富士登山の用具 Equipment for climbing Mt. Fuji

荷物はちょっと多いかな〜
Few too many things to carry?

  • MacBook Pro 17″
  • iPad (not shown)
  • iPhone 3GS
  • iPod Touch
  • Nikon D40x + 2 lenses
  • Canon HFS11 + wide angle lens
  • Cerevo Cam Live
  • Buffalo DWR-PG Pocket Wifi on NTT DoCoMo
  • D25-HW Pocket Wifi on Emobile
  • Giant Zaggsparq USB Charger x 2
  • Eneloop USN charger
  • Eneloop Solar Panel charger
  • Mophie Juice Pack
  • Mophie Air Juice Pack
  • Special helmet with Tripod Mount
  • Headlamp
  • Werthers Originals Eclairs
  • Donkey (still trying to find one)

Birds and Babies in the blossom

I’d never noticed the birds taking pollen from the cherry blossom before. It was only when lying on the futon with the balcony doors open one morning last week that I saw them at it, hopping around from branch to branch, the tips of their beaks coated in golden dust.

I don’t know what kind of birds they are, as I don’t remember seeing or hearing them in the UK. They’re pretty noisy actually, only capable of an ugly screech. Still, I can forgive them this as their ugly screech is still a lot more pleasant for this country bumpkin than most of the noises around us.

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It’s been a hectic week, as outside of my work I’ve had meetings at luchtimes and in the evenings too. Next week is set to get even busier, as things really start to take off with TEDxTokyo (15th May). This is a *good* busy-ness. I’m particularly looking forward to a mid-week meeting with Ustream Japan, part of the Softbank group 🙂

I’m very happy that Spring is finally here. Today we’re seeing a lot of the cherry blossom petals finally being blown from the branches – every year I’m surprised by just how brief their stay is.

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The park has been a hub of activity lately, with the ponies coming out to give people rides, the boats being untethered, and the guinea pigs posing for photos.

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Anyway, our train is now arriving at our destination, so I’d best pack up and get off.

Tarra for now!

Cabbages, containers and doggy-do

MyGengo* I just posted my interview with Rob and Matt of myGengo.com over at Making it in Japan. Anyone interested in translation should check it out – they have some great new services on the way – and if you have the skills required (but are lacking in qualifications / years of experience that many companies demand) they might be just the folks you’ve been looking for.


After work last night I headed up to the in-laws’, about an hour from our place, just north of Tokyo. There were two birthday’s in the family to celebrate, a lot of good food to eat and my father-in-law’s travel stories to catch up on.

I found it interesting how the pace of life seemed to be a lot slower there, outside of central Tokyo. There wasn’t the feeling that there was lots that needed to be done (as is the feeling at home). 9pm seemed late, like bed time. I was asleep before midnight for the first time in a long time.

Walking back to the station this morning (*Twinkle* left earlier, taking our niece to Disneyland), I took a few photos of everyday stuff, which I thought I’d share.

First off then, we have the cabbage fields between the apartment blocks. I think of these as the remnants of years gone by, when the kanto plain was more agriculture than housing. You’ll still find quite a lot of them in the outskirts of cities, but every year their number decreases. I think the primary motivation for planting up land these days is not producing crops, but rather to obtain tax breaks.

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Next up, the dog poo sign. Isn’t it cute? The woman seems to be really enjoying herself. The text literally reads, “Let’s take dog poo home!”

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Storage containers are on the rise, as people accumulate more ‘stuff’ which they really have no need for. You can rent half of one of these containers for as little as 5,250 yen (GBP36) per month. Given the state of the Japanese economy, it won’t be long until we find people living in them, I’m sure.

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Next, we’re down by the riverside. Not sure I’d want to eat anything that comes from one of these rivers though.

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Finally, we have the mikan – or are they some other kind of orange? I don’t know. I like fruit trees in cities. They’re a good reminder of the natural seasonal cycle that is going on around us, masked by the tarmac.

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Anyway, I need to change trains now, so had better pack up.

Joseph

Jiyugaoka

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To describe this photo, here’s the text from my post for Dannychoo.com uploaded earlier today:

*Twinkle* and I are having a lazy day today, the fourth day of the Silver Week holiday.

We’ve come out to Jiyugaoka, just a couple of stops down the line from our station, and 10 mins from Shibuya on the Tokyu Toyoko line.

Jiyugaoka (自由が丘, meaning ‘free hill’) is a pretty posh shopping area: with a lot of international brands and high-class cafes it’s popular with celebrities – a friend of mine regularly hangs out in the road outside the station (Marie Claire St.), celebrity spotting!

We’re in La Maison, one of the cafes that makes the town famous for cakes and sweets. Whilst I’d originally chosen the Special Autumn Set, and my wife the Mont Blanc, it seems that the tiramisu and caramel ice cream was too much for her to resist, so she’s swapped our plates, as you can see in the photo!

We’re just promising each other that we’ll start our diets tomorrow!

Here’s some more photos from our evening exploring Jiyugaoka

Dog's bum tea towel holder

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The lowest bridge in Tokyo?

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A red-carpeted street

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