Tohoku Earthquake and after update

23 03 2011

So, in short, Im alive, a bit nervous, and no longer doing the 88 Temples in Shikoku (really, I can’t say how sad this makes me, but I’m just not in the right place mentally to take it on at the moment).

Six Months (and not counting)

18 10 2010

Well, it’s official. I’m moving back to Australia sometime next year. I’ve decided not to sign a new contract, so from April I’ll be a free agent. I can’t tell you how much I look forward to not teaching (the little sh*ts).

Actually, my job is still pretty good, and the holidays are still brilliant, but it’s time to move back to the ‘real world’ and get a career. I never wanted to be an English teacher for the rest of my life, and so, I need to start trying for what I want.

Living in Japan for a long period of time has been great. I came (this time) with 3 goals in mind – travel as much of the country as I can, climb Mt Fuji, and pass the Japanese Language Proficiency Test Level 2. I’m pretty happy to say I’ve achieved the first two, and I’m going to make my final attempt of Level 2 in December.

But there are still things I have yet to do. Like go to Ueno Zoo, or Shikoku even… So I made a list (If you haven’t noticed, I like to list things). My 6 month list has a lot on it already, so I won’t bore you with the details, but most things I’ll post about over the next 5 months or so will be things from the list.

For example, the other week I went to the Edo-Tokyo Open Air Architectural Museum. I’ve been meaning to go there for years, and I just lucked out in that on the day I went it was free admission.

The museum is in Kogane park, and contains a number of buildings from Tokyo over the last 200 years or so. In particular, I wanted to go because some of the buildings were used as inspiration for the Studio Ghibli movie Spirited Away. Like the Public Bathhouse –

And the Stationary Store –

But the thing that really struck me was how much I’m going to miss the little details when I leave Japan, like shaped windows and rice paper –

bamboo –

lattice work –

carvings –

and of course gardens –

Although it wasn’t the best examples I’ve seen, the museum was a pleasant day out.  And just enough to satisfy my taste for the Japanese aesthetic.  Check out my other photos on flickr!

Summer in three parts

4 09 2010

September is here, and that means a few things, but mostly – it’s back to school.

This year’s summer vacation was Busy.  Hot.  Exhausting.  But good 😀

For most of my summer I’ve had guests visiting, because it was pretty much my last chance to have people stay before I leave Japan sometime next year.  From now on life in Japan for me will be focused on passing the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT) level 2, and then selling my stuff before moving, and I just won’t be able to dedicate myself to visitors like I usually would.

For the first part of summer I had Angus visit, which I talked about in Blessed are the geek, D-days, and Gundam is Back.

On the day Angus left, I started working for a friend, covering his lessons while he was overseas.  It was really refreshing to teach students who wanted to study English, unlike teaching at a school were they are forced to learn.  It was only night lessons, so during the day I had time to chill out, watch tv, and sort out my house a bit before my next set of guests.

For the final part of the vacation I actually had my friend Michael come for a week to climb Mt Fuji, followed by my father visiting for 10 days just because.  By the end of August I had been expecting the weather to start cooling down, but this year has been most unusual with temperatures continuing to reach up to (and occasionally over) 37 C even into September!  It’s actually been the warmest August in Japan since 1946, so I had started to slow down a bit because of exhaustion.

Shibuya Crossing

Shibuya Crossing

Despite slowing down a little, I still did a lot of sighting seeing with Michael and Dad.  With Michael we went to Shibuya and Harajuku to see the cosplay kids hanging out there, and Asakusa and Odaiba to see a bit of Tokyo’s history and skyline.  With my Dad, his main requests were to go to Tokyo Tower and Odaiba, so we spent a couple of days doing that.  We also saw Inception, went to the National Nature and Science Museum in Ueno, and probably most exciting for me – went to Disneyland for my birthday!

Rainbow Bridge and Himiko Ferry

Rainbow Bridge and Himiko Ferry

So, overall, this vacation was busy, hot, exhausting, but fun!  (and I went to Disney 3 times! win!!)