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Japanese Fire Patrol

2008-06-13 04:15 air-japan

Last night's activity outside my house...

A fire patrol rehearsal (i think). I enjoyed watching it more like a modern dance piece. It went on for a full hour and looked very strange. It seemed more important how you moved than what you did. as you can see in the video clips below, when they finally roll out the hoses it's very quick and efficient. But then they spend a lot of time rehearsing this odd positioning. nice choreography in any case. I really wonder how it works out in a real-life fire/chaos/danger situation.

Biking to IAMAS

2008-06-11 11:39 air-japan

Some photos while on my way to IAMAS. IAMAS is north of the city centre in a more rural part of Ogaki.

photo ogaki sign photo ogaki crossing photo ogaki street photo ogaki shop photo ogaki street 2 photo ogaki statue

Sake brewery...

photo ogaki brewery

Rice patches everywhere...

photo ogaki rice fields photo ogaki parking lot

Mirrors in the street corners are very helpful. The streets are narrow and the cars don't take much consideration.

photo ogaki mirrors photo ogaki cars photo ogaki canal photo ogaki another rice field photo ogaki more water photo ogaki powergrid

Coffee Machines

2008-06-11 11:24 air-japan

Today, after one week, I finally managed to outsmart the vending machine to give me plain, hot, sugar-free coffee. I tried so many combinations but always ended up with some variation on ice/sugar/milk coffee.

In nearly every street corner there's a vending machine with hot coffee in cans. Have yet to find a brand without sugar in them. The machine I mastered is in the basement of IAMAS. A coffee there is 80 YEN ≈ €0,48 ≈ 4,5 SEK

photo coffee machine


2008-06-11 09:24 air-japan

I already had so much nice and well-prepared food. And it is not so expensive as I feared.

For lunch I go to a diner near IAMAS. Riceballs with sidedish + miso soup + coffee = 750yen ≈ €4,5 ≈ 42sek

goggle maps

ogaki lunch 1 ogaki lunch 2

Also, I had a lot of okonomiyaki of course. One of my favourite Japanese dishes and for my welcoming party, the CMC/IAMAS staff cooked okonomiyaki specially for me. Very nice of them.

It's just slightly problematic to find vegetarian food. So I do eat seafood and fish while I'm here. Also I wouldn't want to miss out on the excellent sushi.

Business Cards

2008-06-11 09:17 air-japan

Business cards are important in Japan. With the new IAMAS one I now got 3 different ones.

photo business card

Fellow Blogger

2008-06-11 09:12 air-japan

Jona from Linz (exhange student here at IAMAS) has been here for some months. He stays at the same place as me and it seems like he already took a lot of the pictures that I'd wanted to take already. Follow his blog at www.sofa23.net/biginjapan.

So many of his pictures/observations would also apply to me. e.g. this post about bikes.


2008-06-11 08:36 air-japan

IAMAS arranged a very nice place for me to stay in. Quite big and with a balcony.

photo ogaki room photo ogaki rist

The coffee machine just outside saved me a few times already.

photo ogaki coffee machine

The place (rist) is in central Ogaki and it takes about 15min on the bike to go to IAMAS. But for me usually a lot longer - there are some many interesting things to stop and look at! And so many small and winding backstreets to explore. Also, I get lost now and then - often on purpose.

Ogaki is perfect for biking around. I just need to concentrate to keep to the left side of the road.

photo ogaki bike

Another thing I seem to be unable to learn is that the water tap in my kitchen open downwards. So I need to pull it up to stop the water flow. Hm, all these little habits you never notice.

photo ogaki kitchen water tap

Long Haul

2008-06-11 08:17 air-japan

Travel is not what it used to be. No glamour, no fun - just painful transportation and a waste of time.

I did my usual trick for long flights: skip sleep the night before. On the plane order a whiskey and then pull the blanket over your head... Crash. You'll wake up for breakfast and it'll feel like morning. Hardly any jetlag. This time I stayed awake for about 30 hours.

After a nice BBQ at k-ita, I spent the last night in Berlin packing and backing up my harddisks. In the morning I did pass out on the flight Berlin-Frankfurt but only for a short moment. As this flight was delayed I was a bit worried, and it turned out I had to run to the gate to catch my flight to Nagoya.

But I got there, my whiskey came and I fell asleep. Unfortunately my seat was next to the toilets and the plane was packed with Japanese tourists (elderly people) that couldn't sit still. So lots of people hanging around just next to me in the aisle. The blanket helped to ignore them.

At Nagoya airport Erin and Yosuke from CMC/IAMAS came to meet me. Of course my big bag hadn't made it and was still in Frankfurt. But I had my wallet, computer and toothbrush so I was fine. The bag came the next day.

So now six months with only 2 bags worth of stuff. Basically just my computer, some cables and adapters and some clothes. What a relive.

photo bags

Thank you ap and bi for the nice bag!

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