Sunday, May 07, 2006

The Angry Snowman and Sunshine Boy

February 25, 2006

Another short post with some more trivial stuff I found interesting! Most of these photos are from a walk Fearless Husband and I took before he left, through Nimitz Park and Albuquerque Park--all except the shot of my friend 'Bama Gal (we share a birthday, and celebrated together!) in her new apartment, which I took last week.

The two mosaics I just found interesting. I want to know the story behind the angry snowman! What a funny little cartoon character to be so carefully set into the paving stones! And "sunshine boy" is a custom that made me laugh. The day before our "field trip" with the Indoc class, Erikyo, our Japanese instructor, hung a little tissue paper ghost in the window, similar to what we made in elementary school at Halloween. You've seen them, I'm sure...a wadded ball of tissue is covered by another tissue, and the covering tissue is tied below the ball to make the little ghost shape. Well, in Japan, this character is called "sunshine boy" and is created and hung in the window in order to assure a sunny day the next day. Cute custom, I thought, then forgot about it...until I found sunshine boy set into the pavement! I guess he was there to offset the angry snowman? Who knows?

The Japanese lantern I simply found pretty (though the crescent moon made me think of out houses!) This one is in the park, but I have seen these in many, many private gardens and yards in my neighborhood. I think they are lovely--but I'm afraid that if I get one, it will put our household goods over the weight limit when we go back!

The public toilet photo I took to show any prospective American visitors. Public toilets tend not to have doors, whether in the park or beside a busy street. Though urinals are simply lower than their American counterparts, toilets themnselves tend to be holes in the ground. Porcelain holes, certainly, with flushing mechanisms, but holes nonetheless--and rarely is there tissue. I carry a packet of kleenex in my handbag, just in case. After taking this photo, I was so embarrassed though!!! I did not see the gentleman in the toilet (barely visible to the left of the door), and he was (luckily!!!) simply on his way out when I snapped this photo. He gave me a pretty suspicious look though, and I felt like such a klutz! So be prepared--public toilets are clean, but very different from what we expect in the US, and not for the very modest or the faint of heart.

The last photo attached is of my friend 'Bama Gal's new house. She got an apartment in a new building that has a Rental Partnership Program with the US Military. It's clean and relatively large, but really not my scene. In the photo, she is standing at the door to the balcony, unsuccessfully trying to get a wireless signal for her laptop. It's all shiny linoleum and cinderblock, in a complex with other Americans, and reminds me strongly of a modern school building with the heavy doors with automatic closing arms, and fluorescent lighting. Her place may be warmer, with less chance of scary bugs, but I'm thrilled with our very Japanese house in our very Japanese neighborhood. Besides, we're at least 15 minutes closer to the base than she is! I just included this photo for a different perspective on military life in Japan. Can you tell her household goods have yet to arrive? I'm very lucky, and have it very easy--our stuff is all here already.

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