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Saturday, March 24, 2007

My first earthquake

On sunday morning around 10am I was lying in bed and I noticed a swaying feeling, as if I huge truck had just driven by outside my building. However, the swaying continued and escalated to the point of my wall making a slight noise and then nothing. I never heard a big truck outside and then I realised that I had just felt my first Japanese earthquake. It was a weird feeling because it wasn't scary, but when it escalated I started to wonder if it would continue to escalate and that thought scared me. It felt like a small one, but I later discovered on that it was approximately a 7.0 and it was centered in the Sea of Japan, approximately 200km north from where I live. I hope that is the biggest earthquake that I will experience in Japan.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Bike troubles

For the past few months my bicycle has been making the weirdest noises and I have just kept putting off fixing it for one reason or another. However, in the last few days whenever I would ride my bicycle without listening to my iPod, I would hear how horrible it really sounded and understand why people in front of me would look over their shoulders to see what was making so much noise. So I finally went back to the place where I bought my bike and with the help of a dictionary I was able to tell the man working at the shop that I wanted a tune up for my bike and he told me to come back in half an hour. So, after the half hour passed I returned to the shop only to find that they didn't fix my bike, but they were going to give me a brand new one! Because of the language barrier I wasn't able to find out why they were going to do this, so I just smiled and had a really surprised look on my face. I thought that maybe I'd have to pay something, I mean the bike didn't look in the best shape when I brought it in, but he never approached the cash register and he just let me take it. I'm guessing they have a policy about bikes that break after a certain time, but maybe it just seemed easy to give me a new one, rather than fix the junker or maybe he didn't want to deal with the language barrier either.

Thursday, March 08, 2007


This is a picture of the hill where I went snowboarding for the first time. This was at the end of a warm sunny day, so a bit of snow has melted but it wasn't the most impressive place at the start of the day. This is in Gifu which was about a 2.5-3 hour bus ride from Nagoya.

My day started at 5:30am when I woke up and then took a train to Nagoya with a friend and my boss. We met up with some other teachers and hopped on a bus. The first place we stopped at looked great and it looked like we were in for a great day, but it wasn't our stop. The next place was just as nice, but that wasn't our stop either. Then we got to our hill and we all had a good laugh at the sight of our location. Anyways, once I got the board and boots we headed for the chair lift, which was quite challenging for me. I fell trying to get on and off it the first time! The first little bit of snowboarding was hard to get used to and i kept falling every couple seconds, but then i was given some good pointers and i was on my way. I made it for a good junk and then my first big bail happened. But I got back up, which surprisingly was the most frustrating part of the day, and I kept going.

I had fun and look forward to trying it again. I doubt I will have another chance here, at least for this season, so next time in Alberta or BC I'm up for it.

Thursday, March 01, 2007


Here are a few pics from Kyoto. The trip went really well. I took a highway bus there and got for Nagoya to Kyoto is 2.5 hours. Upon arrival I walked through Kyoto station and came across an event that involved people dressed in all sorts of costumes running up many stairs. It was hilarious because it was so random. After that I took the subway to Nijojo Castle and walked around the grounds. The picture of the rainy pond is at the castle. It was sooooo rainy that day and kinda cold, but what can you do? I'm from the west coast so i could handle it. After that I found my hostel, which was a bit of a struggle in itself. I didn't really have directions, just a vague idea. Well after being frustrated because i couldn't reach them on the phone I asked the man working at Family Mart for directions and he pulled out a map and helped me out. Once I arrived I saw the lap of luxury that I was staying in for the night. It was basically bunk beds with curtains. It wasn't much, but it was all I needed. I happend to meet some other Canadians there, one was actually from Surrey. A few of them were teaching in Korea and on a break with family. That night I went through downtown Kyoto, which was very cool. Lots of hip shops and happenin night life. The next day I went to some temples and I was able to spot the first sign of springtime. After the temples I went to the Kyoto Museum of Modern Art. There were some really beautiful pieces on display. The feature was Japanese art that had western infuences. On the 4th floor was the modern art from artists of varying cultural backgrounds. After that I wandered around the grounds and visited another temple. I caught my bus back to Nagoya around 6pm and made it back to my apartment by 930pm. I will definitely go back to Kyoto because I have to see it in it's peak season which is either spring or fall. Mostly I only saw browns and greens, so it will be nice to see the gardens with all sorts of colours.