Tuesday, March 29, 2011

This Shirt is a Bag!

Is this a shirt or a bag? A shirt-bag perhaps?

I was walking around at Bondi Beach when I saw something mysterious.

The mysterious thing was not this cool graffiti painting which you can also find on Bondi Beach.

This hoodie that looks like a bag is what got me confused. Or is it a bag that looks like a hoodie?

Apparently it's "only" a bag that LOOKS like a hoodie. You can't actually wear it as a hoodie. :/
But if you want it anyway, you can buy it here.

At the store "Between the Flags" where I saw it, they also have some matching pink UGGs! =)
Is UGG from Australia? I'm starting to wonder since they sell UGG everywhere here, and there's even a brand named "UGG Australia".

No Rice in Japan!?

Today I talked with a nice Japanese gyaru couple that's here in Sydney as students. They thought it was so funny that I was carrying around a plastic bag from the Japanese superstore Don Kihote in the middle of Sydney... ;D

It's the first time I've ever seen Japanese gyaru outside of Japan so I was really surprised. Everything was okey with their families in Japan and they didn't seem too worried, but they said that there's no rice in Japan right now! :O

Maybe they only meant in certain parts of Japan? It sounds unbelievable that there wouldn't be any rice in Japan... I mean rice is so common that the word "gohan" both means meal and rice. There was probably a lot of ricefields ruined by the tsunami though.

I'm sorry for not having a picture of the cute gyaru couple by the way. I hate when I forget to bring my camera and have to tell a story about something without good pictures. All I could show you now was a plastic bag and some rice... Worst blog post ever!! XD

Sunday, March 27, 2011

"The Day the Earth Moved"

I tried to collect some pictures and facts from the disaster in Japan, talking with people and reading articles about it.

That's a pretty strong Earthquake...

Some days after the earthquake it was a lot of talk about that another strong earthquake would hit Tokyo with 70% probability very soon. My Japanese room neighbour even said that if it strikes during the night he would knock at my door and lead me to the closest protection room he knew.

Right before I got home I got lost in Shinjuku and asked a young Japanese guy for the way home.
He was so calm that I could never suspect he had such big problems.

Me: -"Japan seems dangerous now."

Japanese guy: -"Yeah. It was the fourth strongest earthquake in world history."
-"Is there earthquakes where you're from?"

Me: -"No, it's very cold, but never any natural disasters."
-"Did you have any relatives in the areas where the tsunami hit?"

Japanese guy: -"Yes, I was born there and my whole family lives there. I haven't heard anything from them since then."

Me: -"Really!? You must be so worried!"

Japanese guy: -"There's so many people in the same situation as me. But yes, I'm worried."

According to the article the Japanese people is the most self-restrainted people in the world. 
If a Japanese person starts laughing, "it shows lack of education." I always wondered why Japanese people aren't laughing in the cinema at jokes.

A friend once told me that his Japanese girlfriend thought he should open his can of coke before the cinema started. It would have been bad manners to open it during the movie and make a sound.

Even though the disaster in Japan was one of the worst in history, "the closest thing to chaos was
a man cutting in line." That's just mindblowing.

My friend's neighbour from Thailand that's an architect was just about to leave the country and said:
-"If this earthquake would have happened to Thailand, millions would have died."

Because the houses in Japan are better prepared for earthquakes, the death toll didn't get as extreme as it could have been in many other countries.

Lately the news have been all about the fear of nuclear radiation, and weather it's dangerous or not outside of Fukushima.

I met a Swedish woman the other day in Sydney that had a flight ticket to Tokyo in April and told her that I thought it would be safe by then. She responded:

-"Are you sure? I don't want my future kids to have 10 eyes you know..."

Some Japanese people I know has been a bit upset about "how the western media is
over exaggerating the news" to create more panic and sell more magazines.

On the other hand, many people outside Japan think that the Japanese government might not be telling the people how serious this situation really is.

The Japanese stock market dropped with $700 billion in three days.
Japan makes most of the world's electronics. If the Japanese government had to tell everybody to get out of the world's most populated city Tokyo, would the whole country collapse?

Something on a more personal level is the story about four year old Kaya. In the magazine Marie Claire there's an article about children rooms in different parts of the world. Kaya lives in a small apartment in Tokyo with decorations and dresses made by her mother all over her room.

Most things on walls and in shelves fell down during the earthquake in Tokyo.
I don't know what Kaya's room looks like now, but hopefully not like some of my friends rooms.

Japan, and the world, has a lot of problems to take care of.
There's some interesting old Japanese sayings that has defined the Japanese people in many ways.

A pretty sad one about how a Japanese person should adjust to society is:
“The nail that sticks up will be hammered down.”

But there's some that shows the Japanese people's spirit in this situation:
“We learn little from victory, much from defeat.”

“Fall seven times, stand up eight.”  

Australia Street Snaps

This girl walked by together with some people in Japanese haircuts on Sydney's
main street George Street.

Maybe she had been walking in the "Sydney Zombie Parade". About three thousand zombies marched around to raise money for the Brain Foundation of Australia this Saturday. 

These three friends carrying a "Call of Duty"-Poster were a bit inspired by Japanese fashion.

Their style reminds me about the American rock band Paramore. I haven't thought of it before,
but those haircuts would look pretty "Gyaru-O" with some more hair spray.

Happy guy handing out newspapers at Melbourne Central Station.

Staff at the Superdry store in Sydney.

Superdry is an English brand with Japanese theme. Sometimes you can buy their products in G-Star Raw stores in Sweden, but I've never seen a whole store with their products before.

They have a lot of nice clothes and stuff, but unfortunatley I'm pretty poor
after buying flight tickets and paying for hotel rooms.

There's a lot of birds here by the way. I got a little scared when I saw this one walking around at a parking lot close to me...

This parrot looked more colorful and friendly. It's owner walked around and talked with it! ^^
A school class of kids came by and thought it was the funniest thing they had ever seen. =D

Having Trouble Viewing This Blog?

Most people visiting this blog uses Firefox according to the statistics, and then I think it looks okey.
I use Firefox when I write the blog posts so I guess that's the web browser it looks best with.

But when I view it in Internet Explorer, it sometimes looks like at the picture above. A lof of the text
is appearing on the side of some pictures which makes it really hard to read.

Are you experiencing any troubles viewing this blog?

Is there anybody that use Blogger and recognizes this problem?

The Longest Line Ever

If you're on a student visa in Japan and don't want it to be canceled when you go to another country, you need to get a "re-entry permit". In order to get the re-entry permit I had to stand in a line that you won't even experience at Disneyland.

I got up early this morning to get to the immigration office, since I thought there might be a lot of people there because of the recent earthquake, tsunami and nuclear threats. But I still got a shock when I got there and saw that it was packed with people waiting outside to even get to the lines inside. It's usually almost empty there.

I felt just like the women on the picture when I realized that the line were stretching all around the 
big building, and then it started raining. 

When I got to the back of the building, there was so much people that I thought I would never
make it today. It's also sad to see so many leave Japan, but since of this was a line for getting a permit for enter Japan again, they are all planning to come back.

Waiting for such a long time got me hungry so I went to a convenience store to buy food while a guy were holding my spot in the line. But it was another long line in the store... :P

And there was no point with standing in the line because all they had left in the store were potato chips and soda... The foretold "earthquake diet" had become reality! :(

They had just got a new issue of Men's Egg in the store, so I looked through that instead of lining
up for food. I really liked the style of Kiona(right) and Ryoma(left) in the Street Fashion section.
Kiona's hat... :)

After finally reaching the end of the line you had to wait for your papers to be taken care of.
While waiting, it started coming news about that radiation would reach Tokyo later that night,
so some people got a bit stressed out.

A foreign guy started to scream that everybody should calm down and be quiet. In this video you
can see the crazy amount of people that were waiting. Many wearing masks.

Most of the people were Chinese, but I also met a lot of Swedish people from my school in the line. My plane were going to Australia the next day. I had planned to go to the airport some hours before the departure, but people in the line said that I would never make it then, because the trains there might not even be running.

As soon as I got my re-entry permit I packed my things and left for the airport. But they were right, the trains out there weren't running. I had to take a pretty expensive taxi, but the taxi driver understood the hard situation and gave me a discount.

The Taxi driver had never been outside of Japan even though his job was to drive people to the airport. He seemed calm despite the situation and showed the small island where he was born on
his GPS.

Me: -"Do you think everything will be okey?"

Taxi driver: -"Things are okey in Tokyo now, but it will take a long time for places in northern Japan to get back to normal."

Me: -"This must be bad for Japan's economy."

Taxi driver: -"Oh, it's already horrible."

Ever since I got interested in Japanese culture, I've heard that their economy is bad, after the economic bubble burst in the end of 1989. But Japan has more money saved up than any other country in the world and doesn't owe anybody money. They also have more than ¥11 trillion($135 billion) still available for emergency support, used to help banks after the economic crisis 2008.

And people seems to have so much money in Japan, always shopping like there's no tomorrow.
But they might need that money now, because rebuilding all the destroyed houses will cost a lot and factories of companies like Sony, Toyota and Honda had to close for some days losing huge amounts.
The cost of shutdowns only at Toyota has been $74 million a day. 

But something positive is that the multibillion-dollar recovery program might jump start the countries economy, according to the article. Many young people feel motivated to help, and Japan has been through disasters before.

When I reached the airport in the night, it was clear that I wasn't the only one staying the night there. Many people had come to the airport without any flight tickets, fearing that they wouldn't be able to get there later.

Since everything was closed during the night at the airport, and people might not have been able to find food in stores, they gave out water and biscuits.

Seeing that made me feel like I was in a third-world country, and not Japan where they dress their dogs in brand clothing and give them birthday cakes.

In some interviews, Japanese people express more embarrassment than fear, about what has happened to their country. Other countries are afraid that Japan might be too proud to ask the world about enough aid.

There was people sleeping and checking the news everywhere, waiting for their flights.
Watching Korean drama was also very popular.

This guy slept in a Louis Vuitton blanket.

After news of a new explosion in a nuclear reactor, a lot of people put on masks and it was a pretty scary atmosphere. Here's a big family ready to get out.

Once I got up in the air I felt a big relief, but was of course also very worried for the people in Japan. 
I hope they will have managed to solve the nuclear crisis by April 4th when I come back. So much respect to the "Kamikaze-workers" on the nuclear plants that offer their lives to solve this situation.

I had a transit in Malaysia where they had a rain forest in the middle of the airport. I've never been
in one, so it was cool to at least experience a fake one.

Hopefully the nuclear radiation will never reach Australia, but there's other things you have to watch out for here. Like this huge crocodile shown in it's actual size on a poster in Melbourne's airport.

I'm in Sydney right now, where they just released iPad 2.

There's an enormous demand for it, and the most important parts are actually made
in Japanese factories that had to shut down, which might cause some trouble for Apple.

The line for getting an iPad 2 in Sidney was maybe even longer than the line in the Japanese immigration office for getting a re-entry permit. 

One street wasn't enough for it. At one part of the line you even had to cross the street to get over to the next part of the line. Some people in the front of the line said that they had been in line for 9 hours now...

Here's a video where I walk next to line, from the beginning to the end.
It felt like it was never going to end...

They had got thousands of iPad 2's, and the next day they were all sold out. They weren't sure
when they would get new ones.