Around Koga

A Note on Translation

I’ve found that, here in Japan among my ALT friends, “finding yourself” is a reoccurring theme. I’m not sure how much closer I am to that goal, but I’ve already learned so much in the 6 months I’ve been here. I’ve also learned a lot from what others have figured out in their time here. Probably the biggest lesson learned so far is how to live in the now. I realize this is a bit of a cliché, but I find it a rather rare trait. So many people are too pre-occupied with tomorrow and yesterday, they are missing things happening right in front of them. I know I’m guilty of this, regularly.  Continue reading

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Travel

Here I Come, ‘Nam

By the time this posts, I’ll already be in Vietnam. Truthfully, I’ve done a ton of traveling as of late, and have many stories to share with you. That said, I’ve left for a 10 day excursion to Vietnam, and frankly, the plan is to avoid the internet at all cost. I’m even trying this rare thing called “not going on facebook.” I know, journey will be long and challenging. I can do it.  Continue reading

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Around Koga

The Fourth Day in July

Yesterday, as you may know, was the Fourth of July! Of course, it took me by surprise, as I’d nearly forgotten about this American holiday. I was reminded on Sunday by a fellow American. At which time, we also made plans to get together that night for dinner, drinks, and fun with other friends in Koga.

I arrived late, as it was a long day at school, but we enjoyed a delicious homemade dinner of spaghetti (compliments of Carolyn), and followed that up with wine and ice cream bars. It wasn’t long before the idea of buying fireworks came up. Naturally, nearly everyone was interested. Continue reading

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Around the Tokyo area

Ping Pang Pong

Last weekend was probably one of the best weekends I’ve had here in Japan, and I didn’t even have to go very far! Kris’ birthday was earlier in June, but his party was last Saturday. He invited many of his ALT friends and Japanese friends. It was a really great mix of cultures with plenty of food and open space to run around in. I have the injuries to prove it.  Continue reading

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Around Koga

Interactive Forum

The whole of Ibaraki has begun practicing for what is known as the Interactive Forum competition. It’s basically 3 minutes of English conversation between 2 or 3 Japanese students. Every day at lunch, and for one hour after school, we practice. I’ve been promised compensatory time-off, but I’ll let you know when that actually happens. So far, no luck. Continue reading

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Travel

Conquering Tsukuba-san

Another weekend has come and gone, with more adventures to report.

It was very, very rainy on Saturday. Right now, the weather is known as 梅雨 (tsuyu): the rainy season. Our original plan was to climb Mt. Tsukuba that day, but the weather had other plans. So, instead, I hoped in my car and drove to Moriya to meet up with Becky. I would call Moriya the rich suburbs of Tokyo. It’s a city with tons of new and beautiful homes, with quick access to nearly anything you could want. Their Aeon is a full-fledged mall. Complete with a Subway sandwich shop. Lovely!

What do you do on a rainy day? You go shopping, of course. Continue reading

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Around Koga

Shopping Spree in Tokyo

We finally got paid. What was the first thing we did? Karaoke, then shopping in Harajuku and Shibuya. Obviously.

I bought some much needed work clothes… and some play clothes too. Our friend Kris (remember him?) showed us the back alleys of Harajuku. It’s off the beaten path, with plenty of affordable, often more fashionable shops. Some of them carry second-hand items, but you would never know it. The Japanese are known for a) shopping a lot and b) taking really good care of their clothes. Most of the second-hand stores had items I would still consider new. Continue reading

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Around Koga

Barbecue!

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

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Around Koga

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

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Around Koga

Apartment Tour

Alright, this is a video of my (tiny) apartment here in Koga! It’s pretty short and quite informative. It was shot when I first got here, so my room looks a bit more complete now, with decorations, flowers and the like. Either way, you get the idea. Please don’t mind the mess!
Continue reading

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