Blogs from Chiba, Japan, Asia - page 12


Asia » Japan » Chiba October 8th 2006

Reading a pamphlet that Chie-san was showing me during The History of Tokyo, I noticed that on the 8th of October, there were Highland Games scheduled in my area. At my school, in fact. This, of course, meant that it was a sign from the Higher Beings, They Who Govern Social Lives, that I was supposed to go. Not wanting to anger them, I woke up this morning and it was a beautiful day, with no clouds and moderate temperatures. The Beings were taking no chances, knowing that I will cop out at a moment's notice and stay in my Hermit Cave. The games were sponsered by the Royal Bank of Scotland, and done by the Japan-Scotland Society. I went to the station and caught the 9:49am train which put me at campus around 10:30. Once ... read more

Asia » Japan » Chiba October 4th 2006

For my Japanese Society class we went to Yasukuni Shrine, Meiji Shrine and Harajuku yesterday. The reason we went is because we've been studying Japanese religion and how it plays a role in the lives of Japanese people. Yasukuni and Meiji are two really different shrines. As some people know, Yasukuni is a point of contention here in Japan due to the politics surrounding it. It was founded in 1868, roughly, as a shrine to honor the soldiers who fell during the Meiji Restoration. It now serves as a place of internment for the souls of other soldiers as well, from World Wars I and II. Among the approximately 2.5 million souls there are 14 Class A war criminals, including General Tojo. The shrine also has a museum that is operated by the shrine and not ... read more
Yasukuni walkway
Yasukuni walkway
Second torii

Asia » Japan » Chiba » Narita September 29th 2006

School let out early today, so we brought our bags to school with us and caught a taxi to the train station. When we arrived, we noticed a large number of military personnel there awaiting transport. We figured out later they were going to the DMZ to increase security there because of the situation with North Korea. We took the KTX (Korean bullet train) to Seoul. I love bullet trains, in my opinion they are the best way to travel. Then we took an “airport limousine” bus to the airport. Picture this: a bus with lazyboy seating and tons of legroom. It was a very nice bus ride. We had a good flight into Tokyo and took a shuttle bus to our hotel where they upgraded our room to a junior suite. It had two tv’s, ... read more

Asia » Japan » Chiba » Narita September 27th 2006

In ancient Rome, the emperor used to open the gladiator matches or the Christian martyrdoms by saying, “Let the Games Begin”. Easy for him to say—Rome conquered the world without having to deal with the Council for Labor Affairs. Honestly, the bureaucracy has to be experienced to be believed. Caesar quit when he was ahead, and didn’t even try to knock over China. The red tape has to be experienced to be believed! The historical enemies of Rome presented little difficulty by comparison, even though I seem to remember from high school Latin class that the barbarians had a lot of Gaul. So. “Let the Games Begin”. It’s a good thing to stop in Japan on the way here. It keeps the longest leg of the flight to only ten hours or so, and a leg-stretch ... read more
Fuji Yama from the air...
Japan Asia Airlines to Chiang Kai-shek...

Asia » Japan » Chiba September 23rd 2006

Now that I've been here for a month, about, I started thinking about how it really is to be here and so on. I've gotten to see lots of things I never would have if I'd stayed in America, and met some really awesome people. But contrary to what colleges usually tell you, it's not always fun or easy. Difficulty is something that you can anticipate but I don't know if anyone really thinks about what happens when it's not fun. There are a lot of embarassing moments and times when you simply don't understand. This morning I thought it might have been better if we could have elementary school teachers because that's the kind of education we really need at certain times. The good parts of my stay are numerous. I mentioned seeing all sorts ... read more


Asia » Japan » Chiba September 13th 2006

I had my first class at Meikai yesterday, and that class is TINY. Over half the people in it dropped because they don't want to go out to Shin-urayasu. But we get reimbursed so I would rather take the classes I like. So, my real, graded Japanese class is fun. The teacher, Yahagi-sensei, is really cheerful. I think that woman must down about a pot of expresso before school every day. But she's patient and is allowing us to ask her questions in English if we don't understand. The structure of the class is a little odd, so I'll explain. It's "Jissen Nihongo" which means practical Japanese. Instead of learning in a linear fashion, we study 5 topics while I'm here, each about two weeks. Our first topic is "making friends." In that topic, we learn ... read more
Japanese tatami room in my house
Mini shrine to Okasan's husband

Asia » Japan » Chiba September 9th 2006

I decided to write an entry about upcoming events and what they currently mean to me, then write again once they actually happen, to see how being there affects me. I also am throwing in random thoughts that don't particularly fit anywhere else. Next week, on Saturday, my class is taking a field trip to Asakusa, pronounced "Ah-sak-sa" (as best as I can put it). This place is so full of history it's absurd, although I suppose that is true of many places in a country as old as Japan. In any case, while there the planned events are to eat a Sumo-style lunch in a restaurant and watch a Sumo game. But I have several other things I'd like to do. Asakusa was first known to me through Kawabata Yasunari's work, The Scarlet Gang of ... read more

Asia » Japan » Chiba September 8th 2006

As promised, the pictures I have taken are now on my computer and so are posted here. Essentially it's a tour from the train station to the house I am at, and if you look at it backwards, you have my route to the station from the house. So please enjoy it. Or not, whatever floats your boat. On the downside of today, my host mother asked me to not use my towel more than once. I think this is slightly odd. I am not allowed to use my bath towel more than once at a time, even if I hang it up to dry. This bothers me for 2 reasons - number one, I don't feel comfortable using her things. But since she doesn't feel comfortable with my using the same towel, and it's her ... read more
My futon, unfolded
My futon, unfolded
From station to home

Asia » Japan » Chiba » Narita September 8th 2006

Hey everyone! As most of you know i left Melbourne bound for "The Land of the Rising Sun" (Tokyo) on Friday at 9:30am. As i type this, the first of many blog entries, im sitting in a crowded internet cafe in Qingdao China. So much has happened in the past 48hours, hopefully i will be able to give a basic run down in this first entry. Firstly just like to thank all my friends, family and wellwishers who saw me off the week prior to my trip. Token phrase i know, but those cats from Counting Crows were onto something, 'you dont know what you've til its gone'. Was laying in my wooden bed last night and i have never felt so alone from everything i have ever known in my life. Perculiar feeling indeed. So... ... read more

Asia » Japan » Chiba September 5th 2006

Today I go to get my Alien Registration card. Other than that I've only had classes. I'm planning to post pictures from the ceremony tomorrow. But the real reason for this short post is that the Princess had her baby by C-section today! This is a big deal because the Crown Prince only has daughters and the other Prince has a daughter too. The law in Japan is that the throne must go to the next male heir, so currently, there has been a lot of concern over the line of succession. But if the Princess's baby is male, there will be much partying in Japan.... read more

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