Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Yokohmama Day Trip Vids.

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Sweet escalator. Right?


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Penguins! Marvelous.

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DORY! OH yeah.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Hump Day

Hi all,

Japan remains. Let me catch you up.

Friday was a nice evening. I actually decided to eat my own food here and just lay low for the evening. Because of the SWEET new reading material that Amanda gifted us with, I was completely content with myself and my book(s). Life of Pi was a pretty cool read. It's a novel about a boy and a tiger...that's all I'll say. Pick it up if you get a chance. Here's an interesting quote from the book:

"Christianity is a religion in a rush. Look at the world created in seven days. Even on a symbolic level, that's creation in a frenzy. To one born in a religion where the battle for a single soul can be a relay race run over many centuries, with innumerable generations passing along the baton, the quick resolution of Christianity has a dizzying effect. If Hinduism flows placidly like the Ganges, then Christianity bustles like Tokyo at rush hour. It is a religion as swift as a swallow, as urgent as an ambulance. It turns on a dime, expresses itself in an instant. In a moment you are lost or saved. Christianity stretches back through the ages, but in essence it exists only at one time: right now."

Chew on...then digest.

Anyways, Saturday turned out to be really great too. We spent the day with Yamaji-sensei, one of the teachers from the kindergarten. She doesn't speak much English but we were accompanied by her parents who do! We traveled to Boso Villiage, an old area dating back to the Edo Period. It was really interesting. Here are a few pictures.-- Thanks Sarah and Krista for letting me gank a couple of these from your Facebook!


Male kimono...
I wanted to at least have a tough pose.



On Sunday, we did the usual. Mall, church, mall/groceries, hang out. Here's a peek at my groceries for the week:


oj, ham, bananas, lettuce, mandarin oranges, carrot, blueberry yogurt, bread, tomatoes, ramen...

On Monday evening, we made a trip to Katoko-sensei's house. She is the mother of Satoko who met us at Kabukiza theater a couple of weeks ago. We went to their house at about 6:30 and spent the evening making and eating some really unique (and delicious) foods. The main dish was called takoyaki. Takoyaki is basically like a pancake ball with a slice of octopus in the center. It was pretty tasty and we all ate wayyyyy too much. Here are a few pics from the night!


Takoyaki. Finished product. Yummm.


After dinner, happy as can be.


Dessert of doughnuts and tea. I snagged Teto for the pic!

So that's it for now. I wanna read and then sleep!
Bye
mikeyoder.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

encROACHment

Hola.
Thought I'd throw a little Spanish greeting in there tonight...Let me get into it.

Well, the title speaks multitudes this time around. Last blog's title was pretty random, I've had Winnie the Pooh songs stuck in my head for a solid 2 weeks, ergo the "stuffed with fluff" referral.
Tonight's blog deals with the serious encROACHment that has taken place in the past week. Let me elaborate:

First, encroachment by definition: intrusion on, trespass on, invasion of, infiltration of, incursion into, infringement of, impingement on.
Definition in place, let me further explain what an encROACHment is. Simply, it is the encroachment of a cockroach. These cockroaches don't care much 'bout my eating space, sleeping space, or personal space...

Last week, I went to the kitchen to grab a little evening snack of yogurt and mandarin oranges. I opened the door, flipped on the lights, and quickly noticed three things that didn't belong. It's like that song that Oscar and Elmo used to sing on Sesame Street; "one of these things just doesn't belong here, one of these things just doesn't belong."

I saw three over-sized, larger than life, bigger than Texas, wider than the ocean, blacker than the night, uglier than a uni-brow, worse than a kiss from your sister, no-good, dirty rotten, scum of the earth COCKROACHES. They were all in my spaghetti stash. I was not happy or pleased. I grabbed the nearest thing which happened to me which happened to be a spaghetti strainer. I MEANT BUSINESS. I wanted dead roaches. I tried to get them in one fell swoop but they were far too fast. Two shimmied up to their corner-hole house and one lucky sucker escaped behind the air conditioning unit right before I could annihilate him. Suddenly, I wasn't as excited about my yogurt and mandarin oranges.

The same thing happened the following night. However, I was a bit more prepared and anticipated the movement of one of the smaller, dang roaches. He was toast. The other two escaped. In a nutshell my kill count for the kitchen is 2. I think there might be one more stinker running around.

Then, two days ago, the unthinkable happened. I came back to my room to take a shower. I had two shirts on; one long sleeve and then a shorter sleeved over top of that...I took off the first shirt and felt a DANG old roach in my hair!!!! I flipped out. Luckily, I had my shirt in hand and quickly swatted that such and such. I still don't know where that thing came from. It really seems like it was between my shirts but I don't know how that's possible. I don't really want/need to think about it. All I'm saying is encROACHment needs to stop!
My kill count is up to three. Here is proof in high quality:





On a brighter note...

Tonight was super good. We met a woman named Amanda. She graduated from Spring Arbor and spent a semester at the kindergarten 6 years ago. She was the Spring Arbor pioneer to Japan. Anyways, she has spent the last two years teaching English in China and is on her was back to the States for a 2 month vacation. She stopped in to visit and we got to eat sushi tonight with her and just talk! It is really refreshing to talk...Anyways, she was great and gave us a few pointers and memories. Also, she brought books. I am so happy and grateful. English books here are hard to find and expensive. Because I left in such a flurry, I only packed two books and have really needed some new material. I am so happy. I dug into The Life of Pi tonight and am seriously digging it. It won some pretty prestigious awards a few years back... Anyways, here are 2 pics from us doing some damage at the sushi bar:


"You like it fresh? Let me fillet this guy for you real quick."


krista, sarah, me, amanda, katoko. sushi=happy faces.

hey thanks for reading.

mike

Monday, June 22, 2009

Stuffed with Fluff.

Kombanwa (Good Evening),

How is everybody? Let me say that it was pretty great to talk to my dad and aunts and uncles on Father's Day! Skype is so good, so good.
Blog business:
So I had a really cool weekend. Lemme start on Friday night and work through Monday. Sound good? Okay.

I've always been a person who enjoys Friday nights. Whether it was in junior high begging my parents to let me go to the football games or chilling with the boys after Little Caesars in high school, Friday just seems like the most appropriate night to go out and do something. So when Friday rolls around in the Land of the Rising Sun, I think my attitude towards them remains the same. At any rate, I decided that a trip to the sushi bar was a splendid idea for my night. Then, I would hang out around Big Hop, cruise on my two-wheeler, and jam to some music. I invited the girls but they weren't necessarily "feeling it." That didn't stop me. I made it to the sushi bar (about 20 min bike ride) and walked in. I think the people there get a kick out of me. There are probably so few "gaijin" or foreigners who eat there... During the day and early evening, sushi is displayed on a conveyor belt that winds throughout the restaurant. Then, you just check out the different plates and snatch what you like. Since I didn't arrive until about 7:15, they didn't have any sushi on the belt. That's okay though, ordering it makes it even more tastier and fun. I gave my man behind the counter a nod and pointed to a platter combination on the menu. Here's a video of my experience and new favorite place in Inzai...


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Sushi coverage.



After sushi, I grabbed my bike and headed for the Big Hop mall. It's pretty cool at night, especially when it's not raining. I usually don't really buy anything at the mall. Strolling suits me just fine. Friday nights aren't too busy. I got to the middle of the mall, sat out by one of the many fountains, and played some Solitaire--is that ironic, appropriate, or both? Oh yeah, I also snagged a Toblerone from the candy store. I know how to do it UPPP! haha. I traveled back home and read for the rest of my night. A couple pics:


Big Hop. me enjoying Toblerone by the fountain.

This weekend, we hadn't made any concrete plans. Since we traveled into Tokyo midweek, we all agreed that we should probably hang around here for the weekend.

I had heard much talk about Japanese hot springs or onsen. Onsen are super popular here. I read about the certain etiquette and procedures that one needs to follow. I thought it sounded pretty relaxing and talked to Keiko and Minako a bit about it. They had been a few times and said that they are pretty nice. I asked the girls if they wanted to go but the politely declined...

Perhaps four years ago I would have been a bit more apprehensive about the whole nudity thing that coincides with onsen etiquette. The thing is, when you go to these places, no one really cares that you are even there. They don't stare at each other. They don't make you feel awkward. Plus, I don't know ANY of them. Bonus!!! I went for it. And...

I don't regret it. In fact, I recommend it!

It was incredibly relaxing. The water in the big hot springs (inside) is actually trucked in from the northern part of Japan. It was sort of grayish but smelled really nice. I'm not sure what minerals were in the water but it said it was "good for aches and pains." The outside part had two smaller, round tubs. One had crystal clear warm water and the other had freezing cold water. They also had a sauna and a little garden area. I rotated between the four things and spent about an hour and a half. Here's a pic I found on wikipedia on the onsen page. It shows what a typical washing area looks like. You are required to wash and rinse extremely well before entering the hot springs... Some pics say 2,000 words...


I hope you are "cracking" up. haha.

Anyways, On Sunday morning we went to church with Minako. Every Sunday, we leave the kindergarten by 8:30 and then spend about an hour in the mall across the street from the church. I usually go to Starbucks and read/listen to music. Then, the church service starts at 10:30 and last until about 11:45. Then we go back over to the mall, eat lunch, and then buy our groceries for the week.
We went out for dinner with the Nishimuras for Father's Day. It was a cool traditional place just down the road from the kindergarten. We sat on the tatami mats, low table, legs crossed and all. It was great food and a great time...

That brings me to Monday. Here is a quick video of a class I was in on Monday morning:

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Kiddies in class.


me with the kids!


Thanks again for reading!!!!

mike.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Ferris Bueller's Day Off: Photos and Blog

Hey everybody,

So we have had a pretty awesome week so far. We were surprised on Tuesday night when Keiko-san told us that we were going to make a trip into Tokyo on Wednesday to see the very famous Kabuki-za Theater in Tokyo. I was incredibly pumped. (That was one of the remaining places left on my list to visit.) Plus, we got Hump-Day off from work!!! If that's not enough, the kindergarten paid for it... Boo-ya.

Anyways, we hopped on the train @ 8:00 a.m. and headed for Tokyo. We made it to the theatre just fine and waited in line for tickets. It's a serious deal! We planned to meet Keiko-san's niece Satoko and her friend Mai at the theatre.

After the hour long act, the five of us headed to Asakusa, the oldest region of Tokyo. Very famous, very historical, very cool. We ate some lunch at this ridiculously cool restaurant and then strolled in Asakusa, shopped, and snapped a few photos:

Five-Storied Pagoda.

We had a wonderful time with the girls. They were super fun and want to teach us how to make some Japanese dishes later on this summer. In exchange, I vowed to teach them how to make some Hot N' Ready style pizzas. Well, maybe not HNRs, but pizza nonetheless...
.
me, krista, sarah, mai, satoko.

Satoko and Mai headed back to Chiba New Town and we spent the afternoon/evening in Tokyo's Odaiba area. It is one of the "newest" parts of Tokyo as it is literally constructed on some reclaimed land right on Tokyo Bay. We got there and visited a Toyota Showroom, rode a big Ferris wheel, and then headed for the waterfront. I knew a replica of Lady Liberty was somewhere along beach and we found her.

I touched my heart for her...

We really liked the beach in front of Rainbow Bridge. On the way over to Odaiba, our train (see vids) came over beside and then under the cars! It was cool. Here is me rockin with Rainbow Bridge in the background:

Loving life at Rainbow Bridge.

Then, I thought that it would probably be an awesome idea to have an "Awkward Senior Picture" photo shoot along the water. We made up some fresh, new poses and also abused the classics...


Fresh New Pose. Name is still in the works. Maybe you have one?


Classic Awkward Rock Pose.

We worked our way to "The Best Burger Place in Tokyo" called Kua' Aina. Most of the tour books I have concur on the issue... It's a Hawaiian restaurant with only four in the World; 2 in Hawaii, 1 in Santa Montica, 1 in Tokyo! I coaxed the girls into going and we definitely didn't regret it.

The view was awesome. (See night pics below)
Burgers, tasty as can be.
Hawaiian radio station playing through the speakers.
Obama's been there. (Pic of him paying on the wall)


Avocado burger, rings, fries, Coke. Delectable won't even work to describe...


I read about this area and mentioned that it would probably a nice place to see the night view...Thanks Small Planet Tour Book...

Lady Lib and Rainbow Bridge at night...


Rainbow Bridge, Tokyo Tower, and party boats at night.


Yeah, so we had a pretty complete day. Very very fun. This weekend, I am hoping to visit a sento somewhere around Inzai Shi or Makinohara. I'll fill you in on that later on...

bye bye. see ya.

mike

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Ferris Bueller's Day Off: Vlogs

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Lunch. okonomiyaki. So good!

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Train into Odaiba.

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Ferris Wheel.

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Kua' Aina Burger Place. Whitney Houston was on the radio. Couldn't have been better.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Rainy Blogs.

To the faithful readers:

Hello!
I want to start this blog out by saying that I apologize for not writing in a week and a half. Dang. I’m sorry.
Well, Japan continues to be a challenge and a blessing. The challenges ebb and the blessings flow.
Let me catch you all up to speed.
The work at the Kindergarten is busy. By the time 6:00 p.m. rolls around, I am drained and ready for a little alone and rest time. So how do I spend my evenings here? Good question.

Last week consisted of: reading, Yahtzee and Catch Phrase with the girls, a jigsaw puz of Mt. Fuji (how appropriate), music, and 1984 by Orwell audiobook. Oh yeah, then there is the Skype action that I need. I love hearing the weather/farming updates, softball scores, Keim kids, Brighton highlights, etc… Also, last night I watched about 1hour of Simon and Garfunkel videos on YouTubes. They are going to be in Tokyo for a reunion tour at the end of the summer. I would like to get to that…probably won’t happen.

Last weekend, we decided to make a trip to see the Chiba Lotte Marines play baseball. They were scheduled to play the Hanshin Tigers, the equivalent to our NYYanks. The marines are actually managed by Bobby Valentine, former MLB manager and player. We boarded the train and crossed our fingers, as we were hoping to get tickets at the stadium. Didn’t happen. It was sold out and then some. I was optimistic. I really wanted to watch some baseball but I am always down for some adventure. On the way to the stadium, I noticed some signs for a beach…
Plan B. We eventually left the stadium and made our way to the beach. The beach is part of Tokyo Bay and wasn’t particularly pristine. However, I really enjoyed it. I waded out into the shallows and watched these crazy jumping fish. They usually jumped three times in a row, like they were trying to fly. It was rad and made me LOL and ROFL. haha.
After the beach, I saw a Japanese garden and really wanted to walk through. We saw that it cost 100 yen, which is about $1, well worth it.

We grabbed some decent noodles on the way back to the train station. We stumbled upon some street musicians who turned out to be pretty sweet. The were jamming some American acoustic songs. I like that. Then, a lady came up to us and mentioned that they were all missionaries. We stayed and talked with them in the park for about 30 mins and eventually missed our train…No biggie.

We made it back to Inzaimakinohara station. The girls were tuckered out. They grabbed their bikes and headed back to the kindergarten. I stayed out, explored, and jammed to some music…Mostly Regina Spektor, oddly enough… I guess it worked out.

Anyways, here are a few recent pictures. I’ll try to be better and update more.
Thanks for reading.

mike.

Frequenting the Big Boy. Nothing like U.S. Big Boy. They do have stellar waffle fries though.

C.Nan. + M.Yo = Okay!

Lions are super-cool too.

Gospel choir with the ladies...Overjoyed. obviously.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Swipes and Blows.

Greetings and salutations.

It’s Thursday night here at Inzai Shion Kindergarten and all is quiet. I am currently digesting my dinner of eggs, ham, and potatoes but still chewing on some thoughts…
I think I’ll get some of them on here. I have no complaints. I just want to talk about excessiveness.

In Excess:

1. Fish. Fish cakes. Fish patty. Fish ball. Fish cream.
2. Rice. Rice cakes. Rice patty. Rice ball. Rice cream.
3. Behinds. (Forgetting to pull pants to waist before hitting the playground or classroom.)
4. “Below the belt” blows to Mike-sensei.
5. “Credit card” swipes on Mike-sensei. (Reply comments if definition of "credit card" is needed.)

Haha. Ok. But seriously. Too much of those things. Especially #s 4 and 5.

This week was again fantastic. We got things started off completely right on Sunday with that crazy-good BBQ. I’ll let the picture speak, just multiply it by 10 and then you’ll have a pretty good idea…

Corn on Cob. Horse-radish salad. Beef steak. Yakisoba. Potato.

On Sunday evening, we went into town with Minako-san and purchased some groceries for the week. We get a 3000 yen (about $30) budget per week which is plenty for me. I buy things like spaghetti, Coca Cola, lettuce, broccoli, asparagus, lunch meat, bread, ham, sushi, ramen, bananas, yogurt, eggs, potatoes, pastries, etc…It’s nice to be in control of what you eat for dinner. It’s also nice to have an inkling of what exactly it is that you are eating. Let me rabbit trail… I think I took that for granted before this. I really like trying new foods but I don’t like the unexpectedness that comes with so many of the foods here. It’s like this: Have you ever drank water from a glass that you thought was going to be Sprite? Or, have you ever put salt in your coffee, thinking it was sugar? Well I HATE those few moments of realization just after consumption. Almost everyday at lunch, I eat something that gives me this same hated feeling. Understand, it’s not actually the taste of the morsel, it’s not knowing what it is beforehand! I have a process for solving these mysteries but it regularly fails.

Recent examples:
Fishy paste disguised as a prune.
Custard filled pastry that was really a pastry laced with butter.
Chicken that’s fish. Fish that’s chicken.

The work at the kindergarten is a blast. It is actually boosting my confidence. It seems like if I am able to work with and teach kids who speak a completely different language, than I will excel in the States. Maybe I’ll use that for some leverage in the job hunt…

What else. I’ve been representing the Red Wings over here. I wear my shirt too much and had a really gnarley/pubescent playoff beard for a week or two. I am actually downloading the games from iTunes at the moment…


That's all I've got.

mike.

P.S. A few pics...


My people doing BBQ their way.

Yui-chan, me, Naomi-chan. They define "sweetheart."
Also, my two new girlfriends...haha.

Hiroto and me. He's a good man. At age 5.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Park and Go.

Saturday in the park…
I think it was the 30th of May…

Free day today. Wow. So much to write about! I have pics, vids, and a really amazing story to tell…Better get down to business. Here are some photos and vids from Ueno Zoo:

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vlog+seals and sea lions


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Seal is a singer too. Kiss from a rose.

Amazing Story:


Okay, you might want to make yourself comfortable. Perhaps dim you screens to prevent eye damage…this could be many words. I really think it will be worth it for you.

Every Saturday, we get a day off from the kindergarten. We are able to choose whatever activity we want to do. Obviously, in and around Tokyo, there are many different choices. On Thursday evening, I was looking through a travel book of Tokyo and found a page about Ueno Zoo. I mentioned my random idea to the girls and they were up for it.

So…
This morning, we got on our bikes, headed to Inzai Makinohara train station, and hopped on the train bound for Tokyo. We made it to the zoo. As you saw from the videos, I really enjoyed the seals…We spent about 3 hours at the zoo and then decided to explore the park and area that surrounded the zoo. I had a map of the Ueno area and so we started off with no destination. We saw people everywhere and a pretty nice park/fountain area. I suggested that we sit by the fountain and rest for a bit (my dogs were barkin.) We sat for a while and discussed what we should do in the area with the rest of our day.

Then…
I heard music from across the pond. A bit A.D.D. perhaps, I just started walking towards the sound. The music became louder as I was walking and I thought that it really sounded like a Christian hymn (in Japanese of course.) As I neared the massive group of seated people, 2 senses were triggered: First, I saw a box with a cross. Simultaneously, I smelled a truly putrid scent in the air. I realized that it was a Christian outreach/ministry to the homeless. We observed from the back of the seated “congregation.” I thought that it was so amazing how we seemingly stumbled upon a Christian outreach, in the heart of a park, literally surrounded with Buddhist shrines, in a city with 30 million people, in a country with 1% of its people proclaiming Christianity as their religion.

Homeless


His hat says "keep spirit." I don't know if I could.

It’s getting good…
I took a few pictures and just witnessed the poor, downtrodden, hopeless people on the pavement and the wealthy, successful, and busy pass by them on the sidewalks. Then, I looked to my right saw a familiar face 20 feet away from me! I realized instantly that it was the Japanese Pastor Ryosaku Inoue that preached to and prayed over our group in Ann Arbor, Mi back in March. (Because this is part of my college undergrad, we had to take an orientation class that included a trip to a Japanese church and other cultural experiences to “get out feet wet.”) We locked eyes and he immediately recognized us. We walked towards him with shared looks of unbelief. How could we run into someone we know in this place??? We talked to him and exchanged email information. (He wants to take us to a baseball game.) He introduced us to his friend Andy, who is a Japanese language professor at Hope College. I asked them if they were helping out with the ministry and he said that they had 5 students who were serving with a food giveaway across the park. We chatted for a bit and then went over to talk to some of the Hope students. It is absolutely incredible that we would run into someone who knows us and prayed for us before our departure.

Sarah, me, Pastor Inoue, Krista

Latest realization…
I knew that my friend, Rachel Hashimoto, whom I met @ Bay Shore camp years ago, was going to be in Japan this summer as well. I Facebooked her a week ago and touched base to see how long she was going to be here. Then, tonight I went to write on her wall and it clicked that she is here with the professors and students from Hope! (Incredible x10.) We will hopefully meet up with these people sometime in the not too distant future. What a day!?

I know that coincidences happen.-->you know, like 2 girls buy the same prom dress or something. Today was beyond coincidence. I literally can’t put it into words. Big God? Yeah, you could say that.

Once again, thanks for reading.→Especially this lengthy chronicle.

peace.
mike.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Raccoon Dog

Hey all,

The first week of work at the kindergarten is done. The first two days were a bit overwhelming. We were shown so many different things:
storage places, how to run the copier, English teaching schedule, cleaning schedule, after school program rotations, etc…the list literally goes on. As if that’s not enough in itself, all of these directions are either written or spoken in broken English. Top that with the cherry of 350 kindergartners screaming Japanese, grabbing any of my extremities, probing crevices, and dangling from my mandatory “teaching apron.” I guess I was pretty tired the first few days, but Fridaaaaaaay was a comin.

Everyday I find something that really makes me laugh. I guess it doesn’t really matter if things are funny to anyone else, so long as I get amusement/joy from them. Here are a few of the funnier moments:

1. Finding Daisuke. This little guy will repeat pretty much anything I say, in English obviously. How about some dialogue?

Mike- “Good morning”
Daisuke- “Good morning”
M- “How are you?”
D- “How are you?”
M- “I’m fine, thanks.”
D- “I’m fine, thanks.”
M- “Mike’s really cool.”
D- “Mike’s really cool.”
M- “Mike’s pretty funny.”
D- “Mike’s pretty funny.”
M- “Haha.”
D- “hahahaha.”
You get the drift… That’s really good and cheap entertainment here.

Daisuke playing in Dino.

2. While studying my Japanese lessons today, I learned how to write and say many different animal names. Like, snake = he bi; dog = i nu; horse = u ma; and…………………………………......drum roll……………………………………….
ta nu ki= raccoon dog. I laughed for a long while at that. Maybe my laughter came from my intense studying or from the thought of an actual raccoon dog. Funny for you too? In any case, please re-read the aforementioned, bold sentence.


3. Reading t-shirts here. Absolutely priceless. My top 2 so far:

“Don’t swallow around the chaos.”
“North Dakota Justifies”
“Their are so much bring.”


After a very experiential, yet not too delectable dinner prepared by the girls, we all grabbed our one speeds and biked through the misty rain to the Big Hop mall in Inzai Shi.
Big Hop----------------------------------------------me @ Big Hop.

I brought my laptop so I could chill and catch up on some blogging while the girls shopped. I was hoping to snag some f. fries from one of the restaurants in the food court but they apparently closed sometime before 8:40. Bummer! I guess we will just have to hit up the Mini-Mart on the way home to settle this hunger battle once-and-for-all.

Tomorrow, we are going to the Ueno Zoo. Apparently it’s supposed to be rad. Peace be upon you.

Bye everybody, bye.

mike.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Short Update.

Hey everybody,
Short update here. Kindergarten is good. I had to run to the convenience store for some pick-me-ups. Not that I'm down, I just really need some chocolate or something after meals or during the day... Here are a few pics from the last two days:


I rode my bike a mile in the rain for this stuff...Well worth it!

Good morning!

Playing with the young ones.

Ready to attack me...

Bye... video

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Kindergarten!

Hey Everybody,

We began working at the Inzai Shion Kindergarten on Monday morning. I am living on the second floor of the kindergarten, right above the main staff offices. So far, it has been so much fun. We work pretty long days. Our schedule varies but has been something like:

8:30-10:30 play/teach English to students.
10:30-12:00 Japanese Lesson/Class.
12:00-1:30 Lunch/Class visits
1:30-2:15 Bus preparation/boarding
3:00-6:00 After school program or daycare.

The kids are super cute and fun. They jump off the bus in their uniforms with huge smiles on their faces. They say, "Good morning, Mike sensei." It is pretty sweet. I will post some pics of the kids and campus in my next blog. They have made it really fun. One bummer is the language barrier. I speak so little Japanese. We are working on it! I have had minor headaches the last two days and have been completely tired out at night. I don't think it's the busyness of the day but rather hearing Japanese all day. It is so foreign to me and wears me out after a solid 8 hours...haha, part of the job I guess...

Last night, I went on a nice tour of the area. I took my rockin bike and went south from the school. I basically wanted to explore and take some pictures along the way. I saw some cemeteries, miles of rice paddies, and a baseball diamond. I found an awesome river with anglers doing their thing along its banks. I'd heard that bass fishing was pretty big over here...Anyways, I snapped a few pics of my men who were bringing in some big ones. (I actually saw a couple guys catch some.) Chad, they were using rubber worms and hot n' tots. The bike ride turned out to be quite a bit longer than expected, if you know what I mean. Here are a few pics from my ride:



This evening, the teachers from the school showed us how to make miso soup. Miso soup is really popular here. Mom and Dad both know the taste :) Anyways, it was a really cool time to hang out with them and get to know them a little better. Most of them are actually between 22-25. They work really hard and seem to really enjoy their jobs.


I think I missed home for the first time last night. I woke up in the middle of the night and really wished that I could hear kindergartners that were speaking my language...I guess I'll just have to learn more Japanese for the now :)

Well, it's 9:30 here and time for me to read a bit and then hit it. Goodnight, thanks for reading.

Mike