December 31, 2004

Link degredation

Well, it's been chirstmas and all, I haven't been at school, etcetera. Unfortunately it seems that I'm not really going to be doing much of anything fun on new years, but oh well.

I did make "mochi", which is this... like... goo, with a bunch of kids, and then I did meet with some 75 year old japanese dude who wants me to translate a bunch of his haikus into english, and that kindof stuff.

This "movable type" sofware that I'm using for uplink is... well, pretty bad, all told, and I may have to get something else. Comments are closed cause they keep getting spammed. With this software there doesn't seem to be anything in place to stop that kindof thing or workarounds. No one ever comments anyways so big deal. If you really wanted to you could email me, but that's none too likely either.

Allright, well we'll see what 2005 has in store.

Posted by tadge at 04:55 PM | Comments (0)

December 20, 2004

Uplink. Low mudulation.

So little has been going on this past week. Just going and teaching at Tajima. I actually stayed really late every day this week, due to my "shashin kurabu" (photo club). I'm trying to teach these kids how to use photo paper, make box cameras, etc. The ony kids that come are a couple of mute 7th grade guys. There's one 8th grader though, moriyama, and you can totally tell he's way smarter, so we'll see what he comes up with.

Most of the other english teachers have left, and gone back to america or to some other wacky country. So it's just me chillin' (rather literally) up in saitama. This week is pretty sparse, with only 2 days of actual school, and then I've got off until january.

No new or crazy adventures recently. A lot of cold wandering around the kanto plain on my motorcycle. Which, really, is pretty good. The plan the whole time was to go to Japan, get a motorcycle, and ride around and stuff. And that's what's happening.

Also, there's the shintoshin. It's basically my favorite place in japan. It's an amazing combination of nothing and everything... I often walk around there, thinking that I'm walking through one of those artists concepts that you see on the outside of buildings under crontruction -- clean lines, two point perspective, sparsely populated with people going about their business, walking in various vectors. Except it's real.

Well as they say here, "Merikuri".

Posted by tadge at 11:29 AM | Comments (3)

December 13, 2004

Uplink. Lordy.

So everyone. Today I was witness to... something that was KINDOF the greatest thing, ever.. anywhere... in the world. More or less.

Imagine scores of lithe japanese girls, clad in mylar futuristic space suit costumes, breakdancing in unison.


Or imagine japanese guys in ninja/outerspace costumes, with automatic weapons, dancing to gangsta rap as strobes go off all around them.

Truly, what an age we live in.

Seriously though, some teacher at one of my schools invited me, cause her daughter was in it. I'm still not clear exactly what it WAS (other than awesome of course), but I know it was called "SPACETIME EXPO 2004", whatever that means. And the whole dance concert had some kind of... story or plot, which I couldn't follow at all since all the writing was in japanese, but it involved time travel.

Probably the best between scene part is when the time machine screen came up and in english said "Searching ... Time: 1694 AD. Location: Pirates"

And then there was a pirate dance. To rap music. Maybe I've just been in japan too long but really, this was definetly one of the coolest things I have been to in this country. Not that a ketai photo is even reomtely adequate, but, take a look. Yeah, so I cannot thank Toriumi-san enough.

I was hoping to get to talk to her daughter and maybe the other dudes in it and try to congratulate them somehow, try to convey that in their take on an aspect of american culture they had, perhaps unknowingly, come up with something totally unique. But they had another showing like an hour after the first one (yikes) and so there wasn't any time.

Anyway, it was awesome. If things like this happened with any regularity, I would never want to go home.

Posted by tadge at 12:33 AM | Comments (110)

December 11, 2004

Uplink. DC-10.

So there has been little to reoprt this week at Minami-Urawa. The students continue to impress me to no end with their mule-ness, and the teachers continue to dissapoint. In one particularly egregious example, one Watanabe-sensei showed up for class 15 minutes late. He saw me there, hanging out with the students, talking with them in english / japanese, and said "Are you supposed to be here?!!?" I assured him that he was, but he insisted on seeing my time-table, so we LEAVE the classroom, go all the way back to the teachers room, he sees my schedule, says "Oh, I did not think you had class", and then we go back to the classroom, where by now half the peroid is over.

Yeah. Ahh well.

Also, I miss elementary school. The teachers were nice to me, the kids were super-nice to me, and I got to climb on a jungle gym and stuff. They were also "cripplingly cute", to use charlie's phrase.

Tonight I've got another "Enkai" which is an office party. Let me tell ya, it's a lot more office than party. 'Meeting with excessive amounts of alcohol' seems a more appropriate translation. But the last one was on a boat with like japanese accordian playing polka women, so I gotta give em that.

Right then. Keep me posted on the goings on in America, the Land of Turkey Sandwiches. They don't have them here... awww. In fact, the entire idea of cold-cuts, and really, sandwiches in general, hasn't caught on here. I bought some bread once, but it just went moldy cause I couldn't find anything to put between slices of it.

Then again, there's the Maruji ramen shop, only about 5 minutes away. Everything is a trade-off.

Posted by tadge at 06:58 PM | Comments (54)

December 05, 2004

Uplink. And the Infinite.

So, OK, this weekend was pretty fun. Friday was my last day at shibiraki elementary school, and the kids showered me with little cool presents they made and stuff. They were awesome. So much more fun than 95% of the kids at my other schools.

Yesterday I saw "the incredibles" which I highly reccomend to everyone. It kindof seems like pixar can do no wrong. Totally great movie. And it's certainly at the point where the fact that the animation is all done on computers seems a triviality.

Today was awesome. There was a fairly intense storm last night, and after it stopped raining this morning, it was like 70 degrees. Ask your local meteorologist how this works, I have no idea. But I headed out on the bike. Went through like 4 different "Ken"s, which are the equivalent of states, but obviosuly smaller if I got through 4 of em in one afternoon.

I also got to hit the Tohoku Expressway" which was awesome, a broad, 3 lane masterpeice that made bold, banking turns through the mountains before opening up onto the Kanto plain. An intensely excellent road. Cooler than the gai-kan, and much more expensive to... over $15 for about an hour of driving.

And despite all this travel, way up in Oyama, it turns out that I was closer to home than ever. Next time I'll go that extra hour....

Posted by tadge at 08:58 PM | Comments (63)

December 01, 2004

Uplink. I believe.

So, it's december. Crazy! December. So I've been here 4 months. Actually that seems pretty much accurate. I'm not going to say "seems like I just got here yesterday" or anything, cause it feels like I got here about 3 to 5 months ago. Which certainly jives wll with the reality of things.

That said I need to start doing crazier things here. I've had plenty of time to get adjusted, now it's time to get rusted. Whatever that means. I can just make up english words, no one here's gonna know.

Oh yeah, yesterday I completed my tour of the saitama hard-offs. I've now been to every single on in saitama-shi. Some were great and had tons of stuff, some were pretty sparse, but there's so much potential. Any place where you've found a $100 4x5 scanner, a $10 light meter, strobes for $5 and laserdiscs for $1.... that's a place you're likely to go back.

Super nintendos anyone? $2 each. Gameboys anyone? $1.


Maybe I'll try heading to other hard offs in other cities. That's rought though, it was enormously difficult navigating saitama-shi, and now I'm pretty well familiar with the layout of the place. Trying to get around in Kawaguchi or Toda or somewhere like that could be pretty hard. We'll see.

You gotta watch out for those little third graders though. Sure, one or two look cute enough, but ten third graders, working in tandem, WILL take you down.

You haven't seen anything till you've seen a squadron of second grade japanese girls on unicycles round a corner, spot you, scream "Doraijaaaaa!!!!" in unison, and start tearing your way.

Posted by tadge at 11:58 PM | Comments (53)