Wednesday, December 27, 2006

What a small world this is.
Over the past week, I've had two experiences where it really hit me that the world isn't such a big place. After writing my Christmas email, I got a reply from Jed and Peta, friends from Okinawa. It turns out they live 10 minutes away from my Uncle who I visited over Christmas. I had the chance to go catch up with them and meet their adorable son, Kai. The second happening was at lunch today. I went into a cafe, ordered a calzone, and then sat down. As I start reading my book, a lady next to me starts talking to her friend about Holland, Michigan . I do a double take that she notices and we start chatting. It turns out she had gone to West Ottawa high school and her dad was a professor at Hope. She was a bit older than me so besides both of us coming from Holland, there was no other connection. It still blew me away that I would randomly meet somebody from Holland in San Francisco. Well, that's my story for the day.
Christmas was a truly wonderful experience this year. I spent a night in Napa at my friend Dave's place and the rest of the weekend at my Uncle's with his family. It was awesome hanging out with family and friends. I got some presents, played a lot of games (tennis, bachi ball, ping pong party game, game cube, blurt...), and also had some delicious food. It was my first Christmas in America in 6 years and I loved it!

Friday, December 22, 2006

San Francisco, the most visible homeless crisis in the nation.
It's something you become used to, people asking you for money. Homelessness, it transcends gender, race, background... Everyday on my way to work, to a friend's place, to the gym, to anywhere, I walk by somebody with a cup, a sign, an open hand asking for money. At first it made me really uncomfortable. I'm from Japan where contact with somebody you don't know will be a young lady handing out tissue packets advertising a company. I'm still uncomfortable but I'm slowly getting used to it. I don't consider that a good thing but I've come a long way from when I would have my headphones in and look down when passing by a homeless person. Now, sometimes I give a little or at least tell them sorry but I no. My thoughts change daily. I become sad, numb, angry... Why are there so many and why don't they get a job, get help? So I decided to research a little. I wanted to know their stories. The SF Chronicle had a great series that opened my eyes. San Francisco has apparently let the problem get out of hand and one of the reasons it's gotten worse is politics. People don't agree on how best to solve the problem. I don't think I'll ever be comfortable with somebody asking me for money on the street but that's a good thing. Over the next year, I'll try and get involved in different ways. There is a volunteer organization here called One Brick that helps in different ways.
For now I end this post with a heavy heart, seeing somebody else's suffering is not something one enjoys. Here is a link to the article about homelessness in San Francisco.


Wednesday, December 20, 2006

On the weekends, I've been going for runs from my apt. to the Golden Gate bridge. Well, actually no to the bridge but below it where the path ends. There is this sign on the fence that says Hopper's hands and I've been wondering who is Hopper. Everybody running touches it when they turn around. So I did a bit of research ( aka googled it) and here is the story

Hopper's Hands

By the way, the run from my apt to the Golden Gate bridge is ridiculously awesome. Anybody is free to join me.

I don't know how many people out there have ever gone to a spinning class but I partook in my first one last night. One word, INTENSE! I don't think I would have been so exhausted afterwards if I hadn't gone for a swim and run beforehand. I didn't plan on doing the spin class, I kinda just happened to be in the right place at the right time. Or the wrong place at the wrong time. 6 months ago it wouldn't have been a problem but I'm in the process of getting back into shape. Needless to say, last night I had trouble sleeping. My legs were sore but in the way where you feel it but no amount of stretching will help. They still feel out of sorts.
I never thought there could be so many hills when riding a stationary bike. AND when you ride a spinning bike, you can't just stop peddling like a normal bike. Everything is connected so if you stop peddling, everything stops which is like trying to put your car in reverse when driving down a highway. I'm sure I'll get used to it and learn to enjoy the intense burn when climbing those imaginary hills. It's great because as soon as I walk out the gym, I've got a 70 degree hill to climb on my way home.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

It's about lunchtime so I think I'll share a bit of what I've learned today.
1) Did you know that solar energy is dependent upon nuclear power? Solar Energy's nuclear power plant, though, is 93 million miles away.
2) The earth receives more energy from the sun in just one hour than the world uses in a whole year.


Monday, December 18, 2006

Oops, I decided to change the template of my blog and a couple of things got lost along the way. Will be working on getting my links back on board during the week.

So as many of you know, I've been checking out gyms in the local area. My deal breaker is that it has to have a pool. When I started out looking for a gym I thought maybe 2 or 3 have pools but it turns out that 5 or 6 do which are within 10 minutes from work. I've narrowed my options down to 2 based on a highly technical, scientific process of counting steps from work to gym, cleanliness, coolness factor, price, and lastly, if I know anybody working out at one of the gyms. More to come as I decide which gym to join but today I'm leaning towards the more expensive, nicer gym. The mens locker used to be a bank vault. I know that has nothing to do with working out but I think that's pretty cool.


The Knicks and Nuggets (NBA) got into a brawl, well a little fight, this past weekend. It appears that everybody involved is blaming somebody else. What is disheartening is the fact that Isiah Thomas warned Carmelo Anthony about a minute before the incident occurred. I know he didn't blatantly say there was going to be a hard foul or fight but come on, he's the freaking coach and president! I do believe that players get worked up and pride/ego are part of the equation so tensions will rise and sometimes fights break out. Well, the NBA came back and handed out some fines and suspensions. It's sad because Carmelo Anthony is one of the new faces of the NBA and that incident will probably hurt his credibility. I say probably because acting out your anger is so commonplace in sports today that people are becoming numb to it all. Look at Zidane at the World Cup, the French embraced him after the head butt. On a good note, I'm in a NBA fantasy league and none of the guys who got suspended were on my team. It'll be interesting to see what happens with these two teams. New York can't get any worse and maybe Denver will get AI now that Melo is gone for 15 games. If you want to read more about the fines and suspensions go to, .

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Super JET lives on!
Apparently the JET Program just can't let go.
The mid-year conference happened last month and
I guess they thought I was going to make an appearance
as above picture shows.
It really touches my heart to know that I'll be remembered
year after year. Well, at least this year I was.
But the truth is, I've moved on.
Yes, I'm getting involved in the Jet alumni association here
and yes, I still keep in touch with teachers, JETs, friends... in Okinawa.
Wait maybe I haven't moved on. Only 9 years, 7 months and 12 days
until I can return on the JET program. I'll only be 38!
Don't think that some of you aren't contemplating your
triumphant return to ALT status.
Actually, I will NOT be that guy. But it's fun to think about it.
Have a great day.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Today has been a slow day. I woke up around 11 fully refreshed thinking I'd do something today like ride my bike or go for a run, maybe a walk. My bike arrived yesterday from Michigan and I put it together this morning but didn't end up going for a ride. Instead I needed to first go to the dry cleaners to get a pair of pants hemmed. Well, I walked to the cleaners, put my pants on the counter, and lo and behold, wrong pair of pants. I ran back home, got the right pair, and dropped them off. The funny thing is, the first pair of pants are a bit short and when I dropped off the right pair, the lady told me she could fix my other pair too. So I went home got the first pair, dropped them off, and proceeded to buy a lock at a sports store so I could lock my bike up. San Francisco apparently has more bike thefts than anywhere else in the country. By the time I got back to my apartment I decided to just lock up my bike and relax. So saturday has turned out to be a lazy t.v. watching day. I'm getting caught up on College football and my favorite commercial comes on. After all of the wordage you have read thus far, this is the reason I decided to put a post up. This Liberty Mutual commercial rocks. Just tugs at the heart strings and makes you wanna be a better person. Pay it forward.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Soccer/Football is one of my favorite sports but it seems like it's gotten kind of sissy lately. Maybe sissy is a strong word but I'm really tired of the diving that goes on. Maybe it's because I'm short and so my center of gravity is low but I have only fallen a handful of times. Maybe it's bad strategy on my part but when I'm going for a ball or dribbling down the sideline, if a guy bumps me I don't necessarily fall. Of course, I haven't scored many goals either but I don't mind the tradeoff. I'm an honest player who goes hard for the ball everytime. I don't doubt that Christiano Ronaldo is an awesome player. Heck, he was player of the month for November, but I also have trouble respecting a player who is known for diving. I don't turn on the telly (t.v.) to watch a guy fall over if it looks like he might get bumped. Well, enough about that. I'm tying to write about more than my move and job so after having caught up on football news, I thought I'd write my own little article. It'll be interesting to see what kind of reception Ashley Cole gets when he plays arsenal. I've seen firsthand how feisty Europeans can get when supporting their football teams. For any of you who were in the Philippines with me, remember that Man City guy. What a crazy dude. Never met anybody so excited about having been arrested for being a hulligan. If anybody is up for a kick around, I've bought a ball and would love to meet up. Ta for now.

Oh, and what happened to Crystal Palace? I know they're not in the Premiership anymore but 16th place. JOSH, You got me liking them, I even have a sweet jersey. Is there any hope?

Monday, December 04, 2006

this is my first blog from my phone. the start of something wonderful. thoughts transferred to the internet in seconds no matter where I am. oh the joys of technology.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

So I've moved into my apartment last sunday, started taking the cable car on friday, and walked 20 minutes down the road today to find myself at the bay. Walked 5 more minutes and i was at Fishermans wharf. Enjoying my weekend by relaxing, watching some football ( I hope USC and Florida loses) and maybe gonna check out that new bond movie tonight.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Just a quick update. Really busy at work but I just wanted to let everybody know...
I take a cable car to and from work! Today was my first day doing it and it was cool. It's like being a tourist everyday. Up a big hill, down a big hill. Pictures of my place, the commute, and San Fran will be up in the next week hopefully. Well, back to the grind.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Thanksgiving weekend with Uncle John, Aunt Kendra, Kelsey, Kevin, Kyle, and Kaleb. Ran a race thanksgiving morning. Kyle, Uncle John, and I ran 5 km. Kyle who is 11 years old ran it in 22:22. 227th out of thousands. I was .03 seconds behind him and Uncle John came in after me a couple minutes later. Afterwards we had a wonderful thanksgiving meal and then we played tennis. They all showed me a thing or two about tennis. On Friday, we went to an old mine, walked around, had some cider and cookies and enjoyed some picture taking. Here are some pics.

Took a little trip to Napa. Alan and Waka gave me a ride. Hung out with Bos and some girls he knows who were visiting too.

Monday, October 23, 2006

So I haven't written anything since moving out to California. It's been a roller coaster ride since I've been living at family and friend's places. I was blessed to get an offer from a job that I thought was a perfect fit and look forward to starting. I'm currently trying to find a place to live. I thought it would be easier but it seems to be pretty competitive especially since I'm looking for a not so expensive place. I'll keep you all posted and thanks for all the emails of encouragement, prayers, and thoughts.
Here are some pics of my time in Michigan.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Some of the pictures in the slide have been put on my blog before. Forgive me. They are wonderful pictures of life in America. I'll be heading out west this weekend and starting on the next chapter of my life. More to come.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

I am in America now. At night I stay at my parent's house and watch T.V. In Japan I didn't even have a t.v. Now there are all these shows starting up again. I didn't even have to watch Grey's Anatomy last year. Yesterday there was 2 hour special of the last 2 shows of last season and Lucky me, tonight there was a 1 hour recap of last season before the premier. I'm so caught up! Also, there is this new show called 6 degrees that started tonight. I'm soooo lucky because I get to watch it right from the beginning without having to catch up.
The T.V.

I love it!

I hate it!

Monday, September 18, 2006

Football season has begun
So it's 12:30 in the morning and I'm watching sports. Football is a sport i enjoy watching. BUT, talk about a crazy sport!!! Half the show is about injuries. Dude! when 3 starting players get injured in a game ( 1 with a broken neck!), you know something is wrong. I'll keep it short in case any of you got ADD. Plus, I'm tired. Good night.
Couldn't end my post on a less than happy topic so here are some pics of Gus, Jennie, and I in San Francisco a couple weeks ago.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

So a little rant I shall put forward. In Japan we (foreigners) often complain about the driving of the Japanese. We all agree that it's awful. It annoyed the heck out of me too. But I believe America is worse. Now my opinion is mostly based on 2 bad, wait, horrible drivers I encountered today. We all know about the "right on red rule" right? WELL, A lady decided it was her God given right to turn on red today, but Here be the problem; I was going straight on green. Luckily I've become American enough to honk like crazy. Close call but no accident. Example number 2 is even dumber, mostly because it was in a residential area. Some moron decided he was going to race out of a cul de sac in my neighborhood w/o looking either way. Luckily I was going slow enough that he didn't ram into me. I'm still focusing on the right side of the road. Gotta love America, You know, how even if an American knows he's doing something wrong/ stupid/ ignorant He or she will just stare at you like it's your fault. Didn't have a chance to honk at that guy as I was dumbfounded by his All American stare and speed of his car.
ON TO HAPPIER THOUGHTS... GOYA, Oh yeah, that bumpy, green, bitter melon we all grow to love and devour in Okinawa. Well, guess what?
My mom grows goya in Michigan and there huge. Last night we had some "goya champuru" minus the spam and tofu. Here are some pics of my mom and her goya.

By the way, I'm still having a wonderful time in the states and look forward to staying a while.
GOOD NEWS!! No, I don't have a job yet or a place... But, my cousin Chieko had her baby last week. A beautiful baby boy.

Friday, September 08, 2006

It's late friday night and I'm getting ready to head to Chicago tomorrow. I've been hanging out at my sister's apartment with her hubby, Jeremy, and their beautiful daughter, Moriah. It's been a pleasure meeting his family and hanging out with my niece. I have mostly pictures of Moriah, as you'll understand why from looking at the pics. More to come but here's a couple...

Monday, September 04, 2006

So a week has passed since I left Okinawa. I've visited San Francisco, outside Sacramento, Oregon. And now here I am in the Portland airport getting ready to take a red eye to Charlotte N.C. My friend Pat will be flying into Charlotte a couple hours after me and the our friend JT will be picking us up. Will be hanging out for a couple days before heading to my sis, Michelle's place. Well, that's the future. Time to fill you in on the past and present. Checked out San Francisco courtesy of my friends Gus and Jennie. Went to Rocklin,CA to meet up with my Uncle John and fam. Played some soccer, swam in a pool, ate some good food, went mountain biking, and relaxed. Took a train back to San Francisco, rented a bike and sightsaw stuff like Pier 39 and the Golden Gate bridge. In Oregon, went to my friends Jeff and Hillary's wedding. Met some wonderful people and again got to hang out in a pool. Transition back to America going bery well (chinese accent). Well, off to North Carolina I go. The adventure continues...

 Golden Gate Bridge
Mountain Biking

Jeff and Hillary's wedding

Monday, August 07, 2006

So my cousin Chieko's daughter just doesn't slow down.

So my life has been packed with bye bye parties, triathlons, cleaning, more bye bye parties, and now Obon has started. For those of you that don't know Obon is a big deal in Okinawa. It is the time of the year when the spirits of the dead come and visit their houses. We spend lots of time cleaning and then people visit each others' houses leaving a gift, having a chat, eating a little and then leaving. I did 2 triathlons in 2 weeks. The first was a 1 km swim, 30 km bike, and a 5km run. I finished in 28th out of 110th place. The following week was a reverse triathlon where I ran 5km, biked 15 km, and finished with a 400 meter pool swim. I came in 17th out of 73rd place.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

So here are the 3 classes I didn't have on the slide. I know that they all look the same to you but I just wouldn't feel right if I put all my other classes on my blog and left these 3 off. 1,2,and 3rd graders at Matsuda Elementary.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

This week is technically my last week of teaching. I've taken pictures of all my classes except the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd graders at one school and the daycare center. I'll try and put those pictures up soon. This next month is going to be a sad one for me as I've gotten to know so many great kids, teachers, and have made a lot of friends.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Had a 3 day weekend and so a bunch of us went to Kume Island where Andrew and Deidre live. It's a 4 hour ferry ride from Naha, Okinawa. Awesome weekend spent relaxing, playing, and indulging in food and spirits.