Tuesday, September 25, 2012

A portrait

The top photo is a portrait of me done by a fourth grader. The bottom is a colored version of that same photo. Notice the giant turd on my shirt and nose hairs.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012


Check out this shirt:

Who proofreads this stuff?  hahahahah

Monday, September 17, 2012

Nasu: Third times a charm!

I have been taking some time to go over old photos that I shot with my cellphone over the course of the summer.  Here are some snaps from my trip mid-summer to Nasu, Japan.  This was my third time hiking it.  I went with my pal Leo and a new friend Kevin (not pictured).  The hike is short and easy.  If you go at a quick pace, you could make it to the top in about an hour and a half.  If you take your time, two or three hours, depending on how many breaks you want to take.  

It offers up a great view at the top for such a small mountain.  I have done a few videos on it in the past.  You can dig through my youtube channel if you're interested.  For now, here are are few pics.  Enjoy!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Ichiro traded to the Yankees

It's old news but it's sad to see Ichiro get traded to the Yankees.  I don't follow baseball much but when there is someone you like, traded to a team you're not so fond of, it's always sad.  The Yankees, through time have sucked up some other former Mariners; A-Rod and The Big Unit.  If Seattle was a winning team, this wouldn't have happened.  Best of luck Ichiro, I don't blame you!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Ice Cream in Japan

Life strange flavors?  Try these two.  The top 'pink' flavor is sakura and the bottom is green tea.  The sakura flavor took some getting used to.  Eventually I liked it.  The green tea was a hit, right off the bat.  I have also had tomato.  It was kinda weird but surprisingly good.  It's sad that summer is almost over, I'd like to try more!  

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Unique flavors - Salty Watermelon

Pepsi released their salty watermelon soda this past summer. The idea seems terrible but I enjoyed it. I asked for the opinion of my friends that tried it and no one was in the middle. Either they loved it or hated it. I'm curious what autumn will have to offer.

Dragon Ball Z - Postage Stamps

I found out the post office is carrying some DBZ stamps. I didnt watch much of the anime growing up but plenty of my friends did. It makes for a nice gift on a hand written postcard.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Aizu: sneak peak

Located in south Fukushima is the city of Aizu. It's a wonderful city that has rich samurai history. I went there this past summer with my sister and brother in-law, to explore what it had to offer.

Before taking the trip up north, I sat down to read about Aizu. Luckily, it was impossible to find any information about it. It's off the beaten path and the likely hood you'll find other western tourists is extremely low.

I first heard about Aizu through one of my schools. I wrote the name down, since it's close and has a castle. As time passed, I slowly forgot about it until my sister mentioned she was coming to visit this past summer. Due to it's proximity to where I live, I put it on the itinerary.

At the moment, I won't go into great details about the city, since I am still working on a video for it. If you happen to read this and are unsure to visit, just go! There is a bus line that loops around the city and costs 500yen the whole day. There is a tourist booth at the train station that can point you in any direction. From Tokyo you can take the train or access via JR bus lines in Shinjuku. It's one of the best sites I have seen in Japan and I have seen quite a few.

9 out of 10 katanas

Slurpees in Japan

What one? Location: Tokyo, Asakusa, 7/11, right in front of the temple gates.

SW Chicken Sandwich

This has nothing to do with Japan. It's just an awesome sandwich I made the other day.

-boiled Chicken, then cubed or shredded, mix with mayo and chipotle seasoning
-pepper jack cheese (melt on chicken)
-jalepenos (lotta 'em)
-lettuce or spinach
-bread, toasted and buttered

Monday, August 20, 2012

Kids Are Dumb

I was at a shop in Asakusa last weekend, looking for some ninja stars. While I was there I overheard a conversation in English. A father was asking his son if he wanted a bow. The son replied "I can make one of those in five minutes." I was kind of stunned but the kid looked like he was twelve and most people that age are retarded. The conversation between this dad and son quickly became more outlandish, with the son making wilder claims. After about a minute of this, the dad says, in Japanese "Speak Japanese!". I turned my head and realized that I was dealing with some spoiled hafu (half Japanese, half something else). They didn't switch but I wish they would have. His stupidity wouldn't have been shielded by another language, as I would have followed him, stealthily; like a ninja.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Beetle bodies

Check out these beetles I found outside my apartment. They're pretty huge and valuable. The males can be sold upwards of $100 in Tokyo. If only I knew a seller...

Summer is halfway over

This summer has gone by fast and I've been having too much fun. It's been a relatively mild summer compared with the past two I have experienced. I really wish I could have made it back to the US to visit all my friends but the airfare is ridiculous. I still haven't been back. At least I'm trying to make the best of it. My sister will be here in two days. I'm looking forward to that. I'll try to get back into the swing of things with my blog and videos. I bought a new hard drive, so I have the space! That's all for now! Later!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Death and Taxes

I'm going into my third year here in Japan and it seems like the taxes just keep going up and up.  Last year it wasn't so bad.  This year, I am curious how I will manage.  I think it's time to be super frugal.  

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Healthy Debate

Many of my elementary schools this year have requested that, if I'm not teaching English, I should participate in a class. This makes downtime unexistant, which is something I'm fine with. I usually request to be placed in a class where I wont get bored; PE, art, music, and science are always at the top of my list. The other day, I was placed in PE, with about twenty highly energetic third graders. I arrived to class about a minute late, they were already stretching. As they counted off in Japanese "一、ニ、三…" I decided to rebel and see who would follow. "one, two, three, four..." I said with a grin. The eight count finished and two boys standing in front of me followed (as I was a leader). I soon became curious how many kids would join. I began to push. The field of students was about four wide and five deep. A grid of twenty with two leaders and myself in the front. I had already infected two. So I pushed... We completed the sixth stretch, I had the entire front row was counting in English. At this moment, the Vice principle appeared and a small argument broke out. I continued to push... The boy, in the front row farthest from me got into a debate with a girl leading the stretches... ---Translation--- Leader girl, "count in Japanese". Boy, "I want to count in English" "you are Japanese, you are not American, count in Japanese" the girl said in a bossy tone. "Vice Principle! Can I count in English?" he said with no hesitation. "Count in whatever language you want" Checkmate. I was satisfied. Not only did I give the kids a chance to speak in English, I gave them a small lesson in rebellion. The class finished off their stretches in unison; "six, seven, eight".

Monday, May 14, 2012

ALT's have too much free time

Family and friends back home often ask me what I do for work.  Of course I teach English but in all honesty, about three quarters of the time I'm completely free.  This gives many people the opportunity to study Japanese, read books, or what you should do; prepare a lesson (who does that?)  I kid, I kid.

Recently, I started to animate in my free time.


Wednesday, May 2, 2012

L is for Luigi

A while back, I was teaching some fourth graders.  The kids were making sketches of their family, which they would introduce later, infront of class.  Each student had to scribble down something that 'their person' liked.  One boy wrote down that his father liked ''baseball''.  Of course, he wrote it in Japanese but in katakana.  I could at least read it (I still can't quickly recognize the kanjis for baseball 野球).  Being the way I am, I ask him to write it in English.  He didn't know how to spell so I said each letter for him.  When he go to 'L', he was stumped.  Right when I was about to help him, a boy sitting infront of him, whips around and says in Japanese 'L, like Luigi'.  A light burst through the boys head and he was able to complete the word.

brutal honesty

While walking to an assembly today, I turned to a boy next to me 

''Do you like meat?''

 him ''Yeah I do'' 

''Do you like meetings'' 

without hesitation ''NO, I DON'T''. 

Keep that brutal honesty kid.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

brandon - part 2 of 2

In part two of the series, we complete the second 'half' of our journey.  To be honest with you, it's not really the second half.  Part one covers the first day and a half while part two covers the next four or five days.  Shooting video gets tiring and eventually, I want to relax and have fun as well.  The last two days Brandon was here have no video footage at all.  I have no video of him where I live.

After that day in Tokyo, we went north and stayed at my place.  The next day we played video games.  The day after, we went back to Tokyo and hung out, all night, until the next day.  There is a lot missing.  

There are also some stories I want to tell about the trip but didn't mention.  At one point, Brandon lost his iPad.  He didn't realize it until about an hour after it was lost.  We had to back track our steps and we found it in the same place it was left.  That story I will save for later.

Generally speaking, this is why many of the travel videos I make are more segment like and less story like.  In order to create a story, your camera always needs to be on.  If you're going to do a segment, you can be more selective.  Anyway, that's all I've got.

Brandon in Shibuya

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Fire Festival - 須賀川 2011

I am the worst at being consistent with posting videos.  The worst.  One month later.  Please enjoy.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Japanese Summer Festival - 那須 与

It's been around a month since I posted. I finally managed to squeeze this one out today. I managed to get most of it done yesterday and it only needed a few extra bits for today.

Next will be the 'Fire Festival' I attended this past Fall. I think after that, I have nothing left so I will probably start swinging hard at the winter break videos. I'll be trying to keep them to around seven total episodes. Probably somewhere around three for Korea and four for the Philippines. I'm not sure yet, I need to review my footage. If I came out with a total of five, I'd be more happy.

Well, thanks for watching and reading!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Broken Japanese

Sometimes I write in Japanese for my students. They always laugh at what I write. Sometimes what I write is incorrect. A student might try to correct me then another student will stop them and whisper to them ''don't, its funny and interesting''. Apparently broken Japanese is as equally entertaining as broken English.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

A+ Homeroom Teacher in Japan

The sixth graders at one of my schools are killer with English.  I love teaching that class every time.  I never get complaints like ''I can't do it'' or ''I don't understand''.  They never say ''why do I have to learn English?'' or ''it's too difficult''.  I'll throw anything at them and they'll always throw it back.  What makes the big difference?  It's their homeroom teacher, who is always trying as hard as he can to use English in the classroom.  

There are those that think the ALT spurs the desire of English.  They can only do so much.  In reality, it's the character of the Japanese homeroom teacher that helps generate this quest for knowledge.

I'm still fairly fresh to the ESL world but I've noticed that Japanese homeroom teachers who show any desire to learn/teach English have students that care much more.  In Japan, there is the custom or idea (I'm not sure which) of ''saving face''.  This basically means  you try to never make a mistake infront of anyone.  That idea makes language learning, entirely more complicated.  

Now if the students have a role model, who is not afraid to make mistakes; how does that change their perception on English?  It changes it considerably.  I have third year junior high school students (9th grade USA/CAN) that don't have an ounce of courage to read simple words. Contrast that with my sixth graders, most of which will attempt to read anything and everything.  

Maybe it's that they aren't to junior high and haven't been hammered by the 'machine' that is Japanese Education.  I tend to think it has much more to do with their teacher, a fellow Japanese person, unashamed to learn and make mistakes.  

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Working on a travel blog and vlog...

A little over two weeks has passed since I made my way back to the Land of the Rising Sun.  I'm back to work and slacking off when it comes to video projects.  Ahead of me lays hours upon hours of footage I have to sift through.  It's boring, tedious, and much of the finished projects feel, unrewarding.    The only satisfaction I obtain, is knowing other people enjoyed my awkward travels.  There isn't much I have to say about Korea.  I've been there three times.  The Philippines however, was a blast!  Stay tuned!  There is plenty I have  yet to say!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

animal farm - 那須町


Friday, January 13, 2012

crop dusting in japan - 日本で散布作物

I'm hacking my way through my summer stuff. I still have a ways to go but I'll make it. One of the other videos is already completed. I just need to clean out my hard drive a bit. I'll post it this weekend. Thanks for watching!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

I'm back

I made it into Japan this past Sunday. I'm not sure when I'll begin the work on my S. Korea/Philippine videos but probably soon. There are about four or five Japan related videos I have to get through first. Let's see if I can get one done every week.