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January 31, 2009

Two days, two shots

Filed under: Life with Felines, Zafiro — RICKY @ 5:20 pm
Two days, two visits to the veterinarian. Yesterday I took Atomo to the vet because he needed his follow-up leukemia vaccine (has to be administered three weeks after the first one). I have decided to get my cat's vaccines from a vet that's three blocks from my home and, for more serious issues like a full health-check or diagnosis I'll take the time to travel South and visit my first vet. Before pricking Atomo he checked his general condition like body temperature (Atomo hates that!!), internal organs and mouth. When he inspected Atomo's ear with a special lamp - something my previous vet never bothered to do - he went "Oooh! What is that?!" With a long q-tip he took samples from both of Atomo's ears and what emerged were quite large, black chunks of something. We observed that nasty stuff on a white sheet to see if it was moving or not. It didn't. So scabies were out of the question. This morning, when I returned to the vet with Zafiro - he needed his follow-up FVRCP-C vaccine - I inquired about the result of Atomo's ear exam. The vet said since they weren't parasites they're probably just Atomo's particular ear condition which tended to be unclean. He examined Zafiro's ears and they were completely clean. Hmm, it seems strange and I'll def look into that until I get a clear answer. I'll keep you updated. Stay tuned. 札幌の英語の先生、札幌のスペイン語の先生、札幌英語先生、札幌スペイン語先生、英語のブログ、BLOG、会話、英語英会話、札幌の先生、札幌先生、英語の語学スクール、スペイン語の語学スクール、札幌英会話、英会話、English teacher in Sapporo, maestra de español。
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January 30, 2009

Save a life. Adopt a shelter dog.

Filed under: Animal Rights — RICKY @ 8:44 pm
Are you thinking of getting a dog? You can adopt one here from this public dog shelter in Sapporo. Adorable dogs of all ages and types are waiting for a loving home. Don't waste your money on expensive dogs from pet stores that breed dogs for business. Spend it in a meaningful way on dogfood and toys for a dog who is now in a shelter, longing to meet that special person who will adopt him/her and provide a better life. These dogs were taken off the streets and in the shelters they survive but they're far from living the enjoyable lives they deserve. Dogs are loving and loyal companions. Adopt, don't buy. 札幌の英語の先生、札幌のスペイン語の先生、札幌英語先生、札幌スペイン語先生、英語のブログ、BLOG、会話、英語英会話、札幌の先生、札幌先生、英語の語学スクール、スペイン語の語学スクール、札幌英会話、英会話、English teacher in Sapporo, maestra de español。
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January 29, 2009

A trip to a Japanese hot spring

Filed under: So Japanese — RICKY @ 7:04 pm
This is a typical Japanese hot spring with several tubs containing different types/temperatures of water, simple and neat. The wash-stations have stools and are the equivalent of Western showers Whenever I feel like immersing myself in Japanese culture I either go to sing karaoke or to a hot spring. I mean of course I live in Japan but going to typical places like the abovementioned intensifies the experience. What is really different from thermal waters in the US is that there they are almost exclusively located in spa hotels and the biggest difference is that we wear a bathing suit at the spa. In Japan everybody is naked as a jay bird! To be honest, it took me some time to get used to that form of nudism. These days I soak confidently - and naked - among all other onsen-goers even if the hot spring is crowded as it was the other day during my visit to a popular downtown onsen (a real one, not a sento). Actually there were so many women in that bath that in every bathtub I had to crouch, with my knees pulled to my chest, because the space was very limited. A welcome escape was - you would never guess - the sauna, for it was spacious, real spacious, and contained a large flatscreen TV! What is unique in Japan is that boys up to about eight years blithefully join their moms in the women's bath. It makes sense though. They're still kids and should be under the supervision of a parent, rather than by themselves in the men's bath. Another thing that I really appreciate is that in a Japanese hot spring we wash our bodies BEFORE entering the water. That keeps the whole experience nice and hygienic! 札幌の英語の先生、札幌のスペイン語の先生、札幌英語先生、札幌スペイン語先生、英語のブログ、BLOG、会話、英語英会話、札幌の先生、札幌先生、英語の語学スクール、スペイン語の語学スクール、札幌英会話、英会話、English teacher in Sapporo, maestra de español。
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January 26, 2009

The Chinese New Year starts today

Filed under: India & China, News & Events — RICKY @ 7:52 pm
The Chinese New Year starts on the first new moon of the lunar year which means - today! Millions of Chinese are flocking back to their hometowns from all parts of China and from overseas as well. I have never attended a Chinese New Year celebration but I imagine it to be one noisy, big, crazy 15-day-party! The Chinese love big crowds and noise, in other words, they're a bit crazy - I'm sure of that after four visits to the Asian giant! Chinese people usually move in groups of four, five or more. That's why in restaurants all tables seat at least six people. Going for lunch alone or even to a coffee shop, as it is common in Japan, is very unusual there. The Chinese are extremely sociable and outgoing. In Beijing, every time we entered a restaurant we were immediately surrounded by two or three English-speaking waitresses, not only serving us food and beverages but also talking to us enthusiastically about their country and lifestyles. Most of the English-speaking waitresses were university students and had part-time jobs at restaurants. From the way they talked about their country I got a pretty good picture about patriotism in China. Their enthusiasm was contagious. By the way, 2009 is the year of the Ox which stands for prosperity through fortitude and hard work. 札幌の英語の先生、札幌のスペイン語の先生、札幌英語先生、札幌スペイン語先生、英語のブログ、BLOG、会話、英語英会話、札幌の先生、札幌先生、英語の語学スクール、スペイン語の語学スクール、札幌英会話、英会話、English teacher in Sapporo, maestra de español。
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January 24, 2009

Fidel reflects on Obama. Guantanamo to be closed.

Filed under: News & Events — RICKY @ 5:14 pm
Street scenes from Cuba For over a month nobody saw or heard anything of Fidel Castro and many speculated that the 82-year-old ex-Cuban leader had passed away in silence. The day after Obama's inauguration, however, Fidel spoke. In his recent edition of his "Reflections" essays he ponders on the possibility of not being around in four years and he praises Barack Obama as an "honest man". It seems ironic to hear these words fom somebody who has betrayed his people for five decades, promising them freedom and equality and delivering little more than misery. As far as the shutdown of Guantanamo Prison is concerned, I welcome and appreciate Obama's decision and I signed a petition about two years ago to have the prison closed. It holds suspected terrorists and is infamous for the harsh interrogation techniques practiced there. On the US mainland such methods are unlawful and hence the prison was moved to Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, a small stretch of land that belongs to the United States. Torture is an interrogation method used in totalitarian countries and should never be applied in the US or any other country that calls itself a democracy. 札幌の英語の先生、札幌のスペイン語の先生、札幌英語先生、札幌スペイン語先生、英語のブログ、BLOG、会話、英語英会話、札幌の先生、札幌先生、英語の語学スクール、スペイン語の語学スクール、札幌英会話、英会話、English teacher in Sapporo, maestra de español。
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January 22, 2009

El Che

Filed under: News & Events — RICKY @ 5:41 pm
I went to the theater earlier this week and watched "CHE", the documentary of the world's most controversial revolutionist, Ernesto Guevara. While watching the movie I was surprised to realize that the movie was based on a book I read more than ten years ago: El Che, 800 pages of fine print, a collection of Guevara's detailed diaries during the guerilla war in Cuba. Back then I devoured the book page after page and couldn't stop wondering whether he was hero or predator, humanitarian or terrorist, philanthropist or assassin. One thing's for sure: Noone could have portrayed Che (=Ernesto Guevara) better than Benicio del Toro. Not only is he an amazing actor and deserves another Academy Award for his performance, but the physical resemblance to the real Che is striking (see pictures). Real disappointing though was Demian Bichir's performance as Fidel Castro. He projects very little and looks like a character with a timid personality, not like the leader of the Cuban revolution. Bichir is a well-known actor in Mexico and should have done a lot better. In any case, this movie is all about Benicio del Toro, real outstanding, don't miss it. And this was just the first part! I mentioned the flick in my lessons and got tons of questions concerning Ernesto "Che" Guevara: 1. Q: Why does everybody call him "Che"? (his real name is Ernesto) A: In Argentina people have a habit of saying "che" in between sentences, it could be translated as "well", a kind of filler. Hence, the nickname. 2. Q: Che was Argentine. Why in the world did he fight in the Cuban revolution? A: He was traveling across Latin America, from the South (Argentina) to the North (Mexico). It was in Mexico where he met Fidel Castro and together they planned and later achieved the Cuban Revolution. 3. Q: After the revolution was accomplished Che left Cuba. Why? A: Noone knows for sure and accounts differ considerably. The most credible version is that he stopped getting along with Fidel. The latter slowly, gradually turned into a power-hungry dictator. The Cubans, basically, had traded one dictator (Batista) for another (Castro). Bye-bye revolution. Che left, went to Congo, Africa to stage his next revolution, was bitterly disappointed by the lacking team-spirit of the Congolese, went on to Bolivia to fight another guerilla war and was eventually killed. He was 39 years old. 札幌の英語の先生、札幌のスペイン語の先生、札幌英語先生、札幌スペイン語先生、英語のブログ、BLOG、会話、英語英会話、札幌の先生、札幌先生、英語の語学スクール、スペイン語の語学スクール、札幌英会話、英会話、English teacher in Sapporo, maestra de español。
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January 21, 2009

Zafiro’s obsession

Filed under: Life with Felines, Zafiro — RICKY @ 9:01 pm
Zafiro LOVES water and always tries to take a bath with me. At the sound of water he immediately comes running and plays with the stream. It took me some time and effort to teach him that the water bowl is for drinking, not for taking a footbath and splashing around! Look at the picture: Zafiro sitting at the rim of the bathtub, fascinated by what's going on beneath. By the way - what looks like blood in the water is a chili-bathsalt! 札幌の英語の先生、札幌のスペイン語の先生、札幌英語先生、札幌スペイン語先生、英語のブログ、BLOG、会話、英語英会話、札幌の先生、札幌先生、英語の語学スクール、スペイン語の語学スクール、札幌英会話、英会話、English teacher in Sapporo, maestra de español。
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January 20, 2009

The return of winter

Filed under: So Japanese — RICKY @ 4:42 pm
This is what a bicycle parking area without a roof looks after a night of snowfall. Ouch! 札幌の英語の先生、札幌のスペイン語の先生、札幌英語先生、札幌スペイン語先生、英語のブログ、BLOG、会話、英語英会話、札幌の先生、札幌先生、英語の語学スクール、スペイン語の語学スクール、札幌英会話、英会話、English teacher in Sapporo, maestra de español。
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January 19, 2009

Climate change?

Filed under: News & Events — RICKY @ 5:56 pm
Rain in December, and now rain in January, that's unheard of. Does anyone still deny climate change? This weather - cold rain and wind - for me is the nastiest of all. I perceive it as a lot colder than temperatures below zero with dry air. On days like this the humidity crawls under layers of skin and remains there until you either take a hot bath or remain in front of a heater for the rest of the day. It was this weather that really put me off in Shanghai last year and I vowed never to return there in January. Seems like my least favorite atmospheric conditions found me, right here in Sapporo ... 札幌の英語の先生、札幌のスペイン語の先生、札幌英語先生、札幌スペイン語先生、英語のブログ、BLOG、会話、英語英会話、札幌の先生、札幌先生、英語の語学スクール、スペイン語の語学スクール、札幌英会話、英会話、English teacher in Sapporo, maestra de español。
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January 17, 2009

Chinese activists: Cats are not food

Filed under: Animal Rights, Life with Felines — RICKY @ 7:16 pm
Animal rights activists recently turned to the streets of Beijing to protest agains the cruel slaughter of cats. The cats, skinned and cooked alive, usually turn up on food plates in the Southern Guangdong province, home of the Cantonese people. More than forty activists called for the government to take action against cat traders and restaurants that serve cat meat. Many of the protesters were senior citizens who care for stray cats and who reported that many cats in their care, especially the fatter ones, have disappeared. There are people who spend their days "fishing for cats", often stealing pets, and then sell them to dealers who ship them to the South. Pet-owners all over China are afraid to let their pets leave the house out of fear they might get snatched. "It's never been this bad. Who knows, it might be because of the bad economy. I've heard that there are cat-nabbing syndicates from Hunan that are rounding up cats," said one cat-owner, Lai. He fears the cat business might be run by gangsters. Animal protection groups every now and then ambush truck convoys loaded with bamboo cages filled with cats bound for Guangdong. In one recent case, hundreds of cats escaped after their cages were opened, though hundreds more remained confined in the vehicle. According to a newspaper report 10,000 cats are eaten every day in Guangdong. "We are urging the government to stop this shameful behavior", said the protestors under tears, holding up banners with cats locked up in crammed cages. 札幌の英語の先生、札幌のスペイン語の先生、札幌英語先生、札幌スペイン語先生、英語のブログ、BLOG、会話、英語英会話、札幌の先生、札幌先生、英語の語学スクール、スペイン語の語学スクール、札幌英会話、英会話、English teacher in Sapporo, maestra de español。
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