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Always Prepared for the Rain in SPAIN – No, No, I Mean JAPAN

One of the things I love about Japan is the incredible variety of Weather.

In my Hawaiian home, we get some type of rain in the morning or evening, the wind gusts strong and a Typhoon comes by every once-in-a-while, but the temperature is pretty much paradise year-round. I was 12 before I realized how each and every day’s weather can be such an exciting experience!

My first hint into the wonder of weather was peering out on a frigid December evening from the milky Victorian glass in our Edinburgh home to experience love at first sight with the huge first-snow flakes meandering lazily all over the city. They seemed like so many sweet pieces of comforting cotton.

Now in Japan, I experience a twinge of expectation each morning when I take my first peek from the sliding glass windows next to my bed in Yokohama. I am never completely sure what I will find. The crows are usually cawing above and there might be a hint of wind rustling the Kaede maple tree growing against the house… but I really do never know. We experience both kind and dangerous weather. But Japan, excuse the pun, has mastered the art of Weathering the Weather.

First things first… look out your window and feel the moisture in the air and take a look at the clouds. If it is at all gray and if you feel the moist suppleness on your skin, it is most likely going to rain. Simply this will dissuade any conscientious laundry-lover to resist doing a load first thing and hanging clothes out to dry. Yes, most Japanese wash in cold water and don’t use dryers. I used to scoff at that until I got used to sunshine smell on my clothes and now I only use my dryer in emergencies. As we would say in Japan… much more Eco!

Second, switch on the tube. With myriad photos, on-site reports, lots of big thermometers and cross-country predictions, every channel will be broadcasting some news for today’s weather and what to expect. Percentages on rain, whether you should take an umbrella, when you might be able to laundry, how your laundry will dry… its all there. Often, there might be some heavy rain or wind warnings so if something seems urgent on TV, make sure to inquire with your concierge/colleague or friend before you leave the hotel or home. For earthquakes, you will hear a bunch of phones going off with their urgent alarm mode app just before one hits. Don’t worry though, everyone is in it together and everyone will help each other no matter what happens.

I remember all the morning surf-reports in Hawaii for all the wave-riders across the island and I cant help but think much of the weather frenzy here comes from Japan being an island nation with a huge fishing industry. Also, with all the faults we sit on top of, the position in the Pacific (Japan basically blocks greater Asia as wind and storms come off the ocean), being mountainous and having only 3 percent of the total land even developed (most of Japan is mountains..did you know that?), we are a hot-bed of exciting weather. Yay!

Have fun with the weather in Japan!

Just FYI, unpredictable and dynamic weather made Japan develop a countless amount of weather-related items. You might want to pick up some of these during your stay.

Here are my favorites:

Retractable Umbrella/Parasol: I actually use this in Hawaii to cut out UV rays and in Japan, they are so small and light you can keep one quietly hidden inside a bag of pretty much any size. I used to think Japanese people had a little umbrella surgically inserted into their arms because as soon as one drop fell, Tokyo became an immediate sea of umbrellas. Now I know the truth and now I keep my own secret umbrella stashed in my bag like everyone else.

Also, feel free to ask at the train station if a shower erupts and you don’t have one. Umbrellas are the MOST popular “wasuremono” or forgotten item in Japan so almost every station will give you one for free if they have them in stock.

Rain boots: Never thought you could get so many styles, colors and swag in rain boots. Rain shoes/boots in Japan are so cool, you can use them right in the office and on customer visits with no problem at all. Definitely pick up a pair to show off to your muddy-shoed friends back home.

Tenugui Japanese towels: Keep a Tenugui Japanese towel in your bag and you can wipe off rain drops and snowflakes from your clothing and umbrella before you get on to the crowded buses and trains. There is an art to keeping clothes fresh and dry in rainy/snowy weather and you will see your Japanese friends being very careful about their waterlogged purse, umbrella, shoes, bag, etc.

Not cool to let your drip drops bother the floor or other passengers. Yes, each and every person follows extensive water etiquette and voila, Japan’s clean, efficient and smooth public transportation staying spic and span for all becomes possible!

As a side note, don’t forget that usually punctual trains, buses, etc., can suffer delays due to heavy wind, rain, snow, etc. If you see clouds above or hear the wind buffeting, give yourself a bit more time to get around.

iPhone TV Online

The iPhone continues to amaze millions with its capabilities. The most recent trend has been with online video.

While it is true that some video does not work on the iPhone (i.e. Flash), the important thing to note is that H.264 and Quicktime based streaming video does.

With that well understood, a variety of major studios have placed video content online for the iPhone.

Full episodes include 30 Rock, Beverly Hills 90210, Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, Crusoe, Days of our Lives, Heroes, Kath & Kim, Knight Rider, Life, Lipstick Jungle, MacGyver, My Own Worst Enemy, The Office, Smart Girls at the Party, Star Trek, and The Young and the Restless.

Webisodes and segments include Battlestar Galactica, Cartoon Networks’s, Flapjack, Disney’s Pixar Mater’s Tall Tales, The Late Show with David Letterman, Mythbusters, Criss Angel’s Mindfreak, as well as other selections on the ABC, Animal Planet, Biography, Discovery, E! Online, Food Network, G4 TV, and Travel Channel sites.

Previews, sports, and news clips are also available on CBS News, CBS Sports, ESPN, FOX Sports Network, MSNBC, and The Weather Channel.

So what’s the catch? The iPhone is a bit small to watch for extended periods, and generally, Wi-Fi over 3G is recommended.

So would you, since you could? In general, the video on the iPhone is perfect for catching a current news clip of a pilot landing on water or amusing the kids while waiting for the doctor.

To find all the great video sites for the iPhone, open the Safari browser and type in “iphone.spreety.com”.

Sports Fans Love Direct TV!

If you rely on your television for up-to-date news, sports, entertainment and education and want the best picture quality and latest equipment for the best prices, Direct TV may be the right choice for you. With satellite television increasing in popularity over the last few years, the options available have continued to increase at a tremendous rate and the values have kept on getting better. While years ago, satellite TV had disadvantages that made cable television seem like the right choice for many people, that is no longer true. In fact, satellite television now far outshines cable television in choice of programming, picture quality, available equipment and price. And satellite offers advantages over cable that gives it appeal for everyone.

For parents with young children, Direct TV offers many possibilities. With many child-friendly channels such as Disney, Nicktoons, Discovery Kids, and Animal Planet, children can enjoy watching television while learning new things and watching age-appropriate material. And with the standard Parental Controls, parents can feel safe leaving the room, knowing that children cannot access inappropriate channels or watch for longer than allowed. For children and adults of all ages, the many educational channels such as Discovery Health, National Geographic, the Travel Channel and multiple news channels bring news and information from around the world to allow you to be better-informed and well-rounded.

Sports fans love Direct TV for its incredible array of channels catering to fans of all types of sport. With the Total Choice Premier package, fans have access to over 30 channels of sports-only programming including Comcast, ESPN, the Fox Soccer Channel and the Outdoor Channel. In addition, seasonal sports subscriptions are an option, with some offerings available only through Direct TV . And for sports fans wanting HDTV (High Definition Television), the HD programming package includes many channels dedicated to your favorite games.

Direct TV also excels at providing movies for the entire family. The Total Choice package includes channels such as Turner Classic Movies and Lifetime Movie Network for those who want the occasional movie along with other programming. However, if you are a die-hard movie buff, the Total Choice Premier package is the one for you. With 30 channels dedicated entirely to movies, HBO, Starz, Cinemax, Showtime and others will be at your command. For just the normal monthly cost, all the new releases are available. Just imagine, no more hurried runs to the video store or late fees to pay. And Pay Per View is always available by a click of the remote or toll-free number.

Along with programming designed to appeal to everyone, Direct TV offers crystal clear, fully digital picture and CD quality sound. Plus, there are options such as a Directtv DVR upgrade, which can record up to 100 hours of programming, record 2 shows at once, pause, rewind and record live television and much more. And Direct TV is at the forefront of HDTV programming with a special HD package designed to change television viewing expectations forever.

Because great programming and quality technology would not be worth much without similar quality customer service, Direct TV is dedicated to providing outstanding customer care. Between a toll-free phone number and online help section, any problems should be able to be resolved quickly and easily.
Direct TV has proved that it provides a high quality viewing experience along with great customer care. If you wish for the most complete programming and want to enjoy the best new television technology, now is a great time to begin a subscription with Directv .

For its great features, large array of programming, and commitment to customer satisfaction, Directv stands out above Dish Network, Comcast, CableVision, Charter Communications other cable television providers for excellence in providing great home entertainment. Switch to the best quality home entertainment.