In contrast to that previous image of Japan in the summer four or so years ago, here’s Canada in the winter today.
Currently the walking conditions are powdery snow on top of a layer of ice on top of deep powdery snow on top of wet cold muck. My boots never saw much use in Korea and even less in Japan. Over the last week they’ve seen more now than they have in the previous decade.
Every day I see this barny shed thingy. I keep thinking that I can get a great photo out of it but I just need to find the best place to stand. Which I think sums up photography: “Looking for the best place to stand.”
I’ve been looking at it every day while I waited to get to the bottom of my horrible internal problems. It was my stomach and not my heart, thankfully. It took eight months to find out what was wrong with my stomach. Well, it took three and a half months and the rest of the time was waiting out a clerical error. Hiatal Hernia. It’s a pretty miserable thing because it means that my only real option is to eat everything that doesn’t taste good and try to sleep standing up.
On the bright side of things, it means that I’m armed with knowledge about how to deal with it and I’m free to start the process into getting back to my life in Asia. Sadly, Japan is now out of my budget and Taiwan doesn’t usually hire from overseas, so it’s looking like South Korea will be my next destination after all. I’ve already started the process, my fingerprints in an inbox at the RCMP headquarters in Ottawa.
Years ago, and my memory of this may be faulty, Interpol caught a Canadian child rapist in Cambodia. Turned out he was an ESL teacher in Korea at the time. Since foreigners are suspect at the best of times there, the government forced a large number of requirements upon applicants. Now, I can agree that it used to be incredibly easy to get a work visa there. You just had to show up and your boss took care of the rest. I used that ease several times myself. But looking over the steps now and realizing that you need to get permission just to simply apply… Well, last I knew of the case, that child rapist would have gotten through anyway.
At least they ditched the “interview at the Korean Embassy” requirement.
I view pets in the same way I view children and lovers: They’re great when someone else has to take care of them.
Not that they lack their charms. I just find all three groups draining after a while and need my Me Time to rebalance. I don’t envy parents in any way, shape, or form. And I salute them for being willing to put in the time and effort to (hopefully) make better human beings than they are. May Superman grant you all his blessings.
As for pets: Screw all that poop-scooping and fur covering everything you own.
Snow makes everything look nice. Even Seoul looked nice in a snowstorm and Seoul looks as nice as you’d expect for something covered in industrial waste. Then snow becomes a brownish sludge that makes your travel a miserable hell.
But for the first few hours? Lovely.
This is Nagasaki. The first thing you see when leaving the bus and/or train station is a hill full of dead people. If you’re the superstitious sort I suppose that might put you off, but it’s a lovely city. I rank it highly in my list of places in Japan I’d be happy to live in.
As I type this a combo of sleet and snow is pelting down outside. It’s still a bit too early in the season for it to stay on the ground for any length of time, but winter has pretty much arrived in Nova Scotia.
Snow, as lovely as it is, can be a major inconvenience. Making people late for work, forcing services to close, making leaving your home near impossible, and causing numerous accidents and injuries. The relative lack of it in East Asia was one of the main things I liked about living there. Snow was a pleasant and fun surprise in the normally grey-brown winters there. Korea became especially dingy and dour in the winter months. Even the streets full of neon seemed depressed. It made for nice photography though if you’re the sort who thinks “interesting” is better than “pretty”. (You should.) Miyazaki was far enough south that winter was rarely colder than ten degrees and few of the trees shed their leaves. With a number of plants that bloomed in cool weather, it stayed colorful year round there.
The picture above, if I recall correctly, was taken on January first at seven a.m.. It melted within the hour and would be the only snowfall for the next two years.
I only wore my boots three times in my four and a half years there. And only because my shoes were still wet from the rain.