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Japan and Home - Lands of Contrast I

As you might imagine, Japan is quite different from my home in Minnesota. On this program, we're going to explore a few of the differences between them.

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Lands of Contrast!

Today, I'm going to talk about a few of the things I missed while I was in Japan.
(Edit: These aren't in any particular order. Just felt like numbering them.)

#1: Non-stick cooking spray Read more »

Yakuba-free Vacation - Days 5, 6, & 7

The final few days of vacation! What better way to spend them than doing a little traveling?
I took a train down to Samani to visit a friend who lives in Erimo and to do some sightseeing there. The train ride is kind of long at about an hour and a half, but it's a fairly scenic ride through mountains, villages, and tunnels. I also met Zoe, a fellow Hidaka ALT, on the train. I'm glad I had a conversation partner for the long ride!

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Yakuba-free Vacation - Day 4

I had a lot of fun today. About a week ago, I had asked Junichi, a cashier who works at 7-11, if he wanted to do something together the next weekend.
I had drinks or dinner or some other form of socialization in mind, but instead we made a little road trip to Tomakomai! Tomakomai is the largest city in these parts before you get to Sapporo. It's got lots of tall buildings and shopping centers and all sorts of fun stuff! Read more »

Yakuba-free Vacation - Days 2 & 3

Why can't everything be vacation? I'm having a great time this week!

Yesterday I took the advice of one of the teachers, and decided to go to the observation deck in the hills above Niikappu.
And what a hill! It's 225 feet (68.5 meters) above downtown Niikappu. It isn't a gradual hill either- it's way too steep to ride my bike up. I walked up it with my bike. It's the same hill that has the barbecue house that I went to my first week here.

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Yakuba-free Vacation - Day 1

I'm so glad I'm able to get out of the yakuba (town office) and take some vacation!

I took some time to collect myself, relax, and do some sightseeing in Shizunai. I went there by bike, went down a random street, and it just went on from there!

View from the random road I took. It's a very steep hill.

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Another rant?!

But first, here's what I'm doing this week!

On Friday, one of my friends will be at badminton for the last time. She's an English teacher from Shizunai, and she'll be changing schools soon. So I'm definitely going to go and say goodbye. On Saturday if I'm free, I'm going to invite some people to go out to the karaoke bar to drink a bit. I learned how to drink in moderation, and it is serving me well. Nevertheless, when I go back to the US I'll probably quit drinking. There's no need to drink there, since most of my friends don't drink. Read more »

A new direction

I've made one of the hardest decisions I've ever had to make, and informed my supervisor and the other teachers that I won't be recontracting for another year in Niikappu.
A lot of thought went into the decision, and it was not made lightly. I worked my ass off to get here, and now that I am here it seems like such a waste to head home after only one year out of a possible five. I realized that there is no shame in doing this, though. One year is a long time to be in a foreign country. It's a long time to be in a rural town. It's a long, cold winter with few friends. Read more »

A bit of a rant

There is NOBODY my age in this town.
This makes it extremely difficult to make friends here. It's tough to find young people in Niikappu who aren't my students. I assume all the young adults are in college in Sapporo or otherwise, and all the college graduates have moved on from Niikappu to more bustling places. I guess I'm not sure what I expected from Niikappu. I just thought every age group would be represented, I suppose. But instead it seems to be a lot of kids, a lot of middle aged people, and tons of old people. Read more »

An update?!

I've been so busy lately that I haven't really had time to update my blog.
I did a lot in the last month! There was a festival at the shrine in Shizunai, and I went to it with some of the teachers. The official reason was to keep any students from getting rowdy or staying out too late, but there weren't any of our students there so I just had fun. Read more »