Vernicious Knids

Random musings and snapshots about life, love, travel and everything in between...

Saturday, December 31, 2005


2005 - The year that was...
  • January - 5 tonnes of mayonnaise spilled across the Tomei Expressway and created a 5 km traffic jam.
  • February - The Yamanote line tightened its scheduled from a 60 minute loop to 58 minutes.
  • March - The Bank of Japan announced that it had $715 billion in its vaults.
  • April - Japanese high school and university students get 4 hours of sleep a night as they spend so much time on their cellphones and computers.
  • May - The Yasukuni Shrine website got 15 000 hits a second.
  • June - Yokohama City Hall issued a 27 page manual explaining how garbage should be sorted.
  • July - Cool Biz entered our vernacular (not wearing ties and jackets to work to help save the environment!)
  • August - A 1 ton bomb dropped 60 years ago in Nishi Tokyo was dug up - 7 000 people were evacuated during the process.
  • September - The LDP gained a greater majority than before.
  • October - A robotic camera snapped a 26 foot long giant squid 3 000 feet below sea level - it lost a tentacle - all 18 feet of it!
  • November - The Yamanote line was nonoperational for 5 hours - stranding millions of commuters.
  • December - It snowed - briefly - in Tokyo.

Happy New Year!

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Sunday, December 25, 2005

Here comes Santa Claus...

Merry Christmas to you all.
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Friday, December 23, 2005

Bah, humbug...

"Marley was dead: to begin with. There is no doubt whatever about that. The register of his burial was signed by the clergyman, the clerk, the undertaker, and the chief mourner. Scrooge signed it. And Scrooge's name was good upon 'Change, for anything he chose to put his hand to. Old Marley was as dead as a door-nail."

Recently I've been listening to A Christmas Carol on my iPod mini. Read by Geoffrey Palmer it is really putting me in the Christmas mood!

This link will take to you to online version if you want to read it...
A Christmas Carol

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Fuji san

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Let's go fly a kite...

Odako means gigantic kites...

There are a number of giant kite festivals in Japan and during Golden Week we went to this one in Showamachi in Saitama prefecture which showcases the largest kites in Japan. We were amazed by the intricacies of these kites...if you squint you can see the hundreds of strings that they manipulate to get it off the ground. It was quite a laborious process for them to do, about 30 minutes to get it off the bamboo racks, onto the ground and then into the air! The colours on the kite are significant - red represents the sun and green represents the ground. The kanji states the team name. There are two giant kites - from opposing teams - and they fight each other to get their kite in the sky first and keep it there the longest. There are 50 members in each team. The participants wear hantens (short white coats) and hachimakis (headbands similar to what Ralph Macchio wore in the Karate Kid movies). Kites have quite an important history in Japan; kites are given to first born sons as it's believed that they will protect and guide the new born to adulthood. It's believed that kites were first introduced into Japan by Buddhist missionaries who travelled from China in the Nara period (649-794 AD).

Random, useless facts for today:

  • Banging your head against the wall uses 150 calories an hour.
  • Elephants are the only animals that can't jump.
  • George W Bush and Playboy founder Hugh Hefner are cousins!
  • The first baseball caps were made of straw.
  • Apples are actually part of the rose family.
  • One in three male motorists picks their nose while driving.
  • Rats can tell the difference between two human languages.
  • Goldfish remember better in cold water than warm water.
  • A survey reported that 12% of Americans think that Joan of Arc was Noah's wife.
  • A completely blind chameleon will still take on the colours of its environment.
  • You inhale about 700 000 of your own skin flakes every day.
  • More than 10 people a year are killed by vending machines.
  • It snowed in the Sahara Desert on February 18, 1979.
  • One in three snake bite victims is drunk. One in five is tattooed.
  • Astronauts cannot burp in space.
  • Snails breathe through their feet.
  • Identical twins do not have identical fingerprints.
  • The odds of being killed by falling out of bed are one in two million.
  • Only female bees work!

Time Waster

Go and spread your new found wisdom!


Sunday, December 18, 2005

Top 10 tunes

Current 10 most played tunes on my iPod Mini:

  1. High Flying Adored - Antonio Banderas & Madonna (Evita Soundtrack)
  2. Your Song - Ewan McGregor & Nicole Kidman (Moulin Rouge Soundtrack)
  3. Baby Can I Hold You - Tracy Chapman (Tracy Chapman)
  4. Shut Up - Black Eyed Peas (Elephunk)
  5. Fake Plastic Trees - Radiohead (The Bends)
  6. Oh Love - Voice of the Beehive (Let It Bee)
  7. Jane Says - Jane's Addiction (Nothing's Shocking)
  8. Doll Parts - Hole (Live Through This)
  9. Polyester Girl - Regurgitator (Unit)
  10. Forkboy - Lard (Natural Born KillersSoundtrack) secret is out...I'm addicted to soundtracks!

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Megalithic ruins...

Experiencing the sun rise over Stonehenge on a cold winter's morning was one of the more spectacular things we did in England. We went on a special access tour which allowed us to walk inside the central circle, touch the stones and watch the sun rise in a way the druids may have done. There were only 10 of us including our guide so it felt very intimate - and the photos we were able to take were extraordinary.

Sunrise Stonehenge Tour

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"Wat a mouthful"

Wat Benchamabophit Dusitvanaram or the Marble Temple is in Central Bangkok. The Carrara marble was imported from Italy by His Majesty King Rama V in order to become a suitable memorial for his reign and to keep his remains beneath the Chinnarat Buddha image (one of the most revered in Thailand).
I arrived here by tuk-tuk in the middle of the day and it was a welcome relief to sit under the trees and feel the cool breeze and smell the incense wafting through the air.

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Saturday, December 17, 2005

Brad Pitt vs. Jennifer Aniston...

I just finished watching the Friends episode that Brad Pitt starred in "The One with the Rumor" (November 22, 2001). He played Will Colbert who was overweight in high school and teased by Rachel so much that he and Ross formed the I Hate Rachel club. Interesting how life so often imitates art!

Have you noticed all the latest celeb uncouplings? Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey are no longer they are newlyseps. Nicole Richie and her DJ beau have called off their engagement - I guess life wasn't simple enough! Married with Children's Christina Applegate and male model Jonathan Schaech are also divorcing - luckily they never actually had any kids.

And Ashlee Simpson has been hospitalised in Tokyo. She collapsed after a performance on MTV Japan. I guess lip-synching is more exhausting than we give it credit for!

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Thursday, December 15, 2005

Fave bands from A to Z:

A: Abba & Ash
B: The Black Eyed Peas, The Bangles, Blur, The B-52s & Bananarama
C: Custard, The Cure, Cake, The Cruel Sea & Crowded House
D: The Doors, The Darkness & DefFX
E: Eurythmics
F: The Fauves, Faith No More & Frente!
G: The Gits & Garbage
H: Hole & Hoodoo Gurus
J: Jane's Addiction, The Jesus & Mary Chain, Joy Division & John Butler Trio
K: Kiss
L: L7 & Lard
M: The Mavis's, Machine Gun Fellation & Mudhoney
N: Nirvana, Nine Inch Nails, New Radicals & New Order
O: The Offspring & OutKast
P: Pearl Jam, Pangaea, Pantera & Placebo
Q: Queens of the Stone Age
R: Red Hot Chili Peppers, Regurgitator, Radiohead, RATM, Rammstein, R.E.M., & Rollins Band
S: Stone Roses, Silverchair, Smashing Pumpkins & Soundgarden
T: Tool & The Prodigy
U: Underworld
V: Violent Femmes, Voice of the Beehive, The Velvet Underground & The Verve
W: Weezer, White Zombie & Ween
Y: You Am I
Z: The Zombies

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Saturday, December 10, 2005

Yakuoin Temple...

Friday, December 09, 2005

Swirling sands...

The turquoise waters of the Whitsundays are even more stunning than this shot suggests. This area is known as the swirling sands and is on the northern end of Whitehaven Beach. The Whitsunday Islands are located off the Queensland coast, 900 km north of Brisbane between Mackay and Townsville.

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Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Nothing but trash...

With over 12 million people – and approximately 50 million crows – living in Tokyo; disposal of waste is big business. Japan being an ordered and harmonious society has a large number of rules to follow regarding correct disposal of garbage. For the newbie, this is one of the most challenging aspects of settling in. You start to spend an inordinate amount of time thinking about rubbish and what to do with it. You eat a banana and immediately wonder if the peel is considered burnable or non-burnable. Chocolate bar wrapper – where should it go? Unfashionable clothing – keep it or throw it…which day can I throw it out? Luckily, all Ward Offices produce a colourful “How to Separate and Put Out Household Rubbish for Collection” poster to display on your fridge. There are numerous cute diagrams and pictures detailing when, where and how to trash your garbage.

This morning I went to take the recycling out for collection – a giant bag of PET bottles, glass bottles, cans, boxes and newspapers. It was quite chilly out so I hurried to the collection point. I began to divide the items up and put them in their correct places. It’s tedious but easy enough to do…the boxes are open so you can clearly see where to put the various items. An obaa-san (older woman) suddenly came up to me and grabbed the bag from my hand. Most amusingly she also took the Perrier bottle and Becks can I’d already put down back into the bag. "Dame, dame" (bad, bad) she said. She then put the Perrier bottle and Becks can into exactly the same boxes I had! She was talking constantly in Japanese while sorting – basically explaining to me where to put everything! I waited patiently till she had finished, she looked at me and I said “Daijoubu desu ka? Honto ni sumimasen” (Is it okay now? I'm sorry to have troubled you) with a bow. She looked more closely at me and said “Nihongo wa jouzu desu ne” (you speak good Japanese) and smiled at me. Walking back home I started laughing…she thinks my Japanese is great but I’m unable to recycle correctly?! From now on I’ll just have to put my recycling out at night time when there’s no one around.

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Violence on December 7th...

Pearl Harbor, Hawaii was bombed by the Japanese on this day in 1941 marking the entrance of both Japan and the US into WW2. Interestingly enough, on December 7, 1917 the US declared war on Austria-Hungary - launching them into WW1. And finally Indonesia invaded East Timor on this day in 1975.


Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Takao yama...

I snapped this picture on Mt Takao - about an hour west of Tokyo - in early summer this year. Mt Takao is a sacred mountain representing the Tama area. This was one of the buildings attached to the Yakuoin Temple which is located halfway up the mountain. It was built under the orders of Emperor Shomu in 744. Apparently over 3 million people visit this temple every year!
A local rumour is that couples who climb the mountain together will separate shortly after. Luckily we'll avoid that scenario as we used the cable car to get up the mountain instead!

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Monday, December 05, 2005

Body teaser...

Try this... It will drive you nuts!

It's amazing and takes only seconds to do. It will really boggle your mind. And you will keep trying at least 50 more times to see if you can outsmart your foot...but you can't!
  1. While sitting at your desk, lift your right foot off the floor and make clockwise circles.
  2. Now, while doing this, draw the number "6" in the air with your right hand.

Your foot will change direction...and there's nothing you can do about it!


Vermicious Knids...

Vermicious Knids are large greeny-brown egg-shaped monsters who go to other planets and eat those who live there. They attack space vessels by ramming them, pointy-end first. Vermicious Knids cannot enter Earth's atmosphere without being burned up by the friction.

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