Is there anyone out there in Tokyo (among those of you that I have met in person) that would like to submit an application to spend five months as the proud foster keepers of two of the most lovealbe cockatiels in Tokyo?
We had planned to take them to Tomoe's mother's house while Tomoe was away to the US for work, but for her mothher's convenience, we are looking to see if there might be anyone who can give them more attention than she would be able to.
The job would entail simply putting them in a cage (which we provide) in a room which you frequent at some time in the day. Cleaning the cage is a snap (just take out the dirty papaer and put in clean ones) and feeding them is easy too. Simply pour in some seeds, and throw in a leafy veggie for good luck.
We would ask that they be let out of the cage once in a while to stretch their wings, and if you can't resist scratching their heads when they beg and plead, we wont complain (and neither will they).
Even if you go on vacation, they should be OK for a few days at a time, so long as a neighbor can pour in some seeds every few days.
If you think you can love them as much as they would love you, please contact me.
You too can see that smile every time you scratch their heads!
Just for an idea of what you would be getting yourself into, check out the Awii & Klee gallery!
BTW, there is a great interview on The Connection with photojournalist Eugene Richards. Check it out. The samples of his photos are, of course, much more worthy of your viewing than this crap above (unfortunatly, I don't have anything else to show you from my own work).
My sister (in the third photo) has already been living in Lund, Sweden for the past year, and I have beem living in Japan, so my parents decided to take a vacation in Sweden when I arrived, and we all, along with my sister's boyfriend, took a couple trips around Sweden.
It just keeps getting better and better. I met some more people from my sustainability program today. There's such a great variety of backgrounds, both culture-wise and career-wise. Everyone has some experience to contribute. A little scary in that I seem to be one of the least "experienced" in that my job had nothing to do with environmental sustainability.
So I had my first taste of Swedish university life last night. There was a get together to visit some pubs downtown so we can meet each other. I got there a little late, and found everyone doing some sort of fraternity hazing ritual. Not really as bad as hazing, in that there was no violence, but pretty much as silly as the stuff we had to do back in high-school, people lining up and following orders from some higher-classman wearing dark sunglasses to appear menacing. People telling us we should suck up to them and other similar crap.
I was beginning to doubt my decision to come here again. I really had no need or desire to be back in high-school. If I go to a pub, I want to walk at my own pace sit where I want, and talk to the people I am with, not have orders barked at me to line-up straight. Most people looked like they were having fun, so I decided that the only reason I took offense at being told what to do and when to do it by people who I don't know and have not had any reason to respect yet, was because I was an "individualistic American".
I was relieved to find later on, however, that most of the other foreign students didn't think too highly of the kids games either. The few people from the program that I did meet seem interesting and interested in learning instead of frat parties and games, so there is still hope.
The international student body also seems to have a great degree of diverstiy, which is really cool. The thing I probably liked best about Tokyo was that the relativly small international community there allowed me to meet more people from around the world than I ever would if I had been living and working someplace in the US. Here, I am the only one from the US that I have met so far. There is one woman from Canada, a handful from Spain, some from Germany, Poland, and I have only met a few of the several hundred international students.
I'm still having to get adjusted to living the dorm life again, with loud classic-rock blaring through the neighbors speakers all day, and people yelling outside my window, but once it gets colder I wont have the windows open anyway. Oh how I already miss my quiet apartment on the river.
Tomoe tells me that the birds are not doing well back home. They are all out-of-sorts. I would like to think it's because they miss me, but I'd put more money on the fact that they have a tiny cage now.
Anyway, there are birds here for me to take photos of too. I hope I don't wind up buying a parakeet or anything like that.
Today I rode with my family to Gothenburg, a little over three hours north of Lund. While the train system is obviously great in Europe, they opted to drive a tiny little care there, with five people in it.
I understand why. In their minds, the math works out better that way. Paying for five tickets on the train would have cost more than the gas for five people, plus parking all day. I haven't gone to any effort to do my own calculations (which would include the real environmental price of the gas burned) but even without that, how much is comfort worth I wonder.
We are taking a trip to Stockholm in a few days, an eight hour drive. I'll have to meet them there... all I could think of on the ride home tonight was how wonderful it would be to have a seat all to myself, to be able to stand up and stretch my legs... and this has nothing to do with my loathing of cars and desire that all non-commercial vehicles be prohibited from driving on public streets.
If only we were charged true prices at the gas pumps, instead of the artificially low ones we are used to, everyone would see how wonderful public transportation is, and I wouldn't have to worry about hurting my families feelings by taking the train instead.
By the way, I have really been enjoying the affordable tart apples here in Sweden. One thing that really bothered me about Japanese fruits, is that they try so hard to make them too dang sweet.
As I am feeling less self-conscious with a big camera around my neck, I am starting to take more people shots. I'm still too shy to just get up in their face and take a picture, so most of them are crap.
Of course the two bottom photos are of my parents, who are on vacation here now, visiting my sister and me, and myself.
The other day I went to check in with the grad-school I will be attending. My parents drove me there from Lund with all my luggage. It seemed a little odd... Thirty-year-old grad-student's parents accompany him across the world to help him get settled in his new dorm. If I remember right, they didn't even help me move into my first dorm in Michigan back when I was twenty or so...
Anyway, the area I will be living in looks amazing. Not too big, but still a little cosmopolitan. And of course, it is all surrounded by water.
These curious cows all ran up to the edge of the fence to see me, then while I was taking picutres, I guess one of my movements was too abrupt. They all started stampeding away. I was afraid they would trample each other, or destroy the fence or somthething, so I got on my bike and sped away.
Although I have the occasional flower photo on the site, I've never really been a fan of flower photography. (at least not my own). It just seems too easy, like I'm cheating somehow. Almost anyone can point a camera up close to a flower and get a nice shot. It doesn't say anything about the photographer's skill, just that flowers are pretty.
The other day however as I was exploring Lund, I came across a little area where people rent/own garden space with miniature houses to store their tools, or sit and have tee in their garden. It looked like a sub-division where the hobbits might live.
Anyway, walking through there, I couldn't resist the call of the flower photo.
For some reason my sister does not have a mountain bike here in Lund, so I spent the day riding her "mama-cheri" (japanese for crappy old bike that old ladies ride). I rode around the county for about seven hours. I figure that if I had my mountain bike the entire trip would have taken only about two hours, but despite that, and despite how sore my legs will be tomorrow, I am very impressed with the area. There are bike paths all over the place, even connecting one city to the next. I can't wait to pick up a used mountain bike so I can go further in more comfort.
These photos are still from yesterday, which was cloudy and rainy.
This first round of photos from Sweden doesn't have any people in them because I am still a little shy with the camera here. That happens every time I go to a new city... I have to walk around a day or so to feel comfortable enough to intrude.
These are all from the city of Lund where I am staying at my sister's apartment for a few days until my apartment in Karlskrona is ready for me to move in.
Of course I don't really know enough about the country to form any real opinions, but a few things I have seen that really make me happy (these may only pertain to Lund):
It's only been two days, and of course English is the first and one-third language here, so I haven't had much chance to dust off my Swedish. Just from looking at the signs, and the limited interactions with store clerks and the likes, it is coming back to me, and I may know more than I thought.
So I have arrived in Sweden and open my email to find that the lady who had agreed to take some of our old Tokyo apartment stuff for free flaked out and will not take it. This means that either we have to pay to have it thrown away (the throwing away part bothers me worse than the paying part) Or find someone to take it within the month (before Tomoe leaves Tokyo)
Items to give away:
1 ) Office desk with drawers. Three drawers on the right and one shallow drawer above the chair space. It's the same desk you will find in your average Japanese office. Steel, grey, functional, free.
2) A comfy chair to go with the desk. I didn't like the crappy chair that came with it, so I splurged on a nice used chair that reclines and fits the curvature of my sexy body. Swivels and is on rollers, but don't roll it while sitting in it unless you are very petit, because it will scratch your floor. It is also a little dirty, but a good shampoo, or throwing a sheet or towel over it as I did should cover it up.
3) Electric space heater.
4)Electric massage chair. photo
5) TV/VCR combo. Will be a available a little later. No remote for the TV, Remote for the VCR has cute, loveable bird teeth marks. The TV is old and small but works well together with the VCR.
Also, for sale, I have
1) my Giant (that's the brand) mountain bike 10,000 yen (negotiable) (photo) It has taken me all over Japan, and could take me even further. The only reason I am selling instead of keeping it, is to releive the burden to move it to Tomoe's parents house for storage. It is a little beat up, and could use a tune up for gears. It has a steel frame, but compacts nicely into a bike bag for travel on the train.
If you are interested, please comment here, or notify me ASAP by email kevin AT kevincameron.net.
There are a million other things I should be doing before I leave at 5:30 tomorrow morning to catch my plane to Sweden. It's going to be a long trip with a ten hour layover in Singapore. I had been dreaming of all the great books to get at Bondi-books with the credit I had from trading in some of my used books. I figured I had enough to buy me 24 hours worth of reading material... but I'll be danged if I didn't find out that they are closed on Tuesday's untill I lugged a pile of used books there this afternoon. The credits good forever though, so...
I still have to saw up the old hand-made birdcage so it can go in the trash. The birds aren't happy at all, living in a tiny book-shelf converted to cage right now. Once Tomoe leaves for USA next month, they will have to move into a hopefully slightly larger cage at her mother's house. They wont be too happy there I suppose. For one, they wont have free reign to fly all day and poop anywhere they please. They wont be able to eat dinner at the table with the rest of the family, they wont get their head scratched every night, and probably worst of all, we have to clip their wings for the first time in their lives to make it easier for Tomoe's mom to catch them and put them in the cage once they are out.
I hope it's not too much trauma for Klee who broke her leg last week (slammed in the door). She couldn't use it for a week or so, but she seems to be walking nicely now with only a slight limp. Of course it is not healed yet, but she doesn't know that... a bird after my own heart. I remember the only time I ever broke a bone, I broke my leg skiing, and skied the rest of the day on it. It only hurt when I turned left, so I made sure not to do that very often.
Tomoe was supposed to leave at the same time as me, or even before me, but because she is extremely terroristical, she has to wait longer for the visa than her company thought. I think I actually feel worse about leaving for the first three weeks than I do about the rest of the year. Once she is in America, we will both be distracted by new surroundings, but until then, she has to live alone here in the huge six-tatami apartment. I would not be happy about it, so I hate that she has to do it. To make it worse, tomorrow is the start of her vacation, so there is not even work to distract her. I remember several weekends when she was in England for school a few years ago, I would try to sleep as long as possible in the morning to reduce the time spent alone.
Anyway, I gots me lotsa work to do, so I'm gonna go now. If all goes well, I will be posting photos from Sweden in a week. Of course I still have tremendous backlog from Japan, and the photos today are backlog from January in Chicago (in case you couldn't figure it out).
Judging from the map, the town I will be living in is only a few kilometers wide. No more waiting on the train platforms. I'll be able to bike around the whole city in the time it takes me to just bike to Shibuya now.
My apartment will be right on the tip of a peninsula (just to the right of "Pantar-holmen". The only thing that can ruin my year now is if the coast line in this city is walled up and inaccessible like it is here in Tokyo. If I'm lucky, I only have to walk less than 200 meters from my door to launch my kayak. If I'm even luckier, I will have someplace to store the kayak while fully assembeled.
We're doing some major cleaning this weekend. That includes cleaning up my hard-drive. I found a memory-stick worth of photos from back in November that I had not posted yet.
Continuing the sunset theme, these are from Narita airport in November.