Weapons of Mass Deception

“It’s probably just as difficult to find a happily employed Westerner in a Japanese company as it is to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq”, writes Kaori Shoji in her column in the JT.
We’ll see about that – I’m planning to be happily employed for the next 3 years. Maybe they’ll find some bio-weapons by that time then.

Multitasking

Doing what I think became my favourite past time last summer: watching TV, surfing the net, reading a magazine, enjoying a take-out meal (the bits that looked like meat were liver but still quite good) and updating the blog – at the same time. Who’s surprised to hear that none of those activities are advancing too well? For some reason, this is what I always end up doing after an exhausting day, like this was. Maybe I should at least turn off the TV.
So, after going around for 7 hours in Tokyo, any accomplishments? None, unless sore feet and tens of thousands of spent yen count. We went to the Tokyo Metropolitan Gov’t building (see last year’s log for photos…) in Shinjuku to find out where the regional Immigration Office building is. After struggling against tens of used camera shops and almost getting to the IO, I remembered I did not have the required photos with me. Next on the list, the Finnish Embassy, was already closed when we got there (and it is rather uphill walk wrom the nearest subway station, Hiro-o). We managed finally to find a NTT DoCoMo shop with some english spoken – they very politely tried sticking some of their SIM cards into my Nokia but without success. Also, my passport and the attached sheet that states I have registered as an alien were not enough for a regular phone&account – I need the Alien Registration card, my banc account book and my official hanko-stamp. Better luck next time, but at least we got some free candies.
I should be receiving my first salary tomorrow. Wonder how much it will be, how it will be paid – if it goes to my bank account I’ll need to bother Textile on High Rice Fields again to go with me to the bank – no way I could manage on my own…
As is clear from this text, I have not decided on the main language of this blog. Most likely it’ll be changing between finnish and englisch according to my mood and need and the type of the keyboard I’m typing with. Just bear with me.

Kyllä tää tästä

Aamu. Telkkarin lastenohjelmassa pojan japanilaiseen kotiin tulee näköjään norsu asumaan ja sit se jakaantuu ja kaikkia stressaa. Sisäinen kello näyttää luopuneen vastaanpotkimisesta, olen hereillä siis jo aamulla. Epäilen että eilinen lähes kahdentoista tunnin työrupeama vakuutti sen. Yrittäisin olla tekemättä paljonkaan töihin liittyvää tänään, kun ei sitä vielä odoteta – ens viikolla luultavasti pitäisi jo ruveta viilaamaan veitsiä käyttökuntoon.
Hämmennys. Vietin suurimman osan eilisestä päivästä lukien kahta artikkelia, jotka tämä labra meinaa julkaista kohta – ja vaikka ens alkuun paniikki meinasi iskeä päälle kun en ole juur mitään tiedettä lukenut kolmeen kuukauteen ja pää meni kolmen tunnin välein paksuun tahmaan, ajatus työnteosta, tieteenteosta, ei ahdista. Molemmat paperit käsittelee depolarisaation merkitystä kloridiakkumulaatiossa – asia, jonka olen tavallaan aina tiedostanut mutta joka on ‘meillä kotonapäin’ aika lailla ignoroitu… mutta sain kai aikaan muutamia rakentavia kommentteja, vaikka menee varmaan taas hetki ennenkuin mä uskon omaan päähäni tarpeeksi että pystyisin oikeasti mitään kritisoimaan.
Tänään olis tarkoitus etsiä a) Immigration Office Building (joka on ilmeisesti Minato-ku:ssa, mutta sen tarkempaa ei ny löydy) b) Suomen suurlähetystö ja c) NTTDoCoMo:n liike, josta pitäisi saada FOMA-puhelimia (ehkä kaikkein hypein 3G-puhelinlaji) ja koittaa meniskö sellasen simmi heittämällä mun Nokiaan. Niin ja shopata…
Tää kämppä on hulppean kokoinen (59 neliötä, noin 8-henkisen perheen kotia vastaava) vaikkakin aika vanha ja kulunut. Paperiset liukuovet on tapana vaihtaa Japanissa aina kun asunnon vuokralainen vaihtuu mutta syystä tai toisesta niitä ei tässä ole vaihdettu – ja ne näyttää siltä kuin joku olisi pirskotellut vuosikaudet kahvia niille. Ayakon (jonka nimi tarkoittaa jotain ‘kangas korkeilla riisipelloilla’) avustuksella kitisimme vähän ja saamme ehkä uudet liukuovet jos RIKENin byrokratia sen sallii (kyse ei ole siis rahasta).
Täällä on eteinen (jonka kenkälokeroihin ei mahdu yksikään vaellussaapas) ja jääkylmä työhuone, keittiö jossa automaattikaasuliesi, voileipägrilli, riisinkeitin ja termospannu;makuuhuone jossa on leikkaussalivalaistus; Olohuone jossa on aika vaatimaton telkkari, maailman epämukavin sohva (istun lattialla rullatun ‘futonin’ päällä) ja ilmastointilaite joka vaatis öljyämistä ettei pitäis melua; suihkuhuone, vessa ja ‘kylppäri’ jossa on pesukone ja kuivausrumpu. Kaappeja tavallaan on mutta ne on niin hankalan kokoisia että toistaiseksi kaikki tavarat on lattialla ns. ruokailuhuoneessa… saas nyt nähdä pitääkö ostaa ihan huonekaluja (kun ei kirjahyllyäkään ole).
Tarttis varmaan lähteä liikkelle…

Almost a person

Some three days on this island, and I’ve almost managed to arrange for everything needed in order to become a real person: I have a social security number (don’t know which, but most likely one of the numbers on my social security card), a bank account, two official hanko-stamps used instead of signatures in banks and as attendance proofs (steal someone’s stamp and you can well walk into a bank and empty his account), an e-mail account (forwarded promptly to iki, naturally…). I have a work contract, my very own cubicle – this is luxury, most of the workers just don’t have this kind of privacy – and I am an officially registered alien. Not that this would be nearly enough for the ultimate proof of being a person – obtaining a credit card – but should be enough for a contract with a mobile phone operator.
As said previously, the Nokia 7600 seems to be working fine in J-Phone 3g network – but getting a local operator contract might not be that easy. My plan for now is to locate a Nokia store in Tokyo, walk in and hope they speak at least english. I seem to have lost a big chunk of my japanese communication skills, and buying latte&sandwich seems as difficult as it did last July…
Weather has not changed a bit – still crystal clear skies and +14 degrees. For some reason I still prefer using the white fur-lined wintercoat even though in Finland I’d be most likely wearing shorts and sleeveless shirts if it were as warm … but maybe that would just collect too many stares.
There’s already a common agreement in RIKEN that all finnish people have red hair.

So it begins.

Nousevan auringon maassa paistoi yllättäen aurinko, ja pehmeä Tyynenmeren tuuli puhalsi just sen verran että +14 astetta ei tuntunut liian tuskalliselta eskimotakissa ja taivaalla ei roikkunut liikaa kiiltokuvapilviä vitivalkoisena loistavan Fuji-vuoren seurana.
Hohtavan Harmonian kaupungissa tuoksuu kevät kuin huhtikuussa ja luumupuut aloittavat kukkimista. Rentouttava lämpö ei onneksi ulotu asuntoon sisälle – vaikka kaksi ilmastointilaitetta hurisee hätää kärsien niin ei lämpö riitä kuin kahden ja puolen metrin päähän … Kaikenlaista muutakin ‘hauskaa’ kämpästä löytyy kuten leikkaussali-tason valaistus (nurkissa leikkaussaleista kaukana oleva pölymäärä ) sekä 10 cm korkea kaasu-uuni. Pitaleipä toimiikin täällä ihan puhelimena – ihan liian hauskaa surffata 3G-verkossa ottaen huomioon että ei oo aavistustaaan miten hirveän paljon se kustantaa…
Me katsotaan aivot nollilla sisustusohjelmaa telkasta. 85-vuotias mummo saa uudet lattiat! Mutta sen pakoreitti on tukittu!

Very comfortably, I got an attack of fever yesterday evening, bad enough to think I was already on my deathbed – but no, I’m more or less in normal temperatures today with only a tremendous head-and-neck pain to remind me of it. And an angst of not getting things done in time – I’ve spent now already an hour altogether trying to fix my change of address – a clerc at the Post office has been calling me and the maistraatti this morning many times, apparently not sure whether I’m moving for a temporary stay or for good.
Today’s schedule: Meet Salla & Tiuku at 14-16, play Kulak 16-20, attend AWIF 20-24, clean the house, pack my things, write some e-mails, inform the janitor of me going away, get some documents to my mom and try not to panic.
The net connection will go very soon, so, this might be the last entry before Wako-shi.
Seeya.

So long and thanks for

So long and thanks for all, fish
It’s way too quiet without the sound of running water. I don’t know whether the fish survived the transfer to M&M’s place in the freezing cold, but I don’t feel like calling and asking about it…
I’ve spent most of today and yesterday trying to clean this place up. Backed up by Simo’s advice I managed to do one task that sits rather high on my ‘most-hated-tasks’-list: cleaning up the oven. I am rather sceptical about the spray-on-cleaning-stuff – it smells horrible (worse than hair dye, especially if you’re using Elumen like I do), is most likely carcinogenic, is darn difficult to wipe away completly enough (all the things baked in the oven for some time will most likely have the particular taste, which goes well with the idea of baking a cake for Friday’s last game of Kulak…) – and I am not sure at all that it helps in removing the dirt. In addition to Simo, Jannica and Marya H. as well as Tiuku&Ari helped me by hauling some stuff away. The last two – who have a baby coming in some months and somehow because of that had a need for a truckload of boxes, spooked me out badly by pointing out that at least part of my old furniture and kitchenware etc is considered genuine antique – for instance, the ‘crappy’ kitchen table and chairs are most likely valuable… Makes me wonder what kind of treasures I’ve already thrown away..
I have almost one CD left, one that was hidden on the bottom of one cardboard box stored away for years:Railo by Siberia, a band of a friend’s friend. It seems that each and every song speaks directly to me:

Vesi nousi niinkuin puhuttiin
lipui rannikolta laaksoihin
vei säälimättä mukanaan
kaikki jotka takertuivat tavaraan

Kaikki on kai selvitetty
menetetty mikä menetetty

Voit vaihtaa nimen ja maan
teet kaiken vuoksi vapauden
juokset kiinni unelmaa

Inspired by this discovery, I found my way to the music library at the Pasila railway station and borrowed another CD by almost the same guys – Luumupuu by Loisa. Any bets on whether or not I will remember to return it by Saturday?
*later*
Loisa is great! Did not remember how badly I’ve missed these songs… too bad I don’t have time for finding the CD in shops… just got to memorize the songs…
Um. Most likely – I was talking of another Tiuku you’re thinking about.

Towards the Banana Republic

Towards the Banana Republic
Almost-too-many goodbyes during the last 24 hours. Still, thank you all for coming. I really appreciated. My apologies for the tofu. I even managed to buy one of the items on yesterday’s recommendation list – the one with ‘China’ in it, still can’t remember the title. Had I the time I’d be already curled up somewhere under a blanket and reading…
I tried to have some ‘quality time’ with my brother today – since he’ll be spending rest of this week in various activities essential for passing the matriculations later on – namely, touring the town wearing funny overalls, throwing candies at people and most likely getting drunk. *sigh* Anyhow, instead of throwing on too long lecture on morals and living values and the importance of studying and taking care of Mom and not behaving like an asshole, we went to the Casa Largo and ate ourselves stupid. Hope he’ll be doing OK, nevertheless.
Even though most of valuable stuff has been packed away in banana boxes, my apartment is still under the tyranny of Chaos – I place high hopes on the ninja-girlies coming tomorrow to take away what’s left…
I happened to find an old calendar from year 1999. The bookmark was set on this day (10th of Feb) and the main event marked for the weekend was ‘TOKIOON’. It took me some time to realise it was a play in Ryhmäteatteri.
Umm, yeah. Sabre with an ‘R’.
*later*
While looking at statistics of this page (most of the google-hits are still related to the legendary Elviira the Great Tit…) and found some other yoe who’s very active on ‘freerepublic’ … Strangely disturbing to see ‘myself’ talking somewhere else …

The feeling of accomplishing

The feeling of accomplishing stuff. Finally, after don’t want to count how many years, I managed to go pick my stuff from Jarno’s storage room, including my Czech sable I got as a Christmas present from someone in Poland in the early nineties. Did not remember how big and sharp it was – even though it has gotten a bit rusty, still beautiful to my eye.
In addition: I’ve finally arranged all my photos into albums – not only Kenya and Brazil, but as well several piles of summerparties and birthdays. After wiping my sweating brow, I sat back for a moment to admire the accomplishment – and packed them all away into a box that came with a monitor 6 years ago. Not a small box, that is – and the photos filled it up. Phew. Time to turn to digital photography, or Europe will start to sink as I store all my photographs on 10×15 glossy papers….
Yesterday, the last Bujinkan session here for a while – I suppose I finally managed to teach Salla-my-favourite-ninja-teen how to really HIT with the sword. My wrist still hurts.
We tried to have sorta farewell evening with the budo-otics, in Eatz ‘Japanese Tatami Room’ – even though the food was more or less OK, the service sucked so badly I’m happy I don’t have any reason to visit the place for a while. Still, the atmosphere was quite cozy and almost family-like… I think I had not before thought about that they are the folks that I spend the biggest amount of my free time with. Hm. Spending most of one’s time hurting friends… sounds very healthy.
My sister’s wedding plans are getting more serious by day. Darn. Could she not had made up her [man’s] mind earlier, I would not mind if I could stay on one side of this planet for several months in a row and not fly back and forth all the time? On the other hand, maybe that’s just the good reason to take extra free time…
All the plants gone. And, it seems that after several weeks of efforts directed at throwing away old unnecessary stuff, there is enough space at the attic to allow normal entering (instead of crawling over cardboard boxes etc)…
I suppose this means it can now start accommodating new unncessary stuff.