Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Royal decoration for my mother

Today, my mother was inducted into the order of Oranje-Nassau. This royal order is headed by our Queen Beatrix. My mother was distinguished for a life of volunteer work. The regalia were pinned on her chest by the mayor of Heemskerk. Each year, a day before the official Queen's day holiday, a lot of people are distinguished this way. I am very proud of my mother. It's nice to see that volunteer work does not go unnoticed.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Sayonara Nihon

Our Japan trip has ended. It was so full of impressions, it is hard to comprehend. Amy was doing pretty well with the Japanese. I was at least able to thank the locals in their native tongue. I was a big hit with the girls from the Onsen staff when I used my Japanese.

We managed to pack in a lot of Japanese culture in our three weeks there. We rode the bullet train, we ate the octopus, we visited Buddha's, we stayed in the ryokan, we soaked in the Onsen, we did the rotemburo, we watched the fashion victims, we bathed in neon, we drank Sapporo beer, we fed the deer, we used the vending machines, we stayed in a love-hotel in the red light district, we admired the blossoms, we experienced Tokyo, Niirita, Oga, Sapporo, Hokodate and Osaka. And my favorite: we went to "Canadian World": the relict of a bankrupt theme park that actually hired Canadians to portrait Canadian life. The theme park was doomed to fail, but it is still there, now a ghost town. I felt like a social archeologist. It was truly fascinating stuff.

Today we left Narita airport, taking off from runwy 16R and we landed 8.5 hrs later on Vancouver's runway 8L. The trip west was faster then the trip east, due to winds.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Bram and amy are in tokio

We made it to tokio. We landed on runway 17 of narita. The pilot took a big detour. We are staying in asakusa district. It is pretty awesome. Today we saw the imperial castle and the electronics district. Nobody in japan leaves his wifi open btw. Tomorrow we take the train up north.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Vancouver Auto Show

I visited the Vancouver Auto Show today with Goran and Auday. After nearly two years, I finally sat down behind the wheel of a Chevy Camaro again. It felt nice to be in a muscle car again. It's pretty affordable too, as the V8 model, with a big ass 6.2L engine starts at 40K Canadian dollar. I guess some people think there is plenty of oil left in the ground. Also the Dutch pride was present (Spyker). I still think it has the best looking interiour of all the cars. The exposed gear linkages are a brilliant touch. The website of the show lead me to believe that the new Ferrari California would be there. However, there was only one Ferrari present, a dark 599. Also there is a big community of electric car owners in BC. A lot of people convert there petrol car to an electric car. They were showing off their conversions on the exhibition floor.

Despite all the nice cars on the floor, I am not considering getting one here. I used to think that the Netherlands had the most anti-car government. It's just my luck that Canada is worse. I picked up just one speeding ticket in a year, but ICBC is already threatening me, and want me to enroll in a driver improvement program. Are they kidding me? And then there are the insane insurance premiums. No, car owners do not have it easy here.