Beware of Wild Boars

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.

Wild Boar

Wild Boar

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!
Boar Flap

Boar Protector

Japanese Train Late! – Top News Story From Japan

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…

Japan Late Train Ticket

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.

This little note is your proof!


Second Hand Stuffed Animals Anyone?

You know you’re in a rich part of Japan when you discover a second-hand shop (or recycle shop as they call them here), in your town and amongst the chairs, gym equipment and other junk you find this…

Stuffed Animals

Scary Stuff

More Stuffed Animals

More Stuffed Animals

Unfortunately it wasn’t near pay-day so I couldn’t take the bear home with me…maybe next month?
Mind you I think it would take up nearly the whole of my tatami room!

More Star Wars Gachapon

Went to the cinema in Nishinomiya yesterday to see “The Box” – pretty weird and strangely sexist, what is it with women and pressing buttons?

Anyway while we were there Aki discovered a new Star Wars capsule toy (Gachapon) machine!

Chewbacca Sound Egg

Chewbacca Sound Egg

Sound Eggs!
Basically you push the button (buttons again!) and Chewie Roars!
Or as it says on the instruction sheet: “Rrrooaarrgghh!

I was actually hoping for Han Solo, so I guess I’ll have to try again next time.
Here’s a list of the eggs to collect:
Darth Vader : Hoooo-pah
Han Solo : I’ve got a bad feeling about this.
Death Star Battle : Whoosh! Boom!
Lightsaber Duel : Buzzzzzz. Clash!
Chewbacca : Rrrooaarrgghh!
Yoda : May the Force be with you.

Updated 22/06/10 : Went back tot he cinema last weekend to see IronMan 2 (excellent), and the Star Wars Gachapon machine has gone!! Gutted.

3D TV from Panasonic

I came out of the Osaka Yodobashi Camera (huge electronics department store) and was a little startled to see a group of people with what looked like VR goggles on.

Turns out it was a demonstration of the new Panasonic 3D Viera TV.

Panasonic 3D TV

3D Viera TV

The guy suggested I line up and give it a go, but to be honest, I’m not sure if golf in 3D would be any less tedious and pointless to watch than golf in 2D.

I gave it a miss.

I read somewhere that with the new Sony 3D TVs you get 2 free 3D goggles included with the TV…does this mean if you want to invite friends around to watch a movie or something after the pub you’re gonna have to stock up on 4,5,6 extra goggles or ask people to bring their own?
Bit of a flaw in the plan here I think.

Updated 22/06/10: I tried out a 3D tv the other day at one of the smaller electronic shops (Joshin) and they were showing the golf demo…it’s…well it’s alright I guess.
But it doesn’t look or feel natural so I think after a (short) while I’d rather go back to the 2D TV version. Let my brain do the 3D work.