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.