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Showing posts from December 15, 2013

Suburban Tokyo

When I posted a picture on facebook of a grey and rainy day, one friend commented on how crowded the buildings were. Here's the picture:
It hadn't really occured to me how close together the buildings were since actually in this shot there's quite a lot of space compared to the rest of Tokyo. I did think about it though when we recently moved into our new flat. There are three patio door type windows - two in the main room and one in the bedroom, all of which lead out onto a balcony. One of the main room ones looks out onto a wall which is perhaps 2m away from the edge of the balcony. The other main room balcony has this view:
And the bedroom has this view:
So you can see how close the other houses and flats are in this area. There is basically no empty space at all. It makes me smile a bit because in the UK the planning regs insist you can't overlook other people's properties and people are entitled to privacy and so on. That is clearly not part of the planning la…

Shrinking

I am fairly sure my English vocabulary is shrinking day by day. I rocked my world two days ago by using the word "malignant" in conversation with Noriko who then asked me to define it. Erm. Somehow "like an ominous drain" didn't clarify anything for her. To date my only Japanese vocabulary is thank you, thank you very much, one, two (although these are often wrong - how you count things depends on what they are so the numbers for people are different to, say, vegetables), good morning, please excuse me, hot chocolate, hot cocoa (important difference) and cat. I've really got to improve on that but I have been honestly kept busy sorting out the flat. Pooch leaves before 8am and gets back about 7pm so it's been just me shopping and, recently, assembling flat pack furniture. This has included the very same dining table and chairs set we had in the first flat we shared in Stratford. "Ikea" is clearly another Japanese word that I've managed t…

From Our Own Correspondent

A few of my most recent observations from the most distant outpost of the SkipNorth community.

First up, the japanese like to nap in places that might seem odd to your average england-dweller.
Pooch tells me there is a Tumblr dedicated to people asleep on the Tokyo Metro and I can believe it. You can also see people napping on the benches in the stations, in cafes and on the waiting benches in department stores. I can only guess it is down to long working hours. Or it could possibly be altitude sickness, caused by no one ever finding themselves on the ground floor.
In all of Japanese society, there is no such thing as the ground floor or floor zero. The ground floor is the first floor. God knows they don't need to pretend their buildings are taller than they really are - Pooch's office has 12 floors - but there you go. Our new flat is on the third floor, except it's really the second. I try not to worry about it though. 
Next observation concerns language. I believe I have…