Sunday, November 30, 2008

Interesting Week

I only had 4 days of school this week because of Thanksgiving. But it was a bit weird because we had last Monday off.. instead of actual Thanksgiving day hah. Whateva I'll take it!

You know lately I haven't been talking much about my schools. If anyone wants to hear about my lessons just leave a comment.

Anyways I had a pretty relaxing weekend. Took a ton of pics and videos. Posted 'em all on facebook. On Saturday Graham and I decided to go on a bike ride. We just rode around northern Sano. We were supposed to be playing Wii, but it didn't happen, o well!

Later that day we met up again and we went to the Choir Concert in Iwafune. Really nice sounding... I wanna buy the CD!

In other news I'm almost done with the Genki (Japanese Textbook), and I've bought Genki II and I'll start it as soon as I finish with the first one. I have failed I think in my Kanji study deadline. Maybe if I stick to my 1 lesson a day for the whole month of Dec. I can do it, but its doubtful.. sigh. Mush on though! As long as I'm learning something everyday thats the important thing!

Here's the link for the photos from Saturday:

Here are some of my favorite pics from the day:

Graham taming the Hippo

A really nice Shrine

Solitary Shrine

A Rock Quarry, I call it Industrial Japan haha

The Choir we saw in Iwafune
I want their CD!

Cya latas!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Thanksgiving and Tokyo

So all of the ALTs, and some others came together at Adrian's house for a thanksgiving dinner. It was a good time, we talked enjoyed great food and good times.

This is our meal:
From left to right: Bread, (Purple) Sweet Potatoes, Corn, Mushroom Gravy (with the blue lid) White Meat, Dark Meat, Cranberry Sauce, Green Beans, Stuffing, Bread.

I asked Graham his opinion and here's what I got:

That night I also went to Shinbashi to meet people I talk to on Skype. People that have helped me or just talked to me randomly on Skype. Here are some pictures. I met them and we sang some karaoke.

Me, Frandy, JpMidnight

KgWorks, Me, Kapio (He organized the event)

Me and Mahal

Kapio Hiromi and Blue.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Important Happenings!

Important news!

My company emailed me and said that the Board of Education here is thinking about extending our contracts. Originally we had signed our contracts, which finished in March (when the school year ends here). However the BOE likes us, so they are talking about extending our contracts until July (Summer break starts here and only lasts for the month of August). I think if the BOE follows through and offers me employment through July I'll accept it. I feel like if I went home at the end of March I wouldn't have been here long enough. At the same time I don't think I would want to recontract for another year from March 2009 to March 2010. So by extending my contract to July I think its the perfect scenario for me.

Now to the Other stuff:
(especially weekends) I have this overwhelming urge to go outside and do something. Even if its going somewhere in Tokyo, or Oyama, or Utsunomiya, where ever really. I hate sitting at my computer when I'm in Japan. I feel like I need someone (friend) in my life that is super ambitious and is always doing something... that would be awesome. Maybe that or I just need to be that person myself and do everything and invite people. I feel like I waste my time doing nothing. I'm ok doing things by myself and I don't need someone to do stuff with, but it makes things more fun when I have a friend to do adventerous stuff with. Alot of people here that I'm friends with are either poor, boring, or isolate themselves.

I feel like I've had this urge since I've got here. And it hasn't been satisfied yet. I don't think it will go away even if I start being more adverturous.

I NEED ADVENTURES! (I'm on one, yet I don't feel fulfilled yet!)

ADVENTURE FACE! (Old pic but its adventurous) Things that happened over the week:

On Tuesday I went with Noshiro Sensei and Carrie to an Eye doctors here. I gave them my prescription and managed to register to get some new contacts, so this week I'm trying this trial pair. I'll start wearing them more if they are comfy. The eye doctors gave me three boxes of solution with cases and everything for free. I don't think I'll need to buy new solution for a while lol. They are Acuvue Oasis or something, they aren't bad but they do get dry after about 8 hours or so I think. I'll buy two boxes next Tuesday when they're ready for pick up.

Taught at Tenmyo from Wed-Fri. I got out early on Wednesday and got my first hair cut since I've been here! Here's a pic of it: I took with my new WEBCAM!!! (More about that later)

Giving directions in Japanese was interesting but I didn't really have that much trouble. The barber (was a woman) and I talked a bit about stuff. She said she'd try to learn more English and I said I'm learning new Japanese everyday lol. I told her about myself and she thought it was cool, because I guess being a foreigner (at least in Sano) automatically makes you interesting.

On Thursday I had to stay at school late because I got out early on Wednesday which I was ok with because I just talked to Teroka Sensei for like 2 hrs. I talked about drama in the school between the teachers and the Principal. Kinda crazy how much goes on behind the scenes at some of my schools, I guess living in ignorance is good and bad? We also talked about what is common in the US vs what's common in Japan, like with people my age. How in America its common to move out of your parents house after high school or college. But in Japan its common that females live with their parents until they get married. I told her about the emphasis on individuality and America and how everyone wants to be independent. Pretty interesting talk. I didn't get home until like 6 something but it was ok because I had a good conversation with her.

Here's a dinner I had this week:
Delicious, easy to make, and nutricious! Triple play! haha. Chicken salad thingy.

(Fri) Last night I went to Becky's because she was having a "house warming party" but not really she just bought a couch and needed help getting it in the house lol. Even tho the delivery guys brought it in just fine... Anyways the party was alright, we played some circle of death (drinking games) and hung out. I think Rob had the most fun, because he doesn't get to go house party's often haha. After that we went to Shidax for some Karaoke, but in all truth I should of just went home before that. Karaoke was fun but not that great because I was just exhausted. It was just a bit annoying because we couldnt decide what to do and no one was happy with the results and everyone was tired. I think Kristine got some good photos of the night, I'll ask for em later.

Today has been a little bit of a waste. I did some laundry, and did some stuff around the house. I also went out and bought a web cam, so now I talk with people from back home and they can see me! I also bought a bike pump which is great because now my bike feels like new after pumping the tires, they must of been really low.

I talked with Chris (who is in Kyoto) and Halston (MD) for a couple hours today. Here's the thing we used.

We caught up with each other and talked for a bit. After Halston and I played an online game, fun times.

Tomorrow I'm going to Adrian's house in Oyama for a big Thanksgiving event! It should be fun, but I feel like they is going to be to many people there and not enough room. There should be plenty of food because we all are bringing something, but ... just so many people and doing anything in big groups is difficult in Japan.

In other news, this picture of Luke makes me smile lol. It also makes me miss my family.

I was thinking about going to Chiba to visit a friend but she way busy this weekend. Maybe next time.

Now I'm bored and finishing the last of my laundry, I don't think anyone is doing anything tonight, I think I'm in for a boring Saturday night. In the mean time I'll be crawling out of my skin to do something.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Ashikaga Wine Festival

What up What up?

Yeah so this week has been easy. I taught at Funatsugawa on Monday. Taught the whole school in one day again haha (all 21 students in the school). At recess we played cops and robbers, the kids love getting chased, but always complain that I'm to fast haha. I like funatsugawa but the 5/6th grade really doesn't get into English at all which makes it hard to want to teach.

On tuesday I taught at Azuma JHS where I finally gave my students the gifts I made/got for them. Here's a picture.

For Kentaro, I bought a hacky sack because he really liked playing it when we played during the lunch break. I hope he plays with his classmates and they all see how fun it is haha. For Hikaru I burned a copy of her favorite band's CD. She likes a group called NewS and the album name is Pacific. I also included some extra tracks from other CD's because there was room. For Momoko I drew two pictures of her favorite Naruto character Neji and gave her the free Naruto bag I got at Kiddieland in Tokyo haha. For all of them I wrote a note in Japanese saying:

I know the English speech was difficult, but I think you did your best. If you always do your best you will never have any regrets in life. I used my hanko (signature stamp) and hanko'ed the note too haha.

I think they all really liked their gifts.

Wednesday through Friday I taught at Ueno ES. On Wednesday I taught 4th grade, which is pretty fun. After school that day the incoming first graders came to get tests done. A small paper test, and eye sight and hearing test. Just to check up on them I guess? It was kind of fun just hanging out with the students and helping the kindergardeners. On Thursday and Friday I taught 2nd and 1st grade, and I've decided they are my favorite grades haha. This one cute little first grade girl wouldn't leave my side, at recess she wanted to hold my hand haha. She also brought me over to the monkey bars and made me watch her do it haha. She was all excited and I told her GOOD JOB!

After class was over in the 2nd and 1st grade I told the kids "手を上げてください” Which means please raise your hands and when they did I ran up to them and started tickling them. It was really funny, but now all the kids just come up to me with their hands in the air because they want to be tickled so its funny but kinda weird haha.

At recess on Thursday these two 2nd grader girls wouldn't leave me alone. I had to phyiscally run away from them during recess. I climbed a tree and hid. They kept wanting to hold my hands. A six grader came over and said they we were lovers haha. I told her NO! and Help me! lol.

After school on the day that I taught 2nd grade (Thur) this kid came up and talked to me for a bit, then I realized his hat he was wearing had this written on it: F*** the World (but without the stars) haha. It was hilarious that people here can wear that, have no idea what it says and on top of that he's a 2nd grader without a care in the world. I think sometime soon I want to bring my camera to school, I still haven't done it. If I take pictures of kids though and post them I can lose my job so the pictures will just be for me and anyone who requests them via email I guess.

This weekend was the Wine Festival in Ashikaga. Here are some pictures.

Here's a link to the rest of the album:

It was pretty fun, but I'm glad I didn't go with everyone else at 7:00am, I went with Kazuya and Matt at about 10, and got to leave with them a little early at about 4:30. Surprisingly I didn't get drunk at the wine festival. I think its because I'm not a huge fan of wine so I didn't go crazy, but I did eat alot of stuff there because everyone brought different stuff with them. We got to eat in the vineyard, it was really cool. There was live music, good food, good drinks, and good people.

And a video!

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Second Month Complete

So I've finish October and it is was my second successful month here. I'm still enjoying teaching. Alot of the kids are warming up to me, pretty much everyone has my name down by now. They are still confused about what to call me: Nicholas Sensei or Lockard Sensei, but that's ok.

I haven't been bringing my camera with me places lately and I hate to post without any pictures or videos. Friday night I went to Graham's for little get together. Graham had like 8 people over or so, it was pretty fun.

Saturday during the day we had a big brunch and all hung out at Kristine's house. I bought15 bucks with or fruit but made this huge fruit salad it was really good and really worth it. I also had some pancakes and bacon and other goodies. Saturday night I went with Oliver to Oyama and had a few beers, and bar hopped. Met a couple people but didn't exchange numbers.

Today I went to Tokyo with Carrie and Adrian. Here are some pictures.

Here's all the pictures of the trip:

For those of you who know Yoyogi park you know its a nutty place where people do everything imaginable. We came across an acapella group it was pretty cool, I took a video. We also came across a bunny pageant which was funny.

It was another trip down memory lane being back in Tokyo again.

Monday, November 03, 2008

This is ma Sippin' Whiskey

This past weekend was Halloween! Happy Halloween!!

Ok so Friday night there was a party at this guy Gary's house in Tochigi. It was my second time seeing him. The house party was kind of fun, but I didn't really stay that long because we got there kind of late and I didn't want to spend the night so I left with Carrie and Graham. Kristine posted pictures of it on facebook that I'll post the link for later. The best costume in my opinion was probably Matt's. He was a cowboy, but what made it funny is that he's British. So his attempt at a southern/western accent was just funny. Also the best part of his costume was the fact that he carried around a bottle of Jim Bean the whole night.

On Saturday I woke up early (which I do all the time and it angers me haha) again and went to Utsunomiya for some Ultimate. It was pretty much the usual, except this time we played in a different area because the spot we normally practice was being taken by softball. I did some dances just messing around during the practice and everyone thought the were hilarious. That's a pic of me mid dance I think? I don't remember
Alot of the guys weren't there because they had some event or something on campus. Also this next weekend they have a tournament which is pretty sweet, I wish I could go and watch but the place is like a 5 hour drive west or something. They still want me to come to the tournament in March so that's cool.

Saturday night we had a party at this bar called Circus. On the way there I fell off my bike. This is the first "accident" I've had on my bike which is pretty impressive since its been like almost 3 months into my trip ahha. I was peddling too fast and my foot slipped off the pedal and planted in the ground, luckily I was wearing my Panda Grip gloves, so I didn't get scraped and my bike was fine.

The bar pretty cool, but really small, and really expensive (35 bucks but it was all you can drink so I guess I got my moneys worth). I met a couple new people but didn't exhange phone numbers or anything. Its a shame that the majority of Japanese girls there were a bit old. The closest girl to my age that was cute was 29. I was hoping to meet someone there that spoke English and was a bit closer to my age ahha. I should of still tried to develop a friendship though, oh well maybe I'll see her again. I also met a couple other ALTs that teach in Sano for private schools, but they seemed a bit weird so I don't think I'll try to develop that much.

Later that night Adrian came over to my place and spent the night. I didn't plan on having him come over but he needed a place to stay and I offered. After midnight it was his 25th birthday. We talked about stuff on the walk back from the bar, and then some more when we got back to my place. He's a good guy. I haven't done that much with him but I feel like I can easily get along with him.

Sunday I went over to Graham's around noon or so and we spent the day shopping for some stuff we both need for our houses. I bought a new chair because the one that came with my house was giving me serious back problems because the bar in the middle is in the worst spot. I felt like if I didn't get a new chair I'd get sculliosis or something. So at the store I had the option of a chair with arm rests or a chair without one. I chose the one with arm rests and paid an extra 500 yen (5 dollars) for it. When I built the chair this morning I realized the was no place to attach the arm rests so I wasted 5 dollars, and there's no way I can return it now ahha.Here's a picture of the new chair with the damn arm rests unattached:
I also bought another futon mattress, and I don't care that its yellow and flowery because you'll never see it. But now my bed is alot more comfortable.

Sunday night we headed over to Adrians for his 25th. We bought him a chocolate ice cream cake with snoopy and woodstock on it, it was a pretty nice cake haha. We also payed monopoly. It was a Japanese version with credit cards instead of cash. It was really weird and difficult to make transactions lol. And Adrian cheated and gave himself 5 million extra money, so it kind of made the game pointless. After that we played hacky sack hahah... and goofed off in Adrian's house. We caught the last train back.

Today (Monday) I had off so I tried to make use of the day and I went shopping. I set out only to buy a coat but ended up spending about 20,000 yen ($200) on clothes. While shopping two kids that I never met before followed me around the store and talked to me. I asked if they were my students or if they were elementary school students they said no. So some random kids wanted to talk to me. Hah I think the little boy was 4 and the little girl was maybe 3. They both literally followed me around the store as I was looking for a coat. Occasionally they tugged on my arm and then would say stuff in English and be silly. They made animal noises like Meow then would say CAT! Or they would scratch their heads and armpits and say MONKEY! They also tried to pop out from around a corner and scare me. It was really cute and funny. I just played along and joked with them and taught them some English words. Their Dad noticed what they were doing and told them to stop hah. I didn't really care but it was funny that that happened.

Anyways here are some pictures of what I bought.

First here is the coat I bought. I like the way it looks, it fit well and was comfy.
I bought this shirt too with pigs on it because it's good looking and just funny.

I also bought the matching shirt that I'll wear under it. Here is the front:Here is the back: The pigs are falling all over the place.
It's starting to get cold out so I'll really need all these warm clothes.Here's a pic of everything I bought. I also bought some socks, that were kind of expensive but super comfy so they'll be worth it. Alot of my white socks are dirty looking because of playing ulimate so I need to rotate them out. I've been spending alot of money this week, good thing I get paid next Monday. Next paycheck I wanna save at least 500 dollars or so because Christmas is coming up and I need to get gifts.

In other news I've really fallen behind on my Kanji study, so now I'm going to do a new lesson and maybe two so I can catch up with where I should be right now.