Khaos

Archive for the 'Japan' Category

Tooth Pain

Wednesday, August 24th, 2016

I have had a crack in one of my back molars for years.  This didn’t seem to be causing a problem but my dentist told me that it needed to be capped and not just filled.  At the start of that appointment my tooth wasn’t sore, but once the dentist had finished exploring with a drill that was no longer true.  He also wasn’t able to cap the tooth as he suspected I need a root canal treatment.

Having the root canal took two appointments with an endodontist as I apparently have tiny narrow bendy root canals that needed widened.  It was not a pleasant experience.  My mouth is small, my teeth are large, and my jaw doesn’t stay open wide enough.  It involved having a block jammed into my mouth to keep it open, and lots of drills and long pointing things.  The worst part is not the pain, it’s not knowing what is happening or how long it will take.  There are so many scary looking instruments and the smell of burning didn’t help.  The anesthetic also made me feel shaky and queasy.

Now I need to arrange more appointments to have the cap put on.  The endodentist suggested that I leave it for a week to give myself a break from mouth pain.

Tambara Lavender Park

Thursday, August 18th, 2016

We took a day trip to Gunma Prefecture to visit a lavender park. I was really impressed with what frozen things do in summer.

Tambara Lavender Park, Ski Slope in Summer

Tambara Lavender Park, Ski Slope in Summer

Tambara Lavender Park

Busy Month

Wednesday, August 17th, 2016

A few unexpected things have happened this month that have taken me away from my computer.  Now that I’m trying to get back to a routine I’m having problems with a tooth.  I went to the dentist with a crack in a back molar that will take 5 visits to the dentist to fix.  I haven’t met a person who likes having dental work done so you won’t be surprised when I say that I’m not enjoying it.  At least I’m being given strong painkillers.

I have been getting more involved with English theatre in Tokyo over the past year.  Black Stripe Theater is putting on The Dresser, by Ronald Harwood, in September and I’m working on the costumes for that.  Tokyo is not the easiest place to find clothing suitable for a play set in 1941 in Britain, but I’m enjoying the challenge.

Hanabi

Saturday, July 30th, 2016

Tonight we went to see the fireworks on the Sumida River.  In the past we have tried to find somewhere to sit but that takes a lot of preparation.  This year we decided to walk along the river during the display.  Even though there were tens of thousands of people outside there was still a route that was clear.  We ended up with a better view than we had in the past and we got to exercise.

Sushi!

Thursday, July 28th, 2016

My first lunch time back in Tokyo and I had to resist buying far too much sushi.  I miss it when I travel.  I sometimes buy it in other countries but it’s not the same.  I worry about eating sushi in places far from the sea, or in places where raw fish isn’t commonly eaten, so I tend to buy rolls that contain vegetables or cooked fish. But never avocado as I can’t stand the green mushy stuff and hate that American sushi chefs are fascinated with it.

I did get a shock in a Japanese restaurant in Florida as they served an “Atom Bomb Roll”.  This horrifyingly named roll contained salmon and spiced tuna.  I can’t imagine that anyone Japanese was involved in that restaurant.  Oddly named sushi seemed to be a theme as they also had a “Beauty and the Beast Roll” that contained tuna, eel, crab, avocado, and cream cheese, which sounds disgusting.   Thankfully today’s sushi was amazing.

Back Home

Wednesday, July 27th, 2016

I’m really pleased to be back home. But there is one thing that I really didn’t miss…

5.3 Quake in Ibaraki

5.3 Quake in Ibaraki

… my apartment block jerking and swaying.

Peaceful Japan

Friday, July 8th, 2016

I was reading the Global Peace Index 2016 [PDF] today.  Of the 163 independent states and territories ranked Japan came in at number 9, Ireland at 12, the UK at 47, and the United States of America is at 103.  I’m always surprised by how poorly the USA performs in these studies, as the parts I visit appear quite safe.  But there is no doubt watching the news tonight, from our New York hotel room, that the country seems anything but safe.   I’m also stunned that the index lists the national cost of violence in the USA as $2,028,740,716,654.  A number that doesn’t appear real.

“The 2016 Global Peace Index (GPI) shows the world became less peaceful in the last year, reinforcing the underlying trend of declining peace over the last decade. Results also show a growing global inequality in peace, with the most peaceful countries continuing to improve while the least peaceful are falling into greater violence and conflict.”

Big River

Thursday, May 5th, 2016

I have been busy rehearsing as part of the ensemble cast of Big River.  The musical opens on the 19th May, so not long to wait now.  The city is getting warmer and I am finding it hard dancing in layers of clothing in hot rooms.  It will be hot on stage, so I will just have to get used to it.  I am so glad that during the performance each dance only happens once, unlike rehearsal where the point is to keep doing them until they are right.

It’s been fascinating doing theatre work again as technology has changed so many things.  Now rehearsals are organised with web-based project management tools.  Nearly every cast member is carrying a device capable of recording the rehearsal.  Choreography steps are videoed so you can review them at home.  There are apps to help you run lines.  And microphones are everywhere.  I’m not completely thrilled about the microphones, as it changes vocal technique, but I love most of the other changes.  Now if we just had air conditioners that didn’t dry out the throat…

 

Black Stripe Theater – SEVEN

Friday, April 15th, 2016

I went to see the documentary play SEVEN last night, which was put on by Black Stripe Theater as part of International Women’s Month.  It’s an upsetting play to watch as it deals with rape, domestic violence, enforced prostitution, poverty, and human rights violations.  I won’t say that I enjoyed the play, but it was not supposed to be entertainment, and art can certainly make us feel uncomfortable.

I had not read about the seven woman before going to see the play so I was surprised that one of the seven was a portrayal of Inez McCormack, a human rights and trade union activist from Northern Ireland.  It was strange listening to a voice from my own culture and trying to work out how it fits with stories from woman from Afghanistan, Russia, Guatemala, Cambodia, Nigeria, and Pakistan.  I found myself feeling something like imposter syndrome for my home country as we do have a tendency to downplay what happened and the impact it had.

One of the aspects of the show that I really liked is that it depicted all seven woman together, in a way that they could not have been in real life.  It was beautiful in that it clearly showed that woman are the same all over the world.  That we all love, we all feel pain, and that we are more alike than we are different.  That there is hope for change.

Winter Trip

Thursday, January 14th, 2016

We spent three days at Niseko Village. I love Hokkaido in the winter. It doesn’t remind me of home, though lots of people in Japan think that Northern Ireland should be a snowy wonderland in winter. It looks like the sort of winter you see on old Christmas cards – more like Narnian winter than reality. If it wasn’t so cold it would be perfect.

We had wanted to try using a snowmobile for a while and this time we managed to hire one.  I didn’t have to drive, M did that, I just had to hold on.  That mostly worked but towards the end of the drive we managed to get stuck in a snowdrift and we both fell off the machine.  We were out with an instructor who was able to come to our rescue.  It’s certainly safer to fall off than a motorbike as the snow was very soft and deep. We also weren’t going very fast at the time as we were driving up the mountain.  It took a lot of effort to get back up as snow is surprisingly heavy when you end up buried in it.  It would also have been easier if we hadn’t been laughing so much.  It was a lot of fun and I would certainly try it again.  Maybe next time I’ll be braver and will try driving.

Niseko Village