Thursday, January 31, 2008

day 32

Despite the best efforts of Authorities, some irresponsible consumers still choose to ignore Government Safety Advisories...

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

day 31

This is the face of honesty. Last week right in the middle of downtown Himeji I lost my wallet - cash, credit cards, licences, the lot. I reported it  without much hope. Yesterday, after a very welcome phone-call, I went to collect it from the police, who gave me the name and address of the kind finder, a factory-worker. Last night after work I went to meet, thank and reward this considerate man. Thankyou, Sakamoto-san.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Monday, January 28, 2008

day 29

Dried fish.
Markets near Tegara Eki.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

day 28

Today we were invited by the local community to participate in Rice Cake Festival. Glutinous rice was soaked overnight and cooked. Then it was pounded by the kine (mallet) in a wooden mortar (usu).
Experienced hands divided the rice, now a kind of chewy purée...
It was formed into balls...
After sitting at the altar, sweet beans were added....
Oishi des! Delicious!

Saturday, January 26, 2008

day 27

Our tour of Himeji-jo today coincided with National Fire Awareness Day and a rapid-response exercise by the Himeji Fire Department. Before we knew it the castle was spraying us with water and the local firies were dousing the entire building...

Friday, January 25, 2008

day 26

Riaruty. It's Japanese for Realty.
Century 21 taking over the planet...

Thursday, January 24, 2008

day 25

Cold, naked girl outside of Lawson's.
Otamae-dori, Himeji

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

day 24

Kanji eggs.
Himeji Markets.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

day 23

See why they need English teachers in Japan?
(Part of a traditional Japanese Folk Tale translated into dodgy English on a fence in Umeda, Osaka.)

Monday, January 21, 2008

day 22

Safety Advisories for the Incredibly Stupid and Inept # 27 ;
"Take care! Sharp toothpick!"

Sunday, January 20, 2008

day 21

A calligraphy lesson.
Lyn's name translates as "Rin", (there's no differentiation between "L" and "R") an old Chinese kanji name for "forest", so her calligraphy shows two trees.
Walker is translated as "person who walks" ...

Saturday, January 19, 2008

day 20

Kendama (cup and ball) has been a popular Japanese children's game for at least two centuries. Today we were treated to a brilliant demonstration by kids from the Himeji Branch of the Japan Kendama Association at a local community meeting to welcome Australian exchange teachers. We were also given a kanji calligraphy lesson and beautiful welcome gifts.  Thank you to the Shinzaike community for your warm welcome.

Friday, January 18, 2008

day 18

Sad girl who will never ride a bicycle.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

day 17

Just add water...
First day At Joyo Elementary. The kids are happy & friendly, the teachers welcoming. I'm offered a snack which I sample. It's extremely crunchy. To great hilarity in the staff office it's explained to me that today is Kobe memorial and earthquake/fire/disaster drill and this is an emergency ration. Later I add the recommended boiling water and wait 20 minutes. It's a delicious mixed rice, spice and vegetables.
Much better with water.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

day 16

Long before Victor Wootton there was Jaco Pastorius...
I like selecting my iPod music each morning before my ride. It's like choosing the soundtrack for the movie in post-production (except that it's real time and real life.) Lately I've been reacquainting myself with Joni Mitchell's Mingus album. I still have the original vinyl album I bought back in Adelaide around 1980. It's quite surreal weaving in and out of Himeji traffic and pedestrians, or travelling between the Senba River and the Himeji-jo moat while grooving to The Dry Cleaner from Des Moines.
Last week the strangest thing happened. I was going away from the eki on the Otamae Rd and heading towards the castle listening to Jaco Pastorius' amazing fretless bass on A Chair In the Sky when Wayne Shorter's plaintive moan on soprano comes in on the right channel. Although I've heard it countless times, it took me by surprise. I quickly glanced right and there was this naked black man playing a sax. For a second I thought he was joining in.
Who is this naked black man? Wakarimasen...

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

day 15

Not an ancient torii, but another shot of the derelict monorail at Nobusue. I think I am becoming obsessed with this modern ruin. I also like its juxtaposition with the sculpted pine.

Monday, January 14, 2008


National Holiday! We (Lyn, Jill, I) biked into the city around the back of the castle. Today is Coming-of Age Day (legally adult at 20.) Many young women get out of the hotpants and denim & don traditional kimono for this important day.

day 13

My Friday banquet was accompanied by copious amounts of Asahi beer and sake. Some of us then kicked on at a local karaoke bar with Johnnie Walker (no relation) lubricating proceedings. Yamaguchi-sensei (seen here) refrained as designated driver. Everyone took their turn at a song & some had remarkably good voices. Yours truly gave uninhibited renditions of I can't get no satisfaction, Bridge over troubled water and YMCA. It gets a little hazy after this point.

day 12

Sorry vegans... 
Part of the sumptuous meal given to me by my Sanyo co-workers at Zenya restaurant on Friday night. Golden-eye Bream, ika (squid) and what looked like a mini shovel-nosed version of South Australian flounder. Not sashimi this time, it was grilled by us at the table. Oishi (delicious.)

Saturday, January 12, 2008

day 11

The monorail ends here.
Nobusue, Himeji.

Friday, January 11, 2008

day 10

Kawasaki will make the world better from Thursday...

day 9

Don't let your dog take a dump here.
Very subtle.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

day 8

Q: Why plant cabbages that you can't eat?
A: Because they're beautiful.
Himejians love their flowers, but not much grows in winter. These are everywhere right now.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

day 7

"Read and Know." Good advice from a Sanyo student's art work....

day 6

I visited my new school today- Sanyo Junior High. The best part so far is riding along the Senba River behind Himeji Castle

Sunday, January 6, 2008

day 5

Rooftop egret, Lane of Senhime, along the Senba River, near Himeji Castle.

day 4:

Which one is the Hoi Sin? We're enrolling in Japanese lessons...

day 2:



My hanko. This seal is often used in Japan as a signature.

day 1: Osaka

Osaka Sky Building

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

day zero

It has been a zero kind of day.. 5 hours in the sky where your view is the back of a purple seat 30 cm in front of you. It's not like the picture of the First- Class girl in the magazine. Currently at Changi, 6:20pm. Arrive Kansai 5:30 tomorrow morning..