Nar3: Japan

Kyushu: Day 3 (Jan 2)
Posted on Saturday, January 10th, 2004 at 6:40am by Brett.
(Saturday, January 10th, 2004 at 8:40pm Japanese Standard Time)

Sei woke up before me (because that's what the Japanese do) and when I finally dragged myself out of bed, there was another wonderful breakfast ready. There was rice, miso soup, dried salted fish, some Japanese veggies, and an egg and some fried ham. It was all really good.

After breakfast, we all sat and chatted for a while. There was a marathon on TV, and we watched that for a bit. Then Sei and I went to visit one of his old highschool teachers (I think) whose neice happened to be going to school at Tsukuba. We chatted with that family for a while, and then we went and picked up some of his friends and went to an arcade. I played the geekiest game ever. It was this game called "The Typing of the Dead!!!" and it had these keyboards attached to it. It was basically Resident Evil or House of the Living Dead with a keyboard that shot things as you typed instead of a gun. I did very well considering I was having to type Japanese words that I didn't know. Sei was impressed...

After that, we all went to eat at a place called Joyfull. It was good food. We went back to the house, and then after hanging out for a bit we went to Sei's mother's parent's house. They were ...(More)

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Kyushu: Day 4 (Jan 3)
Posted on Sunday, January 11th, 2004 at 7:30am by Brett.
(Sunday, January 11th, 2004 at 9:30pm Japanese Standard Time)

I woke up and had another big breakfast. Sei's dad was back off to work, and would be gone for the rest of my visit.

After breakfast, Sei's grandpa, Shu, and I went to see a live volcano. Though Japan has many, this was my first time seeing one. I think the name of it was Nekodake. It was pretty cool.

The drive there was about 2 hours. Japan's roads are quite unlike American's. They're narrow...You wouldn't believe some of the places I saw. There were a few times where either we or the oncoming cars had to stop, put it in reverse, and go like that until the road was wide enough to pass. It's a bit scary at times.

Japanese roads are just below proper torture for those who get car sick. Luckily, I am not one of those people. Even though, they were making me feel just a bit weird in the stomach. The roads go up and down, and back and forth, and curve and wind and dip and weave mercilessly.

When we finally got to the volcano, it was SOOOOOO cold and windy. There are some pictures of it in the gallery. We were up pretty high, but it didn't really bother me because there was enough ground around me.

That took about all day. By the time we got ...(More)

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Kyushu: Day 5 (Jan 4) (Updated)
Posted on Monday, January 12th, 2004 at 5:05am by Brett.
(Monday, January 12th, 2004 at 7:05pm Japanese Standard Time)

(I lost a day somewhere. Urm....yeah. I maybe have combined two days, or something...but...this is just a space filler. Nothing to see here...return to your lives, citizens.)

...I remebered!

I'm not sure how I forgot this day, because it was actually a lot of fun. Nothing exactly notable happened during the day, but the night was a lot of fun.

As I had mentioned, Yuu, Sei's 17 year old brother, is in a band. He was playing in a tribute concert for a band called Dashing Straight. There were like 6 or 7 bands playing before them, and Yuu's band was first. They were pretty good. Played some American hardish rock music.

The place where they performed was called Scar Face. It seemed to be a sort of bar...performance area...thing. It was pretty cool. I was the only gaijin in there, so it got some looks, but that's ok...I'm used to it.

There were some really good bands that played there. Most of them were local to Hita, if not to Kyushu.

Sei was crazy. He was daning and jumping up and down and basically enjoying himself. I, though, am the kind of person who sit in a corner and nod his head to the music. I don't dance. But Sei would grab me and be like ...(More)

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Kyushu: Day 6 (Jan 5)
Posted on Monday, January 12th, 2004 at 7:41am by Brett.
(Monday, January 12th, 2004 at 9:41pm Japanese Standard Time)

Today was the last day in Hita with Sei's family. We woke up early...rather, Sei woke up early, then woke me up about a half our later. We were planning to take a train to Kagoshima to visit my grandmother's realtives. The week at Sei's had been so much fun, that I found myself not wanting to leave. The house was so homey, and there was a strong feeling of family that I have missed since moving to Japan. Nevertheless, after breakfast we were off to the station to catch our train.

Right after breakfast, I went to brush my teeth and get changed and everything. As I was walking back into the main room, I felt a soft pop right above my left temple. I felt a bit dizzy, but just shook my head and walked in the room.

Sei's mom said something to me, but all I heard was Charlie Brown style adult voice muttering. I went to ask her what she said, and what came out was "What did you say?" Then I stopped and realized that the soft pop was my Japanese saying "You've used the last of your Japanese Usage Points for the week. You're on your own from here out. Good day."

And it was pretty much true. The rest of the trip's conversations consisted of me asking Sei "What'd s/he ...(More)

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Kyushu: Day 7 (Jan 6)
Posted on Tuesday, January 13th, 2004 at 8:09am by Brett.
(Tuesday, January 13th, 2004 at 10:09pm Japanese Standard Time)

I woke up this morning not knowing the day that was ahead of me.

Hiroki was returning to Fukuoka where he goes to school, so his father, Hitomi, Sei and I went....pretty much all over the prefecture.

First we went to view the live volcano that was in Kagoshima. I cannot for my life remember its name. Unforunately, an hour and a half ride later, it was too foggy to see it from the observation spot.

After that, we went to the Kagoshima Zoo. It was pretty cool, but zoos are always just a bit weird. My friend got on me for not setting all the animals free. Interesting thing, though, was that while we were looking at the monkeys, two young Japanese kids came up to me, and said "Gaikokujin da! (It's a foreigner!)". I turned to them and said "Kodomo da! (It's a kid!)". They left.

Also, at the zoo, we ate this weird sweet bean paste soup with mochi. It's...it was very odd. I liked it, but it was waaaay too sweet for me to eat all of it.

After the zoo, we went to the Kagoshima Aquarium. That was a very....unique experience. I heard Hiroki's dad saying "Ohh I'm hungry...that looks tastey!" referring to the fish in the tanks, but I thought he was just joking. ...(More)

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Kyushu: Day 8 (Jan 7)
Posted on Wednesday, January 14th, 2004 at 8:28am by Brett.
(Wednesday, January 14th, 2004 at 10:28pm Japanese Standard Time)

Sei and I came back to Tsukuba today.

We got up "early" and Yuuko had made us breakfast. It was a more traditional breakfast...like what Sei's family servered.

I decided I really like the traditional Japanese breakfast. It's nice...that's all.

Yuuko, instead of serving salmon like Sei's family had, served a smaller fish...cooked, but whole. When I first came to Japan, and just...in general, I try to (sometimes force myself to) try different things. I'm glad to say that there has been only one thing placed in front of me since I came here that I wouldn't eat, and it was large, red, fish eggs. I just couldn't eat them.

So, I'm eating my rice and miso soup, and look at the fish. I decide to give it a try, and pick it up. It was a split second decision--Head side or tail side first? I picked head side...my reasoning was that food goes in on that side...

I take a bite and chew. It tastes, as expected, like fish. I'm chewing when it suddenly hits me. I just ATE a fish head. The head of a fish is in my mouth, and I'm chewing it. I felt a little...a little warning, if you will, that if I want to continue eating breakfast, I need to immediately swallow or ...(More)

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Posted on Friday, January 16th, 2004 at 8:32am by Brett.
(Friday, January 16th, 2004 at 10:32pm Japanese Standard Time)

Is that...why yes, it is! The sound of Brett letting off steam!

Oh where to start.

Anyone that has spoken to me recently knows that I've joined a band here. It's called the "Tsukuba Daigaku Suisou Gakudan", and while this phonetically sounds like it means "The Tsukuba University Winds Band," the kanji that are actually used translate to "Time-sucking leaches--run away, run away, run away".

This band meets 18 hours a week. My classes meet 12! They're CRAZY about it. I mean, don't get me wrong. I like playing music. I like playing my sax...but come ON people! Don't you guys have lives? When do you do homework! Eat? Sleep? Shower?!? I can't spend every waking moment in that band room! I'm pretty sure they're all Vulcans...and the guy that's been showing me around, he's Tuvok.

I understand that we have a concert coming up in February, but c'mon. I have a life. I'm not spending it in that band room!

Oh, if you were wondering, The Ohio State University is the money-grubbing corporate whore-beast that apparently employs ...(More)

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Site update
Posted on Sunday, January 18th, 2004 at 2:15am by Brett.
(Sunday, January 18th, 2004 at 4:15pm Japanese Standard Time)

As requested, and as I have been meaning to do for a long time, I've updated the comments so you don't have to click 124523 times to read one. Check your user options and set the comments to be fully expanded if you want to see the full text of the comments.

Non-registered users have to click. bwa ha ha.

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Posted on Tuesday, January 20th, 2004 at 8:41am by Brett.
(Tuesday, January 20th, 2004 at 10:41pm Japanese Standard Time)

I've updated the Trip to Kyushu posts. I remembered the day I forgot, and I posted the last day.

They're posted in order, so look below this post to read them.

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Site promotion and Harry Potter
Posted on Thursday, January 22nd, 2004 at 9:00am by Brett.
(Thursday, January 22nd, 2004 at 11:00pm Japanese Standard Time)

I made the mistake a couple days ago of looking at the stats for nar3 (and its subdomains) and decided that japan.nar3 just isn't popular enough.

Some of you may remember waaaaay back in 2000 and 2001 that I was running a full time webcam in my college dorm. I had a little online journal going...it was a modest site, though the webcam brought in a load of traffic to it. I was listed in many online webcam directories, and it was a really cool way to meet random net people.

However, times change, and so does the net. Many webcam directories have turned into nothing but cheap smut, and now, any Jane or John can get an account at one of many online journals or blogging sites. Basically, 14 year old west coast girls have taken over and defiled the once fine art of blogging; and 16 year olds with their amazon.com wishlists in hand--and lack of morals, shame, and self-respect--have turned webcam sites into cheap entertainment for dirty old men.

Even though, I am going to start adding my website to some of the more respectable webcam directories. I don't know how long it will take for the webcam surfers to ...(More)

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