- - - 5/30/2004 - - -


Filed under: — Andy @ 6:45 am

I played basketball this evening in Hachioji with a club I signed up for. The club is great. The people are really nice and helpful. The club also has people from many different countries including, Malaysia, China, France, Canada, Australia, and others from the US. There might be more but those are only the people I met today. Today was special as well because there a was a TV crew filming us and when they left they gave us tons of free drinks and ice cream.
Yes, I was still slightly sick but my super immune system almost has whatever I have beaten. Unlike some of my friends who have been sick for over a week now.

Secondly, today was hot! The temperature was over 90° F / 33° C which, coming from California, I am very used to, but the humidity was over 80%. It’s horrible when your sweat refuses to evaporate. It’s like constantly being in a sauna. In the evening when I played basketball it was slightly cooler, but the humidity was still high. Thank god (in a non-religious way) for that free ice cream.

- - - 5/29/2004 - - -

Bugs! #1

Filed under: — Andy @ 11:55 pm

Here is my picture collection of Japanese bugs so far…


- - - 5/28/2004 - - -

Sick :(

Filed under: — Andy @ 7:02 am

Last night and today was not fun. I got sick. It was just a matter of time before it actually happened as most of my friends already had the same thing.
My mom told me to bring some Sudafed with me when I left and at first I didn’t think I would need it, but she convinced me to bring it anyway. The bad part is that I think I forgot to pack it…. and it is very impossible to try to describe what a nasal/sinus decongestant is to a Japanese drugstore clerk! So there is now two more things on the list of stuff to get from home: Sudafed and that magic medicine I can’t seem to find here- NyQuil.
Lastly, at home I would have gotten plenty of oranges and vitamin C as well as tea with honey and lemon, but in Japan all I can afford at the moment is instant ramen so that is all I have. Why is fruit so damn expensive here? Anyway, time for some much needed sleep.

- - - 5/25/2004 - - -

Tokyo Tower

Filed under: — Andy @ 8:02 am

I am finally posting some of my pictures taken at Tokyo Tower. I have more pictures and am in the process of creating a photogallery.


- - - 5/24/2004 - - -

First Day

Filed under: — Andy @ 8:00 am

I had my first day of actual teaching today. To be honest, it was quite fun. I am going to get paid lots of money just by simply talking to Japanese people all day. This is a great job. Not to mention that ECC gives me a lot of days off too. They are even giving me an expense paid business trip up north to Utsunomiya.
On a side note, I start taking a Japanese class tomorrow. So, while I am here I get to eat lots of Japanese food, learn Japanese (the classes are free of charge), play basketball (I signed up for a local basketball club), and get paid solely for talking to Japanese people.

It doesn’t get any better than this.

Shalom Church

Filed under: — Andy @ 7:58 am

Just found this interesting…

Path to Work

Filed under: — Andy @ 7:51 am

Here is a short video looking at the little path I take to get to the train station.

Download here - ~1.8MB

Much Buying

Filed under: — Andy @ 7:27 am

- - - 5/23/2004 - - -

You mean spicy?

Filed under: — Andy @ 4:21 am

I took this picture from a menu at a Japanese restaurant. I found it quite interesting how they misspelled a couple words.

- - - 5/21/2004 - - -

Dip New!

Filed under: — Andy @ 11:53 pm

Well I knew that the Japanese McDonalds has all the regular food as well as the Japanese BigMac which is a Teriaki Mcburger, but I just recently saw at a McDonalds a new menu item… Fish McDippers with wasabi dipping sauce. Yup, that was wasabi dipping sauce. I am not sure if you are as impressed as I was, but I will be sure to take a picture of it next time I pass and post it.

Here it is…
Dip New

- - - 5/19/2004 - - -

View of Tokyo from Shinjuku

Filed under: — Andy @ 2:17 am

My friend and I went to the Tokyo government office building after training on Monday. The building has an observation deck at the top of one of the towers where a great veiw of Tokyo can be seen. On a very clear day Mt. Fuji can be seen as well. There was also no charge to go up to the top :)

The Tokyo government office building

Also used for communications

Looking up at the top


- - - 5/17/2004 - - -

Current Conversion Rate

Filed under: — Andy @ 11:50 pm

I added the current conversion rate on the left. Now you can see how the dollar changes against the Yen every time you visit the site.

- - - 5/14/2004 - - -

Cell phone?

Filed under: — Andy @ 5:02 am

While most other people would have gotten a cell phone by now I have been delaying it. Seeing that I have an internet connection where I live, I figured that I could just send emails for now. Anyway, the cell phone system works completely differently over here. I, of course, shouldn’t even need to mention that the Japanese cell phones are way beyond what we have in the states. I mean their free phones, the ones that they give away with any plan come with a huge color screen, text messaging, email, games, tons of little anime graphics and pictures, tons of different tones and options, alarm clock, calendar and schedule, it also gives you the weather report, the train schedules (which is insanely useful), and web access for free. Did I mention that the free phone also comes with one of those digital cameras? And if you actually want to pay for a phone, the amount of options seems to me to be endless. Also, you can pay for the service by the month with absolutely no cancellation fee. If you don’t want it any more, you just cancel it and you’re done. They also use all the minutes roll over feature that some of the American companies have. But unlike all the American companies all incoming calls are free.
This is a free phone?
The Free Phone

Ok, I have told you enough about the phones… The cost of the plan is the only thing that is stopping me from getting a phone. The plans start at around $35/month and go up to about $1oo/month. That includes all of the features I described to you. I don’t remember how much I paid for the phone in the states, but I know I did not use it very much. So, I was wondering if I should get a phone knowing that I am not a talkative person. There are good and bad points to having a cell phone as well.

So, I leave it up to you. Should I get a cell phone?

Answer with a comment –>

- - - 5/11/2004 - - -


Filed under: — Andy @ 4:10 am

Here are some of the random pictures I have taken in Shinjuku.

One of the many giagantic monitors on buildings in Shinjuku

I took this picture around Takashiyama Square in the rain at night.

ShinJuku has massive displays of neon light at night. This is just a little bit of what can be found here.

Some more neon lights

I think there are trying to sell something, but I am not sure why they are using a character that uses many of the Japanese sterotypes. Any comments on this one?

And I also found a Pfizer building here

ECC Office

Filed under: — Andy @ 3:30 am

I began training for ECC on Monday in Shinkuku. Like a smart person would, I took some of Sunday and went into Shinjuku to try to find where everything is. Shinjuku is a very complicated city with a very complicated train station. I did eventually find the ECC office.

- - - 5/9/2004 - - -


Filed under: — Andy @ 4:54 pm

I have not been eating a lot over here at all, yet I do not seem hungry. So far, I have been living off of onigiri (おにぎり), which I good hooked on last year and Yoshinoya. Also, I have been watching a lot of Japanese TV. I am really wondering… How can a society that is obsessed with food on average not be overweight like most Americans?

I made it…

Filed under: — Andy @ 5:30 am

Me with who...?
Well, first of all I made it safely to Japan (for those who care). I will soon post a lot more information, some interesting stories and some good pictures soon, but first a little quiz. Who knows who is in this picture with me… take a quess and win the respect of all.

It seems not many people know who this guy is. My brother seemed to know… he is Mick Foley aka Mankind. He was a WWF wrestler back when my friend good me hooked on watching it in high school. I noticed him when I was waiting to check in. How many people can look very decrepit and still check in through the first class line? I asked him for a picture when I got off the aiplane. He seems to be a very nice guy.

- - - 5/8/2004 - - -

Meeting people

Filed under: — Andy @ 6:25 pm

1) When I first arrived at Shinjuku station, which is where I will work, I needed to make a phone call to the ECC coordinator. Unfortunately I had no coins so I went to the closest vending machine, which is not far considering I was in Japan and there are vending machines everywhere! While there I saw another person who was obviously not Japanese getting something to drink. I too obviously do not look Japanese, so he got a drink and then gave me a quick greeting… in English. I could not pass up the opportunity to talk to someone, so I asked him why he was in Japan. I soon learned that his name was Jordan and that he is part of the International Students Institute, and has been to Japan before. Anyway, I told him that I was going to teach English and I was just going to get some change to make a phone call. At that point, he pulled out a Japanese phone card and gave it to me. He then took me to a phone and showed me how to use it. This guy I just met was being very nice to me and giving me a phone card and helping me out so much. It amazes me how nice people are in Japan even though they may not be Japanese. Thank you Jordan!

2) A coincidence? When I was checking into the guest house where I was going to stay, I noticed someone very familiar also checking in a table away… After staring at the guy for a while I realized that it was Matt. Let me explain a little who Matt is. He also went to Cal Poly Pomona and, in fact, if it wasn’t for him I wouldn’t even have my job. I talked to him at an alumni bbq for one of the clubs we were in at college last year, and he told me all about ECC and the job and the fact that they were hiring. He sent me email on how to apply afterwards, and that was the last I ever talked to him.. until yesterday when we met. It is nice to already know one person when I am here and trying to adjust to the Japanese lifestyle. So, thank you Matt.

Engrish #1

Filed under: — Andy @ 2:57 am

This water be good to drinkHere is the first of many grammer mistakes I am bound to find here.

- - - 5/7/2004 - - -

My first night

Filed under: — Andy @ 6:57 pm

I arrived at Narita airport late due to the fact that we were delayed an hour for take-off. Once there, I went through customs very quickly. There was no line at all :) The first thing I did after getting my luggage was get one of those luggage carts, and it was just a coincidence that I got a cart with the advertisement for ECC Foreign Language Institute on it, which is where I work of course. I then went to the baggage delivery service to get my bags delivered to where I will live and then went down to the train station.
I had to spend the night around the airport and take the train into Tokyo the next morning, so what better place to spend the night than the Japanese bath house I stayed at when I was in Japan a year ago with my friend Josh. I didn’t need a map as my experience last time has given me a clear mental picture on exactly how to get there. I remember perfectly how to get train tickets from the machine as well. I took the train to downtown Narita and took a walk to the bath house only to find this…

Yes, the entire building was closed down and blocked off. Now, since I didn’t make any reservations and my first choice of place to stay was closed, I needed to find an alternative that was also not expensive. On my way back to the train station I noticed a very nice hotel…

Center Hotel Narita.

When I went in it seemed like an expensive place but after talking to the guy at the front desk, who thankfully spoke English as my Japanese is very limited, I realized that it was cheaper than anything I was looking at online the night before. I paid and took the elevator to the top floor to my non-smoking Japanese hotel room…

It was tiny! A bed a dresser and 1 foot of walking space. The bathroom was also tiny…

Although the room was small, I have to say that it was ingeniously designed. The bed was super comfortable and had switches to control the room lights and a clock as well. The view out of the window was great, and the small bath was actually very nice. They also provided me with a Yukata which is a Japanese robe. In the morning when I checked out they had a very nice free breakfast as well. Overall, I enjoyed the stay there more than I would have at an American style hotel.
After that, I took the train back to the airport and got on the first express train to Shinjuku.

<-- Weather

Filed under: — Andy @ 5:34 pm

You can now see the weather I have to live with in Tokyo :)

- - - 5/5/2004 - - -


Filed under: — Andy @ 3:00 pm

I am off to a new adventure in Japan for a year. I will post pictures of where I live/work as soon as I get some :)