18.11.08

Moving

I have decided to change from Blogger to Wordpress, and give a little bit more of importance to the blog in the domain. So, from now on, you just need to click: www.olemiswebs.com to see my blog.

Please update your bookmarks, and your feed reader. :)


I am still starting playing with Wordpress, so it is not still 100% fine-tuned in aspects like design and some features are not available yet... But all this will be solved very soon...

17.11.08

Tsukiji's Fish Market

Tokyo is one of the biggest cities in the world, and therefore it is normal some of the biggest "whatever"... In this case, due to the special importance of fish in this country, it is not strange that we find the biggest fish market in the world.
Tsukiji (12)
Tsukiji (11)
Tsukiji (14)

Its name is Tsukiji, and is also one of the attractions of this incredible city. You should go around 4.00 a.m. to see the fish auction... But I haven't seen this yet, as we arrived with the first metro after 5.00 and most of the auctions (specially those of big fishes) had finished.
Tsukiji (1)

Anyway, it was worth to walk around and see the variety of fishes they had there and how they prepare them to be sold... The most impressive ones are the big tun fishes, lying on "operation tables" like in a hospital...
Tsukiji (2)
Tsukiji (3)

... being taken care by the specialized surgeons with professional tools ...
Tsukiji (8)
Tsukiji (9)
Tsukiji (10)Tsukiji (4)

But it's not only about tun fishes. There are many other impressive fishes you may be used to see... or not, like eels, or huge octopus, or ...
Tsukiji (5)
Tsukiji (6)
Tsukiji (7)


And after this, tasting an excellent fresh sushi for breakfast... Isn't it a good plan?

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5.11.08

US Elections

Polls were right for this time and Obama won. It seems for the first time American and the rest of the world agree on something... I am not going to comment any advantage/disadvantage about this election, but I want to share with you this video.



It is quite long, and he does not really say anything he had not said before. But, I want to point something out. Look at the people there. I have read that they expected one million people, in a city with "just" 8 million seems a lot of people to be out on a tuesday night... So, that is a lot of people. And look at those people: they are just there because they want to be part of the historical moment and because of him, not just because he is a democrat. They are there not to only to celebrate the victory, they want to listen to what he says: they do not interrupt him more than twice in 18 minutes! Most of them listen to him and are about to cry... Quite impressive. These American make everything "King Size", like the burgers...

These have been the first US elections I am not sleeping while they recount the votes (advantages of being time-shifted). So, I have paid more attention to the way they have to count the votes for the president... Each state has a number of "Electoral votes" (that is familiar to me, in Spain we have a number of representatives per province), and the one who has more votes (people voting him)... is the one who gets all the electoral votes!! So, if Obama wins 51% - 49% in a state, he gets like if he had won 100%-0%. That means that Obama was supported by a 52% of the voters, but he got a 63% of the electoral votes. Quite an important difference and in other not so clear cases it will probably lead to some injustice (from my point of view)...

That's all for now about Obama, US, elections, etc. Now, back to Japan.

Osaka

Coming back from Koya-san, I spent a couple of hours in Osaka to do some sightseeing. It was more than enough, as Osaka is just another megalopolis in Japan, with very few tourist spots. Here you have a couple of pictures showing one of the musts in Osaka, its castle...
Osaka Castle

... and an example of the modern city it is, with some cool skyscrapers.
Osaka


All big cities in Japan are the same. Some very old buildings (most of the reconstructed, though), with amazing new buildings, and most of the times, very close one to each other.

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3.11.08

People

This is going to be a strange week.
* Yesterday: it all started by meeting David Hasselhoff in Shibuya. Yes, we met Michael Knight or Mitch Buchannan in one of the biggest cities in the world during a walk.
* Today: is one of those bank holidays you only find in Japan: Culture Day. :) So it is going to be a short week. :)
Michael Knight and Nacho

* Tomorrow: we will all have a new President in the US, and it is likely to be the first black president in the history of that country... and therefore we will continue talking about that during the whole week...
* Friday night: I will go with some friends in one of the biggest onsen (public bath) in Japan.
* Next Sunday: we will meet the King of Spain in his official visit to Tokyo on Sunday. It is very keen of him to come to visit me during this month, and he does not even want to sleep in my confortable futons.

Drinks in tombs

Koya-san (1)


These are two tombs in Koya-san, with something you may see in many other places in Japan: food and beverages. I guess they pretend them not to be thirsty in the near future... but I do not know the exact reason behind this... I will try to get some more information.

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1.11.08

What do you do?

Today, I've been the whole day at home. Half of it sleeping, recovering from the tough week with the guests; and the other half preparing a trip I am going to do in Christmas... and suffering some allergy. :( Therefore, I have not been out tonight in spite of being Saturday night.

But I did something else. I decided to walk from home towards a place I had never been and look for some place to have dinner in. If you remember what I wrote a couple of months ago, Tokyo neighbourhoods vary a lot from the area close to the stations to further places. I live relative far from my station, and today I decided to walk towards another station which, I realized today, is almost as close as "mine".

Anyway, when I arrived to the next station's area, I started finding lots of shops, restaurants and some more people than earlier. It is a pity that I did not bring this time the camera with me, as I saw some interesting things. I saw two hairdressers, with all the personnel training with dummies (Saturday at around 9 pm!) and a Spanish restaurant with a big flag, and no Spaniard in it (it seems every neigbourhood in Tokyo needs to have at least one spanish restaurant).

Finally, I went into a small sushi place, the only restaurant in a non-main street... It is normal that they looked surprised when they saw a western face sitting there. They understood quickly that I do not speak a word in Japanese and they (owners and all customers) did their best to communicate and did not wait long until they started asking me where I come from, how long I have been in Japan, why I am in Japan, where I work, how old I am, if I am single or not,... From all these questions, they are showed special interest in the company I work for. This makes a point, and you can realize how they use it when they talk one to each other about you... I had read about the importance of this in the japanese society, but today I experienced it.

Torre del Alcazar


After that, I walked back to my place, but using a different path. I was not in a hurry, so I could spend some time trying out new ways. And in a small corner, next to the tracks, I saw a small bar, from outside seemed very noisy and with lots of people. It reminded me to the atmosphere in some bars in Seville, so I looked in through the window, and found out a couple of paella pans next to the window... What...? I could not see anything else due to some curtains, but I decided to go to the door, and check why those paellas were there... And I checked that they were not the only spanish element of the bar: the name is "Barrera" (remember: it is placed next to the tracks), there are tapas and vinos in the menu, spanish pottery, bull fighting and sevillanas posters, a Spain's map, ... It was the first spanish bar (not restaurant) I have seen in Tokyo. When I was standing at the door, someone opened it, and I just went in... It was full of japanese people, and also an italian guy living for some years in Tokyo was hanging out with a friend. Just two people in the bar apart from him spoke English, and those who did, surprisingly could also say a few words of Spanish... Guess what they asked me, and what was then repeated to everybody... Yes, the same questions as in the sushi place, and special attention to the professional activity...

And now that I am reflecting about this, I remember another example, when we visited Yokohama. We asked a couple to take a picture from us, and it happened to be a spanish guy with his japanese wife. We talked for a while with him, and we did not talk about work... But his wife, suddenly, asked us what we do for work. The guy was visibly a bit embarrassed, as he knew it is not that common in Spain to ask that in the first two minutes of conversation...

But in Japan it is. So, be ready for that.

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31.10.08

People

Just another small example of what a crowd is...

Osaka People


This picture was taken in Osaka some Sunday in the afternoon. Ok, this area is a commercial area, but I find it a lot of people... What do you think?

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28.10.08

Koya-san

Some weekends ago (I've been quite busy lately), I went with some other Spaniards to Koya-san, which is an area in the mountains, where you can find hundreds of temples. It is historically very important, as it is here where the Zen sect of Buddhism began. Apart from that, Koya-san offers you some temples where you can sleep, enjoying both the life (and food) in the temples and the calmness before the arrival and departure of the tourists.
Koya-san (2)
Koya-san (3)
Koya-san (12)Koya-san (11)
Koya-san (4)

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26.10.08

Quiet trip

Just in case, someone is wondering: I am in Tokyo.

The flight was more pleasant than I expected. Even though the plane was full (I suspected that when I checked in online), there was almost one hour delay from Frankfurt, and we had to take a bus to the plane instead of accessing via a finger (it is quite impressive to be standing under a 747), I think this was the best long flight ever. I managed to have some deep sleep for many hours (my poor japanese seat neighbour had to literally jump over me to go to the toilet - I saw him when I opened one eye for a few seconds), and I had some nice talk with a bunch of Spaniards coming to a trade fair to Tokyo.

Quite trip


Furthermore, when I picked my bag up, I had a small present. A cute pink tiger panther, with a biiig heart, and very very dirty. It seemed it had suffered a lot. I thought it was a joke and I looked around to see if there was a hidden camera... But nobody came to confirm my suspect. As I had to claim because my bag got broken at some point of my trip, I also gave that back... This time, I didn't give any contact information to keep it if the owner doesn't appear. :-)

Vending machines

Japan is probably the place in the world with the greatest number of vending machines per square meter. You find them in every corner, and in some places, you can even find ten of them.
Vending Machines


And what can you buy here? Almost any drink. From water to coffee, both cold... and hot! Yes, these machines provide both hot and cold stuff...
Vending


One of my guests pointed out something interesting about this... "Hot and cold? So many lights? 24 hours a day? That means a lot of energy." Completely right, but so it is...

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25.10.08

Volare

A380


Today is one of those days one would skip from the calendar. I will spend the whole day in airports and airplanes, back to Tokyo. I will probably have no nice seat neighbour to share some talk with, so I will focus in sleeping (I will use some help for this for first time) in the extremely noisy 747, as well as watching some movies and reading my book... Funny, isn't it?

21.10.08

Relax

Relax

17.10.08

Flying to Spain

In this moment, if I am not suffering a big delay in my flight, I should be flying to Europe for an express visit for some paperwork, meeting family, friends, colleagues, and even attending a wedding!

I'll be back.
Sandals

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16.10.08

Kamakura

Kamakura has more than just a big Buddha... You can find many other interesting spots in many of the temples it has. I enjoyed the visit a lot.

Life and Death
Army
Kamakura
Mind Garden

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