Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Engrish, Two Years and A Special Occasion

Tomorrow, I am going to the airport with Marisa (CIR*) and Toda-san from K-town kyouikuinkai (Board of Education) to meet the new JETs. It will be nice to welcome Candice's and Brittany's replacements to Kochi, and it is a good opportunity for me to say hi to JETs that I haven't seen since Mid-year Conference back in January.

This means I have been in Japan for two years. Sugoi!

*Coordinator for International Relations - what Laurel used to do here.

Sunday was Mika's and my first wedding anniversary. :)

We went to K-city after church and booked into our hotel. After just chilling for a bit, we went out for a wonderful Italian dinner, complete with a bottle of wine.

Out on the town

After dinner, we walked down to the station and took a taxi to Aeon. We saw Inception at the movies. Good movie. See it if you get the chance.

Have I ever mentioned that Japan is big on bicycles? There is a two-storey storage area tacked onto the end of Kochi train station that houses hundreds of bikes.

Bicycles, bicycles, bicycles

Back to the hotel well after midnight, as we decided to walk from the mall and the movie had finished just before twelve.

After checking out on Monday, we spent a good deal of the day at Aeon mall, shopping and looking around, while waiting for my doctor's appointment. I had my ingrown toenail assessed and another appointment made for September.

Well, aside from such excitement over the weekend, there are a couple more things I want to mention in this blog post.

Firstly, I've talked about the fireworks displays here before. I had no idea, though, that the launching equipment was so industrially... huge.

The Susaki hanabi is on the 7th of August

We are looking forward to both the Nakamura fireworks display and the Tosa-Shimizu one, which is supposed to be magnificent. There will also be the usual fireworks at the end of the Ayu festival.

Now is a good time to go swimming in the river.

Swimming in Shimantogawa

Lastly, I wanted to put up a few Engrish pictures. I don't have my whole collection, but these range from a poster in a shopping complex near where we had MYC in January, to a sign on the door of the bathroom in our hotel room just this last Sunday.

Engrish in Kochi

In the last picture, it says "Sound the alarm for steam." The Japanese roughly translates as "The alarm will sound because of steam." I understand the thinking behind this. They translated "the alarm will sound" as "sound (of) the alarm" or "sound, the alarm"; and "because of steam" as "for steam" - ie. the reason being steam. It just goes to show how differently we think. No wonder I struggle so much with Japanese. :/



Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Dragonflies and Kappa Sculptures

Yesterday was uminohi - Marine Day. We decided to go to Nakamura. Before leaving town, however, we stopped at the local concert hall to see a large collection of sculptures. The theme was kappa, a legendary water spirit. There were some truly impressive sculptures on display, and they ranged from fist-sized to about a metre high.

Below, you will find my top two pick as well as a slideshow of all the photos I took. Click the slideshow to view the album in its entirety.

A turtle-shelled kappa squatting on a gnarled tree - my top pick

A very unique snapshot of action - a sumo being effortlessly tossed

A slideshow of the exhibition

We ate lunch at McDonald's upon arriving in Nakamura. The weather was a bit funny - it rained on and off, as if temperamental rainclouds just kept moving across the sky constantly, sometimes dumping their contents unexpectedly as we found ourselves often caught without the means to deflect such reckless and sporadic precipitation and at other times scowling at us reprehensibly in preparation for another release of their contents.

Not that we didn't bring umbrellas on our excursion; we just didn't always have them with us as we went between car and shop.

After some shopping, we visited the tonbokouen - Dragonfly Park. Despite the drizzle, a few of the flying insects could be seen flitting from stem to stem near the ponds. We saw red, yellow, and black and white dragonflies, and even blue ones whose wings were of a solid hue as opposed to the usual veined, transparent appearance so prevalent in the genus. Suffice to say, I took what photos I could, as seen in the slideshow below (click to view album):

A slideshow of our visit to the tonbokouen

All in all, a nice day out. Had the weather been better, our visit to the Dragonfly Park may well have been more exciting, but as it is, I was happy to get a few closeups of these unique and beautiful creatures.

This was my first use of slideshows in these blog posts. If people like them, I may continue to use them in place of individual photos; except when I want to highlight a particular snapshot. Please leave a comment regarding my use of slideshows in this entry.



Sunday, 11 July 2010

Super Invaders

A friend of Mika's met us for lunch today. We decided to eat at a cafe just this side of K-town, called Super Invaders. As you might have guessed, it is a play on Space Invaders.

The decor is anything but limited to videogames, though. Greeted by a giant Ernie as you approach the door, you soon see that the entire restaurant is full of entertainment paraphernalia. Warner Bros. collectibles seem to make up the bulk of the displays, though from Col. Sanders to hundreds of Simpsons models, a Terminator head to a giant pair of jeans, there are hundreds of toys, models and posters on display; not to mention the two arcade machines sitting in the entrance.

What arcade machines you might ask? Well, Space Invaders for one, of course. But there is also a Pac-man machine. These cabinets look like the original top-down ones, as you will see shortly.

Suffice to say, after eating a very satisfactory lunch, I proceeded to take snapshots around the place. You can find all of the photos I took [here]. It definitely made for an interesting place to eat. I doubt I've seen a larger collection.

Super Invaders

Goliath called - he left his pants on the wall

Just one display

Many characters! Left side!

Pac-man | Space Invaders

What's your score?

Sorry about the poor quality of the photos. They looked sharper on my wife's phone than the ones I first took on mine. Looks like cellphone photos are hard to take well, however they look at first glance.