Friday, November 24, 2023

The last ten years...

A few days ago I posted a simple "10". The reference was to the tenth birthday of TenguLife, not long until she's a teenager... With over 600 articles out there it's been a real kick when people come to me and say "I didn't know that". My audience went from 90% overseas to 60% international as many in Japan started to tune in for the information they'd missed and enjoyed reading. So what has changed in the last ten years? (And I'm going to deliberately avoid the negatives of the world today before you ask)

Japanese social media went the way of MySpace and Toshiba the way of the Dodo (with Sony being a shadow of its glory days). Springsteen hasn't toured here in that time so there's an entire generation that's missed out but we live in hope. We didn't have "Baby Shark" back then (and if you're a new parent, just don't, you'll really regret playing it to the young ones, try listening to the "ABC" song in a car for three hours to Niigata...). And U2 are still going strong proving in 2019 that Japan has changed as the audience engaged with a passion (something they couldn't persuade them to do in 1994 when I saw them last). Oh, and we had no Ads on FaceBook!

We had a little pandemic but Japan led the world in not complaining and getting on about it, putting on a mask without a fuss and staying quietly at home when asked and not mandated (though the vaccination ball was somewhat dropped but soon caught up). We also had an Olympics where pretty much everyone (I'm exaggerating but you get the point) broke quarantine, athletes, officials and Presidents alike. It's been an up and down decade, I wonder what the next one will bring...

U2, Saitama Arena 2019. Japan showed it had changed.

Monday, April 17, 2023

Haneda and a Dog's Breakfast

So the doors have (almost) opened again. To arrive in the country you still need something akin to infinite patience as the on-line pre-registration is a little less than unreliable, the vaccine certificate wasn't accepted and the App has been discontinued and changed, re-installed and discontinued again. Still, the several hundred staff laid-on to assist were super polite (though I cannot imagine how) and helped me through as I arrived back on Terra Yamato after a fourteen plus hour flight from the UK.

This is all due to change though in the coming weeks as quarantine restrictions become (um) restricted. Finally! Since spring of 2020 I'd been a COVID Refugee. If I'd left Japan it was unclear whether I could return until late last year (October 13 I believe) and the portcullis was raised a little and daylight shone through the bars of the gate. And then the UK went on strike. Don't get me wrong, this time I'm kind of siding with the strikers. I think they have a solid case to make unlike in my younger days. But it couldn't travel the UK.

Anyway, the tourists are here and enjoying Japan (a fine pass-time). I met a couple in their late twenties who were essentially touring their was from Australia to the UK, I met another three coming to see a cinema bar they'd heard about and a further older couple who want to know where to find souvenirs to take home (and they loved my dog). It's interesting that, at the moment, the tourists seem to be people who genuinely want to be here. And it's nice to meet them. Been quite a while but I'm happy to see them. But it has to be said, after three years to figure it out, Haneda remains a complete dog's breakfast... 

Friday, February 17, 2023

A day in the life

Sitting in a lunchtime restaurant I'm watching two older ladies, roughly late sixties, giggling and drinking their beers from the bottle. Not very Japanese but clearly old friends. Above them there's the painting of three bikini clad girls with a bottle of Baileys in the corner. In front of me a guy is trying to convince his girlfriend he does love her and to the right, the same but he's clearly lost the argument.

Behind, a group of ladies, one of whom sounds a little like a Macaw, somewhat drowning out the others. Everything in Japanese, which is ok if you know the subject but you lose it quickly as they flip subjects between themselves. The staff know me well and quickly come to my aid when asked. My friend has to leave but I sit and pick up email that my friend's mother has passed away and another is having boyfriend problems. 

Home is not too far away so walking seems like a good idea. One guy had clearly lost the girlfriend  discussion but the other still has hope. In the elevator no one looks at each other but the reflection of shoes in the doors is always an interesting place to observe. Bright light straight in my eyes as I stroll down the road where a carer is encouraging and old man to keep trying and walk with his frame and I pass the hole in the road  where my wife broke her leg a few year ago. Arriving at the door, the Uber delivered McDonald's is waiting for my son (which I collect and bring in). Five minute rest. And now I'm taking my dog for a walk. Welcome to Tokyo. Have a great day. It's cold.