Sunday, December 31, 2006

New Year's Eve

Last post of the year so sumfin a bit culchural. Sho-gatsu (new year).

These plastic packed beauties are 'kagami mochi' topped with a 'Dai-dai'. Kagami mochi would be traditionaly made from two pieces of mochi, one smaller one on top of a larger one. These would then be topped by a small orange like citrus fruit called a Dai-dai and displayed in the entrance hall to mark the end of a year, then eaten in a kind of soup in the new year.

Next up, the 'Shime Kazari' grass wreaths which can be seen on the doors and entrances of many a private home and business place in the new year period. This one was hung by the entrance to a Soba noodle restaurant nearby our "Mansion" (ha ha). See the Sho-gatsu link for a brief explanation of Shime kazari.

And I'm spent.
Tonight we will be in Arco, the small bar that we took my dad to for his birthday when he was over here, and also some of my sister's friends when they passed through. Happy new year!

Friday, December 29, 2006

At home

I had a call from a photographer friend the other day. She had been asked by a local magazine to find and photograph some 'interesting interiors' for an article on 'interesting interiors'.
I suppose she must have been an interior short of a presentation, because she asked to come round and photograph our place.

These photos are some of the test photographs taken to show the folks at the magazine, who will then decide if our place is 'interesting' enough to show their readers. They also give me the chance to show you some interior snaps with me in them.

We live on the third floor of a five storey "Mansion" (what the Japanese use to call something we might call flats or an appartment building). Can't afford a real mansion? Move to Japan and rent a small one!

We begin with the living room.

Then the room between the living and kitchen.
The fan is a god-send during the humid summer.
Just the one snap.

And then the kitchen/dining room area.

Not very mansion like is it?

Monday, December 25, 2006

Christmas Day P.M.

The drink before the fancy dress party.

Christmas morning in Osu

2PM in the bar. Uploading the photos from the bar's computer.
Me: It's strange isn't it? I'm the only customer!
He-kun (barman): It's Monday.
Me: It's Christmas day!
He-kun: It's Monday.

Christmas Eve at the Sushi-ya

(Disclaimer: all photographs taken by some idiot drunk on hot sake with a camera and flash unit completely beyond his control. I thank you.)

Monday, December 18, 2006


I finally got out of bed early enough to go and watch Mitz's Kung-Fu practice. She started about 2 years ago and has, through rain, shine and hangover, been going (nearly) every Sunday morning since. She and the other 9 or 10 regulars are learning San-Sai Ken (三才剣), one of the forms that uses swords. かっこいい!

Friday, December 15, 2006

Kan Kan Oji San

"Aki Kan" in Japanese may mean empty can, but there is still money in it. You can see them everywhere. Not dancers, Kan Kan Oji San. The old boys who collect up cans put out for recycling to sell on to a recycling company themselves. Some are homeless, some are in it for the extra cash.
The cans are usually carried on a bike. The bike in this picture once carried all of the cans now being flattened on the ground. More daring than Mr. Kenevil, with better balance than a Chinese circus acrobat, see those Oji San go.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Buy two, use one

On the night of the great art and music live show at the Plastic Factory club in Nagoya, my camera gave up and died on me. I had been asked to take pictures, but instead spent 3 hours at the bar pulling out and putting in again the battery and memory card from the lifeless Nikon. My friend Thomas drank long island ice teas to show me his support. Ping.

Two hours into the humiliation and someone arrived with a Cannon 5D and started snapping happily away. Luckily she agreed to donate photos to the clubs web site so the evening was not a total loss for Heinz, the Swiss-German owner. We got snapped before I gave up, took the taxi fare and went home. Did I get the pout right? It comes from the nose you know!

Looky Likey

Isn't this nice? I got a mail from the Editor of Japanzine, the magazine for Japans western residents (outsiders / foreigners / non-native types / gaijin), to say that one of my photographs has been chosen for the magazines photo competition final.

This photo from my 'Superkids' post will be printed alongside... erm.... some other shots. Won't know which till the January edition comes out. This link will take you to the competition home page. Have a look. It's interesting to see what people choose to present as their image of Japan, and in amongst the fancy titles are some good photos.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Winter lights

It's winter in Nagoya.
Out with the Parkas and let's shopping!
This is part of the light display in the shopping arcade in Osu.
With a huge variety of independant craft, clothing and food shops and with perhaps more recycle clothing shops than the North Lanes of Brighton it is the gathering place for the pilgrims of street fashion.
People also live there. And it has bars! Have I convinced you? Osu is good!