Hokkaido Inaka

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

They did it

and I stayed in the teachers room, alone. Weird.


Recently the Hokkaido government announced a 10% pay cut for all public servents--from teachers to garbage men--and in response there has been much talk of a strike. With the news yesterday that negotionations have failed we're going to have a 29 minute strike today after classes end. Why 29 minutes and not a nice round number like 30? 29 minutes is the longest we can strike without having our pay penalized. I keep saying our as if im a part of this whole thing, but truth me told, as a foreign English teacher my salary is fixed by law. Given this fact it seems a bit disingenuous to walk out early with the rest of the teachers. On the other hand, it would be equally akward to have to explain why I stayed. hmmmm...

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Racism in Japan


Interesting photo gallery of racist signs posted around Japan from a group bringing a law suit against the national government. From personal experience, these guys are spot on with this law suit; the blatant racism in this country is ridiculous. Fortunately for me, I'm not Russian and I speak decent Japanese, but even still I've been the recipient of more than a few racially(or at least that is how it seemed) motivated comments/rejections. I should point out, however, that like everything in Japan, the flip side is that Japan can be one of the most welcoming places I've ever been. Frustrating...

Tuesday, November 29, 2005


These videos of Reggie Bush as a High School star are jaw-dropping. http://video.on.nytimes.com/ifr_main.jsp;jsessionid=atxHUKvPD1Q4?nsid=a3b9e5939:107def46e23:-14df&st=1133321980532&mp=FLV&cpf=false&fr=112905_103949_3b9e5939x107def46e23xw14de&rdm=215447.16237832195

Im not sure why, but on my mac at home I cant link internally, sorry.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Oh Dan McTeague, you dissapoint me. With such a wonderful name, I expect more from you.

Angler Fish

So the 9th grade teachers and I are going out tomorrow night for a special meal of 鮟鱇鍋(pronounced ankou nabe, or in English, boiled angler fish). Apparently its a delicacy in Japan and Slovenia and with the price at about a hundred dollars a head I should hope so. I'm having a hard time believing I will be nibbiling on the fish with the luminescent fishing rod coming out of its forehead; the fish I used to stare at in my 9th grade bio textbook. To celebrate I think I will start a list of all the weird foods Ive consumed in Japan. Off the top of my head:

Raw Horse
Fish reproductive organs(really creamy)
Raw Hamburger
Raw Chicken
Fermented Soy Beans
Boild Cow Brain(in Cambodia)
Chicken Tail(the actual tail)
Pig snout
Sea urchin
Squid killed at the table
and now Angler Fish

Im sure I missed a bunch, but you get the idea.

In other news, the place in town that sold smoked beef rectum closed down recently before I had the chance to try some. Too bad...

Happy Thanksgiving

Monday, November 21, 2005

ipods for all

After an epic battle with sony and other media moguls in Japan, itunes Japan finally opened this fall, and with its opening Apple has begun selling ipods at 7/11. Now, that may seem strange but convienience stores are totally different and infinitely better than their depressing counterparts in the US--in fact 7/11 Japan recently tried to take over 7/11 America, a brilliant business move i thought, your loss. So now, along with paying all my bills, picking up a tasty rice ball, a fresh pair of socks, and a few CD/Rs I can grab a nano. You have no idea how dangerous this is. Considering the amount of times I have retured from the local watering holes only stop at 7/11 and make a bunch of unecessary purchases, I should have a new ipod video by next month.

Ipods(and for that matter all Apple products) are perfect for the Japanese consumer economy--they have an amazing rep AND they can be described as both cool and cute, the ultimate combo--and if the amount of ohhhs and ahhhs I get from my students when they look at my humble ipod are any indication, these things are going to sell like hot cakes. Watch out Sony. Buy Apple stock now.

Gold fronts in Higashi?

First dentist office/orthodontist opened in my town recently. These offices have been springing up all over hokkaido in the two years I've been living here, and it was only a matter of time until we got one in my humble town. Recently, the Japanese have caught the American obsession with having straight, white teeth and all these orthodontists have filled a growing demand for dental work. Perhaps we take it too far in the US(as some of my British friends say) but with the state of Japanese oral hygiene being what it is(esp in rural Hokkaido) I welcome this oral pioneer to Higashikagura and I hope he can help out some of my many snaggle-toothed students.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

change of plans

kurodake(black mountain) opens tomorrow. They just got a meter of snow in the last week. Saturday...

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Not to make anyone jealous but...

the resorts have started opening

This little back country gem opens up in less than 2 weeks

The worst part is that its a whole 35 minutes from my apartment, and it can be so cold in the morning

So excited...