chris vs. the arctic

chris: 72 // the arctic: 47

Halloween Party!


Originally uploaded by buck82.
Uozu City was invaded by riotous JETs on Friday, October 28th for the annual Toyama AJET Halloween Party! We got our costumes, groove, and drunk on. I went as Super Mario to salute Japan's export of culture and influence on my childhood. Amanda went as Wario to be my lackey. (Haha! Just kidding Amanda.) Needless to say, it was quite the party with many hilarious and memorable moments. (Some are unmemorable, including those about where certain people left their cellphones and keys...) Check out all the pics here!

▲ List: My Previous Career Plans

In celebration of my recent decision to pursue a career in law/government, I'd like to list for you all the career plans I had mulled-over/decided-on in the past. Here's the format: [job] // [amount of time dedicated to pursuing that job]

Veterinarian // 3 years
Doctor // 1 day
Arctic Biologist // 2 months
Business Person // 1 month
Animal Physiologist // 2 weeks
Human Physiologist // 2 days
Teacher // 5 days
Biochemist // 4 days
Epidemiologist // 5 months
Generic University Professor // 3 weeks
Designer // 6 days
Marine Biologist // 2 months
Auditor // 2 weeks
Risk Management Specialist // 5 days
Financial Planner // 2 days
Laboratory Technician // 3 days
Nurse // 1 day
Policy Developer // 3 weeks

Let's hope my latest plan makes it to fruition. I think it will.


I think I've reached my tolerance level for "Engrish" and all phrases contained therein. If I hear another person say, "Let's enjoying ~" I'm going to puke. I'm just going to bend over and spill my guts on their shoes. I've had enough. It was funny the first thousand times, but it's got to stop. Now.

Thank you! :)

Scratch That Itch

I finally found a song that has scratched my itching for an upbeat, happy tune! Thank you Adam D. (in Australia) for telling me about Madonna's new song, "Hung Up"! I've been playing it for the past 24 hours, and I still can't get enough! Check it out here: The song should start to play right away. Sweet ear candy!

My Kids Keep Rockin' It

I don't know what's going on... Maybe it's my school... Maybe it's my teachers... (It's probably me...) But my kids at Daimon Junior High School have been rockin' the English contests! Last month, the 3-nensei (Grade 9) student I was coaching won 1st place in a prefectural contest, and she's going to Tokyo to represent Toyama-ken. This morning, I found out that BOTH my 1-nensei (Grade 7) and 3-nensei English skit contestant groups won the 2nd place (a tie) at a prefectural contest this past weekend!! I didn't actually coach any of them, but I did help the 1-nenseis by recording my reading of it, and I edited both scripts. I can't believe the two groups from Daimon tied for the 2nd place! That's awesome!

I hope my school offers me some kind of incentive to stay another year. I'll turn it down anyway, but I'd like to see what they'd offer. How about ¥300,000 and a paid vacation? ;)



It just hit me like that (*snap*)! After spending a whole Saturday morning lounging and thinking about what I want to do with my life, I figured it out! I want to be a lawyer!

Here are my reasons:

1) I want to help people.
2) I don't want to continue in my current field (science) in a direct way.
3) I like working with people.
4) I have a pretty sound knowledge of the political and financial workings of Canada.
5) I want a comfortable lifestyle.
6) I want to be challenged.
7) I can work under pressure.
8) I gravitate towards leadership roles.
9) Lawyers can work in many fields.
10) I can live anywhere.
11) I have opinions and I like expressing them.
12) I like writing essays.
13) I have a diverse background of knowledge: science, finance, government, teaching, international experience, leadership experience, etc.
14) I get to wear stylish clothes all the time.
15) I pay attention to the details.

I've already ordered my LSAT prep book, and now I'm looking into taking the test in Japan. I'm also going to start compiling the data on the schools in Canada and the requirements needed. This is great!


The Long, Winding Road

On October 7th, 2005, I took a bunch of Toyama people down to Kyoto for the long weekend. We had a blast exploring the many local temples, shrines, and bars. For the full story, check out the pics.

Most Memorable Moments
一 Karaoke on the first night.
二 Finding the hostel right away.
三 Getting lost in Kyoto station.
四 Karaoke on the second night.
五 Drinking down by the river.
六 Tex-Mex.
七 "Asshole" games at the hostel.
八 Being roommates with Laura T.
九 American consumerism: Starbucks and the Gap.
十 Kiyomizu-dera at sunset.

Four Favourite Fotos
Kiyomizu-dera ShrineThe Chain and The SunKaraoke RocksGigantic Torii


Time to Swim!

On September 23rd, Amber, Phil, and myself hopped on a plane to Okinawa for a long weekend of sunshine and bliss.

Because pictures are stronger than words, I'll let my photos speak for themselves. Check out the pics for the story.

Most Memorable Moments
一 Biking 100 km around Miyako-jima on a granny bike.
二 Late night movies in the hotel room with Amber and Phil.
三 Meeting Uncle Take.
四 The German Culture Village.
五 Birthday cake at the bar.
六 Cutting my finger on a triple-blade razor.
七 The perfect beach.

Four Favourite Fotos
ShurijoCoordinationHello SunshineSky, Ocean, and Reef



Frank and Amanda
Originally uploaded by buck82.
This past Saturday, Amanda, Frank, and I made our way to Kanazawa City, Ishikawa-ken, for a DJ event. Lovebuzz is a local Toyama-ken group who lay down the tunes and make you wanna dance. Unfortunately, one of the members is leaving soon, so this was his final show. The night was a blast!

My favourite song from their set: "Working Nine To Five" by Dolly Parton. (What??) But, "Mmm Bop" by Hanson was a close second. Oh, Lovebuzz.

Random Thought [第13]

Solid black ties are perfect for those moments when Japanese soup spills out of the bowl you're slurping and onto your front, creating a new and interesting design you never knew you wanted.

Suggested Reaction: Stare at the mess for far too long, then finally grab something to wipe it off. Quickly glance around to make sure you haven't embarrassed yourself. Realize you have. Continue with lunch.

Top Notes of Hippie

The Fall/Winter Season 2005 is upon us. This is the time of year when I choose my new winter scent. Yeah, that's right. I change scents between summer and winter. That doesn't make me any less of a man. In fact, it makes me more a man. The cunning and suaveness of it all. Your body is different in the heat of the summer and the chill of the winter. You need different scents. Deal with it.

I had already made a tentative decision as to which scent I will buy this season. Polo Black by Ralph Lauren was looking (smelling?) good. "A bold fusion of iced mango, silver armoise and patchouli noir. Modern. Daring. Sophisticated." That's what I need this winter. Who doesn't want to be daring?

However, this little baby is not available in Japan yet. *tear* In my search for a temporary replacement, I stumbled upon a random number: 2 Man by Comme des Garçons.

Ralph Lauren Polo BlackComme des Garcons 2 Man

"White smoke, nutmeg, cumin, mahogony, saffron, iris, leather, vetiver, incense." No my friends, this isn't a turkey seasoning recipe -- it's a cologne. My first reaction to this bouquet was, "What the f*ck is this?! Is this something to wear or incense?" Maybe not the best reaction to a candidate scent. But I was intrigued. An incense-smelling cologne? Tell me more.

I sprayed it onto one of those white pieces of paper to get 'the real aroma.' Hmmm... Not bad. The incense note fades away quickly, leaving a warm, smoky, manly smell. Even though there is no patchouli included, I swear it was there. If I were to choose this creation for the winter, I would need to wear corduroy and speak about peace and books. It's verging on hippie smell. But I'm still intrigued.

My quest for the winter scent continues... But at least my list has grown by one. Maybe.

Asa Gohan

a.k.a. "Breakfast"

Recently, I've been waking up later and later, leaving absolutely no time for me to make, let alone eat, breakfast. Since stomach rumblings are one of the most embarrassing things to happen during a quiet class, I must eat something. So, on the way to school, I grab something at FamilyMart. Usually, I get an ume onigiri. I'll eat it in the staffroom right before class. Or, I'll grab a banana and eat it on the way to school.

Have you ever thought you were being sneaky about doing something when, in fact, you're completely obvious about it? Yeah. Enter my breakfast-eating:

1) Banana. With my mad bike skillz, I can easily peel and eat a banana single-handedly whilst guiding my bike down the road. Today, instead of throwing the peel into my bag or in a garbage can, I decide to toss it into some brush. (The squirrels will get it, right?) So I wind up, and toss. It lands not in the brush, or even the gutter, but right in the middle of the sidewalk! Man. That's not sneaky at all. Luckily, no one saw (I think)...

2) Onigiri. I usually eat the onigiri in the staffroom, facing the window. That way, I'm not so blatantly eating at work when I'm not supposed to. Well, yesterday, while I was trying to get the rice down in time for class, one of the secretaries' arms reached around my side and presented some hot tea. "Dozo..." Ugh. Embarrassing. It's even more embarrassing that she served me. (Although I do enjoy my morning coffee delivery from the teacher at the end of my desk area... Is that wrong??)

In conclusion, I've got to wake up earlier.

Yeah, right.

★ Article: "Crichton's conspiracy theory"

A very good rebuttal to Crichton's latest piece of propaganda. The comments are very good as well.

A Welcome Surprise

I receive my class schedule every Friday for the following week. It's just like a lottery. I may be blessed with only 3 classes a day, or I may get 5 classes every single day. Sometimes, I really hit the jackpot, and find that the whole afternoon or day is being used for an unknown reason. Actually, it's unknown only to myself, as every other teacher can read the kanji...

Today, I was lucky enough to have my afternoon filled by an event labeled with the kanji for 'China' or 中国. After inquiring about it to my supervisor, I discovered that it was a Chinese Dance Performance. Sweet! I saw the Beijing Opera in Beijing last March and absolutely loved it! I figured this would be the same deal.

It kind of was. After the entire school filled up the gym, the show was underway. The MC was a Chinese woman who began speaking only Mandarin. I snickered at my students who started to freak out. Finally they could see what it's like for me everyday! But, of course, she switched into heavily-accented Japanese. I was surprised that I could differentiate between good and bad Japanese...

The first performance was by two men dressed as a dragon-dog. They were absolutely fantastic! I had to keep reminding myself that it was a costume and not a real dog! It went through the audience and bit some people's heads, including mine. Apparently, they explained that the bite was for good luck. I'm not sure that's true, but I'm hitting the casino in Toronto at Christmas!

After some other acrobatics, a comedian/acrobat came out to juggle and flip hats unto his head. He called up a bunch of students to try, but my little dudes are uncoordinated. He then called on some teachers... And I volunteered, of course. Making a fool of myself is practically my job!

So there I was. On the stage. Holding the hat. About to try to flip it onto my head. Suddenly, the whole school starts to clap and chant, "Ganbatte! Ganbatte!" Pressure! After several unsuccessful attempts, I managed to almost get the thing properly on my head. Not quite though. For my efforts, the acrobat gave me a ballon. Thanks. I will say that that was the closest any person got to doing it. It's a foreigner thing.

The next bit was the best! The dude called up two students, my head kyoto-sensei (vice-principal), and my kocho-sensei (principal). He made them sit in chairs in a square, and then proceeded to tell them to lay down on each other's laps. I couldn't help but burst out laughing! Anything embarrassing to my sempai (superiors) is a riot! After positioning them, the acrobat removed the chairs, leaving the four of them balancing themselves on each other. Pretty cool stuff. The first thing that went through my head was, "I hope my 65 year-old kocho doesn't have a bad back..."

That stunt was followed by some other fantastic bits, including a woman who balanced 7 lit candles, and a man who flipped bowls onto his head whilst balancing on a see-saw thing. Sugei! (Cool!)

All-in-all, today's performance was a much-needed reprieve from boring classes, and it reminded me of how much I love China. I'm definitely heading that way again soon!

▲ List: Gap Stores I Have Shopped At In Japan

Tokyo (Harajuku)
Tokyo (Shibuya)
Osaka (Shinsaibashi)