Meanwhile, the christmas tree is growing quite nicely in our courtyard.
Rejoice with me, for the cold days are over!
(celebrating with a mix from 10 years ago)
It’s not that the cats specifically target the shoji… It’s just that said shoji happen to be just behind their favourite indoor climbing equipment (aka “curtains”). Not that these shoji were all that intact to begin with (couple small tears and a few individually patched cells, not to mention 30+ year-old paper).
Anyway, now that the household’s feline population has been taught to (mostly) stay away from curtains, I felt it might be time to get rid of the “just-survived-a-tiger-encounter” look of the bedroom sliding screens, while partaking in the time-honoured Japanese tradition of replacing shoji paper.
This time, however, I opted for the supposedly cat-proof plastified version, which comes with the added bonus that it is heat-reactive and can be applied with a press iron, without separate glue.
French people are a strange alien species I can barely communicate with (save for the couple old high-school buddies close to my heart).
Speaking French is soon going to feel less natural than even Japanese.
And yet Paris still feels as close to a hometown as I will ever have.
A cold, rainy, dirty, grey hometown.
Watching our two cats stalk a fly throughout the house is like a scene out of a low-budget Jurassic Park remake, down to the sudden jumps on furniture, jerking head motion and small guttural coordinating noises.
A lot less efficient, though.
Because the last post ended on a somewhat negative note, a quick photo update, to be followed by some text later (short version: Ko Lanta is a.w.e.s.o.m.e).
Managed to wrangle two weeks (and some telecommuting) for a bit of warm South East Asia weather on my Tokyo Winter icicle.
Brief but nice. Our taxi driver from the airport was full of enthusiasm (with a spot of ill-will toward Malaysia’s past prime minister) and surprisingly good Enka-singing skills. Met some local CSer at a nice, cheap indian restaurant, minute before the start of a massive tropical downpour.
still the same nice mix of warm weather, OCD cleanliness and delicious cheap food. Still not sure I’d live there, but a most awesome time spent strolling in parks, biking around and eating out with Fred, Natalie and their two cute tiny demons.
Definitely on our list of places to go back to. The tiny bungalow we stayed at was totally worth the trek out of town to reach it. Also did get to rub tiger bellies, so not a bad two-day trip.
We took the (super-comfy, second class) night train back to Bangkok. Daytrip to Ayuthaya, walks around the market (probably need to get myself a second suitcase to bring back a few pounds of spices) and a brief stint around Patpong (Asian sexpat neighbourhoods: same old, same old).
Possibly the nastiest place I’ve been to in Thailand, if not all of Asia. Just as horrid as predicted by everybody I talked to before coming (so much for lowered expectations): 100% fat obnoxious Eastern Europeans tourists, and a few locals busy trying to scam them in every possible way. Some beautiful beaches, surrounded by a lot of noisy, permanently traffic-jammed roads. Our reason for coming was to meet with Justine’s friend, who of course flaked at the last minute and left for Cambodia on the day of our arrival.
Had some hopes for the south, described as one of the few last area on the island where all menus and shop signs aren’t in Russians and beaches aren’t entirely covered in deck chairs… The little I saw looked like it had a bit of potential, but middling first impressions on my travel buddies upon arrival (nighttime arrival to creepily empty remote hotel, depressingly dead bar life…) made them unwilling to give it a second chance and I did not feel like changing their super-negative mood about the place…
So we hopped on a taxi to Karon the next morning, whose only high point might be its ample opportunities for practicing Russian (not seen a single non-Russian there who wasn’t trying to sell me something).
And now Patong until NYE: famously the most urban/touristy/sleazy part of the island, but I suspect could not really be worse than Karon/Kata: it might at least have a few decent bar and food options.
Not to worry, despite my now deep-seated dislike of Phuket, life is far from bad: actively planning my escape for Ko Lanta in a few days, and still very much enjoying being away from Tokyo Winter temperatures in the meantime.
After finally deciding to do something with some of my records, I braced for the dreadfully boring process of ripping them one by one to a digital format more befitting of the 21st century (and considerably easier to carry around)…
As it turns out, nowadays, you can literally grab any track ever made, already digitised, on the internet.
Out of some one hundred records, only about 5 were nowhere to be found. That’s including white labels (others’ and my very own).
To think of the amount of sweat and money I poured into acquiring and keeping these records…