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I don't have any Internet connection
place that I'm staying, so I'm just
to Hunkabutta sporadically when I get
chance. Right now I'm in the basement
Julie's (Karen's sister) friend's house.
They're just wrapping up Julie's bridal
I have to run now and take care of
He's getting in the way of all the
trying on and cake eating.
I'm going to try to keep posting regularly,
but there might be a few lapses in
if I can't get to a computer.
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We're back in Canada. We got off the
in Vancouver yesterday afternoon and
started to suffer from reverse culture
-- everyone looked overweight, threatening,
and poorly dressed. Quite the change
For the next little while we'll be staying
in Langley, which is a semi-developed rural
area just outside the major Vancouver suburbs.
My father-in-law's girlfriend Jean has a
townhouse here that she's letting us use.
My parents are coming out from Toronto in
a few days and will stay here with us for
about a week. I'm happy that they'll get
to spend a lot of time with Jack.
It's not as easy taking pictures here as
it is in Tokyo. Yesterday afternoon, before
going to bed early, I stepped out to take
a few shots for Hunkabutta. I took some pictures
of the townhouse and the surrounding residential
area. I got some apprehensive looks from
a couple of young guys who pulled up in a
car next door. Then I walked up the road
a bit and took some shots of a nearby farm
and some stores.
I was only out for about 20 minutes, when,
on my way home, I decided to stop and take
a quick shot of the street. I was standing
on the sidewalk next to a low fence behind
which was a backyard with some moms and kids
hanging out. As I looked down at the camera
to line up the shot I nearly jumped out of
my skin because I suddenly heard a thunderous
chorus of barks and snarls coming up behind
me. I spun around just in time to see an
enormous Rottweiler the size of a buffalo
coming straight for me from behind the little
fence. As I turned to start to run, because
I was sure that the demon dog could lunge
over the fence if it wanted to, one of the
overweight moms, with frizzy-permed dyed-blond
hair, leaned forward in her plastic deck
chair and shouted out to the dog, "Angel!
Angel! You get back here! You stop that now."
So, with my heart still in my throat from
the encounter with Angel I continued on up
the road towards home. A moment later I was
stopped by the two young guys, teenagers
really, that I had seen in the car early.
One guy, the talker, had long curly hair
under a wool cap and wore a plaid shirt.
His friend, the little quiet one, had short
hair and a stripped t-shirt.
The curly haired guy says to me, trying to
sound all tough and mature, "Ah, excuse
me, we saw that you were taking a lot of
pictures, and we were wondering what you
were doing. It's kind of strange eh."
"Yeah, I know," I said. "Don't
worry about it, I'm an amateur photographer
and I have a web site where I put my pictures.
I'm on vacation, I live in Tokyo right now,
and I'm just trying to show my friends what
it's like where I'm staying."
His eyes bulged out of his face for
"You live in TOKYO, wow, really."
"Yeah, pretty cool, eh?"
"Yeah, okay, I see, well, anyway it's
just that my mom saw you walking around taking
pictures and she's like, what's this guy
doing, and stuff."
"No, problem," I said. "I'm
staying at Jean's. You know Jean?"
"Oh!" he said with relief,
staying in number 2, yeah, okay, we
that some people were coming."
And with that I left them to continue patrolling
In the three years that I've been taking
pictures in Japan I don't think that I've
even had one scary or confrontational moment.
In my first twenty minutes back in Canada
taking pictures I've had two.
I guess I'll just have to learn how to adjust,
there are a lot of nice things to take pictures
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Tomorrow's the big trip home to Vancouver,
Canada. Everybody's been looking forward
to it. As usual, I still have a shameful
amount of things to get done before we leave
-- I have to burn some back-up CDs of my
pictures because I'm taking my laptop; set
up a web site for a friend who just registered
a domain name; clean the apartment for the
people that we subleased to, etc.
Some other good news is that I scraped by
on my Japanese language final exam and they're
going to let me advance to the next level.
So, I guess for the next three weeks I'll
be doing my Kanji studying under the shade
of the giant redwood trees.
Talk to you soon from lovely British Columbia.
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I saw something in a local magazine recently
that I thought you might find interesting
-- Japanese emoticons.
Apparently, Japanese people originally found
the Western style emoticons (e.g. the happy
face, :-)) difficult to read because the
faces are turned on their sides. So Japanese
people started making ones that could be
read from left to right. Here are some examples:
||Nervous - with sweat down the side of the
||Blushing and happy.
||Embarrassed - the greater-than sign is a
hand scratching the head.
||I'm sorry/Thank you - person doing a seated
bow. The m's are hands.
||Good luck/Go for it - the 'p' and 'q' represent
As a matter of fact, I thought of my
Western style emoticon for the the
that most of the guys used to have
the office when I was working. Here
I never could figure out what they