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I recently joined the world of Apple and iPhones when my iPhone 4 arrived last week after only about 3 weeks on the waiting last.
As a newbie to IPhones I’ve been frantically downloading every free app possible. My favourite one so far is a gatchapon simulator for the iPhone, iToy Capsule (or Gachakon in Japanese) from Studio Kura.
It’s a Japanese game but instructions etc are in English. Every 10 minutes you get ￥100 to drag into the slot and turn the handle. You can “win” a collection of figures, musical drums and even mini-games. The tetris is just weird and pointless but the card pairs game kills a few minutes.
I haven’t collected everything yet, and it’s the only app I go back to 2,3 times a day and even have to let my wife and a guy at work have a go each day.
Yesterday was the last of our two “Introduction to the Ukulele” lessons at a music school in town.
Great fun, and not as hard as the guitar (at least the basics!) – although holding it is a bit odd if you’re used to a larger guitar.
We learnt Aloha Oe first, and then a Japanese song which was famous in the west as Sukiyaki. That’s a fun tune, and after 90 minutes of practicing, almost recognizable – if you ignore the bits where I couldn’t find the chords in time.
All I need to do now is buy my own ukulele and learn While My Guitar Gently Weeps…
Not far from where we live is a small “mountain” called Rokko Mountain (or Rokko San in Japanese). It’s a very pretty mountain home to lots of wild animals including Wild Boars. (Our local newletter recently had a guide on what to do if you come across wild monkeys too).
Around our city, especially near the mountain area you can see signs for “Danger – Wild Boars”.
Here’s a picture of a cute wild boarlet (???) we saw while hiking in the mountain last year.
The other day a leaflet came through our door for windows and doors, and in the bottom corner was an advert for “Pet Doors” (cat-flaps as we generally call them in England). But this isn’t just any old catflap (for ￥18,000 £135!), oh no, this one keeps out Wild Boars!
It’s probably pretty well known that Japan is a service society in which the customer is always king. Restaurant service is nearly always excellent, shop polite and helpful and the trains always run on time.
Well nearly always.
Apart from JR (Japan Rail) trains (which used to be nationalised like British Rail but is now a private company running trains all over Japan), which everytime I’ve been on them they’ve been late (try not to use them too much), most Japanese train companies are very efficient.
We have three running through our city from Kobe to Osaka, JR, Hanshin and Hankyu.
I commute on the Hanshin every morning, and in 4 years of using them they’ve been late maybe 4 times! Probably the equivalent number of times my commuter train in London arrived on time!
One of these late times was last week where my 20minute commute ended up taking an hour.
Anyway, the point of this long winded post isn’t that a train was late, it’s the reception you get at the train station in Osaka when you get off.
There are announcements apologising for the delay, train staff greet you at the gate bowing and apologising and handing out little notes…
Train was 45 minutes late!
This says that my train was 45 minutes late.
Why do they give you this you may ask?
Unlike in the UK where if you turn up late for work, an appointment or interview and say “The train was late”, everyone would believe you. In Japan where the trains are never late, this excuse doesn’t fly.