Sunday, July 19, 2015

Please Don't Pee in the Pool!

Happy Marine Day (海の日). Today's national holiday is the first day many pools, including my local Osawano Swimming Pool, open in Japan.


I'm excited to add swimming to list of exercises I enjoy. Swimming in summer is much more relaxing and enjoyable than running. It's also easier on the leg muscles than cycling and easier on the arms than weight lifting.

But - and this is a really big BUT - since it is a free, community pool, there is chance that I might be swimming in something more than water. That is, people of all ages have a tendency to pee (小便をする) in swimming pools instead of getting out and using the restrooms (お手洗い).

I'm sure you, loyal English impact blogger reader, don't do that. But if you do, know that your urine (小便) reacts with the chlorine (塩素) (CI) in the pool to create a toxic chemical called cyanogen chloride.

It's also a good idea to take a shower before and and after you swim. Showering before entering a pool can wash away the dirt and sweat from your body so the water will be cleaner for everyone in the pool.

And after you finish, showering can wash off the chlorine or cyanogen chloride from your body.

Have fun swimming this summer, everyone, and remember it is a public swimming pool, not your own secret toilet.

John
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Sunday, July 12, 2015

Close but no Martini

You might have heard the English saying (諺), "Close but no cigar (惜しい)." It means to come close to winning something, but not actually win.

In my case, "Close but no martini" seems more appropriate since I am trying to watch all of the James Bond in order without falling asleep.

My original plan was to simply enjoy each movie, from the original Dr. No (1962) to Skyfall (2012) in anticipation of the newest one Spectre in December 2015.

After falling asleep midway through Dr. No several times, though, I realized I had a serious problem. The whole series of movies is boring. And I really mean that. For all of the action - the chase scenes & the fight scenes, for example - and the beautiful Bond girls, there is an equal amount of slow moving plot lines and boring, awkward dialogue. Don't believe me? Think I am exaggerating? I dare you to try to watch one from the 60's or 70's late at night and make it all the way through two hours awake. 

Beginning with Dr. No all the way to Octopussy (1983) - well, actually Never Say Never Again, which came out later that year but was not released by Eon Productions - I have tried but failed to stay awake in one sitting.

I thought I had a good chance with A View to a Kill (1985) since it was the first Bond movie I ever saw in a movie theater. And I was doing pretty well until the very end when it seemed to take Bond forever to get to the bomb to save Silicon Valley. I was in La-La Land (寝る) while he was saving the day and making out with Bond girl Tanya Roberts.

But I'm not worried. I still have 10 more chances, and the movies have gotten far more exciting and cooler than before. 

I'll get that martini yet. Shaken, not stirred. 
John
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Wednesday, July 1, 2015

In Our Garden


It's a beautiful morning here in Toyama City after a night of rain. That means two things. First, I don't have to water (水をやる) my vegetable & herb garden. Second, I can go jogging for 90 minutes, my July goal.

I'm overjoyed that I don't have to go out and fill two 10-liter buckets with water from a nearby rice field's irrigation canal (田んぼの用水堀). Mother Nature took care of that job for me this morning.

And while I'd rather be running than blogging, this is a good chance to tell you a little more about my garden.

When my English impact students ask me what I am growing, I usually say, "Everything from peanuts to watermelons (落花生からスイカまで)," since I don't want to list everything.

But with this short blog, I can put everything down in writing and send a link to my students to read if anyone asks in the future. I'm also including the herbs that my wife chose (and I water) since we often use them for cooking. The number of each plant is in the parenthesis (). Here goes (行くぞ):

fruits & vegetables
peanuts (4)
mini-red tomato (3)
mini-yellow tomato (2)
eggplant (3)
green pepper (3)
various (いろいろ) pepper plants, including spicy red peppers and paprika (8)
cucumber (2)
yacon (1)
bitter melon (4)
green onion (80)
snap pea (?)
sweet potato (?)
okra (13)
strawberry (?)
asparagus (?)
wasabi (1)
watermelon (2)

herbs (1 each)
rosemary
basil
shiso
thyme
Italian parsley
Japanese parsley
rose geranium
peppermint
fennel
coriander


I think that's everything. And now it's running time. Here I go!

John
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