Thursday, August 23, 2007

Finally Settled...Almost.

Finally back in Aomori. I had flown down to Tokyo to help Risa with the move up here last Saturday and just arrived back here in Kuroishi. It was an uneventful move luckily (besides the cell phone). It's usually quite expensive to move in Japan, sometimes in the thousands of dollars just to move inter-prefecturally, plus key money/deposit money, etc. Risa managed to fit all of her belongings, plus a few things of mine I had left in her apartment, into one crate which cost only a few hundred dollars to get shipped to our apartment in Kuroishi. It should arrive tomorrow and we can finish moving in!

We had a few free days in Tokyo to relax and do some shopping. We spent one day in Akibahara Electric Town where I bought a few "desperately needed" things. We also went out a few nights with some of Risa's college friends that she will be leaving in the move.

One night we met up with a couple good friends of Risa's, one of which is a singer/songwriter with a few albums released independently. His alias for his singing career is Danny. And according to him his first major label debut will be this November. He is quite a character! If you look closely in this picture you can see a white blotch on his crotch (if you care to look). Right before he came to meet us a taxi drove over a tube of dry wall compound and squirted the white goop all over him!

The day before the move we stayed at Risa's sister's place. We had some time to kill that afternoon so we went to a local onsen (hot spring bath) in Chofu. It was a great little bath house! They provided you with towels and your own little bath house outfit (I couldn't help but break out my Chan moves). The water was a dark brown color but felt really good on your skin. There was one bath where the bottom was covered in small pebbles. You could walk around in it and get an excellent foot massage.

Saturday, August 18, 2007


So, I was walking to the station yesterday to catch my train to Hirosaki, where I would catch the bus to the airport and fly down to Tokyo. I figured as I walked to the station I could email Risa and let her know I am on time and about to arrive at the station.

If you have been to Japan you will know that they have torrential rain sometimes. There are large drainage diteches along all roadsides with large heavy cement blocks covering them. There are small holes in the blocks so they can be removed and replaced.

I pull out my cellphone.

I flip it open with one hand. (This is very cool looking.)

It flys from my hand, bounces twice, opens up, and slips perfectly into the small crack in the sidewalk.

There is about a 2 second delay, and I hear a *curr plunk*.

Yep, cell phone is gone for good. I have no way to contact Risa, I have no phone numbers of my emergency contacts in Kuroishi, and not to mention I just spent three days at Aomori Orientation gathering phone numbers and emails of other Aomori JETs. All of who's are only recorded in my cellphone.

I am writing this from Risa's apartment in Tokyo. So I did make it here with no problems and we are going to call Willcom today and see if I can get it replaced.

Take this as a warning people. If you drop your cell phone it will find the nearest hole and fall down it.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

First week back in Japan!

Well, it has been over a week now that I have arrived back in Japan. After a very long and boring orientation in Tokyo I was flown to my host prefecture. For those not in the know a host prefecture, or city/town, is a reference to a local Board of Eduction in Japan that has hired a native English speaker through the JET Program (HAHA no “me” at the end ya limy bastards!) to teach English classes.

I have been applying for this position for the past year. It is a long and arduous process but well worth the effort. To say the least, JET's are paid ridiculous amounts of money compared to the Japanese teachers we will be working with. They all know this and probably just add it to the long list of reasons to further differentiate foreigns from themselves. Yes, we are all lazy and the only way we will put up with the Japanese system is if large sums of money are thrown at us.

My first week has been great! I have a huge apartment with two bedrooms, a living area, and a brand new bath. (Apparently the woman before me complained so much that they actually replaced her entire bathroom!) I have spent most of my free time so far cleaning the place up and throwing out large amounts of pink doilies, blankets, pillows, cups, clothes, place mats, etc. I think the JET before me should be submitted to a mental institute for an abnormal obsession with the color pink.

It has been a busy week but my supervisor and I found time to visit the Nebuta Festival in Aomori City. This festival is HUGE. It lasts almost a week with two hour parades of dancers, floats, and huge drums every night. The last night there is a fireworks show. We caught the Monday night parade which turned out to be the largest with over 22 floats. The Japanese sure know how to celebrate! I have heard a few theories about the history of Nebuta, from a celebration of the departure of troops to war, to a theory that the general who was sent north to subdue the barbaric tribes in the 800s used huge lanterns shaped like demons as a scare tactic.

Every year the JET's are given a chance to participate in the festivities. They can rent costumes, or buy, and dance in one of the groups. While this sounds like a once in a lifetime chance I decided to pass this year. It wouldn't have been the first time I have participated in a Japanese festival and I really didn't feel like crashing at a fellow JET's apartment in Aomori City for a night nor did I feel like trying to reserve a hotel for the night. Living in Kuroishi without a car my last chance to get home is at 9:30 from Hirosaki City which really limits my late night travel distance. I figure next year I will be more settled in and can fully take in the festivities, late night drinkin and all!