Tuesday, January 31, 2006

hey! check my videos and pictures. I'm too tired to blog now, it's late and i've killed the whole night on the computer, but I went to Iwakuni and had some cool adventures! All week of work ahead of me, and my WORST class tomorrow, and my 2nd and 3rd worst classes the next day. Ugh....

p.s. i've been seeing, or NOT seeing, very discouragine ammount of comments.

p.p.s. = things are good.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

on a new note

So last night I went to this little yakitori hidden in the neon depths of the nagarekawa. I snapped this with my keitai (cell phone), it fails to capture the whole atmosphere, but let me tell you it is very cool. (but for one exception, which i'll talk about later) And very japanese. I drank and talked with Keisuke, Akira, and Eiji all night. Eiji is the bartender/owner or whatever, and Akira works there too but it was his night off.
Eiji kept pouring us free shots of sake, and he never fails to correct my americanisms. Like standing at the bar, or taking my shot with 1 hand. He says "You're in Japan!"
of course, that's one of the few things he says i can actually understand. Eiji is all about the "kitanai nihongo", or dirty japanese. When he talks it sounds like someone is holding down a fast forward button.

Things are well. I work a lot. It's very beautiful today, it's pretty warm, and just super gray outside. I'd go somewhere... but i don't know where to go, and I think I'm going to do laundry and play videogames today. It's tiring, and stressful, how i live. It's like an extended vacation basically ~ I think having a couch would probably fix my life. Or a nice desk and cozy chair. Well, I guess this bottle of wine and box of pocky is going to have to cut it instead.

matta ne -d

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

peace memorial

So I went to the peace memorial museum the other day and took the tour. I took a few pictures and put them up, but there was a lot of things I couldn't really bring myself to photo. Photos of people, ragged bloody torn up school uniforms and the stories of kids who, with charred faces and limbs, managed to walk home to their parents' house before dying that day or the next, not knowing what happened to them. A sandal of this little girl was all that her mom could find of her, but she knew it was hers because of the homemade straps she made from her old kimono. The whole sandal is black except for a white area in the shape of a tiny foot. Things like that, and things like hair, and fingernails from victims.
Hiroshima was chosen because it had a military headquarters, although a large portion of the cities population were school children because it was one of the few cities with a higher education building. Also, because it hadn't been air bombed at all it was a good city to see the results of the bomb in ~
People's skin and hair dripped off of them like hot wax, and most died like that. When the black rain fell a half hour later, people drank it thirstily because they were so desperate from their burns, lying there in the august heat.

Well, i'll talk about the paper cranes later. Check out my pictures! and videos. I have a cool video of right when i came out of the peace memorial, at the park, but i don't have enough space to upload it yet. maybe the next time you check!

off to work. I got internet in my apartment.

Monday, January 23, 2006

"From Letter to Hairy Dave" enjoy....

umeshu is japanese plum liquer. It's about 15% alcohol and very delicious. It's sweet, and although i hate sweet drinks it's not a SUGARY sweet. Shochu is basically japanese vodka. I've been working hard to figure this out...so in america we buy sake, right, which is rice wine. But HERE there is no sake ~ sake is a term used to mean alcohol, not any specific drink. But i KNOW there is "sake tasting" and stuff. Very confusing, so what i've been able to peg down from some japanese is that "sake" (or, formally, o-sake) refers to all liquer, but what we call sake is nihonshu.so we have nihonshu (sake to us) which is rice wine, and shochu. Shochu is either distilled from mugi (wheat) or imo (potato) and sits around 25-30% alcohol. There are other kinds, but those are the two prominent types. It is drank mixed, with water, or usually on the rocks (As i drink it)It' a preferred drink by lots of japanese, it's very pure, so there are no calories or hangovers from good imo shochu. BUT, it tastes VERY alcoholic! 25% is not much, but at first it almost tastes like you are drinking straight vodka. After about half the cup though you adapt and some of the ice melts and it's not harsh at all. Bizarre. So it's delicious with certain foods, and horrendous with others. It's delicate like that. I bought a bottle that i have at home, but it's awful. I can't even drink it and that's saying a lot. It tastes like everclear. So I need to find out what's good. It's hard since the bottles are all in kanji.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Hey, I put up some super cool videos! Make sure to read the descriptions. I got my software for internet, and have my computer here at kat's apartment. I get internet the 24th!!
Today there was a big marathon here. We saw them out the window. It ends at the peace park, i'm probably too late to catch the ceremony, or whatever they do, but I think i'm about to head out and try.

I have a cold sore. :(

I was sort of stressed out this week for some reason, that might be why.

Thanks for the feedback grandma! I have you all in mind.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

new years

I guess lemme tell you a bit about what I did over break. I basically stayed in Hiroshima, and rode my bike everywhere!! I got hiroshima maps, and went all around the city on my bike. I'd pick two points furthest from each other and just go. You can really make it anywhere on your bike here, it's flat, not geographically large, and interesting. There is something in every inch of the city. I saw the peace park, bu thte museum was closed so i just walked around the park. I was actually sort of relieved because i'm not sure if i want to go through the museum yet. I went to the international center and got papers with all the municipal facilities, english TV programs, japanese lessons, events in hiroshima area, places where you can use visa at ATMs, and all kinds of cool info. Also, that day I went to the rest house where they gave me info on a bath house, the train to get there, the bus to get there from the train station, etc... so i went to the station, hopped on a local train and went down to a public bath house. It was pretty wierd being naked around a bunch of men, but i figured they're all japanese and i can't even talk to them and will never see them again, so it's a good time to get used to it, because i want to start going to onsen. Google search onsen if you don't know what they are, but there are a million to discover, and it will be the perfect weekend hobby!!I also went up to the top of the mountain behind the station and hiked down through the shrines and 100 tori-i gates with emma, tomo, greg, vernon, and kate. There are picture of all of this, I may not be the most reliable blogger about my adventures here, but i am proving to be a fantastic photo journalist!Also, I went to Miyajima, which is amazing. We didn't get to hike to the top, though, so next time we'll have to leave earlier.
Work is work, it can be really fun, but also it's so hard because i work 50-60 hours a week. It will just get easier, though, so hopefully soon i'll only be there the time that i SHOULD. Don't take this as complaining, i hope i never complain about work because the JTs (japanese teachers) work sooooooooo much harder. they have to have meetings about the profits, they have to answer phones, they have to call all of my students' parents when they're absent, or call to arrange classes for me, everything. They do everything, but since we are just gai-jin and don't speak japanese, and aren't expected to, our only real duty at work is to teach our classes. So long hours, but the work isn't too bad and it's getting easier and easier.Now that i'm familiar with the area, I'm devoted to saving money during the week and taking weekend trips (maybe to onsen, or to okayama, whatever.) Mat, my friend from training, came down this weekend from okayama and totally inspired me. He just grabbed hsi sleeping bag, caught a train over and slept on the ground, and we hung out and saw stuff then he went home today. It was fun and made me actually realize that i can do that sort of thing easily, too. There's no need that working at ____ has to be my life, it just does tuesday through saturday! I mean, it's easy to forget that the reason i'm doing it is to SEE japan. I've drank and ate away a lot of money the last month, although i don't regret it or anything, because i've made a lot of friends, learned my city, learned a LOT of japanese, and had a great time. It's just time to move on is all. Next weekend if there's room I might go with him and the trainers to a vila, villa, i'm not sure if it's the spanish word or some japanese take on it, anyways thats what it's called. You get a bunch of people together, rent some house in the middle of nowhere for the night, and bring your own food, rice, stuff to prepare, sake, or whatever, and make a dinner in an old traditional home, and have this house to yourself to stay up all night and party or chat in. (usually they are located near onsen to go to, etc...)

Last night mat and I were looking for a good okonomiyaki joint to eat in, because the one we wanted to go to was closed, and I ran into this mom and kid from _____. So we said hi, and i asked "doko e oishii okonomiyaki ha taberemasuka?" (where can we get some good okonomiyaki?) and we chatted for awhile, and she ended up inviting us with her to dinner! So we went with her and this kid, who is like REALLY cool, to this place that was basically a cafeteria. There are shelves of stuff, and you pick them up and toss them on your place. Like you pick up an egg, put it on, some natto, tempura yam, whatever, and everything is like 60 yen so it comes out really cheap! I don't even have this kid as a student, but i told him that he should take lessons with me, and i think he will. It was really cool getting to just sit around and chat with this family. Yuudai, the kid, like i said is really cool ~ he's one of those people who enjoys talking to anyone; i see him in the lobby very animated just talking to 4 or 5 adults who are listening, and nodding, like engrossed by whatever he's telling them. I figure I'm going to have a full schedule teaching no matter what, so I might as well PICK my students, yeah?

well, check my videos and pics!! (right hand side there)

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Hey! I added links to my friends blogs on the side. In the links section. Hooray!