Monday, July 25, 2005

Plan B, Plan C, and maybe Plans D, E, and F.

So Tom is arriving this afternoon by plane to Osaka.
This would normally be no problem except that there has been a typhoon passing through.
Fortunately we had arranged to chat yesterday afternoon (2am for him, five hours before he was to fly), so we were able to make several back-up plans in the event of the plane being delayed too much for the bus to tokushima, etc etc etc. Thankfully, the flight tracker on my computer is working fine now, and I can see that his flight is only 15 or so minutes late. But more than that, I can see on the typhoon tracker site that the typhoon is passing by osaka instead of going over it. So no problems with the plane landing, and the bridge should be open for the bus to cross. A releif to say the least. We didn't need all those back up emergency what-if plans, but I'm glad we had them anyhow.

Now that my worries are put to rest, it's time to go home for some lunch!

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Kamikatsu Day

Yesterday I had 12 people from church over to tour the town, eat at the local restaurants, see the waterfalls, do the onsen, and end the night with the regular bible study, led by Brian KG. A good time was had by all. Derek crashed at my place to bike home in the morning. I went to school today at like two-ish, thinking that was when we were going to do speech practices, but it turned out it was in the am. oops. Oh well.

Saturday, July 23, 2005


Do you recall me mentioning a tv special that i watched at christmas which made me laugh myself silly? well i found it on dvd!

Thursday, July 21, 2005

And I thought The Da Vinci Code was silly!

It would seem that the backwoods north of Japan has its own idea of what happened.


Wednesday, July 20, 2005

hand towel

hand towel, originally uploaded by irodoramatic burnorama.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

You might be an Awa Odori Fiend if:

   1: your ren practices four nights a week, but on your off night you go join the ren in the next town over
   2. your church only meets twice a month and still you skip it to go take part in an awa dance competition
   3. your friend throws a party which you really want to go to, but instead find yourself an hour late because you stopped to watch awa dance troops perform
   4. you have converted one of your apartments few light sources into a holder for uchiwa fans, for easier access
   5. you like the fact that you have big windows only because at night they are like mirrors for practicing in

Eigo benron taikai

This is from a comment I posted on another person's blog:

This year the english level of the kids at my (45 student) JHS is lower than the past two years, but the class is larger so there are four kids doing the contest instead of just two. I got them all to try to translate their speeches themselves first, and then I took their japanese versions and their english versions and tried to make their english say what they said in Japanese, and have it be understandible as well. With one of the four I just had to rearrange a lot and add the right connecting words. With two of them it was more effort intensive. With those three I showed them the marked up and corrected versions of their english and japanese, explained what I changed and why, and then gave them a typed out version with the odd option (like a choice between "knowledge" or "understanding") that they could pick between for what was easier to say and understand. The fourth kid is doing it because his mom is forcing him and because his two older sisters were 英語天才eigo tensai. His attempt at the English version was comparable to an internet translator and I fear that the final version was nearly all my own English. I told him to try it and if there was anything he didn't understand he should ask me... I guess we'll see how it goes when it comes to actually reciting.

CPR Class

CPR Class, originally uploaded by irodoramatic burnorama.

Everyone in the whole school learned CPR today. One more thing I can cross off of my life goals list! Nice!

Saturday, July 16, 2005

ramen no o ni naru otoko

Greg doing his thing at the ramen shop where he works in Wakimachi. I went to visit and sample the wares. Two hour drive though it was, it was well worth the trip! One of the two best ramens I've had!

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Walking Stick

Walking Stick, originally uploaded by irodoramatic burnorama.


I never expected to see one of these up close, least of all clinging to the outside of my window! It looks like he's had a rough go of it, what with missing a leg and all...

appx what i saw when i woke up

This Past Tuesday Evening Nearly Saw The End of Me

On further examination yesterday in the daylight, where I would have gone over was only fiveish feet at best, and onto trees and into a concrete wall, not onto a rice field.

Here's what I wrote when I got home on Tuesday night:

Well, so I almost died today. That would have sucked. I fell asleep in the car on the way to judo. I woke up facing a curve and the end of a guardrail. It was a six foot drop or more from the concrete curve to the rice field or whatever below. My car, composed of metal thick as a tin can, would have crumpled on impact, surely rendering my legs fractured beyond repair, likely breaking my neck or back, potentially giving me a nasty head wound, or simply killed me instantly. Unlike the apostle paul who was only sticking around on earth to help the churches, who said "for me to live is Christ and to die is gain" I'm not quite ready to be finished with this life quite yet. It does give you a sense of how fragile your own life is when you see that it could end so quick like that. If I was driving a larger car, a regular car (not a yellow plate) my life would not have been so much in danger. And it's not necessarily the car as much as my size in relation to it. Another good reason to hurry up and get the larger car like the doctor recommended.

So anyway, I woke up. By the grace of God I reacted exactly as one would hope: breaks, strong pull to the right, check for oncoming car, pull back into own lane. In this respect, the kei car was great because it has armstrong steering, which means perfect control over turning.

Really folks, it was God's mercy and protection and nothing else that has allowed me to type this post. That could have been the end of this body, and a pointless end at that.

The whole falling asleep thing was wild. Thinking thinking thinking WOAH! swerve swerve swerve I'd had no idea that my eyes had closed. It's even more shocking because it was still daylight. I think it's the humidity and the fact that I had neglected to open windows or turn on the A/C. It didn't feel SO bad, but mixed with a little tiredness and a long mentally busy day, i guess that finished me. Add to that the fact that the cassette player died on sunday, so I was listening to music with headphones and that I was low on gas so I was driving slower to conserve, except when on those downhill slopes (like the one I fell asleep on) which let you go fast with little gas. The sum is the danger which was unrecognized by me until it was upon me.

I guess I should institute a post-school siesta policy from now on, or something.

Anyway, just wanna publicly thank God for keeping me alive and with a useable car. Thanks Lord!

You know, being alive is nice.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Small Town Stats

2REsh0032.jpg, originally uploaded by irodoramatic burnorama.

Every month our town newspaper gives a population update. This month we are up nine people (four males and five females) and 3 households from last month. Below that, you can see the growth of people and homes in each area of town.

It really shows that you have that computer at home. Not only have your posts dwindled in frequency, but they have also dublded in size!

Who said that?! (>_>)

Actually, I am getting myself into the practice of leaving the computer at the school. I will take it home on Tuesday nights and Friday nights. That way it won't annihilate my reading and other evening activities.

But I typed that post here at school. I think what's killing the posting stuff is the ipod more than the computer. I have been spending more of my free time after school making playlists and rating songs. That will surely dwindle after another week or two. Then it will be back to normal just as Tom arrives from Canada! And then everything will get really nuts. But it should put me back in the practice of moblogging more again.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Goodbye Everbody!

Well, it is the season for change in the JET community, the time when a bunch of people move on to the next thing in their lives and open up space for a new crew of JETs to come in. We're sad to see these people leave nonetheless, and we had a big camping party on the weekend to see them off in style. It rained, but it will be just that much more memorable for the rain.

Goodbye all you returners, and I do hope I get a chance to meet up with you guys when I too make my way back!

3000 yen well spent

Well, it’s been more than a week since I last typed anything for this blog, but I should think the reason might be apparent. It’s the new computer. And more than that, the ipod that came shortly after. Having now gotten pretty much all of my music and all of the Old Testament onto it, and having gotten myself organized in other ways, I can resume my normal routine.

The biggest event that needs to be typed about would without question be last week’s judo test. That would be July third. This was my second attempt at the second level black belt. I kinda hoped that I would be able to fight other black belts who were going for level two so that it could be a little easier maybe, and I could have rests between fights rather than having to drop three guys in a row.

As I sat watching the white belts, I thought to myself that this time, were I to have to fight a bunch of brand new shodan then I could do it. But then more and more of these massive high school guys kept coming in and changing into judo-gi bound with black belts. When I say massive I mean that they were all pretty tall for Japanese, all at about my chin in hight, and probably all of them weighed more than me, given the mountains of muscle attached to their frames. There were 6 of them.

So that made seven of us taking the test altogether (Tom was surfing). Five probably would have been enough for the judges to make us all fight eachother. Goodbye easy pass. These guys were MEGA intimidating. Not only were they massive, they were also so so SO fast! Watching them warm up did not inspire confidence on my part. I decided that if I could take one point from the six of them, I would feel accomplished.

So the long and short of it was that we did all 21 fights in 20 minutes or less. Take into account that Judo fights can last to like four minutes, and you see that these were FAST. We were assigned numbers. Number one (Nakaoka) dropped his opponent on his first move. Then it was 3 vs 4, 5 vs 6, and then 7 vs 1. I was number seven. He dropped me on his first move too. He even did the move that tall people have the easiest time avoiding: the uchi-mata. Usually I can just step over the leg, but he held me in place and just kept turning. It was as they say, “A to-iu ma,” or “Quick as you can say ah.” Because he did that so fast, they made him fight again right away, and he won that one in like four moves (instead of just one with me). It was crazy. They were all so big and so fast and they knew their moves oh so well. I guess that’s what happens when you train right from elementary school. They all took a lot of points from eachother, and the fights went so fast. Once or twice I didn’t know what move I was thrown with. At all. In two of the fights I felt like I stood a chance: fighting a superior player, but if things worked out and I was fast enough at the right time, I could take a point. Or said another way, if I could fight them innumerable times, I would win once in a blue. Not so with everyone.

Have you ever played chess against someone who can see two or three moves ahead of where you can? This is what these fights felt like. If I moved for one strike, it was like they could feel what to counter it with, and then what I could counter that with and then how they would finish me from there. From their grips on my collar I could actually feel them reading my motions. Kind of unnerving. You’ll never throw well unless you commit yourself, and it’s unnerving to commit when you know that the opponent knows precisely how to move around you. But neither can you wait. Defense wins few points. So you have nothing but to try and try as fast as you can.

Anyway, my last fight was with the second largest of the six, but I was desperate. And it was the very last fight of the black belt competitions. This was my very last chance for a point, and the second lowest odds of getting it. If I had held anything back earlier, now I could not afford that. I tried an inner leg reaping, an outer reaping and turned around to try a body drop, somewhat despairing inwardly at how little he moved with my best efforts. And he hit the ground! Out of the sheer kindness of his heart, or perhaps pity for me being the only one to not pass (everyone else had their requisite three points) he let himself be thrown when I applied a reasonable throw. I realized this in an instant, and recovering from my shock, said “Arigato” just a litte quiet so the judge wouldn’t hear. He smiled and nodded. Nice.

So I walked away with one more point, and it turns out they had given me two for the last test, but they told me I needed three more for the belt. One of the judges came up to talk to me afterwards and told me he’s sure I’ll get it next time. This time, he informed me, was unusual. All the other six were guys who regularly win the heavyweight division highschool competitions. One of them, Number One, is the prefectural champion. Let me tell you, it showed. So really, there was no reason for me to stand a chance. But what a great experience. After that, there was a university champion and another guy who were both going for their fourth level black belts. They were made to face off against the new second levels. The champ declined to play. It was quite shocking how that light framed university student easily threw them around, smiled the whole time, and didn’t look especially tired afterwards. Small light guy, not the type you would even really notice walking around downtown, but his form was fantastic. And of course he was faster than I could follow. If I was in this to be the best, I would have quit that day. It has been reinforced for me that no matter what, I am really just in this for fun and fitness, and everything else is just bonus. It’s good to be schooled, to be put in your place from time to time.

Table Tennis Tourny

On friday the county table tennis tournament was held at our school. Our students faced a club twice their number from the next town over (its a small county). Much to our school's delight, the boys singles and girls singles were both won by our kids! Kouhei Nitta took the boys, and Eri Furuta dominated the girls. Way to go!