Explanation of the nuclear situation in Japan.

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Is that not the cutest nuclear disaster explanation thing you’ve ever seen in your life?

BTW, for people who want to know what’s really going on, and don’t want any spin or sensationalism (well, not much of it, anyway), check out these sources. Should put some people at ease.

http://www.ustream.tv/channel/nhk-world-tv

(A link to Japan’s primary news source, translated)

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-12307698

(I have found the twitter feed on the left hand side of the BBC page to be really helpful and quick, and not too spun/exaggerated. The news coverage/video on the other hand, I dunno)

I’m still safe, and making more posts than ever.

Evidently, Japan is going to be just fine.

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Despite the enormous losses so many people in Japan have experienced and all the families that are in danger now just as much as 4 days ago, check out what I just saw on TV.

Yeah, that's a tea bag. And a tea cup. And a guy dressed in a monkey suit.

What is even supposed to go in this caption that will make this make sense?

Gosh watching this made me feel so much better about the flurry of natural disasters I just lived through.

Japan is just extraordinary. In every meaning of the word.

Earthquake + Tsunami + BBMIJ

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Hey everyone,

As you have no doubt all heard, there was a pretty huge earthquake in Japan very recently. I’m writing to let everyone know I’m fine, and the earthquake was definitely a very scary new experience for me (as earthquakes occur much less frequently in Texas…).

If the earthquake that hit wasn’t enough, it created a tsunami that devastated much of coastal Japan, commercial ships, businesses, airports, etc. There are some pictures where a commercial sea vessel is just sitting in the middle of a wrecked neighborhood. Ridiculous pictures that show just how bad it is.

Centralish Tokyo (where I am) wasn’t affected as much, and we are for the most part safe thanks to various heavenly forces and some earthquake resistant architecture.

Dunno how many pictures will arise from this incident, but I’ll be sure to share some pictures with you guys.

Oh and by the way, just in case the tsunami wasn’t enough, there is some worry about radiation leakage (well, less worry, more radiation leakage and worry that it will go full meltdown). I’ll try and make more frequent updates (and of course I’ve notified embassies and family members and friends, so people are pretty aware of where I am), but my track record with updates isn’t the best.

With that said, pray for Japan, as it’ll definitely need all the prayers it can get going forward from today, for all the people who have lost way more than I have/can imagine.

First 3 months of 2011?

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I’ll try and do this in the future, but this sentence is here to warn you that the following post contains rougly 80-90% Text and 20%-10% images. For those who are squeamish with paragraphs and long explanations and all around badly written/conveyed thoughts, please scroll as quickly as possible to the bottom, where there are pictures, which although being worth more words, are somewhat better than reading.

So, I’ve been on break from school for about 1 month solid now, and have finally returned to doing things that seem to possibly bear a passing semblance to productivity.

As such, I’m updating the Blog.

So, in February, after New Years (in which I DIDN’T do any shrine visits on the days after… too tired/uninterested/poor?), school started back up again like it always does, and we were all of a sudden in the closing days towards finals. I’ve tried to block out this part of my semester from my brain, not because it contained a particular amount of studying (I’ve always considered finals a blissful time, mostly because of the large amount of free time schools often give students under the guise of “studying for finals”). I try and block it out because it was peppered with the sentiments of people who were leaving Japan soon.

Many of the friends I have made in Japan were 1 semester students, and seeing them leave was pretty sad. There wasn’t a big touching departure scene where all parties cried and rain fell, but there were possibly a lot of man-tears choked back on both sides.

And then, the sweet release of spring break. Though I’m unsure if it’s just my university, they start school here in Japan in April, and there is a break from around the end of beginning of february until then. As soon as break started, though I had to keep up with some part-time jobs I do, I was pretty free to do anything I wanted… So I have. Until now. Sorry.

Either way, something huge also happened in February – I moved into an apartment with a friend of mine, with the intention of fully bringing the house party to Japan. Though I might not have stated this before, Japanese people don’t really party inside their homes very often. Small gatherings? maybe. Spirited board-game nights and tea ceremonies? Probably. But full on parties don’t happen very often. Also, the vast majority of them have never heard of certain party games that are a must for college students to at least know of. We set out to right this wrong, and liberate the Japanese people.

We managed to find a relatively cheap and spacious apartment (yeah, I know it doesn’t seem possible, but it’s close to true), and spent most of February moving in and getting settled. Due to moving, I was seriously busy and couldn’t really do much in terms of other things, but it was definitely an eventful month.

And on to march, the current month. I spent the first 5 days of month on a trip to Osaka, Nara, and Kyoto, 3 parts of Japan that people often say to make sure to visit before I leave. With this, I am definitely done with all traveling that I plan to do in Japan. I’m not one for sight seeing (I like Google Maps though), but I wanted to go on at least one trip, to avoid incurring the wrath of certain influential people/relatives.

While I’d love to post all the pictures right on here, there are 841 of them. No joke, I took 841 pictures over the course of 4/5 days. That’s somewhere around 200+ images a day. I have been literally avoiding post-editing/cropping/doing ANYTHING with the pictures for the last 2 days, and I’d love to keep up the streak. So for now, I’ll share all the built up pictures that I’ve had stored for blog posts.

It will be random. It will be pointless. There won’t be enough. Enjoy.

(On a serious note, most of the pictures have a theme, so they’ll be coming in later posts…)

So I finally got around to making some more impulse buys that aren't edible, and here are some of the things I snagged. Some are awesome, some are less awesome but still awesome, and one is just headphones.

Let me some words about stores in Japan. They’re weird. They’re awesome and weird.

I bought all the stuff pictured above from a store called Village Vanguard, it’s a “variety” store in Japan (other famous ones include one called Don Quixote, if you can wrap your mind around that). They have a lot of stuff, much of it weird, much of it cool, but very undeniably japan.

For example:

Yeah, the english is just about right.

Shouldn’t have to say any more.

Well, other things:

I bought a tiny Gundam that I saw at the convenience store for like 400 Yen ($4.80ish USD), had to buy it. I am no Gundam maniac (yet?), but I thought this was a nice little doodad. Yeah, I said doodad.

And finally, outside… Though I’m no longer sure how representative this is of February in Japan:

It's the outside world through my old room!

There’s a lot more to come so stay tuned!

New Years in Japan 2011 (Super Super Late)

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So, I’m currently on spring break from school. With the way the Japanese college semester works at my university, we are in school from September (October, really) till late January/Early February. Needless to say, I’ve been in full do-nothing mode, as college is one of the few times after high school where people have things like “Spring break”. Though I spoke to a colleague of mine and she reminded me that adults have breaks too, and they last as long as you want, they’re just called something else; “Layoffs”.

That aside, I want to try and dig up/recall everything that happened for my New Years in Japan. I take pictures for this very purpose, and while I can’t say I had such a crazy new years as to need these pictures to remember anything that happened, they are certainly very helpful for me.

In stark opposition to many other foreigners in Japan who try and experience a very-ultra-japanese new years, I ended up spending my new years surrounded by the largest amount of foreigners I’ve ever seen in japan.

Here’s the scene — Me and some friends (and by some I mean like maybe 7), spend our 2010-2011 New Years in the (widely regarded) “sketchiest” place in Tokyo, Roppongi. Home to a lot of bars and clubs, it’s the kind of place where a wallet or two might get stolen. Not “rival-gang territory” area bad (for those who can identify? I can’t but I thought I should be considerate of others), but just a little on the sketchy side, as is often the case with places that have a lot of leisure/pleasure focused businesses.

Roppongi also happens to be where Gaijin (foreigners) probably most often go to party. And on New Years, there was NOTHING but Gaijin. I say nothing but, and of course, it’s an exaggeration, but there was probably about 3 Gaijin to every 1 Japanese person. This might not seem like much, but I should mention that in my everyday life, it’s about 10 Japanese to every 1 Gaijin, and that’s not even in crowded areas like trains or downtown. It was insane.

But I digress, me and some friends went out to a club, and partied the night away. As I didn’t want to destroy my camera, it didn’t see much use after we left a friend of mine’s dorm (since it was much safer there), so I only have a couple pictures, but maybe if you want a more detailed explanation, you could go watch “The Hangover”, a great movie that might perfectly capture what my night was like (minus pet tiger, mike tyson, drugs, car, wedding, and probably some other stuff I’ve forgotten).

Either way, enough talky-talky, more pictures.

A Manga that I read in the US. It is really old, yet pretty popular in Japan, and it was weird to see it in book form (I usually find it online....)

Why was I taking pictures of books at a new year’s party? Good question. I think the party hadn’t quite started at that point…

A parked subbie I saw on the way to the party, had to stop and shoot a quick picture of it.

Some friends of mine walking towards the party. I think I might have previously hated how good I am at night-shooting.

As expected, multiple friends had parties and gatherings... At one of them, they were making a traditional japanese dish called Nabe. This is essentially what it looks like before it's cooked... I think it is called 'Hot Pot' in englishy translation speak.

A closeup of the most important part of the afore-mentioned dish. Hint: It is not the tofu.

This. Looks. Delicious.

So what about all the pictures of this epic party I said I have? There’s one. I’ll leave the rest to your imaginations and that movie I mentioned.

I wonder if what's in that water bottle is water...

Random Car Post

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So WordPress doesn’t want to correctly upload the pictures from my super-late New Years 2011 post…

So I figure I’ll test it out by posting a video from PBS MotorWeek.

Some answers to questions you might ask:

A) I watch PBS.

B) I am under 40.

C) I like cars.

D) I am under 40.

E) Yes I like Hey Arthur.

F) I also like Subaru.

G) PBS is in fact awesome.

http://www-tc.pbs.org/video/media/swf/PBSPlayer.swf

Watch the full episode. See more MotorWeek.

Stay tuned for an actual meaningful post about really really long gone seasonal celebrations…