Perils of Japan

We had an earthquake about an hour ago. Level 3 on the Japanese scale, here, which means that the windows rattled quite decisively and a couple of books fell over, but no real damage. It was magnitude 4.6, according to the current reports, and the epicentre was quite some way north of here. There was obviously something about the rock between here and there, because we had the strongest effect in Kawasaki.

And then, the day before yesterday, it rained a bit. Actually, it rained 90mm in an hour, and didn’t stop, although it got rather lighter. There was lots of thunder and lightning as well; it was really quite spectacular. I’m very glad that I didn’t have to go out until the main show was over. As it was, I got quite wet collecting our vegetables from the place they get delivered to, but I didn’t get absolutely soaked.

I really like Japan, but it is a silly place to put a country.

Signs of Progress

A couple of recent events that suggest my Japanese may be making progress.

First, while we were on the Tohoku trip, a woman mistook me for a Japanese person. Admittedly, it was dark and I suspect her eyesight isn’t too good, but we did have a very brief conversation, and it was only a bit later, when she came a bit closer, that she suddenly realised I wasn’t Japanese.

Second, today I went to a lecture on Shinto in Shibuya (which was very interesting, incidentally). I’m the only non-Japanese-looking person in the room, so I rather stand out, and another of the attendees spoke to me afterwards. In the course of the conversation, she asked whether I was born in Japan.

A while back, I read a website list of “You know you’ve been in Japan too long when…” things. My favourite was “…people stop complimenting you on your Japanese, and starting asking where you got your eyes and nose done”.

Nearly there…

We’re Back!

We’ve just got back from our Golden Week holiday, to various places in Tohoku. It was a really, really good trip; six nights, seven days. I can’t remember last time I went on trip that long that wasn’t to visit family. I also took lots of photos, so detailed accounts, with pictures, will go up in the diary over the next few days.

I’ve also come back to 1071 new emails. If you’ve sent me an email this week, it may be a little while before I get round to replying to you… (Or, if there are 1000 spam and 71 real emails, it may not.)

How to Pick Names

I had a new student today, who wrote an essay about a professor of robotics at Tsukuba University, who has designed a powered exoskeleton called HAL, and founded a company called Cyberdyne, Inc, to work on cybernetics, robotics, and medical engineering. All for the good of humanity, it says on the home page.