November 30, 2004

Japan week Cardiff

japan week cardiff, originally uploaded by ksporry.

Last weekend I went to a Japan festival in Cardiff, South Wales. the drive is actually quite a nice one. Nice landscape and not too busy. When I got there, it turned out to be fairly small scale. There were a few stands with Calligraphy, writing, painting. Some origami and wrapping. There was a stand with some cooking books and a stand with bento meals.
They had some demonstrations, most of which I missed. I only got to see a kimono show. Nice, but not exactly thrilling. There are some music performances and movie displays spread over Cardiff Bay. the whole event lasts 2 weeks, with the most interesting stuff last sunday.
The photo on top is a group photo of all the models that showed their kimonos. The photo below is one of the young girls showing her kimono.
I was a little surprised there were no men posing. Afterall, there are also kimonos for men.
The younger participants were quite shy, which was kind of cute to be honest.
I have the feeling that they could make so much more of such festivals. For some reason most asian festivals are rather...amateuristic... I went to one in London, which was good. I'll discuss that one in a future post.

young girl kimono
young girl kimono, originally uploaded by ksporry.

November 29, 2004

Job creation

The world is in a depression, we all see the effects. Unemployemncy rocketting sky high, and governments trying to be clever by trying to stimulate buying power by taking away the money from those who need it most.
Holland has reached a historical low since the 80's. But other countries could actually be off worse. Though Holland has an official unemploymency rate of 10% (which is actually quite significant), Japan has a mere 5%, a figure that seems to be constant with a healthy economy. Japan seems to have a significant hidding unemploymency. Not that strange if you have some 130 odd million people living and working together on a relatively small area. It seems like Japan creates jobs just to keep people employed, and you really don't need to be good to be promoted to office chief. It's like an army: plenty of corporals around.
England is pretty good at it too, mostly with bureacratic functions.. If they need to create more jobs, they just create some procedures and an extra department to deal with it. Ofcourse this alll mmakes money flow like water, because the extra bureaucracy brings aling delays, many, many delays. And if it can take longer, that would be even better! Imagine an IT department taking 2 montths to change someone's details in Outlook, an action that probably takes 2 minutes of someone's time... Or better yet, something that could have been fully automated!
France isn't much better though. the french excel in creating rubbish! In my profession Ii deal with plenty of french and french products. My company (surprise surprise, 80% french), manages to contract french software companies that create software tools worth some 100.000 GBP a piece, that do not do the job, and after delivering the product, it doesn't work (ofcourse), partly because it isn't finished (ofcourse), and then say they won't provide support for their product (agaiin ofcourse).
China is good at it too though. During my holiday in Shanghai I witnessed many cases of job creation. trafffic attendant is prpobably the most popular one. Each junction has 4 corners, right? (for a simple cross junction that is, two for a T-junction). In Shanghai they manage to put a traffic attendant on every single corner of the street. There are many many youngg boys handing out commercial cards. They do it so agressively that it seems like the more cards they hand out, the more they get paid! Then there are the street cleaners, who by the way only operate in areas of esteme.
In the post office there is actually a guy that wil guide people to a till, any till... There will be one person tthat takes your mail, pass it on to the next, who will put a stamp on it, another to put it in a bag, etc etc.
If you can think of something that could possibly be implemented as a job, no matter how remote, China probably thought of it before you did.

Job creation excercise
Job creation excercise, originally uploaded by ksporry.

November 22, 2004

Buddha in the 3rd millenium

Buddha in the 3rd millenium, originally uploaded by ksporry.

This photo was taken in Taiwan in a place called Tainan, just north of Kaosiung. The place is famous for it' s many temples, and when I say many, I mean many!. It has 3 huge temples, two of which are constantly competing for the title of "biggest temple of South East Asia". Well, I have to say, they are mighty impressive.
I can't think of a better picture to summarise Taiwan: Where new meets old! It is amazing how the Taiwanese manage to combine tradtitions with modern society. You can literally find an ancient temple next to the newest skyscraper in Taipei.

November 19, 2004


Today I saw an interesting film 'A river runs through it', with Brad Pitt. The story is basically about two brothers who grow up in Montana and have a passion for fly-fishing. One leaves to study english literature, the other stays behind (and gets into gambling and drinking). Though probably classified as a drama, it isn't really dramatic. It is quite striking though, the peace and calmness the film radiates. The film is set in gorgeous nature.

Why do I mention this? It makes me realise how much I like travelling. I want to see soo much more than I have done so far. I've had it with Europe for a while. I want to go to Japan, partly thanks to Jeff, who started sushicam many a year ago ( China would be interesting, but not Shanghai. I've been there, but the city doesn't appeal to me very much. Taiwan is also an option. I like Taiwan. Nice people, nice food.

There is another reason why I like travelling and it is probably a very unimaginable reason.
It reminds me who I am, and where I come from, where my home really is. I might not be there now, and it may be a sh!thole sometimes, but it is home, and there is only one home...
So why don't I just go home? That's because you don't realise what you miss until you miss it, even if the place you live in now, is many times better. I didn't know how fast to get away from Holland, but I do miss it now. And remember when you were a child, that you didn't always go to Mc Donalds, or got candy. And when you did, it was the greatest thing ever! That is how it feels to go home. The sweetness of coming home... There is nothing quite like it.
I haven't been home for almost a year now. When I do get home, it will be exactly a year ago. And that while it is only 100GBP away... So why don't I go home more often? Because I like places I haven't seen before...

November 07, 2004

The first step into a larger world...

It finally came in last friday. After an exhausting week of testing, stress, sweat, tears and blood, it finally came! My first Macintosh... My iMac G5 20"...
And I love it! I have to say, after 15 years of MS Windows it is quite a change in operation, and I have to unlearn what I have learned. But I made my first step into a larger world. I do need to get some virusware and spamware stuff. Not that Mac is so sensitive to the stuff, but always better safe than sorry...
I'm planning to purchase an iPod from Taiwan, as it is some 45 quit cheaper than in extortionate UK. I also need to buy one of those JBL Creature II sound systems. It may not be the best in the market sound wise, but my stereo can deal with that when I want REAL good sound, plus the white version nicely fits the design of my iMac. I was tthinking about getting an iSight as well, again the design has a large impact. Don't get me wrong I don't concentrate on looks, in fact I often don't bother because quality is more important, but the iSight is top notch and the JBL set isn't bad either. So I think some new gadgets are on the way. Expensive? yes, but since I found out I have 1000GBP more to spend this week than normal (actually it will be over 2000 by december), I think I am entitled to spoil myself a littlle bit.

Soon I should be getting my Adobe Creative Suite in the mail and then I really can get started! Hopefully then I will beb abl eto put some pics up as well. I have quite a few GB of images to convert, post, print and process, so I will be a busy bee this week...

Thatt reminds me, when I tried installing Canon digital solution disk v5, which did work on my PC, it didn't want to install file viewer utility. Don't ask why, I do not have the answer. So what I did, was look for some support from Canon. Since I bought my camera in the UK and registered it there (the disk came with the camera), it made only sense... I typed in my querry and it came up with a whol elist of similar issues. Except that none of them were similar enough to be of any help. So I submitted my questions to Canon, only to not receive any notification. So today I tried again, so far still no confirmation of receipt. If I don't have any initial answers by monday, i will start calling them and demanding some support.
I heard that Canon UK is pretty poor, and I believe I'm starting to experiience it now myself.

In fact, a lot of support and service is equal to non-existent here in England. They're just not into it it seems...
Canon Holland is good though! Last timme I had a question (which was also the first time), I bought a flash (540EZ). But the companyy I bought it from only included an unreadable german copy of the manuual, so I called Canon and I got a verry friendly chap on the line. he told me to fax or email the receipt and warranty certificate. .So I scan it in, and I attach a question if the guy could send me some info and brochures on related products. About a week later I receive my manuual, accompanied with 2 books, worth 50GBP!!! One was 'The Lens Works' and another was about photography using EOS equipment. I was well impressed so I send him another email thanking him for his help and the service he provided.
Anyway, we'll see what will happen.

Stay tuned for the next episode of "Any whichh way but home..."