Parcel Season

Coming up to Christmas we get a lot of post.  The Japanese postal service and the various couriers that are used are impressive.  I have received many parcels addressed incorrectly in English.  Sometimes these find their way here because the couriers ring the apartment in advance to check the address.  Lately we have received quite a few parcels with the wrong apartment number, and they usually work that out without asking.  My favourite though was a parcel addressed to:


Which is the strangest spelling I’ve seen yet of Minami-senju.


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November 30th, 2015
. . .

Passing Time

November is passing quickly.  Sweeney Todd rehearsals have eaten up most of my spare time and will continue to do so for a few weeks yet.  I have finished making my costumes so that should free up some time.  I had hoped to crochet and knit some presents for Christmas, but I haven’t even started on that.  The other November time eater is NaNoWriMo – my annual attempt at writing 50,000 words of fiction in 30 days.  I’m on target for finishing on time with 25,004 words written.

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November 14th, 2015
. . .


Pal of my cradle days
I’ve needed you always
Since I was a baby upon your knee
You sacrificed everything for me
I stole the gold from your hair
I put the silver threads down
I don’t know anyway could ever repay
Pal of my cradle days.

– Ann Breen

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October 31st, 2015
. . .

Autumn Clean

Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful. – William Morris

I have clothes in vacuum sealed bags, some of which have not been used since I moved to Japan.  Today I threw out about half of them.  I have kept some that don’t fit but that qualify as beautiful.  Some are beautiful because of the memories associated with them.  I’m not going to throw out my wedding veil simply because it has no use.

Next, I need to tackle the wardrobes.

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October 2nd, 2015
. . .

Back at the Gym

I went to the gym today. I can’t be the only person that has a head full of excuses. It seems I would rather do laundry and wash dishes than go.  And I’m not really sure why.  Once I’m there I always manage to get through my workout, but I have to drag myself to the place.  The gym was incredibly busy.  There had to be at least 50 people using machines and the classes were filled to capacity.  It certainly seems like other people can make the effort to get there.

I need to change how I feel about the gym or I need to find some other suitable form of exercise I can do elsewhere.

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October 1st, 2015
. . .

I <3 Garbage Room

When I first moved to Japan I found it hard to understand how to sort out garbage.  (I used to call it rubbish, but no-one knew what I was talking about.) There were so many things that need separated.  Burnable waste, non-burnable waste, PET bottles, glass bottles, cans, cartons, cardboard, paper, and white food trays.  There is also a separate garbage collection for items that are bigger than the 45L bags that we are expected to use.

We’ve been renting in Tokyo for a while and lately have been thinking of buying.  When we went to look at new houses I saw a yellow basket sitting outside one of them.  I haven’t had to deal with communal recycling baskets since we moved to this apartment.  I stared at it trying to remember if it was for cans or bottles… and then all the horrors of garbage came back to me.  I have learnt how to separate garbage but I no longer have to worry about when it needs put outside.  In our current apartment we have a garbage room.   It’s an amazing place full of bins for all the different types of garbage.  I no longer have to wait for the two days in a week when I can get rid of smelly food stuff from my apartment, and I don’t need to know which days are the right ones for different types of recycling, and I don’t need to store garbage in my apartment unless I’m too lazy to move it.

If I had a house I would have to learn the garbage cycle again.  Every day I would be putting out a different type of garbage.  I could end up responsible for washing out the baskets in the street, there would be crow nets, wild cats, and cleaning garbage off the street when a mess was made.  I would end up cleaning other people’s garbage off the street as I’m sure just like the last place we lived that they would blame the foreigners every time a crow attacked or some other person put their garbage out too soon.  I don’t actually mind helping out if there is garbage lying in the street as I love living in a clean city, but I disliked being blamed for this.

I did like the giant crows.  They seemed to know the schedule better than me and would sit on the electric cables outside our home just waiting for something tasty to be taken out.

Free Crow Nets

Free Crow Nets

Maybe houses are a better buy, because of the associated land, but I would miss my garbage room.

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September 27th, 2015
. . .

Silver Week

It’s Silver Week.  A wonderful week that occurs every six or so years when 2 national holidays turn into 3.  Japanese law stipulates that if there is only one non-holiday in between two public holidays, that day should become an additional holiday, known as a Kokumin no kyūjitsu (Citizens’ Holiday).  Today is “Respect for the Aged Day” and  “Autumnal Equinox Day” is on Wednesday.

Major holidays are not a good time to travel in Japan so we have opted for staying at home.  We had friends over for a lazy weekend of playing games, eating junk food, and watching movies.  (I wasn’t expecting to like Zoolander, but it was O.K.)  We may venture out tomorrow to see a new apartment building but I won’t be surprised if we sleep late and forget all about that.  Marty is crazy about Splatoon, so much so that I’ve started to see squid creatures in my sleep, and if he plays to 4am again we may not get much done at all.  That’s not a problem though as I’m happy to be still for a few days.

It’s just a pity that the next one doesn’t take place until 2020!

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September 21st, 2015
. . .

Missing Conferences

I don’t get to attend all the Perl conferences I would like to go to.   I was sad to miss YAPC::EU in Granada, and I’m going to miss the Pittsburgh Perl Workshop, that is taking place in October.  I am actively involved in the Perl community, but not as a programmer.  Conferences are the perfect time for me to meet people and hold meetings.  I love the hallway track as the energy generated by the people attending the conference helps to motivate me.   The community aspect is more important to me than the technical content, but that doesn’t mean I don’t want to hear any of the talks.    I’m still not sure what I think about live streaming during these conferences, as I know it’s very expensive, but I am glad when the talk recordings are posted after the event.

I’m watching talks from YAPC::EU.  I’m starting with the keynotes as I enjoy talks with a broader theme and would absolutely have attended these if I had been at the conference.  I’ve already listened to Sawyer’s State of the [Art] Velociraptor‎ and today I’m listening to Ovid’s Turning Point.

I will also miss the London Perl Workshop.  That one is slightly more annoying as I will be flying through London about a week after the conference – so it will be a near miss.  I’m going to try to attend YAPC::EU next year as I would like to meet the members of  I love their cute little vampire logo and the combination of getting to meet the European Perl community and reading Dracula in Transylvania appeals greatly. Facebook Banner

My Favourite Perl Monger Logo


. . .

Working on Sweeney Todd

Earlier this year I agreed to take part in a musical theatre class.  I don’t find it easy to meet people in Tokyo and I thought that this would be a fun way of doing that.  I’m not sure that the class is fulfilling those goals but it’s certainly a challenge. It’s been a while since I did any stage work.  It would have been easier to have started in the chorus but I’m working on the role of Mrs. Lovett from Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd.  She is quirky and sings fast paced songs that are very wordy.  The songs aren’t beautiful.  I have very few good melodies to sing, but they are witty.

I was a little concerned about her accent as she is from the East End of London.  But my American musical director doesn’t mind me using my own accent as he can’t easily differentiate between British and Irish accents.  (I know, I sound nothing like a Londoner).  Sweeney has the advantage in that he is from the East End.  I can sing in the accent, but I’m not comfortable speaking in it.  So my songs will have a flavour of the accent, as if someone from Belfast moved to London and picked up some of the glottal stops and vowel sounds from the people around them and maybe lost the letter “h”.

I have spent most of this afternoon practising for tomorrow’s rehearsal.  I’ve been singing to myself and an imaginary Sweeney while I pick imaginary insects off imaginary pies.  I’ve been using a real rolling pin as I actually want to hear the syncopation it provides when I’m singing, though I’m sure that neighbours aren’t keen on me blattering it off the table.  I’m concerned about the lines I have to speak as I don’t know if I can remember them.  I know I used to be able to learn a whole play but it seems harder now.  It’s probably not really though as it’s much easier to look back and remember performances than it is to remember the hours I put into learning the work in the first place.

I will go and practice!

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September 15th, 2015
. . .

New Vegetables

I had a house guest recently, who was trying to find cilantro, and they asked me to identify some of the leafy green things in the store.  There were quite a few that I couldn’t identify so I took pictures of their names to translate them at home.  A translation hasn’t helped me much as I didn’t recognize their English names either.  I can buy  Malabar Spinach (つるむらさき), Jew’s Mallow (モロヘイヤ),  Angelica Keiskei (明日葉), and Japanese Honeywort (三つ葉).  My next task it to work out how to cook them.

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September 11th, 2015
. . .