Stanito and the Guineafowl Puffer fish

Dear Reader,

There are experiences in life which are just wonderful and unique and expressing them with words is not enough 馃檪

It all happened on a weekend…

We went diving in a secret location. We were told that the conditions were not ideal, meaning visibility was poor, but that we could still enjoy appreciate the smaller creatures of the oceans. It is true that when visibility is great you tend to focus on big creatures like manta rays, sharks, whales, and what not.

This time, however, surprises came in small size.

No sharks, no nothing big, but this guy was worth the entire experience.

Meet the friendliest guineafowl puffer fish

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Our dive buddy found him, he was slim, once in his hands he puffed up immediately

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Gilles grabs him first before passing him onto me

And then he laid in my hands

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First time I hold one in my hands. He felt soft, slimy, spongy, until I let him go

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Puffy fish swims away

No need for sharks or big buddies. This puffy little guy was worth the trip.

 

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Japan Love #1: The Art of Bowing

Dear Reader,

Tokiko is a Japanese lady based in Guadalajara. She teaches Japanese and loves Mexican food. She says she likes the corn interference with most of the dishes, which is quite unusual in her home cuisine.

Thing is 馃檪 … I see her everyday so I have many many chances to ask her questions, share experiences, tell her how much I love Japan and how I would move there in a second!

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One of my casual days in Tokyo.

She loves when people love her country so in return in our coffee moments she instructs me on important things I need to know in the event I move there. There are many things on the list but let’s start with the most important one: bowing.

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Ok it sounds easy. But after listening to her say on it… it isn’t as easy as you think.

I’m sure you have noticed that Japanese people bow at practically any occasion. Whether it’s about greeting a person, or apologising for something, a bow is always there. Believe it or not, there is an art and logic behind it: the more you bow, the more important and respectful it is.

Tokiko says that there three kinds of bow: Eshaku (浼氶噲), Keirei (鏁ぜ) and Saikeirei (鏈鏁ぜ). Each one of this bow has a certain degree of “inclination”.

In the most informal settings and common greetings, you can use eshaku. With eshaku, the body takes a bow of about 15 degrees. It looks something like this:

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The 3 kinds of bow you find in Japanese culture. Please note the angle of inclination in each situation.

Then there is Keirei. Keirei is a slightly more exaggerated inclination of the body. In the pictures you can see it with a 30 degrees inclination.
Keirei is what you do when you need to show a higher level of respect. Higher respect in Japan is shown towards聽senpai (鍏堣缉), someone who is of higher age, level or even class.
Is very common that school mates refer to the oldest of them as senpai. Also, students might refer to their teacher as senpai to show respect.

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Another example of the bowing etiquettes. Notice how the head and looking direction of the person doesn’t change, the eyes keep fixed and the head remains straight.

And then we have the last kind of bow: Saikeirei. Seikeirei is the ultimate reverence gesture reserved for major occasions. You bow until 45 degrees of inclination (the fourth picture here above). This kind of bow is reserved for when you meet the CEO of your company, Prime Ministers and even the Emperor himself. Tokiko says that in such cases you need to stay inclined for at least 15 seconds to show the appropriate respect.
This kind of bow is also used for apologies. Apologies meant to mitigate disastrous situations: offending someone, destroying someone’s belongings, disrespect elders, etc.

Next post on this fantastic culture next week!

Only in Mexico

Dear Reader,

Driving is always an indicator of many things. Some countries will be safe and follow the聽driving rules. While others will simply drive you crazy.

As Chris and I often drive to new places in this amazing countries, it’s very common to find these driving-riding styles:

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These guys looked very amused while riding in the back of a pickup truck, holding what looked like a wooden board.

A little tip! 聽If you’re driving on a Mexican highway expect to encounter different driving habits, highway markings and 鈥榬ules of the road.鈥櫬 Mexicans are fairly easy going people鈥β that is until they get behind the wheel of a car鈥 The first few times you drive, especially in Guadalajara (a city of 7 million people), you鈥檒l likely feel a little overwhelmed by the amount of traffic, crazy drivers and the glorietas (roundabouts).
If you drive defensively in Mexico, chances are you’ll have no problems at all. Driving in Mexico is safe – it is. You’ll just need to exercise extra care, and be prepared for things to be a little different to what you are used to.

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These guys, who looked like construction workers, seemed tired so they took advantage of the ride to rest a little bit.