30 November, 2016
I took this photo this afternoon. This is a short, quiet street near us that I often walk or ride along, sometimes multiple times a day. I love it that even though Japanese often have almost no yard, they usually use the space well. It is not uncommon to see fruit trees. This citrus tree just looks scrumptious (I'm not sure exactly what kind of fruit it is, though, there are many, I wrote about the most common ones in a post back here in March.)
29 November, 2016
However, here is the system. The pieces are filed by function/size. So we have a drawer of flat pieces, a drawer of long thin pieces, one of weapons, etc. The yellow set of drawers in the top left has dismembered mini-figures!
28 November, 2016
The ubiquitous pickup truck that all campsites in Japan own, as do most farmers. They all look the same as this!
Not the best of photos, but this is snow piled up on a fence. Any slightly horizontal surface catches snow and it piles up: even on power lines and washing lines!
27 November, 2016
We're back from our camping trip. It turned into a bigger adventure than we'd planned for and for a little while I wondered if we'd finally bitten off more than we could chew. If you thought we were crazy for going camping at this time of year when temperatures regularly dip below zero, then this story will convince you we really are.
What our journey out of Tokyo looked like.
Digging out our tent site with a borrowed spade. The boys were great,
they just wished that we had more than one spade.
|Dessert on our first night: foil packets with bananas, chocolate, and|
marshmallows, or some combination of those. We accidentally left
a left-over banana out of the cooler overnight and it froze!
|Walking back from the toilet block at 7am.|
|Autumn caught snoozing.|
|-5.9˚C is a record for us!|
|Though most of us weren't prepared for wet|
snow, our youngest was, with all his plastic
snow gear and he had fun building snow creations.
|Everything outside was covered in frost and inside the|
tent everything that hadn't been touched by the water
seeping up through the holes in the floor was covered in
Our trip home was all autumn again. Like the clock had been wound back!
|Autumn leaves on the way home.|
23 November, 2016
22 November, 2016
|This is the campsite. There are mountain bikes for hire as well as canoes.|
Also a bat cave nearby and we can go for a drive around the lake too, looking
for scenic spots.
|Apparently the view from the campsite (from here)|
|Mt Fuji is in the middle at the bottom here and Lake Sai above that with an arrow pointing at it.|
This year we also have access to free Japanese-style baths that are open until 10pm as well as in the morning until 10.30am, so I will be bathing just before bed and diving in there warm. If I'm cold on Friday morning I can also have a bath.
I'll report back when we get back on the weekend about how it went (hopefully with some awesome photos).
21 November, 2016
|Nothing to do with the blog post, except|
that this is what we're seeing around the
place at present. Autumn colours are in
The translators had the name written in the usual complicated characters (kanji or sometimes called "Chinese characters"). But all kanji can be pronounced at least two ways, if not more. As a result when you sign in on a waiting list at a restaurant or at a doctor, you're always asked for the phonetic spelling of your name in one of Japan's two "alphabets", otherwise it could be very embarrassing for those who are reading out your name.
For example these names:
齊藤 or 齋藤 or 斉藤 They all say "Saitō".
東海林 can be read "Tōkairin" or "Shōji".
So whenever you fill out a form here there is room for the kanji of your name as well as your phonetic spelling. As foreigners, we don't have kanji, but we do have two spellings of our name: we have our usual way with Roman letters, but also in Japanese phonetic alphabet.
My name is:
マーシャル ウエンデー (pronounced "Maasharu Uendi") Yes, last name goes first.
So in some situations I also write my name twice. For example, once in Roman letters to match my health insurance card and a second time so that the Japanese person reading it knows how to pronounce my name with minimal difficulty (not saying that there aren't some Japanese people who could easily pronounce my name from Roman letters).
However back to the email exchange I witnessed. These translators eventually called the church concerned to check the spelling of the name in the article so that they could render it correctly in Roman letters.
Amazing and not terribly efficient!
20 November, 2016
|One of my slow-cooker recipes, but it requires tortillas,|
not a common thing to find in Japan (we get ours from Costco).
18 November, 2016
|This is a photo of our city centre, where the train station is. It was taken as I walked home from school today. You can see again, the mixture of urban and rural.|
Here are a couple of diagram of the wider train network that I found. The first are the lines owned by the Seibu company.
The second, as you can see in its title, are the railway lines in Tokyo. Can you find our line here? Tokyo's train system is amazing, but also can be thoroughly confusing and quite intimidating at first.