Monday, January 23, 2012

Last day of Training

Day is finally finished, what a day!
7:35 AM Hit the snooze on cell phone
7:45 AM Repeat
8:00 AM Get up, eat the last of my precious Costco cereal
8:30 AM Scooter on over to Ichikawa Station for train to Immigration Office
9:15 AM Transfer to the Chiba City Monorail (realize I don't like dangling 100 feet above the ground in a box)
9:30 AM Arrive at Immigration, take a ticket and begin the wait
11:00 AM Still waiting
11:15 AM Contemplating leaving
11:25 AM Called to the counter
11:35 AM Leave Immigration office after successfully changing my Temporary landing visa to a Work Visa (good for one year) (this process should have taken two weeks and would have prevented me from working for another two weeks.
11:40 AM Race home to change into a suit.
12:10 PM Race back to Ichikawa station
1:30 PM Arrive ten minutes late to the final day of training for Berlitz Japan-Otemachi
9:10 PM Finish training successfully and given permission to start work tomorrow!!
9:45 PM Moped through a "Tokyo Blizzard" with the equivalent of racing slicks for scooters. I don't consider it the most dangerous things I have ever done, but certainly not the smartest
10:00 PM Home safe and sound with only good things to look forward to.
Tomorrow: Invest in a good rain suit as well as a solid raincoat. Oh, and buy more Costco cereal!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Coming of Age Day 2012, 成人の日 Seijin no Hi

Coming of Age Day is a Japanese holiday that takes place annually on the second Monday of January. It is a holiday that celebrates the coming of age of everyone who is 20 years old or turning 20 for that year.
Check out the wiki page Coming of Age Day for a nice overview and history of the holiday. 

I spent the day playing in a basketball tournament with my friend Teru. After the game we met in Shibuya with Celia and Yurie for dinner. 

Pictured: Jon, Teru, Célia, and Yurie at Hachiko exit Shibuya Jan. 9, 2012
That particular Monday night just happened to be the Coming of Age Day and all of the restaurants were packed, the streets crowded, and there was excitement in the air. 

Pictured: Célia, Yurie, Teru, and Jon at an izakaiya restaurant enjoying delicious food, enthralling conversation, and endless laughter.

What I enjoyed most was the beautiful women dressed up in their winter kimonos, celebrating their Coming of Age: an absolutely stunning sight to behold. So much so that I just had to take a picture with them. So before returning for the night, I had a picture taken with a group of four lovely, kimono-clad women just outside the Hachiko exit of Shibuya JR station. 
  Pictured: Myself with the four lovely, kimono-clad, Japanese women I met at the entrance to Shibuya station on Coming of Age Day, January 9th, 2012. 

Monday, January 9, 2012

Day 61

Last month I was invited to play basketball by Teru, the boyfriend of an old Sophia University classmate. I spent the last week working out in preparation for today's game. Normally, the only working out I can get in is stretching, running, and lifting a big rock I found in the park. However this only fosters my hate for the cold. Scratch that. My hate is really for the fact that getting warm again is difficult without central heating...or winter clothing which I regrettably left in Wisconsin to make room for a few new suits in my luggage.
Anyway, instead of doing the work out in the cold, I transferred inside this week when I  got my hands on a DVD copy of Billy's Boot Camp workout. Just saying that line in my mind is ridiculous. But after the initial skepticism wears off, its actually a pretty decent work out done in your living room. Its perfect for my current situation.

So back to the game. I have no idea what to expect regarding level of play. But know this, it is hard for me to find a decent pickup game here. And this is all I know so far:

1. I will be the only foreigner on the team
2. The opposing team is all foreigners
3. I will have a uniform provided
4. My height was requested for printing in a brochure

When I got the call for that last bit, I was a little surprised. What have I signed up for? I thought. Well, either way, my love of the game makes this opportunity exciting. And I am curious to see how this plays out. Update to come.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Nintendo DS gone missing

Having spent the day inside with the boys, huddled in the living room in a mass of blankets in an attempt to keep warm, a Nintendo DS goes missing. During the search Ian breaks out a little musical stuffed animal which, when pressed, sings a song that I think fit the situation perfectly. Here is the video.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

New Year's Countdown 2012, Yagiri Shrine, Matsudo, Japan. 矢切神社、千葉県

Last night, my cousin Ian and I walked down to the local Shinto shrine to check out the traditional New Year's countdown festivities. We warmed ourselves by the bonfire while waiting in line to throw a few coins into the receptacle at the Shinto shrine. We had a great time while listening to the traditional music being played. You can see the video I took below.

夕べ、従兄弟イヤンと一緒に矢切神社に行った。そこでNew Year's カウントダウンのいろいろな活動を見た。伝統芸能を聞きながらかがり火に当たった。それで神様へのお願いを祈った。いい経験になった。 下には昨日取ったビデオ。