Ramblings

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

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Around Koga, Ramblings

The Japanese “Conbini”

The Candy IsleEvery time I chat with friends, I always talk about the magical “conbini.” Even in Japanese, the word for convenience store is konbiniansu sutoa but they often shorten this to conbini. In typical Japanglish fashion, we native English speakers have also adopted this fashionably short word. Often, in Japanese, names of stores or restaurants are shortened to just a few syllables. For example: Starbucks becomes staabaa, McDonald’s becomes Makku, and my personal favorite, First Kitchen becomes fahkin (say it out loud).  Continue reading

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Ramblings

I Got Paid, And It Felt So Good

urlSorry for the lonely island pun, I had to.

After what feels like 5 months, I finally got paid. We get paid 1 month delayed from the last day of the month (does that make sense?). So, I get paid for December work at the end of January. Basically, it’s a long. time.

After having a bit too much fun during winter vacation, I found myself eating eggs and protein bars for three weeks straight.  Continue reading

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Around the Tokyo area

A Little Mexico in Tokyo

Mexican in Japan

Props to Taiki for always remembering to take pictures!

After a long day of on-going training on Saturday, a group of us decided to stay to play in Tokyo for a little bit. We shopped in Ginza and quickly visited the Apple store, then headed to Tokyo station to try out a Mexican restaurant and celebrate Taiki’s 21st!

I’ve eaten Mexican food in Japan before and it’s all been less than impressive. I realize now that it’s a very American thing. Well, for obvious reasons, it’s Mexican too. You know what I mean.

So, my hopes were high, but my fears were that it would be same old “Japan mexican.”  Continue reading

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Around Koga

My Magical Mira

MiraAs many of you read, I crashed my car last Monday in the big snow storm. Thankfully, I’ve been given a substitute car while my little Suzuki is in the shop. Another ALT in town, Lauren, has her car in the shop. She now has a substitute car, too. I got to see her car before seeing mine.

To give you an idea, it’s a really modern, light-weight car with blue dash lights, round handles, and one of those fancy keys that isn’t a key but it starts the car anyways. Needless to say, I was under the impression I too would get a nice, sleek car.

Wrong.  Continue reading

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Around the Tokyo area

Just One of Those Days

DrivingYesterday, a group of friends and I decided to take a trip two hours north to our nearest ski slope, Hunter Mountain. As we drove, we noticed bad weather was moving in, but decided to give it a try regardless. Up in the mountain pass, my little car wasn’t cutting it, so we took a cab the rest of the way. This should have been our first sign.

We had an awesome time skiing, despite the bad visibility and somewhat icy slopes. Around lunchtime we saw friends posting pictures of our home towns further south covered in snow. Our second sign.  Continue reading

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Travel

Kurisumasu 4 – German Town

写真 H.24-12-16 18 34 36Sunday, after an long night of partying, we dragged ourselves out of the house just in time for the sun to set and the illuminations in German Town to switch on.

This was probably the biggest illumination display I’ve seen outside of Disney World’s Osborne Spectacle of Dancing Lights. In someways, it was better because it didn’t look like lights we’re just thrown willy-nilly over everything. The ground was blanketed in a mural of lights showing rainbows, hot air balloons, turtles, octopi… you know, the usual.  Continue reading

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Ramblings

Let’s Party

303723_507767365911786_1732709935_nKris has been planning a Christmas party for about two months now. With every passing party he throws, not surprisingly, more and more show up. This time we had a shocking 40 people at the izakaya (restaurant) which was sandwiched by 25 people pre-gaming and post-gaming at Kris’ place. The party started at 5:30pm and hadn’t finished at 4am when I finally called it a night.

The first leg of the party involved watching YouTube and enjoying a pot luck of traditional (and some non-traditional) dishes. I brought my usual (mashed potatoes) and a pot of my family’s traditional avgolemono soup. It was quite a delicious spread of food. I couldn’t resist snacking on the cheesecake and shortbread cookies. I’m assuming that’s why my pants were a bit tighter today.  Continue reading

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Around the Tokyo area

Kurisumasu 3 – Odaiba

写真 H.24-12-13 20 29 05Last Thursday, I hopped on over to Odaiba to see what sort of fun illuminations they’d set up. I really love Odaiba because it’s a completely man-made part of Tokyo and feels super futuristic. Not to mention, 10 minutes walking in any direction is something fun to do or see. It’s got everything from a full beach to an indoor theme park to a full-size gundam. No, seriously. Check out the pictures.

In my opinion, the ride on the Yurikame monorail is fun on it’s own. But, maybe that’s years of riding the People-Mover at Magic Kingdom over and over (it’s lame, go on, google it).

Anyways, here’s a few shots from the adventure.  Continue reading

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Around Koga, Ramblings

A Christmas Challenge, Party, and Cold

写真 H.24-12-13 20 18 23My apologies. Last week was absolutely insane, all through the weekend. It was fun, but insane. How insane? Well, I called out sick from work yesterday. In 7 years of employment, I’ve never once called out sick from an entire shift. Well, not that I can remember. Point is, I’ll come to work even if it could mean I perish mid-day. I slept half the day, and spent the rest of the day drinking all kinds of herbal teas in an attempt to clear up what I suspect is bronchitis.

I want to fill you in on all these great activities, so we’ll take it one day at a time. Of course, this Saturday, it’s off to Hokkaido for eight days of snowboarding and skiing! So much to do, so little time. Now where to start…

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