“climatically stable month” my arse

Thanks to this bastard, Zak and I have been in rain for the last few days, and the typhoon picked the same day we did to make the trip from Hiroshima up to Tokyo.

Am currently still in Kyoto. It was a rare experience to be on the fastest shinkansen train on the japanese network, moving at measely 20 miles an hour before hiding in a tunnel.. 🙂

Hiroshima itself, and the museum there… I can`t look at nuclear bombs the same way again. Until I saw the remains of buildings, tatters of school uniform, black rain statined walls… it was all just something out of books or films. Its like, I hadn`t really cottoned on that nuclear warfare has actually already happened. I cried, and got angry, and was filled with disgust and hope at the same time.

At a net cafe so need to go now


Today I discovered that I’m currently living in the birthplace of Nintendo! They started off with these little cards, which people today still gamble with. I’m trying to find out the rules online, and then may pick some up from the shops. They are even smaller than the gameboy, and don’t even need batteries!
History of Nintendo

The Early Days (1889-1979)
A humble beginning
Nintendo has been in existence in one form or another since 1889, making it the oldest company to be involved in the manufacturing of video games.
An example of a Hanafuda card (not by Nintendo)
Started in Kyoto, Japan, by Fusajiro Uamauchi (the great-grandfather of current Nintendo president Hiroshi Yamauchi), the business made and sold Japanese-style Hanafuda playing cards, which are smaller and thicker than Western playing cards and often include elaborate pictures like those on the faces of Tarot cards. At the time, the business was named the Maru**bleep**u Company.
In 1907, the name was changed to Nintendo Koppai and sold cards out of stores in Kyoto and nearby Osaka. The word “Nintendo” is composed of three Japanese kanji characters that translate roughly into English as “left to heaven’s hands.”
from here

Telephone Telepathy

You probably remember me going on about Rupert Sheldrake. While doing some research out here looking for jobs for when I get back, I remembered about Mr.”sense of being stared at” and wondered what he’s been up too lately. Seems there is more research going on, supporting his work..

Its such a shame no-one believes him enough to provide more funding, or I’d probably try and get in on the act 😉

FOR ALL YOU CYNICS – THIS IS A PEER REVIEWED PAPER, and the statistical criteria are the same as for ANY scientific study. Deny the methodology of this, and you also condemn the rest of out statistical based scientific ‘fact’ to hazy possibility. Either way I win, so 😛 *g*

Journal of the Society for Psychical Research 68, 168-172 (2004)




The ability of people to guess who is calling on the telephone has recently been tested experimentally in more than 850 trials. The results were positive and hugely significant statistically. Participants had four potential callers in distant locations. At the beginning of each trial, remote from the participant, the experimenter randomly selected one of the callers by the throw of a die, and asked the chosen caller to ring the participant. When the phone rang, the participant guessed who the caller was before picking up the receiver.

By chance, about 25% of the guesses would have been correct. In fact, on average 42% were correct. The present experiment was an attempt to replicate previous tests, and was filmed for television. The participant and her callers were all sisters, formerly members of the Nolan Sisters band, popular in Britain in the 1980s. We conducted 12 trials in which the participant and her callers were 1 km apart. Six out of 12 guesses (50%) were correct. The results were significant at the p=0.05 level.

Landscaping the mind?

Finished wwoofing, I am now in Kyoto spending a week happily doing non-tourist activities. Emptying my days of plans, I wander around the city and let serendipity provide for me 😉 The odd thing is that it works; I have been pulled into a martial arts display by the central city Kamo river, watching awesome dances with swords, fans, long spears to the sound of rhythmic music, rushing water and ravens. Sat by a willow tree river with my toes in the water, singing softly to the warm afternoon in general when some random japanese guy on a bike stopped to say “good morning”, give me an orange and peddle away. Relaxed on tatatmi mats in an immense wooden buddhist temple when a ceremony starts complete with incense, huge candles and monks performing “nembetsu” chanting. Joined in with a late night underground basement dancing, to DJ trance-esq sound mixed with live congo tribal beats.

My journey will be at an end soon, and it strikes me how hard it will be to bring the experience back to share. This whole land has a different feel to it, and I have adjusted to aspects of it which will no doubt give me odd culture shock when I return. Not just for the simple lines and colours of a traditional japanese room, the openesss of sleeping on the floor, eating with chopsticks and so on – the human element. By virtue perhaps of both my nature and the rural work I’ve been doing here, I have found myself growing attached to the landscape, the soil, the scent of the air, the wind that picks up before typhoons, *mountains*, animals, insects even.

My image of Japan before I came here was the crazy blade-runner neon of Tokyo, and some old wooden temple. Perhaps the classic image of a bullet train speeding in front of mt fuji. Now I think of yellow-green rice fields, with school girls cycling home on the straight roads between them. I think of an infinite range of sunsets over the moutains. Standing on top of a ladder in the middle of apple trees, watching white birds flocking to a backdrop of dark green pyramids of trees. Seeing the full moon rising over black silohuette, bats flying around me in chaotic dances. Travelling through road tunnels that stretched 5km at a time, with brief snatches of intense scrambled forbidding moutain forests, waterfalls, rushing water, in between the next tunnel.

no..I cant really get it into words, what I have been in here has been so totally unlike anything back in UK. I mentioned before that there is a feeling of security, enclosure, the-world-stops-over-that mountain that comes with these cities and agriculture nestled in the flat spaces between. Also a continual awareness of natures power – from the violence of earthquakes, tsnamis and wind to the verdancy, amazing quick growth of crops (and weeds) and the massive size reached by some of the leaves here.

It is feelings like this which make an interesting theory I found today, of a link between landscape and various attitudes (in medicine, religion even) so much more compelling.. I’ve typed out an extract below; I am interested in health and culture, but this is not an angle I’d come across before. Would be interested in any opinions!

Nature:Obedience in the East and Manipulation in the West