Thursday, July 29, 2004

It's gonna be a short post because I'm teaching a weeks worth of classes in 4 days to make up for my vacation on Friday. Why a holiday you ask? It's because of the FUJI ROCK FESTIVAL. With luck i'll be sickeningly tired of music of all sorts by the end of the week. I'll report more later.

Sunday, July 25, 2004

It's a strange day here meteoroligically. The weather in Nagano city is hot as hell and Jennifer and I are rather holed up in our apartment waiting for the storm that may never come. It's perched over the mountains to the east, releasing lightning and thunder but no rain as far as we can tell. Though the mountains are only 11K or so away from us, they seem to be hoarding the storm for themselves. . .bastards.

This weekend sees the final days of probably the least exciting Tour De France since I started following bike racing religiously some 4 years ago. I mean, it's cool and all that Lance is such a phenomenal cyclist but I was soooo expecting at least some real challenge from one of his rivals. All my guys either crashed out or failed miserably and dropped out. Honestly, I'm not a huge Ullrich fan, but I really wanted someone else to win. I gotta say that my favorite team, however did a great job. CSC headed up by director sportif Bjarne Riis is just magnificent. They are by far the spunkiest team out there. Every day it seemed like there was someone on the attack from CSC. Riis just seems to rejuvenate riders and give them the fighting spirit. Anyway, I look forward to a more interesting Vuelta A Espana this fall.

Additionally, on a more sedate scale of entertainment, Jennifer and I went to a tea ceremony yesterday. It was my first experience and it was interesting but probably isn't going to be my bag of chips. Anything that requires me to sit uncomfortably for an hour or so and culminates in drinking something that is not radically alchololic is not really for me. It was certainly nice to see however. I think that if I were an old Japanese lady that it would be a really great thing to do, kind of like going out for coffee, but also more like a sport, because you have to train for it.

Jennifer also has, spurred by the aquisition of a new, non-composting 'frige, decided to utterly redo the apartment. The everything got switched around and it actually looks quite nice. Fortunately the place isn't big enough for me to really be of help, so I just let her go about her business while rocking out to Liz Phair.

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

When I asked a woman why she wanted to learn english in her private lesson on tuesday she responded with a grimace, " Well, actually I don't like my life. I am always not happy and I can only remember the time that I lived in New York for 10 months and I miss it."

THis is what they pay me for. I'm part english teacher, part cheerleader, part counsellor and 100% sexy. Well, it's all true except for the sexy portion. However, I think that an unscrupulous person could really take advantage of situations such as this one and wreck havoc on the dissatisfied populations of central Japan.

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

The place to see internationals in this city is to go to the buffet restarurantse at about 9:00 pm. We went monday evening and sat down, as usual, the only gaijin in the place. It wasn't as crowded as I had expected and soon the Japanese families started heading out. Heading in was a small but constant stream of non-white foreigners. I pretty much recognise all of the white people here but this was different. Many were Brazillians speaking portuguese or other south americans speaking spanish. By the time we left the restaurant it was about 80 % foreign.

Friday, July 16, 2004

Recently I've been wondering what Brett Brinkmeyer is up to.
I was thinking about guys I knew who were really good at starting
things but not so hot at finishing them. Brett is probably top of
my list as a person who is just wonderful at picking up a hobby or a
job or a sport and quickly becoming proficient and then losing interest
just as quickly. I would probably say that my dad and I tie for a
close second. If you've seen my parents basement, you know what I
mean. Half finished projects abound. At first it was just
my dad's crap, but now it's filling up with the residue of my hobbies
as well. Since I could hardly carry all of my crap with me
to Japan, now the basement of my house. There's the bike stuff,
the beer stuff, the half made projects and the camping gear, skis,
boots and shoes. Now i've picked up two new hobbies, rock
climbing and telemark skiing. I'm waiting for skydiving to become
more realistic.

Thursday, July 15, 2004

As if I don't have enough hobbies. Here's one that I can really sink my teeth into, nyuk nyuk nyuk. (It's surprisingly hard to type nyuk)

IFOCE Internation Federation of Competitive Eating

My real hero of course is Sonya Thomas. She's the American champ and holds numerous records. Take for example the Cheesecake, - February 21, 2004, Brooklyn, NY, NY, Cheesecake: 11 pounds in 9 minutes.
- September 13, 2003, Indianapolis Indiana, New World Record for Boiled Eggs: 65 in 6 minutes, 40 seconds
Cool Hand Luke aint got nothin on this woman.

This is my new hero, Takeru Kobayashi. He, as you may know, is Japanese. He is also the worlds most skilled hot dog eater. Lastly, he comes from, drumroll please...NAGANO CITY, LETS HEAR IT FOR THE HOME TOWN HERO!!! For his amazing feat he ate 53 1/2 hot dogs in 12 minutes. He's my god!

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

There has been a disturbing trend on the crappy radio station that is piped into the office. It's Paula Abdoul. I thought that "Straight up now tell me" was relegated to the dustbin of the music world, but now it's getting some air time on "KRAP 97.4 Hawaii."

Monday, July 12, 2004

I've got to learn some key Japanese phrases. For example, I need to know how to say, "I don't care," and also I really should learn how to say words like "rude", "impolite" and "snot-nosed-kid" as well as "Tell it to your mom."

The reason for this is, as you may expect, that I've been dissed. Not only have I been disrespected, but it was by a 12 year old. That's the worst. In my Junior Highschool private lesson with 4 girls one of them with help from her dictionary and some friends,laboriously informed me, "I don't like English-Speak humans."
While it was funny in some ways, her general attitude pretty much sucks in general and i would have given a great sum of money to be able to lay into her they way I want. Here is what I had in mind:

"I don't care. Shut your damn mouth you whiney, snot-nosed-kid. What the hell do you know about 'English-speak Humans' anyway. If you don't want to learn English, fine, don't come and fuck around in my lessons any more. None of these other kids give me the bad attitude that you do, what is your problem. If you have a problem with all gaijin, tell your parents and have them take you out of here. Stop wasting your parents money and my time."

Thursday, July 08, 2004

I am a murderer.

Yesterday while riding my bike along near the river I made my first kill. This sparrow flew out of the tall grass and skimmed along the ground, and attempting to go under my bottom bracket. The sparrow screwed up. The sensation of running over a goober-peanut was how I could describe the trauma from my end, but for the sparrow, it was much worse. I smushed 'is lit'l brains in.

I'm going to have to check, but I think something like this happened to my Dad while he was riding to work one day, but I think that the animal in question was a squirrel, and that maybe the squirrel lived to tell the tale.

Anyone else ever committed a vehicular homicide with a bicycle?

Monday, July 05, 2004

It's july, and what does that mean for people who love bicycles? The Tour de France!!!

Yes people, i'm going to be rotting my brains thinking about cycling, cycling and more cycling until this glorious event is over. I have to say that honestly I don't want Lance Armstrong to win. I'm personally a little dubious about him with the doping allegations that have recently surfaced and I also just think that he's kind of a jerk. Just personal preference.

If i had to choose who I wanted to win it would be either Tyler Hamilton (a possibility) or Bobby Julich (a long shot) from the USA and as far as internationally, I take my hat off to Iban Mayo, the Ventoux record smashing Basque. It will all come down to the mountains however and we'll just have to see how it goes.

I know that I will be entertained.

Sunday, July 04, 2004

I just got back from a weekend Yoga retreat. How's that for strangeness. I also got pummeled by a waterfall, got naked with a bunch of men and had my picture taken by Chinese tourists.

Overall, i'm not a yoga sort of guy. While I may be lazy, i'm not actually that interested in relaxation time. I'd rather be doing something interesting or outdoorsy than sitting and relaxing or meditating any day. All that time doing yoga I felt like i was just frittering away while i could be outside riding my bike or rock climbing or something.

Jennifer and I both got a little bit of sunburn while poking around in the waterfall (read concrete spillway) near the yoga retreat. She is a total "robsta".

This is my first fourth of July in a country where it is actually legal to buy fireworks. I bought $30 worth of them last night and we went out to the ol' rice field to blast them off. For your information, it's the Bees that are really the highlight of any home done show. They make a little noise, they fly erratically, glow like freaking UFOs and are cheap to boot. Next time i'm getting $30 worth of those and kissing off the rest of the crap.

Friday, July 02, 2004

I just got back from a bar containing like 45 gaijin. It was the most foreigners I've seen in one place for 9 months and it was scary. We are loud, obnoxious people, particularly when young and drunk. I was also surprised by how hoochie all of jennifer's JET colleagues dress. I saw a lot of titties and hoochie dresses tonight. I guess that loving in Japan is sparse, so people must be going all out for a shag tonight. Anyway, i felt pretty annoyed to be an american, or just a westerner tonight.