The Witless Clunkery of a Third-Rate Mind

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Failed Blogger Returns

So one of my friends called me a "failed Blogger" in jest, but I suppose it's a pretty accurate label insofar as a Blog is supposed to be updated on a daily (or perhaps weekly, but at the very least regular) basis. Whoops!

It's not like I've been busy. Perhaps the opposite. I've just been trundling along in my rut, so I haven't really felt like there's been much to post. But I've accumulated a few things in the last 3 months, so here we go.

We had New Year's. Here's a picture from the shrine I went to at midnight on New Year's eve.


Winter came and went. Thankfully, winter in Tokyo is no big deal at all. It's pretty pleasant, actually. The air is cool and dry, but rarely frigid by Canadian standards. Sure, it gets cold at night, and Japanese apartments aren't well insulated, so you really feel the cold in your bones when you get out of bed in the morning. But the days are often sunny and bright. It is unusual that it actually snows (perhaps this is due to global warming? Edo-era woodblock prints show no shortage of snow in old Tokyo, it seems) so I took a picture from one of the classrooms at school.


I had a couple months off work in February and March. Well, I had to work a couple weeks in there, but that was actually a welcome distraction from the boredom of having all that free time! I had planned to try and get to the pool every day. That happened for the first little while. I had also planned to try and eat healthy. This was also good at the start, but petered off gradually. One thing that helped me though, was the fact that, just around the corner from my place (literally a 1-minute walk or so) there is a vegetarian, organic cafe that serves really nice lunches. The people who run it are really nice, too.


So anyway, spring is coming and the first sign of spring is the plum blossom. People usually associate spring in Japan with the cherry blossom, but the plum blooms first and is, in my opinion, quite underrated. The cherry is more delicate, so it gets all the praise, but the plum is pretty great too. And, it smells nice.


I went to a park that is famous for its plum trees. They light up the trees at night, too. This shot reminds me of a VanGogh painting, which is funny because of course Van Gogh got his inspiration from Japanese woodblock prints of plum blossoms, among other things.

The park was freezing cold at night and my fingers were so numb I could barely take this picture.

I took a day trip to Kawagoe, which is not that far from where I live, but I haven't been there for a long time. Kawagoe still preserves some old kura or warehouses from the late Edo-period. You can still see the thick shutters and the bars over the windows on the second floor of many of these warehouses, which were to deter burglars. Most of these warehouses are shops selling traditional sweets or handicrafts.


Kawagoe's most famous building is its old bell-tower. They rung out the hours on a large bell which you can see at the top. Presumably, most Japanese towns and neighbourhoods in large cities would have had towers like this. Unfortunately, most are no longer standing.


Japanese buildings were usually made of wood and paper (stone and brick did not fare well against earthquakes) so they easily succumbed to fire. I heard that Japanese buildings were (and by weight of tradition, often continue to be) flimsily built to (a) be flexible in the event of an earthquake (as mentioned above) and (b) so they could be torn apart easily by firemen in the event of a fire. Since there was no way in the Edo-period to transport large volumes of water, firemen did not battle fires directly but tried to stop the spread of fire by tearing down buildings to create a fire stop.

So that's what I got up to in January and February. I was busy in March, so I should have updates soon!

3 Comments:

At 5:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

those other guys are failures, you get an F+

8thdwarf

 
At 12:35 AM, Blogger Jeff Hardy said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At 7:08 AM, Blogger Tor Hershman said...

There is no chance of doing other than ultimately failing at every/anything.

SOGS,
Tor

 

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