Hedgehog’s Dilemma

May 29, 2008

It seems that I’m getting used to the town more and more – some days ago, an old friend from Tokyo (whom I’ve known since 9 years) visited me, and I took this opportunity to display my thus far acquired knowledge about Tsukuba, doing lots of kilometers on foot. There aren’t many sights here, but many green places and parks to enjoy. And the university itself, of course.

Later, when we were sitting in my apartment, relaxedly drinking good green tea with traditional Japanese sweets and fruits, I thought that this is an atmosphere only green tea is able to raise, at least for me. On a side note: Why is it that the departing of a good friend always leaves us with a sad … no, a rather somehow melancholic feeling? Shouldn’t we be happy instead, enjoying the afterglow of a well-spent day?

Some more words about today’s pictures (more “daily life impressions”):

Bicycle parking is strictly regulated, as everything else here (sounds like Germany? Well, here there are even more rules to follow in daily life). However, in the case of bicycles, people don’t seem to care much. You often see them parked right in front of “no parking” signs. When a policeman detects such a bike, it gets a yellow paper slip, saying “don’t do this here”, with the current date printed on it – as a first warning. If the bicycle is still there during the next inspection, it’s being taken away. The first picture displays my bike with such a slip. Why? Actually, I don’t have the slightest idea, since it was parked according to law (as you can see). Furthermore, there was no date written on the paper. Just a joke???

Next pictures: My (“fuzzy”) washing machine – able to detect by itself the correct amount of water & washing powder (or at least it thinks it knows the optimum. Sometimes we both disagree). Then, the ATM. Which button would you press to get some cash??

You see the bread (or what they call bread here. Actually, it’s simple toast, and toast only) in the forth picture … with the numbers printed on the wrapping. Any idea what this is about? Well, that’s the number of slices inside. Since all packages contain the same amount of bread, the number is also inversely proportional to the thickness of the slices. So, since I like thinner ones, I always buy “high numbers”, like 7 or 8, for when I don’t have time for a Japanese breakfast.

Next is what I like to call the “cat food section” of a supermarket: It’s a large variety of dried stuff from the sea, like sliced cuttlefish, small sardines slit open and broiled complete with bones, … and lots of other things of this kind. And, as you can guess, it is not meant for cats, but for humans instead. Actually, this stuff tastes pretty good as a side snack, together with same sake if possible (people never just drink alcohol here, without eating or at least snacking on something).

Last picture in this row: Truth be told, I didn’t grok how the cars get up there. So, don’t expect any further explanation from me, just enjoy the view.

Not my words, yet mine:
Computers are not intelligent. They only think they are.

PS: My next entry will be delayed a little, since I’m going to spend some days in Kyoto. But stay tuned! Next update should be around June 7.


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