Tuesday, 10 May 2016

Salming Viper 2.0 Review

I recently bought a new pair of squash shoes from Amazon Japan, but unfortunately they won't allow me to post a review in English, and I certainly couldn't do it in Japanese.  I tried Google Translate for fun, but realised there would be a problem when "squash" was translated to the Japanese for "pumpkin"...

I've been wearing various versions of the adidas Stabil since 2001 and have loved most of them.  The Stabil 7 in particular was a brilliant shoe. The last one I tried was the Stabil 10 which was OK, but I thought it was lacking something.  Salming have become the most popular shoes with the university crowd at my club, and are quite visible on the pro scene now as well, so I thought I would give them a try.

So anyway, here is a picture of my shoes, and the review that I wrote for Amazon Japan, although I have amended it for my blog.  If anyone does read this and has any questions, I'd be happy to try and answer them.

Really Disappointing

At ¥15300 including delivery, these are the most expensive shoes by some distance that I have ever bought for squash, and I sincerely wish I hadn't. I've been wearing them for a month to give them a fair run, and am not impressed.

In fairness the soles are excellent and give terrific grip on court. Oh, and I like the colour...

The insoles provided offer all the protection and impact absorption of a two-day-old crepe. So... spent another ¥1700 on a new set of insoles, which haven't solved the problem. The balls of my feet haven't hurt so much since I stopped wearing the old Prince NFSII about fifteen years ago. The root of the problem, I believe, is the lack of support provided by the very soft construction of the upper. The shoe stops on the floor, but my foot continues to move inside the shoe.

I should point out that I take a 27.5cm in the adidas Stabil, but having seen some Salming shoes at my club thought the sizes looked big, so ordered 27.0cm. With the inadequate insoles provided, they were in fact too big, but the thicker insoles I bought have made the fit much better.

Ah, so are the shoes too big and my feet too narrow causing the slip sliding inside the shoes? Nope... another minus is that the laces are really too short to cope with the width of my feet - the shoes fit, but cue another ¥300 to buy longer laces.

Terribly expensive experiment, which I shall not be repeating.  Come on adidas!  It's time for another classic Stabil.

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

And Still in Japan...

After yet another long hiatus, I'm back again.  This is me! (at the Scotch Whisky Experience in Edinburgh at the end of last summer)

This post will be brief, and is to tell you that we have a new website!  It is still at the very early stages, but it is operational.  I hope you find it useful and informative.  Click the link and see what you think.

I PROMISE I'll write again soon

Sunday, 10 June 2012

For Karen

Goodness! Once again it has been a little while since I posted anything... How quickly I get out of the habit. Just as a short postscript to the previous blogs about our new classroom, I can say quite honestly that here is now my favourite place to work.  Of course everything is new, and everything works, and it is also bright and comfortable.  At times, given that it is so different from how it used to be, I have to remind myself where I am!

There is a slightly strange reason for this post: Tadashi's Auntie Karen sent him some clothes for his birthday back in March, which were sadly a bit small. I returned them to Karen for her to change them (thank you), and took this photo of Tadashi modelling them when the bigger ones arrived.

I originally emailed the photograph to Karen, but the technology got the better of me (as usual) and she was unable to open the file to see it.  So.... this one's for you, Auntie Karen!  Thank you very much!

Friday, 30 March 2012

Builders in the House 11 - new furniture chaos

At about 9:30 on Wednesday morning, ten rather large boxes arrived with the new classroom furniture. We just had to stack them up because one of my students was due to arrive. Once that class was over, the foreman from the construction company arrived to help us unpack and assemble everything, and to hang the new whiteboard and clock.

We were literally sweeping the floor and loading all the discarded packing into his truck when the students for my 1pm class arrived - just a slight panic! After the somewhat makeshift class finished, I rearranged the desks to see what the big room would look like, and remarkably it looks just like a classroom!

Wednesday is always a crazy day for me, as I think I mentioned earlier, so it wasn't until yesterday that I could experiment a little with permutations for smaller classes. This is the room we expect to use the most, although I taught here last night with the partition open, and it felt really comfortable.

It is so different to how it was three weeks ago that I kept having to remind myself where I was!

And to finish, the beautiful flowers you can see on the desks above. A wonderful present from the students in that first class with the new furniture. What a lovely thought - thank you so much!

Thursday, 29 March 2012

Builders in the House 10 - back to work

This was back to work on Monday, and as it is the spring holiday, Kayo's elementary school children came first thing in the morning. Of course, the walls are still bare, and, as mentioned before, slightly disappointingly the furniture wasn't due to arrive for another couple of days, so we used the trusty old pine table and chairs that have served us so well.

The first photo with the inevitable "peace" signs, so as usual I asked them to pose for another one without. Tenma decided in that case that he wasn't going to smile!

And my first student in the new room was Tomoyo. We listened to a conversation on the CD player, and the sound in the room has changed completely. A bit of an echo, I guess, because there isn't much furniture, and the tatami mats are no more.

I love how clean and tidy everything is. All the books are now out of sight in the cupboards which means we don't have four mismatched bookcases in the room - great! The desks and chairs arrive on Wednesday, and we have also ordered some new maps for the walls. My original UK map (thank you Karen!) has been put up and taken down so often to be used in different classes that it is now a bit worse for wear.

I'll be back soon with some classroom furniture to show off...

Sunday, 25 March 2012

Builders in the House 9 - or not, as the case may be...

Friday was scheduled by the builders as "cleaning day", and after they had finished this is how our new classroom looks (this is taken from where the new whiteboard will be) and I don't think we could be happier! Everything is so clean, bright and well-finished.

And this from the reverse angle looking towards the new doors onto the porch.  We're not sure if the roller blind is a temporary measure or not, yet.  I think curtains would be cosier in winter, so we'll just wait and see.

This is the room that used to be the classroom, and I guess will remain the room we use the most.

And this is the new classroom on the other side of the dividing doors.

Unfortunately there was a bit of a mix up with the company we ordered our classroom furniture from, so it won't arrive until Wednesday now. The builders have promised to return then to put up the new whiteboard and finish off one or two other things. If the walls weren't concrete, I could do it myself, but the job really requires something a little more serious than a DIY electric drill!

Although I would have liked to have had my first class in the new room with all the new furniture, I think we'll use it tomorrow with the old table and chairs. No ginger, again. Looks like I'm going to spend the afternoon moving books!

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Builders in the House 8 - doors

I came in from work last night at around 9:30, but much to my frustration I wasn't able to have a good look at the work that had been done as we still don't have any lighting. Unfortunately my camera work was even worse than usual, but hopefully these give a general idea of what has been done now. Not content with papering the walls, the music-loving wallpaper guy also papered most of the doors! Quite common here, I believe, and I think it is an effective technique. I love all that light coloured wood trim, and what you are looking at here are the three big sliding doors that will divide the space into two smaller classrooms. The wooden door leads into the old hall to the stairs and toilet. The picture below is from a slightly different angle, but again from the
front door. The sliding doors will slide right out of sight to make the one big room.

After all the preparation everything seems to be happening very quickly, and it now seems to be finishing touches. Today has been another busy day for the builders, but I'll have to wait until the morning for more photographs. Be back soon!