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Blog update

Hello to my readers! No, I have not abandoned this blog. I did, however, underestimate the amount of free time I had available after work, parenting an energetic 4 year old, and trying to maintain some semblance of a social life.

Almost all of the remaining posts about my time in Japan have been written, I just need to find a few good pictures to go with my Fuji 5 Lakes article. After that, there should be a steady stream of new posts for the next few weeks to finish off the story.

I’m also hoping to add some updates for what happened after I returned to Canada, and some of the adventures I’m having raising a multicultural, multilingual kid with my wonderful wife.

Stay tuned!

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July 31, 2006 – Happy to have the day off

After two days of celebrating my birthday, I’m very happy to have the day off today.

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Happy New Year 2017!

Greetings and Happy New Year! If you are reading this I hope you had a fun and exciting new year with friends or family.

Now that the train wreck known as 2016 is behind us, I’m looking forward to a better year. As a rule I don’t make new year’s resolutions, because they are typically forgotten within the first few months. However, here are some things I will be trying to accomplish in 2017:

  1. Be a good father and husband – doing both of these things involves hard work, trial and error, and a lot of patience (on their part and mine). I’m going to try hard to always put family first.
  2. Finish off my travel blog – as of the time I am writing this post, my Japan adventures are stuck in mid 2006. I’d like to finish off the story within 2017.
  3. Record a song – for the past few years, I have been slowly learning how to play the bass guitar while jamming with friends. We actually have a few song ideas that are decent, and I’d like to get a good recording of at least one of them this year.
  4. Find time for the gym – I don’t always like going to the gym, but I love the way it makes me feel and look. I’m hoping that with a healthy family and continuing to get used to my new job that I can once again get back in the habit of hitting the gym a few times a week.

Thanks for reading my blog, and I hope your 2017 is infinitely better than 2016. Take care of yourselves and each other!


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December 12, 2016 – Good memories

Greetings readers, it’s -20 in Winnipeg tonight. I’m bundled up and hiding in front of my computer working on a chronological index of all of the posts on my blog. The chronological list makes for a cool master reference of the over 700 posts (as of right now) that I have already written about my time in Japan. Working on it is also a good way of procrastinating on long overdue new posts.

Looking back on some of my posts brings back good memories of a simpler time: I was living in an exciting place, having adventures everyday, saving a little money and spending the rest on food, beer, and karaoke. I hung out with people from around the world, knowing that when I was tired of that lifestyle I could simply pack up and return home to Canada.

I am writing this now from a house that I’m paying a mortgage on, up too late on a work night for an office job, listening to the baby monitor to hear if my nearly 3 year old son is waking up. It’s a very different lifestyle than 10 years ago, however there are still some minor similarities; I’m up late on my computer listening to music and drinking a can of Sapporo 🙂

Although I know that the carefree time of daily beer and karaoke is over, I know that I still have a lot of adventures to come. I’m looking forward to taking my son on his first trip to Japan next year. He’s already asking to see the ocean and ride trains. It’s going to be different than before, but sometimes different can be good too.

If you’re reading this, I wish you all the best of the season and hope that wherever you are that you’re close to friends, family, and happiness.



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April – May 2006 – Posting dead zone

Hello readers!

After my parents visit in April 2006, I didn’t post a lot of blog updates until June 2006. I am going to repost the few updates that I had during that time period, and then fill in the gaps with a few random stories that never ended up on the blog in the first place.

Some upcoming highlights include:

  • The benefits of drinking with students
  • The horrors of teaching English to kids
  • The perils of not wearing a watch
  • The interesting experiences a person can have hanging out by the station at night
  • The effects of quoting Trailer Park Boys in the office

I hope you will enjoy them. Thanks for reading!


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April 1, 2006 part 1 – Dolphin meat at the supermarket

Today my parents, The Penpal, and her family had plans to visit a few local places together. I collected my parents in the morning at their hotel and brought them to my apartment to wait for our rides. My apartment wasn’t all that interesting, so we wandered across the street to check out the small supermarket.

Kadoike Supermarket across from my apartment

Kadoike Supermarket across from my apartment

Visiting a supermarket in a foreign country is always an interesting experience. You really get a sense of the differences between cultures by what’s available at the grocery store. My parents were interested in the tiny shopping carts (by Canadian standards), the different assortment of fruits and vegetables, and the rows of boxes that I couldn’t read. We ended up in the fish section, which was about double the size of the meat section. This is almost exactly the opposite of a typical Canadian supermarket.

My parents were looking at all of the different fish options available, when my mom came across one package with a nice dark red colour that we hadn’t seen before. She asked me what kind of fish it was, and I was actually able to read the label; “iruka”. I calmly told my mom that she was looking at dolphin meat.

(No, I’m not posting a picture!)

My mom didn’t think that was particularly funny, and asked me to tell her what it really was. I told her that she was seriously, honestly, looking at a package of dolphin meat. It’s not a common thing to find in the supermarket, but not unheard of in a country that is okay eating just about anything that comes out of the ocean. My mom was suddenly no longer interested in hanging out in the fish section!

I’m personally not sure how I feel about the idea of dolphin meat. It’s hard for me to come into another country and say that they shouldn’t eat certain animals when I know that people don’t approve of the animals that are commonly eaten in Canada. The one thing that I do know is that after two and a half years in Japan I was a lot less shocked by the idea than my poor mom!

Like I said, visiting a supermarket in a foreign country is always an interesting experience.


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Back (very) soon

For those few regular readers out there, my hiatus is almost over. I am getting settled in my new job, home renos are done, and life is returning to whatever can be considered “normal” with an active 2 year old in the house. Basically, I have some time to blog again.

Other than reliving some great memories, one of my favourite things about Drinking in Japan (the blog, not the activity) was the fact that I could repost my original stories 10 years after they happened. With the break I took I have some catching up to do. I expect that I will be posting more than once a day until I have caught up with the story before the end.

Coming up in the next few months:

  • The ending of UPS’s visit to Japan, including stories about male frontal nudity!
  • An change in my relationship with The Penpal!
  • Ninja museum!
  • Green beer!
  • A night out in Osaka!
  • A visit from parents!
  • Random stories about students and teachers!
  • Facial hair growth!
  • A farewell tour!

Thanks for your patience, and I hope you enjoy reading about my adventures.


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Temporary posting delays

Hello dear readers, you may have noticed a lack of updates recently. Since I have started the project to revive and update my Japan blog from 10 years ago, I have been proud of being able to post things 10 years to the day after they happened.

Unfortunately real life has decided to get in the way temporarily. In between starting a new job and basement renovations, I have not had a lot of free time to work on posting. I am hoping to catch up and be back on my regular schedule in a few weeks.

Thanks for your patience!

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December 31, 2005 part 2 – Hungover computer teacher

I woke up on on uncomfortable futon, feeling like death. My mouth was dry, my head was pounding, and I was sweating. I looked over and saw Okonomi still sleeping like the dead. I sat up and waiting for the room to stop spinning, but it merely slowed down. This was the penance for an epic night out that had us returning to Okonomi’s apartment around 6:00am.

In addition to going out for drinks, Okonomi had wanted me to come and visit to teacher her how to use her new computer. I gulped down several glasses of water before starting up the PC and checking it out. My first step was to delete some unneeded software that seems to be installed on all new machines, and then to make sure that everything was updated.

After about an hour, Okonomi rolled out of bed like she was a zombie rising from a grave. We realized that we both needed some food and fluids. She got dressed and we walked outside into the blazing horrible daylight. Okonomi’s apartment was half way up a hill, with a small grocery store near the bottom. We walked carefully down the bright, loud, gently spinning hill, picked out some bread, onigiri, and sports drinks, and then lurched back up the hill to the comfortable, dark apartment.

We rode out the hangover exploring her new computer. I taught her how to burn CDs and how to use bittorrent software. It was a nice relaxing afternoon after a crazy night out.

I returned to Numazu in the early evening, fell asleep for a few hours, and woke up to watch New Year’s Eve TV shows with Azeroth and one of his friends. Since I had enjoyed myself too much the night before, this turned out to be one of my quietest New Year’s Eves ever.

Happy New Year!

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December 24, 2005 – Christmas songs at the izakaya

Everyone finished work early because it was Christmas Eve, so we all went out to the izakaya across the street from NOVA to celebrate. Despite being located directly across from the NOVA branch, teachers rarely went to this particular izakaya, opting instead for the cheaper options. English teachers are notoriously frugal with their beer money.

We all had lots of food and possibly a few too many drinks, prompting a very boisterous round of Christmas songs as we approached midnight. We got so loud that the staff asked us nicely to keep the volume down. We took this as a cue to move to karaoke.

Being away from home for Christmas is hard. Being around a bunch of other people who are trying to forget they are also away from home for Christmas does make things easier.

Merry Christmas from Japan!

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