31 May 2011

More water levels

I hung out with the Life & Gardening Club (my translation of 生活情報部) today. They were stylishly prepared so we could walk between venues to support the endeavours of the school's sport clubs.

I'll have a good editing session with all the sporting and other pictures tomorrow. For now, here's another Oda river 小田川 post-typhoon comparison, albeit not quite as tight on the same angle as the previous one. The top picture is from May 5th.

30 May 2011

Leave the house!

For all my complaining about the weather recently it seemed a sin to waste this beautifully cool yet sunny afternoon. And now that it's sort of summer and the sun doesn't go down just after one arrives home, really, was there any excuse to not go for a bit of a cycle?

View Larger Map

I didn't plan to go very far, I just wanted to get out to take some pictures. So it was just the bike and the helmet, nothing else fancy, and I even forgot to take something warm. But in the constant inner dialogue between my lazy-self and my explorer-self—"I guess we can go back now..."; "Yes, okay, soon, but what's around the next bend? Just the next one, come oooonnnnn..."—the explorer won out until I was genuinely cold and wondering how much longer decent light would last. And besides, by then I had gone past the cement and the trash disposal places and reached the small settlement after it I'd seen on Google maps. I wasn't sure how the road, now a narrow single track, continued on, and well, it didn't seem the time to go and get myself lost. Never start travelling down a steep hill if you're not sure where you're going. There may be other hills beyond that that are between you and your final destination, and you don't want to find out about them when it's getting dark.

So this is just another slideshow of stuff I like looking at, you know, piles of disorganised tools and materials and just general crap that people like to hoard.

There are also some views, like the stitched together ones taken from a house situated above the expressway. And speaking of stitching, the first picture is of the new dressing rooms behind the Uchiko-za, with a neat new pathway to complement it.

On the less organised side, I especially liked the cans of some kind of solvent—maybe paint thinner—that someone seems to have given up on. I liked the first few, and was ready to move along, but then I couldn't believe my luck when there was a big pile just around the corner. It seems the person can't even be bothered to fold them flat anymore.

I also saw my second snake here ever, writhing in the road. I'm not sure if the truck that passed by just before I saw it maybe hit it... it was moving quite strangely. But he or she made it into the bushes eventually, so good luck, buddy.

Total distance: 12.3km
Lowest point: 40m
Highest point: 360m

Water levels

Here's some bad Photoshop to illustrate the rise in the Oda river 小田川 water level since this weekend's typhoon. The picture on the left is from Friday afternoon and the one on the right is from this afternoon.


This is the fourth and final instalment related to travel from the 1970s Die Huisgenoot. The other three are here, here, and here. But never fear, many more pages with other themes are left.

This time we have a bit on Italy. Which at some point in my young days I decided was the number one country that I want to visit someday, and I suppose it still is. So here's to hoping that happens, if only so I can say I've been to Namibia (doesn't really count!), Japan and Italy.

Fly with Alitalia to versatile Italy

Skiing and swimming. Frescos and fishing.

Chianti and Dante. Modern design and antique craft. Artistic fashion and scenic beauty. Italy has something for everyone.

The antique and the modern. Music and song. Sun and snow.

Alitalia has as many tour plans as Italy has sides. Fly with us to versatile Italy. There's so much to see and do.

Visit Florence, birthplace of the Renaissance, world famous today as a European fashion centre.

Rome, where it all began—and where it's still happening today. (Look at an Alfa Romeo on the Appian Way.)

Milan, where two peaks represent two cultures: the Gothic Duomo and the Tower of Pirelli.

Venice. Versatility itself. In house upon house on every channel, grace and style figure in a hundred-and-one ways.

Whether you like ancient cities, or modern hangouts, the Alps and lakes in the north, or the sunny beaches of the south, Alitalia has the tour for you.

Here's another reason you'll want to fly with us. We fly to Rome eight times a week in association with South African Airways. On Friday nights Alitalia's "Africa-shrinker" flies you directly to Rome in under 10 hours.

For Alitalia the seventies mean the beginning of great new things in the sky. Our fleet of aeroplanes are some of the best — all of them jets.

We are in Dimension '70, the era of the supersonic jets. Italy included.



29 May 2011

Educational times

I feel like the pictures I'm about to show you are the last evidence in this world that once upon a time it used to not rain absolutely all the time. I didn't step any further outside than my balcony today. And I was super relieved that I could keep it that way this evening by inventing an edible dinner with the bit of food that was around.

These pictures are also significant in other ways though. This is probably the most educational field trip I've been on while in Japan. It certainly beats the awful zoo, hands down. I even managed to vaguely learn some things, when I could follow bits of the Japanese explanations. And it all happened right in our own backyard! (See three turquoise pins.)

View Uchiko, Ehime, Japan in a larger map

We visited a water purification facility first. I have to admit that when I came here the concept of don't-throw-your-cooking-oil-down-the-drain was new to me. But now I'm a dutiful user of kitchen towels for small amounts or this stuff for larger amounts. Anyone know what that is called generally, or in English for that matter? As you can see the white pellets give your used oil a nice "solid" face so you can take it out and throw it in your burnable trash.

After the water we went to see how the trash of private companies is disposed of. It seems general trash and company trash are handled separately, even though the contents aren't necessarily that different.

A bit down the hill from the trash incinerator they use the ash to make cement. There was also a very smelly ingredient in the one room where we all just popped our heads in and back out. Not sure what that was about.

On my way back to the office I saw a guy who had built himself one hell of a raised bed for some vegetable farming.

And then it rained. And rained, and... rained.

Stepchild of the menu?

My friend Erns Grundling went to sample some sheep's head at a world record attempt in a small town of South Africa. My attempt at an English transcription is below the video.

Stepchild of the menu?

Erik de Milander, organiser: Hino Citrusdal/Clanwilliam Toyota Sheep's Head Eating World Record Attempt

EdM: Our goal today is to prepare and of course enjoy eating more than 500 sheep's heads here on this fine premises of the Bushman's Cave Bergteater. Now, we started this morning with a few guests of honour whom we specially invited to this event—just people from old age homes in the surrounding towns and those who maybe grew up with sheep's heads in former years, but who no longer have the privilege and opportunity to eat it these days as a result of maybe the availability and also because it has become sort of outmoded to eat sheep's head.

Woman1: Already from childhood days we learnt to eat sheep's heads.

Woman2: I'm really looking forward to eating this little tongue. I've got a real craving for it.

Man1: I eat everything, the eye and the heart and everything I eat. It's just here where it comes to the snotkoeker* that the business isn't so pleasant there.

Man2: Very tasty.

EdM: This "stepchild of the menu" is a king's feast which we're partaking of here today and man, I'm telling you, I've already polished off two of these [heads] today. I don't think I'll eat again before Tuesday because I'm quite satisfied.

Erns Grundling, Weg-journalist

EG: The sheep's eye guys. Here we go.

EG: The eye was a bit weird, it tasted like marrow, I just kept telling myself 'it's marrow, marrow, marrow'. And then I had the brains for dessert which... they always call the brains the pudding. Now initially it tasted a bit like—I just got the idea of plaque, because it had a sort of strange, sticky consistency. I did my part for the record attempt, let's see what number we reach by the end of today's proceedings.

EdM: We got 546 sheep's heads from sheep, prepared them, and we cooked it on one day, and presented it to our guests, ready to eat.

Total eaten: 438.

EdM: We're back next year in all our glory and then we're really going to try for that last pushover try (EG: in injury time) —in injury time, we'll score.

Video: Le Roux Schoeman and Erns Grundling.

*I'm going to go ahead and assume the man means penis.

24 May 2011


While more meaningful blog posts are gestating (not literally), I'll post another page from the 1970s Die Huisgenoot. This one is also travel related—as was this and this—and for all you know I'll be telling you more actual and current things about Europe in the near future. But not yet!

See Europe on the cheap.

(only R3.95 a day!*)

You can see 28 exciting European cities — and pay only R3.95 for bed and breakfast.

This small amount gives you access to some of Europe's most popular tourist hotels and in many cases includes private bathrooms and a choice of free sightseeing tours. (When it's not included, private bathrooms can be arranged at a small cost.)

Plan your holiday route and discuss it with your nearest IATA travel agent or SAA office. They will book your accommodation before you depart.

This exclusive coupon holiday scheme means fewer problems with foreign money and less puzzling over tedious arrangements from day to day — because your hotel bills are paid in advance.

This means you have all the time in the world to come and go as you please, and to see what you want to see.

And, if you want to balance your budget even more easily, you can fly economy class with the SAA 19- to 45-day season or 90-day all-year excursions, with up to 28 places to stay at little to no extra airfare. And you can make use of all these benefits with the "Fly Now, Pay Later" scheme.

*Plus 10% service fee

We set your course


And also something for boys

I wanted to include some designs for boys for this past weekend's face painting efforts, so there were snakes and snails in amongst the hearts and butterflies. Perhaps the best culmination of this was when my friend painted a huge snake on one boy's forearm, he said it looked like a king snake, and she added a crown. Yes!

A big thanks to my friends who came out to help with this!

20 May 2011

They have it all

With a big trip coming up, I've got travel on my mind. More from the 1970s Die Huisgenoot.

Envy them.

They have it all. On board some of the big postal ships en route to Europe.

Sun. Sea. A deck bathed in silver moonlight. Railings etched upon a starry sky. Background music by the ship's band. A holiday in its own right, with only a phosphorescent trail to show that there's a destination ahead. It's all there. All that is wanting, is you. You on the dance floor. You in the conversation. You in this whole wonderworld. No, it doesn't have to be your bean to Never Never Land. Mail the coupon and leave the whole tedious world behind.

Union-Castle/Safmarine's postal ships regularly depart from Durban, East London, Port Elizabeth and Cape Town...to Las Palmas and Brittain.

Please send me a free Castlemarine holiday booklet — a colourful, interesing collection of reading matter and useful information for the traveller, as well as the full particulars of seasonal and excursion tariffs and trips to Europe and for coastal trips.
NAME _______________________________________
ADDRESS ____________________________________


Every ship a wonderworld.

19 May 2011

Do you like?

If a Japanese friend or acquaintance asks you whether you like something there's a reasonable probability of you receiving the object in question in the near future.

Last week a lady who lives in the same area as us—and thus joined in the same local sports day and after party as us—, but who also works at my main school sometimes, asked me if I like onions...

Sure, onions are pretty much my favourite spring vegetable.
Well, I'm going to give you some onions.
Sweet, thank you very much.
In fact, if you want we can go pick them right now! They're in the field just over there...
Oh no, I don't want to impose, please enjoy the party.
You're at school on Tuesday, right?

On the day, I promptly received six enormous onions, harvested that very morning, two heads of broccoli, one bag of regular peas, and one bag of snap peas.

Some time before that another acquaintance who I know through her involvement with our international association asked me if I'm interested in kimono.

Sure, it's pretty.
And if you would buy one, what colour would you go for?
Ah, good, yes, one should have something in your favourite colour. I'll let you know if there's anything on an online auction that's good for you. I like buying kimonos like that.
Why thank you.

Then the other day while we're doing some afternoon shopping she pulls over next to us. Car seat way back so there's space for her obi and the kimono she's wearing doesn't get rumpled. This is how she rolls. I've seen her in kimono more often than in regular clothes, I swear.

I have a kimono for you! When are you in the office?

It seems we missed each other on that front—I probably lied, since I forgot that my schedule was a bit backwards last week—but anyway, this morning there's a kimono wrapped up on my desk. And it's green, obviously. And with a pattern that's right up my geometrical street.

I need to do some baking to thank these Japanese superheroes. Seriously.

Retro restaurant

This evening's early dinner was served at Sharon シャロン. Since we finally made a date to visit it after a friend recommended it long ago, I fully intended to take a camera... but I didn't. At least the husband's smartphone is handy sometimes!

The food and atmosphere are super homey, the proprietors are friendly, and the retro vibes are perfect, right down to the vintage toy car collection at the door. Repeat visit required!

If you want to enjoy it too, it's located here.

Woodcut details

I had the fortune today of re-meeting a local artist who will be designing a PR poster for our town. He seems to have forgotten our very brief first meeting, so I re-received his business card.

A beautifully detailed scaled-down woodcut of Matsuyama's tram with Matsuyama castle in the background. I love the road sign that peaks in and if you look closely you can see the tram's lines printed over the trees.

I found some more about Kiyo Yamada 山田きよ (in Japanese) on this blog.

17 May 2011


When I popped in at the theatre on Sunday to see a friend perform a dance as part of the cultural programme for the day, I noticed that the place was filled with old people who were going to a lot of trouble to make themselves comfortable. They had brought their own comforters and pillows and they were arranging them on the floor seating just so. Then I realised they were there to support their friends. Karaoke stars for a few minutes on a sunny May afternoon, filling the spaces between other performances.

When you've seen it all

Look some more.

Seeing the sights of my town for the nth time recently gave me some time to take pictures of things that are graphically interesting. There are historical documents on display, a poster explaining the workings of Uchiko's kabuki theatre 内子座, a Japanese crest displayed on a roof—I hope to follow up on that book post regarding this—, medicine labels from the old pharmacy, a nice big Uchiko-brand soy sauce container, and some other bits and bobs. My favourite is the ticket for some sort of musical thing with the two cut-out faces on it.

16 May 2011

Gym lines and hula hoops

Last week we had the "day of fun" event with new first years at my one junior high school. It would've involved a long walk and checkpoints with activities, but the incessant rain meant that the contingency fun-in-the-gym plan had to be implemented. The students, in their groups made up of first through third years, enjoyed the activities a lot though. I even discovered that soft volleyball is kind of fun. I might actually try it again.

The pictures represent the classic awakening I find every time I actually bother to creatively engage my brain and hands. After collaging the night before, specifically with old printouts of pictures I took of Tokyo buildings, I found myself drawn to all the lines and shapes of the gym.

In other abstract news I recently acquired Wolfgang Weingart's My Way to Typography. Look inside on Amazon for more. So far it's very exciting!

15 May 2011

The Blue Train

A few co-workers have mentioned seeing South Africa's Blue Train 南アフリカのブルートレイン here on Japanese TV. I'm just happy that programming that promotes South African tourism has survived beyond the 2010 Soccer World Cup.

Upon investigating I found this video on YouTube. I love how the staff play along with their Japanese customer's whims. It really does seem to be the kind of luxury experience where the staff will go the extra mile for you—no pun intended. That, and South Africans are just friendly like that.

Below the video is another ad from the 1970s Die Huisgenoot. It's a pity that a company that advertised in Afrikaans before has a monolingual website now. But more about these matters on another day.

There is but one in the world.

In its June 1969 edition the authoritative American business magazine "Fortune" reviews fourteen of the world's top trains. One of them is our famous Blue Train — one of a kind.

The Blue Train is world famous for its luxury. Every coupé and compartment is elegantly equipped with wooden panels and soft seats of genuine leather. Each also has its own butler bell, and is air conditioned to create a pleasant atmosphere. In the restaurant carriage the service is impeccable, the wines unsurpassable, the cutlery of gleaming silver . . . and every meal is a feast. There's a luxurious lounge carriage with a cocktail bar. Soft, blue carpets. Everything of the best and the finest . . . right down to the special matchboxes with "Blue Train" in gold print!

The Blue Train departs from Pretoria and Johannesburg to Cape Town on Mondays, and from Cape Town on Wednesdays. From November to March the Blue Train also departs from Pretoria and Johannesburg on Wednesdays. Fare, Johannesburg — Cape Town: Single R32.98; Return R52.98.

Telephone your nearest bookings office, stationmaster or authorised travel agent for bookings or visit your nearest SA Rail Travel Bureau for all travel arrangements, including hotel bookings.


11 May 2011

Information is fun

I've been compiling old and new pictures around the theme of information design. Why? Well that's something I'd love to talk about more, if only The Company in The Place that we're hoping to make The Move to would Get Back to Us—by which I mean my husband—so we could make An Announcement of some sort or actually form any Concrete Plans...

This is how you start to think when you read too much Winnie the Pooh. A children's story that was ruined for me for years because I only ever saw the Disney TV version and never knew that in the books the somewhat idiotic characters are endearing and funny instead of just irritating. You have to come to Japan and have your adult English students teach you about these things, you see.

But I think I started out talking about something completely different. Maybe I'm a Blogger of Little Brain. Anyway, first up is a tabbed tin cover I snapped at school. I think it came from a tin of biscuits an English teacher away on maternity leave sent over. I discovered the biscuits just as I was about to perish of midmorning hunger. But the point is that I like the embossed informational illustration on the tin.

Second is something I've been hoarding along with other papers that seem to have babies while I'm not looking and fill more boxes and start more piles around the house. I'm hoping the fact that I bothered to open a box yesterday, while actually picking up some scissors and glue and a dusty visual diary means I have some resolve to rekindle creative endeavours. I snapped this particular specimen before deconstructing it because it's from the medical check I was forced to undertake last summer. Nevermind that I'm more likely to get weird diseases from the students and not the other way around, or that I'm 25 and... whatever. My new supervisor was more insistent than my previous one. He won. The point is the Japanese nation loves origami, and this even extends to providing an origami sheet with instructions for folding it to catch your pee. Yes, you fold the cup, strategically pee into it, and then use the tubes provided to capture a urine sample from the cup. Obviously I had to preserve this beautiful item so I devised my own alternative method. If only there were an alternative method for drawing blood that didn't make me want to die from pale, low blood pressure, self-induced stress. I'm a baby like that. I suppose the one good thing about this being my last year on the programme is that I don't have to be forced into any medical poking procedures again. Yay!

More retro kicks

Aaron Draplin came at me three times through my feed filter, so it seemed like time to add the man himself.

I was catching up on some of his writings yesterday and it seems that he will be feeding my addiction for getting completely lost in awesome Flickr sets. He posted Retro Logo Goodness, NASA Mission Patch stickers and more, and Dealer Catalogs. I'm looking forward to some free time when I can properly feast my eyes.

The Dealer Catalogs set reminded me of scans I made when we were clearing up stuff on my grandfather's farm. They're not rare dealer-side documents, but they're also related to toys, so please enjoy.


10 May 2011

Two messages for young ladies

This is the second extract from my 1970's Die Huisgenoot, which I introduced about a week ago. Here are two ads aimed at young ladies. If the translations seem a bit literal, let's say it was intentional.

My favourite irony is how the Public Service (Civil Service for other countries) is supposedly "an employer with a big heart". Finding the heart of the South African government of the 1970's would've been quite a challenge I think.


Nuwe ekstra-sterk ULTRA BRITE-tandepasta maak u tande skitterwit—is die springlewendigste smaak in tandepasta! Glimlag glinsterfraai en maak u hele mond soenbaar!



New extra strong ULTRA BRITE toothpaste makes your teeth shimmer-white—is the most lively taste in toothpaste! Smile glitter-beautifully and make your whole mouth kissable!



Graduated lady
...you have an admirer

The Public Service has great appreciation for your qualifications and capabilities — and offers you a rewarding position in which to fully apply your knowledge and perceptiveness and find fulfilment. There are vacancies for:
    Social workers Librarians Diet/Domestic science experts Language officers(translators) Chemists Physiologists Physiotherapists Occupational therapists Radiographers and vacancies in many other disciplines.
    Posts that you are immediately interested in — with opportunity for further study — can achieve success in quickly. More and more senior posts are filled by comparatively young people!
Over and above an attractive salary and pleasant working conditions, the Public Service also offers you some of the best fringe benefits in the country: A five-day workweek. Up to 36 days of accruable holidays per year. Four months paid sick leave every 3 years. An annual holiday bonus. Comprehensive medical aid for which you as a single person pay only R2 a month. R15,000 group life insurance for just R7.50 a month. An excellent pension scheme, and many other benefits which can only be offered by an employer with a big heart.

07 May 2011

Ready, set, kimono!

After featuring some pretty books that included kimono and Japanese fabric, yesterday was finally the day to go check it out in person. Three of my eikaiwa students took me and a friend down to Nana no Ichi 七の市, a second-hand kimono market that happens on the 7th of every month down in Uwa.

We spent the first while hanging around the expensive table of new beautiful things waiting for the market to officially open. Before it opened, a lady made a number of announcements, including things like "please be sure to go home wearing your own shoes". I felt kind of unprepared, wondering what mayhem would soon be unleashed.

It turned out to be perfectly civilised though. We crowded around tables and tossed fabric about pretending like we had any idea of what we were doing or what we were looking for. I just took whatever patterns I liked and put them in my giant bag for later review before final purchase. I'm hoping my dreams of reappropriating the fabric pan out some day.

Kites are for samurai boys

As I mentioned, the camera required a clean, so please excuse some of the yucky pixels.

What we have here is a morning spent at the annual Ikazaki Kite Festival いかざき大凧合戦 and a few shots from an afternoon spent at a friend's parents-in-law to celebrate their second son's first Children's Day. You can compare the decorations of this time used to celebrate boy children with the dolls used to celebrate girl children—like the ones at my ikebana teacher's house—in March.

After some hiccups with an injury last year, they tried to launch the enormous good-luck-for-new-babies kite over the river this year with some form of pulley system. Needless to say it pretty much went to straight into the river. I wonder when last that kite was launched successfully, if ever. Thanks to our bus driver who stuck around to see the fail even though the other bus driver was telling him to get a move-on.

06 May 2011

We ate Ryōma

Our only out-of-town venture this Golden Week was a day trip to Kōchi. I had been thinking of doing a two-day cycle there but between things like weather and what turned out to be the stomach ache from the deepest recesses of hell that didn't transpire. Some other time. I'm not tired of Kōchi yet, especially not when I get to see Route 33 on the way over there. Bridges, rivers, tea plantations: a highly recommended drive.

I must confess that our main purpose in going there was to eat Ryōma burgers 龍馬バーガー. We tried last year, but didn't want to wait two hours. This year we had the foresight to go to 5019 Premium Factory on a regular weekday before three public holidays. The layers of bread, tomato, lettuce, egg, tomato sauce and mayonnaise, green pepper, eggplant, tuna, and beef patty did not disappoint. Remember to mind the eating instructions though:

1. Wrap it up with your tinfoil.
2. Push it down firmly from the top. Push! Push!
3. Hold it with both hands when you bite a piece off. If it gets a bit messy around your mouth—forget about it!

I'll be that guy and offer one critique: if you're going to make a real food kind of burger, serve some real food kind of chips, by which I mean potato wedges.

After lunch we drove to Katsurahama 桂浜. If you're a real Sakamoto Ryōma fan you can see his statue there from a podium at face height during Golden Week. We decided to give the Japanese groupies their space and go enjoy the beach instead. Though I'd seen the Pacific by now, this was my first true interaction with it. We exchanged pleasant greetings via my feet. And I'll say one thing for Katsurahama: it's a pretty nice beach to be barefeet on. No rubbish—not even cigarette butts—anywhere in sight.

Next, I lay down in the back of the car to start an up and down cycle of stomach pain and fever on our way to Ryugadō 龍河洞. The cave is very interesting because there's an underground river. The amount of water that is moving around there makes for interesting formations. But I do have to lament the fact that whoever runs the place found the rocks so beautiful they had to label them with big ugly tags, and some areas so precious that they had to be fenced in. Great way to appreciate nature.

As it was already quite late and we hadn't received any clear time information for the cocks with the long tails place there, we unfortunately missed that. Next time I guess.

Our trip last year was more eventful because we stayed a bit longer. The free camping was convenient, apart from the toilets that were gross for most of our stay. But anyway. We got up to things like wandering around the castle grounds late afternoon by ourselves. We saw the famous Sunday market, and while visiting the castle again happened upon a Goodwill Guide who gave us a full tour. The Makino Botanical Gardens 牧野植物園 were also gorgeous. I highly recommend all of those sights.

Golden Week

Let's talk about the details of the minor happenings later. The most important thing I came to realise is: I must clean my camera.

Below is me reminding myself of Photomerge in Photoshop. I used the "reposition" option of CS5. I don't remember if one had options in earlier versions.

01 May 2011

Advertising, circa 1991

With all this Golden Week free time I finally worked my way through the Tibor Kalman vs. Joe Duffy Revisited debate, as moderated by Steven Heller, over on Print. A very interesting read, even if only to see the personalities at play, but indeed still relevant for anyone in advertising/marketing/design today. Some zingers include:

KALMAN: I think it’s misleading. I’m sure there are chinks in our armor in this area, too, and I don’t want to focus the attack on Joe, but to me the issue is that graphic design is frequently used as a tool to lie, including a lot of my work and a lot of Joe’s work, and that bugs me. I mean, doesn’t it make you a little crazy? Do you sleep okay about that?

DUFFY: Yes. I have no problems because I don’t think it’s lying.

KALMAN: What do you think it is then?

DUFFY: Communicating.


HELLER: Is that an issue of political rightness or egotism?

KALMAN: Fuck you, Steve. That’s my answer to that. It’s an issue of political rightness. And I think that’s a bullshit question.

This debate was from April of 1991. Is that retro yet? I mean I was already born, so could it be? The pictures sure make it seem like it. I have noticed that things I might refer to as retro are also being called "vintage" these days. So what do you think the difference between retro and vintage is exactly?

I have some more retro (or vintage?) coming up with pictures from another generation prior, a 1970 issue of the Afrikaans publication Die Huisgenoot. Once a "Home companion" magazine, now maybe more of a "Home companion" tabloid. I include my absolute favourite ad below as a sneak preview.

beteken goeie gesondheid!

Wonderlike Milo is belaai met vitamiene om u heeldaglank aan die gang te hou. Drink gereeld hierdie heerlike drankie—dis gesond en kraggewend. Enigeen kan Milo enige tyd van die dag geniet. Maak dit met warm of koue melk. Heerlik—warm of koud.

means good health!

Wonderful Milo is loaded with vitamins to keep you going all day long. Drink this delicious drink regularly—it's healthy and energising. Anyone can enjoy Milo any time of the day. Make it with hot or cold milk. Delicious—hot or cold.

True Japanese style

I attended the "topping out" ceremony of a local official's house last year. I just had to do a lot of searching to even find that English term, because at 25 one doesn't necessarily know that many people who are building homes.

In Japan and other countries, there is the groundbreaking ceremony or 地鎮祭 first. I've seen plots that stand ready for construction that have white paper decorations from after the Shinō ceremony.

What I attended was the ridgepole-raising ceremony or 上棟式. We had lunch with the builders and, no surprises, there was mochi maki—throwing mochi to thank guests and for good luck. In the pictures you'll see a giant pancake mochi that had 500 yen inside. This is like how when you catch the bride's bouquet you are supposedly the next to get married, except in this case you're the next to build a house—and here's 500 yen to help you with that.

To come to the point of all this: I couldn't attend the actual housewarming on Thursday evening because I had to teach, but my colleagues and I ordered a nice houseplant which they took as a present. In true Japanese style the return present that I got was at least four times more valuable than my contribution to the the plant. But, since I'm totally in love with these deliciously porky bits already, I'm not complaining. I encourage you to look at more yummy pictures of Karari sausages からりソーセージ!