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Archive for March, 2006

Bullet Train – Travel Fast Mar 20

Just wanting to see how this will all work. The picture comes from my phone, but the text from the PC. If it all works I can blog directly from my phone! Anyway it quickie of a bullet train that I went to Yuzawa on. Actually they are a little bit of a let down in that you just don’t realise how fast you are going.

Update: 28 April Pictures from phones only work if you live in the States, I can send the text from the my directly to the blog which is very handy and I’ve been doing that alot, to at least get the outline going. Pictures from the phone need to be emailed to home PC and added back in later. Still works quite well and gives a new dimension to the stories!.

The Umbrella Condom Mar 16

This evening its raining in Tokyo, not the summer rainy season, just the sorta end of winter shower and on a little trip to the supermarket I did something that I’ve got completely used to. I put my umbrella into is little plastic baggy at the door, aka the condom. I’ve not yet lived through the rainy season but in Japan it rains just like every where else, so what do you do with thousands of people with umbrella’s walking around your store.

Well here they have come up with an ingenious solution (Jury is still on on how eco friendly, more on that later). Actually you have two choices. At the small stores there is a rack outsite the store where you place your umbrella. (oh I think I may be ahead of myself slightly, everyone and I mean everyone owns at least 1 umbrella. I have 3 at last count, and I am sure there a few somewhere from London, the other city of rain).

The great thing about Japan is that if you put your umbrella into the rack, it will be there when you get back. Honesty is such a great part of living here. I suppose there could be mix ups, but I’ve never seen it happen. The other option at larger store is the Umbrella condom machine. This is a machine that sits outside the door, you walk upto it, put the tip of you collasped umbrella into it, put all the way down, the pull forward. Suddenly you wet dripping brolly is now encapsulated in a drip proof plastic baggy. No dripping in the store.

After your little shopping jolly all you do when you walk out of the store is take you little baggy off and put in into the bin provided! How cool!

Now for the eco side of things. Well, all the plastic is collected back into special bins so it can be easily re-cycled. If that happens and I really hope it does. Also what is the cost of all the dripping and cleaning and chemicals mopping it all up, again I don’t know. So end of day maybe an issue, but damn it is cool

Settling in! Mar 12

I’m posting dating this entry as I did write much over the last week. But I there are so many thing s I want to say about having living here for a year. Basically I’m falling in love with the place.

Its taken quite some time to adapt to this point, and it really has been stages. I think that I adapted fairly quickly in the first two months to actually being here, but then each month after has been a growth from there as well.

I remember when I first go here I didn’t go out and see much as it was all quite overwhelming, then I waited until my friends came for Spring and I visited Kyoto with them. As you will know if you have read this blog I have fallen in love with Kyoto. Not because its the first place I really ‘saw’ but more as I really connected to the place.

During that trip I really had to step out of my little ‘world’ and it was difficult as then I was not comfortable with my language skills. I’m still not, but much better now.

After that it’s been an accelerated process of adapting, and it was not until I left this year for 10 days in Sydney that I really noticed how much I had adapted and grown fond of the Japan and Tokyo. I stil don’t know how a city this large with so many people can work as well as it does, but beleive me it really does work. Its clean, safe, the transport system works everyday and I’ve never had a power outage!!.

Yes, its crowded and that takes some getting used to, being crowded into a train, but its very different from London trains, here there is a ettiquite for boarding a crowded train that does not offend. Its totally silent, but learn that skill and its all easy!

I guess I’ll be writing more about it as I’ve decided to stay for another year, why not, so much more to see and learn!.

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