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Archive for June, 2013

Through Photographs – 25 June 2013

As I write this I sit in my room, contemplating the end of my year abroad while incense wafts about me and my ridiculously messy surroundings. It’s been a crazy year, full of ups and downs, twists and turns, and other cliches but, still a year I wouldn’t trade for anything in the world (yet ANOTHER cliche.). I mean, in two weeks it all comes to an end, as abrupt as it started, and I’ll be on a plane back home. Conveying what this odyssey has meant to me in words will come in the next post, but for now I think the best way is to do it through photographs. I’ve taken hundreds since I’ve been here, and through those photographs I can give you a sense of what it means to experience the places I’ve seen, places some of you have never been, and may never go. That way, at least visually, I can share those experiences with all of you. I’m not rich. I’m not some magnate who just decides on a whim to fly halfway around the world. And who the hell knows the next time I’ll get to see these places again. That’s why these photographs mean so much to me, and why it means so much to me to share them with all of you.

 

This is I-House, the place I've called home since September.

This is I-House, the place I’ve called home since September.

 

Going to a Chunichi Dragons baseball game with some people I met here.

Going to a Chunichi Dragons baseball game with some people I met here.

 

Looking toward Nagoya Station from Sakae the first time I went out alone.

Looking toward Nagoya Station from Sakae the first time I went out alone.

 

The Port of Nagoya.

The Port of Nagoya.

 

Watching a few friends play Super Smash Brothers on a lazy day.

Watching a few friends play Super Smash Brothers on a lazy day.

 

Me fucked up in a club.

Me fucked up in a club.

 

Yosakoi and fireworks.

Yosakoi and fireworks.

 

And dragons.

And dragons.

 

A couple friends who came to watch me...

A couple friends who came to watch me…

 

... do this to myself.

… do this to myself.

 

Bored, so took a candid of my RA.

Bored, so took a candid of my RA.

 

Makin' ashtrays with friends.

Makin’ ashtrays with friends.

 

This girl wanted to clean my ears soooooo badly.

This girl wanted to clean my ears soooooo badly.

 

Big balls through the streets.

Big balls through the streets.

 

Me postin' at a parade in my shades and pot leaf chain.

Me postin’ at a parade in my shades and pot leaf chain.

 

And with a few friends, too.

And with a few friends, too.

 

The burger from hell...

The burger from hell…

 

...with friends...

…with friends…

 

...of course.

…of course.

 

Halloween.

Halloween.

 

More Halloween. And liquor.

More Halloween. And liquor.

 

And more of each.

And more of each.

 

Making soba with friends.

Making soba with friends.

 

The Grand Shrine at Ise.

The Grand Shrine at Ise.

 

I pet the deer...

I pet the deer…

 

... while my friend got attacked by them.

… while my friend got attacked by them.

 

Horyu-ji in Nara.

Horyu-ji in Nara.

 

This was before I began getting drunk at karaoke.

This was before I began getting drunk at karaoke.

 

Christmas in Seoul.

Christmas in Seoul.

 

Seoul from my hotel room...

Seoul from my hotel room…

 

...and the alley outside.

…and the alley outside.

 

A Korean love message at Seoul Tower.

A Korean love message at Seoul Tower.

 

The city from Seoul Tower.

The city from Seoul Tower.

 

The Han River.

The Han River.

 

New Year's Eve.

New Year’s Eve.

 

Then I got really drunk.

Then I got really drunk.

 

Then I got drunker at karaoke.

Then I got drunker at karaoke.

 

The first sunrise of the year from the highest building in Nagoya. Almost threw up up there. ALMOST.

The first sunrise of the year from the highest building in Nagoya. Almost threw up up there. ALMOST.

 

A random temple in Nagoya with a couple friends.

A random temple in Nagoya with a couple friends.

 

Found this walking around the city.

Found this walking around the city.

 

The phallus at Komaki Shrine.

The phallus at Komaki Shrine.

 

Walking with friends.

Walking with friends.

 

Me doing a little rock jumping.

Me doing a little rock jumping.

 

The Totoro house.

The Totoro house.

 

The cherry blossoms outside of I-House.

The cherry blossoms outside of I-House.

 

Me flipping off the camera in front of the cherry trees outside of I-House.

Me flipping off the camera in front of the cherry trees outside of I-House.

 

Flower viewing with a few friends.

Flower viewing with a few friends.

 

Flower viewing with more friends.

Flower viewing with more friends.

 

Cool fire.

Cool fire.

 

Cherry blossoms stretching across the street.

Cherry blossoms stretching across the street.

 

Once again, drunk with friends.

Once again, drunk with friends.

 

Me singing in front of everyone at a neighborhood Cherry Blossom Festival in Nagoya.

Me singing in front of everyone at a neighborhood Cherry Blossom Festival in Nagoya.

 

Iwasaki Castle, about a fifteen-minute walk from I-House.

Iwasaki Castle, about a fifteen-minute walk from I-House.

 

Cool flower.

Cool flower.

 

Random walk with friends.

Random walk with friends.

 

Suzuka Circuit.

Suzuka Circuit.

 

The guy's my friend, but I was aiming for the girls next to him.

The guy’s my friend, but I was aiming for the girls next to him.

 

The racetrack.

The racetrack.

 

A bit o' drift.

A bit o’ drift.

 

Kyoto Station.

Kyoto Station.

 

Fushimi Inari Shrine.

Fushimi Inari Shrine.

 

Ginkaku-ji Temple.

Ginkaku-ji Temple.

 

View of the mountains around Kyoto from the end of the Philosopher's Walk.

View of the mountains around Kyoto from the end of the Philosopher’s Walk.

 

Kumano Nyakuoji Shrine.

Kumano Nyakuoji Shrine.

 

Park near the Kyoto Municipal Zoo.

Park near the Kyoto Municipal Zoo.

 

Yasaka Shrine, in Gion.

Yasaka Shrine, in Gion.

 

Geiko standing outside the Ichiriki Teahouse, the most exclusive in all of Gion, Kyoto, and indeed Japan itself.

Geiko standing outside the Ichiriki Teahouse, the most exclusive in all of Gion, Kyoto, and indeed Japan itself.

 

Hanami Lane, the heart of Gion.

Hanami Lane, the heart of Gion.

 

Geiko rushing to an appointment.

Geiko rushing to an appointment.

 

Kennin-ji Temple.

Kennin-ji Temple.

 

Daimonji.

Daimonji.

 

Kinkaku-ji Temple.

Kinkaku-ji Temple.

 

Arashiyama with a friend.

Arashiyama with a friend.

 

Togetsukyo Bridge at Arashiyama.

Togetsukyo Bridge at Arashiyama.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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少し事が何のを学んだ (A Little of What I’ve Learned) – 12 June 2013

Another late night post this time.

I just got done with a homework assignment, a 作文 (sakubun), a writing assignment. This is probably one of the most complex things I’ve written since I’ve been here, so I thought I’d show you all a little of what I’ve learned thus far. This is the result of three hours of patient work, using my 電子辞書 (denshi jisho, my electronic dictionary), my 日本語文法辞典 (nihongo bunpo jiten, my Japanese grammar dictionary), and getting distracted by Golden Girls reruns on YouTube.

Yes, I watch The Golden Girls. What of it.

I know it’s not perfect, and it’s probably full of mistakes that a practiced eye will catch, but when I get it back from my professor it’ll be corrected and I can become even better at this.

So here goes.

世界中には、70億人以上がいる。皆がたくさん製品を使うわけで、そして残り物が残れよう。この残り物は「ゴミ」と言う。その70億人が多くトンのゴミを作っているの関係で環境が苦しいだ。困りは地球で人間が全部のゴミのために場所に置かない。日本ではリサイクリングをする義務があって、でも日本がアメリカに比べて少数の米国国民がリサイクルだ。リサイクリングのための供給と広い面積があるのにもかかわらず、アメリカでは多く処理場を建てる。アメリカはゴミが多くトンを捨てて、それからアメリカのためや日本人や世界中の皆ほどさえ苦しい。

アメリカでは国民の生活が浪費的な生活だ。新たな物を買える限り中古品が欲しくない。フリーマーケットが人気にもかかわらず不必要な物は普通に探せる。それから、人々に行く時、必要な製品の代わりにトレンディーな衣類のためを探す。アメリカではリサイクリング・センターがあって、でも多く場所でリサイクルをしているが義務しないので、少しアメリカ人がリサイクルをする。人々は新たな処理場をかえってリサイクル・センターを使っているように思われる。

他方、アメリカでに比べて日本では地勢ので国民が強制でリサイクルをさせる。日本は列島の国ので、面積が限定する。それに、多く製品はリサイクリングができるはずだ。リサイクリングは国会が法律になった。個人的な家や病院やマクドナルドほどさえ日本では皆がリサイクルをさせる。

私の意見には、アメリカの国会から法律を作れば、もっとアメリカがリサイクルをさせる。でも前にも、もっとアメリカ人はリサイクリングについて教えれば、好きになれれば、リサイクリングが人気になる。後で、空気や環境や国民ほどさえもいいになるように思われる。

世界中だ、皆のためのリサイクルをしているが大切な事だ。環境がきれいになって、人間が喜びになって、それが最もいい事だ。

There are more than 7 billion people living in the world. The fact is that everyone is using lots of products, and naturally there’s stuff leftover. This leftover stuff is called garbage. Because of the many tons of garbage those 7 billion people make, the environment suffers. The trouble is there’s no place on earth for people to put it all. In Japan the people are made to recycle, but compared to Japan, in America few citizens recycle. Although the resources and wide-open areas exist in America for recycling, many landfills are built. Americans throw away many tons of garbage, and because of that Americans and Japanese and even everyone else suffers.

In America, the citizens’ lifestyles are selfish ones. We don’t want secondhand things; we’d rather be able to buy new stuff. Although flea markets are popular it’s normal to be able to search for unnecessary things. Because of that, when people go, they search for trendy clothing rather than necessary items. Recycling centers exist in America, but because people are not made to recycle in many places, few Americans recycle. Contrary to using the recycling centers we build new landfills, apparently.

On the other hand, compared to America, the people are forced to recycle because of Japan’s geography. Because Japan is an archipelago nation space is limited. Moreover, many products must be recycled. The Diet has made recycling laws. In Japan everyone –  private homes, hospitals, even McDonald’s – has to recycle.

My opinion is, if Congress made laws, more Americans would have to recycle. But even before that, if more of us were taught about recycling, if we could be made to like it, recycling would become more popular. After that, it seems to me the air, the environment, even the people would become better.

In the world, recycling is an important thing for everyone. A clean environment and happy people, those are the best things.

Just a little taste of what I’ve learned.