chris vs. the arctic

chris: 72 // the arctic: 47

Daimon-machi + Oshima-machi = Imizu-shi ?

I just found out that my two small towns will join two others in November this year to form a city! Daimon, Oshima, Kosugi, and Shimanato will amalgamate to form Imizu-shi! That means I'll no longer have two city halls telling me what to do -- I'll have one central one. This big city hall will also control two other ALTs, meaning I'm no longer special. :( Sucks.

My Life Plan

I think I've figured out what I'm going to do with the rest of my life. There are two options:

1. I will become a 'cool' professor at a university. I'll provide handouts to all my students, so that they won't have to write it all out, and (mainly) so that I won't have to do anything in class. Every morning, I'll walk in with a tall coffee, and sip it whilst lecturing. I will encourge my students to do the same, as long as they don't rat on me to the university staff. I won't take bullsh*t from my students, however. I'll fiercely defend my marking, but be fair. It's going to be great!

2. I will become an executive at some company. I will have a bright office with stylish furnishings. Every pay day, I'll take out my staff for a 3-hour lunch. They will love me! And I will make a lot of money. I'll drive one of those hybrid cars -- not too flashy, and it shows that I'm environmentally aware. I'll be the best exec ever!

Random Thought [第8]

If you buy something with lucky found money, does that item become lucky?

Suggested Item: A bottle of water to be used to quench your thirst during a potentially embarrassing marathon with your students.

Stars Wars!!!

Here's a geeky moment for my blog... I just watched Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. SOOO GOOD!!! I can't believe it!! It actually evoked emotion! I have to see it again!

Sweet dreams are a-coming!

My new bed just arrived!! It's all set up, and boy is it comfy! Finally, I don't have to sleep on my old Japanese-style futon! (i.e. The floor.) Yay!

The Visitors

Monday morning, I arrived at work to find a whole new sets of desks on the side of the staff room. In the chairs of these desks were 6 men and woman, all wearing black suits. It was a strange sight, as no one else in the staff room even seemed to notice their presence. When the morning meeting had concluded, the people began to shadow other teachers, and scribble down everything they observed into their notebooks.

Then, during my second class of the day, I saw one of them in the corner of the room. No one introduced her. She just stood there the entire class, writing down everything.

Eventually, my curiosity got the better of me, and I asked my supervisor about them. They are apparently university students doing a practicum here for 4 weeks. And I have to teach with one of them.

Oh well. It's fun having someone watch and learn from me! As if I'm a good example of anything!

Golden Week Photos

I spent many hours sorting, labeling, photoshopping, and arranging my Golden Week photos this past weekend. Now they are finally online! Woo whoo!

Check 'em out here:

Hong Kong

I'll have the stories up soon! (Too many to tell!)

Rice Paddy Season Begins!

When I arrived home after Golden Week, I was shocked to find that my house had suddenly become a boat house! At least, that's what it seemed. It turns out the farmers had flooded the fields surrounding my house, in preparation for rice paddy season.

Now, the fields have been planted, and the seedlings have sprouted. It's gorgeous!

Rice Paddy Reflections

I went for a jog yesterday behind my house. It was relaxing traveling between vast fields of water. (Even though I was dying from the pain of exercise!)

On Friday, the day was so clear that I could actually see Mt. Tate in all her glory! Usually, I forget that there are even mountains at all!

My Neighborhood

On my way home from the grocery store today, I saw a crane wading through the field outside my house, looking for food. I hope it catches all those annoying frogs that have been croaking up a storm at night!

It's definitely been one of those weeks that I'm happy to be living in Japan!

★ Article: "Is a Salaryman Without a Suit Like Sushi Without the Rice?"

Yeah! I like this campaign! How do I join the fashion police force??
New York Times

▲ List: The World's Top Sites Visited During Golden Week

This is a list of the world's '-est' sites Heather and I visited during Golden Week. There were a surprising number of them!

★ The World's Longest Canopy Walkway (Taman Negara, Malaysia)
★ The World's Tallest Building - The Petronas Towers (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia)
★ The World's Best Airport - Hong Kong International Airport (Hong Kong)
★ The World's Second Best Airport - Singapore Changi International Airport (Singapore)
★ The World's Longest Outdoor Covered Escalator System (Hong Kong)
★ The World's Largest Building - Passenger Terminal of Hong Kong International Airport (Hong Kong)
★ The World's Oldest Rainforest - Taman Negara (Malaysia)
★ The World's Most Densely Populated Countries (Singapore and Hong Kong)
★ The World's Tallest Flagpole (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia)

▲ List: Top 10 Events During Golden Week

★ Walking down Nathan St. in Hong Kong thinking it was raining, but soon realising it was the condensation falling from all the air conditioners above.

★ Breaking the lightbulb during my shower in the Taman Negara rainforest, and the ensuing madness when Heather swung the door open to my naked body.

★ Swimming in a river of 22°C water in the Taman Negara rainforest, Malaysia.

★ Running into my style arch-nemesis from university in the Hong Kong airport.

★ Stumbling across karaoke in a Chinese temple and line dancing in a Buddhist shrine in Melaka, Malaysia.

★ Watching the Hong Kong skyline laser and fireworks show from the Peak, at night, in the middle of a cloud.

★ Walking the entire length of the world's longest canopy walk in the Taman Negara Rainforest.

★ Riding the Peak Tram at a 27° incline up the mountain in Hong Kong.

★ Getting drunk alongside the ocean at night at Boat Quay in Singapore.

★ Reaching the top of the rainforest after a 1.5 hour tiring (and sweaty) climb!

- Taking too many photos at the Singapore National Orchid Garden.
- Thinking we were being scammed when purchasing a ticket to see the historical light show in Melaka. In a way, the lame show was a scam.
- Riding the monorail in Kuala Lumpur.
- Spending no less than 24 hours in Times Square -- a mega-mall in Kuala Lumpur.
- Experiencing a capsule hotel for the first time in Osaka.

Looking HAAT!

I just gotta say, today I'm looking hot! My outfit is perfectly coordinated! Tan dress pants, blue checked shirt, black shoes and belt, white trench, and a striped tie that pulls in all those colours! Sweet!

The kids only wish they could be me!

Embarrassment of the Week [2005年5月18日]

In one of my first grade classes today, the kids were learning to write a sentence. The example sentence to be followed was, "Hi, I am Yuki." After the students finished writing their sentence, they were to come up to me, say it, and have me check it in their books.

One student, a boy, came up to me, and said, "Hi, I am Yuki." (Yuki is a girl's name.) I laugh and say, "no no, write your own name." The student walked away confused, so I got the teacher to explain it to him. The teacher comes back and says, "his name is Yuki."

Doh! How bad is that?? Not only does he have a girl's name (from what I can gather), but I just made him feel like a dumbass in front of everyone! Awww.

▲ List: Countries I Have Visited

Canada (Yukon, Northwest Territories, British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario, Manitoba, Quebec, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island) = 11/13
United States of America (California, New York, Idaho, Utah, Nevada, Montana, Arizona, Washington, Virginia, North Carolina, North Dakota, Colorado, South Dakota, Florida, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Alaska, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Minnesota, Illinois) = 21/50
United Kingdom (England, Scotland) = 2/4
The Netherlands Antilles (Curaçao)
China (including Hong Kong)
(The Netherlands)
South Korea

( ) = When I was a year old, so doesn't really count.

Japanese Truth [第4]

Typhoon season becomes an actual obstacle for travel planning. Especially when you're looking at travel by boat!

...maybe, okay.

Okay, maybe I spoke too soon. I just watched the best episode of ER on TV!

And Japanese TV is quite hilarious! My favourite part is when they dub in Japanese over a foreigner speaking, and use a ridiculous voice that they feel matches the person they are dubbing!

Example: A Spanish guy was speaking, and the dubber made him sound like Oscar the Grouch!

Western media...

I just watched "In & Out" on Japanese TV... It made me nauseous. I think either this particular movie was really cheezy, or my year of zero TV has cleansed my palate. Maybe. I'm just glad I'm completely out of the loop (finally) of American TV. No idea what's on anymore.


The following topics should never appear in a 'newspaper' or on a 'news' site, because they are NOT IMPORTANT!

In descending order of non-importance:

1) Entertainment (Movies, TV, Celebrities, etc.)
2) Sports
3) Travel
4) Unreleased or Just-Released Medical Studies
5) Technology

I'm not being completely dismissive of all these topics. If they do actually impact people in a significant way, then by all means, let it be news. But when it's another "Britney is preggers" or "Oil reduces cancer rates by 0.04%", I don't want to hear about it! It dilutes the serious issues!

While 'Star Wars' is being prominently headlined on CNN, BBC, New York Times, et al., the environment is being destroyed. War is still going on! People are still being oppressed in the Middle East and Africa! The West is getter fatter! China is slipping by the radar on pollution, resources acquisition and uncontrolled growth!

These false issues are best left to glossy magazines.

Random Thought [第7]

Swallowing a bug while biking to work in the morning is a good sign that the day will be interesting.

Suggested Reaction: Hacking, coughing, gagging, spitting to the amusement of your students.

Busy busy busy!

I've been super busy this past month! I'm completely backlogged with photos and stories to post. I managed to post my Singapore pictures online. I still have pictures from Malaysia, Hong Kong, Osaka, and Gokayama to post! Plus, I'm going to be in Tokyo this weekend... Yikes! So much! Check back Monday for the update.

Wait, what's this building??

I just discovered, after 9 months at my school, that the 1-storey building I drive by every day is in fact a pool! I can't believe it! It's on the roof of the building, and I noticed it when I rode past it in a large coach. It's like finding another room in your house!

Tonami Tulip Festival

My pics from the grand Tonami Tulip Festival are now online! Enjoy!