Saturday, May 30, 2009

Who are Tigers? We are Tigers!

In Japan, no sport is bigger than baseball. And no team has crazier fans than Osaka's Hanshin Tigers. The Hanshin Tigers, founded in 1935, generate an annual crowd of over 3 million people, including two Canadians and two cute sushi-eating kids shown below.
Tigers fans go all out in the following ways:
1) Fashion, including Tigers hammer pants
2) Songs and coordinated cheers, with flags and led by fan conductors.
3) Accessories, which include bats and the tradition of releasing hundreds of air-filled balloons. Barry bought the Hello Kitty Pretty Committee bats, which you can see him trying to master here.
While cheering is mandatory when the Tigers are at bat, getting out of your seat during this time is strictly forbidden, and those who do are shamed out of the country. Though the Tigers' uniforms and the logos are similar to those of their sister team, the Detroit Tigers, the two cities are a tad different: you are 331 times more likely to be robbed in Detroit than anywhere in Japan. So feel free to leave your wallet on your seat while you go buy yakitori or curry rice between innings.
So next time you're in Osaka, check out a Tigers game. Hello Kitty is all grown up, and can whoop the Hiroshima Carp's butt!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Never Ending Torii

Welcome to Japan. Above, is a temple gate, called a torii. Below, is another torii.
In Kyoto's Fushimi shrine, the toriis gather and hang out.
Here is the crossroads or our torii, where the protagonist makes a key decision.
This is the old man in the torii.
These are teeny tiny torii, which are seem to be offerings to the bigger torii.
The torii hike for kilometers through the forest, much like Canadians.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Happy Vesak Day

Last Saturday was Vesak Day, a Buddhist holiday celebrating the life, enlightenment and passing of Buddha. We checked it out at a couple local photogenic temples. Above, lotus flowers (generally shown with, or under Buddha), which you can buy, then offer. Below are some of Buddha's life episodes, including avoiding vices (I think) and conquering demons.Below are representations of Thai Buddha, who, with his pointy hair coexists happily with both chubby and skinny Buddha representations.We were shown how to offer a free piece of sandalwood. I tried to hide my skepticism, do you think I succeeded?

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Asia's Artifacts, Deities and Civilizations

To answer some of the burning questions presented through international travel, one can go to Singapore's Asian Civilizations museum. Here are some of the things you can learn.
Chinese gods are both colourful and scary.
Older Asian Civilizations (tribal Philipines, I think) were shorter than newer ones (Eurasian shown).
Finally, I learned an important thing about the blasted Indian musical instruments that wake me up every morning. They are called Nadaswaram, see below.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Searching for Laura in Singapore

Google kindly informs me of search terms which lead people to this site. (Yes, Google is watching you, but you knew that.) While most are mundane, some inspire much fascination for me. Here are the top 10 searches for Laura in Singapore, deciphered:

1) "Laura and spandex", "Singapore spandex" and "spandex wearers" "spandex fest", "spandex in the rain", "spandex worship". Oh dear, I imagine stumbling upon my site disappoints these freaky horndogs.

2) Last month, my second most common search term was "Laura in sinapore" (sic). Guys, learn to type!

3) "decaying jackfruits", "tree climbing fish", and "how to chase away a monitor lizard". Guys, please spend more time on your obvious home hygiene problems and less time surfing the web!

4) "Japanese Laura bag", "hand wax figurine Singapore" and "fruit eater". Seriously, what are you looking for on the web? I'm pretty sure you're not going to find it here, or ever.

5) "Difference between Canada and Singapore". Really? You expected to find this summarized in a neat little paragraph on the web? The differences between a vast North American country and an Asian city state? Suggest you travel. I have the same answer for the numerous people who search for "does Singapore have snow".

6) "sea monster in USA". Um, I see your point. Clearly this is something I should cover on a later post.

7) "Any rabies cases in Singapore". As a qualified blogger, I can answer this one. No.

8) "elintarviketeknologia Laura Singapore". I thought this was typist's tourettes but it is Finnish for food technology. Like with sea monsters, Laura in Singapore will try to portray Finnish food technology in the future. You're welcome.

9) The medically curious search for "proctology Singapore", "tattoo camouflage kit" and "Singapore plastic surgery success stories". To the first two, I say, I hope you didn't find answers here. To the last, I say, nope, we're all natural on this site.

10) Finally, my favourite, is "waxing for man spa in Singapore". Given that Laura in Singapore supports manscaping, it is an embarrassing omission that I haven't helped these fuzzballs. The shame! Please go here and unencumber yourself!

Hockey Night in Singapore

Slaloming around fallen children and soaring past locals, Barry and I did our country proud. Oh ya, we were amongst the best skaters on Singapore's only rink, and we knew it! Unfortunately we're not great rink photographers, as you can see.