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December 18, 2005 – Foreigner santa

Today was the day I got to be Santa at the Yamaha English school Christmas party!

In the morning The Penpal picked me up and drove me from Numazu to Izu Nagaoka, which is about a half hour south in Izu Peninsula. I met with the Yamaha English teachers and we all helped decorate the room. I was given a script, and took some time to rehearse. As I found out earlier in the week, I was going to be both a children’s entertainer and Santa.

The 5 year old and younger group was in the morning. The Yamaha teachers introduced me and then we all watched a puppet show. Afterwards there were some group activities which I tried to lead as enthusiastically as possible. At this point I told the kids I had to leave, and then I ran backstage to put on the discount store Santa costume that was provided. The costume was not good at all and didn’t have boots, but I did bring a pillow and some extra t-shirts to give myself a nice jolly Santa belly.

The Yamaha teachers had the kids start singing Christmas songs, and then I came out from the back, ho-ho-hoing as loudly as I could in a deep Santa voice. A bunch of the youngest kids cried, while some of the others looked like they were seeing the real Santa. I handed out presents and posed for pictures with the kids.

After the youngest kids cleared out, I got to take a lunch break with the teachers. I also sent The Penpal out to a nearby shoe store to buy black boots for my costume. If I was going to be Santa I was going to be the best Santa possible.

The afternoon show went a lot like the morning show, although a lot of the older kids started to figure out that the funny white guy they saw earlier might just be the guy in the Santa costume. The best part of my day came when one of the kids noticed that unlike every other Santa they had ever seen, I wasn’t Japanese. They said “Waa! Gaikoku no Santa da yo!” (Wow, it’s foreigner Santa!”).

I had a lot of fun being foreigner Santa for the kids. My only regret is not getting any pictures in my costume.

If anyone every asks you to be Santa, especially for young kids, say yes!

(2015 Update) Izu Nagaoka is now part of Izunokuni City.

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December 16, 2005 – Manos: The Hands of Fate


Recently I have been watching a lot of Mystery Science Theatre 3000. For those unaware, it was a show where evil scientists have sent a janitor into space and force him to watch terrible movies. The janitor has created robots to watch the movie with and they make funny comments throughout.

Tonight I watched one of the absolute worst crap fest movies that has ever been featured on MST3K – Manos: The Hands of Fate. Manos is typically near the top of any “worst movies of all time list”. It was filmed on a hand wound 16mm camera that could only record 32 seconds at a time with no sound. Three actors later “performed” all of the voice acting for every character.

In addition to the complete lack of production values, the movie features an undecipherable plot featuring a lost family, a cult, and a guy with a terrible cape.


I have watched a lot of terrible movies on MST3K, but this was by far one of the worst things I have ever seen. It was so bad that the mad scientists actually apologized half way through. There was literally not enough booze available to make this movie good.

It was so bad, it almost made Catwoman seem like a good movie.


If you ever feel like punishing yourself, get a few bottles of your favourite alcoholic beverage, a few friends (who likely won’t talk to you after), and track down the MST3K version of Manos. But remember – I warned you.

(2015 Update) Oh no! It’s available for free viewing on the official MST3K channel on Youtube here! I’m so sorry.

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November 11, 2005 – Remembrance Day

Today is Remembrance Day. We must never forget or repeat the mistakes of the past.

Remembrance Day is meaningful to me as my family has a bit of a military history. My great grandfather on my father’s side was a combat veteran in World War 1. He lost his eye in combat just before the battle of Vimy Ridge. If he had not been injured, it is very possible he could have been killed in that terrible battle.

My grandfather was a drummer who entertained troops overseas in World War 2. That’s where he met my grandmother, who at the time was a seamstress sewing uniforms for Canadian soldiers.

My father joined the Canadian forces at age 16 to get away from a difficult home situation. His military service allowed him to complete high school and paid for his university education. He served as an Air Traffic Controller, and retired from the military after 27 years and has been doing the same job as a civilian ever since.

I am the first person in this lineage with no military connection at all. I am proud of the service that my father, grandfather, grandmother, and great grandfather provided. However I am more proud of the fact that in my lifetime there has never been a situation where I have needed to join any military service myself. I hope to never see a day like that, especially in my home country of Canada or my second home in Japan.



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August 16, 2005 – Massive earthquake

There was a massive earthquake in Northern Japan today. Even though it was 400km north east of Numazu, my apartment building was still shaking and creaking.

Every time there is an earthquake I am reminded just how much I hate them.

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July 20, 2005 – Good sleep

Getting a good sleep actually makes it easy to get up in the morning. Who knew?

I went for a nice long morning bike ride around Numazu.

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Filler posts


Hello readers, as you may already know, “Drinking in Japan” is a repost of my original travel blog when I lived in Japan from 2003-2006. I am currently in Winnipeg, Canada rewriting and reposting my original blog entries 10 years after they were posted the first time.

In May 2005, I had a bit of blog burnout and stopped posting for a few weeks. To avoid having this blog go quiet for two weeks, I will be writing some new posts based on things that were happening at the time. I hope you enjoy them!

And if not, please enjoy the picture of delicious ramen in this post. Mmmmm, ramen.

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April 30, 2005 – Happy Birthday Mom!

Happy birthday to my wonderful mother, who is allegedly 49 and holding.

Some blog highlights about my mom:



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Request for a name change

After posting the New Year 2004 epic Bongo Battle story, I had the following conversation on IMessage:

newname1 newname2

I have since updated the post to change the name from “Hippie’s girlfriend” to “Sunny”.

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December 1, 2004 – Realization

Holy crap, it’s December!


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Matty was in the same fraternity as I was. He always wanted to be treated like one of the guys, not as someone with a disease. Physically he was small, but his heart and sense of humour were larger than life. Rest in peace Matty – we are all going to miss you.


MATTYPhoto by: Chris Hearn

Public speaking is scary for some, painful for others, but for Matthew Rygiel(Matty), a little stage fright is nothing he can’t handle. Matty walks up to the Toastmasters podium to compete in the 2013 Club Humorous Speech Contest. For him, the rush that comes along with speaking in front of a crowd is the best painkiller he’s ever known.

“Fellow toastmasters, most welcome guests, judges, Madame contest chair: today I am going to share with you the short man’s three laws of attraction,” says Matty with a sparkle in his eyes. “And when I say short man, I use that as a term of ‘dis-endearment’: the short man is not sought after, okay? It is settled upon.”

The crowd breaks into a fit of giggles as Matty lists the rules in his personalized dating guide. Accept your flaws. Know what you like. Research and adapt. Smart…

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