Terry Fox Run Tokyo 2006

While not perfect, still a very good sunday we had last week.

We had an absolutely awesome weekend, with some fresh wind and gorgeous sunshine. Early autumn at its best! First thing in the morning I went to join the Tokyo Terry Fox Run (I just did the 5K - like the previous FIT - Finance in Tokyo charity run around the imperial palace in late spring) with Keiichi. Unfortuantely I lost one of my contacts before the start, so I had to go blind most of the way and after 2-3 kilometers I was feeling so dizzy (thanks to two vastly differing eye-sight strengths) that I had to walk the rest. At least that's my excuse and I am sticking to it. Lateron, I biked to my office to get something and finish some work-mails, when I learned that my 2nd hand just-purchased-and-already-repaired-three-times-costing-me-nearly-the-purchase-price bike I got a few weeks back has yet another problem, meaning that I would need to replace the bearings which itself costs a fourth of buying the whole bike anew in the shop next door and half of what I paid the guy I bought it from. :-( Apart from that, a beautiful day running, biking and enjoying a good read in the park. (Well needed too, for my rapidly expanding abdomen, since I have yet to visited the Gym I joined this month for the first time.)




background model for Japanese fashion magazine shoot

Today was yet another boring day at the office stretching from early in the morning to quite late at night, except that in between I was invited to a fashion model photo shoot in central Tokyo! The partner of my boss is the photographer for this shoot for "JJ" a rather famous Japanese girls fashion magazine. He needed a foreign face to stand next to the real model. In the end it was n't world-changing, but I met some nice models, including the half-German presenter of the daily German lessons show on NHK national television, the lovely Liza (who also happens to be from Hamburg), got away from my computer and the office for two hours and got a nice picture in the end.




Good news all around!

Hello everyone!

Do not worry, I will not bore you about my personal life this time. In other good news, this blog is officially re-opened for all kinds of ranting-purposes.

In more good news, the ozone layer is healing! Probably in my dying days, the ozone layer in the stratosphere will be back to the levels it was when I was born. Yay for Generation X! See BBC: Ozone Hole Stable

Further good news: Reuters: Lebanon UN Force Given Strong Mandate UN Peace-keeping operations need to regain respect. In that sense unfortunately we are not living in the days of Dag Hammerskjold anymore. Maybe they can test the new Leopard II PSO (wonderfully named so for "peace support operations"... lest one forget it is a main battle tank!).

Actually, on August 15th, the day the Showa Emperor surrendered to the Allies, I made the trip to the controversial Yasukuni Shrine (as did Prime Minister Koizumi). While I did not much care for the styled-up Yakuza's and their hanger-on girls that were in attendance, nor the loud and annoying right-wingers disturbing the peace of this beautiful shrine (seriously, it is a wonderful shrine and I think those so-called "Yasukuni-protecting" right-wing extremists are those that damage it the most.), I did go on to pray to those 2.5 million whose lives were lost in wars and apparently my wishes were heard. When I got into work, the truce in Lebanon was all over the news.

I admit, that the truce happened before I went, but I only got to know about it afterwards. ;-) I have attached a picture from the Shrine. Imagine it surrounded by thousands of people in the searing Tokyo-summer-heat.

Finally, that committee that is meeting in Prague to define planets seems to have dropped that idiocy of naming every large rock a planet, just in order to keep Pluto and seems to be leaning towards going with a more practical solution that will drop Pluto, but keep the classical planets. Even better, while that slightly dodgy Japanese businessman Dice-K Enomoto of Lifedoor-fame has failed his physicals to be the next space tourist, instead, a much more deserving person is going to go: Anousheh Ansari, the female American CEO of Iranian origin who is behind the Ansari Space X-Prize.

Happy good-news-day!




Guys and Dolls

That is the musical I went to see together with Maki yesterday and boy was it good! Maki had braved getting up on her first Monday off work at 5AM in order to cue for the tickets and she got the very best seats in the theater. Front row, centre seats. It does not get any better than this. To demonstrate, the tip of my shoes, were about 10cm from the Maestros' arse (he did not give any occasion to ab-use this privilege) and the Hungarian fangirl next to me gave a letter to Ewan MacGregor on the final curtain. I also managed to catch the white flower bouquet from Jane Krakowski (of Ally MacBeal fame) from the final wedding scene and gave it to Maki to finalise a perfect evening.

These days we are keeping ourselves rather busy. Before the musical yesterday, we went to Madame Tussauds on Sunday and the Night Show at Tate Modern the day before and saw Weddings Crashers on Friday (her idea, some good laughs though...). I am planning to go take her to Alton Towers on Saturday and the design museum on Sunday. Recently we have been on a fantastic river cruise dinner she took me for my birthday to, Dublin, where I took her for hers, seen Lion King (balcony seats) and like a zillion movies.



London Under Attack!

I have just finally gotten into work. In short, all subways and busses are stopped. There have been a number of explosions and fatalities on busses and subways. The power on the whole London Underground System is out. All stations are sealed off. Busses are not allowed to move into central London. I saw a lot of police speeding into the city while trying to get to work myself (finally by sharing a taxi). Some streets are closed off by the police and all major department stores are closed with security posted outside. A hell of a way to celebrate the winning of the Olympic bid! With 10,000 Welsh and English special police at the Gleneagles summit, whoever thought this up must have calculated that there is not enough to deal with disruptions over here. They might be right... more later



I just ha a fantastic long weekend! Not only was it long and I finally was able to move into my new place, but also I got around to see Star Wars Episode III! It was not quite the right place I had hoped it was, a large theare (check), great seats (check), perfect digital projection (fail), perfect sound (fail). At least I got two out of four, plus the right company. ^_^ Anyways, the movie was fantastic. What we have all been hoping for in Episode I an II finally comes true in III - a real STARWARS movie in all its glory and no fucking Jarjar-crap to ruin the show. You have massive space-battles, Jedi fights, intrigue and WOOKIES!!! It was also remarkably short. I felt that more than half of its content had been edited out, so for me, just scrap 1&2 completely and make III into the proper movies. I had already given up all hope for Master Lucas as I was sure he had been turney to the Disney-side, but finally he must have seen the light.

For the rest of the weekend I got to try out the leisure facilities in my new place. :D



I had a chat in a hot-tub with Bobby Fisher!!!

(I hate this when other people do it, but...:) OMG!
I just realised it, although I had the suspicion immediately when I left the pool of the Hotel where I stayed in while I was on my fantastic 3 1/2-day vacation on Iceland. But while bathing and chatting with Bobby and his friend, I didn't realise it at all!

Okay, from the start: last week I took a 4-day holiday to go to Iceland and I had a fantastic time there. Great food, Perlan, Northern Lights, Geysir, Gullfoss waterfall, the rift between the plates and of course the famous Blue Lagoon hotspring among much much else!

The two strangers from the tub...

On the last night, after a fantastic day of touring the country and more of the delicious Icelandic food, I went down to the pool with a girl in the Hotel to swim a bit and relax in the hot tub, where I saw Saemi and Bobby in the jacuzzi together with the girl. Saemi gave her a massage and chatted about Japan, of which he did not have a particularly good impression, while I was talking with Bobby about loads of things, but it quickly turned into how much better everything in other countries rather than the US was. I was surprised at how knowledgable the old bearded American was about the world, although a bit unsettled about the fact that he knew Tenko (morning roll-call) and later that he apparently had spent time in prision in Japan (though I thought he might just have been there as a soldier... little did I know...). The pool soon was closed but we continued our discussion into the showers and locker rooms where he increasingly insisted on how wrong the US was and how great North Korea and Iran for withstanding US pressure. Agreeing to disagree, I bade my farewell, as I wanted to have some more good Icelandic food before leaving the next morning at 5AM.

I still can't believe that I could only come to the obvious conclusion after I left and now I have the proof.




Today, a great man has passed away. George Kennan, February 16 1904 – March 17 2005. Rest in Peace.


tv? check! pc? check! aerial? check! reception? crap! xbox?!?

Okay, I got myself this spanking widescreen TV (a real heavy beast, over 40kgs!) and upon discovering that I didn't even have an aerial cable, I also got that from a local store (only to discover that it had the wrong heads). Also I got a fancy PC connectivity set just before finding out that a simple S-VHS to S-VHS cable would have sufficied. Well hindsight, right? Anyhow, being able to play games, shows and movies on the bigger screen, rather than on my lappy is already nice and the sound is great, too. No more problems during animations. This is sorely needed, too, since now that I got myself this super-deluxe gold-plated steel-reinforced and unbelievably techie-looking cable I was finally able to find out that our house antenna is crap. I mean I get all five channels, only that the reception on EVERY SINGLE one of them is bad. I found this out after having ordered a new freeview digital tv receiver over the internet. It has arrived today at the office and I will find out later if I can actually get a single channel with that bad a reception. Otherwise I will have to buy my own antenna, too. Also, I am now pretty sure that I got ripped off on eBay for the rather expensive Xbox that I won in the auction. Since the auction was over and I paid immediately, I havent gotten any kind of contact from the guy, not a reply to my emails and noone answers the phonenumber, which I extraced from ebay. Seems that I have to kiss goodbye to one trip home+expenses. Still, I am still very psyched about finally giving in to the darkside. PVP had a good comic on it. Enjoy:


Finally an update!

Yes, I am still alive and well. It has been more than a month now since my last update and I apologies... to myself, because I think there are not that many people reading this apart from the people I am in regular contact with anyhow, so it does not really matter that much. At the moment I am really hyped that about the fact that I will finally get a TV tomorrow ... and an X-Box ... and loads of games ... and cows! No, well from the start now:

The first weekend of February I went back to Hamburg and had a grand time being back there. I did not do terribly much, but I got myself a new-old suit (new-old because it is my favourite suit of which I had lost the pants /that is "pair of trousers" for you AE/BE enthusiasts/ while I was in working in Singapore... don't ask... - anyhow, I got myself new pants for that suit, only to mess them up as soon as I got back to London). Moreover, I stayed with my Mum and Juergen, had gorgeous home-cooked food, met some of my friends, my dad and my half-brother and went for my customary steak-dinner at the Block House restaurant at Hoheluft. With Nicolai I had a grand old gaming session like we both didn't have in ages. He got himself an Xbox and that got me hooked again. With Pizza, chocolate, winegums, beer and more Cola than we could possibly consume, we played until 6AM in the morning.

Because my friend Tobi, whom I hadn't seen in ages, even before he disappeared into the Ghanese jungle called me up that he would be in London for a number of hours on Saturday morning, I decided that I would start my trip to Brussels on the second February weekend a little later in the afternoon. However, due to the usual London train-troubles we only got to speak on the phone. Still, it was good to hear from him and if I get the chance, I will make sure to visit him as a bushpilot in Africa next time. :-)

Anyhow, as I have said: the next weekend, I went over to Belgium and had a great time there with Pat, Liz and Maki. Bruges was just beautiful and the amount of food I consumed while in Brussels will stay with me for quite a long time, I fear. Waffles, Chocolates (Pralines), Mussels and - I hate to admit, but - Belgian beer! It was fantastic. Moreover, we stayed at the Bristol Stephanie Hotel, which was very nice. Definitely recommended!

Upon arriving back in London Waterloo on Monday after lunch, I went immediately back to work. So the third weekend came and went, but since I didn't travel nor otherwise spent time and money pleasurably, I remembered how hooked I had gotten on the video games, while at Nicolai's place in Hamburg, so I decided to get myself the first video-game console in my life from Ebay (kinda ironic since I used to work for Square...). I finally found my way, after nearly 20 years from the fiddly PC-installations, to the world of video games.

So that's why I will hopefully take delivery of a spanking 28" widescreen TV and an XBox with some goodies tomorrow (which I will have to get upgraded this weekend or next). It should be noted hereby that I have not owned a TV since working in Japan in 2002 and never in the UK (for good reasons, too - I should probably get myself a digital settop box as well).

Okay enough lunch-break ranting from me.