Monday, April 24, 2006


Back in the park, I'm sure I've accidentally disturbed this snoozing gentleman before, and he obviously needs his afternoon nap from the many who disturb him by charging through his backyard each day. I was as quiet as possible as I cruised through his garden, his menacing watch dog, (luckily for me) looked to have been recently fed and well chained to the nearby tree.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

The Flow

One fine morning I happened across these barges laden with sugar being unloaded at a processing plant near our place. Many dry bulk goods are moved around the city using the many canals that run through Osaka. Since I used to make my living designing machines to move and process dry bulk goods, this really got my blood flowing.

Friday, April 14, 2006

The Toll

My Japanese language study has resumed and the first several days have been akin to withstanding a squall but this variety of storm being Japanese. Everyday I brace myself against the blowing of the wind and make my way through my classes. The wind seems to be abating a little today, and I was at least able to get my feet under me as my reeling mind catches up with reality. I take solace in the fact that others also are finding things difficult.

Monday, April 10, 2006


Yesterday we engaged in the popular sport of Hanami. (That would literally translate as flower watching). As the cherry blossoms come out, everyone makes plans to put down a blue tarp on which to sit and enjoy the blossoms. The day cannot be planned too far in advance because one is never exactly sure when the cherry trees are going to blossom. However as the first buds start to appear, plans can be made. One week in advance, the church we attend on Sundays (Miyakojima Kyokai) decided we should have Hanami on Sunday after church. Very early that Sunday morning the Pastor and one of the congregation members went to the park to put down our own blue tarp thus reserving us a spot under a cherry tree for when we came. A spot needs to be reserved because there are a lot of people who do this Hanami thing, it is incredible! A barbecue is a good idea, but it suited us better to bring a bento (a lunch brought from home). We were lucky enough to experience a hanami flurry which is similar to a snow flurry but involves cherry blossoms. Well I think you get the idea.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Service in Japan is wonderful.

We were walking along the street, two workmen standing to the side seemingly doing nothing. Suddenly as we walked by, they sprang into action, lifting their umbrellas to protect us from what we knew not. Afterward turning to assess their strange behavior, I put it together. The highrise was having its windows washed, and these brave souls were the front line of defence against any potential water droplets descending upon the innocent below. They cared not for themselves, concerned only that passersby should not be forced to endure any unexpected drops of soapy water.

Monday, April 03, 2006

In need of some cash.

We were in the bank waiting along with the crowd for the bank of bank machines. It was a bit of a shock the first time I stood in a line like this to use the bank machine. Compared to my sleepy little hometown of Georgetown where I would find something else to do in the meantime if the line was more than two people long, I am getting used to the sheer amount of people and the population density in Osaka. There were about seventy people in this line waiting for one of seven ATM's. These machines will do a lot for you from preparing a brand new pass book for you once your old one is full to doling out cash with a courteous "don't forget your money" in Japanese. It was good listening practice for me, and while my listening is not up to par I am pretty certain the machine was speaking a little Osaka-ben the local dialect. As it was greeting us I think it gave us a cheery "maido", a very mom and pop shop keeper sort of greeting in a traditionally mercantile city.