Thursday, January 12, 2006

Tomorrow being Friday the 13th and all....

FRIDAY THE 13TH - how did Friday the thirteenth become such an unlucky day?
fear of Friday the 13th is rooted in ancient, separate bad-luck associations with the number 13 and the day Friday. The two unlucky entities combine to make one super unlucky day.
There is a Norse myth about 12 gods having a dinner party at Valhalla, their heaven. In walked the uninvited 13th guest, the mischievous Loki. Once there, Loki arranged for Hoder, the blind god of darkness, to shoot Balder the Beautiful, the god of joy and gladness, with a mistletoe-tipped arrow. Balder died and the Earth got dark. The whole Earth mourned.
There is a Biblical reference to the unlucky number 13. Judas, the apostle who betrayed Jesus, was the 13th guest to the Last Supper.
A particularly bad Friday the 13th occurred in the middle ages. On a Friday the 13th in 1306, King Philip of France arrested the revered Knights Templar and began torturing them, marking the occasion as a day of evil.

In ancient Rome, witches reportedly gathered in groups of 12. The 13th was believed to be the devil.

Both Friday and the number 13 were once closely associated with capital punishment. In British tradition, Friday was the conventional day for public hangings, and there were supposedly 13 steps leading up to the noose.
It is traditionally believed that Eve tempted Adam with the apple on a Friday. Tradition also has it that the Flood in the Bible, the confusion at the Tower of Babel, and the death of Jesus Christ all took place on Friday.
Numerologists consider 12 a "complete" number. There are 12 months in a year, 12 signs of the zodiac, 12 gods of Olympus, 12 labors of Hercules, 12 tribes of Israel, and 12 apostles of Jesus. In exceeding 12 by 1, 13's association with bad luck has to do with just being a little beyond completeness.

FRIDAY THE 13TH - how is fear of the number thirteen demonstrated?

More than 80 percent of high-rises lack a 13th floor.
Many airports skip the 13th gate.
Airplanes have no 13th aisle.
Hospitals and hotels regularly have no room number 13.
Italians omit the number 13 from their national lottery.
On streets in Florence, Italy, the house between number 12 and 14 is addressed as 12 and a half.
Many cities do not have a 13th Street or a 13th Avenue
In France, socialites known as the quatorziens (fourteeners) once made themselves available as 14th guests to keep a dinner party from an unlucky fate.
Many triskaidekaphobes, as those who fear the unlucky integer are known, point to the ill-fated mission to the moon, Apollo 13.
If you have 13 letters in your name, you will have the devil's luck . Jack the Ripper, Charles Manson, Jeffrey Dahmer, Theodore Bundy and Albert De Salvo all have 13 letters in their names.

the source

create your own visited countries map

I'm bored....this is what my 'countries visited' map looks like if I include stopovers in which I actually got off the plane, wandered around the airport and purchased something....sigh, it's really only two more countries.

Looks like I need to go south.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Another full weekend

This past weekend was another 3 day weekend here in Japan. Monday was 'Coming of Age Day', a day where all the boys and girls who turn twenty this year gather for a day of pomp and circumstance in their hometowns.

I took full advantage of the three days, starting with Friday night at my new favorite hangout in Nyuzen "Koshi". This is where Christmas Eve was celebrated this year...friends, food and wine, what more do I have to say?! (thanks for the photo Owen!)

Saturday, I and all the hooligans from the night before convinced ourselves that we should still go snowboarding as planned -despite the incredible amount of snow that had fallen overnight -and despite the fact that is was still snowing! We loaded up Johnny's car and after only a small delay (we had to boost the car) we headed for the slopes. By the time we got up to the moutain we could hardly see two feet in front of us, big white flakes falling straight down. But, we strapped on our boards anyway and headed up the lift. I was about to get my first lesson in riding powder...and my first lesson in how to dig myself out when the riding part doesn't go so well. It was an incredibly challenging and exhausting day, but with so many of us riding together -there were about 10 of us - it ranks up there as one of the most fun days I've had on my snowboard. (I stole your photo Matt, hope you don't mind!)

I spent Saturday evening recovering by soaking in the tub and reading one of three books I've got on the go- "The True History of Chocolate".

Sunday Kirsten and I decided to go shopping in Takaoka. We hopped in her little yellow plate and headed to AEON mall - with thoughts of Starbucks urging us through the snow covered roads. Takaoka is the only city in Toyama-ken that has a Starbucks. Toyama city has a Seattle's Best, but I'm sorry, it's not Starbucks. Being the "Coming of Age Day" weekend, we saw tons of young girls dressed in their kimono, walking around the mall with boys dressed in suits. It's quite a bizarre sight to see at a mall. Speaking of bizarre, I found the photo above on the internet, it was taken in Harajuku, Tokyo (an area known for it's 'odd' side)

We sat in starbucks and people watched for a while before hitting the shops. Of course I dragged Kirsten to the bookstore where I found another magazine with my photo from the car show in it. I HAD to buy it! It also had photos of friends that I have met through VW, very cool.

We ended our visit to Takaoka with dinner at an Indian restuarant we just happened to spot on our way out of the city. This particular restaurant is quite well known among JETs in the area, and now I know why. The proprietor is a very interesting gentleman. He spent the evening telling us how to get a man in Japan and why, we got an explanation on the differences between Japanese and Indian men, and at the end of the night was practically trying to set us up with the two Japanese boys whom he had seated at the table next to us! All in all, some great entertainment with our very delicious dinner.

And then there was MONDAY!! After what seemed like days of endless snow, the sun finally showed her beautiful face and gave us perfect weather for another day at Seaside Valley. So, with what is now becoming a nice little routine for John, Kirsten and I, we loaded up our boards, put on some tunes, and hit the expressway headed for Seaside. The hill was packed, but that didn't discourage us from putting in a full day in the sun! And what a day it was! I'll let the photos speak for themselves.