Seoul, South Korea

East GateLast weekend, Becky and I took a little 4-day holiday to Seoul, South Korea. Like a delicious appetizer, it really wet our appetites for the summer traveling plans. The perfect weekend-getaway before the real-deal.

Seoul is the closest city I’ve every seen to what I would call a “city of the future.” Flat screen TVs can be found around every corner, most of them interactive touch screens. Many of the stations also had interactives designed for the last-minute shoppers. Need a new dress for that date tonight? Just scan your phone and it gets delivered to your house. Forgot to grab water at the store? No worries, it’s sold here too.  Continue reading

A Bit of Extra Blogging

teaching-dinoJust to stretch my blogging legs (fingers), I’ve started writing a little bit for GaijinPot.com. It’s a great site filled with all kinds of resources for those wanting to live in Japan or for us already living here. My first with them went live a few days ago, please check it out! It’s all about the strange relationship I have with my students.

Originally, when arriving at my school, I was like a rock-star. Students would scramble to get a look at me, or hang out of windows to get a “Hello!” Those who had more yaruki (doing spirit) than others, would run up and try to say in broken English various points about my appearance.

Read the rest here.

A Year in the Life

Ha Long BayTomorrow marks one year since I embarked on this journey. Well, it would be if it was a leap year and February 29th existed. But rather than dwelling on the mysteries of the Gregorian calendar, let me take a moment to highlight some of my favorite parts of this journey.  Continue reading

First World Problems

GinzaThe tag #firstworldproblems has been making it’s rounds for quite some time now. If you don’t know, it’s basically the issues we have living in a first world country. The silly things we get upset over. I.e. not having internet for 2 days. For me, that’s similar to torture. I love #firstworldproblems cause it kind of reminds you where your priorities lie in the scope of things. It’s also a bit of a chuckle when you think about the fact that, in all honesty, those stupid #firstworldproblems matter to us.

Of course, living in Japan (a first world country), I’ve uncovered some interesting problems that cause me grief regularly. If I sit back and think about these problems on a whole, I should probably admit they are simply #firstworldproblems.

So, here’s my list of fresh #firstworldproblems acquired in the Land of the Rising Sun.  Continue reading

Rant: Driving in Japan

It's dangerous to go alone! Take this GPS! Oh wait... it won't help you.

It’s dangerous to go alone! Take this GPS! Oh wait… it won’t help you.

Driving in Japan is the stuff of nightmares. I like to imagine that Dante was mistaken when he said the 7th circle of hell is a river of boiling blood and fire. It’s definitely just continuous traffic on a highway in Japan surrounded by trucks. The Japanese people are so lovely and caring. They are considerate of one another and law-obeying (typically). This might actually be one of the problems. People get overly excited and want to let in that car waiting to turn left from 7-11.. and the car waiting behind them, and the next, and the– STOP! You’ve been nice to 3 cars now and really rude to the 15 of us waiting behind you! I appreciate the sentiment, but I want to get to work on time.  Continue reading

Sapporo’s Famous Snow Festival (雪祭)

Side viewEvery February, Sapporo holds it’s biggest event: the Snow Festival. Hokkaido is Japan’s northernmost prefecture, and is famous for two things: snow and open space. It’s no wonder artists from around the world spend a whole month working on these massive masterpieces of snow. The main stretch of the park had huge snow carvings, one of them was even a life-size replication of a Thai building. Every year the festival attracts millions from around the world to see the amazing creations, then go skiing and enjoy famous Hokkaido food.  Continue reading

My Tiny Apartment a Year Later

From the doorThis post is more for pictures, but perhaps you read my post from about a year ago when I arrived in Japan. Now, I’ve definitely collected more… things. It’s going to be hard to decide what to take and what to leave. Clearly, there is a lot to choose from. I may have bought a few too many books, also. I better start getting picky!

Despite being a really small apartment, for my brief duration here, it definitely felt like home and I made it my own. I’ll be sad to leave all it’s crafty strorage spaces and easiness to clean. It’s been fun, Leo Palace. If only you were wired for fiber-optics, we could have been better friends.

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More Notes on Translation

An endless ocean of change

An endless ocean of change

Tomorrow marks 5 weeks until I return home to visit friends for nearly 1 month. 5 weeks. That’s just over a month. That’s 3 weeks at First school and 2 weeks at Second school. That’s 5 more Wednesday classes. That’s almost a year from leaving Florida.

5 weeks.

And where am I now?

People like to ask me “Has living in Japan changed you?” My answer is a distinct “Yes.” The natural follow up question is “In what ways?” To which I never have a response. I know I’ve changed. I can feel it in the way I look at others, in the way that others look at me. I can feel it in my body language, my responses, my decisions. I’ve definitely changed. But in what way, I don’t know.  Continue reading

The Moriya Half Marathon

Group poseTwo weekends ago, I dropped by Moriya to cheer on the ALTs running in the Moriya Half Marathon. Being a runner myself, it was really fun to check out the running scene in Japan and, for the first time, be on the sidelines! Just watching them made me tired, but I managed to snap a few cute pictures of the crew giving it their all. Paul ran the fastest (of the group) at 1 hour 27 minutes… wow. Second place to Greg, third to Becky the Banana. Good work guys!

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The Whole Truth

Sunset over the school

Sunset over the school

I’ve just returned from a fun-filled 4-day weekend in Sapporo at the Snow Festival with none other than Becky the Banana. I’d be lying if I said I’ve recuperated already.

So, apologies in advance, but today I’m just going to post a link to, by far, one of the funniest articles I’ve read in a long, long time. I would call this “not safe for work” as you’ll surely be unable to contain your laughter. For those of you who don’t live in Japan (or never have) I’m afraid it might not be as funny but it’s sure to get you giggling on this groggy Tuesday. Mind you, it’s been passed around a bit, so if you’ve already enjoyed this piece forgive me for being so unoriginal today.

Without further ado, the truth about living in Japan:

5 Things Nobody Tells You About Living in Japan