27 June 2007

Nara Kara Kaerimashita Part 2

I returned from Nara pt. 2

So while we were walking through the Nara Park there were lots of school children. Some of them in uniforms, some not. However, I didn't see any teachers around.

(I have a picture i just have to transfer it)

The kids without uniforms on were younger and as we came to find out from Gifu. The children would walk up to us and ask us questions, in english, and tell us about their city, in english. This happened 3 times by three different groups of kids wearing yellow hats.

(Group photo insert here)

They were nice and they gave us origami cranes and tourist pamphlets about gifu. I thought it was intersting that they were trying to get people to come to their city. Through all my students I have met I came to find out, gifu is actually famous for winter sports. So maybe I'll check it out then.

During our trek through Nara park we got lost. We wanted to go to these waterfalls but either due to lack of sugar or simply not paying attention we ended up walking back towards the train station by way of a neighborhood. The houses were quite nice. They all had adequate yards (not quite like mom and dad's but enough to let the kids and dogs run around.) and they all had walls surrounding them like little fortresses.

(sorry :( no picture)

The train ride back was nice...we both passed out after a 10min yawn fest. Yawns really are contagious! Must've been all the fresh air.

(insert pic of "drink drank" smoothie shop)

*note please forgive me on this post I just got off work.

22 June 2007

Nara Kara Kaerimashita

"I returned from Nara."

Yesterday I took a day trip to
Nara with a new friend from Scotland. Our plans were simple...go get lost in Nara. Osaka, being the industrial city that it is, doesn't offer the nice green parks that some it's surrounding cities do. Nara on the other hand is quite the opposite.

This is one of the many meadows filled with these deer. The deer barely came up to my waist yet they had no problem walking up to you and asking for food or a pat on the head. They are considered mystic deer. Why? I don't know...that's just what they tell me.

This is one of the first buildings we saw. It's interesting because right on the other side of this was a neighborhood! How'd you like to have this huge tower in your backyard?
After a brief ice cream break from dodging school children and deer we happened upon this in the middle of a little pond. It did look like it had be redone recently but none the less interesting.

If you look carefully there are 2 or 3 cranes in this picture. As I was told by the many school children we ran across "cranes are a symbol of peace in Japan".
This was one of the last temples we saw before heading back. There were lanterns all around this one.

I have a few more pictures and some more stories. But I have to run to work. Until then...

15 June 2007

The clock strikes 3...

I work the late night shift so I get a 2 hour break from 3-5am. The city is so strange because it's so vibrant during the day and so quiet at night. So, last night I went walking through Osaka's infamous Love hotel district. I was just curious to what all the hub-bub was about. It was surprisingly quiet. I was expecting the quiet shuffle of lovers sneaking between the hotels or perhaps the sound of that oh so familiar yakuza looking guy handing out flyers encouraging you to try out so-and-so's hotel or whatever. To my surprise none of the sights and sounds were present. In there place were the quiet sounds of blinking neon signs, the tired footsteps of bar and restaurant employees on their way home. The surprising screech of bicycle brakes as an older lady on a bike comes barreling around one of the narrow blind corners, almost hitting me, a common thing even in the daylight in open areas. Unimpressed with the ambiance I slothfully meander back to the office.

I only have 3 more lessons after the break is over.

I need to do a little more grocery shopping but I think I'll just go home after work is done.

I still need to get a cell phone.

Hopefully my advance has been deposited into my account at the UFJ.

I'm in search of a Martial arts school while I'm here too. I feel very lost without my practice I work-out occasionally at home and at this little park just on the other side of the building but solitude is getting me. I feel like I've confined myself somehow. I did contact a southern shaolin school. They gave me info on their school and they also suggested that I go to some other school. The school they suggested looks more gaijin friendly...I don't how to take their suggestion...Kind of offended I guess. I'll call and inquire more with the shaolin school. I don't want to practice dancing around and looking hard (the suggested school taught breakdancing, wing chun, capoeria, martial art trickz, and just seemed like a ball of money grubbing cheese). There's also this boxing gym right across the street from the office that teaches boxing, obviously, and some other martial art. I think judo but I can't read the first kanji character. I'm up for anything though...
I'd also like to get out and see some more of the city and surrounding areas. I think this weekend will be a good time for that. Perhaps Osaka castle or I might try heading to Tennoji again (I didn't quite make it there the first time!). My friend owns a restaurant near there in Abeno. There is also this big park in Tennoji with a zoo. The more I write about it, the more it sounds better than the touristy and bum infested Osaka castle. My roommates and friend tell me there is a large homeless settlement in the forest surrounding the castle. Blue tarped shanties with A/C powered by car batteries.
That is one thing I discovered when I was wandering towards Tennoji the other day, the homeless are quite cunning. They have these tarped and cardboarded houses everywhere in unassuming places, that are just as big as my room; bikes and carts used for transporting their building materials (more boxes and tarps). And some of them even have pet dogs! How they feed the dogs and themselves is beyond me. And the dogs are so docile here. I have never had one just growl aggressively or bark at me. They don't even care that you are walking by. The bums are much the same way. They just go about their business of collecting boxes and getting there occassional drink from a vending machine without an outstretched hand begging or panhandling. They just do their thing...whatever it may really be?!
I'm the only person that I know of that has the weekends off so it's kind of difficult to organize an outing with friends. I also work at night so, me sleeping during the day doesn't help either. However, some of the boys and girls do enjoy staying up until the sun comes up drinking...makes me wonder how they make it to work in the morning...or early afternoon depending on their shifts.
As I said I get a 2hr break from 3-5am. It's nice to sit in one of the unused break rooms and look out on the city as it wakes up. Today seems like it's going to be very humid. There is a very thick haze over the buildings. From the 14th floor, I can barely make out my apartment building only a few blocks away. I think rainy season has started too as the past few days have been nothing but a moderate drizzling of rain. But what's Japan without it's humid and rainy summer?...It's to be expected.

07 June 2007

When did you stop remembering?

I didn't forget. Did you?

I have been without internet since last week. I also needed to take care of a bunch of things (register as an alien, find a bank, get to know the neighborhood, get lost in the neighborhood, get to know my room mates, go watch my room mates get drunk at the bars...etc. oh and work too)

So I may have mentioned this to some of you but it's true if you eat like a Japanese person food is cheap! However, My roommate Bob can't escape his cravings for brats and corona. Needless to say he spends alot of money on food.

We have gone out to a couple of decent places but so far nothing has stood out as amazing. I ate at a conveyour belt sushi place which was fun. The guys like to go to these places called 280yen, where everything including giant glasses a beer, are 280yen (about $2.50).

I have not done the Mcdonald's test yet. I think I will try subway before Micky D's. There is an interesting scene at the nearby Mcdonald's. There are all these kids that meet up and breakdance in this huge open area every night. I'll have to take a picture next time. They are actually really good!

So the picture is of my Dinner tonight. It's not much but 'm trying to save $ until I get paid. It's really good none the less. I put some fresh veggies in there as well. The can on the side is mango-orange juice from one of the many vending machines around here. There are only drink vending machines, in case you were wondering (and cigarette machines but I dont care about those).

I promise more pictures and more food next time.