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Showing posts from August, 2007

Feelings for Japan

It is only a week now until we depart for a week's holiday in the Kansai district of Japan. I am currently part way through Pico Iyer's The Lady and the Monk about the author's year in Kyoto, one of the cities that we intend to visit on our trip. The Lady and the Monk is a lyrical exploration of foreigners who arrive in Japan looking for answers to their self through Zen Buddhism or perhaps just for the companionship of a local lady. It also describes Japanese, especially the lady of the title, Sachiko, who seeks to escape from the formal confines of her role as a Japanese wife through her friendship with the author. This will be our fifth trip to Japan. What draws us back? What are we searching for? I admire the elegance of Japan, the quality and essence which they imbue into their creations. Yet I cannot be, do not desire to be, Japanese, confined by tradition and society into fixed roles in life. Our first trip to Japan was in 2003, also during early September. We base

I finally got myself an account at , an aviation freak website, and posted a few trip reports. QF And AO: SYD-CNS-KIX, NRT-SYD On 767's (pics) Just A Day Trip: QF: SYD - CBR How Many Airlines? Adventures In China (pics) SYD-ICN-AMS: Asiana, KLM Y Class In 2004 (pics) I'll be adding more later.

In sickness and in health

I popped over to the campus medical centre this morning for a flu vaccination because I really don't want to get sick for our upcoming holiday. There is a very nasty strain of influenza A going around at the moment and I hope that I haven't left it too late. It's no fun being sick on a holiday. Last year we flew up to the Gold Coast during which time I was suffering an awful cold. I'm sure splashing around in the cold of Wet'n'Wild probably didn't help either. I'm always getting the sniffles prior to trips to Japan. It is an especially bad country to have a cold in due to their customs relating to respiratory illness. Blowing your nose and coughing in public is frowned upon and the wearing of masks is encouraged. Not silly at all, although sniffling away without using a hanky is really quite difficult. I had to make many trips to the restrooms to blow my nose in private. The Japanese customs were a very nice change from those of the Chinese during our la

Hotel television

You've just returned to your hotel room after a tiring day wandering around a foreign land surrounded by signs and conversations that you struggle to understand. You enjoy the challenge of communication and the immersion in a foreign culture, but now that hotel room door is closed you just want to relax and think in your own language for a while. You switch the television on and... there are only local language stations... or CNN. Ahh, CNN. So little news in so much time should be their motto. And every few minutes the same old advertisements spruiking commentators rather than the news itself. If CNN is the world from an American perspective then it is a very ignorant view they have. Without having visited the US, I cannot say. Silence would be another option, but you feel a need for some background noise, if only to give an illusion of privacy from other guests and your partner's visit to the bathroom. What is nice is to snuggle up in the hotel bed in the evening and watch som