Tuesday, August 29, 2006


Man oh man.......

Once a year the sleepy little town of Higashimatsushima decides to let its hair down and have itself a good ol' fashioned air show. Ya know, the kind where jets, closer to each other than I care to be to some people, swoop by the crowd doing maneuvers that boggle the mind? THAT kind of air show.

The show lasted the better part of the late morning and early afternoon on Sunday and included helicopters, parachuters and speedy jet airplanes. The jet group, known as Blue Impulse (a Blue Angels homage?), are local celebrities especially among the little ones.

What was REALLY cool was, in the week leading up to the show, Blue Impulse would practice during the day. I would be biking to work, minding my business, when WHOOOOOOOOOOSH. Of course, this led to numerous close calls on my bike as I have come to find remembering how to ride a bike is like......um..... well, it's a lot harder than some people would lead you to believe.

In addition to air theatrics, we also had a chance to watch Blue Impulse Jr., a group of motorcyclers with their rides decked out to look like jets who also did tightly choreographed shows, earthbound of course. It's times like these that I think to myself, "Hey, that's pretty neat," or, "Well, if China decides to invade at least I can sleep well knowing that we're prepared."

Sunday, August 27, 2006

English Board

On Thursday I put up an English Board in the hallway of my middle school. As you can see, the board is mostly pics from my recent road trip with Eric and some from around Richmond, all with simple English captions that, hopefully, the children will be able to read at some point. As I was putting it up my fellow teachers would walk by and exclaim "sugoi!" (great/awesome/etc) It was fun to see how excited they got to see my friends, family and life. They also alerted me to the fact that everyone pictured was very attractive. I assured them that America had its fair share of homely people but I simply lacked the time and inclination to associate with them.

Monday, August 21, 2006


Yesterday a group of ALTs visited the town of Matsushima, one of the three most scenic areas in Japan, and roughly twenty minutes from my apartment. The town is small, but fairly tourist due to its reputation. Usually one goes to Matsushima to take a boat tour around the pine-clad islands that dot the bay, but we had other objectives; we were here to see the interior of Godai-do, a small Buddhist temple that is only opened once every 33 years. The interior itself wasn't anything spectacular, but it was well worth the wait in the GIANT line in the sweltering heat to experience the crowd and the festivities. Afterwards, we grabbed some soba and stopped by a zen garden. I'd put some pictures up but my battery ran out about half way through the day and the pictures from the first half are rubbish, so I guess you'll have to see it yourself in 2039.

Friday, August 18, 2006

At home in Higashimatsushima

I'm back! Hey everyone. Sorry for the rather sizable gap in my postings- I just today got internet access in my apartment. Until now I've been shooting out quick emails from the Board of Education every few days, but things should be gravy from here on out.

So what's new? Well....Unfortunately, since so much time has passed, I'm going to have to edit out a fair amount of what's been happening with me and just give you some highlights. Let's review the past two weeks, shall we?

Tokyo Orientation- Met lots of new people, had a lot of fun, and collected enough useless paper work to cover all of Hokkaido. The true shame of orientation is that, after meeting lots of new people, you're torn away from them and scattered about the country.

Luckily, the people in my area are also very cool. I just got back from a prefectural orientation where I got to hang out with them. (oh....and receive more handouts)

Everyone here, locals and those in the JET program, have been really great. My supervisor is a clerical wizard. The teacher who I am assisting has been open and very helpful. And the kids seem really excited to have me around. Although I haven't seen much of them yet as we're still on summer vacation.

I go to Sendai quite often. It takes an hour by train, but it's worth it as it's a pretty happening place. We recently had a festival here known as Tanabata. I'm pretty sure it's Sendai's biggest festival. The main thoroughfares are lined with huge lanterns and there was a pretty impressive fireworks show one night.

The other day I traveled to the prefecture west of Miyagi known as Yamagata to a famous temple called Yamadera (literally- Mountain Temple). To reach the aforementioned temple one must climb a rather lengthy staircase, but it's well worth it as the temple itself is quite lovely and the view it provides of the valley below is amazing.

I think that's enough for one post. Obviously, there's been a lot more going on with me but I don't want to bore you with too much detail. If you'd like to know more, you can always email me.

Oh....and what you've all been waiting for- pictures!

In Tokyo I went to a party with old friends from Sophia (the university I went to while in Japan last time)-

Here are some pics from Tanabata. The first is an up-close of the origami work on one of the lanterns and the second is from the fireworks show.

And here are two pics from Yamadera. The first is of me, two of my local friends from Sendai (Harumi and Aiko), and my buddy, and closest neighbor, Hashmatt. The second is of a small temple with the valley in the background.