Vernicious Knids

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

Monday, August 28, 2006

An Appetiser?!

This one's for Ribbiticus:

(Click on the image for a better view.)

Make sure you eat those greens!

(Found this in my inbox today.)
Posted by Picasa

Labels: ,

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Down the rabbit hole!

I found this supercool idea on Aussie in the Orient:

What is that jumble of words? It's a list of the most frequently occurring words on this blog courtesy of Snapshirts.

I'm pleased that dream and think are considered so highly!
Posted by Picasa


Saturday, August 26, 2006


The useful mnemonic above will no longer need to be learned by rote as, after 76 years of faithful service, Pluto is no longer considered one of the planets of our solar system. On August 24th it was reclassified as a dwarf planet by the International Astronomical Union(IAU). Poor little Pluto was only able to meet 2 of the 3 required criteria to remain classified as a planet, but fortunately avoided the indignity of being relegated to "Small Solar-System Body"!

(Image from here.)

Nasa has all the info!

Oh, and the mnemonic..."My Very Elderly Mother Just Sat Up Near Pluto"!
Posted by Picasa

Labels: , , , ,

Monday, August 21, 2006

"Gossip is the creation of civilisation"

The relentless humidity continues but luckily I've had some welcome company. Three intriguing characters; Manlius Hippomanes, a philosopher in the final days of the Roman Empire, Olivier De Noyens, a medieval poet during the years of the Black Plague, and Julien Barneuve, living in Vichy France. One text links their stories, The Dream of Scipio:

It's a clever novel with some interesting points to make about civilisation and our failure to live civilly, not only today, but in every age.

"Do you think that the peace of a thousand cancels out the unjust death of one single person?" (Pears, 2002:389)

(Image from Amazon Japan)
Posted by Picasa

Labels: ,

Sunday, August 13, 2006


In Japan, the customer is not only always right...they are God!

A few weeks back I was waiting at the train station and decided to purchase some more Kirin Nuda Life Sparkling to quench my thirst. Most PET bottle drinks in vending machines are 150 yen, but for some reason Kirin Nuda is priced at 130 yen. So, after fumbling around for loose change I found 130 yen. I put the first 10 yen coin into the machine, then the second, and then the third. When you insert cash, the amount lights up on the machine. I then inserted the 100 yen coin but the amount didn't register on the machine.

Did I mention that this was a 36 degree day (um that's Celcius!) and that I was parched?

I hit the coin area of the machine, nothing happened. I hit it a little harder, still nothing. People nearby are starting to look at the foreigner attacking the innoncent vending machine. I combine a little hand and foot action, still nothing. Actually, something happens...I'm thirstier than ever!

Suddenly, a Japanese announcement, my train is arriving in 30 seconds but the machine has my money and I have no Kirin Nuda. So I whip out my cell phone to snap a shot of the vending machine number and jump on the train.

Later that day I place a call to the Kirin Beverage Call Center (0120 883 065 if you ever need to call!) to complain. They take my details and apologise profusely for my inconvenience.

Three days later there's a knock on my door...a registered package has arrived for me and requires my signature:

The lovely people at Kirin have not only refunded my 130 yen, they've sent me an extensive written apology and a brand spanking new pencil emblazoned with Kirin's logo.

Now that's what I call customer service!

("Irrashaimase" is what sales staff say to customers to encourage them to spend big!)
Posted by Picasa

Labels: , , , ,

Friday, August 11, 2006

Let me out!

These images were in my inbox today, and I just had to share them!

Giant Pandas are known as "Da xiong mao" or "Giant Bear Cat" in China and are a symbol of peace.

Baby Pandas weigh less than an apple when they are born!

Pandas are mostly shy and spend most of their lives alone.
Posted by Picasa


Tuesday, August 08, 2006

I'm listening to...

What are you listening to?

Labels: ,

Monday, August 07, 2006

Where on earth can I park this thing?!

Japan doesn't have a lot of space. With mountains covering 80% of the land and over 125 million people cramming into the remaining 20%, it doesn't leave much room for bicycles.

Every year the amount of legal bicycle parking space decreases, which results in footpaths being overrun with illegally parked bicycles like this:

Workers from City Hall regularly impound these bikes (daily in the city, weekly in the 'burbs) and you must pay a 2000 yen fee to reclaim it before they are auctioned off! A nice little moneyspinner for the bureaucrats and places like this:

Bicycle Parking Lots - where you can pay by the hour or rent an individual space per month. Owning a bike in Japan can be quite an expensive affair as you generally have to pay a monthly fee for the privilege of parking your bike outside your apartment building too!

(Photos taken in the streets around our house.)
Posted by Picasa

Labels: , , ,

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

The "Russian" Dan Brown?

Steve Berry may very well be the next Dan Brown.
In fact, Dan says "Writes with the self-assured style of a veteran."

I recently read his 2nd (written first but published second!) novel The Romanov Prophecy:

(Book image from

It's fast paced and full of interesting characters like Rasputin, the mad Siberian monk, Felix Yussoupov, a cross-dressing noble, and of course the Romanovs themselves:

(Photo from here)

It's set in the present day in Russia, mainly Moscow & St Petersburg, and the USA and is basically a non-stop chase, involving violence, corruption, death, the mafiya, prophecy deciphering, borzois and snippets of Russian history. All your basic thriller ingredients! It's definitely not a piece of literature, but is an enjoyable romp nevertheless.

Interestingly, it took Berry 12 years to get published but he now has 4 books on the market (The Amber Room, The Romanov Prophecy, The Third Secret and The Templar Legacy) with another 3 due in the next 3 years.
Perseverance really does pay off!
Posted by Picasa

Labels: , , , ,

Online Movie Rentals