Saturday, June 24, 2006

dangerous fog!

I went on a one day hiking trip with my club last Sunday. They picked me up from my dorm at 4:30 am and after driving around the city to get everyone, we started off towards the mountain. After driving for 2 hours, a short drive compared to most trips, we arrived at the parking lot only to find that we couldn't see the mountain we were to climb because it was fogged in. So, we sat and waited in the parking lot for 45 minutes waiting for the fog to clear. If it didn't clear before 8 am, the leader and subleader decided we would have to cancel the trip for the day. Just as the 8 was approaching and I was really worried we had rented a car and driven out here just to go back home, a group of 20+ elementary school kids come trudging down the trail. Of course, Nathan and I were thinking "if these little shrimps can hike this mountain in the fog without losing the trail, certainly we can!" Anyway, the fog ended up clearing off just in time and we had a beautiful hike that day.

random happenings

I might have mentioned earlier this month in Sapporo seems to be festival month. It started with my Hokkaido University school festival. The next weekend was a dance festival called yasakoi soran which supposedly has 45,000 participants and 2 million visitors. And last weekend was Hokkaido shrine festival. We dredged through the rain and caught the last few steps of the parade. All the Shinto priests and parade participants looked as if they had had enough 2 miles before...

Is America in a World Cup Mania too right now? This is Japan vs. Australia...the only full game I have watched before. One of my teachers is obsessed with soccer, so he has opened the International Student Center (where most of my classes are) from 11 pm to 6 am every night. These crazy people watch soccer games starting at 4 am and make it in time for class at 8:45 am!

This paper is posted in my friend's dormitory. This genre of English is an everyday happening in Japan.

Yep, it's who you think it is...good ol' Colonel Sanders.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

---to someone I love---

Some days are harder than others to be thousands of miles away across the Pacific. Today is one of those days. But, since I am here, dad, and you are there, I just want to say...


I am so thankful to have a dad that I know will always be there for me and loves me more than he loves catching a huge salmon in the Columbia. I am so thankful that you have been faithful to love mom and us kids more than anything else. I want to give you a big hug, but that will have to wait for another 6 weeks. Until then, know someone in Japan is thinking you and looking forward to being near you real soon.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

"Be gentle, be festive!"

A little Japanese university cultural lesson for you all...

After I got back from America, I had classes for 2 days, and then to my surprise, we got 2 days off for a 4 day school wide festival called Hokudaisai. It was basically Thursday- Sunday of music, food and dancing all the main street of our school campus. There was a Japanese student section and an international student section for shops, probably around 150 total. I can never imagine Portland State University canceling school for 2 days, much less the small number of students that would stick around to participate in the activities if school was cancelled!

It's pretty much a food festival and over 4 days I ate:
fried potato
okonomiyaki potato
shrimp and pork dumpling
ethiopian curry
cambodian curry
pakistani curry
Indonesian curry
Korean jijimi (pancake)
Jamaican jerk chicken
Egyptian sawerderma (chicken saute)

I worked for one day at the booth of my churches English cell group. Basically, those who aren't cooking or serving food have to stand out in the street and collect customers by saying (in Japanese) "how about some Jamaican chicken? Would you like some Indonesian curry. It's delicious!" Everyone along the 1 km road is doing the same thing, so add the music and people's chattering and it's quite a lively place.

The best part about Hokudaisai- even better than the food- was walking around, especially the international part, and talking to all the shop people. Me and Hanna talked with our new friends for an hour about the relations between America, Egypt and Sudan. I chatted with a guy from Spain about Catholicism and Christianity. I met the friends of my precious Indian Princess Ramya.
I watched my Korean friend Minsoek's dance.

Everyone works diligently to set up the best shop. These guys decided that a giant walking bottle of mayonnaise and a paper octopus would do the trick!

What a great weekend!

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

america the beautiful

For those of you who didn't know, yes, I was in America last month. My whole trip home was supposed to be top secret, only known by a few select people with 重い口 (Japanese for those who don't leak secrets easily). I was looking SO forward to seeing the look on my brothers and Grant and Kristen's face when they saw me for the first time. However...

through a mysterious and quite frustrating sequence of events, everyone found out I was coming, leaving only myself surprised how everyone came to know so quickly.

Anyway, it was a through and all beautiful trip home. Grant and Kristen- congratulations. You guys are an amazing couple and now I realize I wouldn't have trading anything for missing your wedding.

After the wedding in Jackson Hole, my family and I went to Yellowstone National Park for the 1st time. This was my second motivation in coming home and seeing lake after lake of crystal blue boiling water, spending 3 whole days with my family (including my sister Bethany, of course), eating Blaine's triple cheesy mac and cheese and seeing the new old faithful errupt in our car were all unforgettable experiences.

Before I came home, I was pretty much dreading going back to America in August. (This speaks of how much I love my life and friends here.) But after going back, I was reminded again how much I love and am loved by so many in America. I am glad I can now say that, although I will really miss this incredible country and the people I have come to love in it, I am excited about coming home.