Saturday, December 22, 2007


Ive been reading and sleeping and eating and drawing. I havent had an English conversation with someone since Monday. My futon has been moved into the living room, and my roommate moved out. I wrote some blog entries at home, but then I got sick of the idea of talking about myself, so I cant manage to bring them to the internet cafe. I get sad when I think about my dying sketchblog, but then Im happy because I know my comic book is taking shape. Very, very, slowly.

EDIT 2007.12.27
I added the posts I wrote at home.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Frozen Peas

I didn’t leave the house today. Actually, I just went to 7-11, but it’s after midnight. So, I didn’t leave the house yesterday. I put myself together enough (but somehow forgot to button my fly) to bike around the corner and go to the only place open 24 hours in this city. I need something to make this toothache go away. Im not sure what I thought Id find at a convenience store that never has anything I need ever, but if there were pliers for sale I would have spent my last few yen on them.

I didn’t get out of bed until four (except to pee a few times). I heard the doorbell at about 11am. I didn’t budge. Whoever it was, I am sure I didn’t want to see them. I was awake, in bed (or on futon), but there was nothing to get me to actually leave my room. No plans, friends, work, ideas. I read a little bit. I stared at Owl Skunk.

Finally, I was a little hungry and got up and poured myself some cereal. If it weren’t for food I would probably just float away. It gives me purpose. I need some everyday. After the cereal I took a bath. It ended abruptly, as usual, fearfully jumping out of the hot water, convinced I just heard one of the paper doors slide open. Ive never lived alone, turns out Im horribly paranoid.

I could have drawn today, but I didn’t want to. The phrase creative paralysis keeps creeping into my head. I think about what I could be potentially painting or drawing and Im immediately bored of myself. The other day I started work on a watercolour still life of all the fruit people have been giving me. That isn’t what I want to be drawing. I think of working on my comic book, which I have resolved will mostly be about me and my lack of knowledge about anything else, and I am repulsed by the idea of drawing my face or hands again. At least not today.

My comic has turned into a monster. I don’t just feel guilty when I don’t work on it, I feel like I am turning my back on the one interesting thing I can accomplish in my life. Without it Im lost. And sometimes Im terrified to touch it.

I also don’t have a desk. And the aesthetics of a workplace are important. Sitting in my dirty kitchen or on the itchy tatami, fluorescent bulbs humming over my head, isn’t exactly an environment conducive to art-making. Or am I making excuses? Maybe I don’t have what it takes at all-- even though I can think of many examples of how little it actually takes.

Anyway, creative paralysis.

So now Im writing this. Im at home, on my internet-free laptop. It’s kind of like what a castaway stranded on a deserted island would do. With no one to talk to, no one who speaks my language (and not just English), I keep my sanity by keeping a record. A list to prove I existed. I am alone, in Japan, and trying to make the pain of my toothache go away by sticking frozen peas between my cheek and gums. And also, I took something that Im sure will knock me out for a few days.

Until then.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

More More More

Today Jon asked me why I don’t write blog posts at home and then bring them to the internet café on my little pink USB stick. It’s true, I do have a lot of downtime at home and I spend huge portions of it sleeping or in the bath. I could do something a little more productive, and update this blog thing.

But whenever I write here I feel like I’m complaining or just giving mundane details of my day-to-day life. Maybe that’s what blogs are. Hilarious situations happen here a lot, but when I sit in front of the computer screen I draw a blank. Sketchblogging is so much easier (if I could just get myself to do some of that!).

As I write this a little Japanese voice inside my computer is asking me “sō desu ka?” How appropriate. Within the last week Ive gone from banning the Japanese language in my home (at least when it’s gaijin saying things I don’t understand) to having a slight grasp on the language. When I first came to Japan I didn’t know a word. I couldn’t recognize anything said on TV or to me. At my first (and only) Japanese lesson a few weeks ago, the woman was asking me for my name and I gave her a blank stare that created a whole new remedial section in my beginner’s class.

Now Im starting to pick things up. It took a combination of hearing the same thing repeated over and over, learning about the grammatical structures, and seeing the words written in romanji in books. But, even when you read Japanese in the familiar script it is pronounced differently than in English. For example, “desu” is pronounced dess. The “u” is silent. And “hajimemashite” is an example of how tricky it is. It’s pronounced ha-jee-may-mosh-tay. I’d say I know about fifty words. I can make a few questions but cant really put sentences together beyond “My name is…” and “I like it.”

Tonight I had a Nabe party at my house. Jon was here and some former students from Nova, as well as a woman I give private English lessons to. She came to the grocery store with me and it was amazing! I could just pick up a product and she could tell me what it was and what was in it! That’s part of my reason for wanting to learn Japanese. Also, it gives me some brain food. But knowing that even if I study intensely for a few years I wont be completely fluent makes me feel defeated and unmotivated. Because I know I wont put that much effort into it. I think I have the attitude that if Im not going to be perfect at it (and will forget most of it when I move back home) it isn’t even worth spending time on. Of course, then I look around and realize where I am and pick back up my Kanji Starter book.

Like today, for example. I was in the shower and Jon was cooking pancakes (it was 4pm). All of a sudden the hot water turned off! Like, nothing was coming out of the showerhead. I got out of the bathroom and into my freezing apartment and asked Jon what happened. He had leaned on the hot water heater control. I stood there trying to fix it for twenty minutes, whining about my situation and screaming “I hate Japan!” I pushed the four buttons in every sequence conceivable and but nothing worked. The voice inside the box just kept saying, something-something-blah-blah-kudasai. I had to call Sister Fuji, luckily she came over and said the problem was that we hadn’t turned off the faucets. That’s what that voice was saying. Of course.

Funny thing happened yesterday. I was trying to find the kanji for “Kudamatsu” so I Googled “Japanese Kanji Kudamatsu.” Guess what the first result was… youre looking at it.

The Food

I hate the food here. Other than the ridiculously expensive strawberries, I find most things here unappealing. The bread I bought yesterday was gross. I threw up after eating at the Tex-Mex place in Iwakuni on Sunday. No matter what I buy I can taste Japan in it.

Jon coming here has validated my opinion of the food. Thus far, he’s not a fan. The soymilk is different, the coffee tastes watery, and tofu dishes lack any kind of spice or flavour. We’re not the only ones, though. Non-vegetarian gaijin hate the food, too. And it’s not even being afraid of something new or different, it’s just totally unappetizing. I watch cooking shows on TV and have never once started salivating from what Ive seen. And unless you’ve been here I don’t want your opinion of how I should feel about the food. Going to a Japanese themed restaurant or an American sushi place is not the same.

There is a place in Tokuyama I really like though, called Trés Café. The menu is completely Japanese (with no pictures) but Ive been there enough times with Ashley (who can read and speak the stuff) to know how to order the ¥800 set (it’s a great deal!). I know I impressed Jon yesterday when I ordered us both the sets (which includes a salad or sandwich, fruit, toast, jam, and soup) and answered what kind of soup (pumpkin), said we wanted salad and communicated which dressing. I forgot about the jam flavour question, though. So when the waiter managed to get “Strawberry, blueberry?” out in English I asked if he was asking about the coffee flavour. That got a laugh from the chef and other waiters later when I saw him retell his hilarious gaijin-tale. But Trés Café isn’t Japanese food, obviously. They don’t even have chopsticks there.

I do like noodles sometimes. I love the ramen at Antonio’s yatai. Last night some guy ordered me and Jon tofu Oden, understanding we were vegetarian. I ate a piece out of politeness (and complete drunkenness), but a piece of tofu floating around with fish, pork and eggs in a dirty pan with soy sauce isn’t exactly vegetarian. My spirit is slowly being broken.

I have tons of food in my house right now. Jon brought me a huge jar of peanut butter and bags of beans (among other things) from Canada. And there were massive leftovers from the Nabe (my fridge is stuffed with cabbage and vegetables I don’t know the names of). Sister Fuji keeps bringing me fruits and vegetables and my dining room table has a fruit bowl overflowing with grapefruits, kiwis, and mandarins. Yup, food.

God, I hate this blog.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007


Thanks so much for the books everyone!

I've started to learn some Japanese and read a bit of kanji. I'm no where near the 2,000 characters the Japanese government deems 'essential' but I have figured out I live in Yamaguchi, or 山口. 山 [yama] means 'mountain' and and '口' [guchi] can mean mouth or opening. I think it is pronounced kuchi when you're talking about a mouth.

So, Im like practically fluent, right?

Ive been doing that to keep busy. And picking up a few English lessons. Jon came to Kudamatsu Friday, so Ive been bringing him around, showing him the sights... the rice fields, internet cafe, The Mall. We went to Miyajima yesterday and had fun going in the mountains looking at deer and looking for monkeys. I even saw a raccoon-dog! Which is a recent life-long dream of mine.

Tuesday night Im having a nabe party at my house, with Jon and some of the Japanesies (nickname for the gaggle of Japanese women we hang out with). Tonight we're headed to the Indian restaurant and Antonio's yatai.

Ok, my time is up!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Desperate Plea


As some of you may know, two months ago I packed it all up and moved to lovely Kudamatsu, Japan. As soon as I started to settle in here, the company I worked for went bankrupt. Having no money or options I've decided to stay put and squat in my apartment until I am forcibly removed.

So, here I am. Broke, no internet (this post is being brought to you by a telepathic Jesus, he owed me one), no television, no newspapers, no books.

I have a wall. That I stare at.

And all the shitty comics I draw.

Dont get me wrong, some days I do have great adventures here. Like visiting a shrine with a strange man I met at a yatai, trying to get a DVD rental card, going to dozens and dozens of 'Goodbye' parties, watching little men prune trees, practicing touching, getting punched in the arm by a bartender, photographing worm fights. Im suprised Ive had so much fun on so little yen.

So in conclusion, what I am asking is... will someone, for the love of god, send me a book!?!?

It's a book-a-thon! I am your local librarian, collecting for the needy. Comic books, mini-comics, exciting fiction, non-fiction, VCR manuals, anything that has to do with space, black holes, the historical archeology of New England, art history, contemporary art history, any kind of history, biographies, books about Mexico (or how to get there from here), old textbooks... I'll reading fucking Mein Kempf if you send it. My mind is getting all gooey and I need some thoughts that dont have to do with me to start pumping through it.

Send me your favorite book, one that blew your mind and changed your life. And come February 10th I'll send it back. Or I'll send you someone else's.

(Nothing recommended by Oprah, religious, or about Japan, please.)

Thank you. I love you.

And do it quick! I move in about a month.

We're in love now. Cant you tell?

(email me for my address)

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Peculiar Places

I can only describe my current situation as bizarre.

I woke up at 3PM on a community futon in an abandoned apartment. Now I’m in the living room trying desperately to catch unsecured wireless internet signals.
These last few weeks without work and without cash have been strange. There isn’t a lot to do around here and even less when youre broke. So we’ve been trying to make our own fun. My roommate and I have decided to go through the entire OC television series on DVD. And Ive been drawing. Not as much as Id like, but I did finish a page last night. I feel a little “blocked” or I maybe I just don’t know where to start with my comics. I keep debating things like style, medium, size, and content in my head. But I always return to my original plan. I think I need to just keep on truckin’.

And then there’s the stuff we do for fun... which I wont write on here.

So Frangah and I went to Hiroshima on Friday. We were seeing Katie off. She went back to England. It was sad. And it had been a late night on Thursday so we were all kind of “tired.” It was an interesting train ride.

The first stop on the Hiroshima tour was Starbucks. God I miss that place. I miss real coffee.

Then we went to Subway for lunch. But the real point of the trip wasnt just to indulge myself in the nostalgias of home, we were looking for Hiroshima Castle. It took a while. Mostly because Frangah had to stop every ten minutes to put his head down on the bridge. At one point we sat on a bench in the rain for an hour watching a crane that was watching a fish it killed float backwards down the river. Or something.

But we found the castle! It was really nice this time of year. We sat in front of it for a couple hours. We even thought about going inside, as the heaps of tourists who wandered by were. Eventually we got up to check out the entrance fee. 360¥! Too expensive. Frangah did have the idea of getting our speed up and running past the cashier...

Then we went to a foreign grocery store, where I bought some tortilla chips, pickles, and icing sugar. And after that we headed back to Starbucks, where I spent as much as the entry fee to the castle and then some.

Around 6PM we took the local train to Iwakuni. It was a rough ride and the cars were packed. But we had a plan. Take the 780¥ train to Iwakuni, go to Mike’s Tex-Mex restaurant for a few hours, and then take the 8PM train back to Kudamatsu. Because the Kuddah station is unattended after 9PM, so we bought tickets to the next stop after Iwakuni, and saved about 1,000¥. It’s OK, we’re gaijin, and we don’t understand the fancy train system.

So last night Frangah and I went to Antonio’s yatai. It’s pretty much guaranteed that we’ll go there and get free food and free beer. Last night was a lot more exciting than usual, though. Apparently Antonio’s drunk “dad” was paying for our drinks the first few hours. Then around 2AM a really drunk Japanese guy sat next to me. We started talking a little and Frangah and I both ended up with an extra 10,000¥ on the walk home. He felt bad we hadn’t been paid. And he was really drunk.

Other than all that, Jon is coming to visit December 7th, I move into my new apartment January 3rd, everyone I know here is moving away... and I learned how to make a really delicious chilli.

Monday, November 12, 2007

I'm Hungry

I need ideas for food. Im sick of eating rice and pasta and pizza everday.

The restrictions are:
+Must be vegetarian
+I have no oven, blender, food processor, microwave
+I do have a toaster oven and stove
+Has to use simple ingredients that I have a chance of recognizing without having to read a package


Saturday, November 10, 2007

Sunshine and Lollipops

I am encouraging you not to read the following. Especially children.

Now that I have a plan and kind of know what Im doing I have time to get really really pissed. I have no money and no answers. The Nova teachers still havent been paid two month's salaries. I used all the money I had to come to this fucking country. Now Im in a huge hole that'll take years to climb out of. Not to mention the government here doesnt give a shit about all the unemployed gaijins. There are some rumours that if I go to this city and find some sort of window marked "Nova" I may get a form that'll tell me how long I have to wait to get paid--but obviously, no one at the magic window speaks English. This is a full-on rant right now. No paragraph breaks. I was interrupted from watching some godawful video next door with the news, via text message, that there is a meeting a few cities over tomorrow, at 10am, where I can resign? Or get the paperwork to resign? Because if I dont resign I have to interview again? I DONT EVEN KNOW! These fucking broken English text messages being passed down through dozens of people make no sense. Not to mention, I dont even have a cell phone! Im hearing all this second and third hand! Just pay me my goddamn money! And Im not going to resign!? I dont even qualify for unemployment! I just biked here and Im spending all the money I have to figure out what's going on. And Im fucking hungry and sick of alternating between rice and pasta every night! I feel like Im going to explode. I am so pissed. I want to rip this computer from the wall and scream at these people around me. But they wouldnt ever understand a fucking word Im saying!! My shoes have huge holes in them. You can see my socks. I cant afford new ones and if I could it'd take too long to try and buy them. AND I HAVE NOTHING TO READ and was desperate enough to start the fucking Da Vinci Code. AND maybe I got a job that starts in two months, but the Korean winter camp hasnt called me back, and I dont even know how Id afford to get there. Today someone made a phone call to Nova personnel in Osaka to ask about our apartments and no one has a fucking clue when we have to leave. There advice was wait for a court order. SPEAKING OF COURT ORDERS--my dentist bill continues to go unpaid, which will result in another summons... as well as my student loan, cell phone, and soon my website. Read this for a laugh. Im never getting paid. Fuck I fucking hate this fucking place. And, as a result of this rant my mom is going to be pissed at me and make me feel bad. AHHHH! I cant believe how bad I got screwed coming here. The life I used to have and hated is gone, and been replaced by a new life I hate. I just feel like it'd be OK if there was someone I could punch. Or light on fire.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Maybe OK

I got a job offer! The position starts January 22. It's a good school around where I'm living now. Pay is good, hours are short, company isnt bankrupt... everything I've been dreaming of. I have also had a phone interview for an ESL winter camp in Korea, to fill the time (and wallet) until the other job starts.

We'll see, we'll see. I'm totally expecting something to go terribly wrong so I wont let myself get too happy yet. But, yesterday after the interview I celebrated by buying myself this ¥300 kawaii tiny fake cookie set.

So if I dont think about how I havent paid any of my bills this month (and wont be for the next two) and how I could possibly be kicked out of my apartment at any moment-- I am totally pumped.

Monday, November 5, 2007

I've Lost My Mind

I wasnt going to come to the internet cafe today. It's expensive and shared computers creep me out. But, as I was sitting at home alone, knitting and singing Mariah Carey's greatest hits, I thought the walk would do me good.
Since my unemployment began I've been spending my days sleeping, taking long baths, drawing comics (that I want to put on the internet, but swore I wouldnt), and meeting random Japanese people.
Today I was picked up by this woman known as "Sister Fuji." Yesterday my roommate received an encrypted message from Fuji on her cell phone that read: "Janet I pick up 15:00 Japanese lesson. Just joke. OK, let me know." Obviously I wrote back "yes!" and today I woke up just in time to have some coffee and begin our adventure.
She drove me to Kasado Island, where I saw a huge plastic dinosaur. Then she gave me a big bag of food. She was sorry I didnt eat meat, because the bag had a lot of meat in it. We talked about finding me a job, how many siblings I have, what I think of Japan, what I am looking for in a boyfriend (I answered: smart, likes computers or comics, older. She told me her 40 year old brother in Kyoto would be perfect). You know, basic English conversation stuff. Then she bought me dinner. We went to Joyfull, a family restaurant mashed with a izakaya. I got pasta with eggplant and tomato sauce. Halfway in I realized it included ham. Everything here has fucking meat in it.
Ive decided I may try to learn how to write in Japanese. Because I think I'll have more success with that than speaking it.
So my day was weird. I wish I could explain it better, but I dont have to money to sit here telling you all how I'm a complete novelty in Kudamatsu, and people just want to talk to me and take my picture in front on dinosaurs.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Miyajima Island

Best shot of the day: a deer wanders in front of the O-Torii gate.

I had a job interview today. I'd say it went well, but there would be a lot to figure out with moving and key money and stuff. I would be teaching really young children--glorified babysitting. It is in Yamaguchi City. I have some more interviews coming up next week so maybe I wont die. Maybe. This month will be strange. Everyone's going home, and my roommate is going to Tokyo for a week.
Yesterday some former students took me and some other teacher's to Miyajima Island for some sightseeing. It was a beautiful place and I felt kind of sad that I couldnt sit and paint there for the day. But I'll try to go back. We had a good time, despite me feeling terribly sick (keep that in mind when looking at the photos of me). On the way home we stopped in Iwakuni, too. I'm glad I got to see some of Japan, and for so cheap!
Everyone here is being extremley nice and helpful to us out-of-work gaijin. The interview I had today was setup by a Japanese woman who I know through a friend. She's been trying to get everyone work and has even found people who would put us up if need be.
I never would've imagined I could do what I've been doing here... going on interviews, biking to an internet cafe, traveling with strangers.
And I had a really bizarre moment today at The Mall, after the interview. I'm standing there in my suit (which is a skirt) and heels, trying desperately to find a Mirah Carey CD for me and my roommate to go halves on. Where did Jeannette go?

We spend some time petting [and being chased by] the deer.

Biggest Rice Spoon in the World!

Typical Miyajima scene.

Inside the Itsukushima Shrine

An Australian, Canadian, American, Brit, and Japanese

The former students teach us how to pet the wooden man.

Preparing the Okonomiyaki

I was very happy to get vegetalian Okonomiyaki for lunch.

Me being pensive...

Kintai Bridge, Iwakuni

(stray kitten that fell in love with me)

(photo op on the drive home)

See more photos on my Flickr page.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007


They shut off my internet. We didnt pay the bill (because we havent got paid). Now Im at some smokey internet cafe paying 480¥ an hour to send out my resume and update my blog.

I am poor. Send me money.

Sunday, October 28, 2007


My first attempt at making "sushi" or whatever you'd call rolled up vegetables. A student explained to me how to do it. It came out OK, but a little messy.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Turning Japanese

Let's lighten the mood and forget about all this "bankruptcy" stuff. So, below I document my second attempt of dying my hair (or denying my roots?). What is not pictured it the 30 minutes I spent at the pharmacy looking at boxes and trying to figure out from the design and model on front what exactly the product does. The first stuff I bought did nothing, but it had an amazing applicator that only technology advanced Japan couldve developed. It was like a comb, and the product was completely drip free (and unproductive). The second attempt got the results I wanted plus many bonus side effects.

First, the tools. Who needs directions? I've been doing this since I was 12.

The "foam" was more of a drippy bubbly water, that stained everything it touched.

It was all over the place, my neck, hands... the sink, floor, washing machine. Luckily my roommate was there to document and moisten paper towels for me.

I scrubbed my skin all night, but the next day I still looked like I'd been punched in the neck and hand. And like a gaijin dying to fit in. Which I'm not!


My company has filed for bankruptcy. Ive been been with my coworkers all day watching the Japanese press conferences and having no idea what's going on. No matter how hard I concentrate I just cant understand Japanese.

Click here to read the latest news.

What does this mean for me? I have no idea.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Pick my next country!

As far as I can tell there's no work for me in Japan. The market for hiring unskilled gaijin is flooded. Where should I head to next? Suggestions/offers? I'll go anywhere and do any job, live on a couch (beats my futon mat), do your dishes, laundry...

Serious offers only.

Thursday, October 25, 2007


I just ate Indian food in Tokuyama! It was amazing. It was the best meal Ive had since Ive been here. I decided one of the cooks is my new boyfriend.

So, we still havent been paid. The President of the company is missing. And now it's getting real, when friends say they have no money for coffee and they literally have none. I'm still looking for jobs, I have a lot of work to do with that, but they're turning off our internet soon for lack of payment, so that will make it very difficult.

If I dont quit my job and the company goes bankrupt I will receive 80% of the wages due to me in 6 to 12 months. And then I dont know if they'll deposit that into my bank account, or mail the money, and to where. I dont know how I would access the money outside of Japan. I dont know if I should keep going, or devote myself to finding new work full-time.

My belly is full and happy.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Another "Run In" With The Law

Jeannette Langmead paper cranesI guess I'll start with... I learned how to make paper cranes. It was a small goal I had set for myself ever since I picked up a random pack of origami paper from 7-11 one night. I had the idea that instead of keeping all the cranes and letting them overrun my apartment (yeah, Im talking to you), I'd take them to the river, douse them in vodka, and set them on fire. This had been the plan for weeks... or days.

So the other night after a bottle of red wine [each] I forced my roommate, neighbor, and a teacher from Tokuyama (who has the good sense to be going home) to make cranes in the kitchen. We decided after all we'd been through at work the last few days it was the perfect time to go light these guys on fire. So we gathered our supplies and went.

Jeannette Langmead paper cranes

As far as I can recollect, it worked like a charm and everything was going fine. We were quietly standing on the bridge lighting the little birds ablaze and throwing them down to the water... where they softly floated away, bringing with them all of our troubles.

Actually, it was dark, and once they fell you couldnt see much.

But, since it's Kudamatsu, this paper-pyro game lasted about five minutes before the cops showed up. We all knew the routine, alien card, sumimasen and arigato. As the cops were leaving it dawned on me, we need a picture! So the four of us ran back to the one newbie cop saying picture, picture! He looked a little confused, but he agreed. I think he thought we wanted him to take a picture of us. Once I snapped the [really awful] photo below he ran back to his cop car. And the gaijin stumbled home and assumably went to bed.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Fake Sick

I didnt go into work today. I called out sick. I decided today will be better spent finding a new job and doing some laundry.

The situation is bizarre. They're closing massive amounts of school, teachers are being relocated, quitting and going home, or finding other work. So no one would give a shit if I left. It would help them.

Even when I called out sick today, I had to call the Osaka office. Osaka is far away, but that's how this company works. I dont have any managers to fight with, give ultimatums, or ask questions.

There is this one guy in Hiroshima who's like my boss and possible knows that I am not getting the salary advance I was promised. And I fully intend to bitch him out over the phone next time he answers. Because they havent send me any notes telling me that money isnt coming.

That's another thing about not getting paid yesterday. The company didnt say shit about it. Monday we received a fax that pay would be delayed until Friday. Friday came and went...?

I realize now I'll have to really focus on getting a new job, even if September's pay comes through soon. And then there is always October's pay to worry about next month (a much fatter check for me). I know I will get paid eventually, but I need to make sure I can survive in Japan long enough for that day to come.

(Not to mention my stack of unpaid bills in the US I was going to take care of with my advance.)

A friend, and one of the teachers at my school is booking her ticket back to England this weekend. My roommate doesnt plan on working past October 31st. She said she'd travel and go back home.

And I really wanted to go to Iwakuni on Monday, to get some Tex-Mex food and see some old bridge.

Ok, no more blogger, time to send out some frikkin resumes.


I didnt get paid today. When they said we'd get paid.

I cant afford to live. I cant afford to change jobs, I cant afford to go home.

I dont know if I should go back to work tomorrow.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Hikari Beach

Nothing like a beach trip in October.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Hikari Train Station

Why I Like My Job

I like explaining random American things to the students for no reason whatsoever. Like today I was hungry and asked a woman if she'd ever had Mexican food. She said no and I spent fifteen minutes telling her all about tacos, burritos, and guacamole (I'd say something like, Avacado. You understand? Ok. Smash. Add ingredients, for example, salt and lime.). But the best part is I get to draw while I'm talking. There was a whole Mexican feast on the paper by the time I was done.

I taught someone else about Thanksgiving. That was tougher than I thought it would be (remind me never to bring that up again). I talked about it while drawing turkeys, pilgrims, indians, the May Flower.

And I explained to a sweet, shy woman how to make hot chocolate and smores (I just ran with marshmallows). And made her promise she'd try it and report back. She giggled. I drew a campfire scene.

One thing I dont like about my job: today was pay day. I got no pay.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Saturday, October 13, 2007

I Need New Music

Send me some.

I took a Japanese language class last night, at the Yamaguchi community center in Tokuyama. Yeah, so... Im pretty much fluent now.

Hijimemashtie, Jeannetto desu. Boston kara kimashita.

And I totally just said "konichiwa" to the woman who lives next to me when we passed on the stairs.

I also just got my scanner/printer working, so I updated my sketchblog. I know it's only been three weeks since Ive moved, but I feel like I havent updated in forever... and everyone's forgotten about me.

Ie, isu jaarimasen.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Bridge in Kudamatsu

A river runs through Kudamatsu, and if you look into the water you can sometimes see swarms of koi fish.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Uh Oh! 5-0!

I am fixing up my resume and writing some essays to apply for a new English teaching job, here in Japan, before the company I work for completely tanks. So, to warm up my writin' finger I'll tell you a funny little story of my run in with the cops two nights ago.

When watching movies and doing laundry gets boring Kudamaters have to find other ways of having fun. So the other night me and my Australian next-door-neighbor (we'll call him Puffy), went down to the river. He was drinking beers and I was enjoying a soda on a bench on the street. Puffy went down to the water to "drain the dragon" as he'd say, and I sat under the streetlight alone.

It took only moments before a car pulled up to me. It was the Kudamatsu police. One guy said "good evening" and got out and sat next to me, between Japanese words he said "What's your name?" And handed me a notebook to write it on. Then he asked me my address. I slowly signaled that I would reach into my wallet to get my address out (as you would do when dealing with American police, no sudden moves). As I took out my Alien Registration card Puffy walked back up from the river.

The other officer saw him and they exchanged greetings. Apparently they'd met before. They chatted a bit, Puffy tossed out the name of our company, and the cops smiled, nodded, and left.

I guess public drinking is accepted and encouraged in Japan, because traditionally it would be impolite to stay at home and drink. I think the officers were just making sure I wasnt one of those Russian hookers we have around here.

And that was it.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Where I Live

First, you can see our front door and "adopted" plant, that was acquired on a late night boredom induced walk. Then there's the entry way, with the shoe-take-off-spot. And you can see my bedroom, illuminated in blue. With my futon on the floor... and that's about it.

My toilet and a short filmed based on it:

The toilet, shower, and sink are in different rooms. The cool thing about the shower and tub room is you bathe in the whole space. And there is some sort of crotch mirror (actually, I guess most Japanese sit while showering, so I guess it is a face mirror).

The whole place is a lot bigger than it looks in these photos. We dont have any stuff and the apartment is actually pretty sparse. And with the insane garbage sorting you have to do here, we always have plastic bags filled with trash somewhere (I think there are five on the balcony right now).

My Flickr page and YouTube page have both been updated, too.

*Busting Myths: 1)I am not [more] depressed [than usual], 2)Im being sarcastic about The Mall, 3)I do not want to leave.