Welcome to this here place of introspection and extroversion (not to mention perversion) in Sunny Tokyo ;-)
Tuesday, February 27, 2007
Only in Japan - wheeling the kids around
Quite a large number of Japanese use their bicycles on a regular basis. After commuting between one end of the city to the other by train or trains, a bicycle is a welcoming home-like sight. Apart from the roads being tight and windy there is also the issue for car owners that to rent a parkingspace can equal the cost of renting an apartment. As soon as we got here the kids were flabbergasted over the flagrant disregard for helmets here. People on bicycles, unless hightech and wearing 300.000 yen uniforms do not as rule wear helmets, even the ones with two kids or more in various high gadgety chairs don't have a single helmet between them. Which to my kids seemed impossible. Even when we went and got them their bicycles we had a hard time finding helmets for them, regardless of the fact that we were in one of the larger Tokyo bicycleshops. Luckily they're both big headed ;-) and hence managed to get grown up ones, albeit Elena benefitting from a bit of padding.
But the weirdest contraption I have witnessed here by far would have to be the kindergarden trolleys. Instead of taking the tiny 2-5 year olds out walking they're carted around like animals in a show cage or Icelandic highschool dimmitantes for that matter ;-) So what do you think? Normal or bizarre?
Captain Underpants and the Rainbow fairies
O.k. so the second Kyoto post has gotten a wee bit delayed, still haven’t worked through the photos you see ;-)
Anyways, been busy catching up on the kids and Halldor now that my course is finished and in so doing paying more attention to the kids studies. As a part of that I’ve been going overboard on buying them books, my philosophy being if they’re willing to read then I most certainly can afford the books! However as I glanced over my most recent acquisitions it occurred to me that the titles do give plenty of occasion for misinterpretation…
How about Captain Underpants and the Rainbow fairies…. Hummm ;-)
Sunday, February 25, 2007
Tuesday, February 20, 2007
Tales of Kyoto, part one
It was a grey and dreary day as we eagerly awaited the arrival of our benefactor (read Deirdre) who arrived looking even more grey and dreary than the day itself… But given she was about to take over “börn og bú” as we’d say in Icelandic  she appeared as a ray of bountiful energy and light (I’m soooo going to get hit on the head when she reads this, in the most affectionate of manners of course ;-) So having ascertained she did indeed seem have an inkling as to what she was getting herself into we skipped along our merry way to the train station. First stop Tokyo then Kyoto! Once we made it to the correct train station (hey one wrong off when one’s got plenty of time don’t count!) it was shinkansen luxury all the way. Gorgeous view of Fuji san across the expanses of pollution spuming turrets as well as fun views of a very sleepy partner.
Once in Kyoto first stop was GAP! Where I bought what was to save my life during our two day sojourn there….a brightly coloured (yes me) humongous scarf to ward off the cold. It’s been so warm and springlike here in Tokyo we were seriously unprepared for the cold and heavy rain of Kyoto. But minor inconveniences like that were far from enough to detract from the bounce in my step as I approached these first two days alone with Halldor since…. Since…. Ahh yes since August last year when I sneaked off to Edinburgh on an impulse buying fit, but that’s altogether a different story.
Needless to say Kyoto was amazing! Dreary, colourful, cold, humid, mystical, buoyant, and had more great restaurants and temples than Rome has churches!! Our ryokan was a very nice wee place just by the river Kamo across which is the famed Gion quarter. So instead of doing the whole panicky touristy thing we did the lazy “couple away for a weekend thing in a culturally amazing place and two cameras” i.e. ate and pottered around aimlessly ;-) After having checked in and warmed somewhat we searched for a city bank or a post office, the only two places one can safely withdraw cash from foreign credit cards in japan (beware of this should you plan on visiting) and finally found one on the top floor of a local department store. Now department stores here aren’t the seedy places one would assume from their brotherly counterparts elsewhere, but instead a haven for the rich and affluent (o.k. so it means the same but it had a nice ring to it) jewelry, imported shoes and…. The one place where you can always count on finding the, or nearly the, most expensive restaurants around… so guess what… well..we decided to reward ourselves and went in for an exorbitantly priced steak and Shabu shabu dinner. I don’t know if you’re aware of this but steaks here far surpass steaks in any other country, not merely in price but also in the fact that a bite will literally melt on your tongue…exquisite!
More travel tales tomorrow, along with some photos but now I had better drag my hard working man off to bed for some Dresden ;-) 
 children and home, still sounds better in Icelandic
 Japanese style hotel, with futon laid on the tatami straw matted floor and a low table.
 Scottish colloquialism, indicating smallness in an affectionate manner ;-)
 Pronounced “Shitty bank” not kidding
 Soon to be cult tv show based on the books by Jim Butcher about a wizard PI ;-) What’s there not to like?
Ladies we came accross whilst pottering around Kyoto ;-)
Friday, February 16, 2007
The Graduating bunch :-)
As is usual with these things tons of photos were taken, a number of which I'm now postin here so bear with me, honest though, there are more on my flicker page ;-)
We were made to each give a short speach and as usual the shorter they have to be the harder it is to actually get anything accross. Mine was on modern folklore and my research....
Labels: graduation japan gakugei beer