Sunday, November 06, 2005

Busy Week! 忙しい週間!

Wow, what a busy week! Jamie came from Hong Kong and I was busy with her every day in addition to work. Wow! Hopefully I managed to show her enough of Japan to convince her not to hate the country I live in. Of course, on the day she left Ishihara (AKA “Blinky”) said that the Nationalist army had killed way more Chinese at Nanjing than the Imperial Japanese Army did. God I hope someone assassinates him. Not really, as that would just make things worse, but you know what I mean. As so much stuff happened, I'm going to post little by little, adding paragraphs and pictures and Japanese as we go along. So anyway, as I delve into my picture files, please allow me to weave the threads of my story of the past little while with the following visual aids …


Well, this is the liquor store across from the Board of Education office, which used to be the Ichinoseki Agricultural High School. And you know what, the signs are not just advertising. The alcohol really is cheap. I have found a cheaper source of Kahlua! Hurrah!

Found a car with a pink license plate near Spiderbridge. Pink usually means sex or prostitution in Japan in certain contexts (i.e. near the train station). Does this mean the owner is a registered sex worker?

I went to a new school, which I’ll call Hi-Tech Country, because despite being way the hell out in the country with only three buses per day it boasts an amazing plethora of technology and aesthetics, being a wood-themed institution with solar paneling on the roofs and combination wind-solar turrets around the school’s perimeter. I usually take a bus from Spiderbridge out to a place called Upper Blackstream, but one morning I wasn’t paying attention and just staring out the window. I think the driver forgot to change the sign, because when the board read “Upper Blackstream” I immediately pushed the button to stop the bus, except the bus stopped approximately half a second after I pushed the button. The driver asked if I wanted to get off, and I said no, next stop please. He nodded, and the board changed to Mountainspring. At this point two trains of thought left their respective stations.
最近は新しい小学校に行っている。素晴らしい技術と美しさだ;木の主題だし屋根は太陽電力(陽電?)の板が付いているし、外で総合陽風電力塔も立っているけど、凄い田舎だし毎日バスは3台 だけ走るので、「高技術田舎」の仮称を呼ぼうと思っている。僕は普通的に蜘蛛橋から上黒沢までバスに乗る。しかし、或る朝は蜘蛛橋を出発するとあまり注意 してなかった。運転手が看板を変えると忘れたと思う;なぜなら看板で「上黒沢」が書いてあった時は速くボタンを押した。しかし、押すとバスが後約半秒ぐら い止まった。降りるか運転手が聞いたんだけど、僕は「いいえ、次でお願いします」って返事した。彼がうなずいて「泉山」に看板を変えた。この瞬間に二つの 考えの列車がそれぞれの駅を出発した。

Me: Oh, the bus driver thinks that I missed the previous stop, so that’s why I pushed the button. Since he opened the door, the bus system thinks I got off and that’s why the sign changed. No problem.

Driver: I didn’t change the sign in time for Upper Blackstream, so I stopped immediately after I pushed the button. But he said next stop, so off we go to Mountainspring.

Needless to say, I was rather surprised to find myself alone on an isolated country road after getting off the bus. Keeping my head, I called the school and notified them that I would be slightly late, and began to walk back in the direction I had come from. And it was quite good that I had gotten off at the wrong stop, because I found a number of interesting things to take pictures of.
言 わなくていいんでしょう?バスを降りると僕しか誰も居ない田舎の路になっ ちゃってちょっとびっくりした。よく考えたからその日の小学校に電話して少し遅刻するって教えた。それからは来た方面に戻り歩きをしはじめた。実は間違え バス停で降りると色んな面白い写真が撮れたのでよかった。

Right next to the bus stop was a stone shrine gate, dedicated to the bear god of the mountain. Obviously I had to climb the path to see such a shrine.

This is the path. It consists of the space between the bamboo. Did I mention it was very muddy? Yeah.

And here is the shrine itself, about a third of the way up the hill. Very mossy, with the usual spider webs and offerings of energy drinks. I left a five-yen coin and made my way back down the mountain. I’ll come back in a few years and check how everything is doing.

Continuing down the highway, I happened upon this sign which alerted me that, surprise surprise, there was construction ahead. Apparently, if you don’t go slow, God will kill kittens. You wouldn’t want God to kill kittens, now would you?

Something marginally more interesting were these storehouses. I find them interesting because you don’t see them much anymore, and according to Alex Kerr, they are filled with treasures. Since a Japanese house looks best when there is nothing in it, wealthy families needed a place to put tables, tea equipment, scrolls and so forth. Made of earthquake-proof thick plaster, the contents of storehouses are often antique, ancient, and valuable.
も う少し面白い物はこの庫だ。もうあまり見ないし、アレックス・カーの情報通 りに宝物が一杯入っているので面白いと思う。日本の家なら一番綺麗に成る時は何も入ってない時なので、金持ちの家族はお客さんが来る時に庫から必要な物 (例えば台、茶道具、巻物とか)を出した。お客さんが出てから、その使った物を庫に返す。厚い壁土で耐震構造の庫の中身はよく古美品だし大昔だし高価な物 だ。

I think we should have had a Halloween party inside the contents of this crumbling storehouse.
この崩れている蔵の中に化物祭(ハロヰーン)の会をしたらいいと思っている。There was also a shrine and stone … plinth, I think they’re called, column out in a rice field. One of the teachers had a book explaining all the weird historical things around the area, but unfortunately I didn’t have time to take a good look at it so I don’t know what this shrine is for. Ah well. Next time.

Inside Country Tech, one of the things I like the best is the monitor that displays how much electricity has been generated for the day and what that electricity could do. They also have portraits and pictures of the great scholars and statesmen Iwate has produced. When I’m old I hope I look like this guy, Tatebe Seian, a mid-eighteenth-century doctor.

One thing I noticed is that maybe Japanese people have a hard time learning English because their resource materials are grammatically incorrect.

On Friday I went to Sendai to pick up Jamie. At the station was an exhibition about the northernmost islands of Japan. At the end of the war, Russia invaded and took the islands. Upon conclusion of a peace treaty, the islands were to be returned to Japan. However, a peace treaty has never been ratified so the islands are still in Russian hands. Control of them also means control of potential oil and fish resources. The exhibition had stuff like Tokugawa-era maps that included the islands and so forth.
金 曜日はジエメイを迎える為に仙台に行った。駅内では日本の一番北に在る島に ついての展開だった。戦争末に露西亜が侵入してその島を取った。平和条約を結ぶと島を返すと両国が同意した。しかし、平和条約はまだ結んでいないからその 島がまだ露西亜の領土だ。領土すると石油と漁業の資源も支配できる。展開でその島が含んでいる徳川時代の地図とかを示していた。

At first, I thought the reason for this sign was the impending night of Halloween. But no, it’s the normal sign.

I think she’s a bitch.

After Jamie arrived, we went walking downtown in search of … well, I forget what, maybe it was breakfast, I recall we ate at Sukiya that day, oh wait, maybe it was the cleaning. Yeah, there’s this underground passage near the station to pass under a weird 3-way intersection, and it was very dirty, so a bunch of volunteers from the place I teach English at on Mondays went to clean it. And we went too. On the way, we took a few detours, including finding the steps to this temple. Now I know why the bus stop a few streets over is called Enman Temple.
ジ エメイが到着してから、一関で下町行きに何とか・・・ま、多分朝ごはんを探 していたので歩きはじめた。その日はスキヤで・・・いや、待って、掃除じゃなかった?そうそう、變な三角の交差 点を渡す為の地下道がいつも凄く汚いので、 僕が月曜日に英語を教える少年会館から色んな志願者が掃除をしにいった。そして僕達も参加した。行きながらは色んな遠回りを探検した。この寺の階段を見つ けるもお含み。隣の道のバス停は何で「円満寺」というか現在ご理解致した。

Oh no, wait, we weren’t going to the cleaning, not yet anyway – we were going to Hiraizumi to see the historical buildings and nonesuch! This stone has a poem by Basho engraved on it in English – translated by Nitobe. A very interesting thing happened on the way back though. In the train station, I decided to try and practice my Chinese with Jamie. Two little kids were next to us.

Boy: What language are they speaking in?

Girl: Well, it's not Japanese, so it must be English.



I think this is a boat, protected by straw.

For five hundred yen, you can ring the bell. I’m kind of afraid I would break it. Must be fun at New Year’s.

Holy Smoke!
So anyway, after the cleaning that I mentioned before, we were kindly taken by I-Hate-Computers and Manga Girl to a small town way out in the sticks called Tome. Apparently it was the capital of Mizusawa Prefecture for about two years until it was merged into the surrounding administrations. The city has preserved a lot of its historical buildings, and the early fusion of West-Japan styles in the buildings is readily visible. One fun building was the elementary school.
さっ き言った掃除が終わってから、「電脳嫌い」と「漫画女子」と一緒に「登 米」という町に連れてきてもらった。なんか隣の県に合併される前に「水沢県」の首都だった。この町は歴史的な建物を保存しているし、早い和洋の様式の融合 がよく見える。一軒の面白い建物は小学校だった。

Inside, they had a stuffed white badger for some reason – being a Brock graduate, I of course had to take a picture of it

You think the schools are cold NOW? Try a hundred years ago! With the added bonus of too much fire burning down the school.学校は現在寒いと思うかい?百年前はいかが?後は火を付けすぎると建物を燃やす。

Class started soon enough though. I had to sit beside Jamie, who knew all the answers. 授業がそろそろ始まった。答えの全部が分かっていたジエメイの隣で座らなくちゃならなかった。

I-Hate-Computers displays the benefits of math without calculators. 電脳嫌いさんが電卓を使わずの算数の偉さを示してくれる。

Here you can see Tome the way it was, and in the mirror, how it is today ... concrete. この写真で昔の登米が見える・・・そして、鏡で、現在のコンクリート。

An example of the former glory of Tome. 登米の昔の栄えの例の一つ。

In the former court I receive judgement for accidentally walking on tatami with slippers on. Death! 旧裁判所で誤って畳で部屋履を脱がずに歩いたから判断されます。死刑!

Tome also has its original police station. Here I escape from my sentence. 登米も最初の警察署が残ってある。ここで判断から逃げるぞ!

Okay, that's enough for now. I'll add more Wikipedia links to explain things and begin the Japanese translation in a day or two. Heh, I should have lots of time at Hanamaki for the upcoming onsen trip. Okay, see you!

10 Comments 論評:

  • Cool Cool
    High Tech country huh?

    By Anonymous Alex, at 11/08/2005 12:29 AM  

  • Iwate, despite you claiming it being out in boonsville, seems like a beautiful place.
    If I manage to survive the school year, and some summer classes, I will be obliging you to let me lodge at your mansion. I've said this over and over I know, but I tend to miss the discourse of such high intellect and design that we share.
    18th century novel is degrading my brain.

    By Anonymous Chris, at 11/08/2005 12:45 AM  

  • You should watch Brothers Grimm for some 18th-century fun. Sigh, just realized I have 3 days to stay at this conference and I don't have any clean clothes ... You'd probably enjoy yourself at that particular school, Alex. They have all this high-tech equipment that they DON'T USE ...

    By Blogger 羽之助, at 11/08/2005 7:15 AM  

  • 忙しい週末だったね!写真たくさんだね★今回は文章が英語のみ!頑張って訳してみるっ!

    By Anonymous ayako, at 11/08/2005 1:19 PM  

  • "Now A know my ABCs...."

    By Anonymous akiyo, at 11/10/2005 10:32 AM  

  • Guess what I learned from the links to Wikipedia...apparently my b-day is the same day when the Japanese army captured Nanking...

    Yay me...I could be an incarnation of one of those victims...

    By Anonymous Charlene, at 11/10/2005 12:23 PM  

  • さぼっちゃだめじゃん。早く日本語に翻訳しろ~。Showing offが好きなくせに・・・(笑)。

    By Anonymous 美爾依, at 11/10/2005 1:03 PM  

  • "TEA" anybody?
    Charlene?? yes?


    By Anonymous alex, at 11/11/2005 2:16 AM  

  • Japanese translation is up. Hehe, interesting coincidence for Charlene. Huh? What about tea? 花巻温泉の面白い物語もあるよ。今はちょっと疲れているから更新しないけどすぐ書くよ~

    By Blogger 羽之助, at 11/11/2005 5:36 PM  

  • Wow! What a blast from the past! I just randomly put your name in a search bar, and here I am. Well, I think you remember me anyways. It's Sarah if you don't. Drop me a line if you get the chance.


    I'd like to talk, catch up on the last like 4 years!

    By Anonymous Sarah K., at 11/29/2005 4:50 PM  

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