Time flies

These past 4 days have felt like two really long days and in essence they were.  Yesterday, after meeting up with Able and having dinner with him, I went to have some dessert with my room mate.  Afterwards, we were prepared to line up for Day 2 of Comiket at 10 P.M.  There were a lot of people with their Itashas in the parking lot.  Towards the Big Site, where Comiket is hosted their were about a hundred people wandering around.  The area was big and their were 3 convenience stores so it didn’t feel so packed.  At around 3 A.M.  The washrooms became packed and the weather became colder.  It didn’t help the guy in front of me kept yelling “Samui, Samui” because he was freezing in his light jacket.  He kept doing until he fell asleep then awoke to do it again.  As the time went by, we were able to play games, find ways to stay warm (walking around helps) and away from the wind, we met up with a friend.  After discussing what would be in the industry section of comiket, and talking about shutters, I went back to eat as light was approaching.  The last couple of hours was the worse because I kept slipping in and out of consciousness due to exhaustion.  However, when 9 A.M. rolled around they started splitting the line.  Most people in our lines went industry seeing as the other lines took you into Boy Love territory.  Upstairs I learned that keeping my hood on made me sleepy, so I just took the pain cold of the wind.  Over the water a ferris wheel stood as we waited to be allowed in.  We saw people walk out with stuff, most likely those involved and got early priorities.   The thing was, since this was my first Comiket I had no idea what to do and what was happening.  I got up the stairs to industry thinking I’d be in a nice warm building.  That kept me going through the entire military like procedures we had to go through to get to this point.  However, these procedures continued and we waited another hour in our respective lines under the “line finishes here” sign.  Sometimes I feel like these people who get paid to be here are thinking “Wow, these guys have no life.”  Just before the place opened, everyone filled out a form of what they want.  Only one per person.  When the time came we all walked in holding the paper, and reached the booth.  At the booth we paid and received our product.  The only choices they had today were Haruhi and K-on.  After getting in I was hit by floods of people.  It looked hectic, and it only got worse.  People ran around, bumped, pushed, and getting to some tables were difficult.  However,  it wasn’t difficult to pick stuff up.  The lines were fast and systematic, and over the course of a few hours things began to sell out and people left lines.  I stayed for about a few rounds, taking pictures and picking up free goods.  Afterwards, I made my way to the East hall and decided to see how things would look for tomorrow.  It looks like a challenge, but today the East hall was probably the calmest it would be.  Tomorrow is Vocaloid and 07th Expansion and it will be a challenge!  I left around noon, exhausted, sleepy, and bobbing my head back to my home station.  Finally, the long day was over.

The day before we met up with Boen for breakfast, visited Tora, I bought a Chibi Miku book and looked at games and computer parts.  After that we met up with Brian and had lunch at Saizeriya, before heading down to meet his friend and get Boen his SIM card.  We went to the road with instruments and Leon picked up some used drums for only $80!  I noticed all the Bass prices were the same unless they were used, so that was a bit of a disappointment.  Afterwards, we headed to a station for Sushi, and after to the arcades for all you can play Arcana Hearts before heading home for some much needed sleep.  Up to that point I had been awake for a long time.

Christmas and such

For Christmas we just went shopping around for stuff, after having Kappa Sushi.  After picking up a coat and fleece last day, I feel much warmer!  So the day after I got laundry washed, things cleaned and prepared for my trip to Tokyo.  Its still the same day for me!  Afterwards, we just barely found the bus, which was located further than usual.  When we got there our first task was to drop off our stuff at Jyuoh.   We then went to the terminal station hopping to get some seats to bring us to Akihabara.  We didn’t get seats and got squished in pretty badly.  I got to see a busy Monday morning in Tokyo and I feel that its too much, even with trains every 3 minutes!  People are literally trying to read through cracks of other people.  When we got to Akihabara things were still closed so we sat around at a restaurant having breakfast.  I got a call from Jason about meeting up on the 1st and 2nd.  Then things began to open early and I was just looking at something when a lined formed behind me.  The line was to go upstairs!  It was strange being first in line for something I didn’t know needed a line.  After looking around we went down and decided to look at the Konami store in Roppongi.  When we finished looking around and having dinner at Saizeriya, we went back to Akihabara to pick up a few things.  The T.V.s/LCDs are really cheap here!  I definitely need to pick one up.  The brands are nice as well compared to Nagoya.  After looking around Tora and Animate we decided to head back and pay for our rooms!

Christmas Eve

Its been a long 2 weeks.  Its been so long that I barely remember what happened last week.  This week started with work in Toyota and then Toyota again, and finished in Toyota.  The 3 days of Toyota were great.  I wasn’t as dead this time as I was last week, when I had a 6 hours break.  I managed to get through my kids classes, and one particularly fun Christmas class with ease.  The adults were fine for the most part.  I like the sushi from the local supermarket and had myself a lot of food.  The most expensive part about going to Toyota is the food.  I eat too much of it.  I managed to breeze through 3-4 chapters of Harry Potter while on the train, which was quite enjoyable.  After it was over I felt a big load off my shoulders, and I actually began to miss working.  These 2 days off didn’t compare to the fun I had reading, teaching and eating.  Yesterday, we had our company part, and a few people had too much to drink.  It was an interesting all you can eat dinner, and the follow up parties were a little weird, but it all worked out.  Today, I’m off to Osu!

My Health

My health doesn’t seem as well as it was in Canada.  I am getting a bit thinner, but it may be because of the stress incurred by the lack of daily, monthly and yearly activities I use to perform in Vancouver.

The biggest problem could be the air.  The air here, in a car capital similar to Detroit, is nowhere near as clean as Vancouver’s air.  Your nose becomes clogged with dark dust that you wouldn’t find occuring in Vancouver unless you were cleaning out a garage, attic or construction yard.  Sometimes I feel i’m not getting enough air, but that could be from other factors as well.  As I mentioned before Japan’s cars don’t have the same emission standards as the West.  They’re getting better compared to 10 years ago, but most of the car’s don’t have the same catalytic converter systems we do in the West.  It makes the cars cheaper and run more efficient, but the air becomes saturated with carbon monoxide, most noticeable during the Summer.

Thats Daily.

Every four weeks in Vancouver I would go to my chiropractor to get my back back into shape.  My back has had problems where it would consistently fall to one side from bad posture, sleeping positions, sitting positions and other things.  Going to the chiropractor was cheap in Vancouver.  It only costs me $15 a month.  My back felt much better, the pain disappeared and I felt young.  I could do anything!  However, now I feel the pain of it all.  It eats at me slowly everyday and I wish I could get my monthly back cracking to feel the bliss of invincibility again.  I feel sitting at work all day has not helped my situation, but my bi-daily biking does help sometimes.

That’s monthly.

Every 6 months to a year I would get my teeth fixed up by a dentist, but recently I haven’t had a check up.  I’ve been brushing at least 1.5x a day and my tooth brushes are getting worn out at record speeds, but my gums hurt.  They’ve been hurting on and off, and I don’t think its a good thing.  It irritates me, like many other little things.  The toothpaste here doesn’t have the same formula we have back at home.  I think bad health awaits me.  It could be my diet, which is richer in sugars, and sodium in Japan hurting my teeth and other things, but at least most of me is still in one piece.  I can’t say the same for my hair line.

These are the gripes I’ve had living away from Vancouver.  Pro’s are that I’ve lost some weight, but at what mental and physical cost?

Dialogue

What happens when the entire world becomes Democratic and Capitalistic?  When no opposing ideologies and governments exists then will minute differences will be big differences?  When space for Capitalistic countries run out they will begin a campaign of terror against each other.  Much like how Europeans ended up in World War I, originally they were content and relatively at peace, until finally there was no more room for expansion overseas, and colonies were no longer available.  They worked together to tear up China, North America, the middle east and Africa and now they were after themselves.  There are ways to avoid unconfined drive for Capital and thats to reflect upon ones values and help others to learn how to help oneself.  Dialog and contact are of utmost importance.  The Qing dynasty learned to not impose and fall into the capitalistic trap, however, Europe forced China open for the dumping of their products and drugs.  What was missing was understanding and dialog, which led to misinterpretations.  The same thing is happening between the West and China today, however China is the one who wants to do the capital exporting now, and the West has been very critical, and again Western dialog is missing.

New Guitar around the corner

I’ll be in Tokyo in 2 weeks, and in that time I’ll be looking at some instruments.  However, I’ll most likely buy my new instrument here in Nagoya.  I’ve had enough of the used, low end instruments I’ve been using, and I would finally like to try something “real”.  I’m debating between the Fender JB62 J-Bass, featured in K-On, and respectably fashionable or comfortable and the Hofner Beatle Bass.  I’ll probably be spending just under $800 Canadian for a well, made in Japan guitar, rather than a made in Mexico one.  However, if I go to the U.S., could I find a better model for a better price?  There are several stores in Nagoya I’ve checked out.  I’ve leveled up a lot by practicing new things on my Bass, thanks to the help of other musicians.  I can slide, jump, play at the correct tempo, and also play with other instruments in the background.  It’s definitely an improvement and I hope to make another big leap with a better instrument.

Heres a link to some guitar shops in Nagoya:

http://www.japaninfoswap.com/blog/index.php?/archives/95-Top-Ten-Reasons-to-Learn-an-Instrument.html

There are a million different reasons you should learn to play an instrument. Here are some of the reasons you should learn an instrument here in Japan.

1. It’s a creative outlet for you even if you’re not fluent in Japanese
2. It connects you to other people of all nationalities regardless of language
3. It encourages you to make time in your schedule, when your schedule can otherwise seem unmanageable
4. If you’re learning from a Japanese speaker, it’s a way to pick up some Japanese
5. It’s a world into which you can retreat if you’re feeling overwhelmed
6. It’s a skill you can take home with you
7. It’s a way to engage in the Japanese culture without being swamped by it
8. Music lessons of all kinds are available anywhere, you just have to ask and look
9. Japanese people love music and you’ll make heaps of great friends
10. Learning an instrument is a great idea in any country – it’s a workout for your brain, it fosters a sense of well-being, it adds to your self-esteem, it gives you skills in tenacity easy to transfer to other areas of your life, and it provides a good role model in all of these areas for your kids.

Here are some music shops in Nagoya and places you can start to explore the options:

Ishibashi Gakki (Gakki = Musical Instrument)
9F Skyle Building
at Sakae Intersection in Sakae
Sakae Station on the Meijo Line
Ph: 052-243-1484
Can arrange for lessons in: guitar, bass, drums, vocal, sax, flute, trumpet, clarinet, violin, cello, ukelele, piano etc.

Shimamura Gakki
5F Parco East Building
(under Tower Records)
Yaba-cho Station on the Meijo Line
Ph: 052-264-8316
Can arrange for lessons in: guitar, bass, drums, vocal, sax, flute, violin, piano etc.
English website with map

Bardon Musical Instruments
2F Asunal (Mall at Kanayama)
Kanayama Station on Meijo, JR, Meitetsu Line
Ph: 052-331-3383
Can arrange for lessons in: flute, clarinet, oboe, fargot, sax, trumpet, trombone, bass trombone, horn, tuba, vocal etc.

Uemura Gakki
Near Ikeshita, Chikusa and Kurumamichi Stations
Ph: 052-722-1682
Can arrange for lessons in: flute, clarinet, oboe, sax, trumpet, trombone, horn, tuba etc.
Also has used instruments

For exclusively used instruments:
Komehyo
In the Osu Kannon Mall
Osu Kannon or Kamimaezu Station
Ph: 052-220-5539

Fun fact: did you know that the Suzuki Method of violin was first developed by a native of Nagoya? If you want to learn a stringed instrument (and this includes piano, which also has a Suzuki following) then the Suzuki people are able to put you in touch with a teacher in your area. And they have an English website! Yamaha Music Foundation also from this general area (Hamamatsu) also has an English website.

Observing me

On Tuesday, a new teacher named “Basil” from New York observed my “Action Module” review with a student!  I was a little nervous knowing someone would observe me, but I had met Basil earlier in the week in the staff room.  He’s a nice guy, and I used him to perform most of the action module.  I spent more time emphasizing the Goal and setting up the situation than usual, so that Basil would become a better teacher.  I think he learned a lot from the lesson, and the student seemed to have enjoyed it as well!  On Wednesday, I had a long day in Toyota training myself for Hot Topics, which I felt didn’t go so well, but afterwards it was my out service, which went much better. Apparently, there was also a train accident at 6PM, which cleared up at 7PM.  Some say it was a ghost, others say it was an alien, but it was just a jumper.  I ran into Lilly at Toyota and she joined me for dinner in Nagoya.  She sure talks a lot about uncomfortable topics.  Yesterday, I spent 5 hours at karaoke again, and I think my courage leveled up a little more!   I have no work today!  So i’m spending doing laundry, chatting and relaxing.

I don’t believe in names

Names are something given, taken, exchanged, sold, and for some people, very valuable.  I never thought of names as anything more than a label.  A label on your t-shirt, or another way to refer to “you” or “them”.  Names mean nothing to me, and are as interchangeable as your hair color.  Why people place so much emphasis into naming things makes little sense to me, but I can imagine they want to “personalize” the things in their life.  It gives it a little more “life” even if they are an inanimate objects.  Even if  they are pets, its still just a pet.  A name is important for a pet who can understand its own name, but for a turtle, a fish and most birds, just calling them as they are is fine.  Why name my fish, why name my car, I just don’t care enough.  Its not that I don’t find names beautiful, sometimes labels can be a work of art or symbolic.  I appreciate those names for organizations, and beautiful things, and I do love names I really do, but I don’t think anything around me needs a name.  I always liked how people in Japan give meaningful names to their children and I would do the same.  However, I haven’t found anything beautiful enough to give a name, and even if I did, I feel I wouldn’t have that right to instill it with that name.  If you want to name things around me, its your name for it, but my name will always be “it”.  Feel free to call me that too.

Wikileaks

What is Wikileaks?  Everyone online already knows, but what powers do they have?  Right now they have the power to unify all governments.  All these nations which have had their private political matters spilled onto the internet and mainstream news are trying their best to repair the damage they believe that has been done to them.  All international issues that existed before Wikileaks seems to pale in comparison to the barrage Wikileaks is unleashing onto the political sphere.  Governments begin to concentrate their efforts and unify themselves to stop this information from being leaked.  Does this stop any wars, or conflicts? No, but it does put those things in the back burner.  Much like when Somali pirates threatened the world by kidnapping civilians, stealing valuable resources, and military weapons, the world’s began to form a united front to protect their own interests.  One may say that Wikileaks is a private organization  thats similiar to “Celestial Being” in Gundam 00.  Every time something threatens the interest of many governments, they begin to work together to protect the wealth they hold.  Who says the world can’t unite during global catastrophes, even if it is for the wrong reasons.