Monday, May 25, 2009


So, over the weekend.

On Saturday I went to Utsunomiya, which is something I do now at least twice a month. I went to practice with the University Frisbee team again. Its always fun practicing, because frisbee is a sport I freekin love. After practice was over they invited me to a Nomikai (or dinner party) but I didn't really wanna go because I was dirty and didn't have a place to shower. Also it usually costs alot for nomikai's and I didn't want to spend the money. Anyways after practice we went to sukiya (Japanese fast food) and got some curry and rice, had a nice chat. Next time they have a nomikai I'll go with them.

On Sunday there was a BBQ by the river in Sano. It was pretty fun, had good company and decent food. I thought it was overpriced though, we were charged 3000円 or 30 dollars for not that much. It was cloudy all day. People started drinking at like 11, so people were fairly drunk by 3 or 4. Alot of the people got a bit out of hand but I didn't seem to care all that much. For some reason I felt weird or off that day too. I couldn't really explain it, but I felt sad.

Next month I going to try to go to Kyoto and see Chris again. My school is taking a field trip, but instead of trying to go with them, (and going through all the trouble of insurance and permission) I'm just going to go on my own accord and maybe meet up with them. Later in June I plan on going to Hiroshima with Carrie and Kim. If I go it will be the farthest west I've been in Japan. I heard its a really beautiful place. Can't wait.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Nagano Soccer Tournament

Today I taught at Azuma Elementary. It was the first time I taught the new 1st graders. I was happy to find out they all instantly loved me. Alot of them wanted to hold my hands. I made English fun for them pretty quickly I guess. They're so cute. They make me enjoy my job.

This past weekend I took a trip with friends to Nagano (that's right, it's where the 1998 Winter Olympics were held) to compete in a soccer tournament. We left early Saturday morning around 6 am. (I had to get up around 4:45 to get ready, it sucked).

Team's from all around Japan showed up. Each team represented the prefecture (similar to a county). I represented Tochigi. I think the teams were supposed to be made of mostly foreigners, but there was a good mix of Japanese and foreigners on each team. There were 12 men's teams and 4 womens teams in total.

I never really got into soccer all that much. It is a fun sport, but I always had other sports in the front of my mind. The only time I've ever played organized soccer was when I was in elementary school, and as you can guess it probably wasn't that "organized". The guys taught me some of the ground rules, and responsibilities for positions. I picked it up pretty quick and did pretty well.

The whole weekend called for rain, so alot of us got our rain gear ready for the weekend. Sure enough almost all of Saturday and all of Sunday it rained.

The first game started around 10am. On Saturday we had a total of 3 games. Our first game we drew 1 - 1. Our second game we won 3 - 1 (I scored a goal). Our last game we lost 4 - 2. The rain definitely made it a little more rough for everyone.

Saturday night after dinner and relaxing in the hotel room there was a dance party. I've posted a ton of pics on facebook here. Its funny, of all the pics I didn't get any of us playing because it was raining so much I didn't want to bring my camera to the field. A couple other people got pics of us on the field, but not many. Here are a couple:
On the way
Lining Up (That's me in the front)
Watching the game
Taking a break between games
Dance Party

Sunday was raining harder than on Saturday. We only played one game, we lost 4 to 2. We decided to forfeit the 2nd game, but so did the other team so we ended up tying for 3rd place.

All in all it was a really fun tournament, I'm really glad I went. I got to go a place I haven't been yet in Japan. I got to meet a bunch of other ALTs from my prefecture. I got to see some people I hadn't seen in a while. I got to play sports. I got to dance/party ect. SO MANY GOOD THINGS!
The tournament is only twice a year, so the next one won't be until October. If I'm still around I'll definitely go.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Golden Week/Toga Party/The Future

Golden Week has come and gone. I feel it was more like a bronze week for me. Don't get me wrong I had fun and enjoyed my golden week but it could have been a bit more epic. Pretty much for the following reasons it was only bronze. One, it wasn't even one week, it was only from Saturday the 2nd --> the Thursday 6th so 5 days off. Two I didn't go anywhere significant.

I think proper planning would have made Golden week a bit more exciting. The problem is I didn't want to go any where touristy because every touristy spot in Japan is crowded during golden week. I had tossed around the idea of seeing Chris, which would have been great but I might be taking a trip there in June and I figured it would give me a chance to do stuff around Sano so I decided not to.

Over golden week I relaxed alot. I went to a couple bbq's (in Ashikaga) and parties. I also took a trip to Tokyo, but it was raining all day so that significantly hindered my plans. I took a long walk from Ueno to Akihabara. I did some shopping in Ochanomizu and bought some Adidas sandals. I really needed new sandals so I'm glad I got these. They were a bit uncomfortable at first but now I've worn them in a bit better so they ok. I also met with Hiromi and had a hamburger at a Hawaiian restaurant at Tokyo Station. It was probably the best hamburger I've ever had in Japan. I'll have to go back to that place sometime. Here are pictures on facebook. And here are some ones I'll put here for you!

BBQ in Ashikaga
Shaun Taught me how to hold myself sidewise with a poll lol
headstand hah
Ashikaga Gakkou the first University in Japan
Best burger I've had in Japan (Not that I've had many)
cool little place for events in Tokyo Station

Tokyo has some really nice places in it, but so many are so hidden you'd never know about them unless you really search. It's like a giant hidden treasure city. I feel if I end up moving/living there it'll be an endless search for all the buried treasure.

I think I've decided I want to live here another year, that is if I can find a job in either Utsunomiya (the city where I always go to play frisbee) or Tokyo. If I can't find a job in either of those cities I think I might just go home. Also I'd really like to have a Japanese roommate. I think that'd be really cool and it'd be a good experience. I'm not a big fan of living alone. In fact it's pretty boring.

There are a couple other areas that I'd like to live in like Yokohama, Osaka, or Kobe. The thing is I'm growing a little tired of starting over, it has taken me a while to make a good group of friends here in Sano and if I move somewhere real far it would be tough to keep those friends. The thing about living here is it is really hard to tell what kind of life you'll have. As an English teacher you can either love or hate the schools you teach at, so professional life can significantly vary. On the social side you could have a group of awesome friends or none depending on what you do, you can be quite miserable or super happy. Sano has been a little bit of a roller coaster for me, but I'd say I'm pretty happy. I still feel like something is missing. I think something I'd really like is someone to just do whatever with. That's why having a roommate around would be great. I could be like hey I want to go here, wanna come? It'd be perfect to find someone who'd just say yeah let's go.

I've been doing some job searching online here for stuff in Utsunomiya and Tokyo and I've found a couple places but I think the majority of places renew contracts in April, so I don't know how much will show up for August.

Last weekend we had a toga party as a fundraiser for the ALTs that are going to India in August for Habitat for Humanity. We tried to recruit others to the party, but they were reluctant haha

Next weekend I'm playing in a soccer tournament in Nagano. I'll be sure to bring my camera. ALTs from all over Japan are coming to compete. Each prefecture has a team. I don't expect we'll win, but I'm just going for fun. I've never been to Nagano and I heard a really beautiful city. It should be a blast.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Nice Wednesday Holiday 昭和の日 Golden Week is here!

Sorry no pictures on this post! I didn’t bring my camera… : (

Wednesday was a national holiday here so I got the day off. On Tuesday night I was really antsy to do something. I sent out a bunch of text messages to see what everyone was doing. I heard back from a couple people but nothing really interesting was happening. I went out and got some food then went over to Carrie’s house. We talked for a bit then Adrian called and said that he was going to a club in Oyama with Yu. He invited me to come along too.

After that I took the train to Oyama. Once I got there I took a taxi to Adrians. We talked and drank there a bit until around 11, and then we went to the club together. This club called “Around 9” is the only club in all of Oyama. Normally when you go to a club you don’t make reservations. At this place apparently you had to make reservations. I thought this was strange until I got there. I really wish I brought my camera.

The club had some event like singles night. If you had a girlfriend/boyfriend you wore a blue wrist band, if not you wore a pink one. At first all the boys and girls were separated. Then the girls made some kind of grand entrance haha. We played some matching games too. They took all the girls names, wrote them on a piece of paper and put them in balloons. They did the same with the guys. After that they threw the balloons out and you had to find your “match”. The first few to find their match got to go up on stage. Once on stage they got a free drink ticket and they got to eat fruit dipped in a chocolate fountain.

Shortly after that we played another balloon game, except this time phone numbers were in the balloons. If you call and find the person you get the same prize as last time, free drink ticket and food. I didn’t get any balloons with phone numbers but I took Yu and went on stage anyways haha. They couldn’t tell so they gave us the drink ticket and we got to eat the fruit and use the chocolate fountain.

It was my second or third time clubbing since I’ve been here and it was really fun. I met a lot of people and gave out a ton of my business cards but I don’t really expect to hear back from anyone though aha. A lot of the girls there were kind of weird, but then again maybe that’s most Japanese girls. After all the games were over we danced all night. I had a ton of people doing this one dance that Chris taught me last time we were here. It was pretty funny watching them try it. We stayed at the club until around 4. We finally got home around 4:30am.

I spent the morning and slept at Adrian’s then headed back to Sano around 1:50pm. Once I got there I biked home and showered and ate. Then Akemi picked me up and I spent the whole day playing sports. We drove to Ashikaga and played basketball for a few hours. After that we went to get some dinner. We got ramen and gyoza at one of Ray’s favorite places. Then we heard there were some fireworks by the river. We walked over the river and watched. The fireworks were pretty nice. After that we drove back to Sano and played volleyball. After volleyball we drove back to Ashikaga and went to Yakitori-kun. (Grilled Chicken on a Stick) We got some more food and chatted a bit.

Golden week starts today. I wonder what I'll do. I should have made some big plans. I'll probably go to a couple bbq's and to tokyo to see some friends.