Yesterday I woke at 7

Yesterday I woke at 7 even though I could sleep late. This morning’s wake-up at 7 into the gray depressing morning was not so joyous, even though went to sleep already at 10… but. Probably the last time at Hombu. *sigh*
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Even more *sighs*. There’s one more training option on Tuesday at Ayase, but I think I won’t make it. After the last training and goodbyes at the end, riding the train in the middle of rice fields with rain shower made lighter with the setting sun… I’m going to miss this.

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Very bravely I shopped today

Very bravely I shopped today with Ako, for souvenirs. Got them all for you, now. If you deserve it:)
I also got myself 2 shuriken to accompany the shoto – I guess that is obligatory – while watching the 28th Asakusa Samba festival with Everyone Else ™. No photos from that event – but finally I’ve experienced an almost-true Japanese Matsuri. It contained lot of moving anround and standing in crowds so dense that I could feel the heartbeats of the people around me.
Interestingly, the Samba was not bad at all, and we had hard time with Ako to continue our mission of searching the specific souvenir items when the rythm just wanted to carry our legs away… lots of bare, flat, shaking girl-stomachs and even some eye-candy for women as a male group of professional swimmers performed their samba in swimming-trunks 😉
To end the evening properly, I am watching hanabi, fireworks, from my balcony, drinking aki-nashi autumn cider and eating rice crackers. Not bad. 🙂

Let’s see. I’ve worked a

Let’s see. I’ve worked a LOT this week, slept little over 5-6 hours per night for a week, and today’s the first day for a long time I’ve no early appointments or tasks. So, what should a sensible person do? Sleep until 11 or so. Not me, though – I wake up at 7 (after going to sleep around 1.30) and can’t sleep more.
(Uploaded some photos from the last week – again, some of them contain just strange people posing, but bear with me)
Supposedly I could use the time for udating the Blog – even though there’s not so much to tell of the last few days, weekend was rather adventurous as I woke up at 6 on Sunday morning, hopped on the car with Ako and her 10 friends and drove 2 hours out of Tokyo – to the mountanous area in Saitama prefecture, Nagatoro, for soaking ourselves in different ways – first, whitewater rafting, then just hiding in the river from the +36 degrees heat, and finally in an onsen (where I found new dimensions in how big I am compared with the Japanese beautiful women…). It was very relaxing to lie in the hot bath, looking at a waterfall in the middle of the forest and listen to some shamisen (admittedly, from speakers … but still. And guess what? No photography from that site 😉 ) and no wonder I slept most of the way back home in car, as I had slep 4 hours the previous night… why? Because I had the funny idea to attend to a training at Hombu (and received the Shoto. It’s beautiful. Perfect. Unique) , at 19.30 on Saturday evening … and had spent of the day walking around in heat, looking for budo stores (found some, including one seemingly specialising in kendo-gear for kids, with equiment bags decorated with winnie the poohs etc…).
I read that Helsinki had another Night of the Arts. Hopefully you guys had some fun. Also, Shihan Moti Nativ from Israel is currently teaching at the home dojo – it’s a pity I’m missing it.
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I saw a fight between a cat and a cicada – sort of a cricket. The cat lost.
I learned that the name of this town – Wako-shi – means something like ‘the city of shining harmony’. No wonder I’ve so often lost all my worries just by walking outside.
Also, at a dinner, I finally learned what it was that I saw on the TV this morning – the North-Korean cheerleader-group being very distressed about something and crying. (I am still surprised each time I realise how close the Koreas are from this point of view…) It turned out, that a banner showing the picture of North Koreas leader was tied on the other hand to a tree, which is considered a bad luck tree in the North. They did not seem to be calmed by the information that the same tree is a good-luck tree in the South.
I see a looong way to naturalising the relationships between those two countries. *sigh*
Imagine all the people….

Just listened to an ingenious

Just listened to an ingenious presentation about how analysing protein structure is similar to listening jazz improvisation.
And it makes sense:)
-evening-
I just HAVE to write an entry for this evening.
I had a most extraordinarily good time on the train back home from training, because I had the company of Jason and Bill. Words just can not describe these amazingly cool guys. Really I mean.
The last training at Higashi-Matsuyama, pleasant, relaxed even though containing enough new directions to have me more or less completly lost half of the time. This dojo I am going to miss.
So, finally today – the Summer Program Seminar. It seems I was not the only one working late yesterday evening on the presentation, as well as not the only one who ran out of time. Many good presentations, several of which left me envying the communicative skills every person originating from the United States seems to have. The actual show went quite nicely, I suppose, despite my nervous system getting nervous over nothing, as usual. I suppose I have to get rid of that ‘pounding heart and shaking hands’ – thing before I can even think about actually defending the thesis… so, inspired by these experiences, I signed up for a ‘Getting ready for Dissertation’-course at the Helsinki University.
Unnerving.
The previous days this weeks I spent very intensively analysing the data – even though significance was slightly hard to dig out of the 13 cells, I managed to find enough trends to motivate further studies with this project. I suppose that’s good for the 2 month project – and frankly, I am happy with it.

I had a box of

I had a box of chocolates on my desk.
Not any more – ate each and every piece in it.
And, after eating each piece, I thought “gosh, the Japanese don’t know how to make chocolate” – indeed, even though the Meiji Black is the best variant I’ve found in the supermarket, it is not good in any sense. Vaguely reminding me of the kind of chocolate you get in cheap chocolate Xmas calendars.
Still, I ate it all. Incomprehensible.
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Whoa. Another week gone by – finished this day with the heroic deed of patching 3 cells from a double-KO mouse. If that was due to the chocolate, it was worth it.

Yeah, yeah, I’m alive. Just

Yeah, yeah, I’m alive. Just nothing much to report.
Work. Not much rain today.
Two dead after Saitama murder-kidnap
A man is found slain in a Saitama Prefecture apartment, while the body of one of three female residents kidnapped from the same building is found by a road 30 km away.
Had to sit for an hour for photo session – a staged thing, to make it look like people here leisurely sit in the recreational room, drinking water, reading newspapers and discussing science and baseball. The people to the shooting were chosen by their ‘interesting’ and different looks. Sat for a longish time looking at a Newsweek’s article on Arnold’s career. Can’t wait to see the story.

Another miserable looking morning. I

Another miserable looking morning. I almost wish it’d be pouring like hell than this seeping wetness, coldness and grayness.
Had a dream I was having a secret affair with someone that looked like Richard Gere. (Analyse that!)
Also, in the dream, it was raining incessantly.
The TV is recommending me different meal replacement drinks so I could conveniently move towards the 48kg-optimal-condition-for-a-woman.

I thought I’d get through

I thought I’d get through one day without anything to report. Then, two tremendous events.
The first one, an earthquake – only 4.4 in magnitude but halfway closer than the previous one (which ruined houses some 200 km north from Tokyo) – it seems to be getting closer…
The second one was more remarkable. I saw a giant in the food store – objectively, I realised that the japanese man was actually not bigger than – say, Heikki, or Topi, but the effect was that of having Hulk walking around. Even I instinctively kept a safe distance…. An entertaining shift in perception.

Rain. Train. Rain. Train. It

Rain. Train. Rain. Train.
It feels soo good once again feel physically exhausted and hurting, even though, for most of the training again I was just outside like a snowman. I am very hard trying to convince myself that I don’t need to buy the last sword (shoto) made at the Hombu Dojo …
Most pleasant surprise: I got email from a very old friend, who I met at the European Youth Parliament meeting at Strasbourg, some 10 years ago. This person was one of the first ones to call me Yoe – So, a bit like godfather:) Once in a while I realise how good thing the net is, as it allows this kind of communiaction – on the other hand, I guess it was the availability of handy email-based communication that ruined our long-lasting letter-based communication…
It has been now found out – the culprit for – not the Blackout, but the Weather:
“Abnormal movements of westerly winds and unusual atmospheric activity are believed to be the cause of cooler temperatures in Japan this summer, Japan Meteorological Agency officials said Saturday.”
The unusual atmospheric activity seems to refer to somekinda global climate changes. So, don’t whine about lousy winters due to greenhouse effects – if it stays like this for half a year here, I feel sorry for this nation.
I am not anymore wondering why the Japanese – like the Finns – have such high suicide rates – this rain would make the strongest kaamos-enthusiac sick.