Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Hey, forgot about Kay!

This photo is of Ai and a little pond in a pot. There are lillies and little baby fish swimming.
Mrs. Jones, my high school Japanese teacher landed in Tokyo last night, and I was able to get ahold of her this evening. We're meeting tomorrow afternoon after I get off work, and going out to Tachikawa. The father of one her students was staying at this guys house 30 years ago or something like that. Don't remember exactly what she said, but we'll hang out tomorrow.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Living in a Sauna

Summer in Tokyo. It's not pleasant. I guess like Florida, hot and very humid, sort of like living in a sauna or walking to a bathroom right after someone's taken a hot shower, only it happens when ever you walk outside. My apartment has an air-conditioner, but I try not to use it too much, because I don't want to get used to it, and I don't want to see the bill at the end of the month. One of my students said that her brother is married to an American, and that she goes back to the US for two months ever July and August to avoid the humidity.

My cousin Kyle is in China right now. He says that it's hot an humid there too. He'll be visiting my in Tokyo for a few days starting next Friday. It's been more than a year since I got here, and including my year in College here, he's only the second person who's visited me here. Even my parents haven't. Kelsey was in Tokyo once, but she was lost in the red light district, and didn't visit me. Mom says that she's applying for a passport though, so maybe I'll see them this fall.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Rugs and spray-on hair

Japan seems to have a bit bigger problem with balding than the US. It's not that more people are bald, actually there are quite a bit fewer bald men here I think. But those that are bald seem to have a bigger problem with it. Comb-overs are very common, they are called "bar codes" here. And occasionally you will even see the classic "blown off comb-over" where it's sticking straight up in the air, or in the opposite direction than it's supposed to.

But bar codes are not the worst of it. There are also many people with rugs, most of which are pretty bad. Usually the giveaway is the sudden transition from normal black hair to black mixed with grey, or straight hair to slightly wavy. Today's rug of the day though was pretty bad. In addition to the two above giveaways, the wig and real hair were slightly different colors, and you could see the netting!

Japan's also got a large array of hair enhancing products like the powders and sprays that could be seen advertised on TV 10 or so years ago in the US. I actually saw one of them in use the other day. There was a man who's head was spray-painted black, and since it was a hot day, a drip of paint mixed sweat was running down his fore-head.

It may just be that I notice these things since I'm packed like a sardine into a train every morning, but it does provide some entertainment for the otherwise dull ride to work and back.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005


Ai and I have just about finalized plans to go to Thailand this summer. Yea! It will be my first trip abroad (Japan doesn't count since it's my home). It's 5 days including airfare and hotel for $438. I tried to find just airfare for a lower price, but I couldn't. Thailand is really cheap, so I was thinking about staying in some cool guest houses or something, which would be less than $10 a night, but since I can't find airfare alone for cheaper than the package, I guess I wont.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Bike shopping

I've been to a few bike shops over the last week. I spend most of Saturday and Sunday shopping with Lyle, but still unsuccessful. First, it's very hard to find a decent bike shop around here. Some shops that I've found might have used to carry good bikes, but they have gotten so buried in unsold parts that you can't find anything, and everything is covered in a layer of dust. One shop I found yesterday had one good Specialized Stumpjumper, their top-of-the-line model, but it was a few years old and buried under piles of other things. Most of these shops seem to have turned to bicycle maintenance to make their money.

But I didn't give up finding a good shop, and after asking a few shops that sold only shopping bikes (single speed, step-through frame with a drum brake in back and baskets) I was directed to a shop in Asagaya, one station from mine, and about 10 minutes by bike. This shop was excellent! I really think it's the biggest shop that I've seen anywhere. There are 5 floors of bikes! The second basement floor is all parts, components, tools and bags; the first basement floor is shoes, clothes, and helmets; the second floor is lower end mountain, city and road bikes; third floor is upper end US bikes; and the fourth floor is upper end European bikes. But all this bike heaven in one building and they still didn't have a frame that fits me. I though I'd try out a 56cm felt, but it seems like there aren't any left in Japan unless some shop is hoarding them. So it's online for me I think.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Beer at 3:30

Today was a pretty stressful day at work for all of us. We are all getting used to the students, and they are getting used to us, which has started to cause problems. I have this class of second year students that are the lowest level in the school, and the reason is evident. They don't do anything. Three of them rarely come to class, and the other two are 20 minutes late every day. On tuesday, the two late ones really pissed me off. First off, they both were exceptionally late. They bring slips from the station master saying that their train was late, and so I am supposed to mark them as present. But they do it every day, and I'm sure that their train is not always late. I chewed them out the day before about it. Because seriously, if it was a job, they would be expected to be on time everyday, regardless of if their train was late or not. So on tuesday, they were 20 minutes late again, and I was tired and wanted to sleep, and didn't feel that I should have to wait for them to show up to school. So after struggling with them for 45 minutes, trying to get some education into their pea sized brains, they girl, (who, by the way, has been at this two year school for four and a half years) asked me if they could have a ten minute break since all the other teachers give their classes ten minute breaks. First, I told her, none of the teachers give ten minute breaks, and even if they did, I wouldn't give one to her since she had come in twenty minutes late. (this, by the way, is the same girl who, when I said she could go get something to drink, went all the way to the connivence store) She really has a pea sized brain.

So today seemed to be the same kind of day that I had on tuesday, so after our last class at 3:30, I was saying that I needed to spend a few ours in a cafe before my 6:30 class, and Vannia said she needed a beer. I thought that was a good idea, so Matt, Vania and I decided to go have a couple beers and bitch about students. It was a great stress reliever, and left me refreshed for my night time class.