A few sakura in bloom, and a note about Facebook

During a cold, afternoon walk I saw a few sakura in bloom. I think it’s still around one percent. Maybe in another week it will get closer to full bloom. Here are a few today. The first two were shot in macro mode up really close. I love how that feature works. The warmer weather should rebound tomorrow.

Because of last week’s earthquake, and the sudden extreme cold (it snowed yesterday!) Tokyo has been on a possible power shortage alert. While peak usage reached 103% I think there were no power failures though.

In other news, my Facebook account has been disabled for the fourth time! Again, there was no explanation, and no mention of violations. I received a code on my iPhone, then uploaded a photo and ID to verify identity yesterday. Now I’m just waiting. It’s annoying because it cuts me off from various friends and also disables my Messenger account. Anyway, by now people know how to reach me otherwise (email, iMessage, LINE, WhatsApp, and text to my U.S. number too).

I’d really like to just get away from Facebook, but the problem is everybody has accounts there, and people are resistant to creating new general social network accounts elsewhere. And if I post miscellaneous tidbits of this and that to my blog it would swamp subscribers. On the plus side, it’s felt nice and quiet (except for Pao’s hyper-reactivity to sounds outside) and I could relax and get more work done.

This tree along the river always seems to bloom first. The others are just showing buds so far.

Pao at the vet

We took Pao to the vet yesterday for his yearly rabies shot and ward office registration. Unlike Tao, who would turn away as soon as he realized we were heading in that direction, Pao loves the vet. As soon as we turn the corner heading in that direction he starts pulling harder and harder, like he can’t wait to get there. And once there, he’s all smiles and wagging tails.

Pao is waiting outside a bit because it’s a little crowded this morning. He’s excited about getting in though, and you can see his tail wagging once inside.
Taking in the scenery
Checking out a newcomer. Surprisingly, unlike some dogs there, Pao doesn’t bark at the vet. He basically doesn’t bark outside. He drives me crazy at home though, barking at noises outside. But outside, he never barks at the same noises. Weird.
All smiles.

The shot went fine. Hirokazu predicted that Pao gained weight and would be 29.5 kg. I guessed 28 kg. He was 28.5 kg, which is up 1 kg since the end of last year. The doctor said he’s a bit on the chubby side and we should be more careful about giving him too much food.

The “Doug/Pao” weight ratio has now dropped to 2.3. When he first came here, the same ratio was 107! (I’m down since then from 82.4 kg to 66.0 kg, and he’s up from 1.3 kg to 28.5 kg).

Lost in Translation

There are various combinations of my name floating about in Japan.

That’s partially a result of me not initially understanding that Japanese family names are written first, followed by given names. (Actually, I knew very little about Japan when I first came. How I ended up here is another story.)

For example, on my national health insurance card, and at some banks, I’m ダグラス ラーナー (Dagurasu Ra-na-). But there are no ro-maji (Roman characters) in it. Just katakana.

Over time, ID checks became stricter and I’m Lerner Douglas Michael (in ro-maji) on some official documents, like my driver’s license.

On one credit card, I’m Raanaa Dagurasu, just in ro-maji.

The latest combination is Softbank Hikari, my new Internet provider (speeds are just fine). There I ended up as ラーナーダグ ラスマイケル (in katakana) and Lernerdoug Lasmichae (in ro-maji). Yes, in romaji, it’s missing the L in Michael. Looks exotic?

Chako update – starting her 10th life

A few weeks ago I posted about how Chako was nearing the end (https://lerner.net/chako-a-quiet-update/) and how we were basically just trying to keep her comfortable.

Her condition got worse, and so I visited the local vet. He wasn’t familiar with the English “nine lives” expression, but after I explained it to him he said it sounded like Chako was at the end of her 9th life. He recommended I get a net laundry basket, and after making sure she was safely in that, to bring her in.

I picked one up at the 100 yen shop, and left it for my neighbor, Kogita-san. Unfortunately Kogita-san contracted Covid and while her symptoms weren’t severe, we couldn’t get together, and I could not get in back where Chako was.

I got her some soft nutritional snack tubes and left them for Kogita-san, who gave them to Chako. Chako actually started nibbling on them.

Kogita-san (who is all better now) reported that Chako started eating more and more of them. And yesterday reported that she’s been gobbling down regular canned food now, her eye seems to have cleared up, and she’s moving around again.

On to her 10th life.