Wednesday, September 29, 2004

I didn't really expect it, but it takes about 4 or 5 days to get back into the swing of things from a vacation. I showed up to work on monday and it was just one of those times when i thought, "Gee, what do I do next?" The whole week has kind of been like that. I mostly just show up. I started preparing my lesson for the girls highschool about an hour ago. With luck it won't suck, like other lessons that I've made. Usually I just steal ideas from Jennifer.
Today we're slogging through the dregs of what is hopefully the last typhoon of the season. It's not so bad, but it has dropped a good deal of rain on us for the past few days. Hopefully it will dry off for the weekend and I'll be able to do something fun outside again.
Sorry for the boring post, but pictures are coming soon, brace yourself.

Sunday, September 26, 2004

We're back safe and sound from the Philippines. Yay.
The week was over in a flash and at the beginning I thought that I was going to be hating life to go back to Japan, but as it turns out, round about the time I got sick, I totally changed my tune. I don't know what it is, but I really get ripped up inside on vacations. It was on our trip to Europe a couple of years ago that I really first got the travellers revenge and it was the exact same thing this time. Fortunately, I had learned about the lovely power of Loperamide!! This is the drug most commonly found in anti-motility pills and about 3-6 milligrams will stop you up like you can only imagine. It's pretty amazing how quickly it returns you to the world of the living.
This time was trying because we happened to be on an all day boating expedidtion when I first started to get sick and the combination of extremely loud motor, bright sunshine, intense heat and choppy seas made for an uncomfortable time island hopping.

Aside from the subject of poo, the trip was really a good one. Travelling was quite easy, though it took a long damn time. Something that really amazed me was that there was no language barrier. Almost everyone spoke English and most people spoke it well enough to be conversational. It puts the Japanese to shame man, it really does. You could talk to the grubbiest of boat drivers quite as easily as the desk clerk at the hotel. Travel is slow mostly, i think due to the fact that there are a lot of damn island in the Philippines. I started counting, but I lost track at 2 bazillion. I think in the whole archipeligo there are like maybe 6 or 7 bazillion. Roads are also pretty shit out in the provinces. We spent almost all our time on the island of Palawan. It took us about 9 hours to drive 100 miles, much of that over crappy dirt roads and washed out bridges. It just takes forever.

This is running on, so I'll post more about the details when we develop the film.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

It's official y'all, i've been in this country for exactly a year as of Monday. And what a year it's been. I can now speak a smattering of japanese words and phrases, i have eaten a great number of raw animals and I've not gagged on many. I've learned how to do the mighty telemark turn on skis, I've spent nights drinking under the cherry blossoms and gotten the wicked hangovers to prove it. I've been hit by a car and insulted by 13 year old girls. It's been real people, it's been real.

Thank god i'm leaving this country (if only temporarily) this Saturday. The Philippines will be a welcome respite from Japan. Not like i really hate the place, it's just that it's not as good as home in many ways. For instance, my job involves talking at ignorant highschool girls for 3 hours every week. I would rather shovel manure to be honest, if the pay were right.

Sunday, September 12, 2004

I've been flexing a lot in the mirror lately and I believe that I saw a muscle the other day. I can't be sure, but i've got a hunch that rock climbing has had something to do with that.
This is the first time in my life that I've done an arm intensive sport. From that perspective, it's ridiculously hard, my poor little pencils are just dying out there. I went climbing outdoors with Jodi today, it was rather an exercise in unbridled expectations and biting off a little more than I can chew. I tried to lead a climb, that is to climb up and put in the protecting carabiners ahead of me, and flopped miserably. Of course I picked two that looked cool and were ridiculously difficult to do-idiot. Anyway, I'm getting better and the hubris finally wore off and I managed to lead a climb successfully at the end of day. No crashes, but my toes are just murdered. It seems that my shoes expand and contract at random intervals, today they were too big for my shoes and it just killed. With luck I won't leave my toenails behind like Jodi did upon buying her new shoes.

Monday, September 06, 2004

The astute may notice that in my sidebar links area, the link to Doug's defunct website is gone and Jude's new one has replaced it. Also, i have conveniently added the website of one of my favorite publishers, Velonews. Alf's website is on the out-list and if there aren't any posts in the next week or so, it's outtahere (got that Hickey?)
How's that for a cyber-ultimatum.
I experienced my first earthquake last night. It wasn't particularliy "moving" shall we say, but it sure was cool to feel the entire building shaking for no good reason. It's all the more cool when you realize that it's not just the building, but the entire surface of the earth that is shimmying and shaking around. It was a good end to a frustrating and rainy day in which I had to fix Jennifer's 3speed belt drive bicycle. If ever I have worked on a more cumbersome project, i cannot recall when. It was a blight on my day with no uncertainty. The three hours that i pitched out the window while "repairing" her bike merely resulted in a 6km walk for her this morning as the whole rear hub came apart after my watchful and dilligent ministrations. Goddamn infuriatin.

Also, a shout out for dear old Mom. It's her birthday today, so if you're going to be seeing her soon, give her a hug from her vagrant son.

Thursday, September 02, 2004

Well, we survived the eruption. Honestly in the city there have been no effects. I haven't talked to Andy yet, but I'm hoping to get some interesting info or pictures eventurally.

Another interesting thing; they're building a log house down my route to work and the thing has Pella Windows installed in all of the fittings. Those litttle sheets of glass and casements came all the way from my home state to be slapped into a log cabin in the middle of Nagano City. What a weird world. I imagine that the logs were shipped from somewhere in northern Minnesota too.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

The volcano that we hiked earlier this summer Asama Sama is now actively blowing up. The bodies are scattered everywhere and the power is almost off, thank god for the battery life of this little laptop, i've only a few minutes in which to compose my last will and testament. Here goes:

Ian, you can have my stereo.
Asa, you can take my guitar.
Leah, you can take my cross country skis and crazy hats.
Claire, you get all the kitchen stuff, but you'll probably have to fight for it with Kelly. She's a pushover though.
Mom, don't worry about my student loans, I think that you don't have to pay them back if i die.
Dad, sell my bike and buy a nice urn for my ashes (if they can be sorted from the volcanic debris and the accumulated dust in my apartment)

Everyone else, just do paper rock scissors for the stuff of mine that you want.

Actually though, the mountain really is erupting and probably no one will get killed. Our friend Andy however lives only like 15 kilometers from the mountain, however. It could be a nice show for him tonight.