Saturday, September 30, 2006

World's Longest Unsuported Bridge and month end recaps of Japan

World's longest unsupported bridge. And it's not a suspension bridge. Did I dare cross it? Come on! Did the Chicken have to be asked to cross that road? No! Only... we wonder why in retrospect.

Looking out over the bridge.

Guardian of the bridge. Beware! She may do something weird and slightly unpredictable!

Dr. Pepper Tokyo Style! Hey, who knew Dr. Pepper in Japan had half naked cartoon chicks on it? Heck, I'll buy more just because I have a weakness for half naked cartoon chicks. Oh, and I'm addicted to Cola.

Once upon a time there was a Zag Zag. Hey, Zag Zag looks happy!

Good old Zag Zag supplying us with our beverage, cosmetic, and medicine needs! Not to mention it's open late, has cute girls who work there, and is within walking distance of my apartment. When I need contact solution, I head here!

An alleyway. Japan alleyways have always fascinated me. You can hear your neighbors television, you can smell the cooking, a neighbor's dog barking, kids screaming that they don't want their bath, and all the other sounds which adds to a distinct urban hum and noise which shows just how comfortable this society is with living closely with one another. This type of atmosphere I've found only in Japan. The soothing comforts of electric buzz and the static of life.

Houses and rice fields for those who like the quiet country lifestyle. Nothing but waving grains of rice, and hazy mountians with ancient secluded temples. It's calm, peaceful, and has an atmosphere of total serenity. A school girl riding her bike after school, a train in the distance, layers of rice paddies, mountain backdrops, and warm evenings, semi (cicada) chirping... this is the splendor of Japan.

Nothing like a good old SoyJoy!

Old graves

Hiroshima Peace Memorial.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Sera Junior High school Sports Festival

Let there be pyramids made of people!

Yes, and there were! These pictures are from my students practice. The actual sports festival got Typhooned, so we cancelled early halfway through the relays and other events so we didn't get to see the real cool things like bamboo pole climbing and tug of war. But enjoy these quick snapshots I took with my keitai (cell phone).

Let there be exercise!

So what exactly is a 'sports festival'? Well here they call it an Undo-kai. Every school has it and it consists of track and field events mixed with cultural games unique to Japan. Every (EVERY!) student must participate, because in Japan nobody is left out. The society teaches homogenious integration from a young age and the various festivals are a way for the Japanese to unite and come together with a common goal and the celebration is one of both cultural and sociatal value.

Sei No!

When I say everyone I mean everyone partakes in this festival. In fact the entire school was delayed for three weeks as students prepared. Even the handicapped kids were required to do some of the easier events such as dancing and running. Since the first three weeks of school were prep time for the sports festival I had very little work, but I got to play with the students and get to know them. However, remembering names is a little difficult since I work at ELEVEN different schools. Yet, this is my main school, so I'm making an effort at memorizing the students names.

I find that the girls names are easier to memorize, mainly because they are more sociable and try talking to me even though most of the time they just want to know why I smell so good. Which brings me to the great ponderance... Japanese guys don't use deodorant. The women perfume up like crazy but the guys are perfectly content being sweaty and smelly. So ponder this, if a school has no air conditioning, all the teachers have been outside helping with the sports festival and we all come back for lunch sweaty and stinky-- you bet everyone is interested in why I smell like "Aqua Reef," how could they not when everyone else smells like a pair of stinky socks.

Obviously the girls are most interested, after all I am probably the first man they've ever smelled who had a scent other than 'sweaty hairy man'. The question of "Why do you smell so good?" threw me off at first. By the seventh time of being asked this I wondered what was going on.

Let there be broken bones and NO lawsuits! Only in Japan! This school only had one broken bone, whereas some of the other schools has five and seven students who went to the hospital with fractures, bruises, and dislocations. Suprisingly all of the accidents happen on this one event --the pyramid! But I say its worth it, after all, nothing is as cool as a human pyramid! Woo!

I asked my Japanese fiance why my students, even the boys, were so interested in the way I smelled? She said it was because, "Japanese guys never wear deodorant. Ever."

I reminded her that the girls, even my 14 year old students have feminine smells and use perfume, to which Sayaka replied, "Not the guys. They don't use anything."

To which I spoke my mind telling her that sounded a bit odd. She informed me that that's how it is in Japan, and that it's the Japanese way, and that's how its always been.

Of course I had to say, "Well that doesn't make any sense. That's like saying only the Japanese women brush their teeth and the men are completely fine with stinky rotting teeth."

She told me she hadn't thought of it that way and agreed that Japanese men would be wise to pick up on the popularity of my scent, or at least the effect it has on everyone. Not that it's easy mind you, most of the deodorants in Japan are weak sprays and nothing like a good bar to rub up under the armpits... I have to import my deodorant just to keep smelling nice. At least all my students think so. Thanks to Old Spice I smell like the ocean breeze, and I'm darn proud of it!

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Tokyo Shinjuku Area

Tokyo-1a 'Out my hotel window'

Pictures from when I was in Tokyo for orientation. Sorry for the lack of photos of Tokyo, but I only got to see about 4 blocks of the words largest metropolitan city. These photos cover about 1/8th of the Shinjuku area downtown. I went to Odaiba too, but the pictures didn't turn out because the cameras flash wasn't working... it had to be night time of course... darn Murphy and his law! Or perhaps it's just time to get a new camera. I think so, and luckily I've come to the right country for that.




I skipped out on a few meetings just take a walk and enjoy the scenery, relax, and cope with some major jet lag, the rest is overload!





It's like VISA card, it's everywhere you want to be. Golden Arches, yup, I see them everywhere.




Tokyo cross walk

Busy at 3 in the afternoon. You'd think this was a city or something.

Tokyo my Tokyo


Monday, September 18, 2006

G'z One by Casio

My cell phone

Basic Features

*Calling ID
*Call Waiting
*Voice messaging service (bilingual)

*International call(s) feature activated
*Text messaging aka C-mail.
*Real HTML email with AU fonts and graphix.
*Email attachments 3X.

Infrared wireless messaging and data transfer.

MP3 Player.

SD Card 256 MB.

2.1 Megapixel digital camera.

Bar-code reader & vending machine activator (yes I can use my cell phone to get a Coca-cola out of any vending machine in Japan).

Personal information bar code reader i.e. buisiness cards, building history, etc.

Voice recognition/dialing feature.

3/D video graphics support.

Clock, calculator, calendar, alarm, vibration, LED color ringer with various (customizable) ring tones.

My cell phone #2

Special Features to the G'Z One Phone

Shock resistant.

Water proof.

Trilungual Language setting: Japanese/English/Chinese

FM tuner/digital compass

EZ NAVI GPS navigation tracking.

PC viewer to upload realtime webpages including GOOGLE and YAHOO!

Mobile Dictionary, including: Japanese to Japanese, Japanese to English, English to Japanese, Japanese slang, and a Katakana look up. Easy jump to feature from email to dictionary.

Movie factory/ Wallpaper editor

IC recorder for digital confrence recording or personal notes with up to 1 hour in stereo (3 hours regular).

My cell phone #3

The list goes on, but I'll save you the trouble and just say that this phone is darn cool!

September Survey

People have been going around 'tagging' and requesting surveys. Normally I don't find them intrigueing enough to bother with, but now and then one comes around with interesting questions. Heck, and you know I can't pass up interesting questions. After all, the first five years I had the Internet all I did was fill out surveys. I must have done 200 or more of these things... well, here's to the good old days, and even though I wasn't asked I thought I'd share this anyway! Cheers!

Name: Johann Gambolputty de von Ausfern- schplenden- schlitter- crasscrenbon- fried- digger- dingle- dangle- dongle- dungle- burstein- von- knacker- thrasher- apple- banger- horowitz- ticolensic- grander- knotty- spelltinkle- grandlich- grumblemeyer- spelterwasser- kurstlich- himbleeisen- bahnwagen- gutenabend- bitte- ein- nürnburger- bratwustle- gerspurten- mitz- weimache- luber- hundsfut- gumberaber- shönedanker- kalbsfleisch- mittler- aucher von Hautkopft of Ulm.

Childhood ambition: Get lots of money, and then rule the world! No wait, that was someone else’s ambition. As a child I merely wanted to be able to draw a horse and actually have it look like a horse by the time I finished drawing it.

First job: I worked at Target. It’s where all the cool people work, and then get fired. Aparently for standing around and being ‘too cool’ when they should be working. Just for the record, I’m not cool. In fact, I’m pretty much the opposite of cool, but happily, I don’t work at Target anymore.

First ‘real’ job: ALT.

Fondest memory:

Retreat: Never! Do till’ the end! Today is a good day to die, Mr. Worf!

Wildest dream: Getting in a phaser fight with a Klingon and a Borg aboard the Starship Enterprise. The original Enterprise with Kirk, because I want to kick over cardboard props and smash my way through cheap blinky lights to make me look really really tough on video. People will say, “Hey, did he just run through the wall of the Starship Enterprise,” and they will all gasp in awe of my mighty mightfulness!

Proudest moment: Ten seconds ago when I lit a cigarette and farted at the same time, yet managed not to blow myself up. Yes, I know, it would make anyone proud. Really. No, not really. I don’t even smoke, but then that makes you wonder, what is his proudest moment really? But let there be suspense!

Perfect day: Perfect days only exist when you think everything went your way, but inevitably on that day… somebody else didn’t get it their way and so… there is no such thing as a perfect day. At least not for everybody at the same time. Not really, anyway.

Indulgence: Reading Japanese manga.

Soundtrack: I can’t seem to get the original Mario music out of my head. It’s been stuck in my mind since the early eighties or some such time.

Last purchase: (NEW) Super Mario Bros. for my Nintendo DS. And yes, the music is better now.

Alarm clock: 6:30 AM and again at 7:00 AM.

People: People will be people. But we all deserve a second chance. Because if we didn’t get that then there would be no purpose for God to invent “mistakes.”

Favorite book: Ah! So many books. Right now I’m enjoying the manga AIR GEAR. And it counts as a book, because it’s about 8,000 pages longer than anything you’re all reading currently! Deal with it.

Most used expression: そうですか?あは、分かりました。Sooooo Desu ka? Ah! Wakarimashita. Translation: (Is that so [oh really?] Ah! I understand.)

Inspiration: I inspire my self to be extra inspirational for me, in hopes that I may one day find inspiration within myself to be inspiring for others.

News source: I just make up my own news. Half the time it comes out accurately, and the other half, well heck… it’s like any other news when you think about it… pure entertainment! I think we have Tom Cruise to thank for that.

Biggest challenge: ???

Religion: It serves a function. Is important to some and not to others. People have been doing fine with and without it, but the majority with it seem to be happier not only in their everyday lives, but in the long run as well. So I guess it’s up to you.

Education: Some call me educated, but I’d prefer being kind above being the smartest. Being right isn’t always the best, but sometimes its important to teach others how to be kind also, even if it means making a point and being a little abrupt to do so.

Pain: Many think pain has to do with a test of will power and tollerance… I disagree. Strong and weak have nothing to do with pain because everyone’s threshold of pain is different, half of it is a psychological thing anyway. I think pain, real pain, is an indicator that we are alive –living creatures, and that our lives are fragile and delicate. Pain is the constant reminder that we must live good, proper, healthy lives so that we will be safe and continue living. It’s as simple as that.

Happiness: Comes from love. Love creates joy. And there is no satisfaction greater than receiving this love from someone else, but in order to get it, you first have to give it. And that might be harder than it sounds.

Monday, September 11, 2006


Car Interior

Sporty bucket seats! Nice back seets too!

Music session jam!

Notice the handy dandy 'baseball' stitching on the shifter! That's cool!

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Best FIT

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Stylish in Red

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Sporty Ride

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Here is my new car! This is the first car I bought entirely by myself with my own money. Yay! It's a little older model, as it is a used car, but it was rated highest for year and it scored highest in condition and quality. It only had 18,000 kilometers on it and it's a 2001 model of the Honda FIT. It comes fully loaded with CD player, Auto Air-control-Conditioning, Anti-lock brakes, air bags, cruise control, and a slew of other features. It even has the limited edition baseball stitching style shift stick! Wonderful!

The Power of Dreams!

'That's the slogan of Honda in Japan.'

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Let's Study "EngRish"!

Adore Pleasure

I was just an innocent shopper in my local clothing store when all of a sudden I notticed that somothing was terribly wrong with the English.

There was defentitely somothing about the person who wrote this.

At first I couldn't put my finger on it, but I definately had a strange feeling, as if somothing wasn't quite right.

Makes perfect sense to me! Wait, what?

Okay, so I couldn't resist embarassing my poor fiance who was sure that we were going to get kicked out of the store because I wouldn't stop taking photos. But I think as a native speaker of English I have the right to document the various usages of my own language so that I can post the entertaining derivations on my blog!
And in case you didn't get it the first time the last shirt is some kind of amazing poetry or somothing. It says:

Blowing Away the Cobwebs
I feel Comfortable with my Heart
Exhilarated I've had Elbowroom
In my Mind
Feeling an Air of Perfect Heart Composer
Wonderful Feeling
Still on its way

So now we all know. Although I'll have to wonder why HEART is emphasized so much on the t-shirt design. Not only did they super size and bold it, but they gave it color and sparkles too! Yet that's the fun of 'Engrish', you can never be too sure whether it is a secret code for future linquists to crack, beautiful poetry, or if a genius chimp typed it up on a typewriter.

Yet the moral of the story is, no matter what the real phenomenon behind the occurance of 'Engrish' is... whether it is magic or whatever, it is definately somothing fun!!!

(By the way, I meant to say: something. But it is a good rule of thumb to use 'Engrish' all the time if you want to get good at it. I know I do!)

Sunday, September 03, 2006


Sayaka's new car! She was so excited to get it that she drove 7 hours to come see me. Now that's real love! And love is pink... like her new car!

When she first told me it was a pink car I thought 'gross'! But after seeing it I actually think it looks kind of nice. It's very shiny too! She sure looks pretty in pink!

From the back. See that yellow and green sticker? I've always wondered why some cars have that and others don't. The sticker means "NEW DRIVER" and all new drivers are required by Japanese law to have that on. It also means that these first time drivers with this car sticker are most likely 'young and cute' so be on the look out friends! But always buckle up for safety before oogling beautiful Japanese girls... because safety comes first!

A Quick Glimpse At My Place

My ugly apartment complex.

Home sweet home. It's a concrete bunker! I'll be safe from typhoons and bombs, aparently.

My living room.

Most of my house has tatami mats for floors. In Japan they use the metric system to measure everything except for the square footage of living space in houses, which still uses the old way of counting tatami mats' instead. By telling a Japanese person how many mats your house is they know the exact size. Even houses without mats are still measured in terms of 'how many mats' you could 'plausibly' fit down into the available space. I guess since the system is 4,000 years old and it's not broke, then there's no need to fix it. Japanese love their customs, even if they seem a little strange (from time to time).

Caught on candid camera! Who's that handsome guy? Yes folks, that is a half naked anime chick on my shirt... very stylish!

I think Stitch is spying on me. Anyway, I will update with more pictures of my place later, so keep dropping by for all the fun updates!

Super Sunset!

From my apartment I get a good view of the surrounding houses and rice fields. Sometimes I'm lucky enough to glimpse a vivid sunset.

In America we have 'white picket fences' but in Japan there are many beautiful 'bamboo fences' for those lucky enough to have a yard.

More of my river based town.