Heräämisiä

Tajusin tässä jokin aika sitten että asun maassa jossa on oma Amazon.com. Yli 1500 yen tilaukset postimaksutta! Whee!
Joku vois kertoa tälle ikiaikaiselle kansalle että Playboy on miestenlehti. Musta vaikuttaa vahvasti siltä että nää aattelee et se on vaan joku pupu muitten joukossa, vähänniinku hellokitty; on nähty lelukauppoja – sellaisia pienten lasten lelukauppoja – jotka mainostaa valikoimiinsa kuuluvan thomas-veturin, nalle puhin ja playboyn. Mä en halua uskoa että äidit tietoisesti pukis 3-vuotiaita tyttäriään playboy-vaatteisiin ja 10-vuotiailla olis kaulassaan playboy-pupu-koruja.
*odottelee lättyjen kypsymistä mittauskuntoon lukemalla ircquotesin toplistaa. säälittävää.*
-update-
Vielä säälittävämpää on venailla että aivoleike saa levättyä kokeen jälkeen ennen sen fiksaamista, lukea yksinään ircquoteseja ja tyrskiä naurua ääneen officessa teinipoikien teinijutuille. Musta on tulossa selvästi vanha setä.
Toivottavasti hekotus lakkaa ennen treenejä.

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siveetön mutta hyvähampainen

Piti kirjoittaa pitkällinen, tunnustuksellinen, häikäilemätön selvitys perjantai-aamuna kokemistani kauhuista kampuksen ulkopuolisella lääkäriasemalle, mutta, yllätysyllätys, inspiraatio siihen liukeni jonnekin paraformaldehydin ja pikrotoksiinin sekaan eilisten kokeiden aikana. Otsikko kumminki kertoo diagnoosin pääpiirteittäin.
Noin kymmenen hiirtä duunattavana viikonlopun ja maanantain aikana.
Kattelin Veran yövalokuvia Helsingistä; vaikka siellä kuinka näyttää satavan, tuntuu siltä että voisin jonkun verran maksaa siitä että saisi pullollisen sateisen Helsingin tuoksua ja ääniä…

Cute girls

CRW_0541.jpg In honor of the Ropecon-weekend in Helsinki, I took my camera and went last Sunday to Harajuku to check out the latest trends in goth. The results are seen now in the photo gallery, statring from this photo – it turned out that in Ueno there was ‘Yukata 04′-modelling show, with different designers’ yukatas on the show – on pretty and professional girls. All the members of the shooting team had permission tags on their shoulders, but no-one seemed to mind me shooting a few over their shoulders…
In Ueno, I met the same old japanese man that I was talking to last year (still can’t remember his name, shame on me) when washing my hands at the entrance of the shrine. “Do you know this kanji”, he suddenly asks by my side, pointing at the kanji ‘kokoro’ at the well. “It means soul, or heart. And this other is ‘to clean. People come here to wash their hands, but it is their heart they should wash.” And, we discussed thousand and one matters during the following hour, from world politics to my efforts in learning japanese (“how often you go to a bar and drink? I think you should go more often, the japanese don’t want to talk without alcohol. Go to a bar, many times, and people will learn to know you and talk to you.”). You know, the stereotypical scene where you sit by a lake on stones with old inscriptions, huge carps swimming in the pond and occasionally jumping out to catch a fly (I’ve never seen fish so big jumping out, it was close to being scary…), behind you the bells of the temple and the rustle of prayers on pieces of paper tied up.. and you’re listening to a man, of undeterminable age (anything between 40 and 80) in slightly shabby clothes and with the eyes that have seen worlds change – and, he speaks in riddles:)
normal_CRW_0523.gif After my time with him was over – just like last year, after having said what needs to be said, he directs me elsewhere (“You see, there is a small path over the lake. You follow it, and the bridges, and the lanterns”) – I found out at the gates to the Ikenohata area that the main summer parade of Ueno had taken place the previous evening, and was attracted to weirdly beautiful music from a small stage near the entrance – like Neil Young played japanese flutes? Listened to it for a while, noticed that the actual concert was going to start in the evening, so I decided to go spend some time in Harajuku etc and come back later.
Unfortunately, I never did; my temporarily elevated moods sank back soon after and I did not find the spirit to do anything. After a few shots at Harajuku (with cute boys as well), and unsuccessful attempts to find a nice skirt, I was more than ready to crawl back towards the Tobu line and home.

Salaisia ninjatekniikoita

IMG_0499.jpgTässä on linkki pieneen videopätkään missä Hatsumi opettaa Bujinkania (taikailla Tennesseessä vuonna 98); kuvan laatu on kehno ja musiikki muistuttaa lähinnä 80-luvun tietokonepelejä, mutta jonkinlainen pintakäsitys lajista siitä saattaa välittyä. Äijä on tuossa vain 66-vuotias mutta ihan yhtä vetreä nykyäänkin… ja ennenkuin kovat karatekat ja tiesmitkä shootfighterit kiljuu että noi tekniikathan on ihan leikkiä vain (kattokaa kuinka P.F. nauraa kun sitä väännetään nänneistä) eikä tositilanteessa niistä olis mihinkään: kyseessä on siis opetustilanne missä ihmisille näytetään et tällasia asioita voi tehdä – ja sit niitä kokeillaan ja varioidaan eri tilanteissa.
Tarkkasilmäiset lukijat ovat saattaneet havaita, että kirjoitan tosi vähän bujinkan-treenauksesta, ainakin mistään muusta kuin ‘tää on mulle nyt tosi tärkeetä hei’. Ja jos kirjoitan niin kirjoitan suomeksi. Syy tähän on yksinkertaisesti se, että mä en oikein ole sellaisessa asemassa että voisin kirjoittaa mitään; kysyin siltä opettajalta jonka kanssa olen juttuväleissä – ja se ei edes ole se *mun* opettaja – ja viesti oli selvä: parempi jos en kirjoita mitään, tai korkeentaan ‘treenit oli kivat mutta en ymmärtänyt mitään’. Saattaa kuulostaa joltain elitismiltä tai ‘ei saa paljastaa ninjasalaisuuksia’-höpinältä, mutta tästä lajista liikkuu sen verran huonoja juttuja maailmalla muutenkin ilman että joku ääliö jossain lukee mun selityksiä tekniikoista (‘ja sit vasen käsi iskeytyy kurkkuun …’) ja rupeaa itse väittämään että tietää jotain bujinkanista.
Joka tapauksessa, treenaus nousee mun prioriteettilistalla melkein joka treeneissä. Toiveena olisi joskus pystyä oikeasti puhumaan opettajien kanssa asioista ja ymmärtämään edes vähän, sen verran että voisi ehkä joskus opettaa Suomessa vähän. (Vaikka mulla on vyöarvoa nyt jo enemmän kuin monella Suomessa opettavalla henkilöllä, ne on harrastaneet paljon omistautuneemmin paljon pidempään kuin minä, ja sitäpaitsi vyöarvoja Japanin ja Suomen välillä ei pysty mitenkään vertailemaan.) Jos mulla olisi jotenkin suunnattomasti enemmän aikaa ja jaksamista, lukisin enemmän kirjoja, katsoisin videoita, treenaisin enemmän. Kun ei ole, keskityn siihen yhteen asiaan joka toivottavasti edistää tätä kaikkea: kielen opiskeluun.
Itse asiassa melkein kaikki asiat mitä mä haluaisin Japanissa elämisestä saada edellyttää melko hyvää kielenhallintaa.
Joka tapauksessa, jos jollakulla olis haluja kysyä / puhua Bujinkanista tai sen treenaamisesta Japanissa tai muuten, mailia kumminkin kannattaa laittaa vaikken kaiken maailman edessä rupeakaan mitään julistamaan.
(Päivän lounasongelma ratkesi: Naoyo-san toi muovikassillisen tomaatteja; Naoyon äidin ystävä on tomaattiviljelijä joka joutuu jakamaan kaikki b-luokan tomaatit pois kun ei ne mene kaupaksi. b-luokan tomaatti on siis sellainen joka ei ole täsmälleen saman näköinen kuin a-luokan tomaatti, japanilaiset haluavat tasakokoisia tomaatteja. Hyvää on, eikä torjunta-aineita käytetä (Naoyo kerto että kasvihuoneessa asuu jotain ihmeellisiä (tappaja?)mehiläisiä jotka pitää huolen tuholaisista – vaikka ei kyllä kovin lähelle pääse vielä suomalaisia tomaatteja makeudessa…)

Weather report

july26.jpgThis morning, after crawling up from the bed and spending considerable time thinking about what to wear that would be cool enough as well as chaste enough, I opened the front door, took a step and was taken aback by the temperature – it was very cool, almost too cool to wear sleeveless shirt! Had to go back and check the thermometer which indeed showed a chilly +28 degrees.
Went to see Shrek 2 yesterday. Great movie, very nicely rendered horses.
It worries me that not only can they make CGI-actors almost go for real actors, but they can wake up feelings for horses, CGI-horses.
There was a matsuri, a festival today in Wako, with our little Jen (the molecular biologist from our lab) taking part in it, and I swore on Saturday that if I won’t make it to see at least this Matsuri (since I’ve been so long wanted to see a parade) when it’s literally round the corner, I will truly despise myself. Well, guess what – had a meeting. Did some very feeble attempts for postponing the meeting for a later hour, but when only modestly confronted I dropped my case.
It’s good that I actually can’t despise myself much more, so no worries about any very dramatic changes.

Need to…

july24b.jpg… train more. At least 3 times a week if I ever want to get anywhere with this thing. There are those training session where I suck so badly I want to quit, and others where I suc equally bad but just think that I need to train more. Can’t tell what the difference is.
While walking towards the train station in Asakadai after the training, I noted some music flowing in the air from somewhere off the main street – and, found one of these dancing festivals on a tiny plaza or more accurately, a children’s playing ground, with lanterns, a small orchestra (consisting of drum-beater and two other people) on an elevated dais in the middle, and people dancing in a circle around the center. Not only people dressed up in those special yukatas with uniform design, but just ordinary people, seemingly passers-by, young and old, some familiar with the dance and some obviously not but non-chalantly taking part anyways … smiling, relaxed, enjoying the communal dance and the cooled evening air. Smell of roasted chicken and other treats rising from small carts parked around the dancers, a pair on fire extinguisher-sized kids in kimonos with HUGE portions of shaved ice with green and red toppings… nobody in a hurry anywhere.
Except for me, standing there at the edge of the crowd, taking a few pitiful photos with my keitais, in a hurry to the train to take me back to the things I do. So much, or so much wanting to be able to take part in the event, not necessarily the dancing part since my sense of gracious movements and rythms is … let’s say, incomplete … even though the skill and knowledge seriously is not the point in the dance, but at least spending time at the festival area, eating a yakitori or shaved ice with something else than ‘I’m just a passer-by tourist, please do not let me offend you by my presence’…
I’ve often found weird feelings in me when seeing people enjoying themselves doing something together, was it part of traditions or not – again, I stand at the edge, watching happy and contend people, looking at their faces and knowing this is their life and at this particular moment everything is just perfect – and never I can be part of those things. There’s always someone in my head telling me to go on, move on, this is not your happiness, you are not part of this, don’t bother people by pretending this is your place. The event in question might be a mid-summer party with bonfires and people drinking themselves stupid, or just homewarming partys with people playing cards and talking WoD – even though I laugh and drink with the rest of them, often I’m still just a tourist, passing by, winking my eye-replacement (camera) at people when they are most happy.
Why can’t I be part of this? Can’t say. Probably has to do something with the fact that to melt in this life I would have to lose some things, some attachments or belongings which in the present way of life I can not let go of. Such a sorrow…
I guess that’s one reason why the training is becoming so important to me – there, once in a while when kneeling down to bow in the row with others I almost feel I belong. Not quite, but almost. There are people who call me by my name – the one my friends use and not the one that the officials at International Co-operations Office use – choose to train with me, choose to speak with me even though there are always excuses not to notice me, and pat my shoulder when I leave the train at my stop.
(A side thought that came to my mind yesterday: the doctor that felt my throat at the clinic was probably the first person outside home and training (rush-hour trains do not count) that had physically touched me in this country. The Finns are not as keen of touching each other as other Europeans, but I think here it is even more uncommon… And, certainly, the first japanese man to do so. Wasn’t *that* exciting, though… )
But, I need to train more. To be honest, not only should I take care to attend to at least 3 trainings a week, also I should get around to practise on my own the basic stuff – but, I’m afraid that won’t happen…

july24.jpg Woke up around 8AM after an uneasy night, could not really sleep any more. Since then, I’ve been mostly sitting on the sofa staring at the wall or the thermometer on the balcony (+36 and rising), trying to figure out something – anything – that I would feel like doing. Can’t think of anything. It’s now 3PM; I’m taking this as a test of whether I can keep on doing nothing, thinking absolutely nothing until 6.15 PM when I should leave for training – provised I would find feel like doing that.
Reading back yesterday’s entry I strongly agree I should at least try to lift my ass from the sofa for training.
Listening to Dingo.
“Näen sateen ja auringon, on kettujen häät – pääni polvien välissä muurahaisten leikkivän nään … Olen tullut paikkaan josta näen yli merien… ja mustarastaan huuto kautta vastarannalta soi – sateekaaren luona ei mua kuule kukaan” (“Mirah”)
Those used to be my favourite pieces of lyrics when I was 15, and I had a bunch of overly kitchy and ridiculous RPG-characters called Mirah. Funny to think I’m now way older than Neumann and the others were while on the peak of the Dingo times.
— 1.5 hours later —
I’m doing something. ButtUglyWeblog reported that at 5AM, the Ropecon Infodesk sang badgerbadgerbadger – I’ve been staring at the badger animation for some time now and can clearly see some familiar faces in there.
I guess I’ll move my ass tomorrow to Harajuku, park somewhere near the station, shoot coz-play-teens with my keitai and pretend I’m having a con experience.

Tonari no Totoro

jul23.jpg I had the opportunity to have an experience of japanese health care system – J&M had already tried it out and found it somewhat disturbing. After mentioning my sore throat to Ancient History In The Middle Of The Field she promptly ushered me to go se the doctor at RIKEN clinic, which is conveniently situated in the west end of the main research building and does not require any kind of reservation (except for seeing a psychiatrist, I found out). Ancient History went with me, which was nice since the physician knew maybe 10 words in english, and she explained as well that I had had abscesses before and was worried about having them again… the physician took a spatula, said “now, AAAA”, gave my throat a peek, felt around my throat, gave me two sets of pills and iodine drops, said “not serious” and sent me away. (The kusuri – drugs for medical use – seem to be included in the health insurance around here – impressive I say)
jul23b.jpg
The pills I got – one set for throat, the other for stomach (?!) – seemed to work. After having just a pair of them I felt too good to even fake throat ache, had to keep the presentation in full (60 minutes went by in a flash, even though I only had to present the result that out of 51 recorded cells enough are well defined in terms of genotype and neurotransmitter to present a case of knock-outs being statistically significantly different from the wild types) and lost all aspirations for going home early and sleeping. Nevertheless, I decided to skip training (in case I *was* latently ill) and thought that I could use the evening going somewhere nice, shop for something nice and maybe take a few photos – but, even before I got to Wako train station, my head was filled with a gigantic “why?” and I lost all enthusiasm about everything. So, I waddled through the swamp of mental uselessness to Itoo Yokadoo, bought a few cans of beer, toilet paper and came home.
Entertaining myself now with “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Statistics” (I really need it, don’t laugh) and “Tonari no Totoro” being broadcasted on channel 4. Can’t decide which is more disturbing through the taste of beer, Chooya and Sukish.
Regret skipping training. It often seems to me that training, that is, making a complete idiot of myself three times a week at various dojos is the most important thing to keep me sane, and when all else fails, that’s the only thing I want to do is to learn Bujinkan.

Me duelen la garganta

july23.gif Yesterday, while walking back home from the station after training at H-M, I composed in my mind a lenghty blog-entry about training, studying, the goals (or lack of them) of my life and so on – but, upon falling down on the sofa I remember’sed that I had left my laptop at the office. So, no attempts to philosophize about promotions in the belt or my problems of coping with everyday life – but brainless staring at a late-night educational program on the TV teaching Spanish to a japanese couple.
Me duelen la garganta, they said many, many times. Actually, it does. A lot. Resorting to Naoyo-san’s remedies, mysterious red drops and pills that I can not read the ingredients of. Good thing is that I might get away with today’s seminar presentation with only showing the pictures and graphs (that, indeed, show that the sample I’ve collected is enough to prove the first hypothesis) and don’t have to invent the usual chitchat in between. I just wish I won’t get the
abcesses. And I need to train.
But, I was somewhat delighted to realise I still now enough Spanish to follow it better than the Japanese. Even though, naturally, I should be worried about my Japanese not getting better (how could it when I don’t study?)
The car shown here was just trying to hide among the tiny Suzuki’s on a small parking lot.
‘Con weekend. I miss it.

Panting crows

jul21.jpg The title is not yet-another name for a japanese pop group. Where ever you go, you see crows that seek shade where ever they can find it, panting, clearly cursing the one crow who back in the beginning of time thought “Black! That’d be cool. Think of all the goth teenage girls that will be attracted to us!”
3 PM is the worst. All I want to do is go home and take a few hours siesta under the calming sound of air conditioner…. But, alas, no, here I sit and move the mouse so that the screen saver won’t go on, stare blankly at the list of 18 cells I should be analysing for Friday’s team seminar – even samurai.fm, the ‘coolest music on the planet’ does not keep me going anywhere.
I finally managed to upload some new photos, shot with my brand-new Canon EOS Kiss – “Rebel” in the States, and very boringly “300D” in Europe – digital SLR camera. Nothing very spectacular there, just learning how shoot – and waiting for some inspiration to shoot.