Monday, October 15, 2007

From Across the Sea

Hey, remember that company "Nova" that Tara and I came over to Japan with? Well at the time we signed on for our year in Japan, we had done a great deal of research online, finding that the company had it's problems - there were endless reports of people who simply didn't like working there - but generally was easy to work for. The same Google search of "Nova Japan" today produces these top two results:
1. Nova's official company website - the one through which Tara and I applied for our first jobs in Japan, and that by quick perusal appears to be unchanged from that time.
2. An online discussion forum stating "NOVA UNABLE TO PAY IT'S EMPLOYEES". This is, unfortunately, nothing but the truth. I really feel for my ex-coworkers and students, who are being dragged into their own financial conundrums by the crashing company. Nova failed to pay it's teachers last September 15th (the regular monthly pay date), and a recent letter issued to staff informs them that they will not be payed on October 15th either. Meanwhile, students who have put down large sums in tuition, are almost definitely out of luck.
Once again, although I'm car-less and hence biking 1-3 hours/day, I can't help but feel very fortunate to have jumped ship when I did.

Speaking of good fortune, let's have a look at THE BIGGEST BUDDHA IN JAPAAAAAANNNN!!!

Ah, but first... THE BIGGEST KEVIN IN JAPAN!!! (perhaps)

The very big Buddha has a very big house (a.k.a. Todaiji in Japan).

Or at least the type of house to which people become increasingly smaller as they approach it. You can see Kevin and Dad in the midst of becoming relatively smaller here.
In fact, this 1692 reconstruction of the original is only 2/3rds the original size, but still blew us all away.

Now I will give you a list of numbers which will not do justice to this picture. Though we purchased postcards, we all agreed that the picture just could not convey the absolute grandeur of this behemoth.
The dimensions of the Daibutsu --
Height : 14.98 meters
Face : 5.33 meters
Eyes : 1.02 meters
Nose : 0.5 meters
Ears : 2.54 meters
Weight : 500 metric tonnes
In other words, he's a biggie, and if he didn't want you in his house, could swat you like a fly.
For me, this was one of the highlight sights so far, out of everything I've seen in Japan. Anyway, it really is hard to give an impression of the size, so I would like to ask the many engineers who read this page to recreate the Daibutsu in South-Western Ontario, so that you all might enjoy the experience.

This fellow, in the back corner of the big house, was my personal favourite. Decked out in complete traditional armour, but holding a brush and scroll, he seemed to epitomize the adage "The pen is mightier than the sword"... Which some of you may know better through the parody "I'll take penis mightiers for 200, Trebek."

Leading up to the Big Buddha's house, Tara - queen of the forest - gathered a following of woodland friends. There are hundreds of deer living in Nara park, and they can sense a rice cake from miles away. They look nice but get quite agressive when food is up for grabs.

This is one of my favourite pictures from the trip, although when I look at it now, I realize that if Dad had stood a bit more to his right, it would have looked like they were both wearing very tall and silly hats. Ahh well, you'll have to make due with this nice picture of them, and imagine them in silly hats on your own time, or edit in silly hats using Photoshop, or draw in pictures of Arlene in the background. Really, do as you please now, my work here is done for now...



Anonymous said...

Now, them there's sum nice pichurs, Ee-un! Ever-budy looks gooooood! Specially moms and pops! Thankee....Arween

MomE said...

I've always been a fan of hats. Some girls can wear them and some can't!! Ian's right about Todaiji and Daibutsu- there aren't adjectives that suffice. Yes, that most likely was the biggest Kevin in Japan as well. We grow'em tall; at least it makes them easy to find in a crowd.