Sunday, September 21, 2008


While everything about this video seems quintessentially Japanese, the song itself also happens to be the song of the moment for the school I teach at. They play it during lunch, the brass band plays it and you'll hear all the kids hum it during class and through the halls. And if I'm not mistaken, it's also the theme song for a popular kids tv show. Feast your eyes and ears on some hardcore Japanese rap/ rock goodness!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008


My neighbour and I were talking about our students and the types of things that they were into. Names like Beyonce, Amuro Namie, EXILE and Ichiro came up...then we started to talk about the band, SID. Apparently, his basketball playing, cool group, male 9th grader is really into them. He's the prettiest girl I've ever seen.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Akita in August

My leisurely vacation life in Akita has come to an end. The endless hazy summer nights of “nomihodai” or all you can drink, sightseeing around the city and shopping in monstrous department stores must cease and school must come to be in session. My first week as an assistant junior high school teacher also marked the official end to my career as a professional student/care free woman of leisure. Like the rest of the adult world, I too, must get up at a decent hour and put in my 8 hours of “work”. It was really hard to wrap my head around the fact that I no longer had to apply for courses online, set aside enough money for textbooks and generally perform all the duties of a university student. But, that mind block soon passed and I had bigger and better things to worry about….being a fucking teacher.
But first, a look at this past month in Akita, Japan:
Getting settled into my new life in the City was really easy. Before getting here, I was scared shitless that Akita was gonna be a rice field wasteland of a place and my nearest neighbour would be miles and miles away. But to my surprise, this was definitely not the case. Not only did I have 3 fellow ALTs living in my apartment building (not including the other 14 ALTs who also live in the city), but the city was also filled with lot’s to do. Department stores, cuisine from all over the world, reggae clubs, and other big city essentials like Starbucks were all to be found in my home . My fears of being deprived of my city life were to be washed away by countless bars, red light districts and shopping centres. All the talk about how Japanese apartments are bite sized dwellings fit for a hobbit were also put to rest by my encounter with my apartment. It was/is HUGE. I don’t know what to do with all the space…I guess I should buy a couch or a table or something.
Some highlights from August:
Trip to Kakunodate
Being a region that was never touched by the wars that affected the rest of Japan, a lot of the older samurai buildings and neighbourhoods had been left untouched. This particular region to the north east (I’m literally pulling that out of my ass…this is probably wrong)of Akita City is famous for its samurai villages. Walking through the streets, the homes and the buildings in this area take you back to old Japan.
Board of Education Enkai
In true Japanese tradition, our company had a welcome party in honour of its new set of JET ALTs. It started out with a round of bowling- one ALT to two Japanese BOE staffers. Then we moved on to a downtown hotel for an evening of prizes, dinner and the infamous “Nomihodai” or All you can drink. Beers were re-filled multiple times, there were more red faced drunk Asians than I could count…and we finally got to see our co-workers let loose!
Shit Show Karaoke
One of the quintessentially Japanese pastimes would have to be karaoke. In all its mystic and glory, I had yet to try my luck with it in Japan. Until…that one night. We all decided to go out to celebrate the end of the Japanese intensive course for ALTs. There were about, 20 of us, and we knew that we weren’t gonna be able to fit into a bar…so we decided to split up and meet at the karaoke joint close to the station. Five of us headed to a local nomihodai joint and drank our asses off.
The way it works is that you pay a fixed price and usually you have either 2 or 3 hours to drink as much as you want. So, seeing as we were healthy and energetic twenty somethings, we went out HARD.
So…..upon the completion of our nomihodai time slot, we drunkenly ran over to the Karaoke place to meet up with the rest of the JET ALTs. But, only now do I realize, that we were the only ones who were completely hammered. When we first got there, people were casually sipping their glasses of beer and singing in decently and on key…but we went on to take over the room, pick absurdly ridiculous sing along songs and were generally belligerent.
Soooo…that was a sneak peak quickie of my August in Akita. Lot’s has happened and it’s hard to remember everything..but, all in all….it was a great month!