When you can't live without bananas

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Saturday, September 20, 2008

"Scandal is gossip made tedious by morality." - Oscar Wilde


Japan trip
Day 8 - 13th June - Nigatsu-do hall, Nara
(Part 5)

Steps up

The hall from below

More steps up

Wooden carvings decorating area under eaves (I'm sure that part of the building has a name)

Looking down

City view

"Not for drinking"; Unlike most other washup points, you're not supposed to drink from this one. The moss probably has something to do with it.

Not only did Nigatsu-do not charge an entry fee, there was a free rest stop (it being on top of a hill and all that) with free barley tea, hot and cold water.

Steps down


The hall from below


Schoolgirls and deer

As you might be able to guess, since schoolkids in school uniform at sites of historical interest travel in groups, there was a large group of schoolgirls present. This was very irritating, because they were very chor lor (unrefined); one schoolgirl flapped her skirt up and down vigorously, and another hiked hers up with her hands - both exposed green shorts underneath (the lesson we can learn from this, boys and girls, is that phenomenon of moral hazard is cross-cultural). Then, the one who hiked up her skirt and 3 others sat on the steps across from me, and I had to turn my eyes away from a sea of green. GAH GAH GAH


You can buy a soft drink easily!
1) Choose whatever you like.
2) Drop coins into tha slot and press a lighted button.
3) Take a drink from tha slot below.
4) Thank you very much. Don't forget your change."
What kind of idiot cannot use a vending machine (well, maybe my brother-in-law)? Also, they forgot: 5) Please enjoy your drink

What happens to old deer [Translation: "Deer skin. Deer skin consultation" (???)]

At this point, it is apropos to once again quote from Nara: A Cultural Guide to Japan's Ancient Capital:

"The deer were always permitted to wander freely in Nara since they were considered the sacred messengers of the gods, and at one time the killing of a deer was penalized by the execution of the miscreant responsible for the death of an animal"

Go figure.

Japanese Anything and Whatever canned drinks

Tropicana. I don't know why it's "Packed with the Quality Approval of Kirin" - shouldn't it be packed with the "Quality Approval of Tropicana" (since it's their brand)? Maybe the Japs don't trust gaijin brands.

Deer in shop
I asked gestured the woman if the deer ever ran wild in her shop. If she understood me correctly, her answer was no.
"Mother Nature is not a feminist." - Christina Hoff Summers


Baltics trip
Day 8 - 23rd May - Latvian Ethnographic Museum; Riga, Latvia
(Part 3)

Our hostess had highly recommended the Latvian Ethnographic Museum, and some of the tourist information had likewise been fulsome in its praise, so we took a bus out of town to the museum. The museum consisted of traditional Latvian buildings, mostly from the 19th century, that had been dismantled and rebuilt onsite.

Early 19th Century water pump

Peasant Housestead, 1850-60s: Stable/cattleyard. IIRC it was later converted into a church.

Peasant dwelling. 1840s.

Inside dwelling

HWMNBN playing with a spinning wheel

Windmill, 1814.

Carpark, 17th century

Diner, 18th century

Port storehouse, 1692


Psychotic swan

Psychotic swan

Granary, 1757

Hollowed-out tree trunk for bees

Apple storehouse. The roof is made of twigs, not thatch.

Black sand. Loamy and fresh. Fun to walk on. I also crumbled some in my hand.

Peasant homestead. Mid-19th century.

Not-so-giant Latvian anthill. This is for Tim The Great.

10th May:
Tim The Great: can see anthills

go down to kiev for chicken

Me: what anthills

go to hamburg and eat hamburgers

Tim The Great: you three are all cocks
so can lah

anthills--saw on discovery channel. giant anthills

hamburg--no, but i'm going to berlin to see rattle
and maybe london to see gardiner

foreigners may chuckle when they hear 318-metre-high
Suur Munamägi [‘Big Egg Mountain’] referred to as a
high mountain, the sight of the more than 2 metre high
anthills of the Akste Ant Colony, which stand in a shadowy
spruce forest, should please any nature-lover.

page 11. estonia promo brochure

However, there exist many surpassingly technically challenging modern works, such as those by Iannis Xenakis, Michael Finnissy, and Frederic Rzewski.

lousy music. have you heard xenakis?

sit on an anthill for me

16th September:
Me: *picture of anthill*

Tim The Great: i told you you'd see them in the balkans


Tim The Great: fuck my bad


Digging a Latvian Anthill

By this point, we had long since lost interest in this stupid place, but since we'd taken a while to get down here (about an hour), there was no point going back to Riga-proper, so we got what little satisfaction we could from making snide remarks.

nw.t: I don't mind telling you I've no idea where we are and have completely lost interest in where we're going

YC: Ooh look. Another peasant's hut.
nw.t: Another granary.

Orthodox Church, Early 20th century



Finally we left the wretched place and returned to the bus station.

Damn slack ticket counter with regular, scheduled breaks (all the counters overlap).

Walking in the market after it'd closed


"Batman" cucumbers

Zeppelin sheds

We then entered a Maxima X to buy dinner.

Lactima brand Disney Emmentaler and Z Szynka cheese

The nice thing about the Baltics is you can't get Chicken Feather sausages (what Singaporeans know as "hot dogs") even if you ant to.

One type of oil was conspicuous by its absence. They're really into Kualiti.

YC saving a negligible sum of money by buying tram tickets at a kiosk instead of on the tram, causing us to miss it.

Monument to deported children. We were so happy that they used the word "deportetajiem".

This being out last night, we decided to take pictures of our very nice homestay house.

The homestay house




Living room

Plant wing (I don't know what to call it; it's not a greenhouse)

Fireplace. I thought the grate was a TV (it does look like one!)


Fritz, one of the 4 pussies

YC and I

Sara in garden


Skoda, the most shy pussy of them all

nw.t feeding Fritz. Like most pussies, this one ignored us until we had food (Nelson Mandela was friendly, toe-nipping aside).

I threw a stick for Sara to fetch and she gnawed and broke it. Gah.

Lithuania had more long haired guys than Singapore, and Latvia, a more developed country, in turn had even more (Estonia, the most developed of the three, had a little less though). Hurr hurr.


[Me: There're cheap places to tempt [nw.t] to break his vow. Orthodox Cathedral!] I'm not interested in priests. [Me: How about nuns. That nun in Lithuania was not bad.] ...
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