June 26, 2004

Oh-saka

Well, we made it to the one week mark. It`s pretty crazy to think that a week ago from today I was lost, confused, nervous... and today I sit comfortably in one of many internet cafe`s as if I`ve been here for months. The initial shock is finally starting to wear down, and things are becoming pretty familiar, and dare I say `fun.`

(Cover your eyes mom, you might not like this) Yes, it`s true, I am loving my time here so far. Everyday gets easier and easier, and I can`t help but look at the progress I`ve (we`ve) made in just one week. We live a good distance away from work, so a long commute might be helping to push our learning curve up a few notches; we have friends here, who are giving pointers, tips, and taking us around; and we`ve been meeting some wonderful new people who are going through the same things we are. It`s a great experience... and I haven`t even mentioned the job yet-

The first day can be summed up in one word: overwhelming.
The second day: stressful
The third day: stressful and overwhelming.

But one thing is consistent through all of them. Now having officially ended my initial training, I am beginning to understand just how much I have learned in just three days of training. I can now sit in front of Japanese students of all ages and abilities for 40 minutes a few times a day (sometimes with only 10 minute breaks), and if nothing else, know that they are leaving having learned at least one new thing. It`s pretty remarkable seeing as one week ago、I couldn`t imagine myself doing what I observed in the multi-media teaching rooms after one month, let alone 3 days. (this isn`t a pat on my own back by the way, it`s a pat on the back of my trainers)

Speaking of the multi-media rooms, the building we work in is incredible. We work anywhere between the 13th and 16th floor of one of (if not the) tallest buildings in Osaka. I have pictures of the view(s) we have everyday we go to work... it`s so awesome.

(ok mom, open your eyes) The only `problems` we seem to be having so far is getting an internet connection in our apartment. Like I said, internet cafe`s are everywhere, but after work it`s sometimes nice to go right home. We work the early shift, at 7:30, which means we have to be at work by 7:15 or so, and factor in an hour long commute (15 minute walk to the subway, 30 minutes on the subway, 15 minute walk to work from the subway) Basically, it means we have to wake up very, very early. (It`s nice getting out at 3, though.) But what all this means is that without internet, and with a huge time difference, contacting family and friends is seemingly impossible. But just hold tight for a little while longer... once we get our internet connection, things will be much easier.

Oh, and speaking of the commute, the walk from the subway to work is all underground, through a place called the Namba Walk. Our walk to and from work includes bakeries, clothing stores, resturants... a whole bunch of things, with no rain or hot weather to worry about. It`s quite the walk.

Ok, I must now depart before I ramble on and on, which I am beginning to do... I keep forgetting I`m paying by the hour here. I just wanted to send the message that all aspects of Japan are really good so far, and hopefully I`ll be able to post some pictures soon... I already have some photo projects, including pictures of all the American corporations that have seeped into Japan (i.e.- Starbucks, McDonalds, Baskin Robbins... even Seattle`s Best)

Till next time...


Cheers!

Posted by jed at 05:32 PM | Comments (2)

June 18, 2004

Interrobang

Holy crap holy crap holy crap.....

So we made it to Japan, and boy are my arms tired!

No, seriously, my arms are very tired. Lugging loads of luggage around the city will do that to a person. Other than this, though, things are going extremely well. I feel like I`m in the middle of a sitcom; unable to understand anyone, or anything, abnormally tall, and obviously new to this country. It`s pretty great, though. I`m loving it so far.

Now, you may be wondering how I have internet access so soon. Well, don`t hold your breathe, it won`t be happening very often, at least at first. Karen and I did some searching, and with the help of a Jamaican man (yes, I found it odd, too) we made our way to a quiet little internet `cafe` of sorts on the backroads near our subway stop. Soon we will be back online for good, but it may take a little while.

We have been here for under 48 hours and I already have tons of stories to share. For now, though, I should get going before I get in a conversation with this Japanese man, seeing as I have no idea what he`s saying.

Pictures will be arriving as soon as our internet is set, but until then, keep an eye on the poopdeck... you never know when ye ship will be communicatin`.

YAAAAR!

(by the way, here is the definition of interrobang... it`s pretty much a constant image in my mind thus far.)

Posted by jed at 11:31 PM | Comments (3)

June 13, 2004

All Aboard!

Yaaaar me swabs!

Ye Admiral and his first mate are about to set sail on a vast journey across this great world of ours. Our ship be ready fer a long and arduous trail, but alas, we will arive safely on the other side of the world, ready fer whatever be thrown at us.

Ye ship is equipped with a photo-takin machiney, and ye Admiral will be sure to post many a'photo's once things start to calm down, so be sure to be keepin' an eye out on the Poop Deck. It may be a lengthy time; one week, two weeks, or maybe even longer, but ye Poop Deck will be returnin', and I will continue to babble from across the world as any good Admiral should.

The ship sets sail fer Seattle, Wa, bright an early on the morrow, where it will dock fer food, rest, and a bit a'good ol' leisurely time before movin' out Wed a.m. for the long haul to Osaka, Japan.

Until then me swabs, pillage and plunder!

YAAAAAAAAAARRR!!!!

Posted by jed at 02:32 AM | Comments (2)

June 09, 2004

Make Me Sicks Flags

BOYCOTT, BOYCOTT, BOYCOTT! Never before have I felt the need to strongly pursue a boycott of anything, but my experience today at Six Flags changed that in the matter of minutes. Upon arriving at Six Flags New England this morning, and being forced into a very long single line for tickets amidst a field of closed ticket booths, I instantly decided it would be a long time before I ever went back. Throughout the course of the day, however, things became progressively worse, and finished with a situation that will not only end any visits to Six Flags, but has also urged me to start a boycott in the hopes that I can help others from falling into their bottomless pit of crapiness. Please take a moment to read why Six Flags is so crappy.

1: We arrived at Six Flags on a Tuesday morning with the hopes that it would be somewhat less busy in early June, middle of the week. We thought we were right, but as I mentioned earlier, we were instantly forced into our first long line of the day: the ticket line.

There were at least 10 to 15 ticket booths at the entrance to Six Flags- one of these booths was open- and we stood in line for 45 minutes.

2: The admission price is ridiculous. Chuck had a coupon for 12 dollars off each ticket, good for up to 6 people. We were a group of four, so between us, we saved 48 dollars off the admission price. Sounds good, right?

The total price, to simply set foot in the park, for 4 people, was $111.96. Now keep in mind, we saved 48 dollars, not to mention the 10 dollar parking fee. If we didn't have coupons, it would have cost us $170.00 just to get inside!

3: To keep on the same lines with pricing, let's talk about food, games, and drinks once you're inside the park.

Bottled water, $3.00
Small crappy lunch for 2, $19.00
Dippin Dots, $8.00
Carnival games, $3.00-4.00/game
ATM Fee, $3.00
And no, nothing was priceless... rather, everything had a very large price tag.

4: Chuck and I tried to go last year, but upon arriving at the parking lot and being overwhelmed by massive amounts of people (It was absolutley insane, the parking lot literally went for miles) we turned around and came home. When we got there today, we were pleasantly surprised by the lack of cars, and assumed the lines would be very low.

However, it seems that when the park anticipates lower crowds, they run less cars on the roller coasters. Not only that, but they seem to run them slower. So then, even though there weren't a lot of people ( in comparison to past experience), some rides had lines of up to an hour or more wait (we know this because a sign estimates waiting times at all the rides). So even with lesser (yet still pretty large) crowds, the lines are typically never short, and there will always be a wait.

5: This complaint put me over the edge. The star attraction at Six Flags New England is the superman roller coaster. Sound familiar? If so, it's probably because someone was killed on it a month ago, and it made national news. This didn't stop us, though, we knew we'd be fine. After all, I have been on the ride many times in the past.

This ride is nutorious for malfunctioning, especially when people are on it. My sister actually got stuck on it once a few years ago for 45 minutes, so it was no surprise that it broke down numerous times today. Chuck, Karen and I were in line when it broke down, and decided to come back later when the line wasn't so long, and when it wasn't broken.

We went back to the ride a couple hours later, and as I started to enter the line, the 16 year old high schooler told me I was half an inch too tall to ride the ride. I became instantly furious, as I had been in line earlier- not to mention I have riden the ride many times before. I demanded to speak to his manager, and was told I could find him at the exit to the ride.

Of course, he wasn't there, so I went to the front gate and customer relations. I told them what happened, confused as to why it was ok to ride 3 hours prior, but now I am too tall. I did not grow in the 3 hours. They told me I was, in fact, too tall, and I couldn't go on it. (keep in mind, a half an inch, if that) I kept trying to explain to them that I understood why I couldn't go on it, but I was curious why I was allowed in line earlier. What if I had gotten on the ride, would that half an inch have killed me? If so, why was I allowed in? I rode the ride before, does that mean I should have died because I was a half an inch too big? Let me also point out, while this was happening, someone my exact height walked in behind us, problem free.

I wanted a refund. I went to six flags specifically to ride that ride, and with all the money I spent just to set foot inside the park, I wanted something. After all, I could have caused a huge scene based on the circumstance, knowing they let me in when they "shouldn't" have, on a ride someone just died on. I mean c'mon, that half an inch is apparently a huge deal, right? They should at least give me something to keep my mouth shut. Want to know what they gave me?

I got a voucher, to enter the exit side of a roller coaster I wasn't too tall for, so that I didn't have to wait in line.... good for only two people.

A VOUCHER!?!?! My life is worth a crappy voucher for a ride we all went on when we first got there?!?! And you know what else? We got to the roller coaster, and there was no line, so we didn't have to wait anyway! Thanks Six Flags for the voucher, I feel much better now. But I guess it's good to know that my life is important enough to receive a little piece paper that, if you read between the lines, basically just says F%$# you! (sorry mom)

Well you know what Six Flags, you can take your stupid piece of paper and cram it. I will never set foot in that stupid park, or any Six Flags, again. I'd rather set fire to my wallet and see the money burn away than watch you milk people like cows by sugar coating your greediness!

....Breathe Jed, breathe...phew, ok, I'm a little better now.


But if you're still reading this after all that babble, you must have just a small amount of sympathy. I know that if you have ever been to a park like this recently, you've succumbed to their evil empire, just like I did. But now I beg you, please, BOYCOTT SIX FLAGS!! If not for me, then do it for your own sake. I know there is a Six Flags near Seattle, one near DC and Maryland, and one in New Jersey, along with probably a hundred others that are slowly ruining the amusement park experience for people of all ages.

Too tall?! A worthless voucher?!! Hundreds of dollars between 4 people?!?!??!

YAAAAAAAAAR!

Posted by jed at 12:29 AM | Comments (7)

June 08, 2004

A-B-Sea

I have always loved the ocean. Ever since I was a kid, I loved visiting my grandmother in a small town on the ocean where my father grew up, Narragansett. It's a quaint little Rhode Island town, equiped with hundreds of memories that will forever be engraved in my mind.

My grandmother died when I was a freshmen in college, and those trips quickly came to an end. It just didn't feel right enjoying the area without her there, not to mention the changes made to her house, and the slow intrusion of tourist traps and chain stores. However, going back today, all of the same memories, the same happiness that overcame me when I was a kid, still came back as if I had continued to visit regularly. Today was only the second time in six years that I have been back there- the only other time being about one year ago for a day trip by myself. It was nice to not only visit all these special places again, and enjoy the things only found in Rhode Island (Dell's Lemonade, Champlains Seafood, Narragansett Towers) but to also bring along my favorite world traveler, and show her a part of my childhood that will always remain very special to me.

As usual, the camera was always in hand (except when we walked on Scarborough Beach... I was too lazy to go back to the car) so take a look at the ocean town(s) (including the port of Galilee, which is considered part of Narragansett in my mind) that I love so much:

Narragansett: Beaches, rocks, seafood, and silliness. We even saved a life, check it out!

Cheers!

Posted by jed at 12:02 AM | Comments (3)

June 04, 2004

Picture Potpourri

I recently grabbed all the pictures on the digital camera from the past few days, and put them into one huge 'potpourri' folder, which I sorted through and figured I'd share. Inside, you'll find a variety of things, such as my cat; a two day visit with Anni, Chris, and New York City; a Memorial Day BBQ with Chuck; ice cream of the future; Beckie's pug Lily; and even a celebrity sighting! That's right, this group of pics has it all. Hope you enjoy!

Picture Potpourri: A potpourri of pictures posted particularly for pleasing peoples palates.

Cheers!

Posted by jed at 02:47 PM | Comments (3)

June 01, 2004

2 Life Lessons

In the past two days, I have learned two very important lessons. Two things which I will not soon forget, and hold with me for the rest of my life:

1- On Memorial Day, Jay and I took my mom up to People's State Forest for our usual trail run. It was a nice little jaunt through the woods, like it always is, and a good way to start the day. So, what did I learn? I learned that two cups of coffee and a bagel with peanut butter minutes before running 5 miles through the woods is NOT... I repeat, is NOT... the breakfast of champions. It kind of felt like my stomach was a bowl, and inside was a half gallon of liquid and one huge brick, sloshing around with every step. I now know what not to eat and drink before exercising.

2- Today I woke up 3 hours after falling asleep to join the crew at the local YMCA for some early morning basketball. I used to do it all the time, and I actually really miss it (except for the early morning part). Anyway, I needed a little energy before going to play, but at 5:30 in the morning, my motivation level isn't at its highest. I searched for a quick fix before I got in the car, and found some coffee cake and diet coke. I soon found out that this, much like the aforementioned meal, is also NOT... I repeat, is NOT... the breakfast of champions. Sure, it gave me instant energy that lasted the entire car ride to the gym, and actually proved to work quite well once I got there. Not to mention soda (in a small amount) tasted awfully good first thing in the morning, which is something I had never done before, at least that I can remember. Come to think of it, I can't really think of any bad consequences to this breakfast, except that instant jolt of energy it originally gave to me, caused me to fall sound asleep once I got home. But seeing as I didn't need to be up until noon time anyway, it didn't really matter.

So I guess if you ever have to wake up fast, but only for a short amount of time, and can fall asleep 3 or so hours after you first wake up, coffee cake and diet coke really is the breakfast of champions.

Although it seems to have effected my brain.

Cheers!

Posted by jed at 04:20 PM | Comments (1)