Saturday, many of the local ALTs got together for a good, old fashioned BBQ. The Japanese love to barbecue, but they do it slightly different. So, since it was Memorial day weekend and all that, we decided to skirt the social-norm for once, and have a nice, western-style BBQ. On the menu: Hamburgers, Cheeseburgers, Hamburgers in hotdog buns (when we ran out of burger buns), shish-kebobs, and, of course, yakisoba. Yea, we got as close to Western as we could with it. Continue reading

Transition and Translation

Waiting for the train

As the dust begins to clear from moving, I am truly starting to see what my life has become. It’s boils down to spending all day moving between Japanese and English, in an effort to better understand both. Usually, by the end of the day, I have a substantial headache and I am exhausted. In honor of the title of this blog, it’s only fair that I share both my adventures in Japan and my thoughts about them. You see, I always thought that I would “find myself” in Japan, but it’s been quite the opposite. Everyday, I feel a slightly more lost in translation than before. No pun intended. Continue reading

A Festival, a Birthday, and a Tiny, Giant Buddah

By Kris Brackin

In celebration of the birthday of another fellow ALT, a handful of us decided to meet in Kamagaya for the weekend. Our top priority was the festival in Asakusa, the Sanja Matsuri. It’s generally considered one of the largest festivals in Tokyo and attracts around 2 million locals and tourists over the course of 3 days. It’s a weekend long Shinto festival, where three portable shrines are paraded around Asakusa. While those bad-boys are out and about, there is a large array of traditional Japanese music and dance to enjoy. We spent Saturday there on request of Joey for her birthday! Continue reading

A Day in the Life

As life slows to a crawl here in Koga, things have become quite regular for me. I figured it’s time for the quintessential travel blogger post: a day in the life of yours truly. I’ll try to remember to add all the quirks of daily life. We’ll go with a Monday. Usually I wake up bright and early at 6am to the song “Somebody That I Used to Know” by Gotye. Then, I hit the snooze, twice. I’ve been on the planet long enough to know that it’s going to take more than one alarm. At 6:30am, a second alarm goes off with the song “Parks on Fire” by Trifonic. This song has considerably more edge to it, and impossible to sleep through. Thus, my day begins. Continue reading

Golden Week: Second Half

At Yokohama Chinatown

After a rather disappointing day of lessons on Wednesday, I was really looking forward to Golden Week part 2. Carolyn and I were off to an early start on Thursday morning to head into Chiba-ken. The plan was to meet our friends coming from Mito-shi (the capital of Ibaraki-ken) and spend the day seeing some of the historic cities in Chiba-ken. As it turned out, the weather had other plans in mind. It was raining, a lot. About half way there, we get a call to meet in a different city and end up loosing an hour of driving time. We stopped through Moriya-shi to grab our friend Becky (remember Becky?). After a long, rainy drive, we ended up in Kamagaya-shi where we met up with our friends. Thus begins the story of Golden week, part 2.

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Golden Week (ゴールデンウィーク)- First Half

More vibrant fish

I didn’t realize that it’s been more than a week since my last post! I am so sorry! I normally try to keep it at a steady two per week. Not only did I fail last week, but I will fail again this week! It’s Golden Week all over Japan. Basically, it’s a bunch of national holidays that happen to fall within a week of each other. The good part is you get a bunch of paid holidays. The bad part is you have to go to work on the days that aren’t holidays. For me that was Tuesday and Wednesday this week. Fortunately, I went into school on Tuesday and they said it was a School district-wide holiday. Then they said to please go home. I didn’t argue. The first half of Golden Week (last weekend) was spent in Mito! For the full adventure, read on.  Continue reading