I was “forced” to have a day off from Japanese planning today by Linda and the massive amounts of pain I woke up with. Of course, this didn’t stop two loads of laundry getting done as well as a bunch of emails and now I am starting on answering the questions for “The Ultimate Guide for Victoria” the alternative paper is putting out next week (answers by tomorrow). It seems they are doing profiles of various people in different aspects of the city which makes me wonder if I am now going to be a “tourist attraction” or not. Then they talked about sending over their photographer to my apartment (insert small scream). See, between medical equipment, wheelchairs, crap spread about (it is odd but being disabled AND doing housework doesn't go well together) I will be surprised they can find a place that doesn’t look like a Garage Sale in progress.
For today I really should try to come up with a blog that doesn’t involve a) Japan or b) Suicide but the alternative is some sort of assessment of the state of the world which even I find MORE depressing than talking about feeling suicidal. I did find from a news source the ratio of soldiers wounded in Iraq at 15:1 for wounded to dead. That means there are now about 60,000 potential newly disabled individuals (not counting Canadian and UK forces). That depressed me. What depressed me more was that the LAST story at the bottom of the “women’s section” in MSN was “Quarter of U.S. Women Suffer Domestic Violence” which talks about the estimated 2 million injured last year. That was far below; “Orgasmic births”, “Acupuncture and pregnancy” and the number 2 story: “10 diet mistakes and how to fix them!” See, this is why Linda doesn’t allow me a TV. I’m not even going to comment on those two stories because MSN, while it does have a labeled section for “pet health” doesn’t have a disability section. Which means trying to access and interpret US news is a quick trip to some sort of breakdown.
Instead I will do a quick analysis of the difference between Elizabeth’s trip to Japan and Linda’s trip to Japan. You would think that we were going to take the same trip but….SO wrong. For example, we are going to Miyajima, a sacred island across from Hiroshima. You would think we are going because the Itsukushima Shrine, first built in 593 and current buildings date from 1168 are a World Heritage Site. But you would be wrong, we are going because the Torii (gate) is listed as one of Japan’s “three most scenic sights.” See, Beth knows that if there is a photogenic site AND some history, she can likely entice Linda to go see the historic stuff because it promises great pictures. If you want a film on the Shrine and the island, there is a short one here. However in our planning over the weekend THIS is what actually happened:
Linda: “What is that warning on the Miyajima website?”
Beth (reading): “‘Deer may eat paper and cloth. Please be cautious of approaching deer.’ Wait there is a big warning, ‘JR PASSES WILL NOT BE REPRINTED OR REPLACED’”
Linda: “Oh cool! Deer!”
Beth: “WTF? How many deer have to EAT people’s rail passes before they put a warning on the front page.”
Linda: “Do they say where they deer are?”
Beth: “No, no mention of the deer. There is a street tour but there is a bunch of stairs. Oh here is a map of the island.”
Beth (looking confused): “No. I think, old shrine, Noh playhouse, oldest wooden building in the world and the floating Torii. Heritage!”
Linda: “Click on that one there, it says ‘wild monkeys’” She reads, “It says they are on top of Mt. Misen”
Beth: “Yeah, and the pathway is washed out and not very wheelchair friendly.”
Linda: “But look at the map, there are a bunch of ropeways: gondolas!”
Beth: “They are WAY up there, up that hillside out of town, how am I going to get the wheelchair all the way to the ropeway station?”
Linda: “Hooray! We can go feed the Wild Monkeys!”
And that is how things are going, while we are GOING to World Heritage Sites, and UNESCO sites, what we are visiting while there is still up for debate. Because while reviewing the list of places we are visiting Linda announced that she is “Shrined Out!” Meaning, too many shrines in too short a time.
Here is another example: after finding that dressing as a Geisha in Kyoto requires to be standing for 90 minutes for the layers of the Kimono to be put on without creasing, it was obvious that was out for me (along with the plan of selling the pics of Geisha in Wheelchair as the way to make back all our trip money).
I said: “I sorry we can’t get dressed up as Geishas and have our pictures taken.”
Linda: “You mean YOU can’t get dressed up.”
Beth: “What? You are going to go and do it without ME?”
Linda: “I haven’t decided yet.”
And that is how everything is going. I mean, I guess, love Linda, love her obsession with taking monkey pictures. We are also going to the town of Kobe, the city where all the other nations were kept when trading with Japan to keep them from influencing the country. So there are a lot of old houses from different nations (nine to be exact) as well as a Chinatown. This is purely a walk, wheel and shoot pictures as we are going there straight from Nara (feeding deer AND if there is time, see at least one World Heritage Shrine – notice the priority). The real problem now is that we have to prioritize because a) I am only awake about 2/3rds the time other people are. B) I need to sleep twice a day, at strict intervals and c) combine those two and there isn’t a LOT of night time attractions (except in Tokyo). Which means that Linda will be going solo to see some things like the Ninja Temple in Kanazawa (since it is full of twisting stairs and trapdoors – not a lot of wheelchair ninja’s it turns out). But we want to visit the Samurai area together (picture). So we are trying to decide the TOP things we want to do in each city….before we both go insane.
Let me just say that I am VERY glad more places we are going to DON’T have wild monkeys.
Linda (yesterday): “Hey I read this stuff on the Ghibli Museum….it sounds really good, I think there will be some good pictures there.”
Beth: “Didn’t I print that off for you to read a month ago?”
Linda: “Yes….and now I’m reading it!”
Anyway, we will trade our reservations of only 200 reservations for foreign guests per day for tickets that are actually pieces of film (three frames) of Ghibli films (like Spirited Away, Porco Rosso, or Kiki’s Delivery Service). We keep the tickets as souvenirs. Getting in there was not as bad as the Kyoto English tour of which there are two a day, but not on Saturday or Sunday. We arrive at Kyoto on Saturday and leave on Monday. We got into the second tour on Monday because the first was full and each English tour group only allows…..8 people. And if you aren’t IN the tour, you can’t into the Palace grounds. Ouch!
I did just download a series of shops which do Geisha pics for Linda; since after the film Memoir of a Geisha it is the favorite thing of schoolgirls to come to the Gion district and get dressed up and wander around (about 20 different studios – you can even get the ride in the rickshaw). Apparently the way to tell a REAL Geisha is the speed they can move their legs atop their Geta (wooden shoes atop two tall vertical pieces of wood – the traditional Japanese high heels). But remember, I’m not thinking or working on Japan.
22 hours ago