*to Hanlon's razor: Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.
Κυνόσαργες

Monday, 22 December 2014

God help me I won't buy a car just to canoe.

I want to paddle a classic canoe route in northwestern Ontario: the upper Missinaibi, but fuck me it's expensive to do.  Not even worth getting a boat, unless I am going by car: shipping by any method is insane.

I have to get to Mattice, get a night's sleep, get a boat and lift to the Agawa train at Hearst, take that down to Hawk Junction, paddle the river back to Mattice, get rid of the boat and get another night in a hotel, and take the bus all the way home.

Tandem via Hearst approx. $650
$250 - half of two week boat rental
$150 - gas for the return trip by car (I'll pay the full)
$100 - half of two night's accommodation
$25 - half of Mattice to Hearst shuttle
$100 - Agawa train as passenger
$20 - half of canoe on Agawa train

Solo via Hearst approx.  $1200
$500 - two week boat rental
$300 - return bus Toronto-Mattice
$200 - two night's accommodation
$50 - Mattice to Hearst shuttle
$40 - canoe on Agawa train
$100 - Agawa train as passenger

Solo via Wawa approx.  $1150
$500 - two week boat rental
$200 - return bus Toronto-Wawa
$200 - two night's accommodation
$50 - shuttle from Wawa
$50 - Mattice to Hearst shuttle
$30 - canoe on Agawa train
$100 - Agawa train as passenger


Solo via Peterbell approx.  $1000 (not including boat)
$600- return train Toronto-Peterbell
$200 - two night's accommodation
$50 - Mattice to Hearst shuttle
$30- canoe on Agawa train
$100 - Agawa train as passenger

And which canoe would I get (in Royalex/lite)?
Nova Craft Pal - for solo, or lighter tandem loads, flat or whitewater to class II
Nova Craft Moise or Esquif Canyon - tandem for rivers with bigger rapids
Prospector?  Too beamy.  Want less beam than a Prospector, but less rocker than a true river boat...

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

July Freedom

The wife takes the kids to Tokyo for most of July, from Toronto.  I get out of going to that armpit climate, because I can claim I am saving us money: almost $2K for the ticket in summer, and up to another $1K for various expenses there.

So, what do I do instead?  I'm not sitting in fucking Toronto when I have a month to be anywhere else.  My idea is I can justify anything that costs no more.  What do I do with my time?

Touronism
Probably not, since it's not my thing, and much less fun alone, especially as I am long in the tooth and short in patience to do the 'backpacker' thing; and the rest costs too much money.  It's also more the thing she'd like to do with me, and the kids.  The other thing is the cost of flights to anywhere I'd do it in summer (Northern Europe): fuck no.

Cycling
I do have a road and a touring bike, and can and have done tours alone, albeit not long ones previously.  Thing is, besides the risk of getting hit, I get to hear fucking cars blast by me more or less frequently... for weeks on end.  Not so appealing now.  Or I can go somewhere more remote, but has enough of a road for my touring bike, which means I die in a 'Third World' country.

I could buy a fourth bike, and lose my wife.  Anyway, the off-road bike wouldn't work for a long tour, mainly because there are no long off-road tours rough enough to stop cars, smooth enough to ride bike, where all wheeled traffic isn't banned.  Too bad.

Hiking/Mountaineering
Well, none of my friends have the right combination of time, fitness and interest, so I'm alone again.  Bit of a theme there...  Nixes the mountaineering, but leaves the hiking.  Hmm.  Something where the flight is not more than a grand: Iceland or 'the West Coast Trail'.  Not the Canadian Rockies again, as all the good views are technical.  I don't do America.

Canoeing or Kayaking
Finally something that Ontario has!  I have done no little bit of both, and of them the canoeing of rivers appeals more.  The Great Lakes can get too ugly for a little boat fast, and it's not wise to be on them alone anymore, as I have kids to live for.  Besides, I'll get a wee yacht to do that in a few years.  Canoeing is a partner-sport, but it is possible alone with the right boat.  Oh... I don't have one.
That's not the biggest problem: getting one small enough to solo, but big enough to explain away as a family purchase is.  More, something that I can move without a car, and store without a garage.  That's impossible!  There is no canoe that's narrow enough to solo, wide enough for kids; sturdy enough for river tours, but light and foldable enough to pack in a bag.  It would have to be like a skin-on-frame kayak, but have a way to alter the frame to widen the beam.


PakCanoe 165 is a smaller wilderness tripper. It works well for two moderate size paddlers and gear for 2 or 3 weeks. The 165 is narrower than the 170 and makes a nice expedition solo. Wider cross ribs can be installed for greater stability.



Monday, 24 November 2014

Toronto GTA: moral exclusion and 'altruistic punishment'

"Motorists hate cyclists because they think they offend the moral order…", which explains all bigotry, doesn't it? Working in Mississauga, the reaction I get to not owning a car varies from open to disguised scorn.

http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/linden-macintyre/ghomeshi-cbc-macintyre_b_6204668.html

http://www.mississauga.ca/portal/miway/transitway


Monday, 3 November 2014

Bonfire of the Vanity Fair

There was a time a man could support a middle-class lifestyle on his own income: detached house, car in working order, summer vacations, Sunday roast, sundries and a college education for his children.  This in most of the 'Free World' of the Cold War years.  It was not a set-up equal for women, much less minorities, but it was the spoils of being on this side of a curtain and our 'leaders' buying off the men they'd trained and sent to kill in the last 'World War'.
As men busied themselves about their various concerns they were scrutinised and studied, perhaps almost as narrowly as a man with a microscope might scrutinise the transient creatures that swarm and multiply in a drop of water... minds that are to our minds as ours are to those of the beasts that perish, intellects vast and cool and unsympathetic, regarded this earth with envious eyes, and slowly and surely drew their plans against us.
The gains for women and minorities are ephemeral: it takes two jobs to buy what one once did.  One may claim that the price of real estate, which has swallowed what gains a woman's second-income to a 'conventional family' has gained, always rises, except it doesn't, or that the market has corrected the excess supply of labour by buying it more cheaply, which is true enough.  In any case, we are poorer for it, but most of all, stressed and angry with each other, rather than with those who never seem put out by any economic changes.


A sure sign of the stress is the divorce rate, populism in politics (also a cause), and the evidence that people have just become assholes.  I see it in Japan.  I see it in Toronto.  I read about it elsewhere.  Honest people talk about it with me.  Is it such a gain that people hide their racism to minorities and are assholes to everyone?  Certainly not for everyone else, and there's evidence the lot of minorities is not economically better.

The problem isn't this or that government policy, or one or another educational policies being an attack on my teaching profession, but that we are exhausted from longer hours and busy-work, neither spouse able to run the home full time, and credential inflation both for us to keep gainful employment and for our children to get any at all: the poor kids trying to get into teaching now have twice the paper-credentials I have, and a fraction the chance of getting work I had when I got in fifteen years ago.

Until the revolution, or the 'New Deal' to buy us off from starting one, you have to opt out of 'aspirational' thinking.  Lose one or both cars, downsize your accommodations, avoid a mortgage until the market crashes, ask yourself if the little more the second income makes after daycare and taxes is worth the trouble, because the fucking Jones you'd keep up with are running with the lemmings.

Friday, 24 October 2014

"You know, there is no such thing as society."

There are individual men and women, and there are families. And no government can do anything except through people, and people must look to themselves first. It's our duty to look after ourselves and then, also to look after our neighbour. People have got the entitlements too much in mind, without the obligations, because there is no such thing as an entitlement unless someone has first met an obligation.
At the time though, there was society, but conservatives like her hoped there wouldn't be, so they wouldn't have to pay into the obligations of having one.  Now they've won the battles and the war, and there isn't society.  Nobody even talks of one.


My childhood corresponded with peak of income equity in Canada, and much of the rest of the 'developed world'.  When I was ten, Canada's conservative government accepted tens of thousands of SE Asian refugees from a war a previous government had refused to follow its ally into.  Bracketing my birth year, Canadian governments brought in universal health care and legalized homosexuality.  A decade later, the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.  What remains of this legacy doesn't because voters are their 'brother's keeper' but because no government would stand that repealed them, losing a few points off the balance of power: otherwise they would.  Homosexual tolerance?  Do not confuse tolerance with inertia.  And do not forget a homosexual lost the Toronto election to Rob Ford.  The loss of reproductive rights?  Give it time and a government an excuse: like habeas corpus to security-theatre.

I was on a bus the other day and a young woman said to her friend,
I told him to get lost because I'm brown and I only date brown.
I don't know where to begin.  But I'll gloss over the universality of idiocy and racial thinking, and the irony of racism from a visible minority, and go straight to saying that the best reason not to tell her she shouldn't say that in Canada is because she shouldn't say it wherever her ancestors are from: she had no discernible accent.  And the tribalism...

Canada's had ethnic-Chinese longer than we've had railways, and many of their children since the nineties resented the 'investor class' wealthy from HK or the mainland, because they were wise enough to realize what kind of people get wealthy in those countries, and that your average Canadian would conflate them all.  My HK-born coworker came at ten, and without prompting spoke up for assimilation over multiculturalism, because are you immigrating to a new environment that welcomes you or wouldn't you be better staying home?

I'm not against immigration: father was and wife is, I have lived abroad, I find immigrants more interesting and their women comelier.  I am against cynical governments using it to atomize a society, use wedge-issues to get ethnic-communities to vote en bloc (which the Liberals started before the Conservatives) and aspirational thinking to destroy the social-welfare state, though voting against one's true class interests only decreases social mobility.

The geographic, social and economic ghettoization of ethnicity in the Toronto GTA's just a symptom, as 'race' and 'ethnicity' are hateful heuristics for status.  Rome had slaves of every available 'colour'; America found colour-coding convenient.  People, and the systems they serve, will change the details but support status, because humans.  Once we imagined ameliorating that, because we were 'in it together'.

Sunday, 21 September 2014

Toronto GTA < Chiba

Chiba Prefecture:- population, 6 201 046
- area, 5156.15 km2
- density, 1202.65/km2
- seashore and low mountains
- core population in the north, scenic in its south
- hotsprings
- great fish, it's Japan
- dozens of train lines and a real international airport
- a half hour to an international city (Tokyo) by train or car


Toronto GTA (greater Toronto area):
- population, 6 054 191
- area, 7124.15 km2
- density, 850/km2
- a lakeshore you can't get to
- sprawl to the edges
- gas stations and Tim Horton's, and Tim Horton's in gas stations
- some of the worst Japanese food or fish you can get
- two and a half-subway lines unimproved for half a century
- a half-day to an international city (New York) by plane, if the Americans don't take you aside to assault you


Saturday, 30 August 2014

Cutting the TV cable


Cable TV cord-cutters, anyone? Anyone done the HDTV antenna and/or Internet route?

Our new (Toronto) building only has Rogers, which we hate, and no sane Canadian will disagree.  Their cheapest package is $40 and gives us feck-all, and the next option worth considering costs double and adds precious little. We have Bell cellular already (and can add Internet but not Bell TV, because stupidity*).  I want to live long enough to see the cable business die, and Rogers go bankrupt.  Who has a land-line anymore?

If it were up to me, no TV, minimal online streaming.  That's how my English media rolled in Japan.  In Japan, reading I could not do without; TV shows just jerk you around to watch more commercials; I missed watching movies, but not enough to do much about it.  My J-wife watches too much TV, even though Japanese TV's about as pleasant as a root canal done by a vaginaless sex-bot with a dental drill voice, the dentist's office painted in bad trip on 'Tina'.  So of course she wants Japanese TV 'for the kids': NHK.

We can get one Japanese TV channel from Rogers or Bell for $20, on top of the cost of any other service: $40 for the most basic, which has only what we'll pick up free with an antenna from the unit we have high up, facing the right direction.  So, fuck cable from our last choice company: we're going with a 'smart tv', HD antenna, Netflix subscription**, and a 'Wavecast' box sending shows from her mother's for Japanese indoctrination: hooks into Japanese cable input, and Internet for output including cloud storage PVR.   I might buy our own PVR to store English shows, except why bother when I can watch from Netflix on my own schedule.

I'm going to be run out of this most conventional city for breaking the PB mold:
- no cable
- no car
- no diet of sugar
- no half-million-plus mortgage on next to no money down
- no willingness to line-up at 'happening' restaurants

*Not available in building, even though good Bell Internet is, and the speed is high enough to support Bell TV which comes via Internet.  Rogers bought off the builder?
**Of course I would never use a proxy to access the US' much better service...




Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Teachers in Ontario aren't given computers... 2014?


Anyone have experience with a Chromebook?  I need something dirt cheap for simple tasks to teach my class as my school board's so fucking stupid teachers don't get a computer of their own in... 2014!  

My principal actually repeated the same imbecility used when I started in 2000: 'computers are for the children, not the teachers'.  Funny they expect me to complete reports on them, check my board email, and more, yet stolen minutes in the computer lab when someone else's class is trying to find computers still working doesn't cut it. Principals must be attending the same administrator's seminar as the first moron who repeated something at me too stupid to ever exit my mouth in earnest.  It was stupid fourteen years ago, and the expansion of the web hasn't made it less so, you know?

Entering a new school, was it too early to give my principal my 'are you fucking stoned?' look?  Too bad.  Good impression gone, as if it would have lasted.

Advice on the cheapest tool to use web, Word and Excel, please. I refuse to put any real money in.  If it isn't stolen or broken, it's still too beyond belief it isn't standard staff equipment for me to pony-up much.  There's going to be no personal data on the thing, most items stored online (no children's surnames or other identifiers).  Thanks.

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Utopia, The City


Turns out More's Utopia was Copenhagen.  Never been.

My perfect city could be made of a combination of others, and I'm wise enough to base it only on those I've been to:
- Vancouver's geography
- Toronto's seasons, tree cover, diversity and employment opportunity
- Montréal's je ne sais quoi and affordability
- London's museums and history
- Lisbon's architecture and people
- Bangkok's temples and river
- Singapore's food
- Hong Kong's ordered chaos
- Tokyo's transit, density, dining and drinking culture
- Osaka, because Osakans aren't Tokyoites
- York's and Québec's extant walls
- Xiamen's Gulangyu, a car-free ex-foreign concession island with lived-in pre-Pacific War poly-European architecture

No use for Washington's imperialism, Ottawa's tedium, Chicago's Mid-Western boredom (but maybe its waterfront), Taipei's legacy of deluded grandeur (apart from The National Palace Museum), a single thing from LA, or much from cities under a million.

Tokyo wins most, but the climate and the concrete hurt its standing badly.  Toronto nearly as many, but fuck it's uncool.

Sunday, 24 August 2014

'This is why you're fat!'

There's even a website.

I had this breakfast.  Who eats like this, with regularity?  After four years in Japan, this bloated me for the rest of the day, 6'1", 180lb man though I am.

Let's get your umbrage out of the way, if you're feeling it.  I do not care if you, an individual, are overweight.  I do not want to hear your elaborate denials, but other than that, have nothing against you at all.  I have a real problem with entire societies morbidly obese and in denial.  That's where we are.  I have written this before.

Now the Japanese do over-salt everything, not that they'll admit it despite their basic foodstuffs based on salt; however, it's a great country to live in if you think deserts might have some flavour not overwhelmed by one taste: SWEETENERS.  In half a month, it's gotten to the point that we dread going out to eat anywhere, or eat my mother's meals (at over seventy she ought to know better) because we're going to feel bloated and sickly by the end of it.  It's not only portion sizes, which seem to be 150-200% of Japan's, because people are bigger here (even in their BMIs), but that there is sugar, and much too much of it, in so much.  It's a new normal.

So is size.  Jesus but everyone's huge.  Fine, not everyone, but a far, far higher proportion than in Japan: where 'metabolic syndrome' isn't rare.  Now don't give me crap about different body types, because the NE Asians here are also rotund often enough.  I've had to explain to my J-wife, who'd lived here years, that no, few of those women are pregnant, but the only way to tell is by shape, not size.  It's a new normal.

More disturbing is what it's done to my attraction to females.  As I'm vanilla apart from a preference for Asian (which has itself become a norm) I'd always been attracted to females near my age, and in my youth slightly older.  Well, now that the norm is for women from late teens to run to huge and cellulite* (without the reasons of age or pregnancy), and that the body-fat percentage needed to start menses is reached a half decade earlier than when I was a teen, the mid-teens have the figures twenty-somethings once had.  It throws one off, and disturbs, for a fine figure to be topped with a child's face.  It's a new normal.

Fuck the normal, and its abject failure to take any responsibility.  Rather society flaunts this excess, seated in trucks, wearing camel-toe bearing yoga pants that've never seen exercise, downing a thousand calorie 'coffee' with one hand, and scratching thrush with the other.

*The males are as fat, of course.

Friday, 22 August 2014

The building is LEED

As often, this post starts from spleen vented in other communications: an email to a friend, a real estate agent, who helped us find a rental condominium in Toronto.
Toronto's Midwestern attitude to bicycles drives me insane: plaything only, never anyone's vital means to commute.  I mean, the building is LEED, so why's it so much easier to park cars than bikes (reality)?  You know, and management has to know, there's not a few bikes in units, going up and down elevators.  I don't mind using a back entrance, which I've done elsewhere surreptitiously, but my most expensive bike is staying in with me!  Even the other two bikes would get covered in road filth in the garage, because there's never a wall/door for the bikes.  I started keeping my cheap bike in my unit at a place for just that reason.  What do people with child trailers do?

Hell, even my wife doesn't get it...

It would be nice if management allows bikes in elevators and out a back entrance, rather than turns a blind eye to what more than 10% do, leaving us to sneak around guiltily for something there's no reason to feel guilty for.
LEED, so fucking 'green'. Bike racks in a shitty open parking area and a dozen unused electric plugs for cars help up the score, don't they now.

Of course, 'forgiveness is easier to get than permission' and 'discretion is the better part of valour'.

You'll tell me I should instead rent a house (have you looked at Toronto rental rates?), live in a condominium that allows bikes in elevators (few such) or live in a regular apartment building (without air-conditioning or en-suite laundry, with two adults and children).  I could point out that the rules are discriminatory, and there's no way I'll damage facilities with my expensive road bike as much as people's dogs shitting do, or obesity-scooters given by the state are driven into walls by their drones hopped up on Oxycontin.  I have a better answer:

Monday, 4 August 2014

'Home'...

So I am home, or in Canada at my mother's at least.  Out of Tokyo after four years.  What is home?

This is my hometown, but not the house I grew up in, which I'd left at eighteen in any case, and which I had loathed all of my teens: the town and the family.  Father dying helped a great deal, but that's baggage and we all have it.

I've lived nineteen years in this Toronto suburb, one in another, one in St. Catharines, five in Montreal, four in Tokyo, three in a Tokyo suburb, and it must be eleven in Toronto.  What is home? 

For my heart, it is Montreal, but the heart is a fickle thing and not amenable to sense.  I have poor French, and I lived there in university for the most part.  Apart from what my heart knows, I cannot call it home, and I know if I lived there again I would be broken-hearted.

Common sense tells me it is Toronto.  It isn't any of the Southern Ontario towns I've lived in.  Even as a youth I did not feel that they were home: too limiting.  So is Toronto, though a little less.  It may be a home, but there is no love lost there.

Tokyo?  Or Kanto, at least?  A second home, but they're never going to accept me.  At best I am an odd-looking cousin.  An interloper.  Besides, Tokyo like Toronto is full of assholes: there are better places in both countries.

I do not have a home city.  I have a family, and they are home.  Where we live is just background to that.  If you cannot hold yourself apart from your surroundings you are as coarse as those who cannot from their emotional state.  Better to be a bit adrift than capped.

Sunday, 27 July 2014

33/100 百名山: 'Hundred Famous Mountains' (of Japan)


I did not expect to get them all, as I'm not that obsessed about them, but 33/100 is what I've got in seven full years and another two months visiting.  About one a month if you take out the winter months, but that's misleading because I've bagged one to four on each trip.  I've concentrated my climbs in the centre of Honshu both because I lived in Kanto and Chubu's where the taller peaks are.  I will be back for more, I expect.

The latest I climbed was Utsugi-dake, but it's almost put me off them: the humidity of summer extends to the peak even if the heat does not.  The high peaks are usually safe to climb June through October; however, June to mid-July is rainy, July to early September hot and humid (though less hot at altitude), typhoons can interrupt late August to early September, so really, mid-September to early November are best for the high peaks, but you're mad if you go on a weekend when all of Japan does.

Coming down from Utsugi I came across a bear in Japan for the first time in the wild, and on foot the first time ever.  Could have given the latter a pass.  Definitely an Asian Black Bear.  Not much bigger than my wife, shock of white on the tail (the bear's).  I happened to be talking to myself about the birch trees, which is as well as fifty metres ahead the bear suddenly came down from the canopy in a hurry, likely running away.  Besides that far more common than attack or mock-charges, there is a limited hunt on Honshu and you don't survive as a wild animal among 120 million people by bravery.  I took an alternative route anyway, as I was alone.

The hell with bears though, I got buzzed a couple times by suzumebachi, 'sparrow bees', which are actually hornets called 'sparrow' because they're the size of a sparrow!  I can live with those even though they bounced off the crown of my hat.  I just acted cool and kept moving.  Japan has something else called oosuzumebachi, 'giant sparrow bees', because the other ones aren't big enough?!  Saw none of those this time.  Good thing.  Scarier than bears and a sting will do as much damage.  You hear them before you see them.  You hear or see one of these you run.



If anyone cares, I've highlighted what I have climbed, in red if particularly recommended (not Fuji the touron cinder pit).  Do exercise caution and read up on a mountain before you go, and what transit runs in what season and the schedules.



Hokkaido



1)Mt. Rishiri (利尻岳)

2) Mt. Rausu (羅臼岳)

3) Mt. Shari (斜里岳)


4) Mt. Meakan (雌阿寒岳)

5) Mt. Asahi (旭岳) 2290
6) Mt. Tomuraushi (トムラウシ山) 2141
7) Mt. Tokachi (十勝岳) 2077
8) Mt. Poroshiri (幌尻岳)

9) Mt. Yōtei (羊蹄山)


Tohoku



10) Mt. Iwaki (岩木山)

11) Mt. Hakkoda (八甲田山)

12) Mt. Hachimantai (八幡平)

13) Mt. Iwate (岩手山)

14) Mt. Hayachine (早池峰)

15) Mt. Chokai (鳥海山)

16) Gassan (月山)


17) Mt. Asahi (朝日岳)

18) Mt. Zao (蔵王山)


19) Mt. Iide (飯豊山)


20) Mt. Azuma (吾妻山) 2035
21) Mt. Adatara (安達太良山) 1700
22) Mt. Bandai (磐梯山) 1819
23) Mt. Aizu-komagatake (会津駒ヶ岳)
24) Mt. Nasu (那須岳) 1915
Joshin’etsu


25) Mt. Echigo-komagatake (越後駒ヶ岳)
26) Mt. Hira (平ヶ岳)


27) Mt. Makihata (巻機山)

28) Mt. Hiuchi (燧岳)
29) Mt. Shibutsu (至仏岳)
30) Mt. Tanigawa (谷川岳) 1977
31) Mt. Amakazari (雨飾山)

32) Mt. Naeba (苗場山)
2145
33) Mt. Myoko (妙高山)

34) Mt. Hiuchi (火打山)
2462
35) Mt. Takazuma (高妻山)

Kita-Kanto


36) Mt. Nantai (男体山)2484
37) Mt. Okushirane (奥白根山) 2578
38) Mt. Sukai (皇海山)
2144
39) Mt. Hotaka (武尊山)

40) Mt. Akagi (赤城山)

41) Mt. Kusatsu-Shirane (草津白根山) 2171
42) Mt. Azumaya (四阿山)
2035
43) Mt. Asama (浅間山) 2568
44) Mt. Tsukuba (筑波山) 876
Kita Alps



45) Mt. Shirouma (白馬岳) 2932
46) Mt. Goryu (五竜岳) 2814
47) Mt. Kashimayari (鹿島槍岳) 2899
48) Mt. Tsurugi (剣岳) 2998
49) Mt. Tateyama (立岳) 3015
50) Mt. Yakushi (薬師岳) 2926
51) Mt. Kurobegoro (黒部五郎岳) 2840
52) Mt. Kuro/Suisho (黒岳) 2986
53) Mt. Washiba (鷲羽岳) 2924
54) Mt. Yari (槍ヶ岳) 3180
55) Mt.Hotaka (穂高岳) 3190
56) Mt. Jonen (常念岳) 2857
57) Mt. Kasa (笠ヶ岳) 2899
58) Mt. Yake (焼岳) 2455
59) Mt. Norikura (乗鞍岳) 3026
60) Mt. Ontake (御岳) 3067
Yatsu-ga-take Region

61) Utsukushi-ga-hara (美ヶ原)

62) Mt. Kirigamine (霧ヶ峰)

63) Mt. Tateshina (蓼科山) 2530
64) Yatsu-ga-take(八ヶ岳) 2899
Chichibu-Tama-Kai National Park
65) Mt. Ryokami (両神山)

66) Mt. Kumotori (雲取山) 2017
67) Mt. Kobushi (甲武信岳) 2475
68) Mt. Kinpu (金峰山) 2598
69) Mt. Mizugaki (瑞牆山) 2230
70) Mt. Daibosatsu (大菩薩山)
2057
Mt. Fuji Region


71) Mt. Tanzawa (丹沢山) 1673
72) Mt. Fuji (富士山) 3776
73) Mt. Amagi (天城山)

Chuo Alps Region


74) Mt. Kiso-komagatake (木曽駒ヶ岳) 2956
75) Mt. Utsugi (空木岳) 2864
76) Mt. Ena (恵那山)


Minami Alps


77) Mt. Kai-komagatake (甲斐駒ヶ岳) 2967
78) Mt. Senjo (仙丈ヶ岳) 3033
79) Mt. Houou (鳳凰山) 2840
80) Mt. Kitadake (北岳) 3193
81) Mt. Ainodake (間ノ岳) 3189
82) Mt. Shiomi (塩見岳) 3047
83) Mt. Warusawa (悪沢岳) 3141
84) Mt. Akaishi (赤石岳) 3120
85) Mt. Hijiri (聖岳) 3013
86) Mt. Tekari (光岳) 2591
Hokuriku Region


87) Mt. Hakusan (白山) 2702
88) Mt. Arashima (荒島岳)

Kansai Region


89) Mt. Ibuki (伊吹山)

90) Mt. Odaigahara (大台ヶ原山)
91) Mt. Omine (大峰山)

92) Mt. Daisen (大山)

Shikoku



93) Mt. Tsurugi (剣山)

94) Mt. Ishizuchi (石鎚山)

Kyushu



95) Mt. Kuju (九重山)

96) Mt. Sobo (祖母山)

97) Mt. Aso (阿蘇山)
98) Mt. Kirishima (霧島山)

99) Mt. Kaimon (開聞岳)

100) Mt. Miyanoura (宮之浦岳)


















Saturday, 26 July 2014

'Let it go...'

Would be any time you shouldn't sing a 'torch song': you're 'straight', not headlining on Broadway, or have no sense of irony - Japanese.

I got this idea from 'Relentless Writings' dog post.

We're meant to be mature enough to take being second bested, but it doesn't mean we don't feel it.  My son, now four, since birth has made it perfectly clear I was second best to mother, which I can understand.  I didn't carry him, don't have tits, and I'm hairier and smellier.  When he makes me angry I make him deal with his mistake and am not softened up by him until he does.  He's got the mother-con of most Japanese and hybrid boys I've known, from nature or nurture.  I'll have a Japanese, or at least Asian, daughter in-law (or son in-law).

The girl, a year and a half old, has played me far better from birth.  As soon as her eyes could focus she looked into mine and smiled, and owned me.  A more recent example, I was away hiking two nights and the kids and wife were staying at mother in-law's.  I went to meet them, walking with the wife from the station to MIL's house.  We met MIL and the kids on MIL's street.  The girl looked at me as if she suddenly remembered something, smiled, ran past my wife and into my arms.  Then when we got inside I tried to put her down to take off my shoes but she screamed and clutched at me, so I had to improvise another way to get out of them.

Ain't love grand?  Sure, until she remembered her mother has a chest.  After she was done with them I went to pick her up again and she screamed at me and struggled in my arms until I put her back with her mother.

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Cruising dreams

Do you think my Japanese wife will like my solution to our Toronto housing? Buy-in for about $100K for a luxurious 42' sailboat used in good condition,  $600/month dockage fees, and it travels. Sweet! More comfortable and larger than a Japanese home, or a Toronto condo. Where's the down side? 

Never going to happen...

I rather doubt my plans will go so smoothly for sailing a 27' boat, but I'd like to introduce my kids to isolated scenery in Canada before I'm too old, and they get busy as teens.  I'm fortunate to be a teacher having the two best months of the year off to sail.  The boomer teachers bought cottages, but they're all priced out now, and why would I want to spend my vacations fixing a second building (as opposed to a boat...).

2019, 49 years old, take a proper sailing course.

Buy a shared 27' boat.
2020, 50, children 10 and 7: Georgian Bay and North Channel
2021, 51, children 11 and 8: Georgian Bay and Lake Huron
2022, 52, children 12 and 9: Superior

Buy (or buy out) own boat, or get my co-owner to join the longer trip, possibly upgrading to a 32' boat, as much for room as for safety.
2023, 53, children 13 and 10: Huron, Eerie, Ontario, St. Lawrence River, to Saguenay
2024, 54, children 14 and 11: Gulf of St. Lawrence
2025, 55, children 15 and 12: Gulf of St. Lawrence
2026, 56, children 16 and 13: Newfoundland and Labrador

Much bigger plans would have to wait for retirement, which could have been sixty if I'd planned better, or had one fewer children to educate: more likely sixty-five; however, I can work a reduced year from sixty, so a four month summer is possible.

I'd love to take a boat further up the Atlantic to Baffin and Greenland, but even in summer that's an undertaking, even if I'd have the experience above.  Getting my Japanese wife to join and miss all of a summer's weather?  Be more likely to keep the marriage with a Vancouver to Juneau, Whittier or Anchorage passage.  Probably have to stow the boat and return the next year the same way.  I wonder about sailing Alaska to Hawaii...

Saturday, 19 July 2014

'First World problems': false consciousness



I lost patience with someone the other day.  She was moaning about the Muslim kids' attitudes in her school.  She's sensitive because her husband's in the Canadian military, and he's been 'helping' in Afghanistan.  Students asked:
Why does America hate Muslims?
Why is it ok for Americans  to invade other countries but it's not ok for anyone to fight Americans?
Canada is racist. Why didn't it bring in any Syrian refugees?
Instead of considering these kids might have family who have been killed because of America fucking the place up, and its bitch, Canada, joining in, she's concerned about her own feelings. 
In all my years of teaching and working with students from a variety of backgrounds, I have NEVER heard or witnessed such disgust for the West. It made me horrified, really. And I still don't know what the best response is to any of those questions.
Fuck your cossetted feelings.  Try empathy.  White, born in Canada, unilingual Anglophone...  I had to school her:
I happen to think we should all be disgusted with 'the West': we are hypocrites.  I don't need to be Muslim to see that Arab deaths are counted very cheaply in Washington, and that 'Western' governments not only don't protest, but enable.  You are younger than me so do not know that the Liberal Party of Canada sent no troops to Vietnam, or anywhere in SE Asia, and accepted American draft refugees.  Incidentally, Joe Clark's Conservatives accepted tens of thousands of civilian refugees from Vietnam.  Quite a different legacy than ours in the Middle East.  There were other choices to make.  The questions show students who are intellectually engaged with current events, even if their ideas are raw and unnuanced.  If I were a hot-blooded youth and anyone I knew had been harmed?  I can't imagine feeling less angry than I am now.  I would acknowledge their anger, and try to direct it to something effective, legal and non-violent.  The anger needs a positive outlet: better that than another option, for their own good.
The most shocking thing was that she entertained my ideas.  I didn't bother to tell her that her husband has blood on his hand, even if not at first hand.  Don't think she'll ever be that open minded.

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Buying a tramp yacht... someday.

Toronto sucks, but Georgian Bay doesn't, and it's just hours away.  The main body of it is 200km long, and 80km wide, there are no tides of course, you can not only swim in it but drink it, you are never far from shelter, and most of it is little spoilt.  Oh, you can get to all the other Great Lakes too, if you have the cruising time or haul out your boat.  So I am writing up my plan for getting a boat onto it in a few years, and sailing all of it, and maybe Superior too.  Huron also, but Georgian Bay is the prettier part of that lake.


So, I'm trying to rope in a friend to share the costs.  You see, the season's only four months long in Ontario, so it's a bit much to pay full freight for such a short period. He and I are both teachers, so have the time to enjoy it, and we met rock-climbing, so are relatively rugged.  We both also prefer the Bruce Penninsula side of the bay to the Parry Sound side, mainly because it is less overrun with tourons and nouveaux riches.  My father shared a boat and stayed friends with his boat partner, and my father was an asshole.  My friend and I have trad-climbed together, so have already trusted each other with our lives.  My kids are young yet, and my wife'll kill me if I do this before we get a house, but in a few years it'll be my plaything in July while she's with the kids in Japan.  I am not a cottage person, and none on a decent lake are under a million near to Toronto anymore, and those lakes are full of stinkpots (motor boats).  Sailing, with the time off a teacher has, I am on one of the best sailing lakes in the world.

Sailing's not cheap, but not as expensive as people think, if you're smart.  First, you never buy new, because more than a few years used is a fraction the price of new, and boats don't fall apart like cars do.  Second, you buy as small as is safe on the lake and you find livable, because price doubles every 5' on the waterline. You can rent a boat, if you have the local sailing licence, but I've estimated each half of annual cost is $2500 (all CAD): just a little more than the weekly cost of chartering a boat on Georgian Bay the same size, $2200.  Even in the first year, if each of us sails it three weeks, the thing is paid for.  Sure, the boat's not as new, but that's not worth thousands.

Makes me wonder why I didn't live in a boat before marriage: $10000 investment and $500/month costs: and I get to sail my home.  Then I remember that I lived in Toronto and Montréal where the season's short, the winter's cold, and the sailing's mundane.  If I'd lived in Vancouver...

This is based on a 25' or 27' boat, like a C&C 27.  I'd want a few additions:
- one or two folding bikes in stowage
- bug and rain cover for the hatch and companionway
- bimini with bug mesh for sleeping/living outside
- 120v outlet for using electronics when hooked to shore power

If this is interesting, the details I sent to my friend follow the pictures.


I suggest we buy one on a round-numbered birthday year: your sixtieth and my fiftieth should be the same summer, and my kids will be old enough to take on a boat in life-jackets.  Summer previous to that or earlier, we take the Humber Sailing School course for something over $1000, and maybe even join the club for similar to get some experience on Ontario.  We'd have an agreement on the boat year to year and simply sell off the boat and reconcile the balances if one party wants out, or make an agreement on buying the other party out.

I'm thinking a used 25' or 27' sloop out of Owen Sound.  My father had a Tanzer 22 in Port Credit, but a boat a touch larger is going to be roomier and much safer feeling on Georgian Bay.  Ideally with a flushing head; showers and such are an unneeded luxury, but if wife insists I'll pay to have one in (she can shower at the Marina).  Owen Sound has a bus connection, which saves renting a car for us or for guests.  Further up the Bruce doesn't really work.  Fuck the Parry Sound side: busy, full of stinkpots (motor) and the traffic always sucks.

We'd split all unavoidable costs down the middle, but any personal upgrades we'd negotiate on a per item basis: if one doesn't feel it's needed, the other pays for all of it or chooses to forgo it.  That'd likely be me for spare sails, or a shower.  We'd write up an agreement and sign off on it.

Been looking online and costs come to about:
- boat and minor customization/repairs in first year, $8000-12000

Annually: $5000
- dockage, $2200
- on sight winter storage, $800
- repairs, $1500
- gasoline, $500, but we'd keep a log of engine use to share that most fairly
- insurance and sundries: $1000
Excess balance we can roll over year to year for major upgrades, upgrading the boat, or sharing back if we end the agreement or at the end of season.

So, that's a $7500/each hit in the first year, and $2500 each year after that.

Agreements?
- we aim to put in equal labour, especially in May before launch
- in case of accident the party in charge of the boat at the time eats any insurance deductible
- if accident is at the dock it is split
- a basic log is kept of miles sailed, and miles under power, so that costs can be fairly split (i.e. gasoline)
- water and fuel tanks are always kept 2/3 full or better
- waste tank not left more than 2/3 full (and try to use the marina)
- cabin, head, sails, etc. are left in 'ship-shape'
- when 'ship-shape' is not possible (a rush to catch a bus), a bottle of wine or similar is given in informal compensation
- other parties may take the helm under an owner's supervision and responsibility only
- Ontario boating rules will be followed

Scheduling?
- we'll have a document for tracking this
- when sailing together it is shared scheduling
- if one party books longer periods of over a week, the other party gets priority on number of times, or similar balancing
- keep each other informed of last minute openings or taking unclaimed availability

I'd want it maybe three weeks in July, when my family is in Japan, but you'd not only be welcome but wanted to share the sailing.  I'd also like another week in August for my family to join.  I doubt I could convince wife to go for more anyway.  That leaves you the other half of July/August.  June and September we'd split weekends.  If you are retired you'd have full access to June and September weekdays.

Saturday, 12 July 2014

"Altogether elsewhere, vast herds of reindeer..."

The Fall of Rome

W. H. Auden, 1907 - 1973
(for Cyril Connolly)
The piers are pummelled by the waves;
In a lonely field the rain
Lashes an abandoned train;
Outlaws fill the mountain caves.

Fantastic grow the evening gowns;
Agents of the Fisc pursue
Absconding tax-defaulters through
The sewers of provincial towns.

Private rites of magic send
The temple prostitutes to sleep;
All the literati keep
An imaginary friend.

Cerebrotonic Cato may
Extol the Ancient Disciplines,
But the muscle-bound Marines
Mutiny for food and pay.

Caesar’s double-bed is warm
As an unimportant clerk
Writes I DO NOT LIKE MY WORK
On a pink official form.

Unendowed with wealth or pity,
Little birds with scarlet legs,
Sitting on their speckled eggs,
Eye each flu-infected city.

Altogether elsewhere, vast
Herds of reindeer move across
Miles and miles of golden moss,
Silently and very fast.

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Grey on grey on grey... recursive landscape of Japan.


Is it just a Shitamachi thing, or do all Japanese not put on their headlights in the rain?  Come to think of it, they don't even on the toll freeways, and certainly not in the shitty little neighbourhood streets.  Even at night many turn them off at intersections to 'not bother' the people on the other side, which would be great if everyone remembered to turn them back on.

Sure, Japanese drivers pay more attention, not so much because they care more, or worry about the legal penalties, but there's nowhere you can drive a dozen meters in this land without hitting something, if you aren't paying attention.  However, nobody thinks for themselves.


Sure, they have those convex mirrors at all their fucking blind corners with houses up to the property line, but a few weeks of road soot or a few minutes of rain and they aren't much help.  Of course, if drivers or cyclists had their fucking lights on in rain I'd get fewer scares, wouldn't I?

Or, if all of the cars weren't in bland colours, against bland concrete background, against a leaden sky (the few times you get a glimpse of one in a Japanese warren) my paleolithic brain could pick up the predator; however, 'this is Japan'.

Friday, 4 July 2014

My officer! What a loud whistle.


But you won't get me to stop on a yellow and end up under the car behind me.  And you won't get me to stop, look back after the intersection, because I heard a whistle, but wouldn't be certain it was police (apart from the fact you had the intersection completely screwed up).  Nor will you get me to stop at your partner eight short Japanese blocks ahead, because who says that was the way I'd planned to go...  Besides, with a month to go in Japan, I don't feel like this new experience, learning new vocabulary; as you illegally ride the sidewalks with the rest of the 'droids I am not up for a lecture from you, and don't need a souvenir ticket.

Everybody knows you tools do not know the laws, and wouldn't respect them if you did, and are the same kind of thugs as our police abroad.  Difference here is none of you shoot.  Yeah, like I'm going to stop.

Sunday, 29 June 2014

Japanese 'culture': the Japanese religion.

"One hundred repetitions three nights a week for four years, thought Bernard Marx, who was a specialist on hypnopædia. Sixty-two thousand four hundred repetitions make one truth. Idiots!" 
- Aldous Huxley, 'Brave New World'


Being Japanese is the Japanese religion.  Far from Japan being an agnostic country, as seems apparent to people who comment on its laissez faire attitude to hereditary Buddhism and State Shinto, the Japanese are deeply religious: just not about gods.  You can call it Nihonjinron, simple bigotry, or a kind of fascism, but it is ubiquitous, and as ingrained as Catholic and Jewish guilt.*  It's successful for the same reason all religions get their own enslaved to obsessions: repetition of counter-factual shibboleths.  Kierkegaard (because I am pretentious, but have actually read him) was emphatic the absurdity of Christian dogma is the point: you can only be Christian if you reconcile the absurdity of such things as a triune god in your own mind.  So too being Japanese.  'And so it goes...'

So what?  All in-groups differentiate from out-groups by their own traditions and sayings?  Sure, Masons have their handshakes, aprons and absurd origin stories of the temple in Jerusalem, but who believes it?  Rock climbers in North America have certain memes, though most of them are practical: 'step on my rope and you owe me a beer', don't claim you can climb anything you haven't, any hardware dropped you have to replace with new.  Japanese shibboleths are impractical, demonstrably idiotic, and repeated ad nauseam: religion.

- 'Japan has four seasons', except it has more.
- 'Japanese are one people', except they are as polygeneous as the British.
- 'All Japanese are middle class', except there are erai-hito?
- 'Japanese doesn't have swear words'?  Kuso-kurae kiisama!
- 'Japanese food is the best', despite everything tasting salty and varying on few themes.
- 'Japan is safe', despite yakuza, petty theft, and the fact that nearly every woman here has been assaulted.
- 'English is hard' except Laos has better scores, and Laotian is no more similar to English than Japanese.
- 'Japanese work harder than foreigners' except long hours do not mean what they think when national productivity is less than America's: it means they get half as much done each hour.
- Watching sunrise from mountaintops, no matter the weather forecast.
- 'Self Defence Force' has offensive weapons.
- 'Our peace-constitution'.  Yeah, about that...  How many Japanese do you think know it was imposed on them by their victors, at the victor's pleasure?

From the comments:
- "Japanese people are more 'in touch with nature' than Gaijin", what they haven't paved, I guess.
- "Japanese people can 'communicate an unspoken message between each other' because of their unique culture", like anyone can, except Japanese language and culture is wilfully vague.
- "Even a foreigner who speaks Japanese fluently, can never really be fluent because since they don't have Japanese blood (for what it's worth?), they can't understand all the cultural nuances that Japanese people inherently understand".  Gaijin born and raised here as opposed to Japanese from overseas?  In any case, maybe we couldn't be fucked if you're going to asses value by 'blood'.
- "We Japanese believe in forming a consensus before making a decision".  Japanese consensus: the glacial and cowardly process of auguring their superiors' wants without anybody taking responsibility for communicating them, including their superiors.

Oh please, please help me remember more.

*I was raised the former of these two.