Saturday, September 30, 2006


I got my bike fit. Results and parts will be in in about a week. Then I came home and went for a ride. Thanks to shitty roads in Japan, I need to buy some new wheels, I was dodging potholes and hit a big lip. Put a really pretty dent in my front wheel. I rolls fine, but I cant use the front brake. It sucks that I have to take the bike into the shop, because the nearest decent bike shop is like 10 kilos from my house!


Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Cyclocross season has come!

I went to see my counselor yesterday to talk. I got soaked on the way. I want to ride my bike in the pouring rain. We talked for about 2 and a half hours, about what, I wont say for fear of boring you all, but it was all in Japanese, and afterwords, I left with another member of the staff and had a nice talk with him on the way to the station and on the train.
I have been running a bunch, training for the sports festival, and I have a bike fit this saturday. I will get that done, and then spend some money on my bike, because I want to ride really really really badly, and maybe see if I can race some cross! I almost started crying when I saw all the results from this last weekend. I miss veloshop soooooooooooooooooooo much!
I wrote calligraphy for 2 hours yesterday, 3 hours today, will write 1 hour tomorrow, and 2 on the day after!

Maybe I should ask my teacher if I can write "bicycle"? Cyclocross and Veloshop dont have characters, so that would be hard.


Sunday, September 24, 2006

6+ months, my bike ride, and the Fukudas.

More than six months. I am proud that I have been able to stick it out through all the shit I have gone through.
My bike ride: I am slow. I had a fun 75 minute ride, with one little mishap. Everyone knows those really embarrassing falls, like when you are at a stop light, and you dont pull out of the pedal right, and you have a 0 mph crash. Let me tell you, there are much worse in foreign countries! The weather was great so I didnt care very much, but I was track standing at a light, and was doing really tight circles. I tried to do one that was too tight, and just flopped over in the middle of the street. I was laughing soooooo hard. And so were all the people who saw me! (T-T)!
I came home after my ride, showered, and went to the Fukuda's for dinner. It was indeed delicious, and I had a very very nice time. I met Paul and Julie Sr. Fukuda, and Norie, who is their daughter. We had a very nice dinner, lovely conversation, and then they drove me back to the closest station to my house, which was really nice!

It is late, and I have school tomorrow. Suck.


The 6 month post.

6 months from less than an hour from now, I will have been in the country exactly 6 months. I have decided to celebrate by going for a bike ride in the lovely weather. I will ride for an hour of two, come home, shower, and go to dinner at the Fukuda's. Thanks to Mom and Julie for getting that sorted out.
Dinner sounds うまい (umai, means delicious)! here is an excerpt from the email I recieved this morning: "I would be cooking Japanese squash, steamed, mashed, mixed with other chopped vegetables and nuts, flavored with a bit of curry, olive oil, garlic and a few herbs, packed back into its skin and baked. There will be broiled salmon, fresh salad, assortment of bread, with Seed's chocolate and fresh fruits as dessert."

oh damn!


Saturday, September 23, 2006

It is a terrible day.

It is only 2:30 in the afternoon and I have already almost been thrown out of my family.
And then I went to a net cafe and sat down and worked on a Halp paper. I crapped out some sentences and sent my first paper off. I wish I could be happy.

My older brother recommended reading something really really depressing to make me realize that I am not all that badly off.



Friday, September 22, 2006

My class schedule.

I have a short homeroom every morning from 8 until 8 30 and for about 10 minutes after the last class.
Monday: homeroom, english 2, free, physics, free, math.
Tuesday: math, free, physics, japanese history, calligraphy, calligraphy, ancient japanese
Wednesday: physics, modern japanese, PE, english 2, math, free.
Thursday: physics, free, japanese history, free, math, english 2
Friday: english 2, free, math, free, PE, ancient japanese, english W
Sunday: modern japanese, english W, free, the class I hate and dont even know what it is called!

During my free periods, I go to the lounge where the native English teachers have their office and either study there or catch up on sleep on the couch.

Each class is about an hour, and lunch is between 4th and 5th.

Or something like that!


This and that.

Today I was supposed to have calligraphy club but I couldn't. Almost all of the guys in my class went to karaoke after school because we have the day off tomorrow. But I couldn't go. I had to go interview a dentist. I didn't actually ask him anything, my classmate did that, I just sat there and took pictures. It is for this one really stupid class that I have and want to drop reaaaaaaaaaaaly badly, but for some reason, my teacher (the one I really hate) wont let me.
At least I got some souvenirs from when that girl I like went to Hokkaido on her school trip.
Speaking of her, I haven't gotten my hair straightened, and don't know if I will. I have no picture of her to post on the blog, and if I did, I doubt I would do it.
I finally heard back from my counselor about something, and I think I will go talk to him next week, but I don't really know what to say to him!

My back hurts.


Thursday, September 21, 2006

Yesterday made me happy.

Several things about yesterday made me happy.
First, in math class, there was a small test. I did what I could, and wrote down my answer. The teacher collects the tests, does the problem on the board, and then says who passes and who doesn't (on larger tests he actually says the score too!) He gets to mine. (to me)"Peter, this is probably correct in the US, but in Japan, if you are taking a Japanese university entrance exam, this notation would be called incorrect" (to the rest of the classe) "but at least his answer was right!"
Two, yesterday morning, the Judo coach, who is a bear (fucking scary!) sneaks up on me from behind, puts his hand very heavily down on my shoulder and grips firmly and says to me "Won't you come do Judo with us during 6th period today?" I dont really know why that happened, but I went to Judo with the international course, and had a blast! I spent an hour throwing myself on the floor! I hurt.
Three, I had a nice long talk and went shopping with the girl I like which was nice, because it was the first time I had talked with her for more than about 2 sentences since, like, the middle of August.

Pity she doesn't like me very much.


Tuesday, September 19, 2006

I am so stroked!

I finally wrote something that I like in calligraphy today! It felt so weird because I felt like I was doing the same thing as usual, but it came out nice!

In other news, which makes me sad, Northwest bikes is closing! Their last day is the 8th of October. I had been going to that shop since I got to Portland like 12 years ago, and the guys there are super cool.

I miss Veloshop.


ps. I mistakes! The author of GTO is not Touzawa, but Fujizawa.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Today's Recommended Reading.

1) Foreign Studies, by Endo Shusaku, though it might be under Shusaku Endo, you never can tell how they do the names in the states. I think that this book might be the most relevant book to my life that I have ever read.

2) GTO volumes 1-25, by Touzawa Touru, or Touru Touzawa. These are graphic novels. These give you a surprisingly accurate view of Japanese schools and how the Japanese do things. I will admit that when I first read them I was a bit unsure on how accurate they are, but I live here now (and have been to some of the places drawn in the books!) and Japan is quite a bit like that. The pressure on the kids is very similar, and way that kids, especially drop outs and public school kids, are treated I see for myself almost eveyday. I almost got in a fight with one of my classmates today, because we went to a public school bunkasai (his former classmate goes there) and we met the kid, and about 20 minutes after getting there, my classmate said we were leaving. I asked him why and he said that the public school kids' heads were too bad, and he thought they were all stupid and dangerous. My host mom thinks the same way. I hate them, and want very much to meet the public school kids because they are the only people in the country who have indiviuallity. I am almost completely serious!

Today hurt, and I am not talking about the public school kids dumbing me down. I am pretty fucked in the head from this country!


Tuesday, September 12, 2006

The poll of the century!

I asked this girl I am madly in love (Im not even gonna try to explain our relationship!) with what kind of hair style I should get.

"I want to see you with straight hair. How about we go get you a straight perm!"

Poll: please post a comment, yes I straighten my hair; no I dont!


And I thought bikes were expensive!

Well, they are. But, my latest hobby is also very expensive. It isnt yet, but it should could be!
Today, in calligraphy, my teacher had just recieved a bunch of old brushes from a woman at a Japanese traditional arts school who didn't write anymore. I asked him about all the different brushes and what made one more expensive than another. My brush was given to be my the teacher, but would have cost 1200yen, which is just over 10 bucks. The ones he usually uses he said are about 3000-4000 yen. Today, he let me use a 6000 yen brush! The differences were astounding. It was so much more fun and easier to write with this brush then with the one that I have! I asked him how much they get up to. They get up there. He said he was never purchased a brush over about 8000 yen at full price (teacher discount) but today, we was searching through the box (!) of brushes he had recieved, and he pulled one out and showed it to me. The hair is from a rare breed of wild horse, and is very hard, which would make writing with it really weird, because the strands didn't bend very well.

The price? 35,000 yen, just over 300 bucks!


While I was writing, he was taking care of some brushes. He had a special comb and was combing the brushes! By comparisons sake, I dont even comb my hair!

Monday, September 11, 2006

Karaoke. Or, how/why I learned to read Japanese.

I went to Karaoke after school with some friends about 2 weeks ago, and only now have remember to post about it! In karaoke, only the music plays, and on the screen are all the words, which you have to sing. I can, of course, do the English songs (they have oodles and oodles and oodles of song! Chris, any guesses on the numbers?) but I wanted to sing in Japanese. It got hard for me because the song I chose was faster than I could read, and so I figure that karaoke will be a great way to improve my reading skills! The pity is I don't know a lot of music, so I dont know a lot of the songs go, so I cant really sing them very well.

In the above picture, one of my friends (white shirt) is singing, and a third year(a year older than us), who is really nice, is taking his clothes off.

Oh you wacky Japanese!


Bunkasai (文化祭)

Bunkasai means cultural festival, and most schools have them. Last weekend, my family went to my little brother's school festival. I don't really know how to describe it, but there was food and fun and games. My family (mom, dad, brother, and granddad) kept making fun of me because my little brother goes to an all boys school, and I was disappointed that there werent many girls there, because according to a source who shall remain a secret, bunkasai are great places to meet people. On the way back, we had a fun conversation about the national pasttime of the youth which is, I shit you not, picking up chicks. We were talking and laughing about it for a while, and me, being my fun self kept saying that it was a great way to improve my Japanese! My mom finally said to me, "Well, if you want to go and try, its fine by me. But be careful of the weird ones!" We laughed at that one!

The above picture is of my brothers school and their mascot(?) Josai is the name of the school, and it is in Kawagoe.


The bunkasai was fun, and because of our conversation, I am going to go looking for lots of bunkasai so that I can meet new people!

The big... oh crap.

Sometime in the last couple of days (the 10th of September) was my mom's birthday, but since I am such a carrying son, I forgot how old she turned.
Oh well, happy birthday anyway mom!


Sunday, September 10, 2006

The big 14.

My litte brother in American turns 14 today. Yesterday. The 9th of September. Stupid time change. Happy birthday Ethan, stay out of... I won't even say it.
Have fun in Morris.


Friday, September 08, 2006

That hurt.

I got hit in the nuts playing dodgeball with some middle schoolerss at lunch today. All of the middleschoolers ran around laughing as I rolled on the ground. At least I was writing in Japanese!

I had calligraphy club today. It was fun.


Thursday, September 07, 2006


I took a map test in Japanese History. It was the 47 prefectures of Japan. I had to learn all the names, locations and characters. I mixed up 3 characters (actually only 2, one of them repeated) but got everything else, which gave me a 44/47 on a Japanese History test!!!
That sure makes up for the zero I got on the math test! There was a test in math which covered all the stuff that my class studied over break, but since I don't have to study, I just did what I knew how to. I actually got several of the problems right, but my teacher said I needed to explain my work better, so I got a zero on all them!
I had my Calligraphy tutor today. I felt like I wrote pretty terribly which bums me out because I am really trying hard at calligraphy. At least there is a new kid in the class, I think she is the only other high schooler that the tutor has which gives me some company. Plus shes cute!
I have calligraphy club tomorrow.

And I can't read the papers, I mixed up the names in yesterday's post!


Wednesday, September 06, 2006


I went for a walk in the pouring rain today. I had a blast. I also ran into this really cute girl who I have seen about 6 times in the neighborhood. We chatted for a minute or two. I gotta get this one to work well!
I came home, picked up the evening paper, and tried to read the news. This is what I understood: Akiko-sama has finally given birth to a boy! The boy, whose name I can't read was born on the 6th at 8:27 in the morning at a hospital in Tokyo. He was 48.8 centimeters long and weighed 2558 grams at birth.
I don't know what any of this really means in the greater scheme of things, but I least I was glad I could read the paper!


Sunday, September 03, 2006

Japanese kids!

Today, I went with part of my family to my mom's family's house. I had met her father before (he kicked my ass at Shogi about 10 times in as many minutes!) and today I met a bunch more. We took some trains and then met my mom's younger brother at the station. When I got in the car, I was greeted by three small children! Well, actually, I wasn't greeted, because they were scared of me! Eventually, they started to lighten up, and we had a great time. We played in the park, did some other fun stuff, for dinner we had hand made sushi, which was really fun. In the evening, I played with all of the small Japanese children, and was hating myself for forgetting my camera! At the house was: the grandfather (my mom's father), the grandmother (mother), two uncles (younger brothers), their wives, my mom, my two brothers, me, and... seven small Japanese children! The oldest was maybe 7 or 8, and the youngest was maybe 7 or 8 months! It was a blast, and it made me miss small children!


Saturday, September 02, 2006


I finally dragged myself on to my bike, and rode around for a while in spandex. I rode about 40 kilos, and just felt really slow. I felt amazing! I started feeling really good after I got warmed up for a while and got my legs moving, but now I am super tired and my back hurts.

Damn I miss bikes in Portland!