- - - 4/29/2008 - - -

Kyogatake

Filed under: — Andy @ 4:34 am

After over a year of absence I finally was able to join the mountain climbing club again. It was great to be able to climb an actual mountain again. We went to Kyogatake…. but unlike last time we tried, this time it was sunny, we actually made it to the top, and there werent (nearly as many) leeches.


Meeting the group again.


Looking at the map before heading up.


This is the perfect season for “Shinryoku” or new green.


We had yaki-udon at the top


Heading down to an onsen, another thing I havent been to for over a year.

- - - 4/26/2008 - - -

Ainu Band

Filed under: — Andy @ 3:55 am

My friend from Okinawa is in Tokyo at the moment so last Saturday we met up and went to a live show in Yokohama. The band name was Oki Dub Ainu Band. For your information, the Ainu people are the indigenous people of Hokkaido much like the Native Americans. They band played some really traditional looking instruments, and played some of their traditional songs. However, they also mixed in a drummer and base guitar to make a great merger of old and rock. It was very intersting to listen to.

- - - 4/25/2008 - - -

Job Decision

Filed under: — Andy @ 11:23 pm

I have decided on a new job. I will become an English teacher at about 3 elementary schools in Yokohama. There are a few reasons why I decided to take the job. First, I will get a visa to stay in Japan. I really dont feel like leaving back to the US right now, and if I declined the teaching job I would have to take my chances of getting deported. Although career wise it is not a good option to go back to teaching English, if I get an IT job at a Japanese company I may be at that company for a while. That means little vacation time, probable overtime work, and having to sit in front of a computer screen all day. Teaching at a public school means I get all holidays off as well as a whole month of summer vacation I can use to go travel again somewhere. Honestly, I wont be making as much money, but I would rather travel as much as I can while I have the opportunity. In one year or less, I will finish the teaching job and then worry about what to do for the rest of my life.

- - - 4/20/2008 - - -

Jobs

Filed under: — Andy @ 7:20 pm

Well I have moved back to the Tokyo area.. Actually closer to Yokohama this time, but more on where I live later. I have been frantically searching for a job for the last few weeks and now have to make a choice, especially keeping in mind that my current visa will expire in 2 weeks.
1) Take a position as an English teacher again, this time as an ALT for an elementary school. The pay is decent, and I will get a long and paid summer and winter vacation. It will be an easy job as I just get to play with kids all day. However, I will have to get up early every day and be at school by 8:30am. Also, it will be one more year of computer and IT experience that I wont get.
2) Although I have not yet received an offer, I can continue to search for an IT related job. I have had some interviews and will have some second interviews this week, but there are no guarantees. The pay will be higher and I will be able to save more. I will gain more computer related experience and get to increase my skill set. I will get to work in a Japanese environment and practice my Japanese every day. However, there will likely be a lot of overtime work. I may not get an IT job that really interests me and hate everyday at work, or 2 weeks may pass and I may not get a job at all.

It is time to decide. Any suggestions would be appreciated.
Email is also welcome.

- - - 4/10/2008 - - -

Goodbye Okinawa

Filed under: — Andy @ 12:01 am

After 1 year and about 2 months in Okinawa, I have decided to move back to Tokyo.
There are many reasons I am moving, but the main reason is to find a new job and extend my visa.
My Okinawan life was really great. I had a very interesting time here. I think I have been to most of the major places on the island and even took a trip to the outer islands as well. It was also great to have a roomate like Ken to help me out with anything when I needed it.
Now it is time for life in the big city again. I wonder if I will miss Okinawa or ever come back. I will have to wait and see what happens in the future.

- - - 4/8/2008 - - -

Indian Food Party

Filed under: — Andy @ 9:41 pm

Since I took a class in India on how to cook Indian food, I wanted to give it a shot. I invited some friends over for a party and made a lot of different dishes. The menu was as follows: Mango/Papaya Lassi, Chai Tea, Dal, Masala Vegetables, Japati, Curd, and Tomatoes. They all turned out surprisingly well, and eating with our hands (Indian style )is always fun.

- - - 4/5/2008 - - -

India Trip 3/3 (Taipei)

Filed under: — Andy @ 5:42 pm

On the way to as well as on the way back from India I made a few days stopover in Taipei. I had been to Taiwan before so I knew what to expect. This time I wanted to meet up with my Taiwanese and see some of the places I missed out on seeing last time. I also went back to some of the places I really enjoyed the last time. It was also amazing to me how my perspective of Taipei changed before and after I had been in India for 3 weeks. Taipei seemed much cleaner than before and it felt nice to be back. As always, the food in Taiwan was delicious.

Taipei Photo Gallery - For my photos and comments.

Taipei Photo Gallery

- - - 4/3/2008 - - -

India Trip 2/3 (Nepal)

Filed under: — Andy @ 8:36 pm

I love mountains and nature, so I have always wanted to go to Nepal. However, getting there from India would not be an easy thing. Thankfully I had made some friends to make the trip up easier. I met Tegyn in the Delhi train station and together we figured out how to get train tickets. He was going to Nepal to do a month long mountaineering course, and was telling me how nice Pokhara is supposed to be. We went our separate ways and met up again on the train to Varanasi, the starting point for the road to Nepal. We met John at our hotel in Varanasi who was looking at a map of Nepal at the time. He informed us of the night train towards the border and the 3 of us refined our plans from there.
I would have to say that I enjoyed Nepal more than I did India. Not only because it was cleaner and quieter, but also because the people were a lot friendlier. There was a lot more that could be done in Nepal. I went paragliding for the first time in my life. I also did a day trek along the hill range that overlooked the beautiful Annapurna Mountains. Kathmandu, unlike Pokhara, was more like a big city with the noise and pollution. Yet, outside the city there were countless possibilities: trekking, hiking, mountain biking, white water rafting, bungee jumping, rock climbing, etc. My only regret was that I didn’t have enough time in Nepal to do all the things that I wanted. Next time I would love to do a week or two trek to Tibet… if only the Chinese would leave them alone.

Nepal Photo Gallery - For my photos and comments.

Nepal Photo Gallery

India Trip 1/3 (India)

Filed under: — Andy @ 8:28 am

Why did I go to India? I still don’t know the answer. It was a place I have never been to and didn’t really know what to expect. The experiences I had in India, both good and bad, really opened my eyes in a way. Especially coming from a country like Japan it was really hard to adjust to a country that was in most ways opposite of what I was used to. India was a very dirty, poor, and noisy country. The streets literally were the trash cans as well as the toilets. Everyone who talked to you only wanted to get money in some way. Getting into a car in India was a whole experience in itself. Drivers used their horn more than their brakes and lanes were nonexistent. Admittedly, India does have a deep history and religious aspects. However, I was not very interested in either. So will I ever go back to India? - Probably. India is such a huge country that it is unfair to judge it based on the 5 major tourist cities in the north. I was told that the small towns in the south are very nice and the people are welcoming. I would love to go hiking in the mountains of Cashmere, or do a desert safari in Rajasthan. Most of the people I met on my trip were in India for a few months. Even then it is not enough to see the country. My trip was still very interesting but I think I only got a taste of what India is like.

India Photo Gallery - For my photos and comments.

India Photo Gallery