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.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Where am I?

I havent been online much lately. It's kind of nice, probably the first break Ive had from this machine in ten years. For a place with nothing to do Ive been going out quite a bit. I went to an "Irish Pub" called Ell's Ditch after work last night in Tokoyama. It's a regular spot for the small group of English people in south-west Yamaguchi.

A few nights ago (see hang over post) I went out to the "Chicken Shack" for nomihodai (all you can drink for a fixed price/time), then to karaoke with Japanese and English coworkers. After that a few of us stumbled down to a yatai (a tented food stall on the sidewalk with bench seating) for some cheap beers.

And Ive been to some izakayas in Kudamatsu.

Tonight I'll probably stay in, though. Im down to 190¥ and I didnt realize the bank closed at 3pm today, so I cant cash anymore Traveler's Checks until Tuesday (the bank is closed on the weekend and Monday because of a holiday).

It's a funny story, I was at the bank today, to open my account. It was a totally surreal experience. The employees spoke no English. I felt like this special case they'll all go home and tell their spouses about. Im surprised it worked out at all. At one point the teller wanted me to write my address in kanji! She gave up on that fast. I kept shaking my head and saying "no, no!" So when I deposited the required 1000¥ to open the account I saw that was my last bill. So I walked home to get some checks and go back to the bank, and it was closed! I walked all around, went to different banks and stores, no one would exchange my money.

It's ok, though. I should stop spending anyway.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Many Spiders

These spiders are everywhere.

Oh crap, my boredom followed me from Massachusetts. I guess it's just me, then. Last night my roomie and I spent a good hour sitting and staring in the kitchen. Then we went for a walk and "adopted" a little plant. He needed us.

Today I spent some time going to the grocery store, bank, and an electronics store. The bank took forever. I was just cashing a $100 traveler's check. In Japan there is so much paperwork for everything.

I read a comic book in a coffee shop for an hour or so.

Then I walked around Kudamatsu a bit. I saw some fish in the river and got a giant mosquito bite on my forehead. I should be drawing more. Maybe I'll do some of that right now.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Local Wildlife

I am so hungover today.