Wednesday, October 29, 2003

konnichiWA! a live report from Tokyo...!

Well, its late... but I wanted to sit down and write down some of my memories before I totally forgot everything.... On Friday I had to go to Shinjuku for training, and after training I met Hiromi to give her back something I had accidently stolen! She told me she wanted to introduce me to her friend, and we walked over to the side of a building... there was a friendly looking young man in punkish clothes, and when Hiromi stood next to him I decided to be friendly so I stretched out my hand and said (in English, because we had decided today was an 'English Only' practice day) "Hey! my name is Dansen! Whats your name?" he shook my hand, but looked really nervous and didnt tell me his name. I smiled bigger, trying to make him relax, I said the question again and added "Did you just get here?" and I glanced over at Hiromi (who had said her friend spoke English) and she was shaking her head and mouthing "Thats not my friend!!!" ... ^^;; ooops!!! It was kind of a stupid mistake on my part, but it was kind of funny. Later, me and her and the real friend went to kaiten sushi (sushi that is on a rotary belt, you take the one you want and you get charged by the plates you eat) you can see a picture of it on my keitai page, while we were finishing eating some older (40s) gaijin [foreigners] men were walking past the window, looking lost. Hiromi's friend turned out to be a total peoples-person, and waved for them to come inside. The 2 men were Italian pilots hanging out in Tokyo. They spoke in very heavy Italian accents, and spoke no Japanese. Luckly we were all doing an "English only" day... so we helped them find the resturant they were looking for. Thats what I love about Tokyo, its such an international city!

Worth noting I guess, from a culture point of view, Japan just finished the "Japan Series" (a Japanese version of the American wrongly named "world series" baseball games ...worgly named because it should be "USA series"!) Anyway, its a really big deal here. People who like baseball (and thats many Japanese people) were going nuts talking about it. The underdogs (The Tigers) had finally made it to the series, the first time in 17 years or something, and they fought hard... but the always-winners (equivelent to the New York Yankees or something I guess?) didnt let the magic fully happen, and the underdogs, stayed...well, exactly that... the Tigers lost, but it was a good match I hear. (Pictures that I took from the TV can also be seen on my keitai page)

Tonight I went to 84.2 West Tokyo FM and was a guest on the radio, live!! Wooo! it was so fun... the studio was a lot more fancy than the studio (KUGS 89.3FM) where I had my show in America. There was one place for the technician (who didnt talk) and then a row table with 4 mics and headphones where the guests could sit. It was fun.. I didnt say much, but I did get to introduce myself and answer a few interview questions (in Japanese)... and introduce one of the segments in English. Anyway, it was lots of fun! (once again, I have a picture of that on my keitai page also! The picture shows my friends Satoshi and Soichi... Satoshi is the one who invited me to his show. He knew that I had a show in America, and so he thought it would be interesting for me I guess.) After the radio thing, I went to Ikebukuro and met Taro for the first time not in Summer! It was amazing! ^^; hehe.. and, I also bought him dinner at this really cool noodle place, I have a cool picture but I'm too lazy to upload it now (my phone is recharging) I'll do it tomorrow. Anyway, thats all from my end. woooo!


Thursday, October 23, 2003

my weekend: shibuya freaks, drinking, transvestites and etc!

Wow, my weekend (if your slow, thats mondays and tuesdays for me, my days off work) has sped past me faster than.. well, uhh.. a speeding bullet. Its now back to the working schedule with about 3 more weeks until my first full paycheck! wooo! So first, on monday, I met Diana in Shibuya. I will always remember Shibuya from the days I spent there shortly after coming to Japan for the first time, so no matter what, it will always been a good place for me... but oh my god, it became even MORE freaky since I'd been there last. Millions of freaky people (in weird clothes) streaming all over the place.... Japanese punks (or social rejects, being that they dont spike their hair, they look a bit different than what are classified as "punk" in the USA...) sitting all around, and the ever present TV crews trying to figure out what is "cool" with the young people... and on this day, a stage had been setup near the JR Train Station and a 4 piece girl brainless pop band was giggling their way through mindless pop song after mindless popsong. (Japanese "The world is round, so lets do the mango mambo.. the mango mambo" ..uhm, what??? Thats not excusable in any language.) Luckily, Diana showed up soon (with her newly dyed black hair!) and we went off to TGIF (some people call it Fridays) ... interestingly, I had never been to TGIFs until I went to Korea, never in America... I like it though, good flavors of "american" food, although a little expensive... I was surprised to see a fairly large amount of foreigners in there, even more than the other Shibuya gaijin [foreigner] hang out, The Hub (a chain of fairly good pub themed bars) ... Shibuya was alive with lights and sounds, cluttering my mind and pulling back older memories.

The next day, I met Hiromi and Yosuke (I havent seen him for 2 years!!) in Shinjuku. It was really nice, the weather wasnt so bad... and we walked around for a little bit, and then decided to go to an all-you-can-drink place... it was fairly nice, just 777YEN for all you could drink (in a specified amount of time) and of course not including snack-food that you bought... still, I like that setup because it gives me an excuse to drink lots of yummy drinks ... I had "fuzzy navel" (got to love that name!) and some apple cocktail thingie, and a whole lot of other ones... who knows. A very drunk group across from us decided to prove how amazingly drunk they were too, so a few of them came over and asked to take pictures with me (something about me looking like someone or something? I dont remember!) and then a whole bunch of them started giving me hi-fives.... uhhm.. weird. Anyway, later we left out of there, and wanted to go to "purikura" (thats the machines in Japan that take sticker-pictures, if you dont know) ... the problem is though, that many purikura places in japan are only for couples (so weird huh?) and so we felt a bit weird walking into a couples only store as a three peice... wait, no kinky giggles. but anyway, I love purikura, its fun to get all the random faces onto stickers! (And you can doodle on the pictures!) After that, we were walking around outside in the late night air (a lot of young people were sitting on the steps and on the street, it was kind of surreal) and this really tall Japanese transvestite walked up past us... and slowed down, as he walked past, he ran his hands across my hair and said in japanese something like "ooh hello there little man" and then he was gone. It was strange, like seeing a giraffe suddenly on the north pole... ok, not that surprising, because there are a lot of transvestites in shinjuku/harajuku, but anyway... surprising.

japanese language is fun!
In other news, I am pleased to announce the opening of ANOTHER diary thing. This one has no real diary content, but a lot of stuff to help anyone trying to learn Japanese! (of course with the bias of it being written for people that understand atleast hiragana alphabet!) I realized that I learn a lot of Japanese words every day, just being here in Japan, so I thought I would share. Its mostly in English, with Japanese too. I hope it becomes a community of sorts, I will update it very often because I dont have to think about anything to think about except the new vocabulary. so give me feedback about it, and even if you dont want to study japanese, give me feedback on the design! So anyway, I present JAN, JAN JAN - learning japanese my diary-blog-whatever site about learning japanese! yay!!


Saturday, October 18, 2003

Another day, almost my "weekend"!!

OK, so a lot has happened, although most of it might be kind of boring if you werent me: going to school, teaching, coming home, eating, sleeping. Day to day things... my mind is kind of cloudy, but I'm trying to remember things to share in this diary. I went to training in Shinjuku (you can see a good picture from the window of the NOVA building on my keitai page!) .. the training was kind of empty... mainly sitting around the table and saying things that I could have put together in my own head ("high level students want more complex vocabulary and idioms. " Uhm.. duh.) but I did go away with some goood insights about how to teach very low levels (mainly using visual games and actions etc) so it was good in the end. I sent Nakayama (in America) a picture from my keitai, and I looked really drunk... I wasnt, but I thought I would share the surprising fact that I looked drunk. Uhm. What? ...

I plan to see Diana on Monday, and the few other friends who feel like seeing me. Next week Diana will have a halloween party, the whole thing... candy, scary movies, all that, sponsored by her school (GEOS) ... sounds fun! even though I cant go to the first part because I'm working. I plan to go to the drinking part, meet Diana and Yusuke there, even though it will get a little bit above my desired price range (my share will maybe be like 3000YEN.. about $30, expensive, but hey, its a party!) ...Talking about spending money, I was considering buying a digital camera, but I think I should wait until I actually have real money. ^^;

I'm tired, worked all day. It was fun again, I really like the teaching stuff.. it feels kind of like being in college, hanging out with the other gaijin [foreigners] at the office, and teaching english to Japanese (something I did in college too!) so I like it still... Doing this is still on my "I recommend it!" list.

and now in honor of my own silly brain, I offer the department of Too Much Information! In Japan, what we thought of in America as "Wheres Waldo?" is known as "Wheres Wally?" and I thought this was just a weird Japan thing (since Waldo "WA-RU-DO" is difficult to say, and maybe sounds too close to the Japanese word for bad or something) but then I heard one of the British Teacher's at training say "Wheres Wally" in reference to the books, and realized it must be a weird American thing that changed the books to Waldo, because they seem to say Wally in Britain and maybe other places. was that too much information, or what!... in other news... before I sign off and crawl asleep... last night I had my very first Indonesian language featured dream! yay! actually, I thought that it was "fake" indonesian, because I woke up and couldnt remember the words I had been saying... well, I remembered them, but I couldnt remember if they were really indonesian or not... but I looked up the one I remembered strongest and... it was Indonesian, and used kind of correctly!! (the word was "tinggal" [to depart] ...!) anyway, let me take the air out of my own wings, or whatever they say, by reminding any and all readers that my Indonesian still sucks so bad, I cant even communicate much in it. . . I think its just the idle study in the trains that triggered this dream. anyway, was fun though. until next time, peace on the streets! PS: why is it almost my weekend? my off days are mondays and tuesday, and I think of that as my weekend! wooo!...


Saturday, October 11, 2003

Another day, another day (but still FUN!) ... NOVA report!

Ok, so another day has come and I've went and returned from my job at NOVA... I'm really starting to like it, but of course it has its good times and its bad times... so, because this is a public diary I shouldnt really complain publicly about the few teachers who I might find annoying or whatever, but I think I will mention a few of the students that left impressions on me:

I have these two students (in different levels) who take fake names. One is in a very low level, 7B, but he always says his name is Mr. Alien when I ask him. The other low level students laugh and are confused a little bit, but he keeps up the joke through the whole lesson! If I ask him where he went recently, he will say he came back from the Milky Way or jupiter (both good vocabulary for a low level student!) and not just one time! So far, every time he has said this... I'm starting to believe he really is an alien! Another student (in a higher level), clearly joking, said his name was Greggo, so I started calling him El Greggo as a joke, and now its me who always calls him that in the lessons... it really puzzles the other students, but it makes him laugh. I have another student who, when she is nervous, pushes against her chest with her hands... kind of odd, if I dont say so. And another student asked me once, "Is 'are you kidding?' the same as 'fuck you'?" which made me think "what!!!" but I just quietly replied that they were different, and that the second was used when you were very angry, and then changed the subject. Tonight, I had a very weird student... first, not as an ego boost (although it is one) but as a way to explain the situation, let me first say that last week one of the front desk worker ladies came up to me when I was clocking in and asked (in japanese, so everything is roughly paraphrased) "what did you do before NOVA??" and I said "School and stuff." and she said "What classes did you take? Because we have never had a teacher get so many compliments from the students!" ...anyway, that made me smile, even if its not true, it was a nice thing to hear. (Although I do try hard to be a good teacher...!) Anyway, tonight I had a couple of very high level students (3, 1 is my level: native, so 3 is damn good!) and they could tell that my name Dansen isnt a normal American name... so they asked my genetics, my heritage, so I explained my european heritage and the small amount of Tsalagi (if you don't know, thats the name of a native american country) ... anyway, the lesson continued, which was a debate about "Is money the root of all evil?" of course, there is no answer to this debate, and it got very intellectual... what is evil? does society shape our views of reality? does desire cause problems, or are the problems the source of desire? And a million other mind loops... anyway, I thought it was going great... but suddenly at the end one of the two students said roughly "I don't understand you!" and so I was surprised, so I spent the last 5 minutes trying to explain in a little simpler English the arguments that had been presented in the class, and near the very end right when the final bell was ringing he said in a very angry tone "No, I understand your grammar, and your words... I don't understand your Original American accent!!!!" and he got up and stomped out. The other student was embarrassed, and said shyly "thank you for the lesson, it was fun." or something and then we all went our different ways... but the left me feeling like "what??" that is just wrong for three (or more??) reasons 1. There would be nothing wrong with an Original American (native american) accent, who cares?? 2. It wouldn't be that strong anyway, he would be able to understand... 3. I TOTALLY DONT HAVE ONE!!! Based on genetic history, I have more chance to have a Welsh accent than a Tsalagi accent...! anyway, it was an odd situation... but whatever. All in all, however, I really enjoy teaching my students... its fun fun fun!

Today, I captured (had to upload it myself because MFOP has been not working recently) a very special Tshirt's logo on my keitai page .... keep in mind, as you read it, that I believe it IS intended to be kinky (I hope?!) but its the strange way it goes about it (word choice) that would have had me spending the 7 dollars on it, if it hadn't been cut for a woman... it was a very funny shirt I thought! ^^;

I'm hoping my first paycheck from NOVA (coming up on the 15th my time) will be enough (because its not a full pay, because its my first) to pay for my moving in charges... I guess I dont know yet, but I plan to go looking at places on monday my time (a few days before my paycheck comes) I hope so! Other than that, everything is ok... nothing bad happening I guess... I want to update this diary more often with random thoughts, but I've been really busy with nothing but work (hopes to enter more stuff more often!)

...ya know, I really enjoyed the bonus point system last time, so I think I'll offer a few more this time!! Just for kicks and giggles, and a few biggles. 1 tiny point if you learn how to say no from the insane but real (as in really bad designed) kid's web at the pennsylvania state webpage.. its not a parody, honest. Am I the only one that finds it shockingly cheesy and lowfi? OK, 10 points if you know what a love hotel is or can guess (hint that clears it up: a hotel where you make love...uhm?) so.. to continue with the damn cheesy bonus point system, 45 points if you have ever collected (or even if you know that people do!) airplane barf bags!?! And a final 70 points for those of you who know the Japanese word "NIKUMAN" means like a muffin (wrong word!) with meat inside (click the link, look at the pictures, and put your mouse over the pictures to open them up, the 1st from the top and the 3rd, are classic nikuman!) OK, and a final "sorry"... I normally just link to Japanese pages on my Japanese diary, so... sorry for these links here, but the text on those websites aren't so important!! Well, thats all for now.


Tuesday, October 07, 2003

Life in Japan, and other witty comments
I'm baaack

Life has been rolling forward. I'm still alive, and I'm looking forward to getting my paycheck in about a week. With that money I hope to get off of my friend's floor and into my own tiny box of an apartment. Thats actually a fairly expensive process in Japan, even though Japan doesnt have any contracts to sign (so its only a month to month obligation) ... so no contracts is good... but most places require a 2 or 3 month downpayment (which might kind of come back to you when you move out) and also a "thank you" payment to the realitor of about 1 month (which wont come back of course) and other fees (elevator, gas, etc) and then added to that I got to pay 1 month to the "dont worry foreigners arent scary" office AND the first month's rent. So ironically I can afford a not so bad place, but I should move into a cheaper one so I can afford all the forward month payment thingies! Blah blah blah. Really can't wait to move into my own place though!!! oooo! Sounds fun! ^^;

Yesterday, I met Diana for coffee in Shinjuku and we ended up going to this yummy "rice omlate" place. Its like a soft egg omlate with sauce wrapped around flavored rice. So yummy! A couple of days before that I met Mio (visible on my keitai page... and incidentally that page has been annoyingly deleting pictures randomly, so be sure to check it often because you might miss something! ooya!) Anyway, I met Mio after my work and we drove around in her mom's car. It was fun, even if we didn't go anywhere really. She picked me up after my work, and we ended up in the more country-side part of Saitama I think (the state next to Tokyo, which is actually where I work even though its almost still Tokyo) ... we stopped and ate at an amazingly local fancy restaurant named.. what was it... I think, McDonalds or something. (ok now your suppose to laugh because I'm so damn funny. heh heh heh) Anyway, that was fun, and she gave me a bag of cookies! woo!

In other news, I'm very excited about the Chinese yuhangyuan (astronauts!) going to space! Although I'm still puzzled why they are called taikonauts in English... isnt a taiko a Japanese drum? Whats going on here? Can anyone explain this to me?? Anyway, its exciting to see the world begin to collectively jump towards space. I'm such a geek... but damn, wouldn't it be cool to walk on mars or something! woohoo! Maybe I'm being influenced by a silly book I got for really cheap from an English section at a book store. I wanted something to read and I picked up the biggest book, which happened to be "Return to Mars" which is a silly novel about a group of scientists doing.. well you can guess, a return trip to mars... ok, so I'm clearly desperate for reading materials because this is a sequal... but hey, who cares!

Wow, uhm. Yeah. This has been a special diary entry brought to you by the letter S. Oh hey, also, I found a few interesting jumping to places. Get your rocketblasters ready... first my question is this: why DOES everything have a .com address?? if you even know what lichen is you'll get 10 bonus points (a type of fungus thingie) but if you even care enough to spend more than a 1 minute on this site, you get 100 bonus points (is it weird that I got those 100 bonus points?).... To pick up some more dansen bonus points head your browser to this link and memorize all 20 Japanese phrases, most are fairly useful and they are written in English and you'll be the whizkid on your block by knowing these! You know you want to, and its 70 bonus points! And for a final mop up of about 15 or 20 bonus points, check out this cool old-fashion panorama thing kind of like I made, but from the top of a Japanese mountain looking towards mt.fuji! Anyway, thats all for now boys and girls!


Wednesday, October 01, 2003

3 bars, life, and another post...

OK, so its almost 1:30 in the morning and I of course of work tomorrow... I really wanted to send an update to my diary though, so... surprise! thats what I am doing!

So first up, 3 bars! On Monday, Diana took me and Yusuke (his nickname is USK) on a tour of three cool bars in her area (Chofu) ... It was awesome! All over the spectrum, made "bar-hopping" fun. First up, we went to this Hawai'i theme bar called Charek or something... all the waiters were all wearing Redhook [Seattle beer] t-shirts, and there was soft music (often of the traditional lax key Hawai'i style... the tables had lit up boxes in them that showed trinkets from Hawai'i (plastic surf boards, fake shells, etc) .. it was all fairly cheesy, but enjoyable. I had a plum beer, USK and Diana had beers and also Diana had a vodka + cranberry juice mixed drink. Next up, we went to a bonified cowboy bar! It was called "Jackson Hole: Wyoming Cafe" (although it wasnt a cafe at all, it was clearly a bar) and the background music was all (atleast while I was there) country western... a video screen showed extreme skiing and pigs in darkened fields (why?) ... the strongest thing I remember from this bar is that the toilets were walled in fragrant wood, I could smell the wood as if it was a sauna, do you know that wood smell? I had a asahii beer this time, and so did Diana and USK. Final stop was a bar (that I've regretfully forgotten, maybe it was "golden child"?) that was totally reggae. It was at the bottom of a building, in what seemed like a basement. The lights were dark, and no one else was there except for a totally drunk group in the far corner. Loud Jamaican reggae was thickening the air, and this totally dred-locks hairstyle owner of the bar got us our drinks (cheapest beers in the house) and we sat over in the other corner... I'm proud to say I furthered humanity's desire for inventive uses of preexisting technology by using a straw with my beer mug. The brilliance of this is amazing when you think about how you can drink the beer from the bottom, coldest part, avoid the foam if you dont like it (and if you do its a simple matter to raise your straw up to suck just that off) ... generally speaking, I think this insight should start an amazing trend in beer drinking. Anyway, that was basically the bar-hopping that night. Fun adventure, if I do say so myself.

Recently, I've been thinking about how it is now the "latest" I have ever been in Japan... I have never stayed into October, so I am stretching into new territory. Wow. (In fact, a small note of an e-mail by Ayano tonight was titled "aki no nioi" which is something like "the smell of fall" in english...) Fall is coming, and with it a Japan I've never seen... wooooo! cool.

YAY!! Talking about Fall... that brings me to the topic of October, which is coming now. So I think its now time to proclaim a very happy birthday to myself and my doppelganger yukA who stole my birthday and is trying to become me or something! wow! scary! ...Another year older, time does really roll, it really, really does. In fact, just recently I've found my face skin is dryer than it used to be. I know, useless personal thought, but its just a fact of life... Anyway, with that said, I think I should sleep. Its late. Any requests for my keitai (cellphone!) diary...? Any reasonable legal requests for pictures will be considered, just leave them in my comment box with your other thoughts. biggles!


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