Sunday, November 27, 2011

Week 48

More excitement this past week, mostly due to the public holiday last Wednesday.

Last Tuesday I went with some friends up to Minou in the North part of Osaka to see some "fall colors". We had a nice light hike up to a big waterfall with a few thousand older people who all had the same idea we did that it "wouldn't be busy on a weekday". On the way back into town we stopped off at one of the big bookstores that has a nice selection of English language books. Instead of buying the two new hardcovers they had that I wanted to read I took note and went home and downloaded them from Amazon. So much for "e-stores don't hurt retail sales". In the evening my girlfriend came over and we made yakisoba (a delicious fried noodle dish.)

The next day my girlfriend and I met up at the station in the late morning and took the shuttle bus out to Ikea. After a few hours of wandering around, inevitably picking up a few things, and getting some hotdogs we took the shuttle bus back. On the bus we checked movie times and after getting off we scurried across town to make it to the afternoon showing of "Money Ball" with Brad Pitt. Not a bad flick, Brad Pitt for her, baseball for me. After the movie we went out for Thai and a place I've been wanting to try for a while now. We then found a cafe and chatted for a while before parting ways.

Thursday I met a friend for lunch at the Hard Rock Cafe. We planned on getting the Thanksgiving turkey special but upon arrival I recall that I tried the same thing last year and it was just as outlandishly expensive as it was this year, so we got burgers instead.

The work week went well with nothing too exciting to report.

Saturday night I went to a friend's birthday party. It was a butler/maid themed party and lots of people (yours truly included) dressed up. I got to see a bunch of people I haven't seen in a while which was nice. I think everyone had a good time too.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Week 47

Not a whole heck of a lot to write home about this week. Not a lot of students taking classes again ment a lot of down time at work (and my high school kids didn't show again) so I got s lot of reading done. I was supposed to go to a concert Saturday night but what I thought was the start of a cold (turned out to be my allergies) sapped my strength in such a was that I wasn't able to go rock-out.

Looking to Wednesday ("Labor-Thanksgiving Day" here in Japan) I've got plans to go with my girlfriend  to Universal Studios Japan here in Osaka. Even though it's really close and I've lived here for two and a half years it occurred to me that I've never been. So that should be fun.

A slightly early "Happy Thanksgiving" to all my readers out there. Thanks for reading!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Week 46

Oops. Another late post this week. I got side-tracked on Monday and totally forgot about it on Tuesday. Oh well, better late than never.

Last Tuesday wasn't too exciting as it was a laundry/clean the house/get a haircut day. I did get to see my girlfriend in the evening though. She got off work early (actually 'on time' as she thought she'd have to do overtime.) We ordered a pizza and watched TV.

Wednesday I got up at a reasonable hour and met up with some friends in Kobe to see the "Kobe Biennial." The Biennial is a huge art show with exhibits all over Kobe (that happens every two years.)  I missed the last one out of apathy but since other people wanted to go this year I tagged along and played tour guide. As always seems to happen when I show people around Kobe we ended up walking forever. Some of the exhibits were in the dank under-the-track shopping arcade I really like, so that was fun. Mid-day we stopped at my favorite all-you-can-eat Brazilian barbecue place for lunch. In previous years some exhibits were created using old shipping containers but as they couldn't get the containers this year they converted some unused retail space in one of the malls into rooms the size of the crates (pretty creative I though.)

It was a light week at work. I had several classes with no students at my regular school this week and my two usual high school students were absent as well (giving me copious amounts of free time on Friday.) Sunday and Monday were busy at web-school but they've been that way recently as we lost some staff that haven't been replaced yet.

Sunday night I had some people over for a game night. I recently picked up a bi-lingual copy of Monopoly so we played that. I had forgotten that 90% of Monopoly is house rules and that everyone has their own set. It worked out fine in the end (I say that mostly because I won.)

Yesterday I wasted most of the day playing video games until my girlfriend came over for date night. We tried to go to our usual Okanomiyaki restaurant only to find that they were closed for some un-known reason. Last night being quite chilly we settled on the 'cafeteria' style restaurant across the street instead.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Week 45

A pretty good week last week. Mostly owing to the three day weekend.

Last Tuesday I was a bit lazy (other than meeting my girlfriend for dinner, nothing got done) but I got up off my couch on Wednesday and went for a bike tour of Asuka (the location of the oldest "empire"in Japan) with some friends. We left Osaka at 10:30 for the hour and a half train ride to the middle-of-nowhere Nara. Arriving at the tiny station I went to prepare my camera and realized that the battery door had fallen off at home. I suppose I enjoyed "the moment" more, but there were a lot of missed photo opportunities. After the inevitable map mis-read, wrong turn, and cycle up and down the same mountain twice we got on track and saw all the more famous of the hundreds of tombs and monuments scattered around. Worthy of note is that, as happened when I rented a bike in Ise, my back breaks didn't fwork all day. This made the hilly terrain particularly fun to navigate. Around 4:30 we headed back to the bike rental shop and hopped on a train back to Osaka stopping in Tennoji to get some KFC for dinner.

Thursday was "Culture Day" and I had originally planned to something culturally relevant but as my girlfriend was still recovering from a bad cold we decided to stay in and catch up on videos instead (I like to think it was celebrating a part of American culture.) We met for lunch, hit up the video store, and stopped by the 100yen store for snacks. We ended up seeing "No Strings Attached" with Ashton Kutcher (a date movie at best), "The Mechanic" with Jason Statham (pure action, but her pick), and "Skyline" (a terribly written sci-fi piece.)

All this was followed by a nice short work-week this week. After my shift today it's already the weekend again. Nothing too exciting on the docket (it being a "laundry weekend" and all) but if the weather's nice I may go out for another bike ride (around Osaka this time, on my bike who's breaks work.)