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Browsing Posts published in October, 2004

Nagano here we go

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Sunday was pretty fun: went to the “Entama” (Entertainment Market) which was a lot like TGS, even at the same place (Makuhari Messe). Not as many booths or people, but I almost think it was better. Mainly concentrated on anime stuff, and had a lot of stuff you could buy. I spent about $40 on Naruto stuff, which includes a metal Hidden Sand Village head protector, a stuffed Pakkun doll, and a Sharingan wristband. Ah well. 🙂

I’m getting ready to go to Nagano as we speak. I’ll be there until Sunday evening. Staying in a temple then a ryokan (Japanese style inn), soaking in all sorts of hot springs with “magical powers,” going to places like a Ninja theme park, etc. I probably won’t be posting until I get back. If there’s anyting urgent (I know there won’t be probably), e-mail me on my cell phone.

Workin’ man

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Although I never got around to finding a part time job here, I did manage to get myself in on a 1-shot deal tonight. It was at Kanda Gaigo Gakuin, which apparently is the vocational school associated with Kanda U. Yes, that’s right. There’s somewhere even lower on the foodchain than Kanda U. Anyways, they were having a party there, where they taught little kids about Halloween, while the adults (their parents) were upstairs pigging out on a buffet, drinking, and listening to horrible comedians.

Luckily, I didn’t have to work in the classrooms and teach the kiddos (they’re like 5 to 10 years old, I can’t handle that). I was upstairs with the parents and staff. My “job” was to mingle with the people, in English. I don’t really think anyone spoke English…. Anyways, I pretty much just talked to the Japanese girls about my age and pigged out on the buffet. And what was my work (1 hour of waiting, 2 hours of “mingling”) worth? 6000 yen. Yep, that’s right. Approximately 55 US bucks. It’s a tough job, someone’s gotta do it…

Oh, additionally, there are apparently a bunch of earthquakes going on tonight in Niigata (north of here). I felt about 3 while at the party in Tokyo, and some aftershocks. Just felt another here in Chiba. People are dying in Niigata, luckily they’re not that bad where I’ve been.

How to excite the salarymen

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I haven’t really written anything about Y’s yet, mainly because it’s not usually eventful. It’s the best place to hang out on Friday with the A-team, 2500 yen (about 22 bucks) to pig yourself out. Fun times. HOWEVER, I thought I should point out one thing. With all the salarymen that go to Y’s also, there is one event of the night that ALWAYS draws a crowd. It’s when the staff makes the announcement that (roughly translated): “The fish head is done. Please eat.” I swear, every salaryman in the house gets up to scrape meat off of this giant fish head. And when I say giant, I mean it is bigger than my head. And that would be a lot of meat.

I actually tried some yesterday, it is pretty good. Tastes like fish. Some parts of it, like behind the eyes, are really good. Sometimes there’s slimy stuff on it. I’ve never been up there right at the beginning, but I’m guessing it’s a COMPLETE head. Meaning, eyes, brains, etc. Those salarymen love that. I think Dad would too.

Typhoon was pretty much a washout (oh man was that a horrible joke?). Sure there was a lot of wind and rain, but not the huge typhoon of destruction, at least not here in the Chiba and Tokyo area (down south got hit pretty hard though). I fell asleep around 9:30 since I was so tired. Woke up briefly around 11 or 12 to talk to my folks who called, and the rain had tamed down. Rip off.

Trains were a bit of a mess this morning, on account of the typhoon stuff. I guess some lines were still down, and the wind and rain that was still hanging around did some trouble I suppose. Was late for Japanese class (wow big surprise, but Hosoi-sensei never cares). Could have made it only 15 minutes late or so if I were in more of a rush. And by “more of a rush”, I mean not taking a morning coffee break at Starbucks near the IES Center. Man I hope no IES staff or teachers read this… Hahaha. Anyways, I had my “late note” from the station, and they were nice enough to not write the time on it, so: instant excuse. Musashino Line was a pain in the butt anyway, I think it was totally handicapped. Apparently that, Keio, and Tozai are all “weak” train lines. Hey great, all the lines between my dorm and school. I guess it’s convenient if you feel like grabbing a cafe mocha before class.

I hear rumors of another typhoon coming soon, who knows. This year is really odd for some reason with typhoons, what a lucky time for me to be here. Hopefully it won’t interfere with the IES trip to Nagano on Wednesday. Yes, I’m taking a vacation. And on the agenda, a “ninja theme park” and much more awaits.

Here comes #23

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Yep, another typhoon is about to hit my part of Japan it looks like. And according to Shin-san, it’s 4 times bigger than the last one. I beleive it; walking back from work, I was completely soaked, even with my giant umbrella….

This penguin is the future

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The Suica card, which looks like this: , is definitely a possible sign of the future. Basically, it’s a chargeable train pass/debit card. You can use it on the JR trains, and now you can use it in store to purchase stuff like a debit card. The nice thing about it is, instead of swiping and signing like a credit card, you just press it up against the reader, and you’re good to go. Takes literally 2 seconds. Maybe 1 if you’re a ninja. Most people keep it in a wallet or “pass case” with a little window on it. They just press their wallet/case on the suica panel and they’re good to go. Now, if you lose your card you’re screwed, but worrying about this stuff isn’t the point of progress.

This thing might actually turn Japan into a cashless society. Credit cards and checks couldn’t do that here. People literally still carry huge wads of cash with them. A lot of companies still give their employees their wages via big envelopes of cash.

I like Suica (the word also means watermelon, although I don’t know why their main mascot is a penguin). There’s also a campaign going on right now where you use your Suica at convenience stores to buy stuff, and you get a sticker. Collect 3 stickers, and you can send in to win stuff like a penguin pillow or a coffee mug. Here’s the link, if you want to see it for yourself. I found one of the conbini that just had the box of stickers sitting out, so of course I stole a handful. I’m going to send a bunch of postcards in and hopefully win something.

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