Friday, 30 November 2012

Signs and English

Usually - in fact almost always - I get irritated by posts that poke fun at strange English.  In most cases it's nice that they made the effort in the first place. (My generous spirit usually doesn't extend to places like the Edo Tokyo Museum which should have someone paid to being doing the job properly.)  
These two I did get a chuckle from.
The Tama Cemetery (nicely called Soul Garden) which is probably
a pretty apt description of the Japanese notion of a cemetery.

Hair Oops... say no more...
I've been going  past it for years and it's still going strong -
I guess not as many Oops happening there as the name suggests.

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Inflation by stealth

The rice packets have shrunk! First it was the soy that downsized from 1 litre to 750ml, now it's the rice.  Last night in the supermarket the usually 5kg bags of rice have shrunk to 4.5kg.... Prices to farmers have not increased... increases to cover rising electricity bills? Profiteering?  The end of deflation might not be a bad thing, but I am not sure this inflation reflects any kind of increase demand or economic growth...

Monday, 26 November 2012

Not very responsible marketing...

JR Shin Aomori station... buy a packet of Marlboro cigarettes, get a free coffee (Georgia coffee by Coca Cola). Even dodgier was that the cigarettes were only available in 4 and 6mg... just in case anyone needed incentive to move up a level... 
It's the kind of marketing that you'd expect in Indonesia or China (which uses smoking as a retroactive one child policy)... but less so in the increasingly rigid-about-smoking  Japan.  Hiro often laments that it's no longer a smoker's paradise... can't say I'm sorry about it.

Akita and food

A light breakfast.  I took this before the soup and rice came out.
The dishes are - front tori-dashi oden, the pink is pickled daikon -
it's a variety that goes pink naturally with vinegar, picked cucumbers - green,
to the left of that pickled daikon - a different style, at the far back
hakusai - or white cabbage pickled with kombu and carrot and other bits,
in front of that a korean style sesame and chile flavoured bean,
sweet potato cut up that was left over from yaki-imo the day before.
The soup was nameko - a kind of mushroom that they pick in the autumn
and can.  There's a glass top on the table and important -  must not lose
information gets slid under it.  (Like Hiro's father's medical numbers
which has him weighing fractionally less than me......)

Daikon drying in a kind of annex area of the house

Persimmon in Akita don't get enough sun to be sweet from
the tree. They are picked and dried.

Grose - need a manners sign about this...

The 3 day weekend - thanks to the workers day - coincided with Hiro's brother's one year memorial service  so we took a Hayabusa early Friday morning to Shin Aomori and changed to an express to Odate.  (It was the first time for us to take this route and with a good connection is easily the easiest route despite being a greater distance, but it's not a  patch on the prettiness of the Hanawa line).
The man sitting next to Hiro, a young guy in his twenties, provided a new dimension to the on-the-train-make-up applying  and general personal preening demographic. He spent a good 20 minutes cutting his finger nails with the clippers paying very close attention to the detail.  When he was done with that he pulled out a dental mirror and plucked his eyebrows for ... I don't know how long.. I fell asleep. Hiro was less than impressed with me taking the first photo so I restrained myself with the eyebrow plucking.  The eyebrow plucking bothers me less than the fingernail clipping... not a pleasant sound... though to his credit he did wrap them up properly !

Thursday, 22 November 2012

A toilet first

From the washlets  that have adjustable sprays and blow driers to the very public public toilets  that have people performing in public view, toilets in Japan are most definitely their own genre.

I was in Okachimachi today and came across a rather unusual combination - a single toilet cubicle with both an old style squat toilet AND a modern style washlet with multiple buttons with various functions...  Take your pick... The sign on the wall requested no smoking (fair enough), and no mobile phone use. I am baffled with the latter..