Saturday, July 28, 2007


So, a few days after getting back from Okinawa, where there was a decided lack of time spent on the beach, on Tuesday (24/7/07) I caught the bus to Shirahama with a group of friends from around here. Here we spent 3 days on the beach. We camped out on the beach at night, and left only to find somewhere for meals, and to visit the convenience stores for supplies.

Generally it was a good and stress free time. We all got a bit sunburnt in different places depending on what individuals wore and where they put sunscreen. On Wednesday night we lit a bunch of fireworks we bought at the local convenience store. One we weren't sure which was up, and got it wrong, sending it flying along the beach, passing only a few meters away from another group of people.

We were most active on the first day. The second day was mostly spent sitting in the shade, trying to avoid getting more sunburnt. Day three was similar, but we weren't quite so scared of the sun, although we were getting a bit tired of not sleeping on a futon and having access to a hot shower. We had lunch and hung around the cafe for a while, then went to a hotel bar and mooched around for about an hour or so on one drink.

The bus ride back was slower than the ride to the beach, due to some traffic issues on the way.

I got sunburnt worst on my feet, so much so that wearing shoes to work today was quite uncomfortable

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Writing time: 19 minutes
Time since last post: 8 days
Current media: Rasputina - How We Quit the Forest

Friday, July 20, 2007

Okinawa Day 4

Day 4 in Okinawa was mostly relaxed, but there were a few events of note. The usual breakfast (MacDonalds bacon & egg muffin meal), then I checked out of the hostel, but was able to leave my bag there for the day.

First on the agenda was to buy a yukata (a Japanese summer style kimono) as work was planning a yukata party on Sunday, and I wouldn't really have time to buy one back in Osaka before then. After wandering around a little I found a shop that had a bunch of kimono looking things, and in my poor Japanese first asked "kore wa yukata desuka?" (is this a yukata?), and getting an "iie" in response, followed with "yukata wa arimasuka?" (are there yukatas?) whereupon I was led to a different section of the shop. They gave me one to try on, a large (yukatas don't come in many sizes, and since the average foreigner is bigger than the average Japanese person, large was realistically the only one that would fit. The length is about right, but the sleeves are a little shorter than they should be. After some confusion over the name of some colours I finally picked out a yukata that is dark blue in colour, with some sort of pattern on it (it looks like some sort of lamp thingy). As later events would show, this purchase would be very fortunate.

After this I went to one of the parks to relax for a while. I did a bit of reading, played some more Phoenix Wright, and then decided to do some juggling. I did this for a while, practising some routines, then 3 balls in one hand (I can kind of do this now, but I have too move a lot). The juggling ended when I lunged to catch the balls and heard a rip. I looked down and the inside right leg of my shorts was torn from where the legs meet in the middle to the hem. I quickly sat down on the bench and considered my options. Walking down the streets in my shorts like this was not an option. The solution to how to get back to the hostel to my bag and a new pair of shorts: the yukata. I put on the yukata and headed back to the hostel. I got a few odd looks on my way, and learnt I couldn't really use my normal stride in a yukata (I'm sure you can work out why). Anyway, I got back to the hostel, changed pants and then went back out into the world, sans yukata. I had lunch, and decided to head over to the Naha museum to kill some time. Unfortunately, the museum was closed, so I got some icecream at the Hageen Daas that was below the museum. After that I decided to call it a day and go to the airport.

My flight arrived in Kobe on time at 8:25, and I was home between 9:30 and 10.

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Writing time: 17 minutes
Time since last post: 1 day
Current media: Rasputina - How We Quit the Forest

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Okinawa Day 3

Day 3 in Okinawa was a little different. I decided that rather than trying the beach again and getting drenched, I'd do some sightseeing and then catch another movie. I was delayed in leaving the hostel though because while I was doing some after breakfast reading I started watching one of the other guests making a string bracelet, and ended up making one of my own. In hindsight, the rough black twine I though would look macho and manly just ended up looking a bit ratty and was harder to make.

For my sightseeing I headed over to Ryuku Castle. The castle has been built and rebuilt many times, most recently after WWII. There are some parts that are still being restored but it was a good visit. Just before going into the main castle part, in the courtyard there was a performance of traditional dance which I hung around and watched. A bit different to the dancing I'm used to, but no-one can do fancy footwork in a kimono. Overall, the dancing was quite sedate, and the use of props was more interesting than the footwork. The inside of the castle was pretty interesting, and had a lot of English signs. You did have to take of your shoes off at the entrance though. After the castle I wandered around the lake just below the castle, and headed to the cinemas around 4:45ish.

The movie I saw was Pirates of the Caribbean 3. My advice is if you haven't already seen it, don't. During the movie I was thinking "this is bad". The story made little sense, and the humour of the original is sorely lacking. The few moments of comedy with Johnny Depp were the only positive things in the movie. I did however stick around for the little coda after the credits.

Dinner was KFC, and then I went back to the hostel for the night.

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Writing time: 15 minutes
Time since last post: 1 day
Current media: None

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Okinawa Day 2

My second day in Okinawa was not quite as exciting as the first. I slept in a bit, then walked down to the nearest MacDonalds for breakfast. As I got there, it started raining, so I stayed a bit longer than I normally would. When the rain looked like it was easing off, I left, but almost immediately it picked up again, so I popped into a convenience store and bought an umbrella. I went back to the hostel to wait out the rain.

At about noonish it looked fine, so I decided to walk to a nearby beach. After spiralling around for a while, I finally found the beach. I sat down on the beach and rented an umbrella (I actually just tried to open an umbrella on the beach and a guy came up and told me it was a rental, so I just gave him some money). However, after about half an hour the heavy rain came back suddenly so I and everyone else on the beach ran for the shelter of the nearby buildings. After the rain eased off again I said to hell with this and went back to the hostel to change clothes as I was somewhat drenched.

I decided that my alternative activity would be to see a movie. I got to the cinemas at about 4, and the next English movie on was Die Hard 4 at 5. So I decided to hang around (the cinema was in a mall which I wandered around in. On a related note Transformers toys for the current movie seem a lot cruder and less sophisticated than the ones I remember from my youth.) Anyway, the movie wasn't too bad, the scenario, tech and action was a bit more implausible than previous Die Hards, but it was still fun to watch.

After that I had dinner at a steak bar near the hostel, I had a nice awamori cocktail with some good steak, although the steak didn't come with anything else.

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Writing time: 13 minutes
Time since last post: 1 day
Current media: Hook

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Okinawa Day 1

An early start, getting up at around 6:30, to catch a 7:17 train to Kobe, and then another train out to the airport, arriving at the airport at around 8:45. Check in was no hassle, although it was a bit funny that getting your boarding pass and checking your luggage are two seperate processes over here. The flight was about two hours, and then another 15-20 minutes on the monorail. The guest house I was staying at (props to Guest House Sora, a very good place to stay if you happen to be in Naha). I dropped my bag at the guest house, and then wandered around town for a while. I had lunch at KFC (my dining habits in Naha were particularly unadventurous), then decided to visit one of the parks nearby. After a fair bit of walking (I ended up walking in a contracting spiral around the park before finally finding it. I sat in the park and read for a while as well as playing a bit of Phoenix Wright. It started raining after a while, pretty heavy rain, but I was under a shelter so it wasn't a problem. There were a lot of cicadas in the park which made a heap of noise when the rain started, and at times their flight reminded me of The Birds.

When the rain finally stopped at around five I headed back to the guest house to check in properly (pay the bill and get my key, etc), chatted with a few other guests and then headed out to dinner. I had dinner at the Cowboy Steakhouse, which was probably a bit to pricey for what you got, but had good steak and a nice and tall mango daiquiri. I then stopped into a bar called Zero Ichi K (01K on the sign) and hung out there for a while. Two marines came in a little later, and I talked with them and played darts against them (I won two games of 301, lost at cricket and a round of count up). 01K was pretty cheap, but mostly because of their very generous definition of happy hour (7pm-2am is what I recall on the sign).

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Writing time: 12 minutes
Time since last post: nominally 1 day, but since I'm retroactively posting my travel stuff, it's really 6 days
Current media: None

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Good News

It looks like the typhoon has died down (it's now a tropical storm) and has passed by. Hopefully this means all systems are go.

In less good news, today I have my contract evaluation and I got hardly any sleep last night.

Ah well, I'll just drink lots of coke.

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Writing time: 3 minutes
Time since last post: 2 days
Current media: None

Friday, July 13, 2007

God damn

So on Tuesday I booked my trip to Okinawa. Bought the tickets, booked a hostel, found out how to get to Kobe airport, all that shit. Yesterday I mentioned my plans at my Japanese lesson, and was informed that there is a typhoon currently heading towards Okinawa.

God damn.

It looks like the typhoon will hit tomorrow morning, and by Monday will have weakened and be passing over the main island of Japan, so hopefully I can still go.

In any case, if the planes are still flying, I'm going to go. I may however have to alter my plan of sitting on the beach and reading. Worst case scenario I sit in my hostel and read.

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Writing time: 4 minutes
Time since last post: 2 days
Current media: none

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Unexpected Sources

Last Saturday I was at a different school than normal and met someone new in voice. It was a housewife who was a little different. Since it was the first time I'd met her I asked the usual get to know someone questions, job, hobbies, likes, etc. The surprising bit was that she liked heavy metal music, and surprisingly, when I mentioned what would be the closest thing to my favorite heavy metal band, Apocalyptica (since they play cellos, it doesn't really count as pure heavy metal), she actually knew who the hell I was talking about. Then came the devastating blow. Apparently, Apocalyptica had performed a concert in Tokyo in May, and she had gone.

God Damn.

If I had known, I'd have definitely made the trip to Tokyo for that. To put it alliteratively, Apocalyptica are awesome.

Ah well, yet another disappointment in life.

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Writing time: 11 minutes
Time since last post: 1 day
Current media: Crazy Japanese TV

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Some cool pictures

Some fun pictures for those who are fans of either Lord of the Rings and/or The Muppets.

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Writing time: 1 minute
Time since last post: 10 minutes or so
Current media: None, although I might start watching The Muppet Show soon.

Okinawa Bound

Next week I get my next four day weekend. The plan for this one is Okinawa. It's summer, there are beaches, plus it seems such a waste to have so much time off and not go somewhere further afield.

Today I sorted out tickets and accomodation. All without leaving my room. The internet is a wonderful thing. The hostel will be a bit cheaper, and I don't expect to spend quite so much on trains and entry fees, so it may end up being about the same cost as my trip to Tokyo.

My main plan for what to do in Okinawa is to lie on the beach and read. On that topic, I'm not sure what to read so have decided to try a new blogger feature. There is a poll for what book I should read while in Okinawa. I may also visit Okinawa castle, but I doubt I'll do that much sightseeing.

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Writing time: 102 minutes (although I did stop for a while to go for dinner and do some other stuff)
Time since last post: 4 days
Current media: None

Friday, July 06, 2007


This guy is fucking awesome. I wish I could make a speech this good.

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Writing time: 1 minute
Time since last post: 5 days
Current media: Heros

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Fan Mail

On Thursday I got my first bit of fan mail.

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Writing time: 6 minutes
Drawing time: unknown
Time since last post: 1 day
Current media: Die Hard