flonnebonne: (Default)
I might be in Sydney from August 23-30 this year! With my dad and a couple of middle-aged friends. Any advice on places to stay, things to do? We're thinking of staying at an airBnB to save money.  

Also, I know I have some Australians on my friendslist...anyone going to be in Sydney around that time?


flonnebonne: (Rhino)
I haven't talked about the Tohoku earthquake/tsunami/nuclear disaster (東日本だ震災)in a while. Since I live in an area where a big disaster is very likely to hit in the next 50 years, I think I ought to be doing a bit more to learn from what happened in Tohoku. I also feel like I kind of owe it to my friends in Fukushima to keep talking about it.

Some observations/facts:

1. When I went back to Fukushima in May this year (2016), I found out that my town, which is 65 km away from the Dai-ichi power plant, has actually replaced the topsoil in the town in order to lessen the radioactivity.

2. On the same trip, I met my friend who moved away from Fukushima to Hokkaido in the wake of the earthquake because her adult son had strange red marks on his neck and was possibly getting sick due from the radiation. She's part of a group that is trying to get compensation from the Japanese government for having to leave the area; they believe that the 20km exclusion zone wasn't big enough, and that people in a larger radius from the reactors should have received aid. My other former students think she is crazy and don't talk to her anymore. (On a perhaps not-unrelated note, it's really sad, but my former students' English club only has two people in it now...and it's a group that had studied and travelled together for maybe 10 years? Some of them have just moved on to other interests, and they still talk with one another outside the club, but it saddens me.)

3. I don't think my student who moved to Hokkaido is wrong, and I don't think my students who stayed behind are wrong either. 

4. There are people still living in temporary housing. If you look at Western media, it's pretty bleak. If you watch Japanese TV (I don't read Japanese papers because it's too hard), it looks a lot better. Same as during the earthquake itself.

5. Japan's ability to respond to natural disasters is still miles above any other country I know of. 

6. There are way too many earthquakes still happening. There was the big one in Kumamoto this year, of course, but plenty of other smaller ones seemingly constantly. 

7. Today I watched a pretty interesting episode of a Japanese show called "From Tohoku: Lectures for the Future." The fact that such a show exists shows that Japan is crazy good at learning from natural disasters and making sure the knowledge is passed down. The episode I watched focused on a coastal village called Fudai (普代村)in Iwate Prefecture, which, despite being hit by the tsunami, damage was minimal and no deaths occurred due to the massive seawalls + floodgates built to protect the town. One of the old mayors, Wamura(和村), had long ago convinced the village council to build those walls despite the enormous cost--$30 million USD in today's money. I'd heard about this "miracle" town before, but the episode of "From Tohoku: Lectures for the Future" went into more depth about the lessons we can learn from Fudai. Here's what the lecturers, about three of them from different fields, had to say:

(a) The intersection of science and history here was important. Wamura was so insistent about building those walls because he lived through another tsunami as a child. He said we needed to learn from that experience. 

(b) It took a buttload of work and hardheadedness for the walls to happen. Wamura's family showed his old daytimer books, which they had carefully collected in a box; Wamura wrote notes to himself that he had to convince people on the village council one by one. He was apparently a very persuasive person. 

(c) It was a combination of "hard" and "soft" measures that saved the town. The "hard" measures were the walls; the "soft" measures were drills and mental preparation. The people of Fudai were told that the walls did not guarantee their safety, and they did indeed run for safety when the tsunami came. In fact, they were told this: "The fact that we need such big walls should tell you how precarious our situation could be if a tsunami hits."

(d) Unfortunately, according to one of the lecturers, most outsiders have taken away the wrong message from Fudai: "hard" measures--"if we build a wall then we don't need to worry about tsunamis!" The "hard" measures only.

p.s. I don't want to imply that I regularly keep up on the news in Japan or that I'm fluent, because no. 

...So what can I, personally, take away from this? Well, here in Vancouver, where we are woefully unprepared for the Big One...we don't have a Wamura. And I don't think any politician would be able to rise to power around here on that platform. (Right now, the hot topic is tell our Prime Minister where to stuff his oil pipelines.) We just don't have a recent enough disaster in our history to impel anyone to do anything much to prepare. And we kind of suck at organizing. Hell, I was supposed to get some free emergency preparation package from the Canadian Red Cross and I never did. Welp, I will try to help my own family and workplace try to be prepared at the very least. I'm pretty lazy myself, but I'll keep reminding myself...which is why I'm recording my thoughts here. 

flonnebonne: (PinkShirtIsPink)
You've probably all heard about the earthquake in Nepal by now. Nepal is a poor country--please consider donating to help out.

Links to charity organizations (stolen from [personal profile] qem_chibati): 

Save the Children


Canadian Red Cross

British Red Cross

American Red Cross


Mercy Corps

UK recs?

Feb. 14th, 2015 11:54 am
flonnebonne: (Default)
Anyone have any awesome recommendations for places to go in England? In the British Isles? I have the chance to get out of London this trip so I want to make the most of it! 

flonnebonne: (Default)
 So a couple days ago my mom had nothing to do so she kindly cleaned my bathroom...and left the toothbrush she was using to do the cleaning in my toothbrush holder. The next morning, guess what I picked up to brush my teeth? >_<

But that was last year, so no biggie! Happy 2015!
flonnebonne: (Rhino)
Realized I have been brushing and flossing wrong all these years, and that is why every time I go to the dentist they ask me "are you brushing long enough?" and "are you sure you're flossing every day?" while methodically ravaging my gums.

flonnebonne: (Default)
Happy Gregorian New Year, y'all! I was in a plane when the clock struck midnight for the new year, but eh! Coming home from a trip to Mexico, one cannot complain too much about these things.
Mexico Xmas photo photo.jpg

Photo is from the city centre of Mexico City. The metal thing on the right houses a toboggan slide. A TOBOGGAN SLIDE. Let's just say Mexico takes Christmas/New Year very seriously.

(Wish I had a decent photo of Christmas Eve in Oaxaca, SO FESTIVE YEAH!!! but it was dark and my camera hand is not that steady.)

I am way too lazy to post photos and type up all my experiences and impressions and whatnot, but let's just say that a good time was had by all and too much delicious food was eaten. Ho ho ho!
flonnebonne: (AlienSlippers)
don't drink expired milk.

flonnebonne: (Default)

Found these old LJ drafts I never posted. It was like, "hello, all this stuff written in the present tense is all past tense now." But I'm too lazy to change anything, so this entry is often in (temporally innaccurate) present tense.

My students, occasionally they were rather strange )
I know I have more of these partial write-ups sitting around, I just need to find them. :p


Jul. 15th, 2009 06:26 pm
flonnebonne: (Default)
This is not actually a proper write-up of my trip to Europe in April/May, it's actually just a cut-and-paste from an email to a friend, but eh, better than nothing, ja?

Cruising the Mediterranean )

Hi Ate Us

Apr. 30th, 2009 01:35 pm
flonnebonne: (Default)
Going to be in Europe until May 18, won't be reading LJ until I get back, ta ta!

...I didn't finish my [livejournal.com profile] blind_go fic.  :(

flonnebonne: (AlienSlippers)
Ploughing through the snow
In a 20-horsepower TANK
O'er the cars we go
Laughing all the way MWA HA HA HA

flonnebonne: (Default)
Wow, make my LJ profile page more ugly please. Was going to post a screenshot of how awful my profile page looks on my monitor--the words are running into each other!--but decided that would take too much effort and probably everyone is seeing the same thing, right? Or is it just my weird screen resolution on my widescreen laptop?

Anyway, I went to a video game concert last week! I am such a geek.

Video Games Live concert )

Heh, I actually copied and pasted this description of the concert from an email I sent to my friends. Yay for plagiarizing myself! Saves so much time.

Zzzz. Me go bed now.

flonnebonne: (Rhino)

See I had this stupidly long LJ post filled with clever turns of phrase about my trip to the Bay Area and seeing my boyfriend and his family and my cousins and aunts and the gorgeousness of Monterey and Napa Valley and meeting [livejournal.com profile] tarigwaemir in hippie-filled Berkeley and how we had tea and crumpets and smiled sweetly at each other with gnash'ed teeth (actually we had West African food) which would segue nicely into a vapid discussion of the hikago anon-meme and my thoughts on concrit (in short: I suck at giving it and I'm too lazy to give it) (oh god that line could sound really bad in other contexts) (context is for the weak) but then LJ ate it and I'm going to bed because I have to get up early for my easy Japanese class tomorrow which isn't even for credit and I'm not even paying for.

p.s. Signed up for JLPT 2, only have to learn 4000 vocab words between now and December 7 plus a zillion grammar points and how to properly use them, oh god I am so not retyping that LJ entry.

p.p.s. Nintendo DSi?

[Edit] I started playing FFXII today! Such an awesome game! Although I hate the endless running around through Rabanastre. Can't wait to have an endless supply of teleport stones (will that ever happen?)

Am also playing the DS version of FFIV in Japanese. Gawrsh, comprehension of a game in a foreign language sure is easier when you've already played it at least five times in your own language. Am inputting some of the Japanese sentences from the game into Anki for studying purposes, per this guy's instructions. So I can kind of pretend I'm not goofing off. OH MY GOD JLPT 2 IN DECEMBER 4000 VOCAB WORDS.

[Edit part deux] We didn't actually smile sweetly at each other with gnash'ed teeth, that would just be creepy and I really have to go to bed now.

flonnebonne: (AlienSlippers)
So I've been back in Vancouver for almost three weeks now, and I'm already taking off on a trip to San Francisco for a couple weeks to visit my boyfriend. Since I have no job and no life at the moment, it's the perfect time. :) I've been "visiting" a Japanese course at the local university, but it's not for credit and I'm not paying for it (the teacher is nice), so I don't mind missing it for a couple weeks. Plus I know all the material already.

(Btw if you live anywhere near Bellingham, Washington, Allegiant Air offers SUPER cheap flights to a few select destinations in the US. Las Vegas for $28 one-way??? And they hardly add any taxes on top of that, though they do charge you for checked-in baggage. They have locations in tons of other US cities as well. But really, I only care because Bellingham is so close to Vancouver.)

So it looks like I'll be away for [livejournal.com profile] blind_go  (bling_do?) yet again. Ah well, will read the fics and reaction posts later.

I've been feeling even lazier than usual lately...because, like, I have so much to do with no job. :D I feel very much in limbo right now. Vancouver is my home, but my little town in Japan became my home too, ya know?
flonnebonne: (Default)
Today I forgot to put on my indoor shoes when I entered the school.

But I did remember to change my shoes on my way out. But since I was wearing the wrong shoes at the time, I ended up walking home in indoor shoes. Didn't realize it until near bedtime.

I blame jetlag.

Am totally behind on reading my flist, still haven't finished reading the blind_go fics, need to unpack a jillion things.

On a completely different note, do sumo wrestlers shave off all their body hair? Or does their body fat just fold it all up and absorb it, like in We Love Katamari?
flonnebonne: (Default)
So [info]zoesque is like the best host ever, and she was kind enough not to rub it in my face that she killed me at Katamari.

But then she cruelly forced me to let her pay for my lunch (IHOP waffle at 4pm, with strawberries and whip cream, yum). GOD, WHAT A HORRIBLE PERSON SHE IS.

I wish I'd brought my camera so I could have taken a picture of her rather large-ish collection of manga and go books. And I forgot to ask to look at her scarf collection. :(

I'm leaving for the Land of No Central Heating tomorrow. NOOOOOO!!!!!
flonnebonne: (Rhino)
Today my students asked me my age and I answered truthfully (twenty-three). Her response was along the lines of, "No way! I thought you were way older! I thought you were older than _____-sensei!"

The teacher she was referring to is close to forty years old.


Also, I've been called old lady (and old hag once) by young children who wish to taunt me.


On another note, it seems like I'm doomed to get a boyfriend for every round of [community profile] blind_go I sign up for. I just want to procrastinating on writing that much. *sweatdrop*

This is NOT normal for me. It has something to do with being in Japan and interacting with a small pool of foreigners, many of whom are geeks who don't mind hanging around with a geeky girl like me. But still...it's weird.
flonnebonne: (Rhino)
Today I saw the prince of tennis at the local courts, I kid you not. I was passing by on the bus when I saw an old man hitting a ball against the wall NITOURYUU style! He had a racket in each hand and was hitting alternately with his left and right without missing a shot for the 15 seconds or so that I watched him. How awesome is that?

About thirty seconds later I saw a girl dressed as a pirate in a parking lot, along with a boy who had a mountie hat on and a man with a skullcap. They all seemed to be together. I wonder if they were going to a costume party? It's probably not kosher to dress up as a Jew though.

...okay, there was probably more going on there than I knew and I'm being offensive.

Overall, had a really good day today. When your prof extends the deadline on a paper it's like you've got a new lease on life. Everything looks so cheerful, the world is beautiful, bird poo misses you by a mere foot and you don't get freaked out (this also happened today) and LJ actually gets updated for once.
flonnebonne: (Default)
Looks like I'm not going to have computer access at home very much for the next, like, four months. Maybe. Argh, this makes me want to cry or kill someone. Anyway, what this means is HIATUS! except when I can spare a few minutes at work to post something.

Le sigh.

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