Archive for June, 2003

Welcome and Farewell…

Monday, June 30th, 2003

Saturday night we had a farewell party for Izumi and a welcome party for Mai, the new teacher. The party was on the 17th floor which gave us a good view of…the parking lot behind our building. Oh well. About 70 students came to the party, and as you can see, everyone got pretty drunk. Then we ditched the students, and went to a club in Shinsaibashi to stay out all night. I caught the first train home at 5:45am and promptly collapsed. Here’s the evidence:

          

Back to life, back to reality…

Saturday, June 28th, 2003

So Marty and Randy have left to go explore the rest of Kansai before heading back to Texas. And I’m left here, trying to get some sleep for a change, but I can’t seem to do it!

Tomorrow I have a party to welcome a new teacher and say farewell to one of our existing teachers. Izumi is leaving to go to France, which is just about the coolest thing ever. She will probably study English, and may do more teaching. Also, she’s going to learn about wine on a vineyard, which is incredible.

Heard this on NPR this morning: Hipster Handbook released in NYC.

By the way, here’s the song: Back To Life

Oh, my friend Kim made this fantastic anti-war poster:

My head hurts.

Thursday, June 26th, 2003

“Futsuka-yoii” means literally “drunk for two days.” I am a little hungover, but in the spirit of bringing you, the people, the latest on what’s happeneing here in the far east, I’m on the job. :) Last night we went out to dinner at a local izakaya (bar/restaurant) with my co-worker Akemi and a really cool AEON student named Kumi. The 5 of us had dinner, and then, naturally, decided to go karaoke. After all, they’re in Japan, right? The place was called “Aladdin’s” and was a giant tiger’s mouth. Then we tried to take a cab home at 2am and got really lost. My Japanese skills are getting better, as I was able to get our cabbie *un*lost, and even get us somewhat close to my house. Witness the evening (and check out the movie at the end!):

      

As promised…

Wednesday, June 25th, 2003

My friend Randy and his friend Marty came to visit me from Austin this weekend! Randy was pretty jetlagged on Sunday so he stayed in, but Marty and I met my co-worker Yoko out to get some sushi. They have this magical restaurant called “kaiten-zushi”, which has sushi rolling by you on a conveyor belt and you just grab what you want. Then on Monday we went to Osaka-jo (castle) and walked all around the city. Check out the “rice pizza” and the “love scene.” Pix:

              

Tonight…

Tuesday, June 24th, 2003

…it will come.

The update.

Prepare thyselves.

It will have things like THIS:

Randy and Marty are here…

Monday, June 23rd, 2003

More massive updates to come very soon…

Sorry about the lack of updates. I suck.

Nara – temples and deer.

Monday, June 9th, 2003

Yesterday I went to Nara, where there are some stunning temples and deer wandering the streets. Why the deer, you ask? Apparently, the sacredness of deer is usually explained by the theory that the Japanese Shinto faith originated in awe of nature. Elements of nature such as mountains, forests and wildlife were venerated, and hence the ancient Japanese government banned hunting in the sacred Kasuga Hills in 841AD. Thereafter the deer of Nara had been protected strictly for over a millennium, until after WWII, when their divinity was rescinded, possibly because they’re kind of smelly. At least, that’s what I thought.

For more deer details: Divine Deer of Nara

The guys at the end are making “mochi”, pounded gooey rice cakes. It’s pretty rare to see them actually being made, so I asked them if I could take a picture, and they were cool. During the New Year celebration, many people eat mochi, and a few subsequently die by choking on them. They’re really chewy.

Pix:
           

Staff night out

Thursday, June 5th, 2003

Here are some pictures from our staff party from a week ago. We had a wild, crazy night which lasted until 6am. We started drinking at a fancy restaurant, courtesy of AEON, and finished at a club. :) It was a loooong, fun night. Please note my white-boy rockin’.

     

Contest results! And improv!

Monday, June 2nd, 2003

First, CONTEST RESULTS:

The winner is…. (drum roll, please)

Michele. And her damn “God” picture. I curse you, O god-fearing people! Heathens, arise! The day of “cool escalators” shall be ours! Thanks to all of you who voted, and kept the contest interesting. It was really close, but we all know in our hearts who the better photographer is. *cough*marc*cough*

For posterity, here’s the winning photo again:

Also I had my first improv show in Japan last night! It was…okay. The show was run a little haphazardly, and Butch, the guy I’d been rehearsing with, seemed a bit off. By his own (on-stage) admission, he hadn’t done this for a while, so I guess it’s all right, but still… Just because I’m in a different country, I’m not going to lower my standards for a good comedy show. The show began with Butch doing some stand up, which wasn’t bad, and then there was a cool Japanese juggler/magician, and he was great. Then Butch, Stefano (an Italian guy who’s been practicing with us for the past 2 weeks), and I took the stage. I was expecting Butch to be the emcee for the improv section, but he didn’t really explain the rules to most of the improv games, so the audience was a bit in the dark as to what the heck we were doing half of the time! Anyway, we were only on stage for about 15 minutes, so it went okay. Fortunately, the theater was standing room only, with 50-60 people, so that’s always good. After us, there was a 15 minute break, and then there was a group of musical improvisors, who created songs from people’s suggestions, and they were fantastic. We managed to exchange emails after the show, so hopefully we’ll be playing together sometime soon.

I leave you with these two images to help you through a SARSy summer: