Yup, yesterday was a cleaning day, but at work, not home. It’s a bit of a tradition in Japan since a lot of companies don’t employ cleaning staff it’s up to the workers to do the cleaning. At our office the Japanese staff usually arrive an hour before everyone else and vacuum and dust everything. Yesterday involved doing things not usually done in that hour. So, me and a couple of the Japanese teachers swept out the cobwebs, waxed the floors and cleaned the windows in the classrooms. Did I mention the sweat? It was stupidly hot and humid and doing any kind of physical exercise let alone lifting and cleaning in this kind of weather is nuts. It took about an hour for me to cool down in the air-conditioned office afterwards.

Speaking of spider webs, there’s a whole mass of them developing outside my room. At night the fluorescent lights attract masses of insects so it’s no wonder the spiders have moved in as well. I don’t want to kill them as they’ll hopefully serve as guardsmen for the rest of my apartment during summer. Speaking of which, my apartment is now officially an oven. I knew this would happen, but now I can look forward to spending the next two or three months wearing only shorts while I’m home. Insulation? Double-glazing? Those are for the weak.

The big scandal in Japan at the moment is a push to reduce or restrict the opening hours for convenience stores. It’s being touted as a way to reduce greenhouse emissions since walking into one of those places after dark is like walking onto a Thai beach at midday. The thing is that the savings don’t match the cost of lost business, and besides, most of Japan’s electricity comes from non-greenhouse sources (nuclear, hydro, thermal) so it really is just for show. By some of the comments made by punters, we may actually have an issue that the Japanese people may resort to violent protest about!

The OECD have raked Japan over the coals for its under-employment of women. Look for Japan to ignore the report in 5.. 4.. 3.. – but seriously you have to wonder since the government are going on and on about how they need to increase the tax base that they aren’t trying to find ways to get more housewives back into work. Then again, we could spend hours talking about ways the government could change things for the better in Japan. The government themselves are very good at doing that – but no one actually DOES anything…

The OECD are getting around. They’ve also had a go at Australia for the lack of equality in education.

Australia’s tourist industry is continuing to go through some tough times. Step 1, reduce the value of the dollar!

Looks like Obama’s been reading my blog.

1998 – Russia appeals to the West for investment. 2008 – the USA appeals to Russia for investment.

The full story on how and why Wai Wai ceased to exist. That column was required reading for me, and a good source of fodder for this blog. The last paragraph illustrates another aspect of Japanese culture that shows Japan’s often contrary nature.

Another list of archaic laws that are still on the book in America. One could have fun trying to break some of them just to see what happens…

All brace for Attack of the Faceless! (oh… wait – it’s just marketing. I think I’ll wait for Death of the Marauding Marketers on DVD)

Loos like tofu might be bad for you once you hit the age when senile dementia should be hitting anyway.

Hey, Kirk Cameron! You suck!

Ask yourself, what’s a more likely method to see petrol prices fall; praying about it or petitioning about it? One possible good thing about the lack of oil is that the quest to replace it will speed up. Unfortunately, that means another round of Zeppelins Will Save Us All again.

Travellers, there’s a place in Japan that has good beaches, tropical forests, and a lack of development!

See Pompeii before it crumbles away for good this time.

We all live on a floating lily pad, floating lily pad, floating lily pad….

Looks like Australia’s going to start carbon emissions trading whether we like it or not, if it makes sense or not, and if it will be cost effective or not.

If you like hiding in your room with the curtains closed during the daytime, you might as well put them to some good use – like generating solar power

So, are the polar ice caps really melting? Yes, and no.

But don’t worry about oil running out. We should be more worried about gallium, indium, hafnium, zinc and copper running out first.

Here’s an article probing the recent Korean Beef Riots in a little more detail.

Recent developments in Iraq.

McCain and Bush are similar in other ways, such as hoping for another terrorist attack to boost their ratings at the polls. What great humanitarians they are…

At least he and Obama agree that climate change is real and happening. Now, what are they going to do about it? If you said, “Not enough,” please collect your prize.

What’s more stupid, being willing to pay 150 pounds to watch an episode of your favourite TV show on your mobile phone, being charged 31,000 pounds because you’re overseas at the time and didn’t think that they charge extra for that service, or hiring a team of lawyers and having the bill reduced to a fraction of the amount? I wonder if I can use that method next time I get my mobile bill… or any other bill I don’t like…

The times are few, but occasionally there are times when I miss Aussie TV. I’d love to be able to see the latest offering from Working Dog for example, The Hollowmen.

Hoo Roo. Time for breakfast and to think about what I’m going to do today.