Friday, November 26, 2004

An update!

Firstly, apologies for not updating this much until now. As you can imagine I have been rather busy.

I’ll start with today (25th of November), if I have time maybe I’ll try to fill in some stuff about the first few days when I can.

So, I have found a nice flat not far from the university, but I have absolutely no furniture or crockery or anything. Like Switzerland Japan is not so cheap for that sort of thing, but fortunately there is a thriving second-hand scene, especially since people have to pay to throw out large items.

Anyway, one of the first things I got is a second hand traditional Japanese kotatsu, or small table with a built-in heater underneath. This is draped with a sort of quilt between the frame and the tabletop, so you can sit on a cushion with your legs underneath in the warm and eat good home-made food off the top. Great stuff!

The chap who has been helping me greatly all this time is Atsushi, one of the PhD students from our group who speaks pretty good English (a hell of a lot better than my Japanese at least). He is also a keen drinker, and since I was staying it his flat for a few days last week, we managed to consume rather too much alcohol for a sustainable lifestyle, I think.

So today, one of his friends (“you can call me Michael”) was kind enough to drive us out into the mountains to the Minoh city recycling facility, a sort of mixture between a dump and jumble sale. This guy was rather amusing, though he didn’t speak english so I was denied the full benefit. He was in is mid-thirties, and drove a big flashy car, sort of souped up landrover thing, and had several different sets of sunglasses (at least four) strategically clipped to the sun visors of his car (driver and passenger side). As we drove there and back, he smoked lots of cigarettes, bantered with Atsushi, and asked me very crude questions. He has invited us round for dinner some time to meet his wife.

I haven’t been able to do much physics yet, though I had an interesting discussion this afternoon with Miyake-sensei about valence fluctuations.

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