These stories come mostly from my early days in Japan working as an English conversation teacher out in Tottori Prefecture (2003~2006).
My student Ayumi works for the Asahi newspaper here in Tottori, and she asked if she could interview me. It was fantastic PR because she focused primarily on Mondaiji (my music/comedy project). The article appeared in the Sunday edition a few days later. There was even a picture from the live show I did at Afterhours. I went to Japanese class that day, and all the teachers in the class said, "Hey! You're in the newspaper!" One teacher copied the article and gave it to everyone in the class to read. They want me to play a few of my songs in class sometime.
AEON Halloween Party
We had a our annual Halloween party at AEON, and it was a blast. I was a ninja with a mullet wig, and even played a few of my silly songs for the students. We had a trivia game and a costume contest too. My manager Akiko won hands down. Her drunk Japanese businessman with a "barcode" comb-over wig costume won the hearts of all in attendance. One student went all-out with a panda costume. Unfortunately, he got
Read more: December 2004 - Gettin' in the Newspaper, Japanese Class, Parties, and Concerts
There have been some crazy typhoons this season. I'm sure Japanese people are used to them; but being a novel experience for me, I'm certainly not accustomed to them yet. My boss called me one morning and said, "You're fired! Don't come to work today. Just kidding. All classes are canceled because of the typhoon, so don't come to work." That was the first time in my life I got to stay home due to the weather conditions. Thanks, Mama Nature! The theme of typhoons seems to be WIND. One storm was so cool I even filmed some of it from my balcony. There is supposed to be another one on the way. Fortunately, Tottori doesn't get hit too severely by typhoons. Further south is a different story.
There were some earthquakes here recently too. I felt 4 in one day. I woke up to one one morning and said, "Earth! ...would you
There's a gorgeous park in Tottori called Ochidani Park. For a few weeks during late June, the park is home to thousands of active fireflies at night. It's quite the popular local attraction, so I went to see them twice. I was especially excited because I had never before seen fireflies. They looked like little green ghosts hovering everywhere. It was indescribably surreal--like being in a fantasy video game or dreamy movie sequence. I thought I saw a strange red one, but it turned out to be an old man smoking a cigarette in the dark.
Osaka Street Live
I played guitar on the streets of Osaka a few times. The first time was funny because the police came and asked all the other Japanese performers to leave. I will say that the other performers were shockingly
Read more: August 2004 - Fireflies, Beach Parties, Festivals
I've been rollerblading a lot lately at this skateboard ramp park near my house. I've been trying to teach myself rollerblading tricks--something that every 26 year-old needs to know. It was going well; however, one fateful day I landed a jump wrong and slammed my full weight on my left heel. It hurt so badly that I went to the hospital a few days later fearing that I fractured something. They took an x-ray. Luckily, nothing was broken, but it took a solid 3 weeks for it to finally heal. I felt like I was in that scene in "Lost in Translation" when dear Scarlett has to go to the Japanese hospital.
My First Time on TV
A news station in Yonago (Tottori prefecture's other major city) contacted our school asking if they could include our school in a report on new stores/stuff to do in Tottori train station (our school is inside the station). They requested a demo
I finally went clubbing in Tottori a few times. The club had a small, community-like feeling to it, so I kinda felt like I was at the local hoe-down. I ran into a few of my students, and the other foreigners there randomly talked to me just cuz I'm a foreigner. The foreigners here all seem to stick together. Since the overwhelming majority are English teachers, we all have something in common from the get-go. Instead of asking, "what do you do?" you could ask "where do you teach?"
The dancing was interesting. Everyone faced the DJ at the front of the room, so it kinda looked like an aerobics class. No one really danced together. The DJ played really odd music (American 70s lounge music that I didn't recognize). Apparently, Tottori's DJ talent doesn't exactly meet LA standards. I even gave the DJ a note in Japanese asking that he
Read more: April 2004 - Dance Clubs, Wigs, and Salad Dressing
I finally started renting movies here. I rented "Amelie" because I'd always wanted to see it. I took it home and realized that the only languages available on the DVD were French and Japanese. So I watched a French movie dubbed in Japanese on an American Xbox that I hacked with a Chinese-made modchip purchased from a Canadian company. Yeeeehaaaaw! Needless to say, it was a night of interesting Japanese practice.
AEON Performance Evaluation
The AEON trainer Chad came out and evaluated my performance. It went better than expected despite having only 1 student plus the evaluator in the room. He talked to me about my future at AEON and said that "Honsha [AEON's headquarters] has their eyes on you." I got a little freaked out by that, but I think he just meant to say that I could potentially get a promotion someday. Unfortunately, Chad doesn't realize that I