Sunday, December 18, 2005


I didn’t get this uploaded last night, the snow was SO intense! I didn’t want to go out to the bars with my laptop or make an extra trip…. Last night was amazing! The snow was SO beautiful, and you might get to see some pictures here of it.

So I was coming out of the shack last night, and waiting for the elevator. It opens and this girl is like waving, and I realize it’s Jessica from Reno!!! Amazing!! So we went back in ~ the local trains stop at 12, so they were just going to stay out until 5:30 then catch that train. Of course, I stayed with them. The picture at the wood table is at molly malone’s…. who else was there but kat? So we all got to know each other, and with the intense snow outside the bar was playing Christmas songs. the park with that bar on the 4th floor or whatever is in the drinking district, and the one with all the geometric shapes is across the street, by the entrance to the hondori and the shack. The guy with the bike is my Japanese friend Budd, after Jessica and her friends left to catch the train I met up with him at kemby’s a.m. and left around 7:30, that’s why the pictures of him are in the daylight. It’s too easy to stay out late since 5 a.m. is like noon to my body…. Aren’t my pictures the best? Hiroshima is the coolest place on earth.

It was so amazing just running into Jessica! Talking about reno in Hiroshima, looking at our Nevada driver’s licenses, it makes the world feel so small (but, you know, in a good sorta friendly way)

Okay I’m gonna send this off to mums now, what’s next is what I wrote last night. MERRY CHRISTMAS! (I might go to Tokyo with some friends, but don’t want to spend the money…plus, I want to see more of ‘shima)

Okay where to start? Sorry it’s been awhile, make sure to check out my photos though. I’ll take more soon. I’ve taken a million on my cell phone, but I don’t always just HAVE my camera around so I don’t have much from there. Getting the pics from my phone to the ‘net might be pricey, but I still have a few to toss up.

So I work till like 9 usually, and get to the coffee shop in the morning at like 9:30 or 10 to plan. But today I had 8 classes, and just tossed together what I needed to teach from last night. And it worked well! So hopefully not much more extra hours, I’m getting used to what I’m doing now.

I had like 10 students cancel lessons this week, so making those all up is going to be awful! I had my first students parents re-sign his contract because he loved me. I am seriously the man. There are a couple of kat’s students that I want to steal from her. I’ll take pictures of some kids once I think that would be not weird.

So besides the work thing, Japan! It’s awesome. Really, I feel really comfortable, although I haven’t studied ANY Japanese yet, but today I got some cards on a ring and with help from the Japanese staff have some good kanji and vocab to study. They are very nice about speaking Japanese to me (I asked them to). BTW kat and I are the only native English speakers, and we only have 2 because our school is really established, and busy. but I have yet to actually understand any of the questions they’ve asked me. Like mina-san says“do you want to go shopping tomorrow?” (simple Japanese, right?) and I say “um… English please” haha, so, I have a bit to learn. Damned education. I’ve taught them some things, too. Language is so interesting, I think, I love explaining American colloquialisms, and slang. Things like “knock on wood”, and sarcasm, today for example. One of my students is going to Australia in a month or something, so I told her I’d find some aussie slang to teach her ~ everyone here is American, English, or Australian (like 1/3 of each, really) so I shot the shit with this Australian guy at a bar the other night while I was eating dinner and have like 3 napkins of slang for her.

Dinner. Last night I ate the creature from the black lagoon’s face for dinner. I ordered something or other head last night, and it NEVER occurred to me it’d actually be an animal’s HEAD. It was a huge freaking fish head, and the waitress was like “you like fish head?” I could only laugh. Kat happened to have a song on her iPod about eating fish heads, and I listened to it first then ate it. It was pretty good. The eyeball was like the size of a small strawberry. I pointed to it with my chopsticks (the proper end, btw) and asked Kame (means turtle in japanese) the bartender “kore ha tabette mo ii desu ka?” (is this okay to eat?)

And to my horror, “hai! Ichiban oishii desu!” (it’s the best tasting part!) it dripped slime when I picked it up, so I put it back down. And good thing. You pick it up with your chopsticks and slurp out the jelly (there’s like a shell around the eye, and some white ball floating around and the iris, so good thing I didn’t eat it like a grape like I was about to). It was actually really tasty, and not in a gross fishy way. It was sort of sweet. It was still disgusting though since it was the hot jelly out of a giant fish eyeball.

It’s Saturday night (my Friday night, I had 8 classes today.) so let me get to the weird things I’ve noticed about Japan, so I can make it to the coffee shop and upload this.

The bag thing. EVERYTHING comes in a bag. You buy a can of soda at the konbini (cone bee nee, convenient store) they wrap it and tape it shut. Napkins at restaurants? Come in a bag. Everything is bagged, and with complicated easy to open systems.

But why? Why twice the garbage? Their trash system is so awful. Let me get my paper so I can jot it down here…

Tuesday and Friday - w/paper bag, food, non recyclable paper, and wood.

Tursday – in transparent bag, PET bottles (like pepsi bottles, etc…)

2nd and 4th Wednesday (any bag) paper, newspaper, magazines, clothes, cans, glass.

1st and 3rd Wednesday- in transparent bag, plastic, videotapes, CDs, etc….

1st and 3rd Monday – ceramics, electronics, shoes.

I didn’t just make that up, I swear. I couldn’t if I tried.

No ATMs, only in banks. And they close, at like 7 or something. Don’t even open on weekends. No debit cards. Cash here, ONLY CASH. Even at the huge department stores where you could spend like 55,000Y. Cash.

So there are no ATM’s, but within any given location you are probably near a dozen vending machines, at least. The Japanese DON’T eat or drink while walking. Like you have a bottle of pepsi, and are walking to your car. You drink it, yeah? Or some to go food maybe, a breakfast bar. Nope. They will hide away their little can of hot coffee (yeah, they have hot drinks and cold drinks in the vending machines. It’s delicious) that is 6 oz. until they get to work, or their car, or their home.

So why are they so crazy about vending machines??? If you aren’t going to eat/drink it on the go… it’s the ENTIRE point of a vending machine. I can’t figure it out ~ I asked one of the JTs about it, she sort of shrugged and says “I just put it in a bag or something”

What else? Gambling is really popular, but gambling is illegal here ~ so they have this crazy system set up that the government is cool with, though I don’t know why they don’t just legalize it. So video arcades are like half video arcades (and they’re really cool, there are actual arcades here like there haven’t been in America for 10 years) and half slots and stuff. The games take normal yen, as do some slot machines. But in the slots, or in certain games you use these tokens. So you can change in yen to a machine for these tokens, but NOT vise versa. (tokens for amusement purposes only) Then you use the coins to gamble. I saw a Donkey Kong slot machine here. Also, they have horse racing. But, it’s SEGA horse racing, so there are like 2 rows bleacher style of consoles, and you choose your horse, look at it’s statistics, odds, strong points, etc… and place your bets. Then on one huge screen (like a movie theatre type deal) the horse race goes on. The race takes like…. 30 seconds? A minute? Then you have like the same amount of time to place your bet, rinse and repeat.

So I guess you take these tokens and trade them at pachinko places for Japanese Yen.

I dunno, but it’s pretty crazy. The horse racing thing is seriously cool.

Oh man, time’s flying ~ I’m sure there’s a thousand other things I need to write about. How are things on your end? I’m making friends, but I don’t really have anyone to call to hang out with me or anything besides kat ~ so, I need to go out and make friends. I could call emma or reese and it wouldn’t be weird, either, but I need some guy friends ~ everyone here is a chick! You know, it’s not the same. Please drop me a line.

p.s. duke they have Mario kart arcades here, I took a picture of one to email you sometime (on my phone)

ja matta ne

-Daniel Sensei


At 1:01 PM, Anonymous suzanne said...

Sounds interesting there and sounds like you are having fun, that is good, I am really going to miss you for Christmas, it wont be the same without you. Anyway, I just wanted to let you know I was thinking about you and I love you, sappy I know. Hope to hear from you soon.

At 9:46 AM, Blogger maresa said...

Deck the harrs with boughs of Horry FA RA RA RA RA RA RA RA RA

At 6:10 PM, Anonymous Heloise said...

really enjoyed hearing from you. made a copy and will show it to everyone at Christmas. Weill miss you. heloise


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