Saturday, 22 September 2007


Originally upped onto Facebook... 8th September? I haven't been back here for a while since a) I hated the format I'd chosen on blogger and b) I can't say I think much of blogger either. I'm giving it another go.

A typhoon has been ravaging Japan for the last few days, coming in off the Pacific and curving north on a DIRECT COLLISION COURSE with your truly! It caused mayhem in Toyko, and some people died in another part of Japan when a river burst its banks, so it was no small thing. Yesterday it was raining pretty heavily all day as the typhoon approached, and when we asked students what they were doing for the weekend their eyes got wide and they said "Nothing! The typhoons coming!" The typhoon was due to hit LAST NIGHT!

Well, so I went to a party last night. It was raining on the way, and raining pretty heavily while we were there, but by the time I left it was only drizzling and this morning it's all blue skies and sun beams. I've glad that there wasn't too much damage up here, but I've got to say... it's a little underwhelming.

I now have a mobile phone charm. You may or may not know that it's a pretty heavily entrenched custom in Japan to have a little toggle or a charm hanging off your cell phone (I just typed that without thinking, those freakin' Americans are getting to me). I used to have a pretty sweet Doraemon one that I brought back from Japan last time, but they don't last for ever. And after I said I wanted one now, one of my colleagues promised to help me. So now I have a tiny green guy with a huge crotch attached to my cell phone.

He's called Marimokkori, and he's a Hokkaido thing. Apparently there's a lake in Hokkaido which is one of the few places in the world where a rare sort of algae grows. The algae forms free floating balls that are incredibly expensive to buy, especially because it's technically illegal to remove any from the lake. In Japanese they're called marimo. In Japanese the ol' wedding tackle, the family jewels, yer ol' meat and two veg is called mokkori. For reasons that I don't find entirely clear, the jump from one to the other was intuitive. Marimo, mokkori... Marimokkori! So the character was created, a green ball of algae for a head, a sizable package and the idiot grin to go with it. Of course he's available in about a million different costumes and varieties, on T-shirts and as soft toys. Tara has what has to be the daddy of them all - a soft toy Marimokkori where his bulging groin acts as a pull-string that makes him shake and giggle. I'm proud for him to be my charm, but would maybe like one of him dressed as a bear too.

I have now eaten tacos, as prepared by an honest-to-god American, and they were very nice. No, we don't have Taco Bell in England. I've also tried another soup curry place nearer to my apartment. It was delicious but way more formidable spice-wise. Yow! Tonight I'll either be seeing David Lynch's Inland Empire again (with Japanese subtitles! I can only imagine that'll help) or hitting Sapporo Beer Garden for food and alcohol. I'm torn. And tomorrow: another barbecue and I'm buying a sofa and a chair where some guy tried to off himself. Don't worry he didn't succeed, so the only spectre haunting that piece of furniture is the ghost of failure.

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