Thursday, December 29, 2005

snow and then memories of the sun

my kids digging out our tennis courts after a storm here last week


bilbao spain

some more from last week

fancy japanese breakfast at the hotel. seaweed about 6 different ways, pretty raw egg mixed with soy based sauce and meant to be drunk. dried flattened fish grilled to personal taste, and a half glass of orange juice.

the code name for our school is Hamanasu which is the katakana on this sign, though the name of our school is uchinada chugakko, when we have enkais, we use another secret name. hamanasu is a type of flower.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

I don't think the japanese fully understand christmas

or maybe at least the person who wrote this card

merry christmas

Saturday, December 24, 2005

bon enkai

pre dinner tea and wagashi on gold leaf black laquer ware table with the hot towel after we got into the onsen after a 2 hour drive through the snow.

enkai dinner, all very beautifully laid out and presented, the japanese like using these cooking coals that look like urinal cakes that they light on fire and the chemicals burn themselves out to cook the food. we had a yaki-niku-eque beef and onion thing, and in the pot was a tofu milk soup with seafood.

the sashimi plate. check out the uni

two of our waitresses in full komonos and koshikawa sensei after the dinner. we were given the full yukkata dress for use at dinner, then in the onsen bathroom. one of guy teachers at our school tried to give me a compliment which was awesome "barto sensei, your yukkata is sexual harassment" this was our end of the year party Bon enkai, "forget the past year" party, and a lot of the teachers and I most will certainly not remember a whole lot of last night at least.Wakura is an amazing place up on the coast by Notojima and Nanao. it was very pricely, but this is alleged to be the most famous and fanciest onsen in all of Japan, the place sported pictures of all of japanese royal families walking through the door for the past century. im really happy i went, and we all had a great time. i have a ton of pictures, which i will put up more of at some point soon.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

seeing italy in a new light

Sunday, December 18, 2005

i dug the *@$*&@^*$@^$ out

the first picture i think is somewhat decieving as to how much snow was actually covering my car. the thing was burried, with only the mirrors sticking out of the snow on the side, and in the back the spoiler was visible.

i got my hands on a Dr Pepper a few weeks ago, and had been waiting for just the right moment to enjoy the goodness that is quality soda.

i went for a little drive around to get used to driving on ice, basically the whole city is ice. i spent a long time out and about, the sea was churning like crazy with by far the biggest waves ive ever seen here or maybe even ever. all the water was a really deep brown/red color. i wish my actual camera had been working, but after i took the first picture the thing just stopped. that's why most of the pictures are ketai shots. im finally back in doors sitting at my kotatsu(a wonderful thing a heated table with a blanket around the sides to keep the heat in), and the place is getting slammed with another snow storm. i put the car in the yakuba parking lot where they have sprinklers keeping the snow from building up.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

shark fin soup

on the walk home from school in the rain

this is abalone and some type of chinese broccoli we had at a going away party for one of the people in my section at the yakuba. The dinner was 8000 yen, about $70 and was held at a really fancy chinese resturant in KZ.

this is shark fin soup, which i had never had before and probably never will again. I didnt order this i guess ill start out by saying, but it was a set part of the meal. The fin was cut into very small clear strips, they seemed very similar to rice noodles and it didnt have much of a taste. But the soup itself was quite good.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

uchinada tundra

dawn from my apartment view out towards hakusan to the south. this is one of two times in the last probably 2 weeks that the sun has been visible.

these pictures are of my walk to school this morning. I made a wrong turn and at one point ended up up to my waist in snow. I do the walk with a nikuman(a hot doughball filled with meat and sauce) and my ipod on shuffle.

looking out from the office at school after swarms of the kids were sent out with shovels.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

we got a big one

we got out first big snow storm here, this was just after an hour or so of the storm, it's been snowing pretty much straignt since about 2pm. this is what my card looked like when i came out of the school to go home.

driving over snow has a very similar crunch sound to that of rubbing cotton balls together, just an awful feeling if you ask me.

yesterday driving to the post office

random story for the day. I've got a pretty intense cold at the moment, and having a lot of trouble speaking at volume for extended periods of time. i found that by drinking little sips of cold water, i could make it through a class period of teaching. To that end, I walked out of the teachers room to go teach a class today with a bottle of water in hand. Immediatly, a teacher informed me, i couldnt do that(bring a bottle of water to a class), after i suggested, there was no way id get through one full class without water, let alone the 4 back to back i had today, they suggested that if i must bring water to class, i needed to bring it to class wrapped in a paper bag so students could not see what it was. And that if i must take a drink of water, i needed to step out into the hallway and drink there so the students did not see. i guess the japanese kids can't know that teachers drink water too....

Monday, December 12, 2005

snowing in uchinada

walking to the yakuba sunday morning

cleansing water and ladle at shrine

Thursday, December 08, 2005

it is snowing