Celebration of Life

 Good morning everyone,

Will temperatures in Hiroshima fall below 30C? It's looking like they will, and not only that, they look like they may stay that way for a while. It was another scorcher yesterday here-it got up to around 32C and it was humid too...

So...my keyboard died and I'm typing this on my iPad...don't expect any long blogs for the rest of my trip. 

I went to a celebration of life for my friend Steve's father who passed away a couple of weeks ago. Don't ask me too many questions about it, because it's become a thing since I went to Japan. Basically, it's a less formal event than a funeral and families who aren't particularly religious will do them. It's meant to be a chance for friends, families, old co-workers...basically anyone who knew the person to come and enjoy happy memories of that person. 

It was very informal-which was a good thing-because I obviously didn't bring any formal clothes with me. But it was great to catch up with a lot of old friends. If I kick the bucket anytime soon, I think I'd like one of those, rather than a stuffy funeral. 

Have a a great day!

Good morning everyone,

Did you enjoy the warm weather yesterday? What did the mercury get up to? I have no idea, but it was warm! It felt like spring! Today...well, it'll only get up to around 5C but it'll be mostly sunny. I may head downtown for a little shopping but I'll probably just end up checking out the sales and buying nothing...then tomorrow will be pretty much the same as today before we get a rainy day on Saturday. As of right now, they are calling for a 50% chance of rain or snow. The good news is that from Sunday, the temperatures will settle around seasonal averages, about 10C for the next week. It's about time-this winter has already been colder than last year and we are just into January...

So, it's true that Canadians and Americans speak pretty much the same English (as opposed to British English) but there are some words that Canadians use which most Americans wouldn't understand. Here is a short list, each word is followed by an example sentence, explanation or picture... 

1. Two-four (24 cans or bottles of beer) 
We're heading to the cottage this weekend, I'd better pick up a two-four.

2. Loonie (and, of course, toonie) 
I want to get a Coke, have you got a loonie for the vending machine. (These are $1 and $2 coins-they are annoyingly heavy.)
loonie and toonie
3. Toque
Put on your toque-it'll keep your ears warm.
4. Klick (kilometre)
I put about 300,000 klicks on my first car-it was a Mazda Familia.

5. Toboggan
The worst part about a toboggan is that you can't steer it very well.
6. Peameal or back bacon
In Canada, we often serve peameal or back bacon with breakfast.
7. Washroom
In America, they tend to say 'restroom'. I had no idea they didn't know washroom till I came to Japan and had an American roommate.

8. Serviette
I've got mustard on my hand, have you got a serviette? (it's a paper napkin)

9. Chinook (the wind, not the helicopter)
A warm, dry wind that blows across the Prairies at the end of winter.

10. Mickey (e.g. a mickey of vodka)
I snuck a mickey of whisky into the bar last night. It's a small bottle of alcohol-375mL.
mickey of vodka
11. Knapsack
In America 'backpack', in Japan 'rucksack', in Canada 'knapsack'.

12. Kerfuffle
A: What's all the kerfuffle about?
B: Sogo is having a big sale today.

And that is your lesson in CANADIAN English for this year...ha ha! Don't try using these expressions anywhere else, they may not know what you're talking about.

Have you got any expressions that we can only use in Hiroshima? I've heard of 'tachimachi', but my Hiroshima friends say that it's a bit old actually.

Have a great day!

Supplements-do you take any?

Good morning everyone,

Well, I don't know about you, but I was awfully surprised to be riding to work in the middle of a snowstorm yesterday. Did you see it? It was crazy! I could barely see my hand in front of my face! Ok, so maybe it wasn't that bad, but the snow was pretty heavy! I was surprised that none of it stuck around. It was all gone by about 10am...

According to the forecast, there won't be any more snow in the forecast for the rest of the week, but who knows? There wasn't any in the forecast for today either...the warm(er) weather will also arrive a bit later than they had said as it'll only get up to 7C tomorrow and then 9C on Tuesday and 10C for Wednesday and Thursday. Each day is calling for a mix of sun and cloud. I guess that is typical late fall and early winter weather in Hiroshima, isn't it?

Do you take any vitamin supplements? I don't at the moment. I have taken multi-vitamins in the past, but I always forget to take them after a couple of weeks. I should probably start again...

Or maybe not...

According to a recent report in the newspaper, most of the health benefits are negligible at best, but are usually not beneficial at all and in some cases, may actually cause you more harm than good.

First of all-the fakers.
Vitamin C for colds. Sorry citrus lovers, there has been no evidence in any scientific study that show any link to taking vitamin C and reducing the chance of catching a cold. After you catch a cold, taking vitamin C may help shorten the length of the cold...

Vitamin D to strengthen bones. Sorry again, studies have not been able to find any connection between taking vitamin D and a reduction in broken bones.

Second-the Real McCoys
Ok, so these minerals appear to actually provide some benefit for you...

Glucosamine for osteoarthritis
According to high-quality studies, these supplements appear to help manage pain and improve physical function in people suffering with this joint disorder.
Melatonin for jet lag
Melatonin supplements are the closest thing we have to a cure for jet lag. As a 2009 study pointed out, “Melatonin is remarkably effective in preventing or reducing jet lag, and occasional short-term use appears to be safe.” What’s more, melatonin may also be effective for treating a number of sleeping problems, as well as cluster headaches.
St. John’s wort for depression
The use of this stuff to manage depression is actually backed by strong evidence. In about thirty different studies over 5,000 patients from several countries found that those who took the plant extract in the trials “were superior to placebo, similarly effective as standard antidepressants, and had fewer side effects than standard antidepressants.”

I'm not too worried about depression or osteoarthritis, but I'll definitely be looking for some melatonin before my next trip home! Does anybody know where I can get it?

Have a great day!

Guess who's expecting!

Good morning everyone,

Well, the forecast for today has completely changed. Now they are calling for mostly sunny weather with a few clouds thrown in for good measure. Tomorrow night it'll rain and the rest of the week will be cloudy. Today we can expect a high of 10C which is about 3C below normal for this time of year and it's also the warmest day in the forecast. By the weekend, we'll see highs of 6C. All week, we can expect lows of one or two...does that mean that we might see some snow this week?! I hope so! It's always fun to see the snow-but as long as I'm not riding in it! Ha ha!

So, before my mom gets too excited, I'll give the answer away-it's not me! Ha ha! Besides Mom, you'll be the first person I'll tell whenever it happens-you'll probably be more excited than me! All I'm going to do is worry...ha ha!

Anyway, no, not me. I'm not expecting. However, the Duchess of Cambridge is. Do you have any idea who the Duchess of Cambridge is? Well, I'll give you a hint. She's married to a good-looking young Englishman who'll be king some day and looked dashing in his military uniform at their wedding.
That's right, Princess Kate (Duchess of Cambridge is her official title) is pregnant!

Is it exciting? Well it is for many people back home who are fans of the Royal Family. I don't really count myself among them, but I'm not exactly anti-Royal either. I believe they serve a purpose in today's world. It's like knowing that no matter how petty the politics gets and how many prime ministers come and go, the Royal Family is always there. Even though I'm Canadian and the distance between Canada and the Royals is growing every year, I still like having them around. Do you have the same feeling in Japan?

I know that I've said in the past that they should get out and about and do a bit more in the country (and I still think they should), but I wonder if their style of being aloof is better suited to Japan. I know that the media loves the Japanese Royal Family. How about the average person? Do you get excited when there is a birth or marriage? I think the Japanese Royal Family needs a good scandal, don't you? The British Royal Family often have them-but there hasn't been a good one in years...maybe we'll find out that the kid isn't really Prince William's...ha ha!

Have a great day and let me know if there have been any dirty Japanese Royal Scandals in the past that were covered up or have been swept under the carpet!

Going viral!

Good morning everyone,

The weather has been awesome recently and it's looking like it's going to continue-sunny skies and mid-20s are the only thing in the forecast for as far as the eye can see!  Ha ha!

I've got to learn to refuel my body better. As you know, I went on a 30k run on Tuesday and that day I ate well, however yesterday I didn't do such a good job. I ate a parfait and a chou cream! <sigh> I'm going to have to run another 30km just to burn off those calories...ha ha! But not today...ha ha!

Have you heard of Gangnam Style? It's a song by a Korean rapper that is taking the world by storm, but it seems to be hardly getting any media play at all in Japan.

It is a perfect example of the expression 'gone viral'. A virus is something that spread from person to person (or computer to computer). To 'go viral' (it isn't a virus!) is for a video or picture to spread quickly from person to person by using the internet to tell/show others about it. This video has gone viral! It has been viewed over 357 million times on YouTube! It is now up for Video of the Year at the MMA (MuchMusic Awards). It has reached the Top 10 in over 23 countries around the world, but barely a mention in Japan! Why? Anyway...

Here it is:


Does it look interesting to you? For me, it is so funny...in interviews PSY (the rapper's name) says it is a satirical song about Gangnam, which is a district in Seoul that he compares to Beverly Hills in California where everyone is 'high class'. In the song he says he has 'Gangnam Style' and then dances and acts in very un-classy ways in areas around Gangnam where the rich hang out like tennis courts and horse barns...He says it is a parody as well.

I'm not sure if it is either of those things. I think it is just a song with a catchy hook that went viral. I don't think it was ever meant to be taken seriously, he looks like he's just having fun-a lot of fun! Hmmm...maybe that is part of the attraction for people. Maybe music has become too serious and musicians take themselves too seriously and it's nice to see someone having a laugh for a change...I don't know.

I know one thing for sure, I definitely WILL NOT be buying that CD...ha ha! It may be Gangnam Style-it IS hilarious and it has a very catchy hook, but it sure isn't Jerry-style. Ha ha!

Have a great day!