Tuesday, January 31, 2006

What I've been waiting for.I Like Pizza!!!
I Like Pizza!!!
Manzoku! (satisfied)
It is 5:10 Tuesday. I sit here in the Board of Education waiting, just waiting. The piece of pizza I want is sitting on the break table but I can't eat it yet. There is a dude, yes a dude sitting at the table. He is talking to another dude. I believe it's about business. What kind I don't know, they are just far enough away so that I can't listen without making it obvious. It is rainy so that means no running or biking today. Don't want to catch a cold, it might turn into influenza which could turn into something far worse. Tonight I will swim for as long as my mind allows me to. Boredom is a very bad problem when your head is underwater and you keep looking at the same stupid line. Oh, gotta go. The men have got up and my piece of pizza is waiting for me. Pictures of it's destruction will come later. For now, I will let you imagine my gastronomic experience. Big word, eh. Hope it's being used right. Itadakimasu

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Have I been in Japan too long? For those of you who don't get to see me on a regular basis... I've got a couple minutes to spare and what better way of using it than to show a bit of me to you. For the past 6 months I've had a variation of the same haircut. I don't know if this style would fly in the states as I've been here in Japan for quite a while. It started out as a fohawk where my front hair was really short and the back was spiked in the middle. Now I am a grown rooster and am sporting this do. Well, time to get back to work. Today's Word of the day is, "subarashii" which means wonderful in English. Have a subarashii day!!!

Monday, January 23, 2006

Cool medal!

I spent the past weekend on a little island about an hour flight from Okinawa mainland. I was there to visit some people ;) and run a half marathon. It's the 2nd race since the New Year I've partaken in and thus far this season is off to a good start. On January 8, three days after returning from India I ran in a Trim marathon. For those of you who don't know what a "Trim" marathon is, it's a race where you put down what time you think you'll do the run in and whoever is closest wins. No watches are allowed to be worn. I had written that I'd finish 19.2 km (roughly 12 miles) in 1:50:14. I put a slower than usual time because the previous year I had run really slow and I knew that this race would come after 3 weeks in India. I came back from India 3 kg (about 7 pounds) lighter and finished the race in 1:28. Needless to say, I didn't win anything. Well, the following week I passed on a race because I had a soccer game in which we won 10-0. I should have done the run as the game was quite boring. That brings us to this past weekend. My birthday weekend for those of you who didn't know that I am now 27 years old. My preparation for this race was quite different from usual. Friday night after flying into Ishigaki, I proceeded to a restaurant for some food and a lot of drinks. Saturday I slept in due to a headache and then went for a drive around the island. My friend and I had lunch at about 4:30 and that was pretty much all I had to eat except for part of a tuna sandwich later that evening. Sunday greeted me with strong winds and a sprinkle. The first half of the 21.0975 was tough!!! After a couple of kilometers I realized the errors of my ways. Breakfast would have been a good idea. Well, all in all I ran a great race. It took me 1:32:09. Good enough for 18th place overall and 4th in my age group. I plan on only getting faster and also smarter about running. More to come. My next race is February 12; a half marathon. I will hopefully break into the 1:20's. For now, God bless and train on!
P.S. Here are some pics of the people I hung out with in Ishigaki.
Finishing line (John and Maria)

Happy Birthday to me (Allan, John, Atsuyo)

Wednesday, January 18, 2006


Tonight I had the opportunity to go listen to a man speak about overcoming challenges. The title of his talk was, "Don't give up on your dreams." He gave a 2 hour speech in Japanese (of course) about how he had to have both his legs amputated 5 years ago after an accident. His talk went on about how he went from being in the hospital and feeling sorry for himself to running marathons. He decided that he would do things that even when he had legs he wasn't good at. He doesn't believe in, "I can't" and it showed not only in the sports he does but also his way of life. He has his own business and still makes time to go around giving speeches and run marathons in New York, Vancouver, Australia, Hawaii, and is even giving it a go at climbing mountains. 2 days ago he returned from Argentina where he tried climbing Mt. Acongua. Due to an inflammation in his leg he had to turn back before the summit but a little setback isn't deterring him from pursuing his dreams. The talk tonight only reinforced my belief that I can do whatever I put my mind to. Miyako Strongman, here I come!

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

It has been 5 days since I returned from India and yet I haven't written anything about my trip. I'm afraid you'll have a wait a bit longer. But I have something even better than my perspective on the trip. What you ask??? Well, on one of the last days in India I was having lunch with some friends and decided to ask them to write a little something in my journal. I had no idea what was to come but it turned out that Chris along with the help of Ben and Kelly ( photos to come at a later date) penned out a toast to everyone on the trip and also our experiences. So without further ado, here is a glimpse ( and a damn good one at that) of what we went thru during our time in India.

Here's to the glasses and the gasses
and the smiling orphan faces
to muddy river boat rides
and Mexican family ties.

To talk of maria and talk of maria
and talk of maria and talk of maria
to copious amounts of medicine pills
the dire smells and squat toilet spills.

To monkeys, camels, and bears oh my!
but no hash this time to make us high
to banana leaves and cross legged pain
to dahl and veggies oh god, not again.

To rickshaw rides that near claimed our lives
to the men who offered their daughters and wives
not one nor three not five but seven
days of diarrhea; that was John's heaven.

To the beggars we saw from rickshaw's too small
our favorite the man with one giant ball
to the orphans we gave Christmas cheer
but lost our money on Bunti's beer.

To dirty shoes and omiyage
the India blues and new words, eh?
to thai pants and smog, and the panskura mob
to the friends we made with no parents at all.

To the mainland JETs unknown at the start
who became by our trials okinawan in part
we came to India for a selfless cause
yet gained friendship that touched us all.

But where would we be without a dedication of sorts
to our mates, tomodachi, our beloved cohorts
to Elvira and Cory and Lauren and John
whose planning and strength we came to lean on.

To Alie and Blair, Thulani and Fro
Okinawa bound, I hope time will show
to Alicia and Marshall the south'ners from 'ginia
who gave the orphans soapstone and San'na.

To Sachiko, Caleb, and Dan who we saw
only in panskura, for a time too small
to Reyhan and Linda and Becky who came
as guests to our group, but part just the same.

To Kelly and Craig and Yasemin Çakmak
and Elina who taught us how to "beat off"
to Andy and Ben (both the small and the tall)
the former of who had a massage of their balls.

Myself I would simply just like to say
what an honor it's been each step of the way
so i raise this glass without fear of boast
to the best group of people I may ever toast.

Written by Chris Madole with the help of Kelly Ann Wiebe and Big Ben Coune.

Monday, January 09, 2006

The question has already been presented to me many times in this first week of January; "What are your plans after JET, John." It's a good question. And that is why the answer will take much thought and consideration. Here's the short answer mostly because there just isn't a long one. Stayin in Okinawa is always a possibility; it's my home, it's beautiful, I'm comfortable, I believe I can get a job. NOW, the thing of it is, I want to see my family and friends in America and everywhere else my peeps may be. I'm actually kinda scared (not quite the right word but we'll go with it) because I've been in Okinawa, Japan for the past 5 years and I think I'm turning Japanese. So the plan is to go back to Michigan around mid to late August and stay for about a month while making trips to North Carolina and other places to see family and friends. Before August I will send out my resume to some companies on the west coast looking for jobs where I can use my Japanese and travel. That's a summary of my life after JET, who knows what will happen. Love is always right around the corner and I'm also not ready to stop my extra-curricular activities to pursue a career. I like to think of it as my triathlons and soccer being sponsored by the Japanese government right now. For the future is fickle and I'm going to try and enjoy every minute of it. I'm slowly working my way to a career. Just making myself more marketable by experiencing life. Take care.