Monday, June 29, 2009

Job Offer

I have a job offer in Osaka!

Today I was called at school and Interac offered me a position teaching in Sakai City in Osaka. Sakai is located roughly 20 mins south of central Osaka by train (its a suburb).

Sakai (堺市 Sakai-shi) is a city in Osaka Prefecture, Japan. It has been one of the largest and most important seaports of Japan since the Medieval era. The city has grown further and is now the fourteenth most populous city in Japan, with 833,414 residents

Location of Sakai

Picture of City Hall

Park in Sakai

Sakai Station

I haven't accepted the job offer yet. I'll have to think about it, but I think it's a really good opportunity.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Hiroshima 広島の旅館

Hiroshima! So over the last weekend I went to Hiroshima with Carrie. We left early Friday night. I actually left school 15 minutes early.

After I got home I finished getting ready then headed to the bank. At the bank I finally got to transfer money home. After that Carrie and I parked our bikes at the station and took a taxi to the bus station to go to Tokyo from Sano.

Once we got to Tokyo, it was off one bus and onto another. We had 30 minutes to find the bus station to go to Hiroshima. This sounds like plenty of time but we barely made it. We had to search in Shinjuku, at Shinjuku station, a place where over 5 million people go through in one day. Shinjuku station is one of the busiest and most confusing stations in all of Tokyo. I would go into details but it would just confuse you and me ha.

Anyways we finally found the bus maybe 5 minutes before departure. We got on and could finally relax. It took a total of 12 hours to get to Hiroshima from Tokyo by overnight bus. I tried looking out the window to see things because we basically went across all of Honshu, Japan’s main island (Tokyo in the east to Hiroshima in the west).

The problem was it was night and the view from highways in Japan is awful, there are big walls blocking them off so you can’t really see anything.

We arrived at 8:00am. After a little confusion on figuring out where we were we found how to get to our hostel. The hostel, I think it was called K’s House was really nice. I haven’t stayed in many hostels over my life but it was the nicest I’ve seen. Everything was really clean and our room was nice. We got to check in earlier than normally allowed. We got to take showers after that 12 hour long bus ride, which felt great. Once we showered we started our day.
Here are the picture links:

Hiroshima Part 1

Hiroshima Part 2

We first headed for the Peace Memorial museum. The peace memorial museum was pretty amazing. Everything was displayed in about 5 to 6 different languages which was great. All of things in the museum were very moving.

8:15 the moment the bomb was dropped

This is a replica of the city after the bomb exploded
The red ball is the bomb after 1 second
The white sign is where I am (the museum I was in)

Right outside of the museum are tons of monuments dedicated to victims of the bombing. Here you can see paper cranes.

After the museum we went to the Atomic Bomb dome. It was crazy to see a building that was so close to the hypocenter of the bomb but was still left standing. It was also weird walking around throughout the day thinking that 64 years ago around this time Hiroshima was an entirely different place. All of the people were different all the buildings were different..

Next we headed for Miyajima Shrine. Miyajima is one of the most famous landmarks in all of Japan. It’s called the floating shrine. (Look up torisen) It was a beautiful place. Unfortunately it was cloudy so I didn’t get as great pictures as I hoped but it was still an amazing sight to see.

Carrie and I caught the second to last ferry back to the mainland. Then we took the train back and walked to our hostel. After resting a bit and regrouping we headed out to search for some dinner and a bar. We looked for a place called Spuds which we read about. It was a bar with cheap beers baked potatoes and BBQ food. We search for literally 30 – 45 minutes for the place but alas we never found it! We got hungry at this point so we just ate a place which is famous for Okonomiyaki which in Hiroshima is special because its made differently. See picture:

After dinner Carrie felt a bit tired and so did I so we just called it a night. I would have gone out bar hopping but that would have been boring doing it alone. We headed back and stopped into a Seattle’s best coffee and got some dessert. Once we got back we went to sleep in our fashionable bunk bed haha.

The next morning we woke up got ready and headed for Hiroshima Castle. Carrie’s ankle was hurting so she didn’t go inside, but I checked it out. I went all the way to the top and it was a nice view. Since it was a reconstruction the inside was just a museum, but they did have the layout of the castle blueprints. They also had a few rooms set up as if it was the original.

After the castle we checked out a few museums. At the prefectural museum there was also a park. Once again Carrie decided to sit it out, but I walked through. I saw more wildlife, or variety of animals on this walk than I’ve seen since I’ve been here. There were tons of baby crabs, or small crabs walking around. There were tons of carp and turtles, and birds. A crab even followed me into the coffee shop, it must have been on me somehow.

After the museums we headed back to the hostel to pick up our stuff and catch the bus back to Tokyo, then another bus back to Sano.

Over all it was an amazing trip. I’m really glad I went, and I’m thankful to Carrie for organizing it. I recommend it to anyone who comes to visit Japan as it is an important part of the history and it holds two world heritage sites.

On a side note I can’t believe I’m less than a month away from leaving. I can’t believe a year has almost passed since I’ve been here.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Nice Sunday

Hmm the weekend. Update Style! Saturday was pretty lazy. Saturday at about 6 I went to Ashikaga to watch Matt and Adrian's band (The Vice Lords of Valhalar) play live. It was a good show despite the fact that their lead guitarist was sick and not there haha. Later that night I just hung out with people in Ashikaga.

On Sunday around 1pm Akemi and Emi came and picked me up. Earlier that day they had a big English test. So after they wanted to relax/celebrate.

We wanted to just hang out and do whatever, but we ended up taking an adventure. As I explain I'll put pictures lol. Emi driving

At first we went to Ashikaga because we were going to go bowling at Round1 (the name of the place). On the way there we invited a bunch of people but everyone was busy so once we got there we decided to change plans. They thought it would be a good idea to go to this amusement park in Ota ( 30 mins or so west). The place was pretty interesting they had a bunch of rides for kids ha, of course we rode them too. They also had a zoo and some other attractions.

Emi and I at the entrance

View from the ferris wheel

Looking off into the distance
Akemi and Emi being weird as usual
Let's go there's more rides!

After riding a few rides we went to the zoo. They had a couple cool animals, but alot were asleep or not out because it was near closing time.

A nice walk haha

After the zoo we went shopping. We went to a couple of Emi's favorite shops.
Posing infront of a department store

After shopping a bit, we went to get some dinner. We had tonkatsu or fried pork cutlet. It's really good. We had it at Akemi's favorite place in Ashikaga. If I go back I'll definitely go there, it was really good.At the tonkatsu place

After eating we relaxed a bit then went back to Round1 (the original place we went to) Still no one could join us so we just played ping pong for an hour and a half or so. The girls were both really good, and Akemi even played in high heels, how? I have no idea.

In Japan they have these photo booths that you can take pics and add craziness to them. They call them Puri Kura which is short/cute for Print Club I think. Anyways its really popular with girls from age maybe 13 - 25 here. We got a bunch and uploaded this one.

After finishing at Round1 the night still wasn't over. We went to sing at Karaoke in Sano. We stayed out until like 12:30am or so. Singing at Karaoke

My weekend started on Sunday.. at least event-wise. It was a really fun day.. hope I can have many more Sundays like that hah.

This weekend I'm going to Hiroshima with Carrie. I'll take my camera and post about it when I get back.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Vice Lords

On Saturday night I went to Utsunomiya to see the Vice Lords of Valhallar (my friends band) play live. It was also an event to help raise money for my friends to go to India with Habitat for Humanity. Here are pictures posted on facebook

It was a fun night. After the event we went to a bar called Lion's Head, then to a club.

On the Way with Matt, Kristine and Carrie

Got a rainbow mohawk

Warming up before the gig

Gig time
Clubbing Afterwards
We ended up staying all night at the club. I got home at 7:30am. I slept until 4:00pm. Got up and recovered on Saturday.

On a different note I can't believe its June. I have less than 6 weeks left here.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Long Weekend

Good Day to you Sir/Madam. Here is a summary of my weekend.

Friday I went to Adrian's after school. There was a few people over for drinks and hanging out. Kristine and Matt left early. I decided to spend the night there. We went to Karaoke and Lance (Adrian's friend from Australia got out of control haha. On the way back home Lance was bush diving. All in all a fun night, we got back around 4am from karaoke then slept. Karaoke Pic
Bush diving

I woke up at Adrian's around 10. I got dressed and cleaned up a bit then headed back to Sano. Got home took a shower and then headed to an Indian food restaurant for an all you can eat lunch buffet (best indian food place in Sano). I met Justin, Carrie and Kristine there and had a long lunch. After we still wanted to hang out so we went shopping. Went to a couple places then went to a place called Coco's (a restaurant). We had some drinks there (non-alcoholic) then the girls decided they wanted to get their hair done. We went to Kristines favorite place and the girls got their hair dyed and cut. Justin and I explored some stores around the salon.

After that we all went home. Then I got an invite to a party in Ashikaga. It was a friend of mine's birthday (Gary) and we wanted to celebrate. The place was a club in Ashikaga I've never been to, it was called Gokuraku 極楽 which translates to paradise. My friend Zishaun was DJing, and a friend of his was playing some live music. The guy he knew (his nickname) is Micky. He's a drummer, I kind of wish I could take lessons from him. I've wanted to learn how to play drums for a while now.

I got home late from Gokuraku then went to bed. Sunday was a little bit of a lazy day. I just slept in a little, then went grocery shopping. After that I studied for a bit. Around 5:30 Akemi picked me up to go see a concert. We were going to see one of the people we met last night who was in a band. Turns out we went to the wrong place. We thought it was at Gokuraku, but it was at BBC South. Anyways after that we met the others for bowling. 24 people, not including me met at Round 1 for bowling. We took up 4 lanes, it was alot of fun. Here's a group pic I got for getting a special strike.
Mistuo after getting a spare haha, I told him to pose.
Akemi won 2 things with one try!
Me in the girly pin costume haha.
bowling ball overload