Thursday, 21 October 2010


These last couple of days at work have been fun and have made a change from sitting at my desk working on translations. There's a new museum set to open in Aomori next January called Warasse, and this week the Canadian architect who designed it has been in town. This guy works for a design company called molo and you can see some imagined images of the museum on their website. The guy doesn't speak Japanese so I was asked to interpret for him for the last couple of days.

First we had a formal meeting to explain how the building had developed and what state everything is in at the moment, then we went down to see the actual place and looked around inside. If you look at the pictures on the molo website you can see the building has a striking design and it's kind of obvious it wasn't designed by a Japanese person. In those images the outside looks like it's covered in strips of some kind of brown, reed-like fabric, but this effect is achieved with a series of twisted metal ribbons. Everything looks great, and I'm sure it will be a hit when it opens next year. It was also pleasing to see a map in the entrance that I'd helped translate.

Today I went with the people I'd met yesterday, and after visiting the museum one more time to take some more photos, we went on a big road trip. The guys talked every now and then about the museum, and I interpreted, but basically it was an excuse for a day out. We ended up driving to Towada, passing by Mt. Hakkoda and some nice forests and nature on the way. Japanese people often pride themselves on the fact that they have stunning areas of natural beauty and you'll often hear that you see can clearly see the differences in the four seasons in Japan better than anywhere else in the world. It's easy to ignore these kind of statements as it sounds like hot air, but the more time you spend here, the more you realise it's true. Today we passed through autumn forests and mountain ranges that looked almost otherworldy. We ended up at quite an altitude as well and the low clouds made everything seem even more eerie.

We visited a hotel in the mountains and over a cup of coffee decided that we wanted to take a dip in the 温泉 (hot spring) there. It was quite a simple setup, and I don't know whose idea it was to have a load of Aomori apples floating around in the main pool - we just ended up chucking them at each other - but it was the first time I've been in a hot spring/public baths since being in Kobe, so I enjoyed it. It'd be great if more of this kind of work comes my way.

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