Just thought this picture was nice.
Just thought this picture was nice.
Which means its incredibly hot here, yet the worst part is by far the amount of humidity. You would sweat nonstop just sitting. Night isn’t any better either. I decided to go out and buy a fan today and realized that it was heavily needed. I can’t understand how anyone can even live around here without one. The fan cost about ¥2000 which is about $20 (especially since the dollar has been dropping since I got here) and it was one of the better ones. Fans must be in high demand during the summer months.
I am finally posting some pictures I took last weekend of the strange clouds we had. It was the day before a typhoon came through Tokyo and it was very windy. The clouds looked very strange in the sky and I saw wierd things like clouds moving really fast past other clouds going in the other direction.
Strange events occurred today. First, in my Japanese class I learned some basic kanji and after class I noticed those kanji everywhere and I was able to read them! Next, after work I was walked towards the train station and there was a large group of young people standing in a circle on the sidewalk next to a busy street. They were clapping and singing some sort of song. Most Japanese people walked right by them without any notice, but I was intrigued. I stopped and sat down a slight ways away and watched them singing, clapping and chanting in a circle. I was going to take a video of them, but before I could some old Japanese man carrying some cardboard asked me, in Japanese, if I spoke Japanese. I understood what he was saying and told him that I did a very little bit. He then proceeded to ask me, in Japanese again, for some money for soba noodles. I didn’t have any change and I also just learned the word for coins in my Japanese class, but I forgot the word. So I took out my book and looked up the words for coins and then told him that I didn’t have any. Since I had my book out I then started to ask him questions the best I could in Japanese and any part of his answer I didn’t understand I looked up. After a short conversation with a Japanese beggar I said ‘thank you’ and left. Next time I will be sure to have some coins to pay any future beggar for the help with learning Japanese. Before I took my train home, I went into a game place and killed all that dared to play me at Tekken. I had a fairly large winning streak and only intentionally lost to be able to get back home. I guess that last part wasn’t strange but still noteworthy. Lastly, on the train back home I had to stand next to some really really drunk guy on a crowded train. He was holding on to the overhead handrail firmly, his eyes closed and his head down, while the rest of him was bobbing around in every direction. He was constantly swaying into me, head butting me, and just bumping in to me as much as possible. While other Japanese paid no attention to this man, I found it very amusing. When he bumped into me I started to slightly push back. He would lean back and then come forward again and just go in random directions. I became intrigued and started to push back when he head butted me or started to lean on me. He would wobble in many directions and come straight back to me. He was like that blow up punching bag toy with the sand in the bottom. I swear that this must have been how that guy invented it. After much fun I finally had to leave the bobble toy for the next person to punch around.
Monday, June 14, 2004
“Tokyo remains the world’s most expensive city, according to the latest cost of living survey by Mercer Human Resource Consulting released Monday. London was ranked 2nd, Moscow 3rd, with Osaka and Hong Kong rounding out the top five most expensive cities.”
This evening I went to a traditional Japanese restaurant with some of my friends. I ate an amazing variety of foods and had a lot of fun. In fact, I ate many foods I thought I thought I would never eat. Some of the more interesting foods I ate were whole small shrimp, fugu (blowfish - the one that is poisonous), and squirrel (that little furry animal that runs around eating nuts) as well as some sort of kimchi fish intestines. Some of the more traditional foods were takoyaki, udon, tempura, yakisoba, sushi and sashimi. There were others but I just can’t remember everything I ate. I also figured out that I really like うめサワー (for those who can read it). Now I must really sleep. Below are some pictures, but please forgive the quality as they were taken with my kaetai (cellphone).
This is the squirrel..
The ECC school in Nakano is very nice. It is on the top story of a tall building and there is a wonderful view of the Shinjuku skyline. The staff at the school are also very nice
The view of Shinjuku.
Me and the Nakano school director.
When a dog is barking at you from above protecting it’s territory the best thing to do is take a picture.
Here is a picture of the weekly Sunday bball game in Hachioji. Most of the pictures I took didn’t turn out that well because of the light and speed of the people.
In Japan, you can never really tell what a person is like by the way they dress. A lot of time it is just a costume for the rest of the world to see. I had a unique student today when I was giving lessons in Nakano. A tall Japanese male in his 20s strolled into the class late dressed rather strangely compared to most students I have had. He had long bleached hair, pierceings, and wore this black raggedy shirt with of patches of bands on it. He wore old jeans with long chain attached to his wallet… he had that typical ‘I am a punk’ look. He later told me that he was a guitar player and vocalist in a punk band in Japan. If I were to look upon him in Los Angeles I would be afraid to go near him, yet in Japan appearances are often deceiving. The first thing he did when he met me was to sincerely apologize for being late. We then sat down and conversed in English with me helping him with any mistakes or problems. He decided to take some notes.. so this person, with an almost scary exterior, went into his bag and pulled out a “Doraemon” pencil case. For those who do not know, Doraemon is a very popular kids cartoon in Japan. We had a very interesting lesson, and he was very friendly and very nice to talk to. At the end of the lesson he bowed his head and gave me a sincere ‘thank you’.
On the train on way back home two guys dressed very similarly to the guy I had a lesson with got onto the train and stood next to me. These two people, all dressed up, started having a conversation on the train. I was expecting a conversation about heavy metal or punk music and not knowing much Japanese I didn’t think I would be able to understand the conversation anyway. Yet, I was extremely surprised when I was actually able to somewhat follow the conversation especially when they were using words like “HTML”, “Tables”, “Style Sheets”, “Programming”, “Animation”, and “Flash”. They even started to laugh when one of them made a joke about having a ‘0px table’. They were completely computer nerds! My stop came and I left the train.
Japanese people constantly amaze me.
In Japan, even a dirty trash truck can made more appealing with cheerful music and stuffed animals.
I got my phone mostly figured out now. If you want to give me a call go ahead, because all incoming calls are free for me. You can also supposedly send an email to my phone, but if I am at work don’t expect an awnser or reply quickly. I have a Vodafone which was also J-Phone before Vodafone bought them. Here is the information…
Phone Number: 09065690916
Phone Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Here are two more pictures of when I went to Koganei park. This is the flexibility tester to see how far you can bend over. As you can see, I am very non-flexible while my friend, Sung-Jun Kim, is much more flexible.
Me struggling to touch my toes.
My friend easily able to go reach below his toes.
However, the jump meter thing was no problem for me. I was easly able to hit way above the higest mark while my friend could only get one below the higest. Yay for being tall!
For those of you who do not know, a “keitai” is what Japanese call cell phones. I finally got my gaijin card last week, which proves I am legal in the country, which allowed me to get a keitai. I decided to get a phone with a Japanese-English dictionary in it to avoid having to buy a separate one, and I also decided to get one as close to green as I could (obviously, for anyone who knows me). So here is what my phone looks like…
Oh ya, the phone was free. I decided I didn’t want to pay for one, so I got the best free one I could. However, I did not get the phone number I wanted. When I got the phone they gave me a choice of numbers to choose from, and I choose the one with the best logical pattern, but when I picked up the phone 30 minutes later I hadn’t realized that they gave me a completely different number than what I choose. I was annoyed but I don’t speak Japanese well enough to complain about it now I also have an email address on the phone where people can send me text messages but I haven’t figured out what that is yet.
I am finally posting my pictures of Koganei Park which I took last week. Koganei Park is one of the more famous parks in Tokyo. It is extremely big and features lots of attractions including many grassy areas, surrounding forest, bike paths, children’s playground, multiple sports facilities, a famous cherry tree garden, the Edo-Tokyo Open Air Architectural Museum and much more. It is one of the absolute best parks I have ever visited. The liveliness of the park along with the variety of activities amazed me. I have never seen so many families out enjoying the day at the park. The following are just some of the pictures I took when I spent the entire Saturday (May 29th) exploring it.
One of the many open grassy areas in the park.
A girl playing with bubbles
Other girls playing in the flower garden.
Well, today is officially the start of the rainy season in Japan. That means weeks of nothing but non-stop rain (and maybe acid raid). I can’t even remember the last time I have seen more than a week of rain especially in southern California recently. I also found out that most Japanese people do not like the rainy season. Sadly, this also means slightly less pictures to avoid getting my camera completely wet.
Just some random pictures of animals for you to enjoy.