So remember I mentioned a children’s book about making yourself sad? That book was ‘Owl at Home’ by Arnold Lobel. Written in 1975 apparently! I have no idea why I had this book, I wonder where Mum and Dad got it from? Anyway, one part is about an owl (called Owl!) who thinks the moon is following him because he can always see it in the sky. In the second part, Owl decides to make tear-water tea. He thinks about all the things that make him sad until he starts crying, then he fills up a pot with his tears and makes tea out of them. How sweet! It’s such an odd book but I really loved it, I hope it’s with all my other books in the storage room back home.

Speaking of collecting tears…this just made me remember that scene in Cry-Baby where Allison collects her tears in a jar! And if you haven’t seen that film then you should!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cry-Baby

OK, enough about tears!

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Hiroshima

February 18, 2011

We went to Hiroshima last weekend and I just thought I’d post some photos and write down some thoughts. I’ll split the trip into two posts, one about the Peace Memorial and one about Miyajima.

So, the Peace Memorial Park. Here are some pictures:

Of course you know you’re probably going to feel sad when you go there. I wasn’t sure how I’d feel. I’ve been to a lot of war museums and sites of battles and things and I think in the West it’s the war cemeteries that always seem to upset me the most. You know, all those lines of identical pale grey concrete stones. All those ages, so many eighteen year olds and nineteen year olds.

Anyway, when you get off the streetcar at the A-bomb Dome stop you turn around and the dome is right there next to the road. Just right there in your face. It is eerie. Lots of people around taking photos. I really felt it would be weird to do the whole posing and doing peace signs thing (although lots of people were…odd, right?) so I just took lots of pictures of the building.

We walked over to the hypocentre, directly beneath where the bomb actually went off. It’s just this tiny plaque on the side of the road surrounded by garages. Very weird. Looked up, saw an apartment block, streetlights and wires. Impossible to imagine an explosion in this sky.

The layout of the park is beautiful. As you stand between the cenotaph and the museum and look through the arch you see the flame and the dome, all perfectly aligned. The museum itself is very calm and sort of unsensational. There are graphic images but  not many, it really doesn’t need to show much in order to shock. The model of Hiroshima before and after pretty much speaks for itself:  Model one shows a busy town full of buildings , model two: a wasteland with a few scattered concrete shells.

It’s upstairs that it gets very upsetting. This is where they exhibit objects damaged by the bomb. There are girders and wall sections and so on and then there are items of clothing and lunchboxes and rucksacks and hats. Most of the items belonged to children who were out working, demolishing buildings for firelanes. There were no air raid warnings that morning so  there were far more children outside than there would normally have been. The repetitiveness of the stories was just so sad. Despite horrific burns, so many of them somehow made it home after the blast only to die hours or days afterwards. So many parents rushed to the site hoping to find their children but instead finding their children’s bodies, or bits of clothing or nothing at all. The museum doesn’t hold back from explaining the gruesome physical symptoms people suffered from and there are graphic pictures of burns and very detailed descriptions of what the explosion did to people’s bodies at the moment of the blast and in the aftermath.

For some reason though, the story that really got me was of a woman whose husband was killed in the blast. She rushed to his office and found nothing but collapsed filing cabinets and some bones, next to his lunchbox and pipe.

After the museum we went to the National Peace Memorial Hall and sat down there for a while. There was no one else around and it was very peaceful. Outside there was a slideshow of victims faces and a scrolling list of their names. One girl, wearing a junior high school uniform, grabbed my attention. She looked so cool, she looked like she should be a singer in a sixties girl band, not dead in an atomic bomb explosion.

There are lots of resources at the memorial hall, a library, databases where you can access information about victims and their lives and about what happened that day. There’s such a big focus, not only on nuclear disarmament but also on eliminating war. I know it may seem futile but there is still something in that quiet persistence, in the idea that if we just keep calmly repeating how tragic this was and how tragic all war is then maybe someday, somehow peace will be a reality.

Noruwei no Mori

December 29, 2010

Of course I’ve read the book! (In English). Several times! Most recently I bought a new copy with the movie poster picture on the cover. This is something I almost always actively AVOID but for some reason I’ve got it into my head that this film is going to mean a lot to me. I still haven’t seen it, I just feel that way for some reason. I also bought two Norwegian Wood t-shirts from Uniqlo. (I’m wearing one in my last post!) Anyway, here’s a big poster in Yurakacho station with a weird travel destination tie-in!

But…but…why?? I’m in Norway though so um, yay?! No Northern lights might I add..but it was minus 17 yesterday and everything is covered with snow. It’s so pretty it’s almost ridiculous. Just looking at the trees makes me feel like crying because they’re so beautiful!

Me and a cat

December 22, 2010

Ooooh, check out what I found in Tokyo!

Pretty cute cat no?

Oh Maiko

November 22, 2010

Went to Kyoto last weekend on an Autumn leaf hunting MISSION. There are photos of leaves, of course, but there are also pictures of me dressed up as a maiko. It was a fun thing to do. I really love getting my make up done. It’s not like getting a haircut, you can just lie back and look forward to whatever the make up artist is doing and if it’s all that bad you can just wash your face. Of course I wasn’t unhappy with the results! Especially the lips. Goodness me they were amazing, I wish I could apply lipstick like that… *sigh*

I removed everything except the eye make up afterwards, managed to keep that on all day :)

We went to Shiki Sakuraten and they were very nice so you should go there if you fancy dressing up as a maiko, geiko or samurai!

Have a Break…

November 9, 2010

Time for some new Kit Kats! Most of them pretty daunting really! I haven’t managed to try the cheese ones yet cause, I mean, EW! I think it’s hilarious that they come in boxes with pictures of golden locks and keys. Are they saying they’re a special, luxury treat? They’re even yellow!! Are they supposed to replace cheese? Why do they exist?? Aaaaahhhh!!

As for the others, Semi Sweet, I haven’t tried. Isn’t the point of Kit Kats that they ARE sweet? Cola and Lemonade is probably ick, especially considering how I felt about the Ramune flavoured ones. Got the melon and corn ones in Hokkaido and only recently tried them. They weren’t as bad as I thought they’d be but I was pretty drunk at the time so maybe I was overly enthusiastic…

Anyway, here are some pictures so you can imagine the deliciousness!

It’s a blur sometimes

August 16, 2010

Sometimes blurry can be beautiful.

Blurry times

July 11, 2010

Here are a couple of fuzzy photos of me playing with some grass in a café.

Sleepy now so I will go to bed. I need to get up tomorrow for some more art times!

Robo-chan

June 27, 2010

So last weekend we went to see some robots fighting at at Robobase in Osu. The fighting ones were cool but my favourite was definitely the robot seal. I think it was designed primarily for people in care homes and possibly children in hospital. It opens and shuts it’s eyes, moves around and is hopelessly adorable! The pricetag? 350,000 yen. Oops… Oh well, I can always go back and visit this one!

The fighting was quite fun! I liked how the Melon robot had a big goofy red car sticker on his chest! And Hello Kitty robot ignored me as always! I’ve been to Robobase a few times, I say “Konnichiwa!” and she mutters and turns her head away, *Sob!* She hates me! Oh well, the seal robot liked me so everything is OK. I felt so sorry for the little cat-bot though. It was pretty old and scruffy and just shuffled around looking sad! I hope one of the staff takes it home and looks after it!

So robots: yay!

Nooooo!

April 20, 2010

OK, drugs aren’t funny but…these anti-drug posters are I’m afraid. So are the anti-smoking ones. I wonder if people ever look at them and think twice about drugs/cigarettes?

The first one reads: ‘Be Poisoned, Flashback, Be Broken, No Future!!’

I mean, drugs are bad but…these posters? It’s a little hard to take them seriously. As for the cigarette ones, they look awfully appealing! I’d quite like one to hang on my kitchen wall!