Friday, June 27, 2014

Fried Brain Friday

Um, where did that week just go? I could've sworn it was just Friday yesterday. Anyway, as it seems I'm not so good at posting anything else, the least I can do is give you a little Fried Brain Friday fun, right?

  • Last Saturday, some colleagues and I went into town to see a talk by a South African musician, sadly I've forgotten her exact name, but she's quite a big deal in South Africa. We had checked where it was, and arranged to meet in plenty of time. Unfortunately, none of us thought to check the date, having assumed it was going to magically be held when we decided it would be. Turned out that we were about 3 days late. Whoops. So we went for lunch instead. 

  • The last Monday in every month is Quiz night at a local wine bar. It's the place to be in Kumamoto, as long  as you speak English. The highlight for me was the guess the moustache round, in which I correctly identified Hulk Hogan's moustache. Considering I've never watched WWF in my life, that's quite impressive. Or a sign that I read too much trash on the internet, one or the other.

  • I went for a run the other day with a friend. It's our new, once a week, thing. She's a stronger runner than me, although we're a similar speed (she may well be slowing down on my account, to be fair). so she pushes me a bit, which is good. It's also a good chance to have a good old chinwag, which, if we're honest, is the main reason we're doing it at all.

  • As we're now in rainy season proper, even if the humidity is low, I've had to become familiar with the local laundrette. I'm not a fan of laundrettes as a general rule, they smell funny in my experience, but you can't argue with clean, dry towels. I realised I need to pay more attention when I threw 20 minutes' worth of money in a dryer, only to reason it was the one above mine. Of course, it wouldn't come out, and when the man whose clothes were in there came back to claim them, he kept looking at his watch in a very confused manner. I didn't like to tell him what I'd done, in case something in there was burned from being in the dryer for so long. So, I slopped off outside, and went for a quick walk around the block in the pouring rain, probably looking very shifty indeed. 

  • And for no other reason than it made me smile

So, that was random. How was your  Friday?

Friday, June 20, 2014

Fried Brain Friday!

It's been a while since I did one of these. I can't think why I ever got out of the habit, it's a great thing to do on a Friday. In case you didn't realise, the name was suggested by Kathryn. I should remember to mention that every time, but I don't.

  • England lost another World Cup game this morning. I didn't bother with the early start and just asked the guys at work when I got there. To be honest, I was surprised to learn Frank Lampard was playing, I thought he'd retired a while back... I guess what I'm saying is that I'm not a very good football fan.

  • I drew Nigeria in our department sweepstake. I'm never getting that 500yen back. At least I knew that from the start, the guy who drew Spain had a terrible shock.

  • I bought some flaxseed the other day. I'm not 100% sure what to do with it, so if you have some suggestions, let me know, won't you? I could Google but, well, it's easier to ask you.

  • I've been watching Life on Mars a lot lately. It's a good few years old, but it is such a good show. I didn't know there was an American version, though. Why do they do that? Why not just show the English one that has already been made? Wouldn't that be cheaper, which is better business (I obviously know nothing about business)? 

  • The rainy season is taking a while to get started this year, which is nice. I even needed a blanket the other night. As anyone in Japan will tell you, blankets in June are not normal. 

  • Thanks to the rain, I slipped on a grate in the road the other day. I think I managed to keep it fairly elegant, but I landed on one knee and now I have 2 bruises where I hit the metal.  It's very attractive, but I'll spare you the photographic evidence. My re-enactment when I wanted to explain the meaning "embarrassing" to my students was a work of genius though.
So what's swimming around your brain this rainy Friday? Do share!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Photos, as promised!

I happened across this really cool temple one day. This is just the entrance. It's actually more impressive than the actual temple.
Rainy season in Japan means hydrangeas. I love their pastel shades.
I went to an art exhibition, because I'm all cultured and stuff. It was by the Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama. Her stuff is utterly bonkers. These two statures were outside the museum, I love that the angle makes it look like the dog is biting the lady's hand.

More beautiful flowers. This was last month, but the nice bright red seemed like an excellent way to end this stream of photos.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Nothing to report...

Hello. Did you all forget about me? I guess if you're reading this, maybe you're still there. Somewhere. Hello.

I'm not quite sure where to start after such a long gap. I'm still in Kumamoto, still enjoying it, although it's getting a bit hot and the warnings that this is nothing can get a bit boring after a while (Apparently, it can get up to 40c here in summer, which is so odd to me. Isn't that the same temperature as the Australian Outback? How does that even work?)

I could tell you that I've been OMGSOBUSY doing all sorts of exciting things other than blogging, but that would be a lie. A dirty, rotten lie. Today I went to the supermarket, and Nittori (Japanese Ikea, only not quite as good, in my humble opinion), this rock n' roll roller-coaster of a lifestyle needs to stop soon. I've just been a bit (OK, a lot) lazy. I'm on the computer a lot, at work and at home, and it's not like I slave over my posts for hours crafting works of literature for my adoring fans, so I really have no reason for not updating you on the excitement that it my life.

I have quite a lot of photos on my phone of various things I've spotted around town (Mostly flowers, for someone not really that interested in gardening, I've gotten pretty interested in looking at flowers) that I will put up soon. Maybe after the run I plan on doing in the morning, assuming a) I get myself out of bed before it is too hot to be separated from the electric fan and B) it's not pouring with rainy season rain. I am far too much of a special snowflake to run in rainy season rain.

So, with that fascinating update, I bid you good night. 

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

What is healthy, anyway?

I read this the other day, and it got me thinking. I mean, we talk about being healthy, and think about being healthy, and do all sorts of things in the name of getting healthy, but what does healthy actually mean to you? You see, I think being healthy means different things to different people. My take? In no particular order....

  • Eating good food. Food that tastes good, not food that is good for you but tastes like cardboard. There is a whole world of healthy food that actually tastes good and has vitamins, and yet people insist that I should eat  konnyaku. Why? Well, it has no calories. That makes no sense. Air doesn't have calories either, but it won't get me through the day. Also, konnyaku is grey, I don't do  grey food. 
  • Having a balance of good for me stuff, and good for the soul stuff. About 80/20 works, I think, although sometimes 70/30 is more realistic, and let's be honest, we all have those 50/50 days once in a blue moon, and that's OK, it's not every day. We all need vegetables in life, but a little chocolate for dessert is also important. Also, pizza, sometimes pizza is the only thing that will heal all ills.
  • Which brings me to my next point. Being healthy means having enough energy to do all the things I need to and want to get done in a day. Of course, there are days when I take to my bed at 8.30 because I'm totally shattered and nothing else will make me happy, but, most of the time, on an average day, being healthy means having energy, which I get from eating good food and getting enough sleep. Not konnyaku.

  • Sleep. It's important to give my body the rest it needs to get me through the day. It's also beneficial to those around me, because I'm a proper cranky pants if I don't get enough sleep. Everybody wins!

  • Being active. Not just in the sense of working out, but also in the sense of enjoying lots of different things. Enjoying my job is important to me, I love what I do, and I'm one of those annoying people who doesn't mind Monday so much. But, what I do outside of work is important too. Cooking, running, reading, general shenanigans, they all help me to leave work behind me and that can only be a good thing. Just working makes my soul sad, and that can't be healthy.
  • Doing actual proper exercise a few times a week, but only the type that I like. Forcing myself to play tennis because it's good for me doesn't make any sense, but going to a Zumba class and dancing like a loon is good for me, and I enjoy it. I'm calmer and happier when I've had a good work out. At the same time, not worrying about it if I haven't worked out for some reason is just as important, it's supposed to help relieve stress, not cause it.
  • Talking with family and friends. As my relatives make me laugh a lot, they're very good for my health, laughing is good for the soul. Did you know  laughter yoga is a thing? It's supposed to be good for all sorts of things. Either way, a good chat with a few laughs thrown in always makes me feel good.

So, there you are. My idea of what makes me healthy. None of it is crazy, not drinking snake blood to preserve my youth over here. Just simple good health.

What does your idea of healthy look like?

Monday, March 24, 2014

Marvellous in My Monday: Spring style!

Hello! How are you all this fine Monday? Hope you all had a wonderful weekend. As it is Monday, I'm linking up with Katie to get the week off to a marvellous start.

  • Spring has begun! Not only because Friday was the spring equinox, but also because the cherry blossom has come out!

    No, sadly, this is not the Eiffel Tower, it's TV tower thingy. Which is the technical name for it.
    See, cherry blossoms. Pink flowers everywhere.

    • I went to see Dallas Buyers' Club this weekend. What with all the Oscars, I thought it was worth a look. If you don't know the story, it's about a man called Ron Woodroof who found out he had the HIV virus at a time when people still believed it was an illness only gay people could contract, and in a place where the people around him, and him included, were incredibly homophobic. Without ruining the story for you, he found ways to increase his life expectancy, and helped a whole lot of people in the meantime. It was a really powerful film, and I liked that the story didn't try to make him seem like a saint. Anyway, a good film, that got me thinking.

    • My morning run this morning was beautiful. I'm trying all sorts of new routes to see where is best, and this might be a good candidate. Not only was it nice and peaceful, with a cycle path that meant I wasn't listening out for cars the whole time, it was flat. No hills at all. A rarity in these parts.
  • I got a new bicycle yesterday. A nice blue one. Not being particularly mechanical. it took me a while to decide what I wanted. In the end, I got it from a shop nearby, which means that I can take it in once a month for maintenance, and if I get stranded somewhere because my bike is broken, I just call the shop and he'll come and pick me up, kind of like the AA. Pretty good service, right?

  • My weekly shop was very exciting last week, I found porridge! I couldn't find it before, because, weirdly, it was in the baking section not the cereal section, but I was so happy, I bought 2 packets. You can never be sure in Japan if things will get restocked, so I thought it would be safest to buy a couple. Sadly, I burned the first lot I made, but I ate it anyway, because I didn't want to waste any. 
So, that's my Marvellous Monday! How was your weekend? What's Marvellousness did you experience?

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Sunday randomness

As I've slightly fallen off the blogging wagon since I've been here, I thought it would be easier to just give you a random selection of what has been going on in my world lately.
There's been lots of tea drinking in my life of late. I found a selection of these Pukka teas in a shop in town, and I had to give them a go. As you can see, it's not really a cup of tea, it's more of a bucket. Saves me getting back up to boil the kettle, you see. These mugs should have that written on the label. 

It was a nice sunny day yesterday, so I toddled off to the castle for a walk. The trees are not quite in bloom yet, but it won't be long now.

While I was there, I partook of a local delicacy, ikinari dango. The yellow thing is sweet potato, the white wrapping is mochi, a kind of rice paste, and the pink bit is cherry blossom paste. It was really good. There are a few different flavours, so I will have to try them all and see which one is best.

I have no idea what this tree is, but it does look nice and spring like, which we are all ready for, right?

It was Kumamon's birthday last week. Who knew he even had a birthday? It was clearly an excuse for an event, and these flags were up all over the centre of the city 

Kumamon does not only have a birthday, he has an album. Yes, an actual musical album. I haven't heard it. I might not bother, if I'm honest.
I also put some flat pack furniture together, with quite some success, despite mostly ignoring these instructions. I felt very accomplished. We have to celebrate our achievements, and I make a point of it!
So, as you can see, I've been having a jolly old time of it here in Kumamoto. Things are ticking along, even though I can't find porridge in any shops, which I never thought would bother me at all. I guess you always want things you can't get. 

So, what have you been doing lately? Any flat pack furniture success?