Friday, December 24, 2004

Merry X-mas

I'm at Ai's house for the weekend. Right now I'm watching TV with her and her mom. Last night before I came up to Tokyo, I was able to pick up the box that mom sent from the post office, so we opened it last night. Mom sent a bunch of candy, two german cookbooks, and a "Monsters INC." looking scarf for Ai. I got a scarf from Ai, and a new camera from Ma and Pa (but I bought it here).

I was going to update my blog a few times this week, but each time I noticed that even my own mother hasn't posted a reply to my survey, so I didn't.

On Sunday afternoon, I am taking the ferry across Tokyo Bay to Takeyama to visit with some friends from WWU, and hopefully go sailing. I am also teaching a dentist that has an office in my area, and he has a sailboat too, so maybe I will have sailing opportunities in the near future.

Monday, December 13, 2004

Transportation Cost Survey

Keikyu with Holga
Originally uploaded by noexit.
I have been wanting to do a small survey on transportation costs. So post in the comments how much you spend each month on transportation. That includes gas, car payments, insurance, and any other miscellaneous costs. Just make it an average estimate for one person for one month, and if you get any reimbursements from your company for commuting expenses, mention that too.
This is in response to some comments that transportation in Japan is expensive, (but it's usually the same people that ask if I can eat Japanese oranges, and interrupt me to ask if I can use chopsticks (while I'm using chopsticks)) and so I became curious. I'll compile results and post my estimates in a week or so.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004


I already had to submit tax paperwork for my Japanese taxes. All I really had to do was write my name and address, and that I had health insurance, and give it to someone at my company. They take care of the rest, but it seems not too hard anyway.

So then I decided to see what US taxes were going to be like for me this year. Holy Moley!!!!! it's going to suck!!!! No more 1040EZ for me! The rules about weather or not I can claim that I'm a bona-fide resident of Japan alone are mind boggling. If I can say that I am, I can deduct housing costs and $70,000 of income, so I'll basically not have to pay any tax, but if not, I'm going to be taxed to hell!

Sunday, December 05, 2004

Did you know?

Did you know that approx. 7 million college students could have gotten their 4 years of school paid for with the amount of money that has been spent so far in the Iraq war?


Friday, December 03, 2004

Job Hunting

I've spent most of today and yesterday (when I wasn't puking) job hunting. Mostly I've been looking for teaching positions in Tokyo, and I've found a couple that are really close to where I want to live. They are mostly teaching young kids though, some younger than the first graders that I teach now, and I don't really want to be a baby sitter.

My other option is to try finding a job that is not in the teaching field. This would be ideal because I'm going to move back to the US sometime, and kind of job will I be able to get if the only work experience I have is teaching little kids english? But what can I do? I'm pretty good with computers; I worked for Western's Tech support department for almost 2 years. But I know almost nothing about programing, and my Japanese ability is not quite business level, so I don't see where I could apply it. The only other thing that I can think of is that I'm good at research. Since my major was basically a history degree, I should be at least. But does that mean I'm good at writing? I'm not really a good judge of my own writing. It never seems to come out how I had intended. I think I'd be pretty good at translating though, but I don't have any official experience working for someone as a translator, which every job posting I've seen requires.

Ai's been going through the same problems as me for quite a while now. At first she was thinking about the things that are popular among female college grads; working for an airline or a travel agency. Now she's thinking a lot bigger. So I think her chances of finding a good job are pretty high. She's referred me to a consulting company that helps people find employment in various fields. One thing that I remember a private student of mine telling me is that in Japan, you don't really need to know anything about the job you are going to be doing. Companies expect that you didn't learn anything in University, so they will give you all the necessary training. He started out working for Oracle, and was at the time working for EMC as a computer programmer making 12,000,000 yen ($120,000) a year. He said that his company would probably even hire me after I graduated and returned to Japan. I wish I still had his email address...

Sick! Sick! Sick!

I got very sick last night for some reason. Last night I had dinner before going to my private lesson, and when I got back I had a little more something to eat. About half way through, my stomach started feeling strange, and starting around 2 am, I began throwing up. Fun, huh? I couldn't even drink water. Must have been something I ate. When I woke up, I had one last puke of all the water I'd tried to drink, and began hunting for what I'm supposed to do to call in sick. I called the school and my company by 8am, and went to sleep. By 11am, I was finally able to eat a pice of bread and drink water, but I couldn't eat anything more until around 3pm. Now I'm just sitting here wit ha fever.

I really didn't want to have to call in sick ever, and this day was supposed to be my last day at this particular school. I Think I will be able to re-schedule the missing classes for my last day of work, next February.

Now I get to spend the rest of tonight looking for a new job. Not because I called in sick, I don't like the company I'm working for much, and I want to move to Tokyo next spring. Hopefully, I can find a job making a little more than I am now. I'm really not getting paid enough.