The local noise makers!
Anyone who's been in Japan at election time, especially the local government councillors elections will know about how noisy affairs they are! So here are all the people I want to charge with "disturbance of the peace"! For a two week period these 27 people drove a car (or had someone else drive it for them) or pushed a cart (or had someone else push it for them) with a loud speaker or two on top it saying vote for insert one of their names here. They did this from 8am to 8pm on each one of those days. What makes it worse is my house has a road at the front and the back of it, so some times I get two at once! I was thinking if I had hose, I might be giving those loud speakers a big squirt! But, unfortunately that's likely to get me in trouble and not stop them!
Maybe I should make a sign in Japanese like "Silence is golden, please consider this if you want my vote" and place it outside my house, but since I'm not a citizen I can't vote anyway. Actually, even a few of my Japanese friends said they are annoyed by this type of campaigning, but in typical Japanese fashion people are too afraid to be the one to speak out. Well guess what? I'm not Japanese, I live here, and I'm not afraid to speak out against this annoyance to neighbourhood tranquillity. Now if only I could speak Japanese well enough to go and tell somebody enough is enough!
This is also a good example of Japanese overkill, because there 24 councillors and 27 candidates, so one would think you wouldn't need to try so hard as these people to get elected!
Our friend Mika who lives in Perth, came down from Gunma-ken (where her parents live) to stay with us in Nagaokakyo for two days. While here she shared with our church her testimony of the new life that she has found in Christ. Over the last seven years we have seen Mika grow in faith and wisdom, I would say that she has a noble character like the Bereans (Acts 17:11), who always search for the truth. She came to share with us, just one week prior to her Baptism in Gunma-ken, we know that God will continually bless her as she follow him.
Thank you so much for your visit Mika, it was such a blessed time for Ritsuko and I, we hope you come back soon, next time please bring Jeremy and the boys.
A visit to the Brewery
Well, our friend Mika came to stay with us for a couple of days (more info about her visit is planned for the next entry). So, Ritsuko and I together with Mika and our friends Shiya and Chiyo plus their daughter Ruth went on a bit of a cycling tour of Nagaokakyo. The weather was absolutely fantastic for cycling.
The first stop of the tour was the Suntory Brewery in Nagaokakyo. We went on a guided tour of the Brewery which was very informative, but all in Japanese. Fortunately for me I could get interpretations from my friends. There was lots of good stuff: like all the things they recycle and amazing statistics. For example there are 6 giant vats which hold the finished beer ready for canning/bottling/kegging. If you were to drink a jug a day of beer from a vat it would take you 1400 years to finish just one vat!
The photo is of the canning machine, which was stopped for maintenance, because it was Saturday. This machine cans beer at the rate of 1500 cans per minute! They showed a video of it operation and it's unbelievably fast!
Since we arrived the factory by bike, we were given tags to say we are drivers and couldn't have the free beer (up to 3 middies) which those coming by bus are allowed. We were however allowed to have free Suntory Orange Juice and Barley Tea. It doesn't cost anything to go on the tour, and there's even a free bus from the JR Nagaokakyo Station.
After the Brewery, we went to a history museum which has displays of what Nagaokakyo may have looked like when it was briefly the capital city of Japan (just before Kyoto became the capital). Then we went to Shoryuji Castle and Temple, to a traditional cafe on the Old West Road and finally to a nice restaurant for dinner.
Sorry it's been a while since I last BLOGGED. I had almost caught up with the BLOGS before the "Great Pbase Crash of '09", followed by a visit from our friend Mika (coming up in two entries' time), then my parents (coming up in three entries'), followed by a rather busy period of work, and trying to sort out my Australian taxes!
On the 21/09/2009 during "Silver Week"* in the morning Ritsuko and I went to look at a display houses (the one we liked best is on the left). Yes, we are seriously considering buying a house here in a year or two's time, dependant on a strong AUD v YEN and if we can get a good price for our house in Australia. Then in the afternoon I went to Yamazaki (near Nagaokakyo) see how long it takes to change from the Hankyu to the JR trains (as this is the closest point in the two lines anywhere near here). This was in preparation for my parents visit, they're were staying near the Hankyu line, but in order to catch an early Shinkansen (Super Express aka "Bullet Train") from Shin Osaka we had to change on to the JR to get to Shin Osaka (as Hankyu doesn't go to Shin Osaka). So being the eternal Boy Scout (even though I was actually in Boys Brigade as child), I practised and timed the change over and took notes of all the appropriate time tables.
Hankyu O-Yamazaki station is also right next too (like 50cm away!) the Shinkansen line, so while I was there I got the snap on the right of a Shinkansen passing at high speed (although not top speed). It's a big adrenaline rush to feel it going past! BTW if your wondering how I managed to snap a high speed train with a point and shoot? It's easy set it to shutter priority 1/640s, auto iso, and set focus to infinity (point and shoots have practically infinite deep of field). If you try with auto focus, it will never lock on high speed trains.
a period of three consecutive public holidays was nicked named "Silver Week", which happened this year because of the two holidays (the Monday and the Wednesday) being near each other and the day in between became an extra public holiday. Normally these two holidays are not so close, because one is Lunar Calendar based and the other is Gregorian Calendar based. The reason it was called "Silver Week", is because every year in May there is a period of four public holidays near each other (and most companies close down for the whole time) known as "Golden Week".