Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Another day, another rumble

Pretty quiet week so far, lessons are rolling along as they tend to do... Happy to see some sunshine coming in my windows this morning after a couple of days of cold rainy weather, it's a nice change.... but I would still prefer the snow.

Class was cancelled last night so I was folding fliers for Master Yoshi when a little rumble started, it ended with a particularly sharp bump. I was curious to see what Matt had to say about it when he came out of class but apparently he didn't even notice... students had to tell him about it, talk about being "in the zone"! The first couple of quakes that happened when I was teaching made me stop and take notice, but most of the times my students seem more concerned than I am. Last night's quake was centered in Chiba prefecture, very close to Tokyo and had a magnitude of 5.1 on the Richter scale. While there was no damage or injuries reported, it is rather worrying that that particular spot has decided to become active. Most quakes tend to be off the coast of Northern Japan, but this one was right smack dab in the middle of the Kanto plain, on which millions of people live. A serious earthquake there has some devastating potential for loss of life, property destruction and economic fallout which would last decades. This is one reason why the government has been studying moving the capital from Tokyo to another location in Japan. As things currently stands, the big T is both the economic and political center of the country. A major quake would knock out both, never good to have all one's eggs in one's basket. Anywho, no biggie, we're pretty stable out here in Tochigi prefecture.

Went for a lovely walk with Scott on Monday, headed down to Yamaya while making an extended loop in the neighbourhood. As we were about to cross the tracks, the gates came down and this old clunker lumbered on by. We then crossed the tracks and before we'd made it ten yards, the gates came down again and the local train from Tokyo came by... wouldn't want to have to commute through this area, must get pretty backed up with all the trains zooming along.

We also encountered, as usual on any walk in Japan, some unusual English... Not sure what this store will be, but it was interesting that there was no sign in Japanese saying the same thing, only English. We'll stroll back down there in a bit and see what popped in.

Aaaahhh, communing with nature, Japan style. There was about a dozen ducks sunning themselves on the riverbank. The colours on the tips of their wings were amazing, changing from green to purple to blue depending on the light hitting them.

This week, I also started in on the book Sean sent me a while back about former Canadian PM Brian Mulroney. It's interesting to read since my former employer is mentioned several times, as are some lawyers who are still working there. Mulroney has been a partner in the Firm since the 70s, before he became Prime Minister. So far the book is interesting. It is based on a series of interviews the author had with Mulroney over a period of ten years. All the interviews were taped and ol' Brian was pretty candid in most of the moments. Unfortunately, this book was essentially a money grab, hastily put together in a last ditch effort to publish something when the author heard Mulroney was putting out his own biography. Newman had been sitting on the tapes for over 10 years since the Mulroney government fell, what a coincidence that this mish mash of interview transcripts makes it on to the bookshelves within months of Mulroney's own sanctioned biography. Say what you will about "Lyin' Brian", at least people gave a shit about politics back then. He implemented fundamental changes to the country during his two terms in office, while we've seen basically no change in the last 13 years of Liberal rule. One thing I've learned about the man is that he was the first ever Canadian PM to actually be able to call himself a "self made man." While he was in fact filthy rich by the time he entered office, his father was an electrician in a small town in Quebec, so he didn't inherit a fortune by being born into the right family like many of our other PMs, interesting.

The weekend is coming up pretty fast, with a picture viewing party at the Suda household scheduled for Sunday evening and a possible ski trip in the works for Monday, it should be a good one.

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