Categories
car travel

カーるま

ほら、語呂合わせ

さぁ、車を決めちゃった。2005年シルバでインティリアーが黒くてスバルのレガジィツアリングワゴン2.0Rです。4万9千キロが付いています。

Subaru 2Subaru 4Subaru 3Subaru 1

月々お金が実質的に払いますけど、本当にいい条件です。車検や保険が入っているし、契約が来年の7月までだけし、便利だと思います。スキーラックも頼んでもらいましたよ。この車の燃費は1リットル9キロぐらいだそうです。1リットルが140円の値段、ちょっと高くなるかもしれません。アメリカに比べたら、特に高いです。アラスカを出た前に、ガソリンは、1ガロンが3ドルぐらいでした。1リットル70円ぐらいです。10月10日車は準備ができますので、楽しみにしています。

Categories
car travel

Caruma

Hey, that’s a pun.

So I made my final and ultimate decision on a car. At least until July 31st of next year. It’s a silver 2005 Subaru Legacy 2.0R with 49,000km on it and a black interior.

Subaru 2Subaru 4Subaru 3Subaru 1

I am paying a fairly good chunk of change a month for it, but looking at it one way, only about 13% of my monthly salary. And that monthly payment includes shaken (shah-ken, a sort of car inspection tax), other car taxes, and full insurance that covers another driver in the car with me. I also don’t have any obligation past next July. And, for an extra 250 bucks, I am getting a roof rack with ski holder. Apparently, the car gets about 9 km/l. At 3.785 liters to the gallon, and 1.6 kilometers to the mile, I’ll let you math wizards figure that one out. And at about 144 yen for a liter of gas, at an exchange rate of 115 yen to the dollar, I’ll be spending some money on gas.

I’ll pick the car up on the tenth of next month, as it has to undergo the shaken process and get plates and stuff. I’m glad all that crap is taken care of for me!

Categories
Japan travel

Trip to Sado

With my recent three day weekend (for the autumnal equinox, of all things) I took myself and my bike to Sado Island, the biggest island in Japan (exclusive of the obvious four big ones), about a 2.5 hour ferry ride from Niigata City, to my south. My goal was to ride my bike around the entire island, or as I now call it, to circumcycle the island. The island itself looks small enough, but if you unravel the coastline, it’s pretty long. According to Tomoko’s cousin, who lives on Sado, the coastline is 280km. According to the map I bought it’s about 215. According to my GPS and my butt, it’s about 250. I’d add on 10km to that for tunnels, though.

Integrating photos into this blog is sort of a pain if I do more than a few, so here is the link to the photo gallery for the whole trip: Sado Gallery

I spent Friday night in Niigata City. I packed up all my bike stuff, tent, sleeping bag, and rode to the train station, where I quick-folded the bike, and hopped on the 6:44 train to Niigata. I got a hotel and then had a late night of accidentally paying someone else’s bar tab, and karaoke. I caught the 12:30 ferry to Sado the next day. I almost took the bus from the train station to the port, but instead, set up the bike, and rode it. I am glad I did. I saved 200 yen and actually beat the bus there.

Categories
Murakami

Photos

Hello everys body. I puts up photo a of Murakami and Japanese festival. Please enjoay. I wish it.

Click

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English Japanese JET Middle School Murakami

Happier?

The internet has started being friendlier to me this evening. Since about 5 pm, it’s given me several 20 or 30 minute sessions of use before being interrupted by god knows what.

As I walk around town, sing and play with seven year olds, or wake up every morning and eat melon bread and drink cold coffee from a carton, I often think “this is an experience that I want to convey to others.” Since people have seemed fairly interested in this blog so far (you rock, Frankie!) I figure some lively descriptions of fairly mundane occurrences might be warranted.

Most people know about how Japanese students must clean their schools daily. I have vague recollections from my early childhood in the late 80’s, when Japan was poised to take over the world, of this fact being used as anecdotal evidence for Japan’s success – work ethic, basically. I might have bought into this myth before I actually witnessed students clean their school. Yes, everyone is assigned a specific location and team, with a supervising teacher, and a student leader, who must check, in a very official sounding voice, the satisfactory cleaning of their area. Yes, there are broom closets in every hall, and for 20 minutes, they bustle with activity of students cleaning. But they don’t seem to know how to actually sweep. Or mop. They are very good at spreading dirt around. During cleaning time, I usually try to find a broom and dustpan and sweep my way around somewhere. I don’t have to do much to fill up a dustpan so full of sand and lint and dust and dirt to make me start to sneeze. In terms of overall cleanliness, including paint job, condition of doors, windows, floors, etc, none of my Japanese schools compare to even the old Swanson Elementary school building in Palmer. And I’m pretty sure there were just one or two old dudes taking care of that place.

Categories
Uncategorized

Still no internet…

So I got my modem last Wednesday, and it connected and all was well with the world.  But for some reason it has stopped connecting and I cannot contact Yahoo BB tech support in English.  As if figuring out retarded technical troubles weren’t already frustrating enough, I have to attempt to do it in Japanese.  Last Friday, I got a call from Yahoo BB (Softbank, actually) about some problem.  It took me forever to figure out what exactly the problem was.  Apparently, I have had my zipcode wrong for the last month.  For some reason, not only was the zipcode wrong in my application info, but the area of town that I live in, as well as my apartment number.  So, below is my corrected mailing address:

Sean Holland
Kasai Apartments 2-D
Ninocho 12-41
Murakami-shi, Niigata-ken
958-0835 JAPAN

I hope hope hope that I have internet by the end of the week somehow.  I have a hunch that the problem might have something to do with my address being wrong – they might have calibrated the wrong distance for the DSL link at the telecom building.  Distance is an issue for DSL from what I can remember.

Otherwise, things are pretty good here.  Today is much much cooler than it has been recently.  I have two three-day weekends in a row coming up, so I might use this one to get out of town if I still don’t have internet.  If I do, I’ll probably stay here and catch up on things and start looking more seriously for a car.