Thursday, September 28, 2006

dying or possibly dead

I caught something foul. I think it's Japanese encephalitis, but that could be the result of my overactive imagination or my grossly inadequate medical training. I just feel bad. The worst part is that my lungs are all congested up ins, so I can;t even walk up a flight of stairs without taking a rest-stop. I really hope I am better by tomorrow, since everyone is going to KYOTO!!!! This will be fun, since everyone is going and there is tons of stuff to like.... look at and take pictures of. I'm probably gonna take like an finity of them. I'll even post them here so you can be jealous of how many pictures I'm capable of taking, not of what I'm taking the pictures of, since I will probably be taking picturs of boring things like statues and scriptures and Buddha. I don't know if I'll have internet while there, so It may be tuesday afore you see anything. Oh, and I'm also gonna visit the hell out of Tomoo's family in Osaka!!! I can't wait to help them move their furniture.

Monday, September 25, 2006


I can't remember how to say that word. I get the "o" and the "ko" mixed up everytime. I went there yesterday with Miho, the lady I taught for the other week and her friends. It was great but I didnt have any money, since I figured we were just going somewhere to hike. Sadly, this is Japan, and Japan charges you for everything short of the air you are breathing. It turns out that there is no bridge to the island, like I though, just a ferry. And you have to pay to go and look at their flowers and kisch shops. I don't know why they don't just make admission free and charge more for souvenirs like everywhere else in the world. Anyway. I felt really bad about Miho having to may for my ferry ride, so when they asked whether we should take the bus, I suggested we walk(to save money). I ended up carrying her 4 year old son Haru, who isn't used to walking by himself apparently. It took us about an hour and a half to walk to the top of the mountain and on the way saw a TON of creepy huge spiders. Still not the biggest I've seen in Japan though.
Anyway, The park was really nice, although very flowerless. Apparently the typhoon had blown away all the summer blooms, so we have to wait till the autumn flowers bloom to get the full effect. We had lunch at the top and then we went and saw the sites. Basically, the entire park was like any Botanical Gardens in Canada I have ever seen, except there was a petting zoo here and I got to feed rabbits and goats.
That's clearly not me, but Momo, who also helps teach with Miho, but more often. Anyway, we went and walked to the very end of the park and then sat on a really sunny hill for about an hour and a half. I ended up falling asleep and got a sunburn, which was worse on the left side of my body thanks to the angle of the sun. The only reason I woke up was because Haru was poking me in the face to get me come on an adventure.

We ended up taking the bus down the mountain, because everyone was really tired. The park is freaking huge. This is the island for your viewing pleasure. Its really big. Oh and also a picture of the view from the top. Really fun day, and I got lots of exercise. I think I am starting to get a cold. I attribute it to stress, since I am eating really well and I get lots of exercise here. Its just a little sore throat right now and I am battling it with bananas and tofu, so hopefully it doesn't get any worse. Today was another 10 minute karate class, where we got our uniform and then were dismissed after learning some bows. Next week we actually get to do stuff. Apparently the teacher has cancer so this year will be his last to teach. Kinda gives you a good reason not to disappoint him though, so hopefully everyone tries really hard. I just wanna punch some stuff, LOLOL. I went to the gym to try to meet with the judo club but the doors to the practice room were locked, so I assumed that everyone had decided not to go. Maybe tomorrow, eh? Light music club on Wednesday. I'm super jazzed.

Oh, and the only picture that I got of me on the island. Well, the one guy took about a million of me, but I don't know him, so those pictures are a write off.

Oh, and I mailed two chocolate bars today to see if they actually make it to Canada. Kaori kept saying how the bars would get crushed, but I couldnt explain it to her that I didn't care, its just chocolate which is going to be eaten anyway. Oh well. It is a good test to see if I can mail home chocolate. I will send bigger packages next time for sure. As it stands, I am feeling really, really lazy and I can't be asked to pay attention to anything Canada related. I know its sort of an assholey thing to do, but its just a phase I think. I just need to get all my shit together here and then I can resume normalcy. I didn't even put a not in with the chocolate. Totally absent-minded. Okays, that's all. I'm going to some festival tonight, so I'll have more pictures. soon. Check my other site for all the pictures I took.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Japan... LIVE

So, I got a fish from a girl in I-house and bought it some stuff, including a small tank and lots of entertainment inside. The only problem is, it died and now I have a really fancy home for a lot of nothing. Luckily Marc is getting rid of some fish so I am going to try to pick them up from them. School has proved to me that it can in fact become more boring than it already was. Japanese class is still fine, since we are learning stuff and you are always participating, but everyother class does nothing but suck balls. Japanese phychology has yet to present material that prevents me from slumbering, and don't get me started on the others. Luckily, Intercultural communications class is better. We have two Japanese teachers this year that are fluent in English and they are very entertaining. I have yet to go to Japanese Sports class and Traditional cultures though..... maybe I should.

I got into contact with the judo club and I am going to go to the first meeting on Monday, which I am really looking forward to! I also got into contact with the Light music club. It was kind of funny the way it happened. I was sitting in the university common room during our break between classes on Friday and we saw 3 guys sitting at a table playing with drum sticks. It was the first day of classes for the japanese students so there were like, a billion of them around school. I ended up walking over after Jordan forced me to. They were really nice and one of them spoke pretty good English. I have been using Japanese pretty often here, but I'm not comfortable enough to switch completely over yet. Anyway, I found out they were in the Light music club, which will now be referred to as the LMC. I had to go back to class, so I got the one guys email. He ended up calling me later that day and invited me to go see his friend perform at a live house in Nishijin. I had other plans for the night, but I ended up cancelling them at the last minute. Jordan wanted me to go to his ex-girlfriends birthday, but Siggi ended up backing out at the end, so I knew the party would suck. It would have ended with me taking care of all the really drunk people and I hate that!!!! Anyway, Siggi and I went to Ohori koen after class and on the way home we decided not to go to the party, so I called Nozomu, who was the English speaking guy. It was around 7:00 and the show was starting at 8 and it turns out that he was pre-drinking at an Izakaya before the show. He was trying to give me directions to the place, but he kept using the Japanese names and I had to go back to I-house to procure the use of a Japanese student. I ended up knowing where the Izakaya was afterall, since it was right near a store I grocery shop at, Daiei. I ended up having one beer with them there and then we went to the live event. His friends band was really great. They had a 70's Japanese rock sound to them and the lead singer was really talented on the guitar and vocals. I also stayed for a second band which was some sort of Japanese/cuban/latin/rock band which was really entertaining. I have cellphone pics, which I will upload later, as soon as I get a Japanese person to let me use their Japanese pc.....

After the show, I went upstairs to the live house and met Nozomu who was recording some stuff with his punk band. We rented a studio for 500 yen and I got to play the drums for an hour. I had so much fun and it only cost me $15.

Today, I slept in until 12:45, had pancakes and then went to the beach. We were supposed to talk with the students from Seinan about the HUGE festival in November. We ended up just sitting around, and I went swimming for a while. After a while, we went to a less windy place, since it was REALLY windy and had some snacks and talked. This got boring, so Calen, James, Jon and I went to Toys R Us. It was really cool and I bought a really cheap, but really lame action figure. Its SUPER POSABLE. Then we ate at McDonalds, and I ate 100 yen cheese burgers. Now I am sitting and typing this..... OOOOOO. its an OPTICAL ILLUSION!!!!

Pictures soon, I swear

Friday, September 15, 2006

New Shoes and a Lot of Homework to Boot

So, I taught some Japanese kids to use English the other day. I got to work for 2 days, which was a pain in that it was during the only free time I had this week, and good, because I got money practiced Japanese. I have even been invited to a picnidc in Ohori Park this coming Monday with the women who runs the English school. We get Monday off, since it is a national holiday for old people. I am also probably going to go to a festival on Sunday with my sister's boyfriend.

I bought some new running shoes today. They were really cheap but look great. They were $37 and look pretty stylish. I don't actually know if this post will show, since my blogger page is really messed up, but I will try anyway.

I have been slacking on my sleeping and studying duties as of late. I need to start studying vocabulary again for Japanese class. Each time the teacher asks us to read some kanji, I draw a blank since I only have reviewed the grammar. I have a feeling my mind doesn't want summer vacation to be over, but I'm slowly coming around and studying more and more. We are actually getting a good amount of homework in our Japanese classes. I need to go shopping for food tomorrow. I have decided to spend slightly more each week, so that I may consume a higher amount of protein and iron in the form of meat.

Oh, and I finally figured out how to use my new cellphone. I couldn't for the life of me figure out how to change syllables from voiceless to voiced. Now I can write Japanese text messages YATTA!!!

Monday, September 11, 2006


So I finally got a copy of the newspaper with my ass in it. I think you will be pleasently suprised to see it. I went into the CIE office and asked to see a copy of the paper, and told them it was my ass, and I looked over on the bulletin board and saw a copy of the article and someone had written "Whose butt?". Then they wouldn't believe it was mine when I told them. Anyway, here it is.

I don't know who the shrill whore is beside me, but she wouldn't stop screaming. On and on she went, like and undying wind across the harsh desolate lanscape that was the earthquake simulator.

Go to my msn page for firework pictures.
We went to fireworks by the way, rofl.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

totemo kawaii

I bought a skin for my ipod yesterday. I am running my budget really tightly, but when I saw it, I had to have it!!!We all went out last night for Lee's birthday. I stupidly forgot to put memory into my camera, so I don't have any pictures. We went to an all you can eat, all you can drink restarant that was really good, and then went to a club to dance. I learned that I can't dance, but it was tons of fun anyway. I even dance with two, 40+ year old women that were there trying to get guys. Today we are beaching it up and maybe shopping it up.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Japan's most famous ass

HEY!!!, I'm in the paper. We went to the disaster prevention center the other day and some reporter made a story about it. It turns out that the photographer took the photo for the article at just the right time so that my ass was facing the lens. Yeah, it looks pretty good. You can't see anything but my ass...... fucking media. Anyway, I'm going to try to get a picture, or a copy of that article, so that you all can see the mockery that Japan has made of my ass.
Karaoke was good today. We went for Betty's birthday. We had dinner, then had karaoke, then did purikura. It was a lot of funz. We also went to the beach and played volleyball, and went into the water. It was really warm, so I threw some people in. I will get some pictures and put them up as well.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Current Events: Karaoke, I-house, Izakaya

Ok, I have decided to skip all the little stuff and focus on what's happening recently.
My room in I-house is pretty nice, but when I arrived there were some problems. First, the airconditioner decided to start poring condensed water onto my desk and computer, but that was fixed withing 15 minutes of me reporting it. Next, my bathroom and sink were a little scummy, but I cleaned the hell out of them and how they look nice. My room is looking really bare, but its filling up slowly. It really sucked at first because we didnt have internet for a whole week. Luckily, the other Marc is a nice guy and he liet us use his whenever.

I went to my first ramen shop and aside from the smell(which is like dying sour ass) it was really cheap and delicious. There was one ramen with kanji we couldnt read and after about 15 minutes of searching the kanji ended up meaning "large portion". We felt pretty dumb.

I found my bike, but apparently whoever was riding it during the summer, had not done anything about a flat tire in the back. It ended up costing me $19 to get it fixed, but now I have a bike. Now I just need to pay $20 for a helmet!

I ended up grocery shopping and it turns out that I can buy a weeks worth of food for under $50. I ascutally only spend $32 but that was because there was a big sale and stuff was only $1. This means that I will be under budget on groceries by about $100 each month, YAY.

We went to Karaoke and it was a lot of fun. There were only a few people singing though but it was still the best time ever. I sang a lot of songs, and I think I have gotten better at singing over the last year. I even got an offer to join the choir, but they practice during my classes so I can't go :( During the hot weather, we went and played some whiffle bal, but the teams were really uneven, so it ended up that my team had like 15 runs before the other team even scored. It was Marc(plays baseball), Peter( who plays sports), and me, so we kept getting 3 runs at a time. I guess the balls werent whiffley enough. It was good and I got a little sunburned which turned into a nice tan the next day.

Since Monday, we have been attending orientation which is pretty much just them telling us not to stay in our rooms and make our culture shock worse. Yesterday was fun since it was the reception. There were some boring speeches and then we had to introduce ourselves to a whole room of people. I was nervous, but everyone like my intro. Then we got to mingle for about an hour and a half and eat tons of food. I met a lot of students and had tons of fun talking to everyone. At the end we even got to take home all the left over food!!!

Last night was our best night yet. Everyone went to Canal City, but a few of us stayed in and had some food. Then at around 10pm, we went for a walk to Nishijin, which is just up the road. We were going to find a bar, but I spyed some International Office employees. It was Kojima who is head of the Int. Division, one of the receptionists Masako, and one of the guys who takes us on trips, Onogi I think. They were unwinding after just getting off of work. I didnt want to go in, but Julian and Peter did, so we decided to stay there. We went in and everyone was so suprised. The best part was, they bought us our first round of beers. I drank mine out of respect, and it was very... beery. I downed it fast so I didnt taste it much. A little later, we bought them a round, and then Onogi went out for some reason. He returned with a piece of Birthday cake, since it was Peter's birthday. We all sang happy birthday and then took a group photo, which I will post after. It was the most fun I have ever had in a bar. Then after everone had finished, Kojima told us that he was paying for our bill. I couldn't believe it!!! Then the Taisho(bar owner/server) came out and gave us all little magnets from one of the festivals in August.

Basically, Peter and Julian talked to the two guys all night and me and Siggi talked to Masako all night. We went back to I-house after curfew, but the guy who doesnt talk to anyone was on duty, so it was ok. We get away with a lot when he is there. Last week we had a water gun fight inside the i-house.

This morning I had Japanese class, and Japanese psychology, which was boring. Japanese class was hard, since the teacher only spoke Japanese and we have to make a 3 minute speech by tomorrow and memorize it.

After class, Calen and I went to eat at the really cheap cafeteria near i-house and them went to HardOff with John. HardOff is a store where you can get housewear and secondhand/new electronics and instruments. I bought a Squire amp and Squire guitar, with a stand and patch cable for under $130 dollars!!!!! Both are Fender products and pretty damn good considering the same equipment in Canada would have cost me....
Guitar:$165 = tax/shipping
Amp: $150
Anyway, thats all for now. I will try to get some disaster prevention pics up soon!!!

Osaka Day 2/3, Fukuoka

The next day, me and Tomoko walked around her town. We found a cool carnival/festival just up the road from her house that apparently was put on by a housing development company for potential customers and neighbours. It was aimed at kids, but I didn’t care, since they had photo opportunities with POWER RANGERS, or some similar super fighter guys. So I got my picture taken with them and we proceeded on. We walked around and came to a model home that had been built, but it was HUGE inside. It was big even by north American standards, with 3 floors and a huge living room, kitchen and dining room. We walked around inside for a while then went to find some grocery stores. I needed to buy floss, so we checked everystore we saw, including a 100 yen store. I began to think that Japan didn’t have floss, when we decided to go into a pharmacy and found that drug stores are the only ones to carry floss. We basically walked around until the evening, until Tomoko’s father got home. Then we went to a really nice restaurant. I couldn’t believe how nice it was. I can honestly say that it was the nicest restaurant I have ever been to or eaten at. The food was really good, and I got to try many new things. I went to bed as soon as I got home though, since I am such a HUGE party animal ; )

On the following day, Tomoko’s aunt came over, and Tomoko, her mom, aunt and me went to Osaka castle. I was really hot that day, and I kept seeing gaijin who were sweating their asses off. I considered myself lucky that I wasn’t to hot. We got to go up to the top of the castle, which gave us a pretty decent view of most of Osaka. It was also breezy and cool, which was nice. We took the long walk back, and then went to the aquarium in Osaka, which was my favourite part of the whole trip.

The Aquarium is famous because it holds one of the only whale sharks in captivity. We ended up getting lunch before we actually went though. It was at an Italian style restaurant, and I had REALLY good sausage pizza. I couldn’t believe how much is tasted like western style pizza. I also accompanied it with a melon soda.

The aquarium itself was probably 5 or 6 levels and you started by going up a HUGE escalator. Then, you made your way down a slowly descending spiral. It was probably the best aquarium I have ever seen, especially the giant manta ray and whale shark. The only thing was that the whale shark looked sad, since it was so large and had to swim in circles. It took us around 2 hours to walk throught the whole thing. I took a lot of videos but I need to find a video converter, so I can change my movies from .mov into something I can edit. So, We came home and then had dinner. I even learned some new recipes from Tomoko’s mom. I can make fried rice now, miso soup, and some kind of Japanese egg. The next day, Tomoko and I took a taxi to the train station, then a train to the bus station, then a bus to the airport to pick up Joel.

After Joel arrived, Tomoko walked us to the subway station and me and Joel got tickets and went to find our train. The train ride to our hotel was REALLY long, and when we got there it was already dark. This was compounded by the fact that we were trying to find the hotel using a crappy internet map and Joel’s PSP, which was useless at first, since we couldn’t find north. We ended up going in the wrong direction, and when we turned around, our new course took us down two streets that were filled to the brim with dirty homeless. There was an entire society of them living in that part of town. We ended up walking and I ended up carrying Joel’s luggage, since I didn’t want to walk slowly through that part of town. After about 15 minutes of looking, we found the hotel. It looked a little like what the internet showed, except that it was dirtier and surrounded by slums. I even got to see a guy beating the shit out of a drunk guy. SO EXCITING! So we checked in and it turned out our rooms were actually really clean. It was really small, but really clean and cheap, to boot. I got ready and went to take a bath. With the night’s event behind me and a warm bath, I was able to get a really nice night’s sleep.

The next morning, we woke up early and headed for the airport. The train ride was shorter, since we took an express, so we got there in plenty of time. OH, I forgot to say, when we picked up Joel, Calen was also on the plane, but he went straight to Fukuoka. So we found some lockers and I unloaded all my luggage, but Joel had old man luggage, so his wouldn’t fit. He ended up taking his smaller suitcase, which was heavier, for some reason. Anyway, we got on our flight, and since there were only like 30 people flying, I got to move from my aisle seat and sit next to a window. The flight was a little over an hour. We landed and got off and went to get our luggage, and Kaori, Nicole and Natsumi were there to pick us up. We ended up taking the subway with all out luggage which drew more than a few stares and then walked from the subway to the I-house which took a lot of doing. I just wish everyone had packed smartly like me. Damn I’m so smart. Anyway. I was so happy to finally get to the I-house and unload all my crap. I started to unpack as soon as I got in, since I wanted to get in out of the way. Afterwards, I went out and met all the students that had already arrived.

Ok, that’s all you get for now. I can tell you, that it only gets more exciting from there. But it will take me a little while to put the last 7 days up!!!

Osaka Day 1

Well, I am all settled in so I will now recant all the wonderful things that happened since I arrived in Osaka on the 26th.

The plane ride to Chicago was pretty good. I sat next to a kid on his way to Kentuky with the Tim Hortons camp. We talked pretty much the whole way, and the conversation was as amusing as you can imagine a conversation with a 10 year old can be. I'd ask him things like, "do you know what state we are over?", and he'd say stuff like, "england?". All in all, pretty good. When I landed in Chicago, I really didn't know where I was going so I asked a random employee who pointed me in the right direction. I got to the right counter and picked up my boarding pass. I didn't have a choice in where I sat and I ended up getting the very last row in the plane, between two people :( After I got my pass, I went and exchanged $20 CAN into $13 US and bought a roast beef sandwich and a water. After I finished it I felt a little queasy, but I think it was more from nervousness than food poisoning. I made a collect call to my family which was ignored and then repeated and got through. Then I took a horrible 13 hour flight.

I sat beside a girl who was on a renewed contract with JET and we talked a little about it. She gave me some good pointers and our conversations grew sparse. We ended up doing our own things and only really talked when her or myself got up to stretch or use the washroom. Luckily, she was not upset about me getting up so much. I couldn't really fall asleep on the plane, since I couldn't recline my seat. It was practically up against the kitchen wall. I watched "Over the Hedge" which was pretty lame, "16 Blocks" with Bruce Willis and Mos Def, which was tolerable, and "She's the Man", which was in my opinion, a very entertaining romp through adolescence. I actually watched it twice. Aside from that, I listened to my ipod and read my really long book, which I still haven't finished. It's paper back, but the font is miniscule and I can't seem to get it done.

When I stepped off the plane, I almost fell over. The transition from the air condioned plane to the humidity of Kansai airport was really intense. I instantly became damp with condensation and sweat and I lumbered through the terminals with my luggage. I was the last off the plane, but because of my leet walking skills, I made it past more than half the plane before immigration. It still took me 35 minutes to make it through, and when I saw Tomoko, I breathed a HUGE sigh of relief.

We took the bus for about an hour to a station where her parents picked us up. They were SO nice and even could speak a little English, which was good, since my Japanese was completely forgotten at that point. We got to Tomoko's house, where we talked for a little and then I went to bed early.

And so ended my first day in Japan. Tune in tomorrow for another exciting episode. The rest of Osaka and what happened when I got to Fukuoka.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Photos, not blog

Ok, I know I said that there would be blog, but im busy, so heres photos so far. more photos this evening and a blog. I already wrote a little in Wordpad. PHOTOS/PICTURES

Monday, September 04, 2006


Ok, so I just got my internet, and I know I said I would update more, but I still have to wait to get a cable to hook my camera to my laptop. That means that I wont have pictures ready until tomorrow, so I am just going to write the big blog then. I definitly have a big undertaking ahead of me. see ya then.