Monday, April 28, 2008

Adventures of a Quarter Century Man

The karaoke... IT NEVER ENDS!!!

A couple weeks ago I made a trip to Tokyo to pick up Ali (casting a spell on me above) which marks the beginning of Guest Star Season in Ichinomiya. Ali's a karaoke natural, so she fit in just fine here! As seen in Tara's pictures (previous post, please check links) many a crazy day was spent experiencing Japan. Unfortunately I wasn't able to hop around the country with them every weekend, but I kept myself busy with many manly things:

Last weekend I ended up at 2 barbecues, the Sunday version hosted by my favourite local Hawaiian Bar's Bartender. The weather was perfect, and it was my first experience with an outdoor Japanese bbq. Yes, it's different, and we still used chopsticks. Meat and vegetables chopped up into small manageable pieces, grilled up nice, and then thrown in your bowl of dipping sauce. Delicious! Oh, and of course there were skewers of mini-squid to be had as well. Mmmm....sooo many legs!

The previous weekend I played in my second Japanese soccer tournament. Yep, so far that's 2 tournaments, one practice, and one win.... out of the roughly 10 tournament games. After the tournament our team discussed the benefits of practicing again before we enter another tournament, and it was generally agreed that this was a smart move. More importantly than our successes, we had a good time running around on the mini soccer field and it has been good practice for my Japanese as well, since most of the team members don't speak much English.

The weekend I picked Ali up at the airport was my 3rd visit to Tokyo. Tokyo is big, crowded, bustling and energized as you'd expect, and it actually doesn't appeal to me that much. What I enjoyed more was getting to visit Yoshi and his family again! Yoshi was featured on this blog around the start of May last year when Tara and I travelled to Tokyo to meet her family. We first met Yoshi in Canada while he was attending Western. It's interesting to spend time with him because he seems a lot more Canadian than he is Japanese. I spent Saturday afternoon in Tokyo before Yoshi's dad met me at a train station to drive me back to their home. So, for anyone who knows Yoshi - Derrick, Justin, Kevin... - he and his family are doing well, and were most hospitable to me. Also, Kevin, I introduced Yoshi to your solo album and he "really really liked it a lot". Sorry to leave personal messages for Kevin on here, but he's been hard to track down recently since he's been TOURING NEW YORK CITY WITH HIS BAND!!! In case anyone hadn't heard.

The day after Ali arrived was my birthday. The picture (top) sums it up, and it was a great 2 weeks! Next up, Tara and I depart tomorrow morning for a 1 week trip to Nagasaki and area. As soon as we're back, Meaghan's coming into town. Check back soon, the fun promises not to stop!


Monday, April 21, 2008

Photo Overload!!!

Hisashiburi ne!!!!
Soo you may have noticed a lack of picks on here and you can blame me, because I discovered facebook is MUCH easier and faster to load pictures onto. However, I just discovered a link to each album that allows for public viewing! So if you want to see what we have been up to lately (and there is a lot) please check out these albums!!!

#1: Its Sakura time again!!

#2: A day of Ninja training

#3: Birthday Bonanza!! We actually had a total of 3 parties; bowling on my b-day, Karaoke (with an Ali!) on Ian's b-day, and a combined blowout last friday (from which more pics will come..)

#4: Small Bean Island!! This one takes slightly more explanation. Basically Ali and I had to pick a destination for this weekend, and ended up changing our minds about 5 time - until that is, we came across a little place called Shodoshima (Translation: Small Bean Island). Obviously we had to go.
However seeing as we decided this halfway through Saturday (the day we were supposed to leave) and the island is about halfway across the country and takes much travel, we were just a bit rushed!
I've posted our itinerary so you can get an idea of what we went through, and let me say, I have to hand it to Japan for their meticulous punctuality. The majority of our changeovers (and there were many) ranged from 3 minutes, to a wopping 13 minutes!!

Trip Details: 4:30 pm: leave nagoya and head to Okayama (2 hour shinkansen ride)
Sat. night: check into the local Toyoko inn; Ali debates the risks of them hunting me down if she steals the pajamas. Then we find salad, juice, and hot sake. Okayama is cooool.
Sun 6:20am wake up
7:11: catch train to port. We later find out that there was actually a port IN Okayama, and this train ride was unnecessary, however if we had caught that we wouldn't have gotten the chance to ride a train for an hour filled with Highschool boys. Anyone who has seen highschool kids here will know that this was hilarious.
8:35: Catch ferry
10:10: Hello Small Bean!!
11:11: After MUCH confusion, and a brief terrifying moment where we thought we would have to take a ferry back at 1:30 (because 3 hours is just not enough for Small Bean) our tour starts. However during our wait for the bus, we realize that Small Bean is actually quite famous for Olives.....
Olive Chocolate? Olive Mochi? Olive Candy? Anyone???
11:11-3:17 : We wind through the mountains via bus, cable car and feet; we visit a gorge; have someone compliment our eyelashes and feed us free noodles; buy olive paraphernalia; See a few monkeys; and then the tour ends
3:30: With AMAZING teamwork we pull off running from the bus terminal to the ferry port, grabbing our backpacks, buying our tickets, and jumping on the ferry to okayama
4:45: bus to station (and a nice sleep..)
6:28: Shinkansen to Kyoto/Nagoya.
8:00: Ali gets to Kyoto
9:00 I get back to Ichinomiya
Ummm yeah. We pretty much spent 30 full hours travelling nonstop halfway across the country for an island called "Small Bean"

Best random trip ever...


Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Crick to Byew Bideo

The internet gods just didn't want this one to happen, but at long last I have come out triumphant. After the previously noted set of problems with producing this video I have completed it 2 more times only to have it rejected for being 1. uncensored and 2. too long. Here the video is split into two parts, which really is probably better because watching 12 minutes of this straight is really just too painful.
I'd appologize for this, but remember... you asked for it.


*** April 16th: OOPS! Looks like when I cut the file in two I somehow screwed up the order of all the subtitles. Wow, this video just loves to be difficult.

*** April 17th: OK! The abovementioned issues have been resolved, hopefully for the last time. I also added credits to the end of the film, and changed the "Part 1" and "Part 2" titles below to a flashier yellow. I also realized that the title screens in the movie were in fact purple and not black. This was my mom's fault; but anyway they have been changed to a stylish black. If you have already seen the movie these changes aren't really worth a second viewing.