Crescent Fresh

Sunday, December 18, 2005

We're all living in Amerika, Amerika, Amerika

Wow I can't believe it. I acutally made it back on time. Just on Thursday I was thinking it would be impossible to make my flight.

You see in order to keep my Visa I would need a re-entry permit. My original plan was to go get it on Thursday afternoon by taking a 1/2 day off from work. After driving 2 hours to Takasaki city I arrive and start to fill out my application only to see that I needed my Alien Registration Card, same as a Green Card here in America. So I reach in my bag for my wallet only to not find it. I run back to my car to realize I didn't bring it with me. But I thought no big deal, I'll just drive home and then go back 1st thing on Friday morning.

I was so angry that I wasted all that time for nothing that I flew back home in less than an hour. I then started to look for my wallet, and I looked, and looked and looked. for around 8 hours at which point I had cleaned my house top to bottom and by now it was 3am. With out that card I wouldn't be able to leave Japan!!!

I woke up after 3hours of sleep and called my supervisor in a last call for help. She came to my house at 8:30 and told me "when was the last time you saw your wallet?"
Well It was tokyo, when I was showing it to some girls. So I called them up and asked if they had seen it. Afte about 40min I got a call and, whaddoyaknow!? My friend had it and never realized it!

By this point it was 10:00am. Now I had to race to tokyo, get my wallet, go back to takasaki, fill out the form and get my permit all before 4pm. And I still didn't know if I would even get my permit the same day I applied for it.

This looks like a job for SHINKANSEN!

NO!! NOT you! GO AWAY YOU, shoo shoo

Yeah there you go.

With the help of my buddy shinkansen I was able to go to tokyo and back in 1hour instead of the usual 4 that it takes.
And yes I was able to get my permit as soon as I turned in the form.

But the problems were not over yet. Once I got back to Azuma I still had to pack, and I also remembered I had left my digi-cam at the JHS. So at around 6pm(it was already -2C by now) I went there got my camera and said good bye. Only to realize that I had left my keys in the car and locked the doors :_(

Thankfully Mr. Arai was a pro at picking locks and was ready to leave in only 20min.

In the end I made it back ok, just really, really, really tired.

Hope to see some of you while I'm here.


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Sunday, December 04, 2005

Happenings in Japan

Ah another long pause between updates!! Sorry for that but this time rather than it being apathy I was in fact really busy!

So if you remember a few posts ago I wrote about not having any internet for a LONG time. What was I to do? I had, 1) A lot of money, and 2) A lot of time. The solution then was....

Yes those gave me good company for a while but I couldn't just stay in my house wasting my precious little time in Japan so off I went to Tokyo(many times in fact)

On November 3rd I met up with Brittney Guy, Mie and her sisters to hang out in Tokyo.
Brittney, for those that don't know, tore a ligament in her foot resigning her to a wheelchair for almost 3 months(although now I think she can walk with a brace)
The first night I went out with Buri-chan(brittney), Mie, and Kousaku to Roppongi hills. Let me tell you that place has more foreigners than Japanese. Really strange, yet it was interesting.

Now Tokyo is a fairly modern city but let me tell you never go on the Tokyo Metro/ JR Yamanote-sen if you are in a wheelchair.

See, things are great in this picture. You can see that they even have designated spots for wheelchairs on the trains.

But it's getting off the trains and leaving the stations where the problems begin.
You see many of the older stops on the Tokyo Metro don't have elevators. But it's ok because with the help of 2 station attendees you can get from the platform to the 1st floor.

But then you need to go to ground level. And that is where you are out of luck. It took these 4 Station workers, plus 2 more coordinating ahead to get Brittney out of the subway station. While it was hard work you could tell they enjoyed helping out because I doubt there had ever been a person in a wheelchair come through this station, let alone a loud and boisterous foreigner!

That's Mie pushing the chair.

So we have arrived to our destination, which was the Imperial Place outer garden!! It's a gorgeous place so I will just let the pictures speak for themselves.

Overlooking the gardens

The Imperial Moat(I guess that's what it's called)

The most famous bridge in Japan(I forgot it's name) that leads into the inner-grounds(no one is allowed in there).

Our best friend posing for the bridge(yeah this guy was the cause of a LOT of attention)

And lastly the outer grounds(that gravel made it impossible to push the wheelchair, but we somehow managed)

Later that Night Brittney, Mie, Kaori, and Yuka, and I went out for some drinks!

After that crazy fun weekend I went to Kusatsu to check out the place and go to the onsens(hot springs) Kusatsu is in Gunma about 1 hour from where I live. It also has a lot of ties to Germany hence the German-like architecture. The water in Kusatsu is rich in sulfur and some other stuff that's supposed to be good for your skin.

Central Kusatsu(those rows of trays are used to collect and filter out the minerals from the water for use in some stuff)

A Kusatsu hot spring, although this one was just for scenery and not for public use.

After that the group and I went out for some karaoke at this Hard Rock bar in Kusatsu.

Top row(L to R) Me, Nick, Will, Karla
Bottom row(L to R) Mikako, ?, Lucia

Ok there is still a lot more but I'll leave you guys for now.
But, here is a taste of things to come! Later,

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