Sunday, April 24, 2011

Week 17

As I ended up getting the overtime on Tuesday so my "weekend" was halved last week. With my remaining day (Wednesday) I went over to Kobe to do some research for a scavenger hunt (which may or may not happen at the end of the Golden Week holiday season.)

Being back in Kobe I realized that I haven't really gone to walk around since I left two years ago (WOW, it's already been TWO years!) It was fun to see what's changed and what hasn't. Even better was finding some new stuff what was there all along but I never discovered in my time living there. I put in some serious milage in that day and upon returning home after dusk, proceeded to put my feet up and do nothing for the rest of the evening (well, until it was time to meet the guys down at the pub.)

Friday was the first day for my regular "high school" class. It was nice to see a lot of returning faces as well as some new ones. Again, this should be a fun shift this year.

Saturday my girlfriend came over and we ordered pizza. The evening ended in upset silence requiring a third party to intervene and get us talking again but things again were sorted out by last night and we went out for sushi. This relationship thing is tricky.

I've got overtime again tomorrow followed by a hike in Nara scheduled for Wednesday (though forecast is calling for rain.) Friday this next week starts "Golden Week" and I get seven days off in a row. I've got some fun things planned, but I'll post that stuff next time.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Week 16

Let's see, where did I leave off? Oh yeah, drama with the girlfriend. Things had mostly blown over by Tuesday and we had a rare mid-week date. We went to one of the (many) local "British pubs" followed by a long chat in one of the (also, many) Starbucks in the area.

Wednesday I, spur-of-the-moment, decided to take a long bike ride from my place up to the Yodo River (about 3 miles North.) I took a meandering course and found a lot of cool new places along the way. At the same time, I missed my old Wednesday traveling companions from last year (most of whom went back to their respective countries at the end of March.)

Thursday was the first work day with kids classes this contract and went fairly well considering. First kids days are always awkward but everyone tends to get settled by week two or three.

Saturday night I went to a friends birthday party in a tiny little Indian restaurant down town. It was nice to see everyone who turned out (about 30 people) but in a place built for ten, it was a bit crowded.

Last night (Sunday) I went out to a nice buffet-style restaurant with some other friends for their "going away" party. This party was a little more my speed as we could sit down and not have to shout to hear each other.

After posting this update I'm going to call into headquarters and see if I can snag some overtime that's been posted for tomorrow. Then, on Wednesday I think I'll hop over to Kobe to start working on a scavenger hunt I'm putting together over Golden Week.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Week 15

Well, I think this is the latest a post has come since I started blogging weekly. I now see why I really shouldn't skip out on writing every Monday: in addition to my being a procrastinator, the weeks kinda blend together and it's easy to forget what I did when. Let's see if I can jog my memory all the way back to... the seven days from April 4th to April 11th...

On the 5th (a Tuesday) the weather was warm and sunny (one of the first real "spring" days we've had in Osaka this year) so I took my bike and camera and headed out into the city. After touring around a bit I came upon a river-side park (near my company's HQ) which was lined on both sides by blooming cherry trees. The trees were nearing peak, but weren't quite there yet, so I made arrangements to meet my girlfriend after work on the following Saturday so we could go see them together.

Wednesday (the 6th) I went to the local home-center to buy some indoor-outdoor carpet for my balcony (to spruce the place up a bit.) At the home-center I ran into one on my friends and we ended up hanging out the rest of the day.

Thursday (the 7th) I managed to get up, wash two years of gime off my balcony, cut my carpet down to size, and get said carped laid down, all before I had to go to work at 2:00. It was quite the productive day.

Friday and Saturday (the 8th and 9th) were mostly spent waiting for Saturday night's date. The girlfriend and I met at the station closest to the river and walked around for a bit. After a while we found a good spot and put doen the tarp I brought and had a drink under the cherry trees. Once the sun set it got chilly and we headed downtown for some dinner at a great Japanese restaurant in the entertainment district. We capped off the evening with a few hours of karaoke at the karaoke box where we went on our first (group) date.

Sunday (the 10th) was work, as was Monday (the 11th, when I should have written all this down). Monday saw some drama with the girlfriend, but what's a relationship with out a little drama? Things were smoothed over by Tuesday but I'll leave that for next Monday so I have something to write about.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Week 14

Tuesday last week I went with two of my friends who just got engaged to do some engagement photography for them. We started at Osaka Castle before moving to Gion (the 'geisha district' of Kyoto) and Fushimi-Inari Shrine (home to thousands of orange Torii gates.) We had good weather, a relaxed pace, and the photos came out pretty good for the most part, so I'd say it was a successful day.

Wednesday I was supposed to go to the Hanshin Tiger's season opener versus the Chunichi Dragons but the game was canceled out of respect for those suffering from the after effects of last month's quake. This is the second big event that I've been looking forward to that's been canceled out of 'respect'. I know it lacks empathy at some level but I fail to truly see why I have to 'suffer' just because others are suffering. It didn't quite make up for the missed game but a big group of [foreigners/friends/co-workers] got together on Wednesday night for a big send-off party for some of the people who are moving back home in the near future. We went to out favorite neighborhood Izakaya (Japanese 'pub') and enjoyed ourselves until closing time.

Thursday was the last day of the 2010-2011 contract year and went out with a busy night of teaching "Web" lessons. Friday brought the new contract and a lazy day of teaching a few lessons (as a substitute teacher, my regular Friday gig starts in late April.) Saturday I went to my first "real" shift of the new contract (which went well.)

Yesterday (Sunday) I had my first new "Web" shift of the contract (another busy day too) and it went fairly smoothly. Last night my girlfriend came over, made dinner (Mmmm Taco-Rice), and helped me study Japanese for a while.

I've got a late shift today (4:30-11:00pm) so I've got all afternoon to study and clean the apartment before I've got to go into work. The forecast for tomorrow and Wednesday is warm and Sunny, so perhaps I'll go out and about and take some pictures of the cherry trees (which are in full bloom right now.)