Saturday, January 3, 2004 10:30 AM
part 5

- Why are you visiting Japan?
- Business.
- Yes. That is all your luggage? [one sports bag]
- Yes.
- Yes. Are you bringing in these? [shows me pictures of guns and drugs]
- No.
- Yes. May I search you?

Yes. And so begins another visit to Japan. At least this entrance was faster - the guard gave me a quick pat-search and that was all. No-one walked in putting on gloves.

I have seen a circular rainbow. The shadow of the aeroplane, on a cloud, surrounded by a rainbow. Even though physics explain why it's an ordinary phenomenon, it still looks amazing. Quoting from a science journal:

"Each rainbow you see is unique to you and centered on your eyes, so all rainbows form a circle centred on a point marked by the shadow of your head (called the antisolar point). To see light from the top of a rainbow, you look up at an angle of 42 degrees. To see light from the sides of the arc, you look over 42 degrees. To see light from the bottom of the rainbow, you look down 42 degrees. Of course, if the ground is in the way, you won't see the bottom of the circular bow.

The necessary conditions for seeing a rainbow are: water droplets in those directions and the Sun lighting those drops. Usually the ground gets in the way and blocks water and light from reaching the lower part of the circle, however in an airplane, you can see a whole circle rainbow because there are sun-lit drops everywhere". So there you have it.

During my last visit, I stayed in a very proper-looking hotel. One night, I went for a walk in the area. In one direction were many restaurants and shops, but in the other direction, after exactly two blocks, the emphasis changed to what some people might call "adult themes". It might explain why the hotel was so cheap.

Directly across from the hotel was a place called "Secret Security Centre". I suppose that it was devoted to surveillance and similar things, thus a centre of secret security, rather than a secret centre of security. Or maybe their people also wear shirts that say "undercover".

My hotel this time is in a different location, which I haven't explored yet. Whenever I walked into the room, I noticed a region of hot air in the middle of the room. I finally identified the cause by looking upwards - the air-conditioning comes on automatically when the lights are turned on.

After less than 24 hours with a Japanese mobile phone, I received a call from a marketing company who calls random numbers to see which ones are active. It's worse than unsolicited e-mail, because one is more likely to answer the phone.

T-shirts here are used to convey "attitude". Specifically, the shirts that say "pornstar" and "alcoholic". Oh, and "therapist". Perhaps the wearers of the first two should meet the wearer of the third...

Another earthquake. This one was so mild that the way we knew that it had happened was from the visible swaying of the building, relative to other buildings in the area.

I've noticed that while I'm here I will eat things that I can't identify, but I won't eat some things that I can identify. This means that all kinds of fishy things have been acceptable, including the bright orange thing (sea urchin that I identified later), but the sea snail wasn't acceptable as it was presented (in the shell). Hiroshi wouldn't eat it either. Noriko ate hers (apparently - I didn't see it happen). She says that it's a delicacy, and that she eats it only for that reason, since she doesn't really like the taste. It might be acceptable to me if the shell were removed and what remains were sliced.


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