Friday, January 25, 2008

Whale. It's the other, other dark meat.

1182114613739 Today I had the "pleasure" of eating the largest mammal on planet earth. If you haven't guessed what it is by now, I'll tell you, I ate whale. What species of whale, I really don't know but I do know this: whale isn't very tasty. It was served up in bite sized cubes drenched in some kind of sweet sauce. I didn't taste much whale but I did taste the sauce and it was hands down one of the least tasty things I've eaten so far in Japan.I was kind of expecting something incredibly tasty since they happen to be such a "delicacy" in Japan, but it wasn't even slightly delicious. In fact, whale has almost no taste, its tough and dry and it really leaves me wondering why a first world nation still hunts these animals for consumption. What's really funny about all this is that just about every student and teacher I talked with said they didn't like the taste of whale and most didn't even eat it.
So why was whale even on the menu today? I feel kind of bad for what I did but I wasn't about to let the whale's sacrifice go to waste. I paid for it so I was going to eat it, and I did... It was the first time and the last time I will ever eat whale. If dolphin is ever served up I'm just going to skip lunch for the day. I really hope that doesn't happen but if we ate whale, the possibility for dolphin is high.
4BFPX3FHQ2IKK545F72SNFR5GWXTO765 On a lighter note, school was fun today. Fridays are always my easiest days for some reason, which makes my weekend feel longer than it really is. Today's classes really followed along today and looked as if they enjoyed class for once so I got to leave school on a good note. Next week should be a good week too since it's payday on Wednesday. I can finally buy Yuko her Christmas present. I feel really bad about not having anything for her over Christmas but she knows how important to me it is to keep my budget and save money. This will be the first month I have a hefty surplus of funds so I can make up for not giving her a Christmas present sometime next weekend...
Well, that's it for today. I'm having dinner with Yuko tonight, hopefully the food I eat tonight will take my mind off the horrible taste of whale.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Snow day!

1174577732447 Thanks to Windows Live Writer, I am finally motivated to make entries to my Blog on a regular basis again. I kind of gave up writing for the past month or so because Blogger's design for posting images and arranging them in blocks of text is counter-intuitive and time consuming. So thanks Microsoft for a free and useful program!

Today I woke up to a pleasant surprise, snow! Not the kind of snow that melts when it hits the ground mind you, no, it's the good stuff that can be made into snowmen and snowball fight ammo. It's been about three years since the last time I've seen snow fall like this and I'm happy I got to see it in Japan. I've been wanting it to snow since Christmas but I guess the timing was DSC00019perfect because it made my day at school really fun.

  My winter break was just long enough to feel like I got enough rest and make me miss work. Getting back into  the swing of things was really easy, contrary to my worries I had over the break. My students seem pretty happy to have me back and I am glad that I fit in pretty well at my school.

Anyway, today was pretty fun at school. I had a half day but I decided to stick around for an extra hour to play with my students in the snow during lunch break. We ran around the field having snow fights and making snow-men. It was a great opportunity to make myself even more approachable and likeable for my students. I was the only  DSC00037teacher that went out into the snow to play and the students really appreciated it.

As I type this blog entry, it's still snowing just as much as it did when I woke up early this morning. The fields around my apartment look really beautiful with a fluffy layer of snow. I guess that means I can't go out for a jog today unless I want to break a leg and catch a cold...

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

It's truely a Happy New Year!

DSC00001Happy new year everybody! The last few months of 2007 have been fairly mild as I transitioned between living in sunny San Diego, to four seasons in Japan. This month, I finally got myself back on track as far as money matters go. I finally forced myself to start itemizing all my expenses and set myself on a strict monthly budget. In theory, I should be able to save at least 400 dollars a month if no emergencies come up. So far I’ve been able to meet that goal and then some. But enough about money, let’s move on to more interesting things…

DSC00008Today is the first day of 2008, or still December 31st in the USA. Either way the New Year has come and gone and it was a pretty decent start. Although I didn’t get treated with a white new year like I had three years ago in Maebashi, it was more interesting overall. Unlike most new year days I am usually single and nursing a cold one in the comfort of friends or by myself. This year I have been blessed with my own apartment and girlfriend which really makes me feel like I’ve finally broken my winter curse of broken relationships.

Osaka and Wakayama 016 Before I continue with this post's original theme, I should recap what's happened since the last time since I posted. I spent about five days with Enoch and his wife Sanae in Osaka and their hometown in Wakayama. We saw a lot of stuff in Osaka this time around and even though I was just about broke when I got there, I was able to get a little temporary cash advance from my good friends. I felt bad having to ask for money but November was a particularly rough month as far as bills went. We ate a lot of famous local cuisines and did a little shopping on the side. I ended up buying a cool yellow T-shirt with Ronald McDonald on it saying "If you're Japananese you should eat rice." I plan to wear that in the spring when it gets warm enough!

Osaka and Wakayama 023 The last half of the trip with Enoch and Sanae was half hangover half party. Enoch's father in-law sure knows how to show friends a good time. I spent just about a whole day/night killing my liver with Enoch's father in-law.The trip was enjoyable although I regret not putting enough time into planning where and what I wanted to do. The next day I felt OK but a little moody and groggy, which I regret because I am sure I wasn't really the best of guests during that time and I really regret it. All in all, I think I could have spent one more day in Osaka by myself, but it was an overall good time. Enoch’s in-laws are a pretty friendly bunch and I am happy that I am welcome there in their home.

Osaka and Wakayama 045 Against Yuko’s wishes, I spent New Year’s Eve by myself because I was tired from traveling back from Wakayama. After a nice long and restful ten hours of sleep, I spent New Year’s Day with Yuko and we visited a local temple in the mountains for our first temple visit of the year. Although I am not Buddhist, I did enjoy observing the Japanese tradition of “Hatsumode” and took a few pictures to ring in the New Year. I really enjoy experiencing Japanese holidays, and I plan to do as many as I can this year, which means tons of pictures of traditional Japanese stuff (beats up-close shots of my ugly mug in front of random spots in Japan).

Osaka and Wakayama 079 The weather has been steadily getting colder but it’s still not unbearable, in fact, it’s pretty comfortable. Thanks to the Lord’s blessings I’ve been able to buy a whole new fashionable winter wardrobe which keeps me warm and healthy. But I don’t think it’s my clothes that are making me comfortable in this cold weather, I wonder if I am just fat and my blubber is keeping me warm… Who knows, but Yuko doesn’t think I’m fat so that’s cool. As far as Yuko goes, she’s been a pretty good girlfriend. Even though we are just about complete opposites, we somehow end up enjoying our time together and get along really well. I guess it would be a problem if we didn’t get along well, so that last sentence was probably unnecessary as well as this one!

So that’s about it for my first post of the New Year. Here’s hoping for some snow in the next few weeks! It’s been three years since I’ve seen it fall from the sky…