A change in weather

Living in Los Angeles for the past 20 years, I guess I had forgotten that weather actually changes. It seems in the past two weeks that summer has ended. Of course, last week it officially ended. Even the weather indicates it has ended. I had to wear a sweater last night when I went out for dinner! Gasp! It is nice that the heat and humidity appear to have broken. The weather is very comfortable. I like it.

I really don’t have much to write about. Tomo was here this weekend so we got to hang out. I’ll be in Tokyo next weekend to see Radiohead. I am looking forward to that concert. I seem to be doing normal stuff now, like watching the occasional DVD, reading books, surfing the web, helping Tomo with Photoshop. Oh, and working of course. I think it is time that I renew my Japanese language study. I can’t believe I’ve been here 6 months. I don’t feel my language skills have improved. I’m sure they have, but still, they should be soooo much better. Time to get serious again.

I hope everyone is doing OK out there. I know I haven’t been great about keeping up with folks via email, but drop me a note. I’d love to hear from you.

Oh – I considered getting up at 4:30 am to listen to Purdue football. I’m glad I didn’t waste my time. It looks like a real clunker of a season is coming up.

Oh, Oh – It looks like I only write in short sentences now. What has happened? It is a blogging trap? Have I lost the ability to write with complex structure? Is it due to simplifying my language for Japan? I do not know. I find it intriguing. Perhaps you do to.

How much is it worth?

Has it really been twelve days since my last blog entry? Wow. For both of you out there reading this, I apologize that it took so long. I had a few entries in mind but they have escaped me. I know one was really amusing too. What a bummer, I can’t remember what it was.

Today I am having a few colleagues over for a movie night. Hey, no big deal. It is a good excuse to make me clean up a little bit and finally wade through some of the uninteresting mail that has piled up. So I’m in a relatively clean / picked up place. Nice. I’m getting better organized. I thought it might be kind of fun to have some chips and salsa as a little movie night kind of behavior. I went to one of the gaijin grocery stores and sure enough I was able to get some Tostitos white corn tortilla chips and salsa (luckily while I was there I saw some chili beans so I’ll be able to make chili this winter which makes me very happy). I bought two bags and two salsas.

How much would you pay for this?

How much do you think that little purchase cost? Sure, it is Japan. Things are more expensive here. I understand that. The total purchase was … are you ready? It was about 2300 yen, or $20. Yikes! We will have to enjoy every last morsel.


Other News

In other news, we had our first typhoon of the season. The storm was weakening and then start building up again. I made sure I left work at the peak of the storm, it appears. It was pretty rainy and getting windy when I left. By the time I got home the air was still and it was gently raining. What happened? The storm looks pretty wet when you look at the RADAR image below. Compared to one of the typhoons in Mito in 2004 this was nothing. I must have been on the good side of the eye or something.

It looks worse than it was


I have actually succeeded in framing and hanging some pictures. As a matter of fact, you can see some of the images with the Tostitos. I ordered 9 more frames today. Just part of my prairie fire spending!

It is hard to explain

… but I will try. Today was a long day. I didn’t work this weekend so I had a ton of email to try to read. Plus at the end of the day I had a rather culturally frustrating meeting that did not go as I had wished. I rode the train home, stopped at the grocery, hopped on the subway and headed home for a simple dinner at home and maybe more email, a video, or working on my journal. As I was exiting the station, I noticed a poster with modern art that read, to the best of my knowledge, “pecan” and “currie” in Japanese. How strange, I thought, what kind of modern art show (not contemporary art – just modern between the wars kind of stuff) would have that title? “Pecan and currie” just didn’t make any sense to me at all.

Of course, all this was in Japanese. It was written




So all my Japanese reading friends are probably thinking, “fool!” Anyway, the characters above are in katakana, and they are used to represent foreign words. Some characters also look rather the same. For example, can you quickly tell the difference between ソ and ン? To the trained eye, you can. The first character has a stroke that goes from the top and down to the left. Think of a brush. The second character has a brush stroke from the lower left to the upper right. Kind of like a check mark. That subtle difference is the difference between the sound “so” and “n”. That’s right. So I read the ソ as “n” when it was really or “so.” Which, as you can see, changes the reading from a nut, to well, Pekaso. Obviously that is Picasso (who one could argue was kind of a nut as well but I would probably disagree). Maybe the modern art thing is making more sense. But what about “currie?” The characters are “ku” and “re” – kure. Remembering the spelling of currie, it is actually カレ in Japanese, or “ka” and “re.” So “kure” obviously becomes Klee with the whole “r” and “l” conundrum. Picasso and Klee – sounds like a pretty good show. Maybe I can get pecan currie if I go to the show!

I guess I was just hungry. I hope that my little tale gives you a taste of the opportunity for major misunderstandings here!

As for this weekend, I went up to Tokyo to get away. I had a nice time – it is always good to see friends. Tomo got back from a trip to the States, so he had some nice booty for me. Try to find deodorant here in Japan. It doesn’t exist! People don’t stink (generally). It is remarkable.