July 31, 2006

Love the beach, but sunburn's a bitch

Most excellent greetings my friends and anonymous readers. The weather has been all over the map lately, but we were blessed with absolutely fabulous weather on Sunday. Project Luck had planned a huge beach party for Sunday and we were worried the weather forecast (cloudy skies and rain) would come true.

Maki's friend Kayo was to pick me up WAY early at 7am, at which point I was still sleeping. I was able to get dressed, pack my junk and run the 8 blocks to the pickup spot in just over ten minutes! Not bad for someone who'd only gotten around 3 hours of actual sleep I think. To top it off we ended up being somewhere around 25 minutes early to where we needed to be. Talk about irony!

Anyway, the setup they had at Takasu beach was really great. There was a full square of open tents, and they even had a food and beer tent set up! We spent the whole day doing various activities. The first thing I tried was making some bead accessories. My bracelet was a mess, but one of the girls liked it so I gave it to her. After I tied a bunch of knots I took a stroll down the beach in search of a washroom to change into my swimsuit. Given the weather that took a lot longer than it had to, due to the fact that I was easily distracted by the absolutely insane number of cute girls running around in bikinis. Have I mentioned I love the beach?

After I finally made it back to our pavillion a few other folks were ready to hit the water. (All told I'd say there were easily over 35 people out for the party!) There are some concrete pylons set up maybe about 300 or 400 meters out from the beach, so I swam out there myself and waited til everyone caught up. We enjoyed the sun a bit then headed back to hitch a ride on the jet-skis. I've never ridden on one but man-o-man what fun! The guy driving had it up over 60km and the water was choppy, which gave us some pretty good jumps. I highly recommend giving one of those things a try!

After collecting our breath we made another trip out the pylons with some non-swimmers in tow. I gotta give Rika and Kayo kudos for trusting us enough to pull them out that far into the ocean with nothing but a tube to keep them afloat. If I couldn't swim I don't know that I'd have been willing to go out any further than I could walk.

Oh yeah, I forget about the part of the pavillion where they had some girls set up doing hand massage and nail painting! LOL well, I don't know how the Project Luck folks talked them into it, but they got some girls from one of the Fukui beauty shops to come out and work on a Sunday. I let one of them paint the nails on what started out as one but ended up as both hands. It was an interesting choice of alternating black and purple. Ladies, I have to say I don't know how you can do that. You wouldn't think nails have pores, but nail polish feels bloody awful. I couldn't wait to get that stuff off this morning. Blech. Ah well, I was all purdy for a day anyway.

I sat down for a few beers and tasty food from the food tent before heading out to collect some rocks and shells. "What for?" you ask...well they were taking pictures and printing them out for us to take home, in our own customized frames. They had tables set up with paints, brushes and crazy glue to make stuff with. Being as we were some of the last folks to do that there wasn't quite enough glue for me to finish mine with. But I brought everything back and finished it here (yes, I have crazy glue on hand). It's ugly, but no one's to blame for that except me I guess.

We headed back around 5, everyone well fed, well entertained and well sunned. In my case, more than well-done! It doesn't seem to matter whether I use 20 or 50spf sunblock, I always end up with a hell of a burn on my neck and shoulders. :( Ah well, it'll be a sexy tan by the middle of the week. Heh, who am I kidding? I need more than two days and a tan to be sexy!

And...I'm spent.

July 18, 2006

Life's a little strange when you're a stranger

I don't know what the title has to do with my entry, but it is a line from a song in the movie The Lost Boys, which has popped up in conversation several times this week. So, it seemed appropriate.

Let's see, where to start. Ah ok how about on Friday? Sitting in my classroom with my two students around 3:30 in the afternoon. Hear a few sirens and whatnot, but figure no big deal right? Head downstairs to the lobby after class to see quite the commotion going on down the street. Apparently the ramen shop three buildings down had itself a wee meltdown. Back home that wouldn't be a big deal, but in Japan it can be a rather alarming thing, since there is basically no such thing as space in between the buildings. It'd take little more than a soft breeze to take the fire over to the next building and before you know it the whole block is gone. Fortunately only the one building was damaged.

Saturday was supposed to be a lazy day at home. Sleep in, no plans, sit around and watch videos kind of day. I ended up waking up sans alarm around 9am (wtf is up with me waking up early on the weekend I'll never know). Seeing as I was up I figured I might as well start going through my junk before I head back. This resulted in me dumping the entire contents of my closet on the floor of my apartment and organizing it into piles. I'm sure it didn't look too organized, but I got two more boxes of stuff ready to go home and can probably finish packing no problem now. :)

Later in the day my friend Hiro dropped by to see if I wanted to go check out our friend's band, playing at one of the universities. As a musician myself I couldn't turn that down. Miho's band was easily the best of the 8 or 9 we watched, certainly in terms of talent. Surprisingly they were the only group that had an original song. All the other groups were covers only, which isn't a bad thing, just surprising because most of the players were really quite good.

After the bands finished up they headed off to a local restaurant for a dinner / party. We were invited along, which again was hard to turn down. I mean, it's not like my videos couldn't wait another day or so. They weren't going anywhere. Everyone was really friendly (as always here) and I had a good time, not to mention more than my fair share of beer and snacks. :D Apparently they're having a party at the beach next month, which I'm supposed to go to. Hopefully it'll work out to be on a day I'm free...things are starting to get pretty booked up!

It's been raining a ton here since Friday night, and Monday was no exception. There have been flood warnings issued and all the trains are running behind schedule. That really threw a damper on Valerie and my plan to head to Kanazawa for some siteseeing and shopping. We eventually made it there (two hours later than we planned). The rain slowed us down but we had a good time and made it back at a decent hour. I didn't take many pictures because most of the places I'd already been to, but I had to get a shot of the water clock outside the station. It's pretty cool, because it tells the time (digitally) with a bunch of tiny little water spouts. Very nifty.

What? I'm easily amused sometimes...shut up.

July 04, 2006

Most unimaginative title ever...

Hey they can't all be witty...

Another party-packed weekend. I seem to be collecting those too recently. Three parties in two days if you want an accurate count. Saturday I woke up WAY earlier than planned (ie: 6:45 AM!). Not having anything planned until about 13 hours later you can imagine my frustration at not being able to go back to sleep after that.

The day was rather rainy and dreary but I slogged through the drizzle to achieve my entire list of "to-do". There is something to be said about persistence I guess. Hey I even managed to clean up my apartment a bit. Not that that's really anything to brag about but I digress.

I headed down to the pub for the Canada Day party I'd set up with a few other displaced Canucks. Naturally I was the first one there even though I was late. Seems stomach flu, girlfriend implosions and laziness disuaded my three countrymen and -women from attending. That left me to entertain the 12+ Japanese folks that showed up. So, we hung up my 6" Canadian flag at the end of the bar, drank, talked and enjoyed ourselves with Canadian stickers and temporary tattoos like the one sported by Masa here (the owner of the bar).

Luckily I came prepared with a few dozen scraps of Canadian trivia and assorted baubles and trinkets to give away. Everyone seemed to have a good time except the few British guys I knew who came in late to watch their team lose in the World Cup. Oh well! The trivia and chatting went over well and apparently I'm going to learn how to ride a jet-ski at the end of the month. So, uh...hooray for Canada Day parties!

Sunday I had to do two farewell parties for my co-worker in Tsuruga. His last day at work was Friday, so we had to have a party for the kids (lots of kid students at that school), and one for the grown-ups / people-who-don't-like-kids later. It was a good day but TIRING. I'll be sad to see him go, but I am pretty sure we'll keep in touch.

This entry is a little dry I'm sure, but I'm tired. Complain in the comments or write me email. Of course I'll ignore all the complaints anyway, but do whatever works for ya. :P