Tuesday, November 28, 2006


This weekend Sayaka and I made a mad dash over to Osaka. It was my first time driving in a mega-metropolitan city. Osaka is Japan's second largest city at an estimated nine million people, and has just about everything you could want... including a Universal Studios theme park! Oh, and a rockin' Hard Rock cafe. Not to mention the famous Nanba district, i.e. the coolest river-walk shopping district I've ever seen!

If you climb into this ford explorer, will you really be safe from dinosaurs? That John Hammond was full of crap. But a more serious question is, with all the low skirst and stylin' boots walking around, how can you tell if Japanese girls ever wear pants? The girl behind me has one of those winter coats to keep warm, yet insisted on wearing her mostly invisible skirt, making the illusion that she's going 'camando' under her army green jacket. Anyway, I love Japan. Not because of the crazy dinosaurs running amuck, but because of all the sexy mini-skirts. Seriously, it's more aethsetic and leaves more to the imagination.

Always a classic. Sayaka poses next to the Dellorian from 'Back to the Future 2'. It's a little worse for wear, but I guess time travel will do that to you. If you're wondering if its a real GMC Dellorian in Japan, all you need to do it look for the rust to know that there is none -thus it's the real deal. Just a heads up to all you unsavvy car people, Dellorians were made from stainless steel making them extremely heavy and rust resistant. Only a handful of them were ever produced, but I can't help but like the little brute.

Sayaka and I pose together for a 'self-photo' at Universal Studios Japan.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Osaka Buzz!

It's night and the people come out! Hundreds of thousands flow through here every night. Most of them Japanese. Do you see Starbucks?

This is the entrance into the Nanba shopping district in Osaka. It's about twelve square city blocks of pure department stores, lites, restaurants, and the night life of Japan's second largest city.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

The Cute Ones

Another one of my Elementary school classes. These kids are so cute!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Gearing up for Christmas Japan style!

Yes, it's Colonel Sanders with a big bag of goodness! Mainly KFC chicken, crispy style! The Japanese still haven't figured out the difference between Santa and the KFC mascot, er... I mean founder, but how can you blame them? Both old farts have really white beards and rosy cheeks and a twinkle in their eye. Santa’s twinkle is magical, whereas Colonel Sanders twinkle is because he drinks way too much spiked eggnog and most likely is snookered out of his mind.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Pink Koala

Inside the shrine.

Ton Katsu! It's a fried pork chop with special sauce, miso soup, salad, and bowl of rice. It's the best meal ever invented!

Bridge in Kozan

War memorial shaped like a 'bomb'.

Spider Attack!

My phones tiny micro SD card. 256 MB strong.

Here's an odd mushroom. This is your $300 variety.

$150 dollar mushrooms. Eat'em, poop'em, $150 gone down the toilet. That's my opinion... and I'm stickin' with it.

Cutie love

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Japanese Newspaper and the art of Verticle Writing

Can you read this?!

It's safe to say that most people struggle reading Japanese, but the Japanese newspaper is the most feared obstacle of any non-native speaker who tackles the language. The standard newspaper in Japan uses a daily average of 1,500 Kanji characters. Now, if you want to know the real difficulty, try figuring the permutations of such symbols which break their own 'linquistic' rules while conjugating, and you get one impossilbe test.

Some advertisements 'Japanese style'. Nottice the extreme visual overload to the layout and how they utilize three seperate alphabets simultaneous to create one text. Practically impossible to understand entirely, and well, they don't call it the hardest language to learn for nothing.

The truth is I can read only bits of news articles at the moment. The average Japanese middle schooler can't read a newspaper through and through, and even Japanese adults struggle to get through a whole paper. In a country which has the highest litteracy rate on the planet, it's almost hard to believe, but knowing the language and how to read it isn't the problem. The problem comes in the incaculable amount of kanji symbols (Chinese ideograms) a person has to memorize, use, and then use coupled with two other distinct alphabets (almost a seperat language themselves). Thus, the Japanese language becomes truly challenging for anybody.

Of course, there are always a few archaic or rarely used kanji symbols (which haven't been used since the age of the Samurai which ocassionally pop up) which have a bad habit of throwing everyone for a loop; not to mention people's names don't follow any grammatic rules what-so-ever, reading a Japanese newspapers becomes the true test of fluency.

A close up of the verticle writing.

Give me the sports section!

The 'Fighters' win the Japan Major League Championship! American baseball is more of a past time here in Japan than it is in America. Just to get even for the Japanese adopting our sport, I think all Americans should take up Sumo wrestling. God knows there's enough fatties state side to keep that sport going indefinately. We could even start the first womans division. Instead of an anouncer screaming 'get ready to rumble' he could yell, 'Get ready to jiggle!' It'd be great fun!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

In the Sleepy Town of Sera, there Be an Ancient Terror!

Sera Town emblem full. It's made of tiny oragami roses folded out of paper.

Sera town emblem up close

Two dudes.

During our end of the class Halloween party I met 'The destroyer' (a 73 year old man?) Yup.

More Japan Student Pics

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Elementry school kids and me.

Ms. Fuji aka "The Cute" teacher.