Thursday, December 28, 2006

Low activity-Shiny happy people-happy new year-don't get fooled

Best reader, the time I had in Japan is over for now. So from now on, I will take a long break from the blogging. Maybe for a week, maybe for eternities, I don’t’ know. It's been great fun and I will miss Japan. What I will miss are the hard long nights at the lab, all the people, the positive energy and optimism. I feel I have been working at Disneyland for adults. And I feel great optimism.

Now is the beginning of a new area; "the extended adolescence" is over, unless someone here has other suggestions of how to extend it even more, please mail me ;)

"Shiny happy people" by REM is a video that can make Saddam Hussein happy right now (Go america go!). Happy new year!

Saturday, December 23, 2006

One night in Tokyo and the rough gets rougher

Last night was a really interesting night in Tokyo. It all started after 10pm.
Where should I start. I was at shinjuku district, and went to the imperial palace (really huge). After that, I decided to go to starbucks to load up with coffee since my plan was not to sleep between Thursday and Friday since my flight would leave at 1140and I would have to be at the airport early.

I realized that starbucks have weaker coffee in the evening and that people go to starbucks when they go out. it was sooo crowded with drunk teenagers. hilarious. one couple started to make out and a bunch of old ladies threw them out...hahaha

starbucks closed at 11pm so my plan was to go for dinner. I found a nice place in Ginza are. Last set of sashimi (I had sushi for lunch at the fish market) and then just to buy yakitori on the street afterward. When I sat on the restaurant, I noticed that I was the only girl at that place. I don’t' know why, but it was creepy. Since I had already orderd food and I find it embarassing just to leave I figured out that I might as well stay. As I had my dinner, I looked out of the window and a guy looked in through the window and started to stare at me while I was eating. I couldn't eat, don't know if he was hungry but that feelt weird.

Anyway, left the restaurant. Ginza is really classy at day but extremely trashy at night have to say. The abiance feels different at night. So my next plan was to go to the stone spa that is open 24hours a day. It was listed in a guide book so I suppose that they overpriced a bit (2700yen) but I didn't feel like looking for other places and that sounded like a safe place. And yes, the stone spa was nice. Except the fact that I was the only one there. Weird.
So the girl who worked was not happy when she saw me at midnight. I guess she wanted to close earlier. I had the whole stone spa all to myself, talk about waist of spa! that was the most depressing part. Alone at a really nice spa, tragic tragic tragic

she said that they closed at 3am. so I was fine with that, my plan was to take the normal subway to Narita airport. So I left the spa at 3am, rested and relaxed. I had found a nice jazz café that looked nice that I planed to go to, but it was closed. The street was crowded with weird dressed people. old men with young woman, as usual. So I foud a” normal" bar where I just order a café latte. All of a sudden, when I looked out of the street a guy just collapsed in the middle of the street.

the funny thing is that I asked the owner of the bar if we should maybe call emergency or something but he just totally ignored it (the Japanese ignoration, you know). aha. there he was, laying in the middle of the sidewalk, people passing by no one cares. I thought that I just tell a police and so I did (with a lot of communication problems). My next plan was to head to the train station, too much action for me in such a short time. on my way, I found an open pharmacy, so I thought, I need to buy that hairoil that I can't find in Sweden, it's a small package anyway. So I went in to the pharmacy, there again, Old guys with young ladies. the girls were shopping the most expensive things (guys paying of course). The guys are the sugar daddies, but honestly, if the girls want to use the guys they might as well go shopping for electronics or real hard cores tuff, not make up. talk about stupid girls.

So by now, I had only 200yen left in cash. I forgot to tell you the adventure I had when I tried to look for an ATM in the afternoon. didn't work well but most places that accepted credit card, I paid with my card (even when I only bought coffee). On my way to the station, there was another guy just laying on the street, but I think t his guy was being robbed in front of my face. I started to run. So I arrived to the station, paid with my credit card for the train ticket to Nairta. But here comes the next problem
I had locked in my language in the lockers at the train station when I arrived at 7am on Thursday morning to Tokyo. According to what's written on the lockers, the price you pay is valid for 24 hours, and my stuff had been there for 22 hours so I didn't think about the lockers. But the problem is that I needed to put in another 500 yen in the lockers in order to open since it was the day before. And I only had 200 yen, no ATM open.
I started to laugh at that point.
What should I do? Most of the stores were closed and even if I'd buy things, I can't take out money at the same time in Japan. This is absolutely one of the disadvantages about travelling alone, no one to borrow small money from (believe me, bigger problem then you might imagine). So my plan was to go back to the pharmacy where I bought the hair oil and return it in order just to get 300 more yen. I was nervous about the fact that the pharmacy guy wouldn't accept it. Thank god I had left the recete and it worked, went back to the station and took the subway.

Here comes the next problem;

I was soo exhausted after all what happened that I fell asleep on the tram that I missed getting off at "Tokyo station".
But what I did was that I continued the whole way, and changed pathway. I was suppose to change at Tokyo station to go with another JR line but instead, I continued to the last stop and changed to Narita. I arrived at the ariport 845 but I didn't have to carry my bags so it turned out ok :)

Thursday, December 21, 2006

From Shibuya in Tokyo

Ok good fox, friends and enemies. I made to Tokyo this morning with the night bus. As I posted from the previous trip that was made by the night train, we got nice kimonos and blue flipflops. Belive it or not, I got a kimono and nice flipflops on the bus as well. And the seats was foled so deeply that they became like a bed.

I was in Osaka yesterday, unfortunately only from 7 in the morning until 23. There were so many things that I didnt manage to visit. At least, I was at the "human right museum". BAD museum, sooo PC that I was about to vomit. First of all, it was located far away from the center, takes time with the subway. Second of all, I was the only one there + the 5 staff who were stalking me. The third of all, it was not really about human rights, it was about... ...... wait I had was about...I have no clue. They had a section about womans right in Japan. Since the economist ranked Japan among the worse countries when it comes to this issue, you can imagine how terrible the exhibition was. They had unproportionally much about Korean and their discrimination by the Japanese. But nothing really about democracy, about peoples right to wote. Their eqipmet consisted of 5 huge flatscreen tvs and a bunch of small tv monitors...

Anyway, Osaka is like a mini Tokyo. They also have a huge fish aquarium, that I recommend. And a universal studio that I didn't manage to visit since I got lost in the nice Korean square and went shopping for chrismast gifts (and I found two hagen danz bars (spelling)).

I have always woundered how starbucks managed to become this huge but now, after visiting a couple of the major cities in Japan, I know why.

Starbucks is ALWAYS located at the bottom floor of a huge mall or central station. When people walk around, they get tired and feel like sitting down and have a coffe. So the first available thing is Starbucks. THey managed to become big just because of the location. Japanese pepole dont like strong coffee normally. Another thing that I noticed is that if you find a McDonalds and a Mac store, you will definetely find a Starbucks. That was the case in Fukuoka, in Osaka and in Tokyo (not at shinjuku though, they had a mac store and a McDonalds but the starbucks was 200 meter away maybe).

Ginza and Hibiya dori are really nice to visit, mostly because of the fact that you can get an update on how its going for your stocks and hear the news while youre waiting for the traffic light. Ginza is also clean and really snobbish, they even have carpets on the side walk at some places.
The not snobby part of ginza is the fish market, a gods gift to people who loves fish. I had sushi and Fugu there. so if I wont write in a while, its becuse the fugu killed me.

Shibiya is interesting in many ways. There is a scene in "Lost in Translation" when Charlotte walks and has a huge tv screen with a gifaff walking on a building. I saw that building and its located at shibiya, but they changed the motive.

Anwyay, after this break I will go to Odaiba area, an area near the water, have a nice drink, read my book and have dinner. All the relaxing sight seeing and shopping is making me exhausted!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

From Canal City in Fukuoka

I am right now at Canal city in Fukuoka, typing on a japanese keybord so in case of misspellings (I have them in normal case anyway, haha). I have to say that I am really impressed by Canal City. They created a huge mall and the architect is genius. It's located outside and inside at the same time so it works good during summer and winter. This building provides so much income to the Japanese economy. you can find everything here. Just the building itself is worth a visit. you can probably google pictures of the building if you want.

So if I cant answer emails, it's because my internet acess is limitted now. Tomorrow, I will be in Osaka.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

One left

Today is the last day at the lab. Tomorrow, I'll be heading to Fukoka, on wendsday I'll be in Osaka and on thursday and friday it's Tokyo (for the 3rd time, me like Tokyo). During this trip, my plan is to do some sight seeing but what I want is books and magazines. I also want a nice sofa where my behind can be adjusted to and coffe to go with the sofa where I will turn my ass from one side to the other, that's the only activity. I want drinks too during this trip, drinks with umbrellas.

Today Diana left. She will be missed.

Today the last day at the lab. I got a really good rekommendation letter. Today, I actually felt appreciated and admired for the first time during this visit. I am confused. I thought that the professor hated me, but if I get a good recommendation letter then I guess it should be good. Right now I’m just confused. The first second they're strict as h***, the other one, nice as heaven...

Just older not wiser

Not many days left in Japan, I have to start reweing things that this trip taught me and thing it didn’t teach me. What kind of wisdom shall I bring from this country?

1) Cheap service sector. The fact is that people back home do everything themselves; they cut the grass in the garden, wash the car, make the food. They work after work, at home. People don’t really work after work here, they eat out and that’s pretty much all they have time for. Just the fact that I didn’t have to work after work was nice. I will miss taking a taxi after having a huge dinner downtown.

2) The adorable kindness. There are so many stories about the kindness. One of them is the following one; I was walking in my own thoughts one rainy Saturday afternoon to the university, wearing a waterproof jacket but no umbrella. All of a sudden, I got interrupted in my i-pod circulating world by a woman who stopped her car, got out of it and started talking Japanese fast and loud to me. She grabbed an umbrella, gave it to me, said something in Japanese and went in to the car and continued driving. I was still in my i-pod world but I got the fact that she felt sorry for me, without an umbrella that she just gave it. A total stranger. The umbrella I got is the best one I’ve ever owned.

3)The convince store: open 24h a day and this is the best thing;.

4) The garbage separation; when I finally got how it, it actually makes more sense than the one back home. I will bring a brochure in English and lend it over to the environmental party. Just to prove to them how useless they are.

5)Communication; to make a long story short, communication is important. To be diplomatic is more important than to say the truth (the previous post on the survey on simple communication is still applicable but be more diplomatic).

6) The retired people: They seem to live a good life in Japan, they are active and most of them have a tighter schedule than young people in Europe. The cheap service sector (se point nr 1) …blablabla, yes you know the story.

7) Fat vs skinny Japanese: once and for all, the fat Japanese you’ll see are like normal weighted Americans you see in the states. You'll find a fair amount of overweighted young people - but not among the older ones. The traditional Japanese food like rice, fish and green tea with rice cookies as dessert (consumer: old Japanese) doesn’t make people fat while bakeries and Mr Dounut (consumer: young Japanese) makes people fat.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Two left

It feels like a “real tv” situation when people leave one after one. Today, Kai left.Diana and Diana still here though.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Just drop the bomb!

Nagasaki is mainly famous for one thing, the atomic bomb that hit the city on the 9th of august 1945. Every morning, at 11.02, people can hear chimes go off, as a reminder of the atomic bomb..
When Germany and Japan started WWII, they probably didn’t know that ten million people would loose their lives. In a way USA was forced into a war by Japan it selves.
So what would have happened if the bombing wouldn’t have taken place? To leave things the way they were would simply have made the war longer since Japan would have been suppressed by Hitler’s Germany. To attack Japan would have cost many solders, both Americans and Japanese, lives. I guess that the states really wanted to show their power to the former Soviet Union as well. The bomb that fell over Nagasaki was a plutonium bomb, even more powerful than the one that fell over Hiroshima which was a uranium bomb. Some critics means that the strategy the United State used frightened the Soviet Union, witch gave them a more defensive strategy during the Cold War. Do we have the bombs to thank and the states for setting them? Unfortunately the people here in Nagasaki and their ancestors are the ones to be thanked for scarifying their lives. If the bomb wouldn’t have taken place, the most probably thing that would have happened is that either the Soviet Union or the Natzi Germany would have dropped it, and that would definitely have made the world a less safer place.
And on the other hand, the use of nuclear weapon taught us a lot as well. The power of it. Imagine having daily terrorist organizations like Hizbollah using it?

A photo of Olof Palme was found at the museum. He was the Swedish prime minister but got assassinated. The murder has still not been found but the weapon that killed him was found in November this year,

I’ve been here for a semester now and I am actually tired of the constant talking about the bomb. A friend of mine who’s working at the atomic bomb institute (special institute at the hospital) is even more feed up with the bomb. With all respect to all the people who were scarified. I have to say that it’s about time to drop the bomb. It’s been 61 years. The economic compensations that the city has received in form of research funding and economic compensation to the families are huge. I don’t mean that money can compensate, but it feels like as if they’re using (here comes the drum rolls and the magic word) atomic bomb in order to make the world feel sorry about them.

I don’t say that it’s unique for them, other folk groups or citizens has done the same. According to a certain professor, the money even comes from donors that might be criminal or from institutions they shouldn’t come from.

Once again, with respect to all the Hibakucha (the name of the survivors)
The hypocenter, or the place where they dropped the bomb is not far away from the hospital (and around 500m away from my university building) and the only building that survived the atomic bomb is the international house for medical students (a building that they plan to tear down)
.Before I came to Nagasaki, I thought that the environment would be destroyed since scientists pretty much predicted that nothing would be able to grow within 70 years. Today, Nagasaki is a vivid city, mostly due to it’s port, but I still get the feeling about the fact that it is among the poor cities in Japan. The prices for housing, food and different services are really low compared to Kyoto and Tokyo. Nagasaki is a nice city.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

In love in Japan

The goal of this blog is not to tell really boring stereotypical stories about Japan that people already know. But now I think I want to break those rules and become really sentimental and boring in that way. Below, I have posted some random photos. This woman was selling...guess what? Yes, boiled sweet potato outside a Temple for tourists. The equipment is impressive, the heat is provided by the wood that allocates water steam.
The crowded subways...the stereotype picture of Japan.

A nice view of Tokyo from Tokyo Tower

The fact that Cameron Diaz is popular in Japan is normal (she is popular all around the world). More uncommon people that are popular here are Jennie Garth (from Beverly Hills 90210) and Dr Bombay (calcutta). You got to love the neon light though...

The famous fugu fish, only prepared by special shefs and only in Japan. If they don' t remove the liver correctly then the eater of the fish will chok to death (I will try fugu this week).

This photo is not very good but it is actually a guy who is working while he is wating on the traffic light. Always at work ;)

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

What's going on?

Since I'm between 8-16 hours ahead of my readers, because of the time distance, I’d like to update you on what has happened today while you’ve been sleeping.

In Japan

Pachinko take tied to North nuke quest (About how money from pachinko machines goes to Kim Jong’s pocket. Ehhh, really news? I wrote about this issue on my blog in September)

Brazil raising cane big time as ethanol gets Japan's attention (Japan competing with Brazil on ethanol production? Hahahaha, we all know what happened when they tried to compete with the rest of the world by producing Whiskey, we got Suntory “the water” Whiskey. Japanese can only make good sake for god’s sake!).

Drug-resistant TB 'super strains' found in Japan (what a breaking news, really! Everybody who has been at a Japanese hospital knows what I am talking about, for you other people, I guess the word cockroaches is the only word you need to hear).

Summary: God, sooooo boring. Can’t…stop…yawning….

In Economy

No i-pods to North Korea (com’on raise your hands if you’re surprised)(in Swedish)

Summary: resign please…boring boring…can’t…keep…my ….eyes from falling asleep….

In private life

I am still blogging in beta and in Japanese (and this is now the 8th time I am trying to post this post. It ends up in the middle of my blog instead of on top, despite the fact that the date in my settings is correct, I really hate the beta blogger).

I went to a SPA at 11.45 pm (!!!) last night and came home at 1am.

Total summary: My private life is just as boring as the news. And my private life is just un necessary to follow, and so are the news.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Another Brick In The Wall

In Japan, the university charges a small fee. This fee is subsidized by the government and is around 600 dollars/semester, depending on what subject is studied. A student who can’t afford it but have the abilities to study at the university gets scholarships and governmental support.
That’s excellent! That means that people will pay select education carefully and the university won’t be just some kind of place to go to when people can’t get jobs.
The universities in Sweden are free. According to the simple economic “supply and demand” curve, the supply of university educated people is greater than the demand. The problem is when you also have people who studies subjects that doesn’t lead to jobs, for instance philosophy. It’s not free to go to university, so why shouldn’t people pay for that?

The funny thing is that the fee in Japan is that it’s cheaper for married people. Talk about discrimination, this fee has nothing to do with the fact that it’s cheaper for the university to have married couples. This fee is a way to trick people into marriage.

Another brick in the wall is a geat video. I published the video on the blog but I realized that I had done som miss spellings so I had to change it. So the video is deleted from the blog now (I hate to blog in beta).

Monday, December 04, 2006

Harvard philosophy department or too much wine?

Blogger in beta and in Japanese!

I just figured out that I should update my blog to the hi-tek Beta verson. So I did and now the whole publish site is in Japanese. Ahh, my blog was better in the primitive alfa verson with english text than the Hi-tek Beta verson with Japanese text. And I can't ask people at the lab for help, they'll see what I've written about Kim Jong! So from now on, if you'll se something published 3 times, it's not because I can't blog in beta but it's because I can't blog in Japanese!!!

Saturday, December 02, 2006

FIdel Castro and Kim Jong

Today is the day. Fidel Castro has been ruining Cuba for 50 years.

What makes me really depressed is the fact that no major magazine has written about it.

Friday, December 01, 2006

You know you've been in Japan for too long (Part III) when

1) you panic if you can’t find a vending machine
2) you drink hot coffee out of a can
3) you think it’s normal to get treated differently because you’re a woman
4) you start to like hierarchy because it it saves a lot of time
5) you miss the dark bread so badly (they only sell white bread in the store) that you are willing to walk for hours for some dark bread.
6) you think that good whine is Beaujulais Village
7) you think that good whiskey is Suntory whiskey
8) you find it more normal to eat out that at home
9) you fall asleep as soon as you get on the tram
10) you think it’s better to keep in the snot instead of sneezing.

Three left

It’s amazing how easy it is to get to know people within 3 months, especially if you don’t have too many friends. Even if you manage to get to know people, you never really know someone. Yesterday, one of them left. He knows that he will be missed by all of us.

When you live in a foreign country, I’ve always thought that it’s important tog get to know the people who live in the country in order to integrate. As a former Lebanese in Sweden, I often get the feeling that integration can not occur properly because foreigners and Swedes don’t integrate with each other.
The integration politic in Europe doesn’t only depend on the politicians but also on the foreigners themselves. I have seen it everywhere; people seem to want to hang out with people from their own countries or continent at least. I saw it when I was in France in 2002, In the states 2005, in Sweden and in Japan.
I know that I won’t live in Japan for the rest of my life so I’ve been hanging out with two Germans and a Canadian. The problem is not that I don’t want to get to know the Japanese but the fact that they don’t speak English and I don’t speak Japanese. And so far, they never asked; Diana, what do you do Saturday night? And If I suggest something, it’s always; I am going to a party at my friends place.
The professor’s wife seemed kind of surprised when I said that I had a plan last Saturday night. I don’t get it, they don’t want me to get friends outside the lab but still, no one at the lab would like to do something with me outside the lab?

This article in Financial Times is really tragic and confirms what I want to say, though it's about pressure from parents/school on children. Poor Japanese kids.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

10 death sins of advices

People ask for advices constantly, sometimes just to exchange thought but other times actually only to get some kind of sympathy. So here are my 10 advices of the day.
1. if you take 120 minus you age, that is how many per cent of your saving you should have invested in stocks.
2. Rather take economic advices from monkeys than from economist
3. Luck matters in EVERYTHING, make sure to get a lot of it.
4. To get a job is not a matter of what you know but who you know
5. Everything cost, even if you might not pay for it, someone else has to pay for it
6. Fat food doesn’t make you fat
7. Expensive creams doesn’t remove your wrinkles
8. Stay single for as long as it’s possible
9. Agree on the credit BEFORE you do the job
10. Don’t work without getting payed. The myth is that it looks good on the CV, but that’s pure crap.

As Baz Luhrmann said in “Everybody’s free (to use sunscreen) about advice; “Be careful whose advice you buy, but, be patient with those who
supply it. Advice is a form of nostalgia, dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts and recycling it for more than it’s worth.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Animal testing for dummies

Since I’m pretty much doing animal testing all day long (hour after hour day in day out) I figured that it’s about time to explain how animal testing really works.
So to make it easy for my readers to understand what I am talking about, I will mention some people that fit on the description of a certain method, type of animal or a certain behaviour that is studied.

ddY mice. The behaviours studied on these mice are not reliable and not repeatable. If you do a test one day, it’s most probable not to get the same result the second day.

Kate Moss= i.v injection. Efficient method to inject the drugs, Katie knows it well.

Truman Capote= Phenobarbital, with this drug, the animals start moving slower and gets really relaxed.

Tom Cruise in love= Hagueleagues test. with hagueleagues test, you put a beam on the palm and feet of the mice and record how long it takes for the mice to feel something and start moving. Like Tom Cruse in love.

Bill Clinton= knock out mice (known as the “active mice”). “I did not have sex with that mouse”.

Picasso= Paw pressure test. I’ve studied this test for 3 months and still don’t know what it wants to say.

Kim Jong Il= black mice (se Donald Rumsfeld) These mice are evil, they never do the things you want them to do.

Terrance and Phillip (from South Park)= all above mentioned mice. They are not clean, they poo and pie everywhere.

Feed up on oysters=daily problem of the industry countries

I never thought I’d say this, but yesterday, I had sooo much oysters that I’m feed up. The best thing about this restaurant is that it served THE Snob food (with a big S) nr one in THE Trash restaurant nr one (we had bugs and had to wear jackets because they didn’t have any windows. But it was the best and cheapest oysters I’ve ever had. After that I went to a green tea spa. My friend Diana is braver than I am so she tried to take photos. For you information, people are naked at the spa.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Ultimate video

Queen- Under Pressure

As I posted before, "Under pressure" is the ultimate song to listen to on repeat when you're under pressure. I found the you-tube-video and I have to say that after watching the video, the song got better. This makes me soo happy that I can almost cry.

Friday, November 24, 2006

What a mighty good whale

This is not a food blog but last night I prepared whale for the first time. Japan and Iceland are the only countries as far as I know, where you are allowed to eat whale.
The meet is bloody, red and contains hardly any fat. The price for 100 gram is around 5 euro. It’s not expensive but definitely worth a try. Before preparing, I asked Margit, about a recipe and she was kind enough to suggest a couple. Combining the recepies I got, this is how I prepared the whale.

Take the file and put some salt and pepper+paprika. Fry it with extra virgin oil on a LOW heat for 1 min per side. Pour red whine and cut some mini onions and garlic and keep the whale in the whine. I this is the basic principle if you want to make low fat beef without making it too dry (and if you don’t have time to put it in a marinade).

The result; it tasted like a shoe sole. But actually, I liked it. You don’t have to come to Japan to try whale, it taste like a badly made beef.

How do you prepare meat with no fat at all? The only thing I can think of is to have whale raw.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

The good and the bad

The daily dose of paternalism is something that has been increasing lately I noticed. You have the government who’s always present to tell you to put on a helmet when you bike and give you recommendations on what to do and not to do. Besides from “Big brother”, you often have your boss whose making you feel like a character from “1984”. But he’s doing it “just to protect you”.

F A Hayek said something really brilliant once; humanities worse enemy is not the bad leader but the good leader. Hayek is right; by “protecting” citizens, you create unnecessary fears. That is what happened after 911, people got different recommendations from the government, something that increased their fear, unnecessarily, and created chaos.Japan is amazing in that sense.
The liberal market here makes you think that the Japanese government will let the citizens do whatever they please, but that’s wrong. Recommendations, rules and restrictions (se picture, taken from the boarding point of the train in Nara) makes me furious. I might be a tiny little woman, but I don’t need protection. The reported rapes in the media won’t scare me, since they’re only a few and there are other things I should fear.

People in Japan walk around with face mask in order not to catch any diseases on the tram. I guess that it's only a matter of time before people will walk around wearing helmets, just to be sure that nothing will happen to them. And THAT is something we should fear more.

Monday, November 20, 2006

The trip (Part II) day 1 in Kyoto

Just posted some photos from the trip to Kyoto. The first photo is the classic "philosopher's path". Along the path, you will find many shrines and temples. A friend's theory about why it's called "philosopher's path" is because it's long (and according to him boring) so you'll have time to think, since you can' t do anything else.

The rest of the photos is taken from the Ginkakuji Tempel (or the Silver Pavillion). It is situated along the philosopher's path.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Do we have to bear this beer?

When it comes to beer, many countries feel some kind of national proudest when you start talking about their beer. In England, every body drinks Newcastle, in The Netherlands it’s Heineken, in Finland Lappin Kulta, in Belgium Hoegaarden, Guiness in Ireland, in USA Budweizer or Samuel Adams and in Japan Kirin or Asahi.

But my question is; why is Beer so connected with nationalism?

The first Kirin factory was actually started by a Scottish guy, Tomas Glover. “The Glover garden” is the beautiful garden and house of mr Glover and it’s situated on the mountain in Nagasaki. He was Scottish, but instead of importing good beer from Scotland, he started his own brewing factory here.

Why Mr Glover had to start his own brewery and make terrible Kirin beer instead of importing beer is a mystery to me. I guess it’s better to have a terrible beer than no beer at all?

But the good news is that you get adjusted to the taste and after two months it’s not that bad.

Another tragic beer is the Budweiser. There is a really funny Monthy Python episode when they compare American beer with water. I have to say that you can definitely compare Japanese beer with water. Or Japanese drinks with water, please put SOME alcohol in it at least.

A good thing on the other hand is that many countries don’t produce any whiskey at all, since it’s obviously pretty hard to make a good one. But not Japan.
“For relaxing times, make it Suntory time” is a classic line from “Lost in Translation”. I guess Monthy Python would make a really good joke out of that since Suntory whiskey is not a whiskey. What if Europeans would start making Sake instead of importing it? It would be terrible sake. Europeans don't know how to make sake, so import it. Japanese don't know how to make beer or whiskey, so import it!

I was going to go to a beer brewery today, but I figured out that it’s better to work on a Saturday instead of having bad beer.

And I just found out that my father was in a bus accident back in Sweden. My family and relatives haven’t told me anything. He is supposed to do fine and have fun with the nurses at the hospital. I can’t wait to have a nice Ardbeg whiskey with dad when I come home.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Answer to the "interpret at the tram" quiz

I posted this photo in October and asked people to interpret the photo about "priorities at the tram" but I didn’t get ANY answers. Here is the answer about priorities of the seats at the tram.
1) people with broken arms
2) people with children
3) pregnant woman
4) I don’t know this one actually.

(This is how I interpreted the sign: 1)guy is hard 2) guy gets sex 3)woman gets pregnant 4)woman delivers a baby)

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

The myth of Kyoto

Kyoto is one of the greatest myths of all our time. With ancent temples, shrines and pagodas, a philosopher’s path and vivid night life, it’s not strange that the Kyoto protocol was written in one of the mythical places of Japan. Since the protocol is a myth.
The Kyoto protocol has effected the world economy, and the goals that were set up were too high for many countries to even follow. George W Bush is the only guy who got that. Just by not signing a protocol doesn’t mean that countries won’t take their responsibilities.

The danger about the Kyoto protocol is that the countries that contribute to pollute most are the developing countries. By strict regulations, people will risk to loose their jobs, and not being able to support their families and stop the economical development.

By letting the technical and economical development occur, you simply develop better technique and methods to keep the environment clean. Because honestly, most countries can’t live up to the goals that were set, and even if they’d do so, research show that the carbon dioxide pollutions will reduce just marginally. That’s why Kyoto is a myth.

I posted some photos, the first one of the mythical Kinkaku-ji Golden Pavillon (it's pure gold) in Kyoto, the second photo is the mythical Kyoto Tower and the third photo is a mythical japanese style toilet (from Tokyo actually), and in the japanese style toilet is where the Kyoto protocol belongs...

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

The daily dose of terror

Newspapers today don’t have much to write about and scare us with. In ancient time, when we had war it was easy for journalist to find something to write about. But not today.
So, what to do? Let’s scare people with the environmental threat! The glacier ice is melting, the pollution will kill our children, the consumption is bad, meat is bad, you are bad!!!
The fact is that the earth is going through a natural environmental change. The anent Neanderthal didn’t drive around in big Jeeps, and still…the polar ice managed to melt. In fact, you could actually grow grapes in the cold Sweden in 13th century.
So continue to consume, it will save people more than killing them.

Friday, November 10, 2006

The trip (Part I) the night train to Kyoto

Ok, I just posted some photos of the night train to Kyoto from Nagasaki to demonstrate everything that I wont' have to say. The price one way was 12 000 yen (756 Sek or 110 USD), and this is what we got; beds and a train that has not been renovated since the 60's. At least we got kimonos, sheets and really nice blue flip flops to wear. The thing is that you were allowed to smoke in the train. As I walked through the train, I got the feeling of being in a prison. The trip to Kyoto took around 12 hours and as soon as the people got on, they went to bed to sleep...This is something EVERYONE should do before they die. The cigarette smell, the smell from the 60's, the flip flop and the kimono...I bet if you'd take one square centimeter from the train, you'll find all the bacteria there is in the world plus three new undiscovered on. It was fun…

Tuesday, November 07, 2006


I found this "Deeppresso" (observe spelling) in one of the vending machines in Nara. Do you think it's FOR depression or AGAINST depression (it's the same thing I know but you know what I mean)?
Still haven't found a vending machine with used underwear.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Party party party

As I previously posted, I'm back from the vacation and a brief report is to come when I have been able to catch up with some work at the lab. I miss Tokyo and the neonlights already :(
what I don't miss is the Tempeles and the Shirins, think I got an overdose of them.

Anyway, going on vacation is actually really exhausting in so many ways. But that won't stop me from going out this evening.

So sorry to say it, but I'd rather go out tonight than post a report on my blog on this trip. And besides, the around 500 picutres taken from this trip is saved at my new lover (=ipod) who's not at the lab right now.

The thing about the clubs in japan is that you can go there directly from the lab (ok, just take off the lab coat at least).

Friday, November 03, 2006

Back from the vacation

Brief report about the interesting trip is to come.

Friday, October 27, 2006


Ok good fox! I’m off to Kyoto, Nara and Tokyo now to get some vacation. It’s expensive to travel in Japan, but I hope it will be worth it. I’ll travel with the Ching hanza tonight, and I’ll wake up in Kyoto tomorrow. A brief report is to come.

I wanted to go to North Korea on vacation, but I guess it wouldn’t be a vacation. It’s only one hour from here but probably, they won’t let me in so I’ll just skip it. I don’t think it’s dangerous to go there, the problem is that I’m an open capitalist who loves America. Kim Jong simply doesn’t like these kind of people so I’d probably get into trouble if they’d google me at the airport :(

And when I think about walking around in the streets of Tokyo with my i-pod and Big In Japan by Alphaville in my ears...ahhh...I can hardly wait to leave the lab.

Take care soo long...

Thursday, October 26, 2006

The extended adolescence

Growing up is not easy. As an un mature adult, I can’t help fearing the fact that being adult seems to be….boring. So, by going abroad for one semester makes it easier to live like an extended adolescence.

First of all, being between 25-35 (+ a couple of years) is not old. We are raised to believe that time is running when we’re 30 and that we ought to settle down with someone and get married. Especially for woman, since we have that biological clock that’s ticking, we ought to settle down, get married and fix our lives. We compare our selves with our parent generation who had a fix job, two children and a new bought house in our age. Times are changing as Dylan said. Once and for all, being 30 is not old for not settle down!
Why do we have to get settle with one person? First of all, there is not ONE person but several that you might like in different situations, how do people decide who’s right and not? Sorry to say it, but there are so many adorable men in this world. Most of them aren’t as holes as most woman say. Who is right and who’s not?

Another thing that I don’t like about married people is that when they do get married, the individuality fades away as fast as cheap nail polish on an Indian summer.

But on the other hand, growing old alone don’t seem to be fun. And to raise children alone is cruel…it’s a catch 22.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

You know you've been in Japan for too long when (Part III)

I thought this toilet was an urban legnd but I dont' dare to try the "music button"...

I was going to write about how elegant japanese woman are and that I kind of feel like Marylin Manson who just entered a perfect pink world, but then I got these flip flops as a birth day gift so I think I'll do it another time...

Every photo of the people at the lab have some kind of "rabbit move". I don't dare to ask them why or what i means, but could please anyone explain what this is? Should I start doing this?

I managed to go to the bank alone today and get my refund. My advice is; learn japanese before you go to the bank. Last time I was at the bank, they lady bowed so I bowed back and my intention was not to stop until she'd stop. So we keept on bowing back and forward for 5 minutes. It was a competition of last man standing. But I have up and the bank lady won... Please don't do this when you're at the bank, probably the bank lady has a boss who's watching her and she won't giv up until you give up.