That's why...

Good morning everyone,

Well, the rain wasn't so bad yesterday, was it? When I was riding to work in the morning it wasn't even that cold. It will be cool this weekend though-today will be warm with a high of 15C, but Saturday and Sunday will see highs between 11C and 13C and lows under 5C! The coldest day ahead in the next week or so is Tuesday with a high of only 9C and lows for most of the week will be between 2C and 4C. Brr! 

Sometimes my friends ask me why I've stayed in Japan for so long and I could never really answer them-it was always just easy to live here and I had a decent job...in retrospect, it probably wasn't that great of a job, but now I have a great one and I couldn't have got here if I hadn't started there. I guess things do happen for a reason...

Anyway, I never really thought about it before, but from now on when people (Canadian or Japanese) ask me why I like Japan, my answer is going to be two words-Sayuri Yoshinaga.

Ok, so I admit that I don't really know who she is, in fact I've never seen her in a movie but check her out.
sayuri yoshinaga
Can you guess how old she is? She's 68! She's had no plastic surgery and she's hardly wearing any make-up! That's a great reason to stay in Japan-all I need to do is find a woman who will look like that when she's 68...ha ha! The problem is that any woman who looks like that, isn't going to be happy with a guy who looks like me...ha ha!

Seriously though, when she was younger she performed in a tv drama as a geisha hibakusha, which means she was a survivor of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima. After playing that role, she went on to join many anti-nuclear protests and groups and still volunteers to read anti-nuclear poetry and essays to help the anti-nuclear movement. That shows a lot of dedication and compassion.

Ok, so I just need to find someone who is dedicated, compassionate and will look like Sayuri when she's 68. I wonder if I have become a Sayurist...ha ha!

Have a great day!

PS A Sayurist is the nickname that Japanese people give to fan-boys of Sayuri Yoshinaga.

What did she say!?

Good morning everyone,

I had a nice, wet ride home last night...it was one of the wettest days I've had since I started riding my bike. Luckily, it's warming up outside so I didn't feel cold and wet-just wet...ha ha! The worst part is having to put the wet rain gear back on this morning...It's not raining at the moment but it should start any minute, hopefully the rain will hold off till I get to work, but I doubt it...The rest of the day will rain, rain and...rain. They've updated the forecast for tomorrow-they're calling for only a 30% chance of rain for tomorrow now. The rest of the week is unchanged-rain, rain, rain...

When I go for a run, there are two or three routes that I commonly use. One of them is along the river-it's the best in terms of safety, view and comfort (the path is paved for only part of the way). However, it is also hard on my shoes because they get really dirty, really quickly and, naturally, I can't use that route when it's raining or just after it has finished raining.

So, recently I've been running a lot along Peace Boulevard to either Chuodori (the 7k route) or the road just past Hijiyama (the 10k route) and then back to Koi along Route 2. There are two or three schools just off the highway on the way back, so I often pass groups of students in the morning who are on their way to school-I can't tell if they are Junior High School students or just High School students. But anyway, on Tuesday when I was running past a group of girls, one of them said "Kimo~i!" which has an infinite number of meanings (none of them good...ha ha!). In this context she was probably using it the way we might use the retching sound or the gesture of putting our finger in our mouth like we are trying to throw up...ha ha! 

I was shocked, it seems like only yesterday that I was "kakkoi" (good-looking, stylish...etc) and I knew that I wouldn't be "kakkoi" forever because in Japan they worship youth too much, but I still felt like it was a bit sudden to change from "kakkoi" to "kimoi". I whipped my head around to see which one of them had called me that and to see if they were all pointing and laughing only to discover that they weren't talking about me at all. They were looking at something on the sidewalk....ha ha!!

It was such a relief! I know I'm not "kakkoi" anymore (c'est la vie) but I'd like to think that I'm still a few years away from being "kimoi"...ha ha!

Have a great day!

Being a tourist-Part Two

Good morning everyone,

It's going to be another gorgeous day out there. Today will be mostly sunny with a high of 27C. Tomorrow is looking ok too-they are calling for a mix of sun and cloud and a high of 26C. Sunny will be mostly cloudy and Monday will be mostly sunny-both days again with highs in the mid to high 20s. After that, it's too tough to predict...

So, on the second day of my professional tourist life I went to Miyajima.
 Itsukushima Shrine 
I thought it would be a bit harder to pretend to be a tourist because I'd already been there before-at least half a dozen times. But there were tonnes of things that I hadn't noticed before and I learned a bit about the area and the history of the island (in Japanese "jima" means "island") and the Itsukushima Shrine. The first thing I learnt was that it isn't actually a shrine but rather a complex of 17 shrines, each one housing a god (or two or three). Some of them are very minor gods and hardly visited whereas others are more powerful and prayed to daily.

Luckily, there was a Japanese wedding ceremony being held so we got to see a woman dressed in full wedding kimono-including the hat that covers her horns. I tried to warn the groom, but he wouldn't listen to me...I'm sure he'll regret it in a day or two...ha ha!
Wedding kimono 
If you look closely you can already see the horns sprouting...ha ha! Just kidding! Those hats weigh about 5kgs!

After leaving Itsukushima we went to a temple nearby so that we could talk about how Shintoism and Buddhism have co-existed on Japan for hundreds and hundreds of years (except for the Restoration when Shinto was again made a state religion and many Buddhist temples were destroyed).

Then we went to a Five-Story Pagoda and the large One Thousand Tatami-mat Hall behind the temple. I never knew that each of the stories of a pagoda is meant to represent one of the four elements (earth, wind, fire, water) and the fifth level is to represent heaven.

Finally, we went to the main shopping area and took a break with a cup of Japanese tea and a momiji manju. It was very relaxing-we could look out into a small Japanese garden with a carp pond and a waterfall. I was almost inspired to write a haiku...almost...ha ha!

Today, I'll be going to Hiroshima Castle. It'll be a little more interesting for me because I've only been there once before and that was about 7 or 8 years ago...

Have a great day!

Bad Japanese

Good morning everybody,

Well, the forecast for today isn't looking as bad as I thought. Of course it's raining now and it's going to rain all morning, but it looks like it's going to clear up after lunch. It'll only get up to about 23C today-not that 23C is so bad, but it will be the coolest day this week. The rest of the week is looking a bit warmer but the weatherman has lowered the predicted highs for the middle of the week-now we're expecting the highs to reach into the mid-20s. No complaints here-that's still great weather for me! (And hopefully I won't have to turn on the AC at school this week...Ha ha!)

So, I have a feeling I wrote about this before but I'm not sure, so sorry if you're reading this for the second time.

I often go to a coffee shop near my school and I always order the same thing summer or winter-ice coffee. After doing it for three years, the staff have got to know me. It's one of those American chain coffee shops so the staff is made up of young girls. Sure, they are also cute-I'm at the age now where any young girl who smiles at me=cute...ha ha!  I reckon I'm only a year or so away from making bad jokes that they will have to laugh at because I'm a customer...ha ha!

Anyway, one day I was walking through Shareo (Shareo is an underground shopping area like the PATH in Toronto except about 1/100th the size) and bumped into one of the staff who was out with her friends. She came over and said "hi" to me and I was desperately trying to come up with something witty to say. (I can hardly do it in English, let alone Japanese) I wanted to say that she looked even nicer in her regular clothes-as opposed to her work uniform. The idea was to imply that she was fashionable...I got a bit flustered and ended up saying, "Fuku nai no ho ga kawaii" which basically means, "I think you look cuter naked" Ha ha!.

Luckily, she had spoken to me before and knew that my Japanese wasn't so great so she just looked at me funny and I realized what I had said, so I quickly corrected myself and said, "I think you look cuter in regular clothes." In retrospect, it probably would have been best to say, "Niau" while gesturing to her clothes which means, "That suits you." It just goes to show that, simple is truly best...ha ha! And it's the same in English.

Have a great day! 

The C-string...seriously?!

Good morning everyone,

It's going to be another gorgeous spring day out there! We can expect a high of around 24C with mostly sunny skies in the morning and clouding over in the afternoon. The rest of the week is looking pretty  much the same although it'll be a bit cooler over the weekend with highs in the low 20s.

It goes by different names depending on what country you live in. In Japan you call it a t-back, in Canada we call it a thong and an Australian may call it a "banger".  Up till now, the g-string has been used as a swimsuit on the beach by the most daring women (or in some cases, men) or as underwear by women who want to avoid those embarrassing panty lines. (just to clarify a point-technically underwear means panties and bra but when people talk about underwear, they generally mean 'panties')

The hit tv show, "Friends" popularized the expression-to go commando. It was also an option for women who didn't want to show any panty lines because it meant going out without any underwear. A few years ago, many famous Hollywood party-goers such as Brittany Spears, Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie were caught  going commando while getting in and out of cars.

For most women, going commando isn't an option because it's too embarrassing. But even if you wear a t-back, you can still get panty lines....so, what can you do?!

Now there is a solution! The c-string! (I guess in Japan, we'd call i the I-back...ha ha!)
 red c-string 
It is as close as going commando as you can get while still wearing underwear. There are no panty lines so it's better than a g-string. And it covers the important bits, so it's better than going commando, right?!

What do you think?! Would you wear one?

From a man's point of view-I personally think they aren't that sexy and a girl wearing a thong is much, much sexier.

Have a great day!
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