Sunday, July 20, 2008
Standby sucks
I decided to spend about a week of my vacation visiting the US. At the time I made this decision, flight weren't looking to crazy expensive but by the time I was ready to buy a ticket, the price had jumped to around $2,100 to get to Denver and back. That was a bit too rich for my blood, but my mom offered to get me discount tickets via her many airline connections. And thus begins my airport adventures. The problem with discount tickets is that you have to fly standby, so when I got to the airport and discovered that all the flights were basically booked, I knew I was in for a rough day.

After waiting for one flight after another, I ended up not getting on any flight and was left with the undesirable task of finding a hotel in the Narita/Tokyo area on a Saturday night. It didn't happen. Luckily I managed to get out of the airport in enough time to catch the very last train back to Yamanashi station and then took a taxi home. Then I got to take the same 3 hour long bus ride I'd taken the day before, back to the airport the next day. Ended up not getting on the first flight out but managed to get an Economy Plus seat on a flight to LAX.

Got to LAX and didn't make it onto the first available United flight to Denver so off to Frontier I went. However, that proved to me more difficult than I thought it would be. Everyone kept telling me to take a bus to terminal 3 but no one seemed to be able to tell me where this magic bus was. So I ended up walking from terminal 7 to terminal 3 and going through security twice. Then I didn't get on the Frontier flight either. So right now I bored, typing up this rant, while sitting at the airport, waiting to see if I can get on the next Frontier flight to Denver. Wish me luck!


posted by am at 3:28 PM | Permalink | 0 comments
Parting ways

Friday was the last in a long run of goodbye parties. This one was put together by the elementary school JTEs from the Yamanashishi BOE. All three of them were there along with 2 English coordinators from Tiffany's schools and a teacher who used to work with Tiffany, but now works with Fred. We ate, we drank, we gave speeches, and then said goodbye. I also ate one last breakfast at Mont Marlow with Tiffany the next morning. I will miss her and hope that her replacement will be just as awesome as she is.

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posted by am at 3:21 PM | Permalink | 0 comments
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
Let's get ready to RUMBLE!
Just had 2 back to back earthquakes happen. There have been about 4 or 5 earthquakes in my area since moving to Japan, but these were the first ones that I actually felt. Crazy! Everything is okay, just a bit of gentle shaking, as if someone were moving a really heavy box in the apartment below me and bumping into and shaking the walls. Below are the quake stats as provided by the Japan Meteorological Agency. I barley noticed the first one, but the second one was quite noticeable.


posted by am at 6:51 AM | Permalink | 0 comments
Monday, July 14, 2008
A weekend of culture
Last weekend one of the ken's CIRs sent an email about free tickets to a traditional Japanese dance performance. The tickets were supposed to go to Brazilian residents in Yamanashi as the performance was a preview of what they will be showing in Brazil in September to celebrate the centennial of Japanese emigration to Brazil. I ended up taking advantage of the opportunity and saw the show last Friday.

The performance was done by the Kikunokai group and was held at Kenmin Bunka Hall, Kofu's main theater. It was my first time visiting the theater, so I ended up taking a cab to get there. Before the show started, I ended up doing an interview with a local reporter. This random interview thing happens to me often enough that it no longer seems strange. Luckily, the reporter knew a little English. She seemed really excited to be interviewing me at first but seemed a bit less enthusiastic when I told her that I wasn't Brazilian.

The show itself was nice. I brought my camera, but picture taking during the show was prohibited. I really enjoyed the costumes and some of the dance skits were quite humorous. I will admit though, that towards the end of the show my eyes were starting to feel a bit heavy. I guess I can add traditional Japanese chanting to the list of things that make me sleepy.

To continue my weekend of cultural activities, the next day I attended a yukata workshop with Tiffany. Basically, we watched a demo on how to put on a yukata and do up the obi and then got to try it ourselves. We both brought the yukatas we purchased last summer. Even after watching the demo I still had pretty much no clue what I was doing and I think that even if the deom had been done in English, I would still have no clue. Luckily there was a room full of Japanese women who couldn't wait to help out the foreigner to help assist me.

I also ran into one of the staff from my Friday school at the workshop. She was with her daughter and a former student of the school. After they gushed about how cute I was, we chatted and took some pictures together. My only complaint was that after a while, the room we were in got hot. On the plus side, the people running the workshop were kind enough to provide chilled tea and sembei.

After the workshop me and Tiffany changed back into our normal clothes and hit up a local izakaya for some dinner and conversation. Though, I think it might have made for a more interesting evening if we'd wondered around in our yukata! I'll really miss her when she's gone and hope that her replacement will be as awesome as she is.
posted by am at 7:29 PM | Permalink | 0 comments
Tuesday, July 1, 2008
Cherry picking
A local farm in Makioka invited all the ALTs working at our BOE to a cherry picking event. When I first got the invitation, I wasn't exactly sure what to expect, but I knew I wanted to do some fruit picking this year and it was free, so I signed up. The first hurdle was trying to figure out how to get there. Makioka, while considered part of my town, is way up in the mountains. My first thought was to see if Fred, who is the ALT living in Makioka, would be willing to give me a ride, but he wasn't sure if he was going to go.

After much panic and discussion, Fred decided that he did want to go and thus the ride problem was solved. It ended up being me, Fred, and Tiffany who went and we ended up running into several of our students while there. It was a lot of fun, and the cherries were delicious!

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posted by am at 7:50 PM | Permalink | 0 comments