Sunday, June 18, 2006

Two more busy weekends

Last Saturday was a busy day. I went to Toyama in the afternoon and got a new tattoo! Chikako, a good friend from Nyuzen helped me make the appointment and then came with me to the studio. The place is quite famous in Japan -people from Osaka come to Toyama to get their Tattoos done. Here's the link to their studio: Gaman. Yes, they do Yakuza (Japanese 'mafia') tattoos. They were the friendliest bunch of people I've met in a while. We had a great afternoon in the studio. Thanks Chika for being there with me!

After the tattoo (an outline of my VW Thing -pics to come). Chika and I headed to Kirsten's house for a bake off!! I was a judge as Kirsten, Jimmy and Scott showed off their culinary skills in the sweets department. It was a wonderfully painful evening. I'll let the photos speak for themselves:

On Sunday I was up early and off to Kamiichi town for another day with the private English school that I help teach every couple of months. This time the theme was summer and as always, I had a fun time with the students.

In the afternoon Amy, Kirsten and I went for a bike ride and managed to make it into the next prefecture. You can read about it on my workout blog.

Yesterday I went to Takaoka to watch the annual ALT Charity Show. It was great as always! Jimmy stole the hearts off all with his Pavaroti performance. There was hip hop, penny whistles and belly dancing -all before the main event!

Today (Sunday) and, well, Father's Day I guess. Kirsten and I went for a short bike ride and then to the Nyuzen Festival where we must have said 'HALLO' at least 100 times to here CUTE CUTE students who were wandering around taking in the festivities.

Tonight's the second game for Japan in the world cup. I watched them get defeated last weekend -it was the first time I've ever watched a full soccer' s just not my sport. But I'm trying to learn more! Really I am. But who can really give the World Cup any attention when the OILERS ARE GOING TO THE SEVENTH GAME OF THE STANLEY CUP.


Japanese TV

I wish I could share all the bizarre things I see on Japanese TV.
Even though I still don't understand everything -I can pick up enough now to figure most programs out. The other thing that helps is that most programs are extremely visual. In other words they use a lot of computer generated images to help explain whatever they're talking about and subtitles that prove to be very useful at times (I can check words on my dictionary or look at the kanji characters and figure out the meaning).

Japanese TV is comprised of a lot of variety/talk shows where there is a panel of celebrity guests who, along with us, the audience, are watching some king of event unfold. The panel offers relief (mostly comedy)and provides commentary for the event at hand. It can be anything from sports events, to relationship issues to animal antics.

I'm writing about this because I just finished watching a short program about a guy who hopped on his bike, armed with a GPS system and rode around Tokyo for 11 hours. He, of course had a camera man with him documenting his ride as well as the panel back at the studio commenting on his progress (but not telling us the actual goal). All they would reveal were short updates of of a map of Tokyo now strewn with red lines of the tracking that his GPS system was providing as he rode around. In the end, he finished back at the studio where the panel of guests were waiting to greet him.

He handed over his GPS system to some official computer guy who uploaded it onto a screen and finally the audience was shown exactly what he was trying to do. In etch-a-scetch fashion, the red lines (his 11 hour route around Tokyo) began to form an image. The lines zigged and zagged through Tokyo, sometimes he rode up and down the same street which created a thicker line on the map. The final image (I was anticpating The Mona Lisa or at least Hello Kitty) was simply the mascot of the TV program being aired. That's it, that's all.

11hours, and 78 km later, he had drawn a picture of an already compter generated image. I wish I had the finished image to show you, but it hasn't been posted on the internet yet) or not that I could find. But in looking for it, I came across previous exersions by the same guy. You can check it out here: