Monday, April 27, 2009

Rainy Saturday

Nothing too unusual happened during the week. The weekend came along.. and Friday night I would have liked to do something but I had planned to get up early on Saturday to go to frisbee practice in Utsunomiya. Also later on Saturday (3pm)there was supposed to be a "Futsal" (which is soccer on a smaller field with less players) fund raising game for my friends here who are going to India in August for Habitat for Humanity. I intended on playing it in.

Saturday morning came and it was pouring. It actually rained all day. The Futsal and practice were both cancelled. This made me pretty annoyed that it was sunny all week then the day came where I get to do some outdoor stuff and it rains all day.

However... I wasn't going to let the rain hinder my day. I went to Utsunomiya anyways because the frisbee team was going to have a nomikai or drink party. So I got my rain gear on and took the 15 minute bike ride to the station. I got soaked but I didn't care so much. Finally made it to Utsunomiya, had to take a bus to get to the University. Then walked another 20 minutes in the rain, without an umbrella haha. Found out it was closer to just walk from the station than from the University but oh well, I was already soaked.

The nomikai was alot of fun. Got to talk with alot of people, meet some new people, play some games, drink for a fixed price for 3 hours hahah... all good things. Practice Japanese of course because hardly anyone knows any English on the whole team. This is actually good though because it forces me to use Japanese. I hate that I can get away with using English here sometimes. I feel so ignorant and arrogant(thx to Rayna... she helped me come up with the word arrogant.. I'm losing my English). Like I'm in your country, but I'm gonna speak English! No that's not how it should work. In America you have to speak English. You can live in a little group with people that speak your language but sooner or later you have to speak English.

Anyways here are the pics from the Nomikai



There were tons of games we played, and quizzes and stuff. I took a video of one. The freshmen had to compete in a pudding competition. They had to eat it thru a straw. Kind of funny take a look:
video


On Sunday the weather finally got better. So for lunch I met up with Justin, Bridget, and Kristine to get lunch at インド屋 an Indian food place. The lunch buffet was really good as usual. After that Bridget and Kristine went home. Justin and I went to the outlets and shopped a little. He wanted to get a good raincoat because he's going backpacking through Europe after his contract is finished. I didn't really have anything in particular I wanted, besides sandals which I didn't even buy.

I ended up buying a couple things. From left to right: A pair of Under Armour athletic pants, some new Adidas sneakers (I really needed a new pair of summer shoes), Two pairs of Gap khaki shorts, and I found a shirt at Uniqlo with megaman on it so I had to get it. On the back it says "Give me your Energy" and theres a picture of megaman. On the front theres an Energy container thing you use to refresh your life haha. Only nerds... I mean true fans of megaman... will get it, but that's the best part.
This Wednesday I have off. Next week is golden week so I have from the 2nd to 6th off. I thought about going to Kyoto to see Chris again, but I haven't bought the ticket yet. As time passes I don't know what I'll do. I really should take advantage of that time though. If I don't go see Chris.. I should defintetly go hiking with Justin or down to Tokyo to see friends. The problem is everyone travels during golden week so if I do go to see Chris it might take forever to get there on the overnight bus. The shinkansen is just expensive or I'd take that.

I found out my Junior High is taking a field trip out to Kyoto in June. I might go with them lol. I have to get permission and stuff but we'll see.

Until next time!

Monday, April 20, 2009

BBQ Weekend

Sorry I slacked again on my posting, so it’s going to be another semi-long post.

Today it has officially been two years since I left Japan for the first time. My flight flew out of Narita airport on April 20th two years ago. It really doesn’t feel like it has been that long. My first visit here was amazing and changed my outlook on life a little. I’m glad Halston came up with the idea and asked me if I wanted to go to Japan. If he didn’t I don’t know if I would have came in the first place, and I definitely wouldn’t be here now. I think most of the people I was there with would agree when I say last time here felt like a different world/era.

On Wednesday it was Bridget's 25th birthday. We had a little celebration at Chakoya for her. It was a fun night, because right after the dinner I went and played Volleyball. Here's the link for facebook with pictures on it. It has pictures of everything I'm going to talk about in one album.

On Saturday I went to Utsunomiya to have a BBQ with the Frisbee team. I had to wake up at 6:45 to catch a 7:40 train which made me a bit cranky, since it was a Saturday, but it was ok because it was an awesome day. What I didn’t realize was that it was practice first then the BBQ for lunch then more practice. I showed up in jeans haha. I still practiced with the team a bit in regular shoes and jeans. The whole point of the practice was to introduce the freshman players to what Ultimate Frisbee is like, since not many people really know too much about it. There were probably around 8 freshmen guys and 12 freshman girls. Since I showed up in jeans, during the morning part of practice I went to the store and shopped with a couple people from the team for the food and stuff. It was really a lot of fun and I’m glad I went. I took a lot of pictures here’s the facebook album. Here's a couple good ones for those to lazy to see the link:


On the way home I found out Adrian was going to Sano to meet up with Matt and some others for the night. I texted him and asked which train he was taking because I was on my way back to Sano from the Frisbee practice and Oyama (where he lives) in on the way. Adrian ended up taking the same train to Sano as I did. We talked a bit on the train then met Matt and Oliver at the station. We were all hungry so we went to an Izakaya (Bar/restaurant) and got some food. I got some pork kimchee thing it was good. Matt couldn’t decide what he wanted so he just pointed to the menu hoping what he pointed to was good. Adrian also did this but their results were quite different. Turned out Matt got garlic chicken hearts hahaha. Adrian got some set meal that he enjoyed. After we finished up at the Izakaya we searched around for a Jazz Bar that we’ve all heard about but never found. After searching for 30 mins or more we gave up. We went over to 7-11 (Which I found out is a Japanese company) and got some ice cream and cheap wine haha. We walked around Sano then walked to a park and drank and talked.

Yesterday (Sunday) I went this log cabin resort 蓬山ロッグキャビン (Yamogiyama Log Cabin) like area for another BBQ. This time it was with ALTs and some of our Japanese friends. It was mainly people from Ashikaga and Sano (neighboring cities). The place was a bit away from civilization as I had to take a 30 minute train ride, and then a 30 minute bus ride to get there. The bus only comes one time in the morning from the train station to the resort, and twice in the afternoon only from the resort to the station haha kind of ridiculous.

The log cabin area was awesome. They had a huge grilling area, where we did all our barbequing, and a giant playground area. The playground area had waste deep water flowing all around it like a moat. There were a series of bridges and canals. It was pretty amazing. There were ton of obstacles that if you made a mistake you ended up waste deep in water. A lot of the ALTs saw this as a challenge. So we all did some time of obstacle. I ended up trying to cross a floating log bridge. It was pretty tough and I almost made it all the way but fell in on the last piece. We stuck around the cabin resort until around 6 when the final bus came. Again check facebook for pics: facebook Also here's the video of all the things we did on the playground. Really fun place.



After that I went with Satomi, Kristine, and Matt back to Kristine’s house. We relaxed a bit and went over all the pictures and videos we took from the day. Satomi and Kristine were laughing so hard they were crying and complaining that their faces and stomachs hurt. I got a ton of funny videos which I’ll be posting on youtube/facebook for everyone to enjoy because they are just way too funny to not share with the world. After that we went and got some dinner at Gusto which if I had to compare to an American restaurant I’d say its like Perkins or something like that (cookie cutter family restaurant). Akemi met us there and freeked me out haha. Her hair is long and she covered her face with her hair then came at the table I was like.. uhh who is that? After we ate we went back to Kristines and talked a bit more. Then I took the train home and got home around 11:30.

I think over the whole weekend, besides sleeping, I was home for a total of 3 hours. This weekend has definitely been the most fun I’ve had on a normal two day weekend since I’ve been here. I’m glad the weather is finally nice here and I can be outside all weekend

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

End of Spring Break, Beginning of New School Year

Spring break is over. I kind of wish I went on a big trip somewhere since I don’t have many long breaks here. I don’t regret not going, but it would have been nice. Alot of my friends went places like Taiwan, South Korea or just drove off west in Japan. I didn’t really have any big plan, but I though that Chris and maybe Halston would be here over my spring break, but unfortunately that didn’t happen. Anyways it’s no problem though because I managed to stay pretty busy over the break.

Since the area I live in is pretty boring I’m actually pretty happy that school started again. If I lived in Tokyo I’d want longer breaks but the length of this one was fitting. Being in the classroom and teaching is fun. The only thing I don’t like about going to school is that there are large chunks (2-3 hours) where I do absolutely nothing. Many days I almost fall asleep in the staff room because I’m tired and it’s so boring haha. I usually find something to do in that time, and usually what I do is study Japanese.

WARNING SEMI-LONG POST AHEAD! Lots of pics though! c(^-^)—o PUNCH GUY?

So spring break was like two weeks long…. what did I do?

First I visited my friend Carrie in the hospital after her surgery. The week before she fractured her ankle in 3 places, one of which was severe. Her surgery took longer than expected but she came out ok.

Then I went to a place in Tokyo called Ebisu to meet Hiromi before going to a party in Jiyugaoka (also in Tokyo). In Ebisu there is a place called the Garden Place. I checked this place out alone while I waited for Hiromi to get there. After she got there I looked at it again with her hah. Then we went to the Museum of Photography. Saw tons of old photos, including the original photo of the Meiji Emperor in Japanese and Western style clothing. Pretty interesting. Here's some of the pics I took of Garden Palace.

Later that night Hiromi and I went to Jiyugaoka for a party my friend Marika was hosting. It was at a place called Space Joy. She rented the 2nd floor and the basement. On the second floor was a bar and lounge with darts and projector screens. It looked like a place for people to watch soccer or at least at the time it has a soccer theme. In the basement was virtual golf but no one ended up playing hah. I invited my friend Hiromi to come with me to the party. I met a bunch of new people which is always great. Got some phone numbers and I will definitely try to see some of them again. Thanks to Marika for hosting a cool party!

Bull's EYE!

But I still lost!
Enjoying delicious dessert!
Marika Keeping People in Check

I also had an 宴会 Enkai or Farewell Banquet with the teachers from Tenmyo Elementary. Two of my favorite teachers were leaving so I had to make sure I saw them again before they left to teach at another school. Yagisawa Sensei and Funatogawa Sensei -- You will be missed dearly! Here are some pictures:
Me and Teraoka Sensei (Head of English)
Nakai Sensei and I
(Always have fun in his class ahha)

Me, Yagisawa Sensei, Funatogawa Sensei
NOOO WHY MUST YOU LEAVE!?

This time of year in Japan the Cherry Blossom trees bloom. This happens in America too but it’s not a big deal. Why do Japanese make a big deal out of it? I’m not sure but I’ll find out. During this time a lot of people go under the Cherry blossoms or “sakura”“さくら木“trees and have a picnic. You can bring just a tarp but most people have picnics under the trees for hours. People can barbeque or just bring snacks. A lot of people bring alcohol and just drink all day too. For some reason drinking in public is no problem in Japan, and to my knowledge its perfectly legal.

I did Hanami first in Oyama with Adrian and Yu, where we met some people from this website call couchsurfing.com. It’s a website where you can look for people who offer their house for travelers to stay as opposed to a hostel or hotel. You can offer a bed or a couch, or just a person to talk to if someone is touring your area. It’s a cool concept, but I suppose somewhat dangerous. All the people I have met from the website seem really nice and friendly. Oyama sunset:

The second time I did Hanami was in Utsunomiya. It was a fairly large group but it was a lot of fun. I brought my hacky sack and played with some friends. It was their first time seeing it, but they really liked it. I showed the kids some magic too. One of my friend’s kids wouldn’t stop playing with me. Here’s some pics:
Weird guy dressed as some character from Dragonball Z I guess?

I got my hair cut! At first the guy took off a lot and I was scared, but he managed to make me look sexy again haha! A couple of acquaintances didn’t recognize me since I wore contacts and got my hair cut.What do you think?

The third time I went for Hanami was in Sano. It was from around noon and lasted until 6 or so. I brought a lot of food and my Frisbee and hacky sack. We even brought Carrie in her wheel chair so she could enjoy Hanami too haha.
Taught some kids how to throw the frisbee



The next day Kristine wanted to have Hanami again since it will be her last one before she leaves Japan. So we did Hanami at night.

I went bowling with Billy and Yukari. We played 3 games and I lost of the first two but won the last one with a score of 138! Woot woot!

Near the end of the break I started to get pretty bored. I was thinking of just going to Tokyo and just wandering for about 48 hrs straight, but that didn’t happen because I found out there was Frisbee practice the next day.

On my last day of break I went to Utsunomiya and practiced with the Frisbee team. Practice was a lot of fun and great exercise. After practice they invited me to go with them for 花見(cherry blossom viewing). I got home around 10:30, made some food and went to bed a little early because I knew it would be an early morning tomorrow.

Today I taught only 1 class at Ueno. 4th grade, which totals around 120 students. I taught them all at once in the gym in 1 period haha. Kind of rough, but got it done.

There's a new teacher at Ueno and she's pretty cute! Maybe I'll muster up some courage and ask her on a date! 頑張っています!

Friday, April 03, 2009

Spring Break

Since it's spring break, I'll wait to post what all happened once its over. Sorry it'll be another few days.