Friday, July 29, 2005
I am SO pumped. Jeff and I have just spent all night preparing for the big trip tomorrow. From my last time in Japan, I remember the AMAZING summer fireworks displays. I remember sitting on a riverbank in Matsudo, watching fireworks pop up along the river at three different stations for over two hours. So naturally, I wanted to make sure Jeff got to see the wonder of Japanese fireworks. Unfortunately, most fireworks displays happen in August, during the time that we'll be in Canada. But we were lucky enough to find out about one set of fireworks happening tomorrow.
The Sumidagawa Fireworks.
In the guide book, I read, "One of the best fireworks displays in Tokyo." Perfect. Just what I want.
We had no idea.
Originally, we thought we'd take our time heading over to Tokyo tomorrow, pick up Joanne and head over to the river around 5pm to get a seat. We were wrong. This week, Jeff told Yuka, someone from our company, our plans. She thought we were crazy. She used to live in Tokyo, close to this location. She told Jeff about how she went there at 10 in the morning, and already the entire riverside was FULL!!! WHAT?!!! Then, today, I talked to one of the English teachers about our plans. She said that yes, this is one of the most popular fireworks displays in all of Japan. It's even broadcast on TV. O-o-o-o-o-o-k-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-y....
So we are now doing our traditional leave-at-4-in-the-morning gig. And we are DRIVING to TOKYO.... oh dear.... DRIVING the streets of TOKYO!!! Are we CRAZY?
We'll be trying to find parking that costs less than oh, 50 bucks for the day. And we will hopefully stake our claim on a fine piece of riverside territory by about 7am.
What will we do then?? Good question! We ARE prepared.... books, Japanese studies, Chinese checkers, digital camera, beer, water, sports drinks, grapefruit juice, rice, kimchi, salted soybeans (they go great with beer... the Japanese version of peanuts)... salad (and dressing), rice crackers, cheese bits (?), apples, bananas, cut up oranges, a thermos of tea, Pringles for Jeff, bread, jam, peanut butter (thanks mom), sunscreen, hats, cooler, mats, beach umbrella, ice packs, chopsticks and various other utensils... YUP, I'm an Urbancok!
Is it worth it? You tell me... read the following description, taken from the JAL website:
- The first venue: From Sakurabashi to Kototoibashi, Tokyo
- The second venue: From Komagatabashi to Umayabashi, Tokyo
- Saturday July 30th
The Sumidagawa Hanabi Fireworks display originated as the Ryogoku Hanabi (festival) in 1733 making this display over 270 years old. Today's version of the display features some 20,000 fireworks and over 900,000 people visit the venues in search of the mid-summer and seemingly impossible to find 'Edo cool.'
WOW. I CAN'T WAIT!!!!!!
Monday, July 25, 2005
Friday, July 22, 2005
We will be home the night of Friday, August 5th. We will leave for Japan again at 8am (ouch!) Monday, August 22nd. So far, we have Saturday, August 13th booked with the Klassen fam. And we will be spending a night somewhere in there with Nath & Rose in Waterloo. I figure we will be at Dagmar & Dave's Sunday the 14th for Dustin's birthday, cause that's how my family works. ;)
Family, of course, is a priority. As well as the extended family of Dagmar & Dave's pool... But you all know that anyhow. We will be a bit protective of our time just cause we want to make sure we can RELAX and ENJOY for a bit. Something we need. But feel free to "book us" for a night, especially if you're not around the full two weeks we are. My goodness, I don't mean to make us sound like celebrities or anything... that last sentence was a bit much, wasn't it?!
the big panorama - white ribbon falls
Originally uploaded by Bob Jones.
i need some of this right now. this picture is from "the white ribbon falls" in Karuizawa. we went there this past weekend. Kathy was pretty sick, and we didn't really get along all that well. this place really left its mark on me though. the water from the falls was so cold, that there was a cold mist coming off it. in fact, i was wearing shorts (it was a hot day) but my legs and feet got pretty cold.
anyways. i need some of that cold refreshing air right now. i won't go into any details, but Kathy and i got into a pretty big fight with the school board coordinator on thursday. the fight is not over yet, and i've had a rock in my gut thinking about it for the last two days. in all of it, we have come to realize that the quality of our teaching does not matter. what is most important is that we follow the rules. it is more important to keep the status quo, to keep the peace, and to keep quiet than to be honest, to stand for what you believe in, or to stand up to someone who treats you rudely. i'm still angry right now, so i may decide to remove this post in a few days. but what a week!
we need to come home to Canada and family and friends. the sooner the better.
Monday, July 18, 2005
A Good Friend Provides a Nice Surprise at the End of a Horribly Long and Mostly Miserable Weekend (phew!)
Sunday, July 17, 2005
The Chihuahua still doesn't like us. He doesn't generally come over to us when called, although I was pretty excited when I told him once to sit in Japanese (suwatte) and he did! I would say he simply tolerates us. So what do you think folks? Do we have a racist dog among us? Does this dog know somehow that we are not Japanese? Is he discriminating against us in his behavior? Cause you know, I've seen him run happily up to Japanese folks dozens of times, tongue a-hanging, bum a-waggling...Tell me, Mr. Chihuahua, what gives??
Wednesday, July 13, 2005
Sunday, July 10, 2005
Friday, July 08, 2005
Of course, on a (little bit) more serious note, both Kathy and I were really fascinated by the looks on the kids faces. It doesn't take speaking the same language to really connect with kids. I'm finding the longer I'm here, the more they trust me. And the more they trust me, the more I can tell them the craziest stories. (I haven't told them my cow tipping stories yet, but you'd be surprised what they understand when they trust you). That's the interesting thing about communication - it's not often about the words...
Thursday, July 07, 2005
Monday, July 04, 2005
I saw this picture in the newspaper that had been absentmindedly tossed on my desk at my friday school. I asked a teacher to dicipher the map. Next thing you know, we were heading to Fujioka town to look at a beautiful hydrangea garden. Funny thing is, we actually found it! And it was beautiful. Unfortunately I won't have the pictures developed until later in the week, but it was a very pleasant hour and a bit drive, and a beautiful walk through the garden.
And Beth and Jason and Jacob, we know we've gotten pretty bad at emailing, but you should know that we finally found some mozza cheese and ate your pizza last night. WOW. I had no idea how good that could be! Back home, Kraft is often relegated to second rate (especially if you don't have kids). But that was the best pizza I've had in this country yet! Thank you.