Archive for March, 2015

March 30, 2005 – A cluster of Canucks

Today I repaid a shift swap by working at Fuji school. It seems that all the Canadians in the area work in Fuji school, except me.

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March 29, 2005 – Sun to Moon

Sun to Moon (street view from Google Maps)

Sun to Moon (street view from Google Maps)

Today I got on my bike and rode to Sun to Moon shopping center in neighbouring Shimizu town (not to be confused with Shimizu city). I had been to Sun to Moon before by car, so I had a general idea of where it was. Using a book of maps that I had purchased at 7-11, I found a route from my apartment and actually managed to avoid getting lost. The ride was about 3 km, and by the end I was going faster than the cars what were stuck in bumper to bumper traffic.

Sun to Moon is a pretty cool place to shop. The design is similar to the shopping malls I am familiar with in Canada. They have clothing stores, groceries, a food court, a bowling alley, a dollar store, and my personal favourite, a used CD / movie / video game store. I ended up buying some CDs, but the real highlight was being able to navigate using a bike and a map.

(2015 Update) If I was trying to find my way around now, I would simply use Google Maps and my smartphone. The result would be the same, but I would not feel the same sense of accomplishment of finding my way around using a map.

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March 28, 2005 – These movies are just wrong

Since moving to Numazu, I have rented a lot of movies from the giant Tsutaya store north of the train station. It turns out there was a closer video rental shop just down the street from my apartment. Palmer and Azeroth just found out about it, and learned that it was going out of business. They were selling off their entire stock of movies, so the three of us walked down the street to check out the selection.

Unlike Tsutaya, the video rental shop down the street was completely automatic. The entire store was filled with banks of glass walled vending machines displaying a selection of movies. Renting a movie was similar to buying a snack; you enter the letter and number combination of your selection and then swipe a credit card. This prompts a robotic arm to reach out and retrieve your selection. It is pretty cool to watch. The store was open 24 hours a day, and only had a staff member working during the daytime.

Imagine if you will, a video rental store open 24 hours a day where you don’t have to actually talk to any employees. Now imagine what kind of clientele that type of store would cater to, and what kind of movies they would stock.

Yep, lots o porn.

To be fair, the front of the store contained the standard recent Hollywood releases. Most of these had already been sold out, except for a few awful Stallone movies. The rest of the store was filled with a huge variety of porn ranging from conventional to funny to outright disturbing. “Black guys and Japanese obaasans (grandmothers)” was a title that caught our attention and had us laughing out loud.

Japanese porn can be a huge culture shock to people from North America. The censorship rules are very strange; they are not allowed to show genitals, but they can show almost anything else. Some of the cover art alone would have been illegal in North America. I am not going to go into details as I am still trying to repress memories of some of the horrible things I saw, but I can fully understand why these titles would be available in a place where you never have to interact with another human.

Strangely enough, despite the cavalcade of “this can’t be legal back home” porn, we didn’t notice any gay porn at all. I am not sure if the selection had already sold out, or if the owner of the video shop decided that gay porn offended them, but crying tied up actresses dressed as schoolgirls was okay.

In the end, I didn’t end up buying anything (not even Stallone movies), and I am perfectly happy to stick to Tsutaya for my movie needs in the future.

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March 25, 2005 – The empty lesson king

Another 2 empty lessons today. I am the empty lesson KING!

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March 24, 2005 – 4 empty lessons!

I tied a personal record today with 4 empty lessons. Not only that, but they were all in a row! Thankfully NOVA pays us even when there are no students.

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March 20, 2005 – Trying to stay awake

This morning I woke up feeling tired, and kept feeling tired all day. Thanks to the miracle of caffeine I was able to survive the day. Now I am trying to stay awake so I can go to sleep at my usual time and hopefully reset my schedule.

 

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March 19, 2005 – Mountain Climbing and Movies

Today I had a day off due to a shift swap with another teacher. Since it was a Saturday, I got to spend some quality time with The Penpal. We went mountain climbing and watched a movie.

For those who have been reading a while and noticed that most of my leisure activities involve sitting, singing, drinking, or all of the above at the same time, you may think that mountain climbing is a bit out of character. You would be correct. The “mountain” we climbed has a peak about 400 meters above sea level, and has a hiking trail up the side.

Kanuki path

Mt. Kanuki is famous for a large pagoda on the top. It is also famous as a home of wild boars. Fortunately we didn’t encounter any on our hike. I didn’t get a picture of the pagoda, but I did get a great picture of Mt. Fuji from the top of Mt. Kanuki.

Mt. Fuji as seen from Mt. Kanuki

Mt. Fuji as seen from Mt. Kanuki

We ate lunch at the top of Mt. Kanuki and spent some time enjoying the view and hanging out. After that, we started the walk back down to the bottom and returned to my apartment. We watched Hayao Miyazaki’s Spirited Away. It was my first time to see the movie, and it was fantastic. The movie is a story about a spoiled little girl who has her family taken away and her name stolen, and she has to fight to get them back. Highly recommended!

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