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Saturday, December 20, 2008

The guitarist and the taxi

The Guitarist and the Taxi

Whilst it's not unusual to see buskers on the streets of Japan, it is a little unusual to see them playing in the middle of the road.

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This chap in Osaka seemed to really be enjoying shouting a few songs, including 'With or Without You' (U2), and several Beatles tracks.

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Thursday, October 30, 2008

Think I'll take the next one

(part two)

What amazes me is how most of the time everyone does actually fit in when the doors close. Having said that this morning there was a whole leg sticking out of the next, which made the carriage look like some kind of hybrid centipede...

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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

It's a small, small world

Photographic entertainment is provided by yesterday's Office Halloween party (sorry for the repetition to those of you who have already seen them in my site feed).

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For the past two weeks I've been looking for someone to do tandem learning with. That is, someone who will teach me Japanese in exchange for me teaching them English.

One might think that having just spent 4 years studying Japanese the last thing I'd want (or need) is more Japanese lessons. Not so. I didn't put as much into my course in my final year as I could have done (a conscious decision that I don't regret to split my energy between my course and extra-curricular activities), thus I failed to internalise a lot of the vocab I was learning.

I'd like to emphasise that this is in no way a criticism of our course, which was bloomin marvellous. If anyone wants to learn Japanese in the UK, Sheffield is the place to go, no doubt (n.b. I may be biased). But of course, you only get out what you put in, thus a lot of my course-mates have much better Japanese than me.

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Whatever, I've come such a long way, and am constantly delighted by the fact that I (of all people) have learnt to speak Japanese. However, I do tend to stick to the grammar patterns that I'm really familiar with, avoiding the use of complex structures. It was brought home to me just how far I've gone down this road when the other night *Twinkle* applauded my use of a complex pattern - it should be normal, not praiseworthy.

So I put the thought out there - I need a Japanese teacher - and tonight she presented herself (although I didn't know she was a teacher until after we'd been chatting for a while).

She contacted me having seen my profile on www.findateacher.net, and requested a trial English lesson. We met at a subway station near my office and made our way to a nice little cafe. We chatted a bit more, with her explaining why she wanted to study English.

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Then she stopped, and with a mysterious look on her face said, 'actually, I've got some photos to show you'. Confused, I took the envelope in her hand and took out the photos...

...and blow me down if it wasn't Phil, my coursemate from Sheffield! I was stunned, and naturally clammering for an explanation.

She explained how Phil had been one of her first students shortly after she qualified as a teacher, when he was living in Tokyo a year or so back. It was only after she'd initially contacted me last Friday that she'd mailed Phil to ask if he'd heard of someone called 'Joseph Tame' who'd studied at Sheffield. Seeing that I was quite a bit older she assumed that we wouldn't know each other ...and thus was very surprised when Phil replied that he did indeed know me!

Spot Joseph

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So that's how it went. We've decided to meet on a weekly basis for language exchange - my calls for a teacher have been answered. Thank you Universe!

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Monday, October 20, 2008

People in the park

A few more recent shots from Kitanomura park, Kudanshita.

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Sunday, October 19, 2008

Living Goldfish Earings

Just met this chap in Shibuya sporting the most unusual earrings I've ever seen - two mini goldfish bowls, each with three living (and no doubt somewhat confused) goldfish in!

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Friday, September 19, 2008

Do you recognise this man?

I can't be the only one who is being stalked by this man - I've seen him several times since I got back, and I remember him from 2006/ 2007 too.

Does anyone know anything about him? Is he a local celebrity like Hello Kitty Scooter Gran in Niseko?

(Apologies for poor photo - iPhone will only take non-blurry pictures if it is embedded in a 23 tonne lump of concrete).

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Sunday, September 14, 2008

Himonya Matsuri

Seems that the mini-procession yesterday was just a warm-up for today's festival.

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The chap with his back to us is hitting two sticks together to keep the team in time

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I like the contrast in this one

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Check out the little kiddies hitting the big drum

More photos on Flickr

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Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Ice breaker

It was a Thursday. 7pm. West Street, Sheffield. I was waiting for the number 52 bus home.

He came from behind me. Shuffled past me. Stopped. Looked me in the eye, then opened his mouth to speak:

Do you know who said

"This precious stone set in a silver sea"

I made a valiant attempt at not looking in the least bit surprised, and admitted that no, I didn't.

"Shakespeare"

"I see", I said. "And do you agree with him?"

I do, I love it here! He was Russian. Had only arrived in the UK a few weeks beforehand. He found this a good way to make friends.

Well, why not? I thought. After all, I used a pet penguin to do the very same thing in his home country.

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Sunday, July 06, 2008

Covent Garden

I spent a few hours walking the streets of London yesterday.

In my attempt to find Tottenham Court Road, I managed to end up in Covent Garden, somewhere I've not been before.

I loved it.

There was this talking dog. He just sat there, all day.

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These statues were something else. I've never seen anyone be so statue-like. Not even a hint of breath. In fact, I was thinking that they might actually be real statues, secretly put there by a human statue in the middle of the night when he got tired of standing still for a living.

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The volunteer. Why do we feel so pressured to grow up?

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This opera singer was amazing. I've found myself becoming increasingly attracted to male opera singers. Good job *Twinkle*gets here soon, don't want all that wedding planning going to waste.

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Tarra

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