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Showing posts from November, 2012

Tōdai ginkgo update: OK, this is it!

Gentle reader, if you're in the vicinity of Bunkyō, would you be so kind as to allow me to suggest that you should perchance consider the possibility of a visit to a certain institution of higher education situated on Hongō-dori this coming weekend?
Heh. Howzat for English sonkeigo? (Sonkeigo is respectful language.)
This is what the ginkgos at the University of Tokyo looked like this morning. They will remain beyond breathtaking for a few more days, and Saturday promises to be a beautiful sunny day, hence my recommendation. (Alternatively, to express the same idea in Afrikaans: Roer jou gat! Move your butt!)

I owe Cecilia an apology. I told her with great confidence that campus maintenance stops sweeping up the leaves at some stage, so that the paths are covered in a thick yellow carpet. So what happened this morning? They swept up all the leaves. Groan. 

The next photo is for Minoru-sensei. I recently wrote a post about Tokyo Station, which was designed by Tatsuno Kingo. Minoru-sen…

Tokyo Station: a gracious old lady regains her youth

I've decided to be otherwise. I don't know if that expression is used in other English-speaking countries as well, but in South Africa (or perhaps just in my family?) it means contrary, perverse, obstinate.
Currently there's a plethora of posts waxing lyrical about autumn, life's transience and the beauty of nature; so I've put my thousands of autumn photos on hold and written a post about Tokyo Station instead. Actually it's just a cop-out. I've done so many pixpeditions that I barely know which photo to publish first, and that's just the ginkgos. I haven't started hunting maples yet.
I walked from Ueno Park to Hibiya Park the other day and and passed Tokyo Station for the first time since it opened after its renovation. Oh my giddy aunt! It's breathtaking!

I miss Marunouchi. I used to live in Kanda and work in Yūrakuchō, and I regularly walked home past Maruzen Books in the Oazo Building in Marunouchi. (That's a blatant lie. I never …

Sky Tree goes green for Christmas

This damn tower has the ability to reduce me to an emotional age of approximately three. I look at it and my reaction is, "Wheee! Sky Tree!" Since it's right there – I can see it from this desk – I live my life in a state of perpetual childlike wonder. Which, if you think about it, isn't altogether bad; and anyway, I've never claimed to be mature.

I few days ago I discovered that Sky Tree has a special lighting design for Christmas: green! That was enough to make me dance a jig of joy. I took this photo last night. It's a very bad photo because I don't use a tripod (nudge nudge hint hint, Christmas present, please!), so I've included photos from this Sky Tree blog as well. Japanese websites refer to this colour as シャンパンツリー, i.e. champagne tree. Nice.

Full English translation of Blumio's "Hey Mr Nazi"

A year ago I wrote a post about a Japanese-German rapper called Blumio. My blog regularly gets "search keyword" hits for "Blumio Hey Mr Nazi English lyrics", so I've tried to translate the full song.
Warning! My German is very shaky, and I haven't studied/spoken it for a very long time. Please regard this translation as a very rough draft. I'm publishing my attempt because nothing else is available. You can read the full German lyrics here.

Hey Mr Nazi Please listen to me, I want to share a few words with you What do you see when you look at me? Only a small foreigner who smells like an animal A dumb slit-eye, a shit rice-eater
[Refrain] Hey Mr Nazi, come to my party I want to introduce you to my friends They are Juspé and Kati, Thorsten and Nefatih We have the same sense of humour And we're saying hey Mr Nazi, come to my party, I'll show you my culture It's sushi and technology, manga and origami, I've known it since my birth
Please tell me what you&…

Tōdai ginkgo update

I took a few quick phone photos this morning. The trees should be at their most beautiful next week.

Eye halve a spelling chequer

Eye halve a spelling chequer  It came with my pea sea  It plainly marques four my revue  Miss steaks eye kin knot sea
Eye strike the quays and type a whirred  And weight four it two say  Weather eye am wrong oar write  It shows me strait a weigh
As soon as a mist ache is maid  It nose bee fore two long  And eye can put the error rite  Its rare lea ever wrong
Eye have run this poem threw it  I am shore your pleased two no  Its letter perfect awl the weigh  My chequer tolled me sew
To me, as a former sub-editor, it's a matter of honour to disable all spell checkers on my computers.
Another reason is that I shall never – never, says I! – succumb to American spelling, as so many programs* try to force me to do. It's colour, not color; theatre, not theater; dialogue, not dialog; encyclopaedia, not encyclopedia; traveller, not traveler. 
* Yes, it's program (not programme) in this specific context. British English uses program to refer to computer programs; programme for other use…

Autumn in Sensei's Zōshigaya Cemetery

From the left side of a field I entered the cemetery and proceeded along a broad avenue bordered on each side by maple trees. There was a tea house at the end of the avenue, and I saw coming out of it someone that looked like Sensei ... I cried out aloud, "Sensei!" Sensei stopped, and saw me.  We walked between tombstones on our way out … Silently, he listened to me for a while as I chattered on, pointing to this tombstone and that. But finally he turned to me and said, "You have never thought seriously of the reality of death, have you?" I became silent. Sensei said no more. Towards the end of the cemetery, there stood a gingko tree, so large that it almost hid the sky from view. Sensei looked up at the tree and said, "In a little while, it will be beautiful here. The tree will be a mass of yellow, and the ground will be buried beneath a golden carpet of fallen leaves." Every month, I learned, Sensei made a point of walking by the tree at least once. It…