Archive for category Japan

Oct
06

Golf club in Japan dedicates room to Annika Sorenstam

Posted by on Thursday, 6 October, 2005

I went to Windsor Park Golf & Country Club in Ibaraki prefecture yesterday to play a round of golf. Windsor Park G&CC is one of the most popular golf courses in the area surrounding Tokyo among foreigners living here. It offers a great golfing experience, great food, and good prices compared with other courses in the area.

Anyway, yesterday when I got my locker room badge and started heading over to the locker rooms, I walked past this sign on the wall of the large hall on the second floor:

Room dedicated to Annika Sorenstam at Windsor

Wow! As a Swede and a big fan of Annika Sorenstam (Sörenstam is the correct Swedish spelling, of course – and they got it right on the sign) I thought this was really great! Thing is, I think they actually named it the “Annika Sorenstam Hall” because of a suggestion from my dad. He mentioned a few weeks ago that he had met a board member of the club and when he heard that they were naming different rooms after great golf players, suggested, perhaps only half seriously, that they name one of the rooms after Annika, since she is one of the all time female golfing greats. He was also pretty surprised that they took his suggestion seriously and went through with it!

By the way, if you’re a Swede (or from another Scandinavian country) and living in Japan and play golf, do check out the Scandinavian Cup which is a bi-annual competition open for Scandinavians living in Japan. The next tournament is on October 21!

Oct
04

Coffee machine observations in Japan

Posted by on Tuesday, 4 October, 2005

Every office has them. You know the type. The people who leave just enough coffee in the machine so they can say “but there was coffee left, so I don’t have to brew any new!” 😐 Lazy bastards, that’s what they are! If you drink the last coffee in the pot, go ahead and friggin refill the machine! It’s so annoying!

Thing is, this problem is compounded in Japan by the “male chauvinist” factor! It seems almost all Japanese men feel it is beneath them to make coffee, so it’s up to the women in the office to brew new coffee when the time comes. This annoys me even more – but being in Japan I guess I should expect no less…

Nothing beats a hot cup of delicious coffee in the morning

I sit right next to the coffee machine here at work, so I get to see these things in action and since the machine is pretty much always in my field of view, it’s hard not to notice trends and so on and start analyzing the whole coffee-brewing thing from a psychological and sociological perspective… Basically, you can divide up the office staff in three types when it comes to fetching coffee:

1) These people head for the coffee machine, but when they (from a distance away) see that there is no coffee in the pot, the casually change course and either walk past the machine (“I wasn’t getting coffee!”) or to the water-cooler next to it (“I wasn’t getting coffee! I was getting a cup of water!”) so that their conscience is clean when it comes to refilling the coffee machine…. Devious people! Hard to say anything too, since they fake lack of interest in the coffee…

2) These people are more honest about their lazyness (or pride) – they simply walk up to the coffee machine, and if there is no coffee in the pot they simply sigh and walk back to their seat. Alternatively, they walk to another coffee machine at another part of the office to try their luck there.

3) The rarest type of people are the ones who actually, upon seeing that the coffee needs refilling, puts on a new pot of coffee! This is so rare but every time someone does it, it’s a joy to see (and smell! Did I tell you I sit right next to the machine?) in my office (and I think it’s the same is virtually every office in Japan) almost only women belong to this group of people. I have seen only two (2) men (out of probably 30 or so sitting in the vicinity of this machine) brew a new pot of coffee; and one of them is a foreigner!

It’s just one more subtle pointer about how badly women are treated in the workplace here in Japan….

Sep
28

Tokyo International Film Festival 2005

Posted by on Wednesday, 28 September, 2005

Oh, how could I have missed to write about the Tokyo International Film Festival until now?

Thanks to 3yen for reminding me of this yearly event….which I have yet to ever attend!

Is it time this year? There are some interesting foreign movies on the lineup (I won’t bother with the Asian ones, because I cannot follow the Japanese subtitles well enough to fully enjoy them)

The Brothers Grimm
Bee Season
Oliver Twist (Roman Polanski can do almost nothing wrong in my opinion)
Conversations With Other Women (Anything with Helena Bonham-Carter is worth seeing!)
The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada (Tommy Lee Jones’ feature-film directorial debut!)
Reincarnation (aka ‘Rinne’ – the new film by Takashi Shimizu who made the Ju-On movies)

…and if it weren’t in Chinese, I’d love to see Riding Alone for Thousands of Miles by Zhang Yimou.

Sep
28

A hand is pinched in the elevator!

Posted by on Wednesday, 28 September, 2005

When I was in Yokohama the other day, I saw the following sign outside the elevators at Landmark Plaza and it just cracked me up!! Talk about top notch Engrish!!

...a hand and a leg is pinched by the elevator....

Suffice to say, I rode the elevator, and on this particular day, there were no legs or hands pinched in the elevator!! :-) Would have been pretty scary if there were, though!

Sep
25

Report from A&V Festa 2005, part 3

Posted by on Sunday, 25 September, 2005

OK, moving along. This last part I will dedicate to some of the smaller, lesser known products which I found kind of exciting.

First off is the Mini 2004 Stereo Integrated Amplifier (2 x 12 W Ultralinear Class AB) from Hong Kong maker Audio Space which is one of the largest Chinese makers of high-end vacuum tube amplifiers. I listened a little to a demo of one of their amplifiers, but the room was crowded and I was far outside any sweetspot, so I couldn’t really judge the quality. The Mini’s were awfully cool looking though!

Audio Space Mini 2004

Next up is the Assam polyhedric speakers from Solid Acoustics. Check out the picture below! These were demoed in a very open space so I really couldn’t judge the quality of these either, however they looked radically different from any other speaker I’ve seen, so I’d love to take a closer listen to them at some point!

Polyhedric Speakers

And finally one interesting product was the CA-S3 micro-size integrated amplifier from Flying Mole (great name!) which is really tiny at only 130 x 54 x 142 mm in size! The minimalistic design was really sweet (just one big volume knob and a power button in a sleek silver casing) and it will fit just about anywhere. When demoing this, the company had connected it to an iPod, so there is no way in judging the quality but the specs looked very good on paper… (Hooking up iPods to high-end amps seemed to be the latest fad, I even saw a company hook one up to a $1,000+ tube amp!) It wasn’t extremely expensive either, the SGRP was 70,000 Yen.

CA-S3

(sorry for the bad picture, I never took one myself)