Slacker’s new clothes… and shoes.

My wardrobe sucks right now. All I really own are cargo pants, jeans, and free t-shirts that were handed out at job fairs and things. I need to upgrade to khaki’s and polo shirts for work. I’ll be taking care of that today. Maybe I’ll go crazy and even get some button downs…

Shoes are also an issue. I need to get some that I can take on and off in an instant. As you probably know, in Japan shoes are taken off upon entering the house, also in some public places, like when visiting temples and the like. If I remember correctly, shoes are even taken off when going school. Elementary, junior high, and high school all usually require shoes to be taken off, and a change to slippers necessary.

I hang out with a lot of ‘been to Japan’ types, and a lot of Japanese people as well. We had a party before I left Bloomington… and just like in Japan, everyone left their shoes at the ‘genkan’. Click the image to see where my clunkers are. If you care.

Well… they’re not exactly nice and straight like you should organize your shoes when in Japan… but hey…

Harvey out.

Undercover Brother

Wow.

I’m in Iowa. I was watching TV, and a commercial for ‘Undercover Brother’ came on…

Normally, under no circumstances would I ever be interested in a movie so obviously lame. That would be just as bad as watching ‘The Animal’ or something… You know what I mean.

But… Now I’m in Iowa. I should be packing for my upcoming trip… but no… instead I’m wasting time on the net and watching TV. I’m going to regret this someday. Maybe.

Today I went to the store to get a suitcase with my mom. We ended up getting an Alantic because it was like 50 percent off, yeah! Anyway though, the lady at the store was insanely knowledgeable about luggage. Which was great, because she could tell us about the Teflon coating on the new Samsonite model not being all that when compared to the balistic nylon on the Alantic… But man, she was excited. I was amazed at the different luggage facts that she was throwing around. She must have had some memory…

Anyway, enough of that. Back to packing. Tomorrow I buy Time-out Tokyo which will hopefully help me know what to do, and where to do it once I finally get in Tokyo and have some money to spend.

Packing

Slacker to the very end…

I better start packing now. Most of what I have is just books, clothes, cd’s, and my laptop, so I don’t expect to have much trouble moving.

I went down to a shipping company in our area called PakMail. I asked some questions about shipping stuff to Tokyo, they sold me some boxes, and now I’m filling them up. I heard that cardboard boxes lose a lot of their stability once they have been used once, so it’s better to buy new ones than getting ones from the grocery store or something.

Of course the shipping company selling the boxes told me this, so they could be full of crap…

Through this company it costs $5.50 per kg to mail stuff to Narita Airport. Apparently if you go through the US Postal Service they have something called M-BAG where you can ship boxes of books for $1.00 per kg.

PakMail warned me that lots of international students at my university have used that before and had their stuff lost or damaged upon arrival.

Again, they could just be giving me the run-around to make me use their service instead… but I’m sufficiently scared. I don’t wanna lose my books!

The packages will be sent to Narita Airport actually, so I’ll have to find some way to pick them up after they arrive… I could have it delivered to someones door, but that would cost an extra 60 bucks or something crazy.

Man. I gotta get busy…

Man. This is frikkin’ insane. I didn’t think I had this much to pack… But there is so much I have to figure out what to take to Japan, and what to leave in Iowa…

Decisions decisions…

-Harvey

Drive

ドライブ行こう! Let’s go drive!

Huh? Go driving? To where?

You just wanna… drive?

I was first introduced to the concept of ‘driving for pleasure’ while I was in Japan. Since being back in the states I had completely forgotten about it until a Japanese friend recently reminded me.

Maybe it’s because I’m from the Midwest… but we never just went out and ‘drove’ for fun.

Driving to the mall? Sure. Drive to the arcade? Many times. Drive to the lake? Ok. But just… drive?

I guess if I lived in a really scenic area it would be more entertaining, but just driving around Indiana, or most likely anywhere in the midwest, strikes me as being really freakin’ boring.

Is this ‘drive’ a ‘Japan-thing’? Or is it just something that I’m not used to?

Here is a ‘Drive Guide’ website that I dug up with a quick Google search. I haven’t actually taken the time to read through
the whole thing yet, but it looks fairly interesting.

It looks like it has information on choice spots to drive around in throughout Japan. Since the public transportation system is so convenient in Japan, I guess driving can really be seen as a pleasure activity. Where I live though, without a car, you’re not going anywhere.

The whole ‘car’ thing has a different feel in Japan. From what I noticed, people in Japan tended to keep their cars extremely clean. A lot of my friends went out of their way to decorate the insides of their car, kind of like some people decorate their rooms. Stuffed animals in the windshield, fake flowers hanging from the mirrors, trash cans in the backseat, whatever.

I read somewhere that the lack of personal space in Japan causes people to value the time they have in their vehicles away from the rest of the world. I don’t buy that particular idea… but it’s one possible explanation.

Enough babbling for one day. I’m sleepy.

-Harvey



Food

One thing I noticed after being in Japan for sometime was that, not only is the language different, the content of daily conversation also has a particular Japanese twist to it. (duh.)

For example, the subject of cute clothes, cute celeberities, and food seemed to come up almost every day.

Food. Yeah, we talk about food in the states too, but it seems different in Japan (like just about everything else). For example, whenever I told someone that I lived in Nagoya, the next thing they asked me would be if I have ever tried Misonikomi Udon, or Kishimen. These are foods that can pretty much only be found in Nagoya. There is a list of some of the different ‘Aichi-ken’ foods, you can see some of the yummy treats. Heh.

Along the same lines, if you go to Osaka, you gotta eat Takoyaki, if you go to Hiroshima, you gotta try their famous ‘noodles inside’ okonomiyaki. You had also better be sure to bring something back for your friends or anyone close to you… Nagasaki has SaraUdon, Kobe has Kobe-gyuu, every place has something famous.

It seems like anywhere you go, you can find some food that that certian area is famous for. I think you call them the 名物 ‘meibutsu’ of that area. Even when I went to Korea the first thing people asked me when I got back to Japan was whether or not I ate Kimchi…. In fact, when I asked people what they wanted as a present from Korea, most people wanted some type of food…

I mean, yeah, these things are tasty and kinda cool, but it’s not the first thing that I personally think about when traveling to a new place.

Of course, we have some of this in the states as well, but I don’t feel that it is as profound. For example, if you go to Texas, I hear you gotta try the steak. If you go to Boston, you gotta try the Clam Chowder… I think Clam Chowder goes for California as well. If you’re in Iowa, yeah, you gotta try the corn! Not that it tastes any different… but hey, it’s Iowa. Other than that though.. I think that’s pretty much it. Idaho has potatoes, yeah, but who really cares? If I go on a trip to Idaho I would be shocked if my friends wanted me to bring back some potatoes…

Anyway, food seems to be a very important part of Japanese culture… ah, not to ramble, but food is even associated with the seasons in Japan it seems.

In the winter, you gotta eat Nabe. This not me, it’s just another Random Gaijin

In the summer, you gotta eat Curry… why you would want to eat hot, spicy curry in the summer escapes me… but whatever. My friends tell me that you eat curry in the summer because it helps you sweat, and the sweat evaporating from your body helps to transfer the heat away from the surface of your skin, and that cools you down. I don’t know about you guys, but I don’t like sweating. That’s why I work in IT. Heh. You can keep your summer curry!

Man… I need to take a journalism class and learn how to write or something…

Anyway, if you have anything to say about this, come discuss it in the forums.

Cyaz.

-Harvey

I wonder what it’ll be like…

Well, less than 20 days until I hop on the plane and head to Japan for the next huge chunk of my life. I wonder what it is going to be like. Tokyo, geesh. Actually I wish I could have found a job in some other part of Japan, but everything I could find was in Tokyo. Nagoya, Kobe, Osaka, even Hokkaido would have been interesting. Luckily, the job I got allows for a lot of travel, so I think that after six months or so I’ll be out of Tokyo and maybe even to some ‘inaka’ country side place. That’ll be awesome.

Until now I have spent my time slacking through college and doing random part-time jobs where I still manage to have enough free time to do stuff like this. It’s been fun!

Indiana University never disappoints with lots of intersting things to offer. Even though the campus isn’t ‘really’ very diverse, if you pick the right places to hang out you can be surrounded by diversity.

I like the small town feel of Bloomington, yet the number of interesting college kids keeps the town interesting and always moving.

Bloomington residents seem to have a lot of pride. Downtown bloomington can be described as ‘pretty freakin small’, but at the same time, most of the shops are unique to Bloomington

When StarBucks first opened up the locals protested, smashing the store window with bricks. This was around the same time as the whole ‘WTO’ thing was going on, so tensions were high.

Nashville

一、二週間前に(もう忘れた)Bloomingtonから車で20分ぐらい離れたNashvilleという町に行ってきた。まゆみさんは、Indianaで有名なNashivilleにまだ行ったことがなかったから一緒に連れて行った。

Nashville はこいう小さくて、落ち着いた町である。Nashvilleは、芸実とか、Craftsに有名で、毎年Indianaのいろいろな所から観光客が遊びに来る。1990の財産評価によると、Nashivilleの人口がたったの873人だ。私の高校の学生人数の方が多かった。

この写真が結構アメリカ的だと思ったから、隠れて警察がアイスクリームを食べているところの写真と取って見ました。かわいいでしょう?Nashvilleには犯罪が起こることが少ないから、警察さんでもゆっくりする余裕もある。普段はアメリカの警察はアイスクリームじゃなくて、ドーナツを食べるけど。

その白いT-Shirtを着ている肩が私だ。ばれないように、私の前に座っている友達が私の写真を取るふりして、警察の写真を撮った。スパイって感じでしょう?

この次の写真が面白いと思った。なぜかというと、その看板に書いてある言葉。”Coldest Pop in Town”。なるほど。これがNashvilleで一番つめたいか。見つけてよかった!友達のゆこもかなり喜んでいる。

Indianaに住んでいなかったら別にNashvilleに遊ぶ必要はないけど、もし、車を持っているIndiana大学の生徒だったら、是非、一回はいいから、Nashvilleに行ってみればいいと思う。

つまらないことを読ませてすみません。 

ハービー

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