Tuesday, February 26, 2008


A lucky shot from the car on the way back from the mountains at the weekend. HOTel.

Friday, February 22, 2008

The Modern Japanese Woman

The front cover illustration of "Goodbye Madame Butterfly" courtesy of Pingmag.

This month the Tokyo based online magazine Ping Mag features an interview here with Japanese author Sumie Kawakami. In an unusual deviation from their regular topic of design, the article instead focuses on the relationship between sex and marriage in Japan.

Kawakami’s latest book entitled “Goodbye Madam Butterfly: Sex, Marriage and the Modern Japanese Woman”contains accounts of the sex lives of eleven Japanese women.

While the term ‘modern’ is used in the title, Kawakami's interview seems to point to a situation which for the women themselves seems to be anything but. Having not read the book I am unable to comment further, but Kawakami seems to suggest that the lot of the Japanese woman could only be modern in the sense of being current.

It is an interesting interview that relates the lack of sexual activity after marriage to the long working hours of the Japanese business man, and the sense of identity that Kawakami says Japanese society ‘demands’ of Japanese couples after having children.

Take ten minutes to read the article for a brief introduction to sexless Japan.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Men at work

A priest inspecting drainage repair work today outside Shiogama Shrine in Yagoto, Nagoya.

It's nearing the end of the financial year in Japan. The most noticable signs of this are the road works.

Each local government department recieves a budget from the central government. The size of the budget depends on the spending from the previous year. If spending was less than the alloted amount in the previous year, the budget for the next year will decrease.

This system encourages departments to use their entire budget, and so in the run up to the end of the financial year, only slightly worn roads are resurfaced, barely wetted drainage is remade and the full budget is guaranteed for another year.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Photo Words

When searching for a definition of the term "pot life", I found a link to Photo Guide's "Photo Words" section. Wish I had found it a couple of years ago.

"PhotoWords aims to help English-speaking photographers learn basic Japanese words related to photography. "

(introductory remarks from Photoguide Japan Photowords page)

Translations are written in both Japanese and a romanized version. It brings together on one site the language of the consumer and the studio photographer, listing part names, tool names, and slang.

Word lists are arranged in alphabetical order and include useful remarks about the Japanese by the author of Photoguide Japan, Philbert Ono.

All White

Yesterday saw the heaviest snowfall in Aichi in at least a couple of years. It has all but gone now, with the snowfall turning to light rain in the afternoon and the sunshine melting the ice today.

I took a walk to Shiratori Park in the afternoon. In the last two hours before the drizzle, the snow fell heavily. Tall buildings turned to grey in the distance and after leaving the main road, the only sound was from the parks and side roads where children played.

As I had imagined, the park was busy with Rotographers, with only the occasional younger visitor. Shiratori park is one of Nagoya's Japanese gardens, and a focus for those who enjoy observing the changing of the seasons.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008