Monday, July 24, 2006

Hokkaido, beautiful Hokkaido

wow. I so didn't want to come back. there are lots of stories and tons and tons of pics. here are the top 60 or so pics set to the theme music of the 9 day trip. enjoy.

Friday, July 14, 2006

title track II

I was happy that I didn't procrastinate and actually blogged something maybe I'll change to less text more pictures. less context. who needs context and kori's philosophical rants. wow, that's just too exhausting for all parties. I mean when I read stranger's blogs (I'm such a freaky stalker) I just look at the pictures. I don't care if they are written in porteguese (one cool one I found really was) so here are some more skewed snapshots.

Mick (from Beppu!) and I spend the day in Yokohama. It rains but we see the harbor, china town and the ramen museum. that was the tastiest museum I've ever been to. the picuture by the ship will probably figure prominently into a big lie I'm planning to tell my students about why I'm leaving. (Sorry mick...)

Sumo is not the national sport.
the Japanese are nutty over baseball. whoa. really. the local team is the Chiba Lotte Marines. the team is... the Marines are...

ooooo, we hate grammar here. it just sounds so greating... oh, but that phrase is everywhere....

her shirt says "Marines is my life" if you have trouble seeing it.

it might as well be a cult.

8 more classes today and then I'm almost in Hokkaido. yea! for me!!!

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

title track

It's hot here in tokyo. it's muggy. it's cockroach season. other than counting the seconds until I head north and into a better climate, I haven't been up to too much. So, in the spirit of the original purpose of this blog: skewed snapshots, I'm posting random pictures that have already been resized for blogging. It's a random asortment. enjoy

I went to a baseball game with two of my adult students recently. and, to be honest, baseball is a dull game. we got there at 11 am and watched dressed up dogs, a bubble gum competition, and the cheerleaders (it's good to be a dog dressed up in something ridiculous for once), till the game started at 1pm.

the game lasted four hours with no overtime and not particularly high scoring. I would have been bored except my students were amazing diplomats for baseball. the cheerleaders and girls with mini-kegs climbing around the stadium were amuzing AND the singing. oh my god the singing. it was great. each player has a few special songs that everyone sings en masse to cheer them on. I love faking like I know what I'm doing and following a melody so it was a BLAST. we lost though. whatever
let's go sabuuuuro! la didada la diiiii! ta ta ta ta ta taaaa

and now we move onto the classic "I'm learnign about other cultures" snapshot. everyone all together now, "awwww..."
In South Korea. the soekguram grotto in the mountains near Gyeongju, where I stayed in the cool hostel half way through my trip. I've tried to write more about this because it was so incredible. but I never seem to finish my little essays. here's what I got so far...

"The old men and women, adorned with polyester fanny packs and the other accoutrements of middle aged tourists, stood in line and paid their respects. They qued up quietly and bowed deeply after clapping twice. They poured water over the small statures head and bowed again. Breezes from the sea drifted up the mountain, twirling in between tourists and the believers and perhaps carried their prayers off."

it was amazing to see all those wishes fluttering in the wind that came off the sea and up the mountains. it was cool and felt clean. some of the people seemed quite devout and others were religiuos for holidays (this was budda's birthday). the children seemed oblivious and more interested in the fluttering colors.

and wether or not it's Budda's Birthday and whether or not you are in a holy site or a UNESCO World Heritage monument. boy will be boys and love their toy guns. this is shot from the hip in super-sneaky-kori style. I like it anyway.

and finally:
Here's looking at you kid.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

more map fun

if you like playing with googlemaps and such things: check this out

My little apartment building in my intsy wintzy city

definitely try the satellite mode. zoom in and out. the whole deal. neat.

this is where I live. weird. and it's kinda like home. wierder.

oh the wilds of Hokkaido await in just two short weeks...

Monday, July 03, 2006

trip to Hokkaido

I'm off planning another trip! I will be heading to Hokkaido, the big Northern island in Japan for 8 days. Once again, I will be traveling by myself but I have faith this will be a better trip than to Korea because

1. I say so
2. My Japanese is decent
3. I'm taking advantage of couchsurfers (despite the highly distressing crash of the site)
4. I'm being less ambitious in terms of ground I want to cover. I plan to stay at most places more than one night.
5. I'm determined to make it awesome.
budget is ~$1000, including airfare (which would have been much cheaper if I'd planned ahead more...)

Above is the silloette of Hokkaido. I plan to travel to the little dots up the west coast.

first I will fly into Sapporo (labeled 1) on the 16th but I don't plan to stay in the city but head directly south to the cluster of dots (2).

This is the Lake Toya/Muroran/Noboribetsu area. It's famous a recent active volcano. I volcanic lake and beautiful mountains. I'll stay with a couchsurfer named Judy from England. (16th and 17th)

Next. head north to cluster of dots lableled (3)

this is the asahikawa/biei/furano area. Famous for idyllic pastoral scenes and "expansive fields of lavender and poppies" also right next Japan's largest national park. I'll either stay at a hostel or rent a tent and camp (bought a cool yet tiny sleeping bag). there are lots of bike rentals and hiking trails. (18th/19th)

after that, head farther north or west (undecided) either see the coast and a little town called Rumoi and stay with a CSer named Alison or stop in a little town called nayora with a CSer named Meg. Natural beauty abounds. at point (4) there is a big marsh with insectivous flowers taht sounds awesome.(20th)

after than head up to the northernmost(?) point of Japan to cap off the experience.

Wakkanai and the islands Rebun and Rishiri.(5) Famous for unspoiled beauty, volcanos and rare alpine flowers taht bloom in July, this will be awesome. I'll probably camp by renting a tent or finding people to share a rented cabin with. There's also a hostel that sounds interesting "Momoiwa-so youth hostel has a hardearned reputation as one of Japan's craziest youth hostels; group hiking by day and camp songs until lights out at 10pm..." )21,22,23/24)

and then I'll fly back from Wakkanai to Tokyo on the 23rd or 24th. Teach on the 25th... it'll be quite a ride but I'm SO SO looking forward to it. these are all just pics I grabbed off the net. I hope to get some good ones myself. I promis to share.