Earthquake/tsunami danger

Spared from a harmful

earthquake and tsunami they

can breathe easily. 

  Sorry to hear of an earthquake which has hit Taiwan and the southernmost islands of Japan just yesterday.   Sadly, one man died and another person was injured in Taiwan by a fire caused by this earthquake.     Thank god no more injuries or deaths occurred and that no tsunami followed it.   For now.  Hopefully never (though hoping for that is pointless I guess for countries in the ring of fire region).  The last thing either Taiwan or any part of Japan needs is a tsunami (a second one in as many years in Japan`s case). I have been watching some on-line films lately from Japan – silly predictable films really – but it`s been a while since I`ve watched anything Japanese other than the films I already own.   I am a bit fussy though so if after a few minutes the film seems like it`s going nowhere I look for another one.  I`m also doing well on Memrise.  Not letting the amount of words overtake me as they did before Xmas.    And I`m hitting the last few chapters of that awful Japanese textbook I have pretty hard as well.  Making up for lost time.   After this, I`ll need a holiday – maybe Japan?   Wouldn`t I love it!! Speaking of films, I hear Ken Watanabe has been starring in a musical of The King and I.   Apparently, his English and his accent have been harshly criticized.   Well, it must be hard to do that live on stage.  If film is difficult (Memoirs of a Geisha was a case in point, Koji Yakusho did a better job than him I thought and he is not in as many English speaking films but over all Michelle Yeoh did the most decent job in that film) then stage performances in a language not your own must be ten times harder.     The pressure of not just a speaking part but singing in a foreign language.   Yikes!!    Anyway, if he lives mostly in Japan  – I`ve no idea – he would not be around English speaking locals on a daily basis (other than his language tutor/dialect coach or whoever he employs around the time of his plays/films) so give the man a break.    If you`re not based regularly in the country of the language you`re speaking then your spoken language skills are not tested as much.      Apart from the criticism over that, he generally got good reviews. Anyone seen any of the film versions of The King and I?   I`ve seen the one with Jodie Foster and Chow Yun Fat.  That was nice.   I`ve never seen the original one though.  Yul Brynner I think was the King and I don` know who Anna was played by.

Add comment April 20, 2015 KorubettosHaiku

Attack on WordPress true?

This is not necessarily anything to do with Japan but a WordPress issue in general.   I saw a shocking report in the news (well ok one newspaper report so far) just half an hour ago about the website of the national organization that helps rape victims in my country being hacked by アイシス.   I don`t know why I am writing that in Japanese script as they probably have someone by now who knows Japanese but I just don`t want to tarnish my site with their name as everyone recognizes it.  I imagine that it is quite upsetting for people logging on to that website as this crowd are obviously not fans of women, (among other groups) and most rape victims are let`s face it women (not forgetting that some are men of course but most are women).

Any organisation that is a support to women is not a friend of アイシス.  Apparently, it is WordPress sites they hacked and this site uses WordPress as their website /content management system.   I am glad to hear they regained control of their website.   It is not the only website that was hacked by this lot.   I imagine they hacked sites supporting homosexuality as well and so on.

Of course everyone has been declared an enemy of アイシス by now including Japan who have pledged revenge over Kenji Goto.


Well, アイシス you may be everywhere as you say but thankfully people who will be glad to see the end of you – and the sooner the better – are everywhere too.


Add comment March 9, 2015 KorubettosHaiku

Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and his years of pilgrimage

`Colorless` young man

seeks answers to a burning

question from his youth


Well, I have seen Murakami`s latest book in a few shops in hardback version and thought about buying it as the paperback is not due out for another few months, both in my country and the one I was recently travelling in.   I held off though and I`m glad I did because just by chance I came across it in my library. yes the library came to the rescue again.    Having read it now, I am kind of glad I did not fork out the cash for the hardback nor will I be buying the paperback which will be out soon.

Overall, it was of friendship and how some friendships cannot last forever.  One person, the Tsukuru of the title, gets cast out of a group of close teenage friends without any explanation whatsoever and he spends a lot of his life living under the cloud this brings about.  It affects his relationships with other people, or rather his ability to build them in the first place.   He constantly feels rejected.  He does manage to make a new friend who he sees a lot of. The reason he gets cast out is awful but I won`t say what it is nor what becomes of his new friendship, in case someone reading this has not read the novel.

Anyway, though I found the book a bit refreshing at first for Murakami, the characters were not too much of a jump from characters in his previous novels, especially Tsukuru, who definitely had shades of Watanabe from NW and Tengo from IQ84.    The classical music fan, the sarky cutter whisky (or whatever it is called), the loner who listens to and drinks each these things.  It brings up the issue yet again about being lonely versus being alone which the character is quite happy being or so he says for most of the book.  The end of the book is a bit weak, tailing out to nothing.  I was thinking `oh that`s it`.

Out of interest, one of the characters in the book says something very wierd at one stage comparing his skills to  that of a nazi.    In an interview with fans a few months ago, Murakami seemed pleased to share his birthday or something like that with a `great` nazi.   I was left thinking 一体!! (What the hell!!)   I know he is not a fascist but (and so) he should really keep such opinions to himself.  That interview was kind of lame anyway and maybe he knew it and decided to throw in that strange comment though he does not seem to court controversy.

Well, that book apparently flew off the shelves when it first came out in Japan so Murakami`s  legend is safe there for a long time yet.    Another legend in Japan is Ken Takakura, unfortunately no longer a living legend as he sadly passed away last November, an event I somehow missed (actually I was away travelling so was not paying much attention to my blog).  RIP Ken.  His last film was Anate He (Darling) in 2012.   He was already in his early 80s when he did that film.   Lovely film.   It has somewhat of an all-star cast.   Check it out.

Anyone else read Colourless Tsukuru Tazaki and his years of pilgrimage?   What did you think of it?







Add comment March 9, 2015 KorubettosHaiku

Words and pictures and their power

Memrise I`m catching

up with you after my break

from memorising


Wow those words really build up in Memrise while you`re not active on it.     I took a while out as I was too busy for any memrising.   I had a ridiculous amount of words then awaiting me when I returned.    I think they should find a way to stall the build up of words if they see that a person is not active for some reason.   A person will collect a certain amount of points on each review visit or learning visit to Memrise so surely it should be clear in some way that they are not on it for good reason. Another complaint I have about Memrise is that my mems have sometimes been wiped and curiously another person might have put in a mem almost exactly a copy of mine.

Well, from words to pictures.  I know there was a visitor from France on my blog lately (thanks for visiting) and as I said in my last post I was in lovely Lille before Christmas, so I`d like to say to you and any other French visitors, and especially Parisians, how I feel for you and what has been happening over the last two weeks.   It must have been a shock but I`m glad to see people declare they are not frightened.

While the CH debate is mostly about freedom of the press, freedom of speech is an obviously related debate.    In Japan,  hate speech and incitement to hatred is still not outlawed.  So Shinzo Abe should have a little think about the rightwingers congregating in the Korean quarter of Tokyo, for example, to abuse people who have been in Japan for decades if not centuries. Ironically, most of them may be descendants of people brought to Japan as forced labour, or who are probably more Japanese than the Japanese themselves (and if not then judging by who is attacking them they`re probably thankful they`re not).

**  Let me stress that this is a very small percentage of the population (and let`s hope this ridiculous group does not gain more followers) and the majority of Japanese are peace-loving people **

This is what I thought of when I heard of the growing amount of people who are saying `Je ne suis pas Charlie`.  There is, or should be a limit to free expression when people, Koreans among others, and their livelihoods are threatened like this on a regular basis, just because of their race.   People who threaten free speech and freedom in general and people who likewise abuse their right to free speech to threaten others are the same idiots if you ask me.   So I would say I am in between Je suis and Je ne suis pas ….

Vive la Liberté

Add comment January 18, 2015 KorubettosHaiku

Haiku on my travels

Haiku is sought by

everyone everywhere and

Bashõ`s over all

Happy New Year all hope you had a good festive season whatever your beliefs

I happened to be in Lille, France before Christmas – enjoying the Christmas market, admiring the beautiful architecture and exploring the cobbled streets – and when I go anywhere I always browse in bookshops.  I came by a nice little selection of haiku books in one shop and thought I might take a pic.


As you can see, they are fond of Bashõ.

Belgium must be a graphic novel fan`s idea of heaven (and it`s not just Tin Tin* don`t worry).  Any graphic novel /comic book fans, including Japanese manga, should head there.   Every city has a comic book store somewhere and Brussels has countless comic book/graphic novel stores.  Not in to them myself exactly but I browsed in them anyway just out of curiosity as to whether I might find something and in fact I did so I must go back for it.

[* Speaking of Tin Tin, boy scouts and girl guides can often be seen.  I ran into a huge group of them exploring the citadel in Namur.  It was like a mobile Tin Tin convention.  Obviously they are some bit inspired by this fictional intrepid young explorer and his dog]

While in Belgium, I met a girl from Hokkaido and as I never meet people from Hokkaido abroad it was so cool to meet her.   I`m sure they travel I just never meet any.  And I like to let Hokkaido people how much I love Hokkaido.

By the way that saké chocolate from Bruges did not taste much like saké.  Not at all really. Poor little gullible tourist me.  Ah well the chocolate itself was decent – just not saké decent.  I think I`ll stick to regular flavours in future.

Add comment January 3, 2015 KorubettosHaiku

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