Sunday, December 30, 2007

A Jaunt

This past week I had the opportunity to travel to Shirahama for a retreat. We tourists can be attracted by the interesting and beautiful sandstone formations in the area. The crashing ocean waves against the rocks reminded me of summers spent on the Bruce Peninsula in Tobermory Ontario.

三段壁 = Sandanbeki

千畳敷 = Senjyo-jiki

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

No Lid

On my way to an old train line trail, I was changing trains. The people I was going to hike with had a head start. I was in a hurry.
I was still in my good, black, secret agent suit (wearing my new tie, which my wife had so very recently and with great effort picked out for me). I had just a few minutes between disembarking the Kobe Line Limited Express bound for Osaka, and boarding the Takarazuka Line 'normal' Express on my way to the boondocks (where the time between return trains increases from the accustomed couple three minutes to an almost unbearable fifteen twenty minutes). Yes, as you may have surmised, a recipe for trouble, but trouble has a way of sneaking up on you, through the chinks in your armour. A few minutes was not quite enough time to remove my secret agent suit, and don my hiking gear, but it would have to do. I hurried to the WC to find an empty stall. I have found while living in Japan, that I prefer western style toilets over the Asian style variety, but the architects and builders of this particular station were traditionalists. I went with the flow, and secured myself a changing stall. No toilet tank but someone had thoughtfully installed a small metal shelf on which to precariously pile my baggage. I removed my jacket, and with great care managed to get it into my bag without my pile falling over. After undoing and rolling up my tie, (my new tie, which my wife had so very recently and with great effort picked out for me) disaster sneaked through a chink. It was one of those slow-motion things, bullet time as it were, my tie began to unravel, gravity doing its dirty work, my aging reflexes failed miserably and the tie unraveled right into the toilet. I paused in shock. I somehow, magically, pulled a plastic bag out of my teetering pile and with as little contact as possible put my tie into the bag. I subsequently changed the rest of my gear without further mishap and caught my train, but was left with severe emotional scarring. Just how will I explain this to my wife? Or the dry cleaning lady?