Thursday, June 29, 2006

Adieu, adieu...

Glory be, glory be! Tis done! Tis finished! The end of the employment road has been found! With glee I announce that I am now officially unemployed and have no foreseeable source of income for the next 8-10 months! Wonderous news! Believe me when I say tis not with sadness that I leave my place of employment, but with unadulterated joy! (picture a choir singing "hallelujah")
The tyrannical pink bunny that symbolises all that is evil and cruel and just plain wrong with the world, no longer has me under its thumb. Hurrah! Whilst under the employ of said bunny however, many a good friend was made. So it was not a complete waste of sanity on my part.

Beware the pink bunny...

Monday, June 26, 2006

Murphy's Law...

The countdown has begun in earnest for the departure and our young Murphy throws a spanner in the works! By gum! A few posts have already mentioned this bar and its proprietor, the music, the drunkards and their behaviour. But they have failed to capture the wonderful atmosphere, the fun, the cheeky smile that always greets, the good food, a short yet cherished friendship. It seems that good things always come at the end of a journey.

So if you are in Hiroshima check out Tomo Dining near Hondori, its worth it.

In the same vein, the acquaintance of a native Guatemalan and his okonomiyaki was made. But alas! T'was not to be. As with the afore mentioned gent, a brief flirtation with friendship was all that was to be had. Used to saying goodbye however, makes one grateful for any meeting of like-minded people. No matter how fleeting the encounter. A smile goes a long way, cheekiness is always responded to in kind and kind eyes speak volumes.

If you want a taste of Guatemala, head to Lopez near Yokogawa station. Good food, good fun.

Bittersweet goodbyes though... they always suck.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

My new toy...

OneMan Hiroshima TramA very plastic, very red, very child's toy looking camera. I'm going old school now I tell ya! Its a film camera which seems incredibly antiquated in this day and age, but the cool thing is it takes an eight frame shot!! Wo-hoo! Much fun is yet to be had with this wee contraption me thinks! The bummer is though, its not too fond of light that is not natural nor bright, ie. A blazing sunny day is its friend, dusk or anything darker produces eight frames of "huh?!".Cafe watering can

Friday, June 16, 2006

The Sound of Music

Aahh usually tis such a sweet thing to hear...
But picture a darkened bar, a circle of Djembe, expectant drummers, a didjeridoo, and then 2 beginners; one of whom can't keep rhythm (ahem) and the other who has no problems at all. A very patient teacher and even more patient advanced students. This was the introduction to African drum bashing that started our evening of frivolity. And yes bashing is exactly what happened. Oh there was laughter (yours truely collapsing numerous times into fits of it due to lack of rhythm), there was fun, and an interesting amalgamation of African and Aboriginal music; the didjeridoo being played well by other more musically inclined members of the group whilst we (I) bashed away at the drum and the others played theirs. 2 hours, 2 sore hands, 2 beers and 2 newly acquired blisters later, we dragged our sensei along to another bar and plied him with alcohol. Of course we were no slouches in this area either and again were the last to leave a particular public house, the proprietor of which knows us almost intimately due to the drunken pidgin-Japanese that he hears each time we patron his establishment. Said gentleman speaks bugger all English but keeps us entertained with fantastic music of all genres and a winning smile that never fades through the evening (despite the drunken gaijin).
A delightful evening beginning and ending with music.
The hills are alive...

Monday, June 12, 2006


Yukata girls
The 2nd 3rd and 4th of June each year are dedicated to a "summer" festival here in Hiroshima called Toukasan. It marks the beginning of the Yukata "season". Yukata are light cotton robes similar to Kimono and the girls all come out looking wonderful, boys also don the robes or wear Jimbei, which look like pijamas and for the more traditional man, they are. Jimbei are a two piece shorts and crossover short sleeve top outfit which look dead comfy, both yukata and jimbei are worn with Japanese wooden sandles called Geta. These look interesting but comfort wise...little cutie

A perhaps new tradition that has evolved is the inclusion of "Perikura". A photo booth that takes a bunch of photos of you and your friends pulling all sorts of faces and poses and which you then get to edit and manipulate however you want. A fun pastime which is bombarded with groups of yukata clad girls vying for the best machine, and jostling each other (in an orderly fashion of course) for a view of themselves in the mirror before they commit to it being saved for eternity. Yes we joined the queue of youngsters in our civvys and dragged some poor innocents into our photos aswell. They practiced their English and pulled faces with the gaijin, all the while giggling with their friends waiting patiently outside. We edited, we laughed, we said goodnight to which they replied "Have a goodtime!", not bad Engrish!!
Perikura meets tradition
Perikura meets tradition,
originally uploaded by mobile maori,

There are a bizillion and one stalls with various fare on display, goodies to be won and games a plenty to be played. Of course there is a purpose to this, its not just to show off your latest fashion, its a chance to visit the temple and pray for luck. Perhaps in the old days this meant a good harvest, healthy children etc, but times they have changed, and I imagine now its more a case of "I need a girlfriend/boyfriend/wife/husband" or more money or just plain "more". After one has paid tribute, a fortune can be retrieved. If it is a good fortune you keep it for prosperity, if bad you tie it to a tree to disintegrate with the seasons. How truely naturalistic, poor tree though- think of all those misfortunes that plague it/them on an annual basis!
the queue for luck
the queue for luck,
originally uploaded by mobile maori.

Along with the stalls of fun, we were treated to a night of dancing Japanese style. We saw two ends of tradition; quaint and sedate vs loud and ultra vigorous. The former being a type of stick dance and some kind of fan dancey thing, the latter being a "Fighting Samurai Fisherman" boisterous event. This wonderfully loud yet traditional Hokkaido dance is called Soranbushi and tis most fun to watch!
Fan Dance Stick Dance

A different side of Japan. Tradition meets contemporary. A country with many faces. Aahh bless!!