Friday, December 30, 2005

We are the new zen.


otousan Posted by Picasa


phil Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Going to the Kaneko's

So first, I gotta make picture time, I had a really packed day...this post is late, but talks about the events on December 25 and 26.
I woke up same as normal..frightfully and unreasonably early, 7am, without using an alarm clock. So I just did some cleaning and final packing getting ready to go to the Kaneko's the next day. Then I had coffee and lunch with Ryoko. It's funny, I could tell how nervous she was talking to me because she wasn't sure how well we could communicate, but actually since last talking to her, hopefully, my Japanese skill surprised her a bit. Anyway, so we just chatted over coffee (yea Bri, they have cafes here in Japan, so it's safe to come) and then we went to Sukiya (Miho you can rest assured, I've come to enjoy sukiya...but not as much as yoshinoya!) Yea, we were just having a good time talking in Japanese, I learned some Yamaguchi prefecture slang...here is the primer

bucchi = Yamaguchi
meccha = Kansai
sugoi = standard Japanese
very = English

nan shichoru - Yamaguchi
nanba shiyouto - Fukuoka
nani wo shite imasu ka - standard Japanese
What are you doing now? - English

ke - Yamaguchi
kara - standard Japanese
because - English

then we took a picture afterwards~

Ryoko and Phil Posted by Picasa

Right after leaving Ryoko, Dan and I met up to go to Hiroshima city for a nabe party with my host sister from Kuchiwachou, Hitomi. We played this really weird game on Dan's PSP (Playstation portable) weird, but at the same time, totally addicting...good thing I'm too mature for that kind of thing now. We met up with Hitomi, then met up with her two girlfriends Miu and Mie. We went to the Nabe restaurant and had sushi, some fried shrimp, then nabe, then from the leftover broth risotto, then ice cream!!! it was so much food...soo good. Afterwards, we were just gonna go to the trainstation, but I noticed and wanted to take pictures of the Christmas lights. It was so beautiful! Here are some pictures of the Hiroshima City Illumination...Oh and do notice how I've successfully involved myself in Japanese culture with the addition of the scooter goggles~

Mie, Dan, Phil Posted by Picasa

Phil, Dan, Hitomi Posted by Picasa

The man formerly known as Prince...this is actually what happens "when doves cry". Posted by Picasa

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Nothing too special happened on the way back to the dorms...
Next day I woke up really unreasonably early again....nothing left in the fridge, so just rice and a little bit of soup in the morning. It must have been funny seeing me with my suitcase, laptop, backpack, and one more bag of gifts (bottle of hiroshima sake and box of sweets), walking about 10min to the place to meet the Kaneko's, but anyway, we can laugh about this later :) Like as soon as I got there, the Kaneko's arrived, what timing!! Then on the way back we stopped at a curry restaurant, which was delish, and just, otousan (miho's dad) would speak English, I would speak Japanese, then okaasan (miho's mom) exclaims how funny it is that we don't speak our native languages except her! Yea, and Mika and I are hanging out a lot, she's studying right now for the university entrance exam, I guess she'll try to go to Yamaguchi University. Yea, right now is just relaxing~

And now for something completely different..

from YogaJournal.com
---"Goal making is a valuable skill; it involves envisioning a future outcome in the world or in your behavior, then planning, applying discipline, and working hard to achieve it. You organize your time and energy based on your goals; they help provide direction for your life. Committing to and visualizing those goals may assist you in your efforts, but neither of these activities is what I call setting intention. They both involve living in an imagined future and are not concerned with what is happening to you in the present moment. With goals, the future is always the focus: Are you going to reach the goal? Will you be happy when you do? What's next?"---

This article talks about the relationship between Intentions and Goals. To reach your goals you must have the right intention, but realize that goals can be accomplished or failed, this is the spice of life. Having the right intention, you can cultivate and work hard to reach your goals.

To read the entire article, which I recommend, copy and paste this address to the url window..
http://www.yogajournal.com/wisdom/926_1.cfm?ctsrc=nlv184

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Deep thoughts...

So I`m walking back to campus today for Crew training, when I look at the lake to see a little duck freezing in the water swimming to the other side. Later along the way I noticed that it was lightly snowing, but also it was sunset with not so many clouds in the sky. I wonder why I have never seen this kind of thing so much in the states...usually during snowfall the sky is completely covered with clouds and you cant see the sun, but here it happens all the time.
Well, after yogic meditation in warrior 1, warrior 2, then back to warrior 1 again...I`ve concluded that the only possible answer is "magic" snow. . .

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Oden Party from Sunday Night









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Rou, Dai, Odoya, Gatch, Hiro Posted by Picasa
Hiro, Gatch, Me! Odoya, Rou, Chin Posted by Picasa
Chin! Posted by Picasa

The Carnage from Yukihassen (Snowball fight)






Tanuma-san Posted by Picasa
Yukidaruma Posted by Picasa
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Saturday, December 17, 2005

iishuumatsuwo

I had a good weekend. Starting on Saturday morning, I had rowing team practice. We had rowing machine time trials, I and the other people on the crew were pretty sure I am still not up to the same endurance as the other guys...but I really wanted to join in the time trials with everybody, so I did 1000meters instead of the 2000m. Takashira-san really went all out on it, and he couldn`t stand or walk by himself for about 15 minutes. Sad thing is that he wasn`t the fastest member!! I guess I did decently enough, I`m still not sure about what kind of pace we should try to keep to finish strong, or if there is any technique involved in using the rowing machines..but I did my 1km in around 3min 30sec...most of the guys were finishing the 2km just around 7min 30sec I think. I can catch up to them though~ Oh and did I mention that we were outside rowing while the snow was falling? Yea, we`re hardcore.
After that I had a nice lunch at the cafeteria with the crew team, and then returned to the meeting place to clean our area and hang out for a while. Didn`t take too long, then back at the dorm, and had some more food, my cheeks felt kinda weird so I think I maybe caught a bit of a cold or something and I took a shower after having a nap.
Then at night Garth and I went into Hiroshima city to catch up with Hitomi (our host-sister from Kuchiwa-chou) It was snowing so much! The snowflakes were the size of quarters! Anyway, we just chatted with her over a cup of sake before we realized it was already getting to
be around the time of the last train to the Saijou station. After running for about 5 min, we got on the train with like 45sec before departure.
We arrived in Saijou even with the heavy snow falling.....about this time there are no taxis and the last bus had already left, so Garth and I are stuck going by foot to the dorms. But seeing as we are hardcore (or at least I am) We decided to run/walk to keep warm and to shorten up the trip. Yea we rain about 2km in 3inches of fresh snow at 1:30am...Definitely felt the burn in the calves..its like running on the beach. I slept so well...
Today, we were supposed to have practice but it was cancelled because of the snow, most people don`t live on campus so snow is a little hard for people to ride their bikes in. I decided to sleep in til around 10 and then made some Rice Milk soup. This soup is from the German cookbook I got from my Aunt Carol (thanks Carol!) I found this recipe in a long-lost folder on my computer so I decided to try it...the measurements are all weird, so I just guess most of the time, but about 1cup of cooked rice, 2spoons of white sugar, dash of cinnamon, 2cups milk, and cornstarch to thicken it up. Funny story about not measuring things...I only wanted to put in a little bit of cornstarch...but ended up losing my grip on the bag,....about 1tbsp fell in, but the soup turned out delicious nonetheless!
Later, when I was listening to music I got a call from Tamagawa-san, inviting me to hang out with the crew guys. I hope to get the pictures from people, but Gotou, Satsumaki, Tama, and I made a snow man, then we met up with Takashira, Tanuma, Takahashi, Akira, and Kimura to see their snow man, and a bit of a snowball fight. Poor Gotou and Tanuma were the losers of this battle.
That`s about my weekend...next weekend I`m gonna have a nabe party (giant bowl of soup) with Hitomi and some of her friends, then on the 26th Miho`s parents are gonna pick me up from Campus to spend the Winter/New Year`s break with them in Ube city~

Monday, December 12, 2005

Bounenkai and Ensoukai

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas around here....We had snow, but it melted the next day. Now it's just cold ouside. Nobody rememberd to tell Phil that Saijou is an especially cold place because it is at a higher elevation than Hiroshima City. Also, the school put up a tree and some lights in front of the Central Library, chuuou toshokan. Pic time!

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xmas Posted by Picasa
I'm pretty sure I found the happiest old lady in Hiroshima prefecture, too. She works at the Coop cafeteria next to the dorms..and when you enter she says "okaeri" instead of "irasshaimase" as if you were just returning home. She just has this big smile and warm feeling whenever she speaks to you. Now if only she could make fried chicken and cornbread.... :)

This weekend was absolutely intense...I was soooo busy! It was great fun though. I went to two performances (Ensoukai) and to the crew team year-end (Bounenkai). I didn't have to exercise at all, which of course is good, and bad at the same time. Love to move~ Anyway, I got up early enough on Saturday because I had to clean up my room. Ever notice how you have never seen a picture of my room? Well, there is good reason for it :) So after my room...eh...well it was "clean" I went to the local supermarket because I wanted to get some food for the refrig before I left...I was running on empty. I saw something amazing!! I finally know how to life cheaply in Japan, but I haven't quite acquired the skill yet...Apparently at the super, Saturday is fresh fish day. There is this one fish that I love called Saba (maybe Miho can tell correctly but I guess it is Mackerel) You can buy the fish pre-cut and packaged (they do it in the store so it's still ultra fresh) for just 400yen (a little less than $4)..BUT on Saturday you can buy the entire fish for just 200yen!!! It's insanely cheap! I know the rule on how to buy fresh fish...clear eyes, red gills, fish smell...but actually buying and preparing it is another story. Next time, I get to participate on Fish day...definitely getting some cheap mackerel, I have to practice my knife skillz~ :)
After shopping, I just had enough time to drop of the goods and head to the bus stop. Apparently I still haven't gotten the hang of the Japanese bus system, but there are so few buses on the weekend..its so hard to travel in town. I did meet up with the two Austrians Hannes and Erika, and another Korean girl. The Korean girl told us that she and some other HUSA girls were going to the same concert as us, so we changed our plan and took a direct bus to downtown instead of a bus and a train. Then 20min of walking, asking for directions, consulting a 1.5in map, asking for directions, and walking, and asking for directions...We weren't late though(by 5min) Everything was great! Oh, and Ryoko, Miho's friend, is how I found out about the performance. She plays the French Horn (which completely confused the Austrians, because they didn't know why the horn was French). I found out afterward that the performers wouldn't be greeting us as we left the performance hall, so I had to rush back in to give Ryoko the flowers that I brought. I always saw people at Carthage giving flowers to people after performances, so I brought my own. Also, I have to engage in the Japanese culture of gift giving...Ryoko gave me two tickets to the performance, so I had to figure out some way to get her a gift. Somehow, I'm always in gift-debt....
Then after the performance, I had to split up from the group because while they would be heading back to Saijou, I was bound for a train to West-hiroshima station, a street car to Furue station, and a 10minute walk to meet up with everybody at the boathouse. Somehow, without getting too lost I found the boathouse. I was supposed to be at the boathouse at 6..I walked in the door at 6:01. Then as soon as I found dropped off my stuff, I found that the restaurant that we were going to was...in downtown Hiroshima...so we all made the trek back to Hiroshima to this awesome Chinese restaurant...Chinese food is so much better here....we had fried gyoza (this is the staple of a Chinese restaurant in Japan....just say mmmm..Gyouuuuuza), rice, stir-fried shrimp and noodles, mango filled sweet bread, chicken, spicy shrimp...Then of course there was beer, and cocktails..I tried something called Anzu...and some Japanese potato liquor...it was so watered down though...it actually tasted just like water to me. I tried Kamichika's Chinese beer that he ordered...and I decided never to try Chinese beer again. We had lots of formalities, like little speeches from everybody in the room starting with the oldest member who came...I think he graduated in like 1947.
After the dinner, we tried to go bowling...tried...the lanes were reserved for the next 2 hrs...so what do we do, we break off into small groups...Akira and Satomi and I head of to a ramen bar because...actually, unless we were really amped to get drunk during the dinner there wasn't enough food. This was an awesome ramen joint. Then we all recollected again and headed to the Karaoke bar. I wasn't sure how long we were gonna be there, but I guess there is some special rate for people who are at the very last to go to the Karaoke....like midnight til 6am crowd...yea thats us...so listening and singing Japanese and English songs until around 5am, til we take a taxi back to the boathouse.
We sleep for about 3 hrs, and wake up to get ready for Osouji. In Japan they don't have spring cleaning but new year's cleaning instead. I was teamed with Tamachan, Inami, and one other guy who I can never remember his name, to clean up the sleeping areas. I only get to work until noon-ish though, because I had to get cleaned up and ready to take the train back into Saijou for another friend's concert. When I left of course I said "Otsukaresama desu" Kind of formal way of ending a meeting in Japan. Then everybody in the boathouse yelled back "Itterasshai" to see me off. It was a good feeling because I really feel like I've been accepted into the rowing club. I can talk freely with anybody in the club and nobody feels like my (what is to be debated) sub-par Japanese is a burden. So that was awesome~
I took the train back to Saijou, around 1hr, and went immediately to find the performance..only to learn that I was more than 1 hour early. I actually had forgotten what time it started, but I heard music when I was exploring the building. I was just waiting for somebody to recognize me so I could talk to them and ask when and what room the performance was in exactly. A girl motioned for the two guys preparing their instruments to assist me. They barely murmured "Hello", when I was already asking them my questions in Japanese. When I was walking away, I heard the guys exclaiming how they were so nervous because they really had no idea how to explain the performance details in English...lucky for them I speak enough Japanese. Enough to catch their exclaimation when I walked away. Sneaky~
Soooo....I just wandered some grocery stores and some shops...There is a kind of Japanese noodle called Soba. I love soba...ever since I learned that soba were in okonomiyaki...I can never buy anything in bulk in Japan..until I found one store. I was able to buy soba by the kg instead of 200g bags. I got two. Love soba....
So then I made it back to the performance. It was traditional Japanese music..I don't know the names of any of the instruments, but its just the very traditional instuments that are native to Japan. I went because the girl in my class invited me. She plays a kind of guitar instrument called 'sangen' This concert was really great! Even though I was running low on sleep, I was able to stay awake. I think I liked the traditional songs as opposed to the songs adapted to the Japanese instruments...like they played Vivaldi's song....and a Disney collection. I took some video during the concert so you can hear and see some of it when I get back. :) I met up with Daniel and David after the concert. In the lobbyl, Daniel's friend pointed us in the direction of an Indian restaurant. Yet another food I learned is really great...curry...its sooo good. Japanese curry, Thai curry, Indian curry...its all so good. Our threesome split the food we got, some chicken tikka, another chicken dish, two orders of naan bread, and indian curry. Then after dinner we tried to catch a bus back to campus, but of course...its still the weekend so the bus is hit and miss most of the time, we end up walking in less time than it would have taken the next bus to come. Ahhh....good weekend~

Here are some pics....Camera doesn't do so well in doing zoom and that kind of thing, but everybody likes to see pictures, so view at your leisure~
http://www.imagestation.com/album/pictures.html?id=2116084547
Ah...and this week, practice Tues (morning), Thurs (night), Fri (morning), Sat (morning)

Thursday, December 08, 2005

past life....bri you made me do it

Last night`s max-out numbers...
Squat - 295.1Lbs (130kg)
Upright row - 124.85Lbs (55kg)
Standing Shoulder Press- 90.8Lbs (40kg)




In a Past Life...

You Were: A Forlorn Viking.

Where You Lived: Ireland.

How You Died: The Plague.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

yosh!

nichiyou no yoru tochuuni yuki ga fuita! During Sunday night, it snowed.
nihongo ga umaku nattekuru youni natteiru no na! I am becoming better at Japanese, no?

Well the snow is gone now, but I guess my intermediate teacher said that such an early snowfall is strange even for a colder place in Japan like Saijou (Where I am). Maybe a white christmas here?! How about in the lower 48?

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Hot Cake

Hot Cake is how Pancake translates into Japanese.
Phil make pancake. Perfect pancake make Phil happy, and make Phil full. Full of Pancake!!!
Pancake = Delicious.
I'm pretty sure that Newton proved it through Calculus. It might also be the underlining element in American Midwest culture...just throwing out ideas here. One more thing, owning only a small fry pan and cooking pancakes takes lots of time...

Ah, just found out that this weekend I`m not gonna have boat practice on the River because there is a special little practice for the alumni members with the current boat crew, then on Sunday our marathon runners are competing. Too bad I still am horrible at running....but then again, maybe not. Hopefully I`ll get some time to write some letters and workout at the gym.
Then next week because the marathon will be over, rowing club is gonna be back in the gym lifting weights instead of always running! wahooo!! ::flexes:: I`ll take a picture sometime next week hopefully of what we running people look like in the morning after running...It`s cold enough in the morning now to get frost, so when we are running so early, there is a large enough temperature difference so that we start to steam...kinda like an aura of awesomeness,...that`s what I call it at least

Next weekend is another off weekend as far as boat practice will be concerened I think. On Saturday I`m going with Takuyan to see Ryoko play her French Horn. She is always so busy with this brass orchestra club, so I guess I can look forward to enjoying that. Then at night I`ll take a train and a streetcar to get there, but I`ll be at the boathouse to enjoy the Bounenkai (Year End Party) Should be great fun :) There might be a small practice on Sunday morning, but I doubt it will be quite the same workout as we would do on a normal weekend.
Then on Sunday, this girl Miho, from Analytical Study of Historical Landscapes class, and I (there may be some more people going, my ears couldn`t catch everything that she said.) are going to a separate string orchestra performance. She said its gonna be a Japanese kind of song, so it probably wont be like European composers.

Then I guess that will be my last week of class....on the 26th Miho`s (yes that Miho) Parents are gonna pick me up from campus to spend the holiday at their home.