Sunday, 26 October 2008

Training in Japan

Just got back from 2 weeks training in Japan that company provided. It was still quite warm over there so I did not not need a long sleeve jacket at all.

Saturday, 11 October 2008

Average over 40

Killing Joke still have massive followers all over the world since 80's.  Fans grew up together with the band, and now they are middle aged.

Beer guts and bold. Yes most of them are. I saw a couple of young lads who looked like teenagers but they were with their mums and dads.  Isn't there a young Killing Joke fan?

I am sure more people can be fit in the venue if they were all skinny kids!

Owner of Malicious Damage record, which is a debut label of Killing Joke, was there too with his wife and his daughter.  It is nice to see a rock gig could be a family night out for some.

The band, on the other hand, was looking good for their age too. I was impressed the front man Jazz Coleman, who lost 2 stones recently, were very active on the stage though I always think his dancing routine is a bit boring... or unique?!

It was my first time to see the original base player. He looked very happy being with the band and very active on the stage.  But for some reason I felt he was too excited. Almost as if he was a Killing Joke fan who was picked to play with the band recently.   Anyway, it doesn't matter.

All in all it was a reasonably good night out despite I am not a Joker fan.

Sunday, 28 September 2008

Busy Weekends

Our weekends are so busy every week.  I don't know why.

I wake up before 07:00. By 8:00 or 8:30 we are usually driving down to Oxleas' Woods.  Takes only 15 - 20 min. to get there.  Walk around in the Woods about 40 min. Sometimes we have a little socialisation at Oxleas Cafe with few usual doggy gangs and their humans.

On the way back, we drop by at Pets at Home to top up Woody's food.  Back home around 10:30 - 11:00

Have a breakfast/lunch around 11:00.

Then we can relax few hours. But these days, I am working on my assignments during this time.

Light snack around 13:00

Little rest

By 15:00, Woody dog is ready to go out again for "migration walk". That's what we call it as it is a long lead walk around our neighbourhood.

It's around 17:00 by the time we get back home from the walk.

Start cooking and eat dinner around 18:00.

Watch TV/DVD afterwards then, go to bed by 22:00!

This is only Saturdays.

Sundays are even busier.

The same until breakfast/lunch. Then we start laundry and go grocery shopping.  No relaxing time there!

come back and light snack around 13:00

Finishing off laundries.

a couple of hours rest, then "Migration walk" around 15:00.

Back home 17:00

Dinner 18:00

Watching TV/DVD for few hours. (Recently I am doing some assignment work during this time as well !)

Bed time by 22:00 sometime even earlier because we are so exhausted over the busy weekend schedule !

I had a day off on Friday since I am so busy at weekends and needed solid hours to finish off some of assignments !

Oh shouldn't spend time writing blog like this.... never mind.

Sunday, 21 September 2008

Don't, Don't, DON'T !!

 

"Don't do it, don't, DON'T !!" shout a neighbour, to her grandchild. Then, often crying follows. 

There is a couple living near our house whom their grand children visit frequently over weekends.

I am not sure what is wrong with those kids but they seems to be shouted at by the grandmother all the time.

Is it their fault?

Although I am sure children push their boundaries whenever an opportunity arises, it is, I think, down to adults how to handle the situation in a positive way.

Every time I hear her shout, it effects me even though I am not the one being shouted at. Unfortunately, the routine often happens on a lovely sunny weekend when everybody opens windows or chilling out in a garden. 

I cannot help wondering how the shout effects these children.  When a child gets aggressive or not following what is being told, what would be an effective way of stopping an unwanted behaviour?

I read many dog training books but non of them suggested to shout at dogs. Often it encourages positive reinforcement in a good behaviour to remove an unwanted behaviour as they only go deaf to a handlers command or make them even more aggressive.

I am sure humans are the same.  Sad thing is the grandmother does not seem to realise how her behaviour effecting those children... and don't forget, her neighbours too.

They are such a nice couple. I wish I had a courage to tell her to stop shouting, but I will never do it because I am so scared to be shouted at by her !!

Saturday, 20 September 2008

Totally Kaviar

 

Fishy spreads from Scandinavia called Kaviar is always comes in a tube. I think it's smoked cod roe mixed with something like mayonnaise, though I have never figured out what exactly is because ingredients are all written in Norwegian or Swedish. Whatever that is, it is an extremely familiar flavour for Japanese.  Salty, fishy smoky, and it goes very well with a toast.  Japanese loves salted code roe called "Tarako" which we mainly eat with rice but also used in a variety of cooking.

Few weeks ago, on my way back from Stavanger in Norway, I managed to purchase 3 tubes of Kaviar which I have been enjoying so much on a toast or as a sandwich spread.

I don't know why it does not widely available in UK despite Brits are a nation of fish lovers.  I have only seen it once in a Swedish food shop attached to Ikea in Croydon, and it looks like a Swedish shop in London called Totally Swedish sells this as well. 

Unfortunately I can't ask my colleagues in Oslo to bring it over since the tube is more than 100 ml which exceeds the onboard limit. I was stopped at an airport security in Stavanger and was asked to check my luggage in. :(

Oh my favourite Kaviar, when can I see you next !?

Click the picture below to watch an advert of Kavia

smartKaviar_spot

Sunday, 10 August 2008

Scotland here we come

 

Woody and I fell in love with Scotland about 5 years ago. Since then, we are visiting “almost” every summer, trying to explore different part of Scotland. The reason we love there so much is the scenery. It's different from England. There are mountains although compare to Japanese mountains they are like hills but yet, they are called mountains, officially.

This year, we booked the same cottage as last year; where it is located in the centre of Spey side distilleries. Despite we are not whiskey drinkers, we do not mind being surrounded by finest whiskeys in the world.

Our cottage is located near Aberlour, where famous Walker’s shortbread biscuits are made. It’s a very small village. You would not believe that the world famous biscuit factory and the head office are located such a rural country side like this. Aberlour whisky distillery is just around the corner from the biscuit factory as well.

As this is second time for us to stay at this cottage, Woody dog settled in very quickly. He did not even mind sleeping separate room from us, which is very unusual for him.

Tomorrow, we will climb Ben Rinnes again. Second try!! Last year, we climbed up and thought it was the summit, but at the end, we found that the summit was further away. This year, hopefully the weather is better and clear view from the mountain. We would definitely conquer the summit as well !!

Saturday, 28 June 2008

Vintage port

 

I was invited for a lunch by one of our supplier on Friday along with my colleagues.

Unlike most companies, their lunch invitation is always strictly to girls. They are working class men working for a small freight forwarding company, who did well and made themselves very rich. They don't pretend being a posh, they are proud of their up bringing and proud of having a good life.

Venue was an Italian restaurant in the city of London. We sat at a round table, started a conversation.  I soon noticed that they are all wearing a bling! and behaving like they own the restaurant.  (apparently they use the restaurant very often because it is so close to their office)

The lunch reminded me a scene of "the Sopranos". So, if they were the Soprano gang, are we girls from "Bada-Bing" ??  They are very nice people but it was almost like a comic.

One of my colleague from Portugal told them she only drinks Vintage Port.  Here, it was a challenge for Tony Soprano, he quickly called a restaurant manager and requested a bottle of vintage port.  When my colleague said "it's nice" ...Tony looked so happy and proud of himself.

Hot Summer Day

Ice Cream !

First thing it came to my mind when I stepped outside home this afternoon.  We were heading off to Tower Bridge, walking along the river, passing many people sitting outside seats of pubs and cafes, having lunch. June is usual the best time during the Summer in London, unlike in Japan, constant rain through out the month.

So many people were out & about there by the Mayors building. There was a tourist behind me asking if the shop takes Euros.... No lady,no, this is UK. We are refusing to take Euros, why do we have to take yours?? As she sounded like American, perhaps she did not want to waste her Euros before getting back home.

Luckily for me, since I had the pound in my purse, I managed to get my Magnum Ice cream... though it was 1.80 (ouch!), made me happy.

Saturday, 3 May 2008

Saturday, 12 April 2008

Book Purchase

We found these books when we dropped by to Pets at home on the way back from Woods walk this morning.

Dog Whisperer

Friday, 11 April 2008

Nintendo Next generation

News clip from "Nintendo next generation conference" in October 2007. Sorry 1st video is all in Japanese but it's included some interviews of Nintendo CEO. According to him the secret of Nintendo's success is that they tried to target the people who had never interested in games. By doing so, they expanded the market, and are now lead of game companies.

2nd video is advert clips which reflects the aim that Nintendo CEO explained in the interview.

 

YouTube Tags: ,

Spring Snow

We had snow last Sunday. Woke up in the white world. It's April, so strange.  This year, it's been so warm through winter and suddenly snow on Easter weekend and last Sunday!! Must be the Global Warming.....

YouTube Tags: ,,

Sunday, 30 March 2008

Kent Air Crash

Air plane crashed to a house in Kent. Luckily no one was in the house at the time.

BBC clip

More image from BBC

 

YouTube Tags:

Saturday, 29 March 2008

Our local dog lovers

"Sorry would've been nice"

When my husband was walking away, the pug owner said it out laud. Just enough to be able to hear it but far away enough from him.

Apparently, the pug was off leash & running up to our dog Woody and gave him a look. Our dog on the other hand performed a usual drama and gave the pug a fight back.

Woody was on the lead, the pug was off. Please somebody tell me whose fault it could be if there was a dog incident there.

The pug owner was only shouting from far away.

"Come over here!!"

It seems that some owners with little dogs think their dogs will not be blamed for whatever they do to bigger dogs. It's not fair.

I know our dog has some issues but that is why he is on the lead in the streets and mostly in the park unless we find suitable environment for him. Being responsible for what he does.

On other occasion, there was a staffy dog waiting his owner out side our local shop, off-lead. Off lead is OK as long as the dog is under control. however when the dog saw our Woody, he tried to make a move. The owner quickly realised and came out from the shop to make his dog sit. Very good so far. But then amazing thing had happened. The owner went back into the shop.

Obviously soon after the owner went inside the shop, the dog was charging across the street(what if a car drove passed!) and tried to gave Woody an attack. Luckily, my husband had managed to block the dog with his leg and made him off course.

The owner was running crossed the street and drag his dog away.....then,

"Suppose it's my fault, is it!?"

as he was walking away, again, laud enough to hear it but far enough from my husband.

No apology, no lead & not taking responsibility.....

I heard, in Philippine, you will need a licence to be a dog owner. Financial check and living environment are checked up. For bigger dogs, owners to be is mandatory to take dog training classes as well. It sounds like a very good idea to me.

Lucky dogs on a long distance hike

I found this vide diary of team doggiebag through YouTube. One man and his dog on a log trail hike for over 7 months. Here is a clip from the video diary.  You can see more on the trail journal here

 

Friday, 28 March 2008

Monday, 24 March 2008

Can you trust your life on your dog?

 

The answer is no for my dog but there are many clever dogs out there...

 

YouTube Tags:

While Humans are away....

There seems to be few good alternatives now a day in stead of kennel.  Dog camp idea is brilliant, your dog might not want to come back home!

 

 

Technorati Tags: ,

Saturday, 22 March 2008

A Happy Dog in Backcountry

 

My favourite video clip from google video. Backcountry snowboarding in Mt Shasta CA, USA with a dog.

 

Headcam in action

map from USGS website 

 

Photo from blooming rose press

YouTube Tags: ,

Friday, 21 March 2008

Dog Whisperer

Taiming the wild


Finding forcus


Power of the pack

Wednesday, 19 March 2008

Snowboarding Dog...So cute

 

Dog is not actually snowboarding, but following.

    

 

Here is famous skateboarding bull dog doing snowboarding and skim boarding.

 

YouTube Tags: ,

Sunday, 16 March 2008

Disappearing Act

As we were just about to proud of ourselves that we had managed to keep Dixie in control during our weekend Woods walk, she disappeared. It was all too good to be true, even towards the end of the walk, Dixie followed us to Oxley Woods Cafe and had a little socialisation with other dogs. We should have hooked her to the lead then. When we moved to the other side where doggy water bowl is, she smelled something and disappeared to the other side of the woods.

We optimistically called her at first, expecting her to appear and come back, but she didn't......for a long time.

It was raining, and everybody felt it was time to go home, except our lady Dixie.

Me and Woody dog were waiting inside the car as soon as I realised that Dixie could be deep into the woods. Woody, on the other hand, stood in the rain and kept calling her. We did not even hear her usual howling sound. Dixie could be anywhere.

Once, we thought we saw her far away in the field, but it was somebody else's dog. 40 minutes had passed with no sign of Dixie, suddenly, Woody heard Dixie howling. She was chasing something. Woody even saw her charging across a small path, so quickly run towards it but lost her again.

Another 5 or 10 minutes later , I thought it's time to get out of the car and look for Dixie. So I attached Woody dog on the lead, locked the car and walked a couple of steps.

Seriously, literally a couple of steps, and there she was, behind a parked car. I quickly hooked the other end of Woody dog's lead to Dixie -thanks to the double ended lead. Dixie looked absolutely exhausted - no surprise. I shouted Woody to let him know I found Dixie.

When we got back home, Dixie was too excited to settle for a long time. Playful and kept circling on her bed. I had seen her like that before when I visited Arundale cottage.

Anyway, it was unexpectedly long woods walk this morning but both dogs did not need second walks today, not even bothered about dinner either. Bless....

Technorati Tags: ,,

Saturday, 15 March 2008

Vista

OK, at the end, I had to buy a new Laptop PC. My previous one had kept crashing for last 6 month, and god knows how many times we had to use recovery CD-ROM. Even struggled to re-format it. Although I normally love to purchase a small stylish one, this time, I compromised to cheap and solid option.

My new Acer is absolutely gigantic. Far away from what I normally go for. It's desk top replacement laptop and even ten key pad is included. Obviously Vista operating system, which I kind of wanted avoid, but had no choice.

Vista

Vista has a fancy graphic effect, but with my minimum 1 GB RAM memory, I cannot appreciate it fully. Some operations like opening/closing software are annoyingly snow. Hopefully,that gets solved once 4 GB RAM is inserted.

My new Acer is so big and solid, I feel like it last for years, and overall it was a good purchase!

Technorati Tags: ,
Flickr Tags:

Sunday, 24 February 2008

Windows Live Writer

Now I found a free software that allow writing a blog off-line. This is my first attempt for using the software. I hope it works. You can download it from here .

Little test for inserting photo and a map as well....

Map image

I found this hat in the woods above this morning. Did anybody lose it recently?

DSC00357b

Flickr Tags: ,,,,,

Saturday, 23 February 2008

Friday, 22 February 2008

4 day work shop

It seems to be many things are called work shop these days. I was on this 4 day work shop this week to have a better under standing of expediting and inspection in oil and gas industry. What amazed me most was that expediting is a job itself, and I thought it is bit like a mafia role in a company. Those guys do not get involved in neither purchasing nor engineering, but they have a big task to make sure everything goes according to plan. Very interesting?! Apparently in some small villages in Italy, your head might get chopped off and displayed on a shelf, if you really messes up with them. That's a rumour but apparently you will see many mafia type of people around a construction site. So the head story could be not far off from real.....

Saturday, 16 February 2008

NISEKO JAN 2008



Video from our Niseko (Hokkaido Japan) snowboarding trip.

There was so much snow in Niseko, which locates 3 hour bus drive from Sapporo,North Island of Japan, Hokkaido. Although the place is "apparently" very famous for powder snow and continuous snow falls through out winter, there it was exceptional dump of snow falls from the sky to welcome us while we were.

I was born in Hokkaido but never have lived there and never fancied snow either, so as the result, I am far away from expert in sliding on the snow. I was slightly embarrassed when Woody, every now and then, mentioned in a conversation to fellow snowboarders in Shizenkan lodge that I am from Sapporo, and my grand parents and many relatives live there. Luckily no one from the bunch saw me sliding a very wide green slope with my bum sticking out like nervous penguin on ice.

Food there is absolutely brilliant. I know Japan is famous for it but even among of all the good food region in Japan, Hokkaido is one of the best, especially for sea food. The fact Niseko is not far away from Japan sea coast, plenty of fresh sea foods are delivered to the resort every day.

Rumours of "powder" was not just rumours. It was very light, deep and smooth snow, so I did not feel any icy bumps while sliding, that lifted my confident up on the board...a little.

Woody was using a type wax on his board but the snow was so cold the wax made his board so sticky and slow. He loves to fiddle with his favourite Bataleon by waxing, adjusting the binding angles and so on through out a year to have the precious board ready for its best in snow. But what he could not predict was how cold the snow was in Niseko.

Under the circumstance of minus 15 to 20 degrees C every day in the mountain even in the afternoon, with some strong side wind, your exposed skin will easily get painful and numb. Almost unbearable despite it is not the top of the mountain.

One day, a couple of days into our holiday week, we had weather that less windy and better visibility. So we decided to take one more chair-lift up to explore further in the mountain, just a little bit more.

When we got off the chair-lift and reached to the 1000 meter hut, I soon realised that a toe strap on my left binding was missing. What should we do? I could not slide down the mountain with only one foot strapped on the board?!

Naturally, we decided that I was going to wait at the 1000 meter hut and sent Woody down to the nearest shop located one slope away. 45 minutes later, I received a radio call from Woody that he was on the final chair lift to the hut.

As Woody could not find anything to fix my binding at the nearest shop, he was, at the end, bombing down the slopes to the bottom of the mountain to find another shop. He came back with a buckle in his bag, however since a part of the toe strap had completely lost due to a lose screw, the length was not enough to strap around my whole left toe.

What else could we do? I was thinking to call a mount rescue team to get me down or to take the chair lift down, but Woody insisted to go down the mountain one more time, and this time, to get a new pair of bindings for me. He knew exactly where to go for the 2nd round.

Another half an hour and a cup of tea later, my radio rang and Woody was on the final chair lift. He came back with a box of bindings which was too large to put it in his backpack, so he hand carried all the way from the bottom of the mountain, taking 3 chair lifts up to get to the hut, bless him...

It was so funny to imagine that Woody was on the chair lifts (with snowboard on), hand carrying a box of bindings! It's not an everyday sight even in Niseko is it?! No one asked him why he was carrying the box either.

Anyway, we opened the box and replaced the old bindings with the brand new ones. Obviously it was no easy task in the freezing cold environment (note: I was just observing), especially Woody without his glasses, it was almost a blindfolded operation.

Despite the uneasy condition, Woody had managed to attach the new bindings to my board, throw the cardboard box away in a hut bin, and I was finally ready to go.... I can't really remember what happened afterwards, maybe we took one more chair lift up to see the top of the mountain....but not sure.

It was the funniest thing happened in whole (only few years) of my snowboarding experience...well obviously the event did not involve me doing any snowboarding at all helped.

New in old city


There are so many old buildings in London. Some are protected by the government to reserve the look. On the other hand, among those old, you may see few very unique, modern buildings. Some of those are absolutely amazing design, some are not so impressive. This building near Tower Bridge is one of those which not quite my cup of tea. However this type of material is very popular at the moment for an apartment building in our local development area. I think it is because these are cheap, also very quick to build. But unfortunately, it reminds me of a temporaly school building. I wonder who would buy them?!

Sunday, 10 February 2008

Meat


After coming back from our Sunday woods walk, we went weekly shopping. Having watched the recent TV program about cheap meat by some famous chefs, could not help wondering about the life before those meats being on the shelves.

Saturday, 9 February 2008

Saturday afternoon

Checking camera quality of Sony Ericsson K850i

London

Tower Bridge
Another G0 Blogger testing from K850i

My shoes

Go Blogger trial from K850i

Thursday, 3 January 2008

Holiday is over

I woke up feeling a little chilly today. Apparently, according to the weather forecast, it is going to snow in London.

Today is my last day of my Christmas/New Year holiday. I am excited and nervous at the same time about busy days ahead this year. Big contract awarded last year and launching a new office will keep me extremely busy at work for sure. Can I continue teaching Japanese?

2007 has been a transition year, very busy but fulfilling one too though I did not have any time for myself. This year at least I would like to have weekends off.

This Christmas break was much needed one for both me and Woody for a long time. Good thing was we were both off, not just one of us, which made a huge difference for me psychologically. Usually Woody has off only bank holidays during Christmas & New Year period, which means that even if I was off for a certain period I couldn't totally relax and being lazy.

However this year, all we did was taking the dog out to the Woods in the morning and chilling out the rest of the day, watching DVD etc. It was very nice and exactly what we needed. We both worked so hard in 2007, deserve it

We went shopping one day to the town, though it was more like dragged ourselves to get out of the house.

Working five days and go off to Hokkaido for a week. Not too bad as a start of 2008 despite my little fear afterwards. I am pretty sure it will work out just fine!

Happy New Year!

Tuesday, 1 January 2008