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June 30, 2005

No More Distractions

Okay ... This will be a quick one.

The craziness that is Japan still continues. There is always a new activity everyday. I'm always doing something new or roaming around. My eager eyes have not slow down, my camera still shutters at almost every sight and my wallet is feeling the pinch for the expense of traveling and eating in this country. I can see the ramen diet coming really soon.

Speaking of expensive taste, strange how I have to be in Japan to finally appreciate French wine and Italian food. Yes they are both expensive here but maybe that's why they taste so amazing! Tom and I made Insalata Caprese today and it tasted almost as amazing as one I had a week ago with Jamie in Anjo at Genya

The new semester is starting up real soon. My initiative for this semester is no more distractions. This includes no more hanging out every night of the week. At least 2 hours of studying a night and keep the drinking to a minimal if at all. Also must perform well on my tests. Not too much to ask. All I need is time and extra dedication to my studies.

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June 26, 2005

Higashi Koen

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June 22, 2005

Oh Mario!

The first three months at Yamasa is finally coming to an end. I'm really glad that it is. All this studying is getting in the way of my fun. No! Honestly all this studying has really worn me out. I'm a bit jaded from the routine and the constant force feeding of Japanese material. I know I asked for this type of punishment but I also thought that I would be able to endure.

I think what I'm most disappointed with is not with the program since they are doing what they would do. Drown me in Japanese and I can either sink or swim. Currently however I think I'm not swimming I'm doing the dead manís float and I only come up for air when necessary. All of this is partially my fault since I do tend to dab in the occasional social affair and that will undoubtedly affect my studying habits.

I have good hopes for the coming months where my Japanese will improve to more than just at a crawling pace. I want to be able to run and not get confused of where I want to go.

Until then you can view a small sample of the craziness that occurs here daily.

Oh Mario! When the moon hits your eye like a big-a pizza pie, that's amore! When the world seems to shine like you've had too much wine, That's amore!

P.S. I'm sick! As a consequence of sleeping with the A/C on, I woke up with a sore throat and now I'm paying for it.


Posted by thy at 06:33 AM | Comments (0)

June 21, 2005

Lots and Lots to talk about

There has been so much going on I will have to write it all out in multiple entries.

Well this entry shows pictures of my weekend exploration of the Okazaki and Kota area. Our a few hour bike trip turned out to be an all day event concluding with a 1 hour trek to the top of a mountain and one hell of a trippy down hill race. All and all it was a good day. We also tried to look for the fireflies too but so far that has just been a bit elusive. We (Tom, Anna, and I) will try again this weekend.

Next try will be about Okazaki life and how my Japanese has not progressed.

Also as a note with so much comment spamming on my site. I have upgraded to MT 3.1 and disable all commenting on my site except for the lastest entry.

Posted by thy at 09:11 PM | Comments (0)

June 12, 2005

J-Smokes

One crazy day. More description to come.

Back. Well it's nice to meet new Japanese people who are willing to show you around. This guy is a Japanese person, whose name escapes me at the moment, that Anna meet when they were in San Francisco together 2 years ago. Anna however has no recollection of meeting him but he could easily recall the occasion of when they last met. All in all this guy was very nice. He took us to the oldest and largest shrine in Okazaki that is both off the beaten track. We would never have visited these places if it wasn't for him. He also took us to a soba shop which served terrific zaru soba, but I wasn't so fond of the Quell egg that I put into the sauce, made it too gooey.

Hopefully I will get a chance to meet him again considering his English is quite good and he was very friendly. He also skates so he'll make good friends with Jamie and the other skater boys at Yamasa. Letís see.

After the adventure with the new Japanese friend we (Anna, Tom, and I) headed into Nagoya for a night of inebriation. After a bit of walking in the humid pre-summer heat we made it to our destination aptly named "Cocktails".

We ordered the 3 Cuban Cigs, yes the whole reason why we came. We weren't able to get all the same size but the smoking experience was all the same. While puffing away at the US forbidden herb we downed the best Gin and Tonic we have ever tasted. The combination was so absolutely intoxicating that we all quickly became relaxed and forgotten the humidity that surrounded us. The hour flew by and we had to catch the last train. We leisurely called the bartender to give us the bill using the new Japanese words we just learned from the previous customer, "Owari sou". The bill came and in shocking horror I thought my eyes were not focusing since there was one to many zeros. Could this be? After one hour, 3 Cubans 6 drinks and the bill is $120??? We all barely had enough money to boot the bill and pay for our train ticket back. All in all it was all very interesting and crazy expensive night.

My frivolous spending must cease soon or I will be eating rice for months to come.

Posted by thy at 04:20 AM | Comments (2)

June 03, 2005

Toyohashi

I find happiness in being able to wonder the streets and find novelties in the daily occurrences of my surrounds. For example, I have never ridden at the very front of the train right behind the conductor. As I blindly stare out the window I notice the odd actions of the conductor. As he cautious maneuvers the train I see him point in a trained and precise fashion toward a diamond shape numbered sign hanging on a power line post. His co-pilot in turn mimics the same pointing behavior and then point at the chart next to them.

As another ~100 meters passes by the pointing actions are repeated in the same manner. I find the whole behavior even more amusing when the conductor is by himself and mechanically point at the signs, retracts his hand, and then check a chart.

I guess the amusement comes from my ignorance of why these protocols are performed. To my foreign eyes this is a bizarre ritual that will somehow ensures my safety and the efficient operation of the train system. How exactly I'm not quite sure.


Jamie's eye might be bruised but his ego is unscathed.

Posted by thy at 01:20 PM | Comments (1)

June 02, 2005

Nagoya Matsuri

The days do really fly by when you're kept busy throughout the day. Every waking moment is spent doing something. The free times are spent chatting and practicing what I have learnt from class. 24 hours does not sufficiently provide enough time to adequately fit in all the activities for the day and still study. However, whatever free moment I have, I happily spend it with my new friends and playing with the new camera. The pictures below are the results of the activities within the past few weeks.

Matsuris are supposed to be loud and crowd with pushy little old ladies. Either of this happened during the Nagoya Matsuri, which was more of how much space can one take up at the fence and will the end ever come? It's amusing to see the thin crowd fight for position and good viewing space, overall the whole charade was quite boring. The act of walking down the street in full traditional custom/gear does not fascinate me. I'm pretty sure the Japanese were all very jaded by all of this since they have seen these stuff their whole life. It might be novelty to gaijins like me who have rarely seen masses of little old ladies with long weapons in hand.

For the most part I covered my yawns as the participants walk on by as if they were in their suit and tie; they carried an expressionless face and walk in stride. I was expecting an action packed event with actors demonstrating the use of their weapon or choreographed fights. In my disappointed I saw robot like movement and tired eyes, ironically, all dressed in exuberant colored garments as they obediently march in time with the parade chorus. Albeit there were times when the kids put up a show with their cheerful dancing with the catchiest Japanese Pop you can imagine. That was entertaining!

I also saw bad samurai hair and bored looking 20 something move along with his fellow buddies. Seeing the expression on their faces took the joy out of the whole event. Mostly I wanted to see the bizarreness of Japan and rowdiness of a large crowd. This time I was disappointed in both of my assumptions. I know I shouldn't expect too much considering the parades in the U.S. are not all that much better if it's even better. That's why I don't bother going to them and viewing them on TV is more satisfying.

Enjoy the few pictures I have.



Posted by thy at 03:14 AM | Comments (0)