梅雨 Diary - Arrival (21-22 June)

Jun. 24th, 2017 08:48 am
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On the 21st the sun rose early (as one would expect on the solstice), but not as early as me, nor many other Bristolians, who were making pre-dawn departures in various directions. Some, I've no doubt, were heading east to Stonehenge, but a large contingent was going south to Glastonbury, and I encountered a good wodge of them in Bristol bus station, where special coaches were being laid on at regular intervals.

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As for me, I was off to Heathrow, though I did get to see the solstice sun rise in Wiltshire, admittedly over the M4 rather than the heel stone:

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The journey all went very smoothly. After some hairy experiences at Schiphol two years ago I'd been worried by the fact that I only had an hour to make my connection at Frankfurt, especially as it involved two different airlines (Lufthansa and All Nippon Airways), but the combination of German efficiency and, er, Japanese efficiency, meant that I needn't have worried.

On the plane from Frankfurt to Tokyo I found myself sitting between two middle-aged Japanese women, both of whom spent much of the next 11 hours in face masks, but who were to play a significant role in my journey.

I'd secretly been a little annoyed by the woman sitting to my right, because she closed the window just before take-off, depriving me of a view I always enjoy. Also, I remembered that you're meant to leave the windows open on take-off and landing, for the grisly reason that it helps recovery workers count the bodies in the event of a crash. I composed a Japanese sentence to this effect in my head, but hesitated to speak it, considering that it would be kind of snotty, however perfect the grammar, and that we were after all destined to be companions for quite a while.

She rose considerably in my estimation when I woke from a nap to find her absent from her seat. How had she escaped without waking me or my equally slumberous companion to the left? A minute later I had my answer, when she returned, removed her shoes, and clambered over both arm rests with the considerate dexterity of a service-industry ninja.

Then, about half hour from arrival, she became a friend for life by positively shaking me to point out a beautiful view of Mount Fuji.

Apart from one very distant blurry glimpse from a Tokyo high-rise last year, it was my first Fuji sighting, and it looked marvellous in the clear early-morning sun (for it was now 6am the next day, thanks to the magic of time zones), brown with an icing-sugar sprinkle of snow. Of course, I tried to take a picture with my crappy mobile phone, but captured nothing but a blur. Then I remembered that I'd bought a camera especially for the trip, and dug that out. Unfortunately I hadn't yet taught myself to use it, and my attempts were really no better than before. Eventually my kind companion suggested I photograph the picture she'd just taken with her iPhone. So here it is, my photograph of the next-door passenger's iPhone's photograph of Mount Fuji:

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Just like being there, isn't it? Hokusai would be proud.

As for my left-hand companion, she chatted politely with me, asking why I was coming to Japan, and so on, which was a good chance to give my Japanese a light workout. When I explained about the lectures I'd be giving in Tokyo she promised to tell her daughter, who was interested in anime - but added that her cousin (who was travelling on the same plane) happened to live in Kichijouji, near the university where I'd be staying, and would be happy to show me there when we landed.

So it was that I spent my first hour in Tokyo with left-hand companion and her cousin, the latter seeing me through the Tokyo tube in the rush-hour crush (no joke when you have two sizeable cases), all the way to the door of the university. She'd made a couple of remarks about looking forward to getting back to her Japanese life after her stay in Germany (her younger sister had married a German and even taken citizenship), so I thanked her for her "authentic Japanese hospitality" (本物の日本のおもてなし) - which I think pleased her, but was sincerely meant.

I spent the rest of that day meeting people, paying rent, registering at the library and getting online, and so on - more or less in a daze, for it was 24 hours since I'd had any sleep worth the name. I'll leave that aside for the moment - we will meet these actors again - and just give you a quick tour of my dwelling, the Foreign Faculty House, where I am sole resident. The outside I've already posted, but here it is again, in glorious colour:

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So far, the rainy season has consisted of bright sunshine and 29-degree heat, and my little patch of garden is alive with butterflies and dragonflies. A murder of crows has taken up lugubrious residence in a nearby grove.

Inside, I have a spacious and comfortable apartment, though rather oddly appointed. The building, being almost 100 years old, is in any case ancient by Japanese standards, with polished wooden floors on the landings to facilitate the swish of kimonos (not that kimonos do swish, but this is the obligatory word to use with female clothing of yore) and, I suppose, the clatter of geta. There is an ominous stairwell that leads up into a void, but from which, so far, nothing has issued. Anyway, here are a few shots of the inside, to give you a feel:

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Some of the facilities, though not quite coaeval with the house, have a distinctly retro vibe - but this makes me feel quite at home, my heart spending much of its time in the 1970s in any case.

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Japanese error in most urgent need of correction? Why, that would be my habit of pronouncing "Toukyou Joshi Dai" (the abbreviation everyone round here uses for the name of this university) as "Toukyou Dai Joshi", which translates rather unfortunately as "Tokyo Big Girls".

This must end.
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elevenfeathers:

lwaxana:

hey so everyone reblog this with your starbucks order in the tags cause I’m training and I need to practice writing the acronyms and shit on the cups

I’m not american, nor do I live in a country that has starbucks, but I just looked at the tags and I am horrified

I’m no coffee snob but oh my god what the everloving fuck

#double chocolatey chip frappuccino with a pump of toffee nut syrup and a pump of cinnamon dolce syrup

#venti green tea frappe with carmell walls and java chips no whip

#grande starbucks doubleshot on ice breve no classic one pump sugar free hazelnut one pump sugar free vanilla

#vente iced black tea no water with 6 pumps of classic and cream   what does this even mean??? tea with no water????

#vanilla bean frappucino with a pump of raspberry syrup and 2 scoops of java chips with whipped cream and caramel drizzle

these aren’t fucking coffees these are fall out boy songs

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(no subject)

Jun. 23rd, 2017 10:47 am
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[personal profile] turps
Yesterday I got the most adorable postcard from [livejournal.com profile] gh0sts. Thank you so much. It was such a lovely surprise ♥

Lets see, in the last week or so I've seen The Mummy, which was okay and Gifted which I liked a lot. Started to watch The Handmaid's Tale, which led to me reading a forum post about the show which included recs for books in that genre, so ended up downloading and reading Only Ever Yours which I gobbled down in a few days, all the time thinking, no, no, this is horrible and wrong.

Talking about reading. I abandoned that Musketeer story I mentioned a few posts back. It wasn't the constant crying that defeated me, even though that was irritating, it was because the writer was posting as a WIP and obviously started changing the story depending on what people said comments. Due to that they ended up constantly contradicting things that had been stated as fact earlier just so they could change the story going forward. I mean, own what you're writing, if someone doesn't like what you've written, that's on them not you. It was so frustrating and in the end I just gave in -- and then started to read a horribly melodramatic mpreg instead.

Looking through my open tabs I found a gdocs draft of the story I started and then abandoned for the wingfic picfor1000 Way bros idea. So I finished it. I need to give it a look over and will probably post it. It's just a bit of fluff, but it's a shame to just leave it sitting there. Though I may go see if I can match it to a bingo prompt first #cheat

It doesn't happen often with both of them working shifts, but both Kayleigh and James were at work the last two days so I had to take mam to a dentist appointment on Tuesday and then yesterday to an appointment to the chest clinic. The dentist went fine, and then yesterday she got mixed news. The tumour in her lung has shrank a little, but her oxygen levels are so low she's going to be started on home oxygen from next week. I think we all knew it was coming, and hopefully it won't be a 24/7 thing but more of a top-up, but she's still upset.

While at the hospital we bumped into my dad's brother who'd been there for a post op check. We talked a while, then when he left mam asked who it was and I told her, uncle Allen. She was astounded, and apparently hasn't seen him since she divorced my dad, so over 30 years ago. I wondered why he seemed a bit tense and she said nothing.

Corey's having more issues with his wisdom tooth so has been calling often over the last two days. He couldn't get an appointment at his own dentist until Monday, so has been trying to get an emergence dental appointment in Newcastle, and after going to the walk in dentist this morning at 8am, finally has a card to say he can go back and wait from 1 this afternoon. Hopefully they can do something then, and if not, has kept the Monday appointment just in case.

I went to a walk to High Force with James, stopping off at the ford first where I had a plodge. It was funny as we met and chatted to a couple there, and then a few hours later met them again at the falls, where the guy offered to take our photo.

Mam got her new car on Monday. Kayleigh is her designated driver, so we took both of them to the garage to pick it up, and while there we were checking out all the new cars. We don't change until Dec next year, so don't even need to start looking until this time next year, but you know, we were there, so why not have a look around? And I have to say, it's such a good feeling to realise I could easily fit into any car, even the smaller kinds, and seat belts fastened with room to spare even in the back seats. When we do actually pick, the only thing we need to think of space wise is whether James' wheelchair will fit in the boot. Nothing else. That was such a rush.

Mog on the Tyne have two new kittens. Want to guess where we'll be going next week? :D

Dear American Friends

Jun. 22nd, 2017 11:26 pm
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Amazon Prime currently has the best television show ever committed to film streaming.  It is called “Walks With My Dog”.  British celebrities like Bill Bailey go for scenic walks around England with their dogs.  They give a bit of history of the area and maybe meet some locals and their dogs.  The doggos are old and young, well behaved and naughty, big and small, and all adorable.  I basically want to live in this show forever. 

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festathons

Jun. 22nd, 2017 02:42 pm
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[personal profile] isis
First off, signups for the 2017 Multifandom Drabble Exchange are closing tomorrow. This is a small low-pressure exchange, and it was a lot of fun last year when it was on Imzy.

Second, Night on Fic Mountain is live! My gift is Witcher fanart, a scene of Ciri getting the better of Geralt in a wrestling bout as Yennefer sips wine and looks on, amused:

Tap Out (0 words) by Anonymous
Fandom: Wiedźmin | The Witcher (Video Game)
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Cirilla Fiona Elen Riannon & Geralt z Rivii | Geralt of Rivia
Characters: Cirilla Fiona Elen Riannon, Geralt z Rivii | Geralt of Rivia, Yennefer z Vengerbergu | Yennefer of Vengerberg
Additional Tags: he was definitely asking for it, Fanart, tag yourself i'm the one with the wine
Summary: All educators anticipate that glorious moment when the student surpasses the teacher.

The artist obviously paid attention to my general list of art likes, incorporating interesting perspective and background scenery detail, and it's just a fabulous piece overall, really, just beautiful, and you don't need to know the fandom to appreciate it as art, so go admire it!

Actually, there's a lot of nice art in this collection. I particularly like Clouds and Skie (Dragonlance, which I'm not familar with but there is a DRAGON!) and A Slothful Interlude (Master and Commander, which is a fandom I love, and there is a SLOTH!) but if you sort the collection works page by length and start at the shortest, you'll find all of them.

And there's some great fic, too. Some recs from my reading so far:

The Road To Anywhere But Here (3323 words) by Anonymous
Fandom: The Road to El Dorado (2000)
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Chel/Miguel/Tulio
Characters: Chel (Road to El Dorado), Miguel (Road to El Dorado), Tulio (Road to El Dorado), Altivo (Road to El Dorado)
Additional Tags: Post-Canon
Summary: These shoes weren't made for walking.

Ahahaha this is hilarious. The character voices are perfection and the plot is simultaneously plausible (in-universe) and completely goofy.

War-Chants (1088 words) by Anonymous
Fandom: Ancient History RPF
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: Hannibal Barca, Scipio Africanus
Additional Tags: Alternate Universe - Eurovision Song Contest, Crack
Summary: [edited]Two frenemies talk trash over chat about the most important event of the premodern world: EUROVISION!!!

This is crack of the most delicious sort! I giggled mightily throughout, particularly at the historical references twisted into dudebro chat.

Why Darwin Discovered Evolution (1114 words) by Anonymous
Fandom: Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World (2003)
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Jack Aubrey & Stephen Maturin
Characters: Jack Aubrey, Stephen Maturin
Additional Tags: London, Evolution, Moths, Night On Fic Mountain 2017, Night on Fic Mountain 2017 Treat
Summary: [edited] 1815: Napoleon surrenders, and is exiled to St Helena. The British Navy, after seventeen years of war, retires ships, crews and captains. John Barrow, Second Secretary to the Admiralty, begins a programme of exploration which will last until 1845 and will include, in 1835, Charles Darwin's five year voyage of discovery in the Beagle. // In England, Jack Aubrey languishes on the Captains’ List, and Stephen Maturin chases moths.

This is lovely. The language is so perfectly canonical, as are poor Stephen's warring impulses, between that of his calling as a naturalist and the calling of his truest friend.

City of Futures (4558 words) by Anonymous
Fandom: The Divine Cities Series - Robert Jackson Bennett
Rating: Not Rated
Warnings: Creator Chose Not To Use Archive Warnings
Characters: Turyin Mulaghesh, Tatyana Komayd
Additional Tags: Post-City of Miracles, the effect of legacies, poorly-expressed grief, bad life choices
Summary: [edited] The most curious miracle of all was that of briefly-miraculous events centered around Ashara Komayd, former Prime Minister to Saypur. // Though, of course, there was a lot more to it than that.

I beta-read this, so I'm biased, but I love Mulaghesh, and she's at her delightfully cranky, profane, investigative best here.
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A post shared by Darlinghill Glastonbury (@jasper_the_dalmatian) on Feb 23, 2017 at 2:27am PST

thefingerfuckingfemalefury:

drfitzmonster:

thefingerfuckingfemalefury:

cryoverkiltmilk:

he’s coming to get you

he’s coming to get you

he’s coming to get you

he’s here

he got you

DOG DOG DOG DOG DOG

A HEALING VIDEO

WHOLESOME CONTENT

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redcandle17:

yohunny:

itchycoil:

betterbemeta:

buzzfeed:

Here Are 28 Things Millennials Are Killing In Cold Blood

no mercy run

And they say the millennial generation is lazy and entitled.

Here’s a secret: it’s not OUR JOB to adapt to the market. It’s not OUR JOB to buy napkins and golf clubs and drive to the mall on the other side of town to make sure it doesn’t go out of business.

Did previous generations kill the horse and wagons after the car was invited? Did those lazy citizens kill the town crier by buying into that newfangled newspaper business?

What people want and are ready to spend their money on will change over time. Today we have different goals and different standards - like I will invite my friends over for dinner and instead of napkins I’ll put a roll of paper towels on the table. And my friends won’t clutch their pearls and hiss “you uncultured swine” at me, because we value that paper towels are cheap and efficient! Napkins may be pretty but some of them end up being unused, and I’ll have to throw them away after the dinner and it’s a fucking waste.

Did your mall end up as an empty husk outside of town because those pesky millennials buy all their clothes online now? You lucky son of a gun. Now you get to use your ~*IMAGINATION*~ and repurpose that ugly windowless box into something actually useful. Why not a nice office space? (x)

Or how about you make the old stores into cute micro apartments? I WOULD LOVE TO LIVE IN ONE OF THESE! (x)

Are the stores fine but the parking lot empty because those cheap hipsters would rather take a bus or bike to the mall instead of buying a car like regular people? Do like they did in Seattle and turn it into a fucking beautiful water treatment facility and park. (x)

This thing collects storm-water runoff to create and provide nutrients to small pools and green areas. It works like a natural creek that ALSO filters out pollutants that would damage the salmon population! AS A MILLENNIAL I CAN SAY THAT THIS IS SO FUCKING UP MY ALLEY YOU HAVE NO IDEA. I WOULD GO TO THAT MALL, BUY A COFFEE AND GO OUT TO LOOK AT THE BIRDS.

Actual fucking plovers. When was the last time a parking lot did something for the environment except gathering upp more roadkill for the scavengers?

I could also go into why no-one is watching shitty sitcoms or boring movies because we have access to so much media that we can filter out the generic stuff that doesn’t appeal to us, but that is an essay in itself. We are extremely capable on spending it on media that speaks to us though (hey this is unrelated but did you know that Wonder Woman has passed 570M$ worldwide?)

TLDR: Market powers are entitled and used to people spending an ever-increasing amount of money on their shitty products. When this trend turns they are too unimaginative and lazy to do something about it so instead they’ll whine about how their former customers are “killing” them.

They can either DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT or spend the rest of their days crying into their surplus napkins.

Yes.

Also, the idolized lifestyle of the 1950s-2000s was unsustainable. The bubble burst, and my generation inherited a ruined world whose elders refuse acknowledge that their prosperity came at our expense. 

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micspam:

best sleeping conditions: freezing fucking cold room but layers and layers of blankets 

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