- - - 4/30/2006 - - -

Sumo Exhibition at Yasukuni

Filed under: — Andy @ 5:33 pm

Quite a while back I went to Yasukuni Shrine to see the cherry blossoms. While I was there I noticed a sign for a free sumo tournament/exhibition. Excitedly, I waited and went back the next week to see it. There were lots and lots of people there and it was set up just like a regular sumo tournament with the beginners in the morning followed by the intermediates and then finally the big guys. It was great to see these people in person and in action live. On TV they really don’t look as big as they really are. These guys really know how to throw people around. To quote a recent article in the newspaper here “A burglar got his comeuppance when he mistakenly broke into the living quarters of 30 apprentice sumo wrestlers, one of whom sat on him until the police came.” In the afternoon it started to get really crowded when it was time for the professionals. All the famous people I see on TV were there, even Asashoryu the current Yokozuna or Grand Master of Sumo. I am still bound to go to an actual tournament but until I do, this was a great experience as well.

More sumo pictures: (more…)

- - - 4/20/2006 - - -

Sakura 2006

Filed under: — Andy @ 7:42 am

This year’s cherry blossom season was a real disappointment compared with last year. Cherry trees are extremely punctual and usually all bloom at the same time around the beginning of April. Yet cherry trees are also very delicate so when the flowers bloom it’s not long before they fall. This year right when the trees were at peak bloom, the Japanese call it ‘mankai’, we had many rain and wind storms which wreaked havoc on the flowers thus making this year’s cherry blossom viewing below standard. I still tried my best and went out to see the cherry blossoms as much as possible. Even with the foul weather the cherry blossoms never cease to amaze me.

Sakura 2006 Photo Gallery

- - - 4/8/2006 - - -

Tony Romas

Filed under: — Andy @ 6:58 am

It’s has been a really long time since I have eaten ribs, any real American style meat for that matter. So when my friend and I came across Tony Romas, there was no turning down the opportunity. I was really surprised that there was the same great taste as in America, yet all at Japanese prices.

- - - 4/7/2006 - - -

Fashionable Witches

Filed under: — Andy @ 6:47 am

I still occasionally find things about Japanese culture that surprise me. It’s no secret that Japanese girls are really into fashion, shopping, and makeup, but it is surprising at what age they start getting them hooked.
Card collecting is a big fad among Japanese kids, especially among boys who collect “Mushi King” cards or cards with different kinds of beetles on them, which they then use to battle each other at one of the many battle stations around Tokyo. I recently found though, that girls are collecting “Fashionable Witches - Love and Berry” cards. These are similar to collecting beetle cards, but instead they collect new hairstyles, clothes, shoes, and accessories. Instead of battle stations, they have dance stations where the fashionable witches dance around. Amazing! Now all they have to do is put brand labels all over the clothes. It’s creating customers before they even have an allowance to spend.

- - - 4/3/2006 - - -

Goodbye ECC

Filed under: — Andy @ 7:18 pm

It’s strange. Why am I not at work? Today, as I sit here wondering about the English classes I could be teaching, I am considering whether my decision was correct. I have spent 2 years teaching English for ECC, but should I have really quit now? What am I going to do now that I don’t have a job? Should eventually I go back home? Do I really want to stay in Japan? Is it time to look for an actual career? How long can I live with current amount of money I have?
All these questions and I still don’t have an answer for any of them. One thing is for sure, that I really enjoy living here in Japan. I have not felt homesick one. Also, there are still lots of things I have to do before I can leave. So for now I will continue to live, travel, and play in Japan. I guess it really boils down to that last question… how long can I live without a job?

- - - 4/2/2006 - - -

Sakura 2006

Filed under: — Andy @ 12:26 am

It’s that time of year again!