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Showing posts from June, 2015

Froggy fire protection in Azabu-jūban

I'm a commoner, a peasant and a pleb. I'm also a socialist; as a matter of fact, the older I get, the redder the colour of my personal flag.
That's one of the many reasons why I prefer to live in the shitamachi, the poorer working-class area of Tokyo. Tokyo's sought-after wealthy suburbs either bore me (Daikanyama; what in heaven's name do you do there except shop?) or scare me (Den-en-chōfu is an American suburb and Shōtō in Shibuya is Johannesburg) [both feel like a psychopathic virtual reality game].
However. There's one upmarket area that does appeal, and I can't for the life of me figure out why. It's Azabu-jūban, which happens to be right next to my pet hate, Roppongi. Perhaps it's the suburb's village-like atmosphere thanks to cobbled streets and a giddy mixture of fru fru cafes and traditional shops. Maybe Asakusa would look like that if it were wealthy.
Whatever the reason may be, I'm always happy to return, as I did this morning whe…

Murder attempts and burqa hot pants

I used Japan's EMS service to mail documents to South Africa. 
Monday 8 June         mailed from Tokyo Thursday 11 June     arrived Johannesburg Friday 12 June          sent to Cape Town Monday 15 June       arrived Cape Town Thursday 18 June     "retention"
Friday 19 June          delivered
It takes South Africa longer to deliver documents from the Cape Town Central Post Office Depot to an address in Cape Town than it takes Japan to send those documents 13 536 km, almost halfway around the world.
Ai, Suid-Afrika. It's not that difficult!
This hasn't been a very rainy rainy season. It's been mostly a blah dreary gray skies season. It hasn't even been very hot: low twenties. I haven't used my air con yet. I have sent roughly 643 LINE messages to my friends complaining about cold trains. The Oedo Line is so cold that it's painful.
Biggest advantage of rainy season: hydrangeas.

You're going to have to try harder to kill me
Japanese pharmacist…

A private tour of the Toguri Museum of porcelain

Seven thousand pieces of antique Japanese porcelain. About one hundred on display at any time. A surprisingly humorous journey into the past.
Well, it surprised and amused me. When I think of antiques, I think of very serious boffins ponderously pontificating on the authenticity of some hideous objet d'art that reminds me rather ominously of the three flying ducks on my grandmother's sitting room wall. It was next to a brass relief of a Cape buffalo. The room also had a riempiesbank and a jonkmanskas and a stinkwood table and other stuff that we thought were uncomfortable and old-fashioned, but were, in fact, quite valuable (eventually) because it was so old.

Anyway. Antiques sound a bit, umm, dusty, so it was a delightful surprise to discover that old equals funny. Serious, beautiful, fascinating, all of that, but also funny: lopsided early pieces full of dirty bits when Japan was still taking baby steps in porcelain production, a fingerprint left in clay, a flop tea cup pra…