My life, stories and shenanigans from Japan

Archive for May, 2009

Today Colin did not Shine

Today, when asked “What’s the capital of Rhode Island?”, I replied “Quahog”.

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Not only is Quahog not the capital, it isn’t even a real city.

Quick note

Blerch i don’t like making serious-ish posts.  Though i have to get a few things down.

First, quicker note: In my last post, in one of my latter descriptions of Steve, I by accidently said he was blind, rather than bald.  It was after one of the initial descriptions of him, so you may not have noticed, and I’ve corrected it now, but that would’ve been extremely coincidental had Steve been blind in my both incidences.  Once again, I wish to note that I don’t have a problem with either blind or bald people. Baldness was just a characteristic of him.

Main note: I got several pretty unhappy e-mails from people (Colin, you selfish Jerk! You’re so annoying! The world doesn’t just revolve around you.  Love, mom. (not really from my mom, but i did get a message from a different anonymous person)), that really, I didn’t expect to be the only foreigner in Japan.  I was just merely disappointed, at times, about the sheer number of other foreigners, as they sometimes ruin the specialness of being a foreigner in Japan.

So please,  stop sending my e-mails.

Well, I’m actually going to go ahead and make an actual post about my school trip now.  I didn’t want this and my school trip in the same blog post because, frankly, i didn’t want to make this blog post though I wanted to just get the message out.

Meet Steve

There is one thing in Japan that bugs me above all other things.

Foreigners.  Specifically white foreigners.  Not so much tourist doing touristy things, not so much other exchange students, and not so much females, though other white males.

I’m not racist, mind you. I, too, am a white male.

It’s time for me to just get it out with that which drives me absolutely crazy in Japan.  I’ve hinted at it in past posts, but it’s time for me to just make a post about it.

And I know many of you want to disagree with me, and think I’m hypocritical and crazy, though let me just get it out.

So, as many of you know, I have loved Japan for many, many, many years.  I’ve always sort of thought of it as “that thing which defines me”.   In coming to Japan, I thought of myself almost as a sort of trailblazer or vanguard for foreigners in Japan.  I thought that, in Japan, I’d be turning heads as the foreigner in Japan.

Now, imagine (well, don’t imagine. it’s a reality) that “that thing which defines you” is suddenly also that thing which defines hundreds, even thousands of other foreigners across the country.

And, while many of you think that the fact I’m an exchange student would set me apart, though, when you think about it, the average Japanese can’t tell a foreign high schooler from any other foreigner.

Theres this one “guy”, which I’ve put in parenthesis as he is in fact two people.  He’s sort of the same guy because both times he was a bald white man.  Now I have nothing against blind people, mind you, it was just a defining characteristic of him.  I shall name him Steve.  There has been two instances where Steve has annoyed me.  Other foreigners have bugged me, though Steve has particularly bugged me.

First instance.

Otsuka Ai concert a few weeks ago.

Generally, foreigners are attracted to things that aren’t really that prevalent in Japan.  You know, things like Anime and Manga and. um. Ninjutsu? (I’m tired. I can’t think of a good example. I had better examples when i was brainstorming this post on the train, though I, of course, cannot remember them).

Well, getting back to the point, you’d think I’d set myself apart as a foreigner at a concert.

Though no.  Right when I was going into the theater, Steve was right there. Standing in the audience. Wonderful. Just wonderful. 

ai He didn’t actually have coffee, but you get the point.

Instance two.

Happened just now, coming home.

Next to my house, there is a decently large hot springs resort. I just learned about it from my host mom today, so we went into the building coming home and were given a tour.  I love instances where I am just about 100% sure that I’m the only foreigner that is in the vicinity.   Most foreigners stay within the limits of Tokyo, and my home is in Kawasaki so there is very few foreigners.

Though, of course, as I stepped into the changing room to take a look at the bathes, at the first locked to my right was Steve. 

bald-man-onsen Yeah. I should stop with the photoshopping.

You know, I could really go on, but it’s sort of late and I have a school trip these next few days so I should get to bed.

Japanese Pet Shop

I went to a pet shop today with Kit to look at animals. He was also buying some little turtles to bring back to Scotland.

I took a lot of pictures because they have such different animals than we do in the states.

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There’s a monkey. A freaking monkey. Though i figured if I were to buy a monkey and bring it back to my host family they might be…surprised.  I have no clue who’s leg it is.

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An Owl

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A dog that was originally really cute but my cell phone camera didn’t do kind things to it.

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There was a chipmunk. He was really cute at the shop, and I’m not sure why he looks like he’s been electrocuted in the picture.

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A…stingray? I want to say Manta Ray but I know those are huge.

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The bunny is bigger than my cat. That’s Kit, by the way.

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A duck.

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Mammoth-bunny. eating.

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A tree frog.

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A parrot. I think this picture turned out the best of all of my pictures.

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Sea-turtles.

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Hamster cages. I’m not sure why I needed a picture.

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One of the saddest dogs I’ve ever seen. Ever.

In the end, with my host mother’s permission, I bought two turtles, which I have yet to name.  They are called red-eared slider turtles, or Midori-Kame in Japanese (Green turtle). They are both really tiny.

Not my picture.
Though it was what they look like. Sort of.

I made a twitter

I made a twitter, since I recently figured out what it’s actual purpose is.

I take comfort in knowing that with short, witty comments I can keep complete strangers comfortably up to date with all things Colin. So, basically, it’s like a blog. But not really.

twitter.com/koarin

Yeah. I know. Pretty creative twitter name.  It’s like a combination of Colin, Koala, and Korin, my Japanese name. Yeah. I thought i was really creative.  And no, I’m not sure why Koala’s have anything to do with me.

 

By the way, I really hate the word Twitter.  The word just sort of awkwardly sits there and you want it to go away but it won’t. So basically, the word sort of describes me as a person.

Atami in Panoramas

I took several panoramic pictures of Atami during my vacation.

CLICK HERE FOR HIGH-RES PHOTO ALBUM

(Must click on each icon at two different pages to view full images as they are rather large images and thus a preview image isn’t available. Sorry about the inconvenience. If you click directly on images you won’t get a direct link, and I’m still working on a bug I’m having)

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The high-res versions already have the water-mark removed. So yeah. Go crazy.

Sand

Well, I’ve had a busy, busy week and I apologize for not having made a blog post earlier.  And thus, here’s a cumulative  blog post of my events in the past week or so.

Monday: Had hockey pratice. Blah blah blah…

Tuesday:

Me and Kit, the Scottish kid, went to Ginza.  DVC00036

I think it’s very bad entrance placement into the bouncy pit.

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They were filming the news nearby. Me and Kit couldn’t figure out if there was a relationship between the children and the Illuminati statue in the background (Japanese youth Illuminati?). Turns out the background was for the Tokyo premier of Angels & Demons (which i want to see). and it was just the children’s birthday. Though all you had to do to get in was have your name on a sign along with your age (and it’s, off course, your birthday) and if you were a child you were on the news (parents were there, too). I was considering writing Taro, age 7 on a piece of paper and trying to see if they would allow me to get in. I decided against it.

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What you see in the front is Kit’s cellphone on TV mode (out of focus) and the background is the actual thing being filmed.  We figured out that there was a place you could stand and still be outside of the barrier and still be on the news (if you look on the right side, there’s a gap). And thus, we were potentially on Japanese television. Though we have no actual evidence considering that were looking at the camera while standing there and not at the cellphone to see if we were actually on TV.

Wednesday: Went on a walk at a temple. There was no school, as it was a holiday. Yeah.

Thursday: Swine flu panic strikes Japan.

Friday: I did something significant. I just can’t remember what.

Yesterday: My host mom surprised me with tickets she found online for Otsuka Ai’s Love Letter concert for only 3000yen for two tickets (about 30$ for two tickets), so, yesterday we went.  I really like Ai, so I was very happy.  While Love Letter isn’t one of my favorite albums by her, it was still a good concert and it was nice seeing her live. And, amazingly, about 75-80% of the audience was male.

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I couldn’t take a picture during the concert, so this is a picture of her from the posters they were selling. For a whopping 4900 yen (49$), which is almost twice as much as the tickets. And the poster is only worth about 1000 (10$).  I did buy a high-quality book/program from the concert, though, for 3000$. I mean yen.

Today: I went to the beach/Kamakura (Near Tokyo).  I was told we were going on a picnic so I wore jeans and a nice shirt, but as soon as we got there, there was sand and the beach and I rolled up my pant legs and ran into the ocean, only to later be struck by a large wave, wetting the rolled up pant legs and thus leaving me with pants that were ~70% wet. And then some of my young host cousins (I think?) were there and they were playing in the sand so I helped bury them and they laughed as I went out in the water with my jeans (heck, they were already wet. And now they were sandy).

It was a lot of fun (I’m really blandly descriptive today).

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Oh look. My back.

After the beach we went to Kamakura.

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It’s not a cropped photo, it’s a PANORAMA. It’s my first panorama, and I’m somewhat proud. My camera was running out of battery so I wasn’t able to make more panoramas after this one. Click on the photo for full Panoramic goodness. EDIT: Wah the full panoramic goodness isn’t working. EDIT2: Now it is.

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There was a wedding ceremony going on. There was a pretty big crowd. I took my first picture, was proud of it, realized the husband was a white guy, deleted it, cried a bit, and then proceded to take pictures with the husband angled-out.  If you know me, you’ll know I have a very hypocritical disliking (well, hatred) of other white people when I am in Japan.

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Sort of fuzzy. While I was taking it a *cough cough* white tourist bumped me..

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As always, I have high-quality, non-watermarked versions of every picture available if you would like one for a wallpaper or something. Just ask (e-mail is in the contact section). Not that I’m saying my pictures are necessarily that good, it’s just people have asked in the past. 

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