Updated Japan visit schedule

Mind you, this is bound to go out the window the moment I land.

16th: Flying, sleeping from all-nighter the night before, I hope.

17th: Arrive in Narita, apparently at 8:00. The airline has clearly vastly overestimated the time it will take to fly from London to Paris (it doesn’t take that long by train, I don’t think!). Hopefully they’ve also overestimated the Paris to Narita time, though I suspect not XD. Anyway, get checked in at the first hotel, then just have an explore. Hopefully I’ll manage the Cookie Monster antique shop, and also the wierd “temple” beneath Tokyo Tower. Though apparently it’s the HQ of the poison gas nutters, so it might be a quick photo through the gate and leg it situation.

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There it is

Also get a snap of Senso-Ji without scaffolding around it, have sushi at the restaurant where I first had sushi (and take a picture of it for posterity). And then maybe visit the shopping centre that Danny Choo goes on about XD.

18th: Jinbocho! Manga no Meiji to Taisho jidai de urimasu ka? Will no doubt be asked a lot. After that, perhaps Nakano Broadway, though probably only a quick visit. Also possibly Lalaport shopping complex, because I had great Chinese there once. Also looking for the new book(s) about Maru, the crazy box-sliding cat on Youtube.

19th: Yokohama! The Mikasa will be a must. I expect that to be the highlight of my trip, actually. I love boys’ own adventure stories, especially war stories, from the late 19th and early 20th century. The Mikasa is the only warship preserved from that era, and it will be great to really get a feel for what the sailors in those ships experienced. Also gonna go up the Landmark tower during the  day and watch the sun set. Oh and try to find the location of a 1930’s photo I have, to see how it’s changed.

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That 1930’s photo

20th: The Yasukuni Shrine, dedicated to dead Japanese soldiers. Mainly for the museum, which has an original Zero and a full-size replica of an Ohka rocket attack plane. Though of course I’ll mainly be going for items from the wee scrap of 1904-5. Wonder how much World War 1 will be mentioned, too. After that perhaps Ikebukuro, for “interesting comics” and also for a British pub, which is located inside an underground tunnel in the station!

21st: Akihabara, though not for long. Shinjuku, to find a Cat Cafe which was in a photo Danny Choo recently posted. In which I placed a tag promising to touch a certain cat’s nose. Then to the Sky Tree to watch the sunset from it. Oh and a beer in the Asahi beer hall… if I don’t do that on the day I visit Senso-Ji. I’m going off Super Dry, actually. Kirin is better! Also, collect my 7-day Japan Rail Pass. I’ll never spend what the 14-day one costs on train tickets, but the 7-day one on the eve of my big journey across the country will be just about cheaper than buying the tickets at the stations. Also I don’t know what my fiend in Kochi has in store for me, that might involve trains too.

22nd: Get the bullet train from Tokyo (take a snap of the station from the same position as a 1930’s photo I have, if possible) to Kyoto.

miss10.jpg

That 1930’s photo

Seems like the ones you can use the pass on take just under 3 hours… which is nothing, considering the distance! Check into Kyoto hotel. Find the Golden Pavillion, if it’s not too far out of the town. Take a photo from the same position as a 1906 photo I have, if possible.

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That 1906 photo. Roping in a passing girl in modern ‘Harajuku’ fashion optional.

23rd: International Manga Museum.

24th: Travel to Kochi, on Shikoku. Then according to my friend, “sleep off the journey”. She’s proper gone native, if she thinks Japanese train trips are stressful! Then visit the “Sanctuary Bar”, which she appears to virtually live in. Hope it’s not some gaijin bubble place full of whinging yanks. Or if it is, I hope I spot a grotty pub with a local metal gig going on!

25th: Kochi… something. Museum, castle? I’ll let my friend take the lead. INB4 “Sanctuary Bar, drink ourselves sick”.

26th: Travel to Narita, in 150mph, air conditioned comfort, in probably about 7 hours total. Could you imagine going from the Isle of Wight to, say, Leeds airport (judging distance, not importance), so easily? Well not really, as you have to sail to Southampton, for a start… Check into Narita hotel, sleep, no doubt.

27th: Look around Narita. Apparently it has a castle and museum. Look out for anybody wearing a Download Festival T-shirt and shout “Plaaane!” when one flies over and they are within earshot. As unlikely as such a proceeding will be.

28th: Get the plane back to Amsterdam, then home. Then sleep, all on the ‘same day’!

Visiting Japan in September

I was planning to apply for a private ALT company this week, with work starting early in September. BUT I’m too much of a coward to rush into that (and I’m not sure how well I’d cope with being chucked in front of a class of kids who don’t speak my language and told to get on with it… which, knowing my luck, is what I’d be saddled with, rather than “human tape recorder” work XD). So instead I have booked a holiday in Japan for the last two weeks of September.

 airfrance.jpg

Going on one o them

As well as being a “jolly”, I’m also going to look carefully at living in Japan. On the previous two trips I just had fun around Tokyo, and left my girlfriend to do most of the talking. But this time I’ll be going it alone, so I can really evaluate how much of the language I know! I’m also going to look at the prices of various bits and pieces around supermarkets so I can get a better idea of the actual cost of living, and how well I’ll be able to survive on the meagre salary of a private ALT.

My first draft itinerarararary (that is yer actual French, for “list of stuff to do”) is:

15th: Pack, don’t sleep!

16th: Get the plane, hopefully will now be incredibly tired and will sleep. Though still force myself to stay awake on the flight to Paris and while waiting in the airport there. Maybe I can get a window seat on the plane from London to Paris, that’ll keep me wide awake.

17th: Arrive in Tokyo. Check into the hotel there (probably in one of the outer districts like Funabashi… because that’s where my ex-girlfriend lived so I ‘know’ it, and the hotels will be cheaper). Head to central Tokyo and just wander about. Probably visiting the weird cookie monster “antique” shop.

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That one, full of 70’s – 90’s American memorabilia. Just the other side of the river from that big newspaper office with a hole in it.

Also track down a resturant that I went to once which did great Gyoza. Then look at Senso-Ji and maybe stalk Danny Choo… or at least have “dindins” at the shopping centre near his house, which he constantly photographs and talks about XD.

18th: Jinbocho. Maybe Nakano Broadway (aka an indoor Akihabara) if I can be bothered. It’s bound to be very loud and very crowded!

19th: Yokohama – try and find a location in a book I have from the 30’s, try and find a “Danish shop” seen in the foreground of a postcard I have, visit the Mikasa, visit the funfair, visit the Landmark Tower before sunset (last went at night). Try all three of it’s exclusive beers… again.

20th: Dunno. Ideas? Might troll over to Ikebukuro for the Animate shop there, as I understand, er, “interesting” comics can be bought there. But that won’t talk all day! Perhaps Roppongi Hills? I didn’t go to the top last time.

21st: Akihabara… hey, it’s Akihabara! Then the Tokyo Sky Tree just before sunset.

22nd: Get the Bullet Train to Kyoto, take many pictures on the way and perhaps finally, actually, see Mount Fuji!

23rd: International Manga Museum… of course. Who do you think I am?

24th: Dunno, golden temple?

25th: Dunno. The Kyoto version of Akihabara? …nah, one’s enough!

26th: Travel to Kochi in Shikoku, where my friend is doing JET.

27th: Travel to Kyoto and then back to Tokyo, then to Narita town… which is apparently quite nice, though most people see it as the place you go through to get to the rest of Japan. Maybe finally take a close look at the windmill on the way!

28th: Fly home

29th: SLEEP.

I went to an anime convention

And I don’t really even like anime! Luckily it turned out to be more of a geeky variety show with singing, comedy dubs, anime music videos and, er, insult battles.

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The “main stage” downstairs

Oh and cosplay too, naturally.

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The much more old-fashioned room upstairs, where a costume display was held

There was also a few people selling bits and pieces, including anime figures and DVD’s. No manga, though – not even the self-published kind! (Sweatdrop Studios and Jenika Ioffreda being noticable absences). I got a few written story books instead, but I’m currently ploughing my way through ALL the Sherlock Holmes (that was written by Sir Arthur Conan-Doyle, anyway), so they may sit around for a while.

Giving thought to just saying “sod it” and applying for a private ALT company in August. If I don’t I’ll probably go to Japan either over the new year, or next spring.

Updates and Electronic Dictionaries

A giant paper dictionary is all well and good, but it’s not very useful for reading Japanese comics at work. It weighs a ton and it gets painful to keep flipping through it, while also juggling the book you are trying to read and a notepad to write the stuff down in. So I decided to start looking for an electronic dictionary. These are popular in Japan, but are also very expensive! A half decent one is around £250, and seeing as their main purpose is for Japanese people to look up obscure kanji on, you need a decent one if you want it to have any foreign language support.

So, I decided to make my own! I bought a cheap netbook…

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An Allfine Netbook

Unfortunately I bought the cheapest one I could possibly find, and it’s a doorstop! It’s as slow as hell, can barely handle facebook and just doesn’t work at all with Youtube. Also the battery lasts seconds! It’s some kind of bespoke battery too, so I can’t just buy another one. It would be alright if there was a socket in a convenient place in my work’s canteen, but there isn’t.

So I needed another option. Conveniently my mobile was also playing up, so it was time for a new one!

 elecdic02.jpg

Samsung Galaxy Ace, was thinking of going for the cheaper Galaxy Y

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“Looks” bigger, but is actually slightly smaller than, the old one.

This phone uses Android, google’s popular operating system. There’s thousands of apps available for Android, including some Japanese dictionaries. I have several but haven’t given them a good comparison yet. Maybe I’ll post up reviews of the different ones later, for now here’s a few shots of one called Transkun.

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The main screen

I also got a Japanese Keyboard app. This works a bit like “traditional” text messaging, where you press a key several times to cycle through the different letters. Except on this they are hiragana. In fact this might be how texting in Japan works. As you go along a large number of grey buttons pops up in the background offering suggestions for kanji/complete words that you may be trying to type. On some apps this can actually obscure most of what you are typing, which is annoying.

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 There’s also QWERTY and Number options. Not sure if there’s one to type ‘directly’ in katakana though.

As I said, some of the dictionaries are better than others. I had one, though I can’t remember it’s name, which was terrible. It refused to provide the basic meaning of “Watashi”, a word everybody knows after about 5 minutes of Japanese class, instead going on about a ferry. Also another dictionary called Flashcard Tree doesn’t always provide ‘just’ a translation of a word, only example sentences. Transkun isn’t always particularly clear, either.

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Wait, I’ve only just noticed that it hasn’t found “Watashi” on it’s own, instead only finding one compound that contains that character! What are they playing at?

Oh yeah, I also got another thing to practice Japanese with – a whiteboard!

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Handy for practicing kanji over and over hundreds of times!

As a more general update, I got rejected from JET again. It was probably the personal statement, I recently wrote an article on the complete 250-year history of British adventure comics, and then had to go back through it about 3 times to carefully check all the grammatical errors. I didn’t make such an effort with the statement, so it was probably loaded with them.

But I don’t really care any more either. I had a Japanese girlfriend, I wanted to go on JET to be with her, but I chucked her in November so wasn’t too fussed if I didn’t get on. I was actually completely disinterested in Japan until I met her, and I doubt I’ll bother trying JET any more. I’m still not entirely sure if I want to try a private ALT company, or just get a better-paying job in Britain and have a few more holidays there.

One upshot of having a Japanese girlfriend was that I developed an interest in Japanese comics. I love the comic art form, but mainly the British kind! I see plenty of interesting material in Japan (their industry is probably the world’s biggest, in terms of the output of actual comics) , but almost everything that gets translated into English is shonen battle stories. They’re all the same!

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An exception

Bakuman is about the only manga I follow at the moment, probably because it has a real-world setting with no magic powers.  The English version is up to book 10, but the Japanese version is on book 17, and there will be an 18. I went to the Japan Centre in London (just off Piccadilly Circus, but apparently it moves a lot) a few months ago, and got the first book in Japanese, as well as an issue of Shonen Jump, with a chapter that will go on book 18.

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Also featuring the beginning of a new volleyball story called Haikyuu!

I’ll do some more in-depth reviews of the comics I have read later. I’ve been interested in a certain one for ages, but was unsure about buying it. Today I took the plunge and got it anyway.

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Tegami Bachi

Unusually, for both English and Japanese reprint books, it reproduces the colour pages in colour!

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And the glossy pages ‘reproduce’ the light bulb.

Of course if I want to read any of the sort of comics I like (and western manga fans hate) like secret agents, football and war, I’ll have to learn more Japanese. I have several volumes of Japanese comics in “simple” kana-only form. They’re good if you have a large vocabulary, I don’t, and so the kana simply means I can’t tell where words begin or end. Also several words in Doraemon, a book aimed at primary school children and relatively modern, do not seem to be in any dictionaries! Looks like I’ll have to find some “young audience but with furigana’d kanji” books. Or else some bilingual ones, I’ve seen a few of those in Japan. At least then the English will give me a “guide” to what I ought to be looking for.

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Easy to read, not to understand!

Got Dictionary Envy?

I got this last weekend…

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Could have spent a pound less for no slipcase!

It’s a rather huge (that’s A3 paper!) Japanese-English dictionary published by Kenkyusha in 1986, for 8000 yen (I dread to think what that translates to in contemporary pounds). According to a stamp in the front it once belonged to the British Telecom Library, but now it belongs to my library. Unfortunately it’s in Romaji, but beggars can’t be choosers…

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Retaringu!

It is intended for Japanese readers otherwise, though. So some of the example bits and pieces are in entirely Japanese without even furigana. It also contains some, er, odd stuff. Such as a list of military ranks in the American, Japanese and British forces…

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Any Commando artists looking for real authenticity?

There’s also a slightly more useful list of names of famous works of literature (Flashman and Bulldog Drummond shockingly overlooked), people and places translated to Japanese.

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There also appears to be a list of Pinyin romanisations of Chinese letters. Can’t think what the reasoning for that was… though I did once know somebody who based liking bands on where they came from. He seemed genuinely offended when I told him my favourite bands from from Belfast, London and South Shields. However he considered it acceptable to like Korean or Chinese bands because those places are, after all, ‘like’ Japan. (…)

dict06.jpg

The name of somebody I work with is in here. I wonder if his actual name is written with the same character twice XD

Applied for JET

It was pretty last-minute this year (well apart from making the list on my phone months ago!), but I have applied for the JET programme again. This involves going to work in Japan for a year as an assistant language teacher. Almost all of the participants are from English-speaking countries and teach English in schools around Japan, though I believe a few other countries send people to teach their language too. I once read that France sends a grand total of one person per year, talk about competition!

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Too easy

JET differs from a lot of other ALT programmes by being run by the Japanese government, which means that it pays very well, has job security and also actively encourages internationalisation. This last point appealed to me a lot as it means chances to actually engage in Japanese cultural events, and promote British culture. It sounds like many of the other programmes are ‘just a job’. The main problem with the high rate of pay, though, is that many Boards of Education (the groups that run the schools in a given area) choose to use the private companies as they can pay their workers less. For instance Tokyo has no JET teachers at all (well technically some small islands that are “in” Tokyo do, but the mainland metropolitan area does not).

Of course as the programme is run by the government, and the Japanese government at that, there’s paperwork to do. A lot of paperwork! The typical application includes…

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Fire up the laser… jet.

– 4 copies of the application form.

– 4 copies of the medical self-assessment. (these two are more commonly sent online these days, so you only need three copies!)

– 4 “release forms” (promising to allow JET to use your personal information for the purpose of allowing you to apply for JET)

– An original degree transcript requested from your university (signed and stamped), plus three copies.

– A statement of physician from your doctor, and three copies

– 4 copies of your degree certificate

– 4 copies of the photo page of your passport

– 4 copies of your personal statement

– 2 references

– A postcard for them to post back to you when they receive your documents.

aaand so on. All of that comes out looking like this:

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Plump

Mind you I once found a blog about becoming a Japanese citizen and apparently the paperwork you have to collect to do that is several inches thick. That is a bit more drastic than working in a school for a year, though.

Anyway, as I was saying, I applied at the last minute. This led to some ‘entertaining’ times as, after submitting the online application the internet crashed whilst I was downloading the PDF file of the completed application form. I thought no more about it and went to sleep, the next day was Porco Rosso watching time and the day after was Japanese class. in the meantime online applications closed down, and made the PDF inacessible! However I later found that this was only temporary and was able to access and download the file that night. Panic averted, I got all the documents together and posted them by next-day delivery, for the sum of £5.90. At least they were sure of getting there!

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Classic work of literature for comparison.

Now I need to wait for the postcard, and then in January / February the letters giving notifications of interviews (or not!) come out. Lets see what happens this time!

JET medical form

*changes keyboards* ahh this ones much softer for typing with. But the keys are all in the ‘wrong’ places now, prepare for spelling mistakes!

Anyway an important part of the JET application progress is the medical form. This comes in two parts, the Self Assessment and the Statement of Physician. The UK JET website says that the Statement of Physician is “not always” required… but actually it is! So be prepared for the runaround, and ensure you get started on your application at the earliest possible date.

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The Self Assessment is fairly self explanatory. A young and fairly healthy person will basically just be writing “N/A” a lot. The Statement of Physician is more complicated. It is in part a confirmation of what you wrote on the self-assessment and partly a statement from your doctor saying that there’s no other reason why you can’t work in another country for a year.

Because the statement will need to be delivered unto the altar of the NHS its best to get that part of the proceedings underway as soon as possible. In my case (and the case of most applicants, I’d suspect) I didn’t need to see the doctor as he was able to simply fill it in quickly from my records. I then went back a week later and paid £26 for the privilege.  The surgery didn’t ring me, so make sure you keep on top of things!

Other pitfalls to watch out for:

– You are probably a recent graduate, so where are your medical records? Are they at home or did you have them relocated to nearer your uni back in those hazy days on the other side of 3 years of drinking, loud music and sleepless nights the day before a deadline? It can take months to get records transferred from one surgery to another, so find out now!

– Mind you, if they are still at your university you can pose as a student and avoid the £26 charge… as I did in 2010.

– Mention what the JET Programme is about, the form provides some basic details but it’s better they are sure. Also mention that some medications may not be legal in Japan. If you are on any it might be best to find out if they are yourself first, and look into substitutes.

– The bottom of the form includes an instruction to you, saying “Please return to the Japanese Embassy by XX November”. Make sure you mention that it’s you that needs the form back to be copied / put in with the rest of the paperwork. Otherwise a very confused diplomat in a non-JET department may end up with it!

Masa-kun

Went to see this guy in Cambridge last night:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8dhTzW98nDo

 I have been told just posting the URL will make it a Youtube embed automatically. I’m not very confident

Edit: What a surprise.

It was a joint event organised by the Anglo-Japanese Society and the Anime Society (oh dear…). So obviously lots of tunes from Final Fantasy, Studio Ghibli and such-like things got requested. Oh and of course Caramell Dansen… isn’t that Danish? Unfortunately nobody asked for something from DDR so I couldn’t chip in with “do the national anthem!”. Oh well.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eam_XScivh8

I bet these embeds won’t work will they?

In addition to such otakish music he was also joined by Hibiki Ichikawa, a Samisen player who played some traditional music. They also did some traditional songs of Okinawa together.

Also there was a sale of raffle tickets during the interval. I wrote my name in a rush, using my mum’s christmas present as a board. Later Masa himself drew the raffle and complained of “small writing” that he couldn’t read. He passed it on to somebody else, who passed it straight on to somebody else, who was juuust able to decipher my name XD. ALT applicants beware: They generally want people with intelligible writing.

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The spoils.

Oh and he was also selling self-copied CD’s for a fiver after the show. I’ve not experienced that in Cambridge for a looong time. I used to go to at least one metal/rock/blues/ska/reggae/all of the above night a fortnight! Don’t really have a good excuse for not doing it now, actually…

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May contain useful URL’s

Oh yeah while waiting for the gig to start I went comic shopping. In addition to the usual Commando I also got a Japanese one that was recommended on a Canadian comic blog (by a guy who’s on the first page of a google search for Jinbocho, so he knows his stuff!). It appears to be about a young artist who somehow cheats death but gains the ability to help people with his art. The art in the comic is great, it switches styles frequently, presumably from ‘real life’ to ‘arty helping world’. Also from a look at the backs in the shop it’s only 3 books long so I might as well give it a go!

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Or will it be re-made as a 50-volume series later, like Sweeney Todd was? XD

Pictures from antique books about Japan

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I mainly collect antique British comics, story papers and boys’ adventure books. But I also have a small collection of old books about Japan. My favourite historical period is the 1890’s to World War 1, and in that time Japan and Britain were close allies. In fact their alliance was the first proper one the British Empire made with another power. Even the Entente Cordiale was more of an agreement not to fight each other than a promise to fight together!

Of course I’m saving like mad to go to Japan, so Can’t buy any more books at the moment unless I see very cheap ones. But here are some pictures from what I have!

1901: Japan, A Record in Colour

By Mortimer Menpes

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Using V for U was actually pretty pretentious even then!

I’ve written about this before, on a now-dead forum. Mortimer Menpes was apparently the original Otaku! The text of the book is filled with rants about how western theatre is “barbaric” because it has scenery, and how other Japan-lovers are “semi-savage” because they don’t display their collection of Japanese artifacts correctly. But for all that the paintings are wonderful. Mortimer Menpes has also published books with paintings of China, Britain and France, and probably other places too. They fetch high prices on ebay. This particular book cost me £10 but is falling to bits. Also I think at the time it was the only one by him on there, there was a few bids other than mine which may have resulted in other people who owned his works sensing “a market” and selling them.

It was published in 1901 by Dorothy Menpes, his daughter. It’s probable, then, that the pictures are actually considerably older and show the Japan of the late 19th century. He apparently went to Japan in 1887 then came back and had an exhibition, presumably of the paintings in this book. I wonder where the originals are now?

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There’s about 100 paintings, all in colour (it must have been very expensive when new! though apparently went through several reprints, I’ve seen editions from 1905 advertised) and some look almost like photographs. I couldn’t take pictures of many of them because the binding is extremely weak. However if you google the title photocopied copies of it can be bought from an apparently Indian company (the prices are in Rs, presumably Rupees) for around £25. I’ve seen on some forums that this company have a reputation for creating photocopied editions of out-of-copyright books and in some cases even trying to act as if they now own the copyright. I’ve also heard that the quality of their copies can vary… proceed at your own risk (though if you do and it’s any good tell me and I’ll post a follow up).

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This looks like a house but is actually a small shrine. The gate in the foreground symbolises passing from the living world to the world of the gods.

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Young Japanese children. If the youngest ones managed to survive to a ripe old age it’s just possible my life overlapped with theirs!

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A temple on a lake near ‘Kioto’. It’s name escapes me but it’s still there today.

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1906: “The Youngster’s Guide to Morals”

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This is a short Japanese book. I got the title and date off the ebay auction for it, as I can’t read Japanese very well yet. Especially not “handwriting” where several individual strokes are turned into one squiggle. It opens like a concertina (no spine) but there’s only print on one ‘side’.

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1907: A Handbook of Modern Japan

By Ernest W Clements

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This is American, and is more about Japan’s economy, history and society than about visiting there. Being American it also has a lengthy chapter about how Shinto is not a “real” religion and how one day Japan will have to see the light and accept Jesus. Luckily America wasn’t into empire building like Britain was, so they didn’t try to remake Japan in their own image. Well not at that point anyway.

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I’ve been to where he is enshrined, but it was under heavy repair at the time. Lots of cats, though.

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Something tells me this picture was staged…

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1907: Things Seen in Japan

By Clive Holland

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I believe the author of this one actually moved to Japan and married a Japanese woman. At least judging from the titles of his other books! Having “gone native” he is able to explain some of the customs, subtleties of the language and even say “the newly-arrived foreigner may find X very strange”. Nothing ever changes XD

see2.jpg – see3.jpg – see4.jpg

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1907 and 2009. Next time I go I’ll try and get a picture from the same angle as in the book!

 see7.jpg – see7a.jpg

1907 and 2009. Repair work being done…

 see8.jpg – see9.jpg – see10.jpg

see11.jpg –  see12.jpg – see13.jpg

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1908: Japanese Fairy Tales

By Yei Theodora Ozaki

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This is a book of translated stories that are aimed at being simple for children (the children of 1908 that is!) to read. As opposed to “more authentic” translations in scholarly language with heaps of footnotes explaining variations and themes. At least it gives me an understanding of traditional stories that I can make reference to when talking to Japanese children. It’s also apparently “illustrated by Japanese artists”… though seemingly only one did all of them.

ft1.jpg – ft1a.jpg – ft2.jpg

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1934: Japan – Mistress of the Pacific?

By Colonel P.T. Etherton and H. Hessel Tiltman

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This is another one looking at Japan’s economy and society, this time in the context of Japan’s military build-up and ambitions of creating an empire. If you’re thinking “well it’s not their fault they came to the empire game late, after the Europeans had captured everything good” well, er, that’s exactly what the book says too.

Oh if only the British and Japanese empires had stayed allied and somehow joint-governed Burma, shared Singapore and allowed for Japanese colonies in Australia, eh?

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Various militant build-up. Those sound detectors are all they had before Radar.

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Modern Tokyoite says: Needs more lights

miss5.jpg – miss6.jpg – miss7.jpg

 miss8.jpg – miss9.jpg – miss10.jpg

Heh, ‘only’ 150,000 passengers a day?

Started applying for JET again

jetappstart.jpg

Let’s see what happens this time around eh? I think I’ve improved my application chances a little, by…

– Joining a Japanese cultural exchange society

– Learning more of the language

– Taking ‘proper’ classes in it too (ought to sound better!)

– Giving my university proper instructions on ‘authenticating’ the degree transcript I need.

Tomorrow I’m going to enjoy wrestling the medical consent form from the jaws of the NHS. But first I will have to get it printed out on my big, decent printer… which means I’ll need to wrestle that into position, get the computer for it out and running, and find all the cables… oh dear.

 I’ve also been reading another interesting website, which I discovered through Kirainet. This one is called dannychoo.com and is run by an Igirisujin! He’s also a colossal otaku XD but runs a sucessful business and has his own TV show, for all that. Oh and his blog is crammed with thousands of photos from around Japan… though mainly Akihabara. Get on a walk-around of Jimbocho, eh? XD

Oh yeah his method of learning Japanese was like an ultra-immersion in his own home, playing Japanese TV and sticking magazine covers on the walls. I ought to try some of that myself! Today I only learned ひだり (左) and わたります. Tomorrow I need to work on “Go straight on” “For a long way” “For a little way” and “Until you get to the end” (or literally “until you bump into the end” XD).