Monday, August 25, 2008

Still waiting

This is my impression of me still waiting for a permanent source of internet...... pretty good eh? I promise more posts when I get internet, I swear. :)

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Day Third

Today brings a shorter blog. I am once again at my desk only this time

I am surrounded by sweet, sweet melon bread!!! Apparently today was

Bread-Day, so the bread-man came by. He had a truly awe-inspiring

selection of breads ranging from your fancy pizza and wiener breads to

your more simple egg and melon breads. The Education Supervisor was

kind enough to treat me today, so now I have melon bread. It is a

round bun that has a texture similar to cake and has a crispy sugar

layer on top. I don't actually know if there is melon in it, but it

kind of looks like a half melon lying on its face.

Tonight I am going to try to find a microphone/webcam to communicate

with people from home. I have to be back at 7 o'clock because one of

the nice ladies from work is bringing me a home-cooked meal tonight. I

am pretty excited about it. Since I arrived I have only been to the

grocery store once and I only spent about $30 on food. Every other

meal has either been payed for by someone in a restaurant, or I have

gone to someone's house/been given food. I felt bad about letting

people pay at first, but then I realized I am all alone, jet-lagged,

and culture shocked and I stopped worrying so much. As long as you

give the proper respect (a hearty thank you, and a follow-up thank you

at work the next day) people seem more than happy to shell out meny for


I have done three things today and they are as follows:

8:30am - 10:00am -- practiced some Japanese vocab and kanji using my

electronic dictionary. There is a function which gives you an English

word, it's Japanese equivalent, and an example sentence. Japanese

people use it to study for some big English exam, but it works equally

well for me. The only thing I need to do is look up the Kanji for the


10:00am - 12:00pm -- read a book. Its a science fiction novel about

aliens and God.

12:00pm - Now -- ate lunch and did this blog.

Yep. Pretty full day I've had.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Another Day another Yen

Yesterday was a fun filled day of adventure and excitement. I started the day off right, with a nice long sleep in till around 10 a.m. Then I went for a walk. I was tired of not knowing where anything was in the town so I just picked a direction, which was down if you were to look on a map and started walking. I didn't see a heck of a lot. There is a shopping area close-by, which is as close to a mall as you get, but I was going in the opposite direction. I really need to get a bike, since all the good stores, like electronics, music and DVD rental places are at least 40 minutes walk away. I finished my walk by going to a stationary store for a new pen and a work book to practice my chinese characters in. Then I went to the beach again :) I spent about 30 minutes just walking up and down, skipping stones and looking for cool beach-related things. I found a few pieces of sea-glass, a kitchen knife, and a weird robot head but that was about it. Then I had to go home to meet some people which were taking me out.

There were three people, but I can't remember all their names. First, they took me out for lunch at a nice soba restaurant. Soba is a thin buckwheat noodle that is cooked and then run through cold water. It is then served with a sauce which you dip the noodles in. The sauce is like a really thin, weak soy sauce which you add onions and radish and wasabi to. It is ok, but not really a favourite of mine. There was lots of tempura with the set though so I was happy. I think maybe I'll start taking pictures of the stuff I eat, since most of you haven't seen it before. After lunch, we went to a "recycle shop" where you can buy used and new things. Pretty much anything from $1 Power Ranger toys to $900 Louis Vuitton purses. I really like them, because you can get cheap stuff and there is always something fun to look at. I was there because it is the only place where they sell musical instruments. Apparently the people of the Mombetsu area don't have a need for music stores. I didn't get my hopes up, but they actually had a decent selection! They even had some Gibson and Fender beauties. I didn't want to spend a lot, so I went with the tried and true Photo-genic! It's a small company which produces all the bigger company guitar styles but WAY cheaper. And they sound great. I already own a Telecaster which is still in Canada and it is amazing. I saw a really sweet Les Paul copy which is now mine! I really love the colour. Sorta a metallic yellow-gold flake. I also bought a tiny little 10 watt amp.

After that, we went to see some seals by the beach. Its a little aquarium where you can feed and pet the seals. They were really neat, and they even had baby seals too!!! After that, I was taken to a "The Daiso". This store makes our dollar stores look like penny stores people!!! I bought neckties and dress socks for $1! We then went to a big bookstore/DVD/music store. On the shelf, and I am not kidding you, were 3 copies of the Paris Hilton sex tape.....And this was out in the open, between Action and Drama sections! God-Bless Japan.

I then returned home, only to be dropped into the hands of another tour-guide, who was taking me to dinner and a show. Dinner was Soba again (god these people love cold noodles) and two live bands on a boat. It was pretty nice for the first little while. I took some nice sunset shots but then got cold and bored. After the bands finally finished, we got to go down into the Okotsk tower, a tower designed to let you see under the sea ice in the winter. At night they put huge spotlights in the water which attracts fish to the underwater windows. You are 7.5 metres underwater and the fish are disoriented from the lights, so they swim upside down. There was also a touch pool with starfish and crabs, and eels and flounders. I totally molested the hell out of them fish :) After, we went to a coffee shop and had sandwiches and hot milk. Then I finally got to go home, play my new guitar (i forgot to buy guitar picks) and went to bed.

Now I'm at work. I have brought my laptop because I figure I might as well write about my days so I don't have to use my sweet, sweet, precious free time typing. I think this post is too long.

On a negative note, I just found out my favourite coffee beverage, the White Chocolate Mocha from Starbucks contains 93g of sugar..... I am never drinking specialty coffee again. I will leave you with a video of me abhoring nature.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Video and pictures!

I finally made it to the beach today!!! I was really nice aside from the cloudy weather. I found a lot of really neat shells though! The water is actually really warm, contrary to what every Japanese person I have met says. They all think 20C water is cold..... :S Anyway, I can't swim near here though because the beach is really steep and the undertow nearly pulled in after only taking two steps in. I saw a really nice looking spot from the top of the mountain that I am going to try my best to get to. It looks to be about a 30 or 40 minute bike ride.... which means I need to buy a bike.

I saw this dog. He saw me. That was as far as our relationship went. He didn't seem especially excited by my presence so I didn't go up to him. He did pose for me though :P The cat ran away as soon as it realized I didn't think it was a flower pot LOL.

There are so many fisherman here its not even funny.

Here is one of many typical Japanese mountains. It a crazy transition to perfectly flat ground and then sudden eruptions of mountains.
The crops suprised me in Hokkaido. It was the first time I ever saw hay, corn, and bean fields. It reminded me so much of home.
This was my Welcome Party. We all took part in some heavy "nomunication" as it were. A healthy combination of drinking alcohol "Nomu" and speaking each others language.
Then I met the Mayor! He's the guy on the left. Next is Stephen, then me, then some guy, and on the far right is Mr. Nishida. He is super nice and is the Top Dog at the Board of Education.
Our first Japanese meal in Tokyo. Room 2104 boys representing. Its Antonio, John, and me!
That's a pokemon plane..... DUH.
John took some high altitude shots for me. I didn't have a window seat!
Sapporo TV tower. The Japanese really have a thing for eiffel shaped towers :P

Friday, August 08, 2008

I am in Japan

I have been in Japan for almost one week now and I am very, very tired. Orientation occurred in Tokyo and that was fine. I didn't get to see everything because of the scheduling but I didn't mind. What I have a problem with is that I haven't been given a second alone since I arrived in my new town. I have either been in the Board of Education, or at a party, or have been accompanied to the grocery store. I don't really understand the mentality behind this. I think it goes a little something... a like this ......

Japan: "Hey! You know what would make the new guy feel really happy and comfortable? Let's get him when he's most jet-lagged, and exhausted from traveling, and while he's the most nervous about his new life/job in Japan and bombard him with non-stop action and protocol!"
Common Sense: "Maybe he would like a chance to chill for a bit?"
Japan: "What do you mean? Like, he might want some time to unpack, and maybe relax for one day, explore the town, actually see some sights before we start him on our 24hr. a day Foreigner Parade? That's nonsense, ABSOLUTE POPPY COCK!!!"

And that is how it has been. I haven't had time to see anything except my apartment, and the Board of Education.... I promise. I finally am alone tomorrow morning and half of the afternoon (before the coddling begins again) so I will video tape my apartment, and I am actually going to post some pics. Then I have to go to my supervisor's house for a birthday party and curry (not actually a bad thing, but I still haven't seen the city yet!!! And they wonder why its hard for me to answer when they ask "how do you like Monbetsu City so far?"