neighbor had a big party, and through the paper-thin walls there wasn't much I didn't hear. I went over and asked them to keep it down. Then again. Then again with some yelling. The next morning I headed out to take my test and found my front door vandalized, the key-card slot jammed full of coins and generally a mess that I couldn't even close properly. After the test I went to student admin to report the damage and I used the word いじめ,  bullying. "Don't be silly", the staff member said, "you're a nice person. It can't be bullying."

Because bullying only happens to people who have done something to deserve it.

I understood immediately what she meant, because around the same time I had watched a TV show featuring a young man who had been bullied as a child for being fat. He had grown up to be a personal trainer and he was dedicating his life to combating bullying... by running free fitness programs to help overweight kids lose weight.

On setsubun Tiger was home sick, so we watched the pre-school kids' shows. One featured an oni (ogre) who was lonely but couldn't make friends because everyone was scared of him. The solution the show offered? Put a hat on to cover his horns, swap his club for a bunch of flowers and change his name to onii-san (big brother) not oni-san. "But", said the oni, "without horns I'm not an oni at all, and if I change my name I wont feel like myself." The response? "You want to make friends, don't you?"

The theme of Ursula Le Guin's Tehanu: The Last Book of Earthsea I found most intriguing is the victim-blaming. Therru is horribly disfigured after being gang-raped and thrown into a fire. The book notes that when people see her scarred face the first thing they ask is "what did she do?" and not "what was done to her?" Not surprisingly, this observation is absent from the Studio Ghibli film ゲド戦記, despite Therru being a prominent character (she is also considerably less disfigured in the film than in the novel).

When I told my co-workers about our intention to adopt, and began telling them how high the numbers of kids in orphanages are, one teacher chimed in with "and some of them are probably good kids, too."  During our interviews we were asked if we would agree to parent a child born out of wedlock, the child of someone with a criminal record, or a child resulting from rape. I assume those are the not-good kids. They should have chosen better parents.

My thoughts are with Michael Morones and his family.
Continue Reading...

Metal, Wa-Lolis and a Night Off [Roll of 28 (8)]

No comments:
Inviting, right?
Not a great picture, I snapped it in a hurry on the way up and cameras were banned inside. Still, you get the idea.

Man-person and I really needed a night off, and a friend very kindly baby-sat for us. It's the first time since Tiger came that we've been able to be alone together and we wanted to do something that might remind us of who we used to be before life revolved around Doraemon and Kamen Rider. So we headed out to Beppu to check out Phantom Bar & Decadent Territory (AKA the heavy metal bar). The first thing we saw when we opened the door was a collection of severed limb Halloween decorations, followed very quickly by a sea of dresses. We'd managed to turn up during what they called a gothic event, but was actually more EGL (predominantly brolitas and wa-lolis). Hence the no camera thing.

We squeezed into a corner, made a bunch of new friends who very kindly cheered for our bad singing when the karaoke started, and generally felt more relaxed and welcome than I have for a very long time. That's the beautiful thing about subcultures; they transcend dominent-cultural differences. All we had to do was stand still long enough for the owner to check out the names on our tour-shirts and we were embraced with open arms. The bar-keep made the man-person agree to a duet but sadly our last train home was stupidly early and we had to run just before it came on. We'll definitely be back, next time we can wrangle baby-sitting, and next time I'll have some good pictures I promise! In the mean time, here is the song they didn't manage to sing.

PS There was an AKB48 poster in the toilet. That really made the place, to be honest.
Continue Reading...

Friday, 7 February 2014

Roll of 28 (7)

I had a really horrible day today, but I am determined to do this roll of 28 thing properly. So. Here's a dog eating a bone as a manga illustration. Thanks Otaku Camera.

Continue Reading...

Thursday, 6 February 2014

Roll of 28 (6)

No comments:
Budding blossoms at Japanese shrine
A rainy walk with the dogs this morning.

Mountains, river and farm in Japan
The mountain lurking behind the mist is called the mountain of departed souls.
We tried to drive up it from this side once, and very quickly realised why.

Rice filed in winter
Barren winter fields.

Hello, heron. Pretty cold in that water today I bet.
Checked the weather to see if the rain might stop. It did... but only because it turned to snow.

Continue Reading...

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Signs of Three [Roll of 28 (5)]

No comments:
Reads top left, top right, bottom left, bottom right
The first few nights Tiger was staying with us, I kept photographing things... with a nod to Sherlock I'll call them signs of three. Two shinkansen tickets leaving, three coming home. Three pairs of shoes by the door. Three toothbrushes in the bathroom.

It wasn't just me though. Tiger collects threes and fives (either "mama, papa, boku" or the afore-mentioned three plus Kuri and Hayate). He brings home three sided rocks, flowers with five petals, even segments of his lunch time mandarin that have three seeds in.

In this comic he just drew me, I am sick (ignore the barely erased dinosaur beneath me). He cares for me, papa hoists him up on his shoulders, and we have dinner. He carefully drew three chairs and three bowls of rice.
Continue Reading...

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Gundam Clock [Roll of 28 (4)]

No comments:
This awesome clock was a birthday gift from a friend. It's the head from Char's Zaku II. It doesn't look like a clock, but when you press it...

Continue Reading...

Sunday, 2 February 2014

Roll of 28 (2)

No comments:

The boys are sick and I am on soup and tissue duty, so I didn't get out to photograph anything special today. Kuri's face pretty much sums up how we're all feeling though.
Continue Reading...

Saturday, 1 February 2014

Roll of 28 (1)


Ancient moss covered sacred tree
This tree is around 2000 years old. The hollow area underneath is the size of 6 tatami mats; about the size of the average bedroom.
I'm giving this a go:
"The rules are simple: take pictures, and post one a day for the month of February. The posted picture must have been taken that day." 
The idea is to cheer up the shortest, and in this part of the world, coldest and generally unpleasant, month of the year. Although my photography leaves a lot to be desired, I'm hoping the beauty of my surroundings will make up for the failings of the photographer. And so, without further ado, here is photo #1.

It's setsubun on Monday (see last year's post about it here) so we visited a shrine to get some beans. The shrine itself dates from the 800s. One of the things I love most about living in Japan is being able to stumble upon such old, old places.
Continue Reading...