Vernicious Knids

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

Sunday, January 28, 2007

6 Weird Things Meme:

Oops...I've been slack in posting my response to H&B's tag, so here without further ado are my answers.

1. Of, relating to, or suggestive of the preternatural or supernatural.
2. Of a strikingly odd or unusual character; strange.
3. Archaic. Of or relating to fate or the Fates.

6 Weird Things about Japan:
  1. TV: There is a bewildering array of bizarre TV shows to choose from including Chimpan News Channel and you have the pleasure of paying NHK (the state run TV station) every two months for owning a colour TV. Also, programmes rarely start on the hour or half hour, instead they start at 12:24, 7:58, 1:05, 4:55, etc.
  2. Vending machines are ubiquitous and sell everything, even ice cream!
  3. Hikikomori 引き篭り - People, generally men, who choose to cut themselves off from the rest of society. They tend to stay in their rooms playing video games and watching tv. Most say that they withdraw due to the intense pressure to conform to societal pressures.
  4. Engrish: "When it is crowded, there is the situation that cannot be carried on the boat which you want to board."

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Friday, January 26, 2007

"Carbon, Betteredge! Mere carbon, my good friend, after all!"

In January 2006 I read my first ever Wilkie Collins, the magnificent The Woman in White, and now in January 2007 I have finished my second Wilkie Collins and my first choice for the 2007 Winter Classics Challenge sponsored by A Reader's Journal - The Moonstone.

An exquisite jewel, mysterious Hindoo curses and spies, morally and financially bankrupt gentlemen, exotic locales, opium eaters, bumbling cops and shrewd detectives, the Shivering Sand, scientific experiments, an overly pious and venomous spinster, philosophy courtesy of Robinson Crusoe and detective fever.

All this awaits your discovery in The Moonstone.

"Very good, sir. I'll just rest my eyes, and then I'll go on again. In the meantime, Mr Franklin - I don't want to hurry you - but would you mind telling me, in one word, whether you see your way out of this dreadful mess yet?" (Collins, 1999:298-99.)

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Thursday, January 18, 2007

Name that Tune - Part Deux:

My iPod Mini is on shuffle and the first 10 tunes are listed below...Now it's up to you to identify the song and the artist!

  1. Here's a door and here's a window - Accidently Kelly Street - Frente! (Aunty Evil got this correct!)
  2. Standing on the beach with a gun in my hand - Killing An Arab - The Cure (Bearette got this correct!)
  3. Anyone who's ever had a heart - Sweet Jane - Cowboy Junkies (Mike got the song correct & Lou got the band correct!)
  4. And if it rains all day - Great Expectations - Elbow (Liz got this correct - thank goodness for Google !)
  5. Busted flat in Baton Rouge, waitin' for a train - Me and Bobby McGee - Janis Joplin (Janet got this correct!)
  6. I can be loud man, I can be silent - Zebra - John Butler Trio (Mike got this correct too!)
  7. When I get mad and I get pissed - Shitlist - L7 (Lou got this correct!)
  8. Superlove is something that they say is very rare - Sex-o-Matic Venus Freak - Macy Gray (Lou got this correct too!)
  9. Wake up kids we've got the dreamers disease - You Get What You Give - New Radicals (Janet got this correct too!)
  10. The thought of never knowing - Bitter Glass - Feeder (Mike got this one as well!)

(Very pretty iPod Mini pic came from here )

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Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Pom-Pom Hell at the Golden Globes:

Rinko Kikuchi has obviously spent way too many Sundays...

(Image from here) Akihabara admiring the pom-pom clad buskers...

(Image from here)

Silly girl!

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Tuesday, January 16, 2007

2007 Winter Classics Challenge:

I am accepting the challenge to read 5 classics during the months of January and February.

My list of 5 classics:
The Moonstone - Wilkie Collins
Turn of the Screw - Henry James
Gothic Tales - Elizabeth Gaskell
Gulliver's Travels - Jonathan Swift

My list for extra credit:

Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray (Already read this in January, before I knew about this challenge!)

Romeo and Juliet / Macbeth - William Shakespeare (Re-reads and quite short - hence 2)

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Monday, January 15, 2007

Plague, Mummies & Ancient Civilisations:

Cambridge, England, 1348. The Black Plague is on its way and physician Matthew Bartholomew must distinguish friend from foe while attempting to solve the inexplicable death of the Master of Michaelhouse.
"Tell Edith I am fine. But I do not understand what is happening at Michaelhouse. The Bishop is due to arrive today and will take matters in hand." (Gregory, 2005:108)

Peabody, Emerson and Ramses are once again embroiled in murder, mystery and ancient Egyptian artefacts. This time, however, the action occurs in the foggy streets of London."This period of history is often known by the name of the sovereign; and although no one respects the Crown more than Amelia Peabody Emerson, honesty compels me to note that her gracious Majesty's ignorant remarks about the sex she adorned did nothing to raise it from the low esteem in which it was held." (Peters, 2000:1)

The action shifts to the unknown deserts of Nubia (Sudan) and the Emersons are unable to resist a cryptic map - drawn on papyrus - and make one of their most startling, and perilous, discoveries yet. "From the sandy wastes of the cemeteries of Memphis to the rocky cliffs of the Theban necropolis, we had wandered hand in hand (figuratively speaking), in terrain almost as inhospitable as the desert that presently surrounded us. Never before, however, had we been more than a few miles from the Nile and its life-giving water. It lay far behind us now, and there was not a pyramid or a broken wall to be seen, much less a tree or a sign of habitation." (Peters, 2002:4-5)

(All images from Amazon Japan.)

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Tuesday, January 09, 2007

The truth...

What would I do without Dilbert and coffee?!

How do you keep sane?

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Monday, January 08, 2007

More Miniature Madness...

This is the rear view of the Akasaka Palace (Geihinkan 迎賓館) where visiting foreign dignitaries are housed. The main building has 15,000 squared metres of floor space and was originally designed as a residence for the Crown Prince. Our apartment has a mere 65 squared metres...obviously this outrageous injustice must be immediately rectified!

A closer view of the spectacular fountain that actually has running water:

All of the trees in the displays at Tobu World Square are real bonsai!

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Sunday, January 07, 2007


Japan is home to ancient traditions like sumo, geisha, kimono, shinto, shrines and temples. Which is all fine and dandy, but, fortunately for me it also has its fair share of weirdness such as the giant beer building in Asakusa:

(Doesn't it look delicious?!
Taken while on the Tobu train crossing over the bridge.)

Look at the frothy your mouth watering yet?!

The top floor of the building has a bar with one of the best views of the Tokyo skyline - the coolest part is that you can say you had a drink in giant beer froth!

One of the weirdest things in Tokyo is the Golden Poo:

I think you can work out which item above is affectionately known as the Golden Poo...and perhaps even why it's called that. I've heard that the designer intended it to represent the frothy head on a glass of beer. Now I don't know what kind of beer he drank; but I've never had one that even remotely resembled this interpretation! Personally, I think that the beer building is a far more accurate representation of a frothy head.
What's your tipple of pleasure?

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Saturday, January 06, 2007

Big enough for?!

While wandering around the backstreets of Kinugawa last year we found this tiny little car parked under the shade on the side of the road. The headlights remind me of a frog peering up from a pond and I love it's jaunty yellow stripe coquettishly arranged on one side only!

What's your dream car?

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Friday, January 05, 2007

The Washerwoman of Finchley Common:

"There is a great quantity of eating and drinking, making love and jilting, laughing and the contrary, smoking, cheating, fighting, dancing, and fiddling: there are bullies pushing about, bucks ogling the women...yokels looking up at the tinselled dancers and poor old rouged tumblers, while the light-fingered folk are operating upon their pockets behind. Yes, this is VANITY FAIR; not a moral place certainly; nor a merry one, though very noisy..."
(Thackeray 1994:ix)
(Image from Amazon UK)
It may not be moral nor merry, but it is a highly entertaining place to while away an afternoon or three and it's infinitely more reader friendly (way less pages!) than that other classic Napoleonic novel - War and Peace. Although our protagonists do feature in the Battle of Waterloo the main focus is on the social trials and tribulations involved in attempting to make it in suitable society.
For me, the scheming and manipulative Becky Sharp is a more interesting and memorable character than the insipid and dull Amelia Sedley...but I'm often drawn to dark characters! Who do you prefer and why?
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Monday, January 01, 2007

It's not a go-go cart!

I'm not sure which made me laugh more...

...the wardrobe or the gag?!

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