Crescent Fresh

Monday, September 26, 2005

Ahhh Tokyo

What a great 4 days it’s been. This past Thursday I headed for Tokyo to meet up with Dr. Auer and several past VIPPS(Vanderbilt Institute of Public Policy) people. It was really good to catch up with Dr. Auer, Mie, and the rest of them.

One of the more interesting parts was talking about how Vanderbilt Football was 3-0(4-0 now). Yeah I would never have thought I would have said "3-0" with"Vanderbilt Football" in the same sentence. It’s sad that Vanderbilt has some of their worst seasons ever while I was there only to now make a complete 180 right after I leave.

Tokyo is a great city. There is just so much to do there (especially when you compare it to my little village in the mountains). There are concerts, cool stores, game centers, movie theaters ( in Ikebukuro there are more than 5 in less than a block), clubs, bars it just goes on and on. Really if I still didn’t owe my Aunt $1500 for this computer I’m using right now, I would have spent a lot these past 4 days ;)

I found out that it’s not to expensive to go to Tokyo(only $20-30) but coming back is ridiculously cheap( I’m talking about $1-2). This is because there is no one at my little village train station to take your ticket so you can pay. I guess I got lucky tonight so maybe I can’t do this forever but hey it’s a good deal while it lasts.

Another good thing about Tokyo is there are a ton of music shops. I was able to find “Twin Cinema” by The New Pornographers and “Illinoise” by Sufjan Stevens for a good price.

The 1st place I went in Tokyo was Asakusa. Asakusa is the historic district of Tokyo. The entrance is the Kaminari-Mon(Thunder/Lightning-Gate)

Asakusa also has a massive market place with a ton of random things.

there is even this store!!

Mwahahaah yeah I’m that famous in Japan.

Here is the famous 5 story pagoda(4th incarnation I believe, as it was a famous target for invaders to burn down)

(ehh turn your heads to the left)

One more picture

We then adventured off to Shinjuku, which we all know well enough. We then headed off to Tokyo Disney Sea which was a nice place if it wasn’t for the fact that there were so many people that you couldn’t go to more than 5 rides.
Disney sea pics

Oh I know a lot of you were wondering what type of events were held during the sports festivals. The middle school students had your typical track and field events

An obstacle course
crazy bats

this happend a lot, rofls those crazy bats

And a dance routine.

The elementary students had more interesting events such as The Giant Ball relay ( where 3 kids try to carry a massive, 7ft diameter, dodge ball around the track) , Tug-of-war( this was cool because they 1st did all the kindergarten Vs. the 1st graders, then all both Vs. 4 teachers. You would be surprised how strong 60 3-5yr old kids are) and game of that sort.

Recently I’ve decided that despite all the fun I’m tired of going to trips every weekend. I think I’ll just stay in and around the Gunma area for the next month or so.

That’s all for now, next time I’ll post about the 4 famous mountain road passes in Gunma which have spawned a long running comic, a TV show, and several movies.



(edit 9-27-05 to add the pictures)

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Friday, September 09, 2005

Sports festivals and grapes(not sour ones =P)

Folks it's been a while hasn't it? This past week(last sunday and tommorow) have been the middle school, elementary, and kindergarten sports competitions. We don't really have such things in America. What they do is split the school up in to four "dans"(Japanese for "band/group") Azuma is surrounded by 4 famous mountains so they teams are named Akagi, Shirane, Miyagi, and Haruna.

They then fight against each other to see who will be the school champion. Now this would never work in America for we all know how heated parents get at school games. A few teams had several disabled students in their group and they never complained once. In fact the other teams were very proud for them. That's Japan for you though. In 16 years of American education I never had any interaction with any special education students. In America they keep them separate from others and rightfully so, for they would be teased, picked on, and made fun of to no end. The situation is the exact opposite in Japan. I've never seen any of the other students even so much as patronize the special-ed kids. Almost everyone goes out of their way to help them.

Oh and just so you know these sports festivals are not to be confused with "field days". The middle school students spend most of their 40 day summer break and the 2 weeks after preparing for it, and same for the elementary kids. In the days leading to the main event they didn't even have class. Sports are a serious thing here. In fact when you give a customary self-intro to your co-workers/ students they find it strange if you don't mention your fav. sports.

I’ve decided I like all of my classes in all 3 schools. I mean you can't help but love going to the kindergarten and pre-school. and the elementary kids are a lot of fun, but they can't speak much English(well all but this 3rd grader who I swear is fluent). And the middle schoolers are pretty fun. oddly though the jhs3rd years(9th graders) love slipknot!!( yeah I know ??)

My 1st full week of class won't be until October and it's done on purpose. This way I'll have fully adjusted to living in Japan and teaching.

In other news I'll probably head to Tokyo for sight seeing with Brittney Guy(maybe)(from vandy) and Mie(the old hall coordinator).

Well tomorrow morning is the sports festival for the elementary students so I'll be heading to bed now.

oyasuminasai !!!!! >=O

edit. grapes here rock

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