Sunday, November 30, 2008

End of the Year Party: You so nassty

Our school's end of the year party, (忘年会 - translated as the 'forget the year party'), was this past weekend, a little earlier than usual. Here is the basic set up of an end of the year party at my school:
  • Greetings, everyone real quiet and relaxed
  • Vice Principal and Principal give speeches, congratulating everyone on their hard work over the year
  • Usually someone that's not really good at speaking in front of people begins to speak in front of everyone about the game that is to be played tonight and is roundly ignored by the people now hurriedly drinking their beers
  • Bingo (I won a box of Qtips this year)
  • Uncomfortably loud senseis become even more uncomfortably obnoxious, alcohol flows
  • When it becomes time to wrap it up, everyone stands up and...
After the party ends, a lot of people go out to their own drinking places. I always get invited to hang out with the guys who live in my area. Can you imagine how hard it would be to not understand Japanese and be in this conversation?

I try to take notes at these after parties too, because you get the really good stuff here rather than in everyday life. Here's what I learned from my last one.

  1. 教授 (kyouju) - Professor
  2. 差しでお願いします (sashi de onegaishimasu) - Go head to head, face to face against someone
  3. 鬼の居ぬ間の選択 (oni no inuma no sentaku) - Finally being able to say something when the master of the house has left the room/house

I don't know how this came up, but as we were drinking and exchanged our knowledge of profanities, this is what happened. (Watch for language!)

Ride to the Station

This past week, we had our annual ALT midyear seminar. It was cool to see people you don't really get to see, and how they interact with their supervisors and stuff. That morning, I, for no reason other than my own curiosity, decided to film the bike ride from my house to the station. Here it is, with dialogue.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Top of the World Syndrome: A Small Example

I have this theory, and I've had it for a while: Top of the World Syndrome. It's basic principles are, once you have become content with your life, all the parts that make it up, and you are 'on top of the world', something happens which knocks you back into reality. In my life at least, there have been a number of times this has happened. The first time was a little jarring, but I've come to expect it, as it has happened so consistently. Today, I had another small episode with the syndrome.

I rode my bike to school today, in an excellent mood, and was greeted by the baseball team lined up outside the gate, saying 'おはよございます' to everyone that came through. Me, being in the excellent mood that I was in, and with the speed I had achieved from jamming to school (not from a downhill either, on a flat, that's how excellent my mood was), swooped in and gave 'em a 'HOOOOOOooooo Good Morning!!'. They answered back just as heartily. It was a good start.

I put my bike in the bike area and began to walk toward the entrance when I heard two kids call out a big hearty 'Good Mooowwwnnniinnnguu'! I turn around, and two of my boys from the baseball team who were cleaning up the bike area are smiling and waving. I'm feeling good now, so I look at them and, in a loud voice, go, 'WAAAAaaaazzzzaaaaapppp!?!? Goood Morning!!!', shakas all over the place, tongue out, just jamming. Now, in movies and stuff, you usually hear people say 'oof', but I always thought that if I were in a situation where I would need to say 'oof', I wouldn't. It doesn't seem natural. I found it today, that it is, indeed, natural.

Still shakaing and tongue out and looking at my boys, I continued my walk to the front entrance. I can't imagine their horror/excitement, because two steps in front of me was a parked car, right in my path, that isn't usually there. Without warning, I hit my knee on the bumper at a faster than normal speed because I was walking at a trotlike pace, turn just in time to get my elbows up in front of me to stop my face from knocking against the glass, and, still not sure what is happening, let out a 'OOOuuuFFFaaahhh' against this cars' back windshield, head slightly whiplashed. Still disoriented, I look at the car and immediately to the kids I had just said wassup to...and fuckin buuuuusted out laughing. Luckily, it was only the two boys, and not the entire team that saw it, but they t0o busted out laughing.

Top of the World Syndrome...gotta watch out.

Bored at Work: Natsu Matsuri (夏祭り)

This summer, I was lucky enough to be invited to participate in our city's annual summer festival, or 夏祭り. It was the first time a foreigner had taken part in it, so it was a pretty cool atmosphere. Me smarting from the small piece of cloth wrenched between my butt, and everyone else wondering why the foreigner was making a funny face the whole time.

This is us, easing out of the cultural center parking lot. It wasn't so heavy at this time, but we hadn't started running yet. Once we got to the main street, the guys in front started chanting, something that sounded like this: yuuushhhhshooooiieeee yuuuusshhhhshooooiiiieeeee. I got into it to, and we started jamming.

It was a pretty heavy float, and the dude standing on it was jumping around and having a good time. I had a funky weight distribution situation, because I was tall but at the front, so I had to stoop a little and run with a slight bend in my back. All in all though, it was awesome. Just thought I'd share.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Life in a Different Country

I got this from FreeDarko, some French television program following Nicholas Batum through his pre-draft workouts. I can't tell you how many times this happened to me when I got to Japan. It's long, so watch from about the 3:02 mark.


The first cold water session ended up not being too bad. It was really windy, and kinda all over the place, but it was fun. Wasn't too cold either. I had just gotten my new wetsuit in, and let Keoki use it. As you can see, Keoki didn't exactly fit real nicely.

山口 was jamming as well, using his new 6'6 shortboard he had bought. Here's his pose to show how excited he was. (He actually stole this from a Japanese comedy duo, はんにゃ, I'll throw the video down underneath).

(Quick explanation: It's cleaning time at school. Neither of them want to clean so they decide to play a game, loser does it all by himself. Dude on the right suggests a game, and it goes from there. You should get it from there.)

After surf, jamming. It was pretty fun, but the next day, I had a weird feeling on my face. Keoki told me later on that it was windburn, something I had never had before. Freaky.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

The Goal

I remember right around when I first started surfing, going all the time with Bryce to Barbers, I met this dude, well didn't actually meet him, I observed him. Me and Bryce used to always see this dude, on like a 9'6 or something like that, just ripping, like he was on a shortboard, busting floaters and cutbacks and whatever. We were just in awe of this dude, so we went up to him and asked him how he was doing it. He showed us how he was using just super small fins, only two of them, so he could get wherever he wanted to on the wave. Real nice dude too, super local but super friendly. Anyways, we start seeing this guy out all the time. Then one day, there was a big south swell, and a lot of people came out to Barbers. On that day, I observed the dude I was talking about earlier, who happened to be that longboard ripper's friend. I saw him and the longboard dude talking when I paddled out, and gave him the shaka. I then proceeded to watch the smoothest surfer I had ever seen. His friend was so mean. He surfed exactly like I wanted to surf. Nothing real fancy, just all about riding. From then on, I've tried to surf like that dude. He surfed a lot like this, Nat Young from Morning of the Earth.

The reason I bring it up is because 山口 and 徳永 are always like, why don't you do maneuvers? While there is one very good reason - I usually just can't - I always tell them I just want to ride, which doesn't really translate into Japanese.

So, today, me and Keoki are gonna head out. It's the first real cold water surf experience for both of us, so we'll see how it goes. The air is like 45 degrees, but the water is closer to 65. I'll try and take pictures if I can. With that.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


for 5 minutes at least. It was sleet really, but was still surprising.

Sunday, November 16, 2008


A pretty relaxed weekend. Went out with my sensei, Lena and Lauren on Friday, recovered on Saturday, and had a nice surf session with the newly recovered 山口 yesterday. The biggest thing I did this weekend though, was clean. I remember one of the guys on my basketball team, an elementary school PE teacher, telling me what he tells his kids when their stuff is dirty at school - 'If your area is dirty, then your soul () is dirty.' While that may be intended for elementary school students, it does apply to me as well. When you are a dirty dude like me, cleaning is hard to do, much less for nothing in particular. (I clean when girls come over...usually). But after having cleaned up this weekend, I feel a lot better, motivated.

So, from Friday, I had a pretty humbling episode. I spend a lot of time with Lena and 中田先生, but never at the same time. So, when we got together on Friday, the Clint bashing got a little out of control.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Bored at Work: In Public?

I have never eaten a booger. The idea is just beyond sick and I can't even imagine doing it. These guys, though, apparently, have no problem with it. I love how they try to hide it too.

See, this one could kinda go either way, could've just been a slip.

This though...I knew a dude when I was in elementary, he would peel off his scabs and eat them. Was Kevin Durant like that too? His classmates must be like, 'Oh, that nasty kid from school is doing well now. Feel bad for his teammates though.'

In the middle of the game, god damn...

Totally unacceptable. No mistake here.

Did someone say something to him? What do you do when your congressman eats his boogers? You HAVE to change your vote, don't you?

At that.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Ball in Japan: We Talkin' Bout Practice!

Practice. These are the guys I practice with every Wednesday night, the Hailars. They are pretty good, but my video of the game is pretty choppy. These are also the guys I talked about here. There wasn't too much of that nonsense tonight, but there was some questionable calls. I guess I'm just getting used to it.

This is the coach's wife. I asked her to do an interview but she wasn't having it.

You thought I was lying about the free throws. And Kenji knocks down a J afterwards.

The boys, after practice.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Rasheed Is a Toaster

I got these from Slate Magazine via Truehoop. Frickin' funny.

First, Gilbert:

Now, Sheed:

I don't know how to resize the pictures correctly, if you click on them, there is more to them.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Pocky Day

Today is November the 11th, 11/11. My co-worker, 中田先生, was amazed that I didn't know today was 'poekey' day. I asked her to say it again, and she said it the exact same way - 'poekey'. I wasn't sure, but I thought maybe she was talking about poke, but to go so far as naming a day after it, I wasn't sure. I showed her the page and she laughed and told me that it wasn't poke, but Pocky, just with a Japanese accent. They look like 1's, and today there are a lot of 1's, so...we started talking about Hawaiian food. She started taking notes. Here's her page after we finished talking.


Sunday, November 9, 2008

Local Boy

Here's a pretty cool article from the advertiser about where Barack used to live in Hawaii. It's pretty cool to think the area that I think I know pretty well, he probably (definitely) knows better. The President!? What a crazy time to be an American.

Weekend Surf: Golden Balls, Good Waves

So, all last week, 山口 was telling me that there was supposed to be waves on the weekend, so I made sure I had nothing to do so I could surf for as long as possible. Seriously, when you want waves and there aren't any, you have to take advantage of when there are waves. So, schedule cleared, me and 山口 hit it on Saturday morning. After a long session of not very good waves, we went home. 山口 and 徳永 were gonna hit it again for an afternoon session, but I passed. I wanted to save my energy for the next day. It was a good thing I did, too, because...

Someone had an accident. The waves were pretty decent size, overhead and breaking in pretty shallow water. Apparently, 山口, on his 7'4, was trying to catch an inside set, and got thrown. The board went out first, hit the ground, and stood straight up. 山口 came right after, and got hit right in the 金玉. He was hurt by it, but he thought he had just knocked himself, and he had a wetsuit on, so there didn't seem to be a problem. He surfed for another hour, until the pain overwhelmed him and he went in. That's when he found that...his 金玉 had been...split. He's fine now, but...DAMN, just thinking about it give me the shivers.

The next day, minus 山口 and plus Keoki and 徳永, we went out and got a bunch of decent waves. Was a nice day, a little windy, but fun. Keoki caught me pigdogging a couple of times, which was embarrassing, but other than that, it was an excellent time.

That's it for now.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Nagoya: Part 2

The Nagoya crew.

Man, this was a crazy time. The pictures pretty much tell the whole story. Let's get into it.

Here's our raft, startin' out.

Check out this sequence:

These are scary man. A lot more powerful than you think.

At the end of the run, there was a nice cliff that you could jump off. We took the opportunity to do so.

AIt looks like a dive now, but it was a front flip.

Michelle with a more traditional approach.

Roy, spread out backflip.

Nick, with the sick form.

And that was it. We got some beers and hit an onsen once we got back. Awesome time. There were definitely some characters up in Nagoya to be sure, but it was a good listening to some of the stories. Here's a good example of one (don't kill me, Michelle), at a restaurant:
"Oh, did you order a cake? One time, me and my friends? We went to the store? And we bought a big cheesecake! And then? We ate it!"

Monday, November 3, 2008

Who I Want To Be When I Grow Up

(1:42) "Got me smilin', I don't smile; Got me changin' my expression, I don't express."

Big Karatsu Sunday


After the big Halloween night, I took a day off to recover from my wounds, because that following Sunday, me and a couple of friends, (山口, 徳永, and introducing 中村先生 - Nakamura Sensei), were headed off to Karatsu to look at some reefbreaks that 中村先生 had recommended. 中村先生 is the prototypical local Japanese surfer. Karatsu is about an hour away from our city, so on the ride down he told me a lot about what he had done as a surfer. Kyushuu is not a place that is surfed heavily...wait, let me rephrase that. It IS surfed heavily, but only at the same spots. Because of that, there are some really pristine spots that no one goes to, but you have to really work to find them. 中村先生 put in the work, driving by himself up and down the coast looking (and waiting) for waves to come through, how different swells affect different spots, all that kind of stuff. Here's a spot he showed us where you had to jump off a cliff to get to it.

There wasn't any waves, but the trip wasn't a total loss. He showed us some pretty ridiculous places, where you could just tell it would go off if waves came through. Here's another place, タテガミ (Tategami), which is the most famous break in Karatsu.

There was nothing to be had in Karatsu, so we went back to Maebaru. Me and 山口 weren't finished and decided to get in a quick session, hoping some waves would come up. They didn't.

Go home, shower, sleep and then...


Me and Lena headed back to Karatsu to check out the 唐津くんち, so I'll just let the pictures and video tell the story.

Me, lost.

Dude riding looks tired.

Japanese Wario.

It was kinda scary.


Lena catching me in a dumb moment.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Halloween: Hairnet Afros, Maids, and Olympic Gold Medalists

I was happy to get out of those pants.

Halloween, I have come to find, is not incredibly popular in Japan. Which is why, walking around the city dressed as a Studio 54 dancer, I attracted a lot of attention. Me and Lena got out of Maebaru to hook up with some friends and cruised around for a bit, all the while being ogled by the population at large. It was a fun night. Here's some of the crew:

Maids: Kira, Nancy, Megan, Lena, and Lauren
Pimp Ass Baller: Me

From right: Aya (puppy...those gloves were handmade), Mari (don't know), Alex (evil priest), Me (smooth muhfugga), and Lena (vampire/ho...she couldn't decide)

We got a couple of drinks at a bar, some more in a park, then ran to the club. It wasn't as packed as I was hoping it was gonna be, but there were some pretty interesting characters there (dancing monkey - dude was knocking into everyone, wannabe professional surfer - he said he was from a place that I have heard from my friends out here has no waves, and he tells me it has consistent triple overhead days...shieeet, super nervous japanese girl - wanted to show me a picture on her phone, but I couldn't see it because of the jitters...English is scary) . I had some pictures, but my phone is broken right now, so I can't get em up. But, the most interesting character I had yet to meet. Some dude came up to our table to try and hit on one of the maids, failed, and so I struck up a conversation. He said he was from Ethiopia, so I asked him if he ran. He said no, but his friend does. I didn't really think anything of it, until he told me his name...Samuel Wanjiru, yes, THAT Samuel Wanjiru. His friend had said he was here, but had left. Just to have been in the same club as the dude would have been enough for me, but when his friend asked if I wanted to meet him, I was beyond shocked. We go looking for his other friend, a short Kenyan guy, I didn't get his name, but he took us straight to Samuel, who had returned. He was talking to two pretty cute Japanese girls, so I felt pretty messed up just being introduced to him so suddenly, but he immediately made time to talk with me. It was crazy, me being from America, him from Kenya, talking in Japanese. He, by the way, is ridiculously nice, and his Japanese is fluent. I told him I was rooting for him in Beijing, when he ran one of the gutsiest races any one had ever seen, and that it was an honor to meet him. I thought that would be it, and I went to shake his hand and leave him alone, when he started ruffling through his pockets. Before I knew it, he said to me, "また遊ぼうよ" (Let's hang out again), and had his phone out to give me his number. I was...can't really even describe it. After I got his number, I suddenly realized that I needed photographic evidence of this, because no one would ever believe me. So, I got my friend Megan to take these shots.

I wasn't sure if the picture had been taken yet.

I totally forgot I was wearing the afro, and I look like a retard now with that lollipop in my mouth, but still, an awesome picture.

Still can't really believe it. I told him he should come surfing with me sometime, and he said he would love to try...and I really believe that he would. So, if that ever comes to fruition, add me to the incredibly short list of people who have had a surf session with an Olympic Gold Medalist. We'll see what happens...