Tuesday, 13 September 2005


i was just asked for the first time ever what i was doing while sitting at the computer. I was actually looking at this blog, albeit a text part of it. But the question addressed to me turned out to be rhetorical, as the lady who asked looked at the screen, noticed it smothered in English, and giggled, "I wouldn't have a clue even if i looked!"
i do have things to do,and am doing them ... gradually ... i jsut happen to be doing a lot of other things as well (e.g. procrastinating, websurfing, etc...)

If anyone is actually reading this, please let me know! I will (i promise) fill in (some of)the gaps ... eventually...

Wednesday, 7 September 2005

taifuu (lack thereof)

Well, the 台風 seems to have blown away.
So it's back to normal (whatever normal means)

Tuesday, 6 September 2005

台風 part 2

Well, typhoon #14 blew all night, getting stronger and stronger, and when i awoke in the morning, it was wild and wildening outside, and we still hadn't been reached by the main part of the storm (big red blob on TV map).

As well as being very big, this typhoon is very slow-moving. Which means that the strong winds and heavy rain hang around for a while! I wonder if everyhting will be cancelled tomorrow as well...

The office is abuzz with people taking actions of various sorts, occasionally rushing outside to secure a bit of something that has blown loose, and slightly fretting about the comfort of the refugees, who are steadily trickling in. Tempers fray from time to time, amid discussions of such things as the relevance (or otherwise) of who wants what kind of packed lunch, etc.

The small television in the wall behind me is blaring a constant running report of the current state of various parts of Kyushu and Shikoku. i am sure that the constant noise generated by this is not helping to de-stress the environment at all.
The news report includes information about who has been injured by the typhoon, but i wonder how different the figures would be if there was such a report on injuries sustained every day regardless of the weather.

The big red blob on the TV map is now upon us - covering the whole of Kyushu!
If there were not so many buildings, trees and electricity wires around, it would be fun to go outside and physically experience the awesome power of nature.
But i am in the office, and here i must stay until i brave the journey across the carpark to go home for lunch.

Monday, 5 September 2005

As the storm approached...

... Daniel and i were messing around with a camera in my appartment:


Yarr, there be a typhoon a-comin'!
and it be a big'un!

Forecast to hit/pass over here sometime in the early hours of tomorrow morning.

Wind is getting stronger,

Lessons / events are being cancelled,

Old people are starting to gather for shelter at the For You Kaikan where i work.

All very exciting really.

Saturday, 3 September 2005

Took my paraglider out to the riverbank for a bit of ground handling.

it's amazing how much attention this generates... on top of me being foreign and not exactly normal-looking anyway...

Some cars stopped to watch, some people called out to me, and after a while a guy driving past in an expensive-looking white car took a detour and drove down onto the riverbank beside me. He came up to me and asked in pseudo-wakariyasui semi-gestured Japanese if he could be my friend. Slightly wary, and not 100% sure how to deal with the situation, i said, "er... so what's your name?"
"Ah, yes;" he took out and handed me a busines card with very little info on it, "So, i really want to try paragliding. Where can I get one, how much for?"
I still had absolutely no idea who this guy was, and he kept hinting that if/as we were friends i could/should let him try my wing out...

He was also keen to find out where i live, and said we should meet up some time. For some reason he seemed surprised that i live in the town we were standing in. i didn't give him any more details.

I told him about the paragliding schools i knew of nearby, and he said "Oh, it's alright, i taught myself to drive, so flying one of those should be pretty easy to pick up, too."
When i stressed the necessity of getting proper training (in weather observation, and a certain way of thinking), otherwise it's really really dangerous, he said it was the danger that he found appealing...
He then asked what was in the pouch in the back. When i told him it was a reserve parachute, he said, "Oh, I've always wanted to try skydiving!" and went on and outlined his idea of flying up really high on a paraglider, cutting himself loose, and freefalling for a while before pulling out the parachute and gliding to safety...
Nice idea in theory, but i don't think it's a particularly good one to try in practice.

This is not the kind of guy i would ever dream of letting anywhere near my paraglider. Nor anyone else's. Not even if he paid me.

He eventually wandered off, to be replaced by a couple of junior school kids, whose presence was pleasantly refreshing in contrast. But by that time, the wind had died off.

Thursday, 1 September 2005

Linguistic Observation

Spending time talking to Americans has led me to discover some interesting gramatical developments in trans-Atlantic English colloquialisms.

There exist, in Scottish and in American English, widely used plural forms of "You". Originally "You" was the plural form of thee/thou, but 'you' became used for both singular and plural. As there are some occasions when there is a need for differentiation, the new forms have developed. So the colloquial plural forms of You are:
American: Y'all
Scottish: Yous (this is possibly used by some Welsh people too, and expat borderites like myself who are nostalgic for a culture they have but dabbled their toes in.)