Sunday, 26 September 2010

National holidays, change of temperature, new camera

This week has been a little different from others in that we had two national holidays - 敬老の日 (Respect for the Aged Day) on Monday and 秋分の日 (Autumnal Equinox Day) on Thursday.  Japan's good for its abundance of national holidays, although they often don't come in a row so you just get the odd day off now and then.  A few of my mates took some of their paid holidays this week, and that's a good idea.

Everyone's been talking about the weather this week in Aomori.  It turned in an instant from a lingering summer to full-on Charlie Brown weather.  People in the street are now dressed in big coats and hats, and the guys from work have started to wear ties and suits rather than 'Cool Biz' clothes.  Apparently it's not usually this cold this early, but I hear that as we had a big summer we're gonna get a pretty intense winter as well.

Last night I went out with some JET pals to a steak restaurant on 観光通り called ステーキ宮 and then on to karaoke.  I stayed there for about an hour then left to go play a game of poker with an Australian mate of mine and some of his friends.  We played in a community centre in 大野 and there were no JETs there which made it a bit of a change from my usual weekend shenanigans.  These guys play for money and play every week.  They're trying to get more and more people involved as then we can play for bigger prizes.

I also bought a Nikon Coolpix P60 digital camera yesterday from パソコン工房 on 観光通り.  It was just over 10,000 yen, so about 80 quid. I'm gonna test it out later.

One thing that struck me recently about Aomori City is that while the place is a fairly big city it still manages to maintain a sense of community.  News travels fast, as when I meet new people for the first time it's not uncommon for them to have heard about me from friends already. And I'm always bumping into random people I know just out and about.  Recently I was eating at a Chinese restaurant and bumped into the owner of the audio shop I mentioned here.  And last Sunday I went to see a performance called Nanta at the local city hall and ran into my hairdresser. It's a cool vibe, as the place has the characteristics of both a big and small city.

Speaking of Nanta, it was a pretty cool show.  I was invited by a Korean co-worker of mine and apparently it's a pretty big deal over there.  There aren't that many decent videos of it on YouTube, but if you watch the one below you'll get an idea of what it's about.

It's a novel concept where four Korean performers use kitchen implements, more traditional Korean percussion and a big rock music score to create quite a spectacle.  The performers all had (pun alert) decent chops and the whole thing definitely appealed to the drummer in me.

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Thursday, 16 September 2010

Internet and my birthday

I now have super-fast-Japanese internet at my apartment. Internet is important kids. I Skyped the family and they all seem to be doing well. I also need to get on a few TV shows from back home that started recently, like This Is England '86 and Mad Men.

This past weekend it was my birthday so we all went out drinking on the Friday. It was a good way to end the week as all the new JETs from the prefecture had been in Aomori City for a 3 day orientation. We ate and drank at a popular gajin watering hole called Passage Hiroba, then went on to a darts bar. Funny story - everyone was late showing up apart from my Korean co-worker who used the time to by me a birthday cake hat from a nearby department store. Sometimes it pays to be late, if you have smart friends. Here I am modeling the hat.

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Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Treasure hunt

Had a good weekend which involved a treasure hunt around Aomori Prefecture for JETs followed by staying over at a log cabin resort in the middle of nowhere - the nearest conbini was 20 minutes away, that's about as rural as it gets guys. Here's some purikura that our team took at an arcade during the treasure hunt. Check out my mate, Christy's blog for some more sweet photos of the day.

Also, here's a photo of a drink I found in the conbini at work. It's a pancake/hotcake flavoured milkshake. Tastes like it sounds.

I posted this on Facebook a while back, but here's another drink from the same shop - 'Orange with Rare Cheese Flavor'.

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