Monday, April 30, 2007

Crunchy shells and dead poultry

Off to the beach this weekend!
Yes, just ask Ira if you want to head to the beach here in Japan. He knows. He studied the map for 3 hours. And who cares that it would take 2 1/2 hours in some stand still traffic--we're going to the beach! It's sunny! it's warm ! the air smells sooooooo good with the humidity and everything blooming. I can't wait to get my toes into the sand. It's been so long. I think I may have gotten my toes in the sand in Guam last Feb, but I really don't remember. I was too consumed with giving all my kids massive quantities of childrens tylenol and motrin from the flu. I was also too consumed with happiness that there was a K-mart within walking distance of our hotel where I could buy more massive quantities of tylenol and motrin.
( I think I brought back to Japan about $900.00 worth of tylenol and motrin). ---I will continue my side note here---there are no over-the-counter child meds here in Japan. So if your baby has a fever, or teething pain or a headache or whatever, and you need a bit of relief, you actually have to make a Doctors appt.
After you get to the Dr., and get diagnosed, (assuming you go to an English speaking Dr, otherwise you just don't know what the diagnosis is) you then pay $900.00 for the 'diagnosis' (headache) and then get a prescription that costs about $700.00 for a powdered type something, which you then have to mix with a liquid and give it to your baby to drink. I was so scared I thought it was going to kill my baby girl. Everything is in decimeters and kilograms and milliliters and you have to measure and I JUST DON'T REMEMBER all that from the 2 weeks we studied it back in the 4th grade!!!!!!! So Ira and I kinda had to wing it and then just watched the baby closely in hopes she didn't start convulsing or something. I know---what the heck am I so worried about? You'd think we were living in the Congo or something. This is a civilized country with a very high birth rate and the average life expectancy is probably like 125. I guess when the Doctor speaks maybe 5% English which is very broken, he sounds like he just doesn't know what he is talking about. But you have to tell yourself- he is a DOCTOR. He speaks Japanese, in Japan. Because he doesn't speak English well doesn't mean he is an idiot. *I* am the idiot for thinking that. When I speak Japanese and string maybe a sentence of 4 words together and think I am brilliant, the Japanese are thinking "what an idiot". I am sure. But anyway, that's all over and I am well-stocked with tylenol and you can see why it brings me such pleasure. Back to the beach!

What a winner. Yes, that's where the crunchy shells and more part comes in. The visual imagery of this beach is really quite memorable.

I first got suspicious when I saw way too many rusted cans that looked to be 100 years old. And what do kids do when they get to the beach? 1) shriek 2) take shoes off

then came the bits of glass, cigarette lighters, and lots of dead things.

Which way to the better beach? That-a-way?

Taken from a bridge, the canal that fed into the ocean.

More finds.....A cute little boy who was running around while his dad fished
Heavy duty latex gloves? light bulbs? Any ideas? My guess is that much of this stuff washed up on shore from somewhere. And I don't know if those are "real" false teeth. Wasn't going to touch them. Even with a stick.
Kinda surprised...usually don't see trashy stuff like this around Japan. Made me feel like I was somewhere back home! A delightful day. Got home by 3pm. Oh, lastly-- the wind was blowing like 90 miles per hour so you had to scream like you were being murdered for anyone to hear you. fun.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

And you thought....

No, Japan is not the land of the rising sun. It is the land of the hanging clothes.

There goes one of the crows, after someones undies.

Friday, April 13, 2007

The Winged Demons

I do believe E.A. Poe must have gotten his inspiration for crows/ravens from Japan. These large creatures inhabit what seems every single neighborhood. And I know, deep down, that they are evil.
I am not sure what goes on every morning, is it a festival or a war, but they consistently wake me up before dawn. Cawing and cawing. Cawguing might be a good word. They interrupt and caw at each other. I have looked out my bedroom window, many times to determine if there is a particular high wire or tall tree that they fight for rights to during this chaos, but nothing to me looks all that high and mighty.

I walk down the street and I feel them watching me. Then one flies overhead to a perch and watches me walk by. Then they fly about 20 meters ahead (Asia is metric) and wait for me to pass while they watch. I think they want to steal my scarf. Their caws are loud, deep and menacing. One afternoon while goofing off around the house, I heard one outside, it's voice so deep I swore it was a man. I rushed over to the window to see. It wasn't a man. It was a doberman with wings and a beak. Its eyes were glowing red. I wonder if they are possessed, like in The Omen.

Yesterday my neighbor told me that the crows are building a nest in the tree, right outside their bedroom window. They are stealing *hangers* from the apartment building balconys next door--the Japanese hang clothes everywhere--and they are making a nest with hangers! No wonder the crow babies grow up to be evil. My neighbor got a friendly note from the Japanese apartment people telling them that the crows in their yard are stealing hangers, socks and other miscellaneous laundry and that they need to do something about it. I couldn't believe this is actually happening. So the property manager was called, to do something about these stealing crows, and I have no clue what will happen next.
I am sorry I don't yet have a photo to post of this nonsense. I am afraid if I snap a picture, one of them will then really come after me. but I will try to post one soon, so you can see what I mean.

Ira here...

Actually I kind of like them. It's like living in an Animal Planet documentary. Some of them have serious wing spans, and huge beaks that could really do some damage. Birds of prey type stuff. Supposedly they're pretty sharp for birds. I definitely wouldn't want to mess with them. Sometimes I worry that they might be eyeing Annika, sizing her up for lunch.