Friday, May 12, 2006

Enlightenment


Have you ever seen pictures of trains in Japan during rush hour where people are being paid to stuff even more people into the already more than fully packed trains?

Now imagine yourself leaving Tokyo for the weekend with a little backpack on your back (where else ;-)) and a little trolley squeezed in front of you having to use one of those trains. I can tell you it is fairly uncomfortable! For the whole time of the ride you feel like falling over your trolley - except that you cannot really do that as there are too many people behind and in front of you; and yet you feel on the one hand the strong urge to fall but on the other hand also to keep yourself physically from doing exactly that; you can imagine that you end up with relatively tense muscles.

As I knew this having already had a "painful" experience in one of those trains - when going to the airport -, my mood elevator dropped significantly the second I saw the train coming and being so packed. The second I entered the train, I felt a rush of aggressiveness. I was so angry at all these stupid people around me, just because they were there - everywhere - and made life sometimes so much more unpleasant.

But guess what happened next?! I felt the amazing quietness, I almost have to call it relaxedness, of the Japanese people around me, accepting their fate of having to live with all these other people and having to use these shockingly crowded trains.
And I immediately became a lot more relaxed!

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

I do love them ;-)

Again and again I feel the dichotomy of my stay here in Japan. There are things I love like Japanese people walking all the way with you after you asked them for directions just to make sure that you really get where you want.
But then there are also situations when I feel the urge to explode or better, to be able to speak Japanese fluently to communicate clearly what's on my mind. I know, it wouldn't help/change anything, but still it would maybe give me some satisfaction. ;-D.

For instance, I sometimes keep the car during the day and therefore go and get my hubby from work. I usually then wait at the side of the street that runs close to his office building, next to the pavement. Well, so one evening I arrived there about 5-10 minutes before 9 p.m. As my hubby usually brings his trolley from work and puts it on the back seats of the car, I thought it might be more convenient for him if I stopped the car in front of a gateway. For except for these gateways there are otherwise some sort of balustrades that separate the pavement from the street.

Well and this particular entrance way, in front of which I stopped, belongs to some sort of exhibition hall where trucks often come and unload or load things. But that particular evening there was no truck in sight and I thought "If ever a truck comes, I can still backup or sth.". Besides it was only some minutes before 9 p.m. So not much action was to expect.

After about 5 minutes of waiting there, some guy came, obviously some kind of janitor. I knew what was coming as he walked towards our car. I let down the window and he started talking to me in Japanese. Of course, I knew what he wanted. Well, after breething deeply, I backed up the car in order to get rid of him. Otherwise he probably would have kept talking to me and at that time my Japanese was way to bad to explain to him why I was standing there.

And guess what the guy then did?!!!! He pulled a metal chain across the gateway to close it for the night!!!!!!!

Japanese university students

I think it is pretty interesting to observe Japanese university students (undergraduates) giving presentations.
Quite a few of them dress up even more formally as some of us Westerners do for a job interview: suit, neatly ironed shirt and necktie or in the case of women the typical above-knee-long skirt, blouse and jacket.
Of course, giving such a professional impression you might expect them then to give also professional presentation. The reality is, however, often somewhat different: Often they read out their text, depending on their English skills more or less fast so that it gets difficult to really concentrate on their presentation all the time. Often their slides are way too fully packed. And sometimes the content isn't of the best and most interesting quality either.
Well, of course, this does not apply to all Japanese students, but still I experienced quite a bunch of these presentations.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Crazy Japan




Hi there!
Finally another post here. :-)
This Saturday we experienced some other classics of good old crazy Japan.
Two of them were again connected to dog clothing. In Japan with its old traditions it is even vital for dogs to be disguise on certain occasions: they might either turn into and old samurai or so wearing artificial hair or a pumpkin going out for a Halloween Party.
Then there we discovered a new profession again: Pfützenschöpfer as I would call it in German, a person who tries to empty little puddles of water.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Earthquake and first typhoon of the year!

Wow, Japan is going crazy right now!

On Saturday, I was peacefully cleaning the floor when our building suddenly received a blow from below!
Then it started shaking horizontally.
This was really serious this time. I was sort of afraid that our standing mirror would fall. Sometimes, as we are waiting for the BIG ONE, I think: Oh let's get it over with when it starts shaking again.
And the crazy thing was, on Saturday morning I just said: "Wouldn't it be fun if we had an earthquake tonight" as I never experienced an earthquake together with a large group of people and we had planned a party for that night.
So my conclusion, after the quake hit in the afternoon, that quakes are male cause they never seem to listen carefully to what I say! :-) Isn't that what all these self-help books are saying about men?! :-) (Not that I could say that about my hubby, though!)
Well, and then the crazy thing was that because of the quake which was, according to different sources, between 5.7 and 6.0 or 6.1 on the Richter scale, the elevators in our building didn't work any more. And we are living on the 21st floor!!! So I thought, well then our guests will have to do some workout.
But it came even better: Our guests did not even arrive because they were stuck in subway and train stations as also no subways and trains were running due to the earthquake. And this for hours!
But in the end, most of our guests made it and we had a great party!

Well, and yesterday, the first typhoon of the year hit us almost perfectly. But, as often, it was not strong at all. Just a lot of rain.

But still, overall, there was a lot of geographically interesting action here those last days, that is, perfect days for people like me :-)!

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Sunday, June 26 2005


Hi there!

Wow, I just got this link from Herr K. Very, very nice! That's the beauty of the new digital life! Not only tell people what you want to tell them but also get comments...

Well, so what can I tell you right now?
I had a very special day yesterday! My first time!
My first time, watching Scream 1 and even Scream 2. I think, I tried to watch Scream 1 about 3-4 times; but I always only made it some minutes into the movie and then was always too afraid to go on. :-) But with Gernot by my side, I finally had enough courage to go through the whole movie. And I survived it! But just until we went to bed where very exciting dreams haunted me :-).

On the left, I posted one of my favourite, quite recent pictures: Dog clothing ;-D!!! A little Biene Maja with wings and antennae.

Will probably post a comment later on again.
Until then "Gambatte kudasai"!
Katrin.