Tuesday, September 30, 2008

A few reasons to like Japan

I found two reasons to like Japan today. Reason number one is, if it can be made cute, then I it is. I was grocery shopping today and decided to buy some pork buns. I never buy them but today was special. These ones were Japanicized! Now I get to eat my two favourite animals, but without the mess!

















I am also a big fan of the healthy yogurt drinks here. Yakult is not only great for digestion but I feel like a giant when I drink from its miniscule portions. There is nothing like being demasculinized by cute meat buns and having your ego inflated by tiny bottles. Perhaps skydiving or being shot out of a cannon is roughly on par, if I had to compare the feeling to something.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

A major victory followed my a slight blow to my manhood

I don`t know how I did it but I got both my downloads working AND my printer to print!!! And I only had to sacrifice my wireless capabilities. This is only really bad because I will not have internet at my schools, but thats acceptable. Plus, I think it will be easier to find someone who can find my wireless card, than to find someone who can finx both my internet and my printer woes. So now I can stop tying this stupid rope into a noose and I can cease filling all these envelopes addressed to Epson and Gateway with anthrax. Another potentially prison filled/me hanging from a noose future averted. Good job Marc..... Thanks Marc!!! *sounds of a man high-fiving himself* Thanks also goes out to Bill and Ben for their apparent infinite patience for dumb, dumb me.

Gmail - pc - marc.allen.davis@gmail.com

I got my printer to work!!!!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Snap! It`s cold.

We just got hit with a double dose of Fall! Comin` straight at you from a ridge of low pressure and sub-arctic air, slammin you so far back in your seat you can see the moment of your own birth. Don`t like it? Too bad, because this weather pattern is taking no prisoners and wants to make you its bitch!!! For the past 3 days, the winds have been howling and the skies have clouded over. It`s actually really nice Autumn weather, but for some reason, I am just not feeling it. I think it is because I am not seeing all the leaves change colour like in Canada. It just feels different. I managed to seal up a vent in my apartment which was directly leading to the siberian tundra outside,and for some reason, had no "closed" position.... Its your typical grill vent, about 15x15 inches. I just covered it with cardboard and packing foam and then shoved a literal butt-load of towels into it. It was making a terrible moan when the wind hit it(roughly 23.9 hours a day) and it gave my apartment that quaint haunted house feel. That had its downsides because the sound scared away little kids and I had to go without stewing meat the last few days :P .... hmmm. that sounded a little darker on paper than it did in my head... And I should probably have erased it instead of just adding these last lines of internal monologue. Oh well.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

WTF???

I am beginning to think I am cursed by god(s). This really steams me because I don`t even believe in the existence of any. I do not think I have been this frustrated in my entire life. I don`t win lotteries, I never win draws, I don`t even think I have one a rock scissors paper game when something nice was on the line, and most recently I have no success dealing with almost $1000 worth of new computer equipment!!! I bought a new laptop because my old one broke. I bought a new printer so I could make nice things for my girlfriend. Will either of these things work??? NO F**KING WAY!!! I hate to quote Will Ferrell but I feel like I`m taking crazy pills. My printer works with everyone elses computer but mine. It won`t talk to it, so basically, I might as well have plugged the one USB cable into a melon. Now, I am trying to download an English version of Vista, in the most legitimate way posible(through Mocrosoft) and my computer refuses to speak to the servers.... I can`t do anything except LOOK at the downloads I want. If anyone has heard of this happening before, please help me, because I am about to throw several hundred dollars worth of new computer off the 5th floor. My main problem is this:
-I can not access any server for updates(itunes, internet security) they just tell me there is an error.
-I cannot get Outlook Express to access my mail accounts.
-And I can`t sign into the itunes store(not important but it is another example of how I`m blocked.
-Torrent files can be downloaded but once they open to start downloading in a torrent client (utorrent, bittorent), they fail. Completely red across the board.
Now I just need to find someone who knows how these are related and what is preventing me from having a normal life.

Saturday, September 13, 2008


These are the crazy kids I worked with during the summer! Who knew field archaeology could be so much fun! Just another reason to miss Canada ;)

P.S. if you go to youtube to watch it, click the high quality link, its faster!!!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Taste the Summer!!! TASTE IT!

I thought this was funky. I saw it in the local 7/11 and could not resist. Its the summer selection! When I think of summer, I think of keema curry. Yum.






















I also bought some chocolate milk in what turned out to be WAY too much milk. I don`t drink a lot of milk here in this country so I have lost my penchant for da dairy. The thing I like about chocolate milk here is its everyman`s chocolate milk. Allow me to explain. When you buy a carton o choco moo juice back home, you drink it with gusto and feel both safe and disapointed by the fact that no matter how hard you try at home.... you will never come close to recreating the texture or taste of that store bought milk. Not by trying all the milk/syrup ratios under the sun. When you drink chocolate milk here, its just like the crap that I can make in my kitchen!!! Fantastic ;) Makes me feel like I`ve made it.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Japan, Land of the Rising PROCRASTINATION STATISTIC

So! I went to a total of 1 school yesterday! Not 8.......1. Colour me disappointed. Ok...... well, it can only get better said I, to myself whilst no one was around. Motegi-san said that today would be different. Today I was going to actually knock off the rest of my meetings.... Today was supposed to be another fun filled day of formal introductions, bowing, and business card exchange as I met with all of the officials and teachers at all 8 of my schools. Instead it became a day of shattered dreams and broken hopes. Motegi-san was sick, so a full day turned into a painful attempt to keep myself entertained in the BOE. This is how the events of the morning unfolded.

I arrived a little late and thought it weird that my supervisor(Motegi-san) was not at his desk. 5 minutes passes and I hear Fukui-san making a phone call. He sits next to Motegi. I hear ``hey... are you ok? What? You have a fever? Ok, don`t worry, I can do that`` and then he hangs up the phone. Then for the next 20 minutes 5 or 6 Japanese people swarm over the phones like a pack of wild hamsters at an all you can eat toothpaste buffet, trying to arrange alternate plans for everything Motegi had planned. Including plans related to ME!

So, that was that. I had 7 hours to sit in the BOE doodling and memorizing Japanese. I did do some pretty sweet doodles today though! I did end up going to one school today too though. Really good school with an excellent English teacher. She seems to be in control, so basically I just have to assist and follow her lead. I am not too worried because I am very aware that I am most importantly here to persuade the kids to think that ENGLISH IS FUN and that they should OBEY ALL ENGLISH.

In the end, Fukui and I drove around, he got a milkshake, I beat up some junior high school kids I saw at the milkshake shop(Thats the last time they`ll mispronounce the word Hello.... Herro my foot!), and I even found out where they practice Judo here. Fukui said he is gonna take me. I am excited because I can stop warming my closet shelf with my judo uniform soon!

I think its important to underline what I learned today though. Japan is one lazy mother-father. Do not let the media pull the mustard over your eyes. Japanese people are rarely punctual(unless you are a train/bus driver), they always eat while they walk and most importantly, if Marc wants something, it can wait until tomorrow. Still no progress on the printer embargo. MARC OUT!!!

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Weekend!!!

Hey!!! Its the weekend and I am treating it like a right, proper one this week! I didn`t have a single thing planned this weekend and it was a GREAT feeling! Yesterday I did walk to K`s electronic store though. Its probably a 45 minute walk which is fine empty-handed, but significantly more difficile when you are carrying a printer/scanner combo and 3, 2-litre bottles of drinks.... Not well thought out from the getgo but it was a really good workout walking home, and if there is a particular thing I am lacking in lately its good exercise.

So now I have a japanese laptop and a japanese printer and no idea how to get either to work optimally. I have no idea how this printer works. I followed the setup guidelines and it still refuses to even make a peep! Well, that`s a lie. I can get the ink cartridges to shoot back and forth, like some sort of random-firing finger guillotine, eager to permanently remove any chance of me ever becoming a concert pianist.... or any kind of pianist for that matter. Seriously though. The computer tells me there is no ink, even though the cartridge is new so when I open it up and try to open them up, the damn shuttlecock they are located in shoots randomly, and atdamn-near the speed light back and forth. I cannot do a test sheet either to see if my heads and nozzles are lined up. I did manage to print of something though. I know how to scan and save and how to scan and print(not really what I want it for at this point) and I can put my camera memory in and print that way. I did, but it didn`t print the one picture I chose. It printed all the pictures off on one sheet to which I have to fill in like a scantron sheet which pics I want. I then put that back in the printer and it will print the pictures I want I think. I didn`t want to waste any more paper or ink, so I am going to wait for a Japanese person to help me out.... I hate technology. I just want to print pictures of home for my apartment!!!

Anyway, I also made some guacamole last night and it was like I was living in freaking Taco Bell, not Japan. TOTAL TASTEBUD OVERLOAD. The only down side was the Japanese affront to nature that is the soda cracker. Imagine if you left an open package of normal soda crackers out in the fridge for a week, but you don`t have to wait a week here! OH NO. FRESH FROM THE PACK STALENESS!!! WOOT!!! still good though.

Today I am going to go buy eggs and milk, read my book, and prepare for my first day of elementary schools tomorrow! Should be fun, but I have to go to all 8 so its probably going to be frantic. At least I will FINALLY learn where I will be teaching. It only took a month ;)

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Picture time!!

Just Click on the Pictures and they get bigger!!!

















It was cloudy on the drive into Shosanbetsu but there was some amazing sun poking through near the islands off the coast!

















Here is a picture of the HUGE volcano in the distance. The low clouds make it look so much bigger and prehistoric.
































We had the most amazing view driving towards the ocean on the way home. My town is nice, but I would give anything to be working closer to here.



















I found a friend at the beach.... I named him Wilbur. He has kept me company these last few weeks here.

















There are a lot of low lying clouds which is really weird but they do look wicked when combined with all the Japanese mountains here.
































We drove through Shimokawa on the way to the campsite so I called John. He lives really close to the store we stopped at so he came by for a visit. Look at that happy little chappy. He has a cool little town under his belt.


And there were hundreds of wind turbines along the coast. They were a little smaller that what I am used to seeing, but they made up for it by cramming a lot into the region.

Movies galore!! Lucky you

So it looks like I'm treating you pretty nicely eh? Two videos and pictures. Sometimes I spoil you. But its worth it. So this is a video of two beaches. One is near my house and everyone dumps into it and is kind of dirty and dangerous, but the second is really really nice.
video

We also had a really nice JET organized party this last weekend. It was a 4 hour drive to get there but the other JET who drove me ignored all posted speed limits through the windy mountain roads and we made it there in record time. We started out with a BBQ and followed that with some well deserved merry making. After we all had become quite merry we all went to down the cliffs to the beach and made a huge bonfire. That took a long time and in that time I managed to walk into a boulder in the dark and now I have big gashes on my leg. Sleeping in a tent was very.... nostalgic. I went to bed around 2:30 and woke up at around 7 because of STUPID NATURE. It sure can be bright and noisy. Everybody was up too and we all eventually made it down to the beach for a swim and then to the public spa near the campsite.

video

After all this fun it was time for another 4 hour drive, which I happily slept through.

This week has been filled with introductory lessons at some junior high schools. Basically, I have a power point show with pictures of family and friends and things from home that I lead the kids through. They like it pretty well, and they are really excited to get to see me so aside from being sleepy all the time its really fun. I am putting pictures in a separate post, since its hard to write and then sort pictures around. Peace out A-town.