White-capped Fujisan after the typhoon

Took this photo with my iPhone this morning after the 20th typhoon of the season cleared away.

Last time I saw it, there was no snow. Now it’s all white. See another beautiful photo made this morning from much closer.

I will try to update this post tonight with some photos I took with my DSLR in between brushing my teeth and putting my pants on – always in a rush in the mornings…

View from my new place

Last night was the first clear sky sunset I could catch since we moved in the new apartment in Ikebukuro. 梅雨 (the rainy season – literally rain like plums) is not over yet so it was a lucky day.

I can’t wait until the typhoon season – after a typhoon, the skies are like washed from any cloud or fog – when I should be able to see the Fujisan clearly from my window.

More photos in the flickr photoset…

Daddy’s gift

Yesterday we received a Christmas present / New Year’s gift from 愛子’s father.

Around a Kg of 和牛 – Japanese beef from Yamanashi prefecture. If you’re thinking “meh, it’s just meat…”, stop right there, retail price must be over ¥30.000 (almost 300€).

Straight in the frying pan with some delicious garlic. Look at those beautiful nervings of fat permeating through the meat… *drool*

And a nice bottle of wine to complement the meal. You can’t eat meat like this with any little cheap bordeaux from the supermarket downstairs so we picked this up at Isetan Shinjuku.

All set (except the forks and knives, forgot to put them in before the photo…), thanks dad! The taste was incredible and you barely need to chew, it almost melts on your tongue.

PS: so that my parents don’t get jealous, I also received a huge pack full of foie gras, paté, rillettes, cassoulet, cuisses de canard confites from them and will post about it when I will eat it.

Home for Christmas

I’m back home, in Paris, for Christmas week. It’s the 1st time I come home since I left for Japan 2 years ago (I had an 18 hour stopover once in early 2006 on my way to a business trip in Czech Republic but it doesn’t really count).

It really feels strange to be back in the motherland. First there’s the obvious culture shock: I wasn’t even off the plane when the pilot announces over the PA system that there are abandoned luggage near our gate’s conveyor and we’d have to wait 15-20min for the police to “secure the premises”…

where's the bomb squad?

So we were 35min early, no biggy still 20min ahead of schedule when this hurdle clears up. We’re finally let off the plane, but then right before getting to immigration, a security gate blocks us for no obvious reasons. Again we wait, 15 minutes, no information from any airport staff, and when finally we’re let through I check the time and it’s exactly the time we were supposed to land. I guess it would’ve looked bad on the record to let people out early.

Anyways, enough with tales of the great efficiency of Paris’ Charles de Gaulles international airport. Worse than that for me is walking on the streets of Paris or taking the Metro and listening to all the meaningless conversations around me. It irritates me to unfathomable levels.

I can’t help it: living in Japan, you develop a superhuman capacity to spot your own language from great distances (kind of like Spiderman’s danger detection spider-sense). But when I’m back home, this ability backlashes and I go into sensory-overload, unable to tune-out or ignore the dullest dribbles of conversations in my vicinity.

It’s hell on earth, and I find myself seeking the soothing sound of Japanese tourists’ high-pitched 「すてき!!!」 and other exclamations in front of Notre-Dame…