Tales From A Broad

My year of teaching English in Japan is up. Next mission: backpack Asia before going home to the U.S.A. Currently HOME!

Gone fishin'. Be back in January...

Monday, December 19

...well, not exactly, but my winter vacation officially starts tomorrow after work (4:15 PM..I'm already countin' down the minutes). I'll be escaping the blistering Japanese winters for the warm summer weather in Southeast Asia: modern Bangkok, the beaches and moon parties on the southern Thai islands (Ko Samui, Ko Phangan), the ancient temples of Angkor in Cambodia (Siem Reap), delicous Cambodian cuisine in Phnom Phen, ridiculously cheap shopping in Taiwan, then back to freeezing Japan. Wow, that just sounded like a travel brochure. I won't be blogging until I get back on January 7, so Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah, and Happy New Year!

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If I've learned nothing else during my stay in Japan it's that I LOVE snow. Seriously, I dunno how I lived without it for so long. While all the Japanese are moaning about how "samui (cold)" it is, I'm trying to restrain myself from looking like a bad pop video and rolling around and writing my name in it.

Even she was cold----->

It's already snowed four times now and each time looks brighter and more picturesque. There was the most snow on Saturday night, boasting 10 cm around my place in Tokuyama.

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A JET Chistmas

While there are a lucky few who get to have a real deal X-mas back home, most of us JETS are either staying in Japan or travelling around this side of the world to spend it. This means that we had to have one last horrah before everyone went thier own ways and what better way to do it then a party (surprise surprise!)? A few weeks back, there was a real X-mas party--formal attire and all--in Yamaguchi city. Almost 2 hours of all you can drink (nomihodai) can bring out the Christmas cheer in just about anybody! The infamous Tom Smith...uh hmm, shall I say "Dance Dance evolution"... loosened up that tie and brought enough gyrating holiday spirit to some very lucky female JETS to hold them through the end of the year. Of course, we had to have fun games like pass the mikan (Japanese oranges) around and tie the piece of yarn through each other's clothes. Thanks to the girls of AJET who are party planning gurus. After the party, Selena, Becky H., Miho, her husband and I found our ways back inTokuyama for some good ol' dancing at Suzie Wongs. Now that the owner and I are on a first name basis (I think I've officially OD-ed on that place), he made sure to play some salsa as we stumbled our way out to a ramen booth stand--one of the best ways to end a night out.

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Gotta love X-mas

Sunday, December 11

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Let it snow--Vanilla Ice cold

Wednesday, December 7

The first snow of the season happened on Tuesday and it was my first time seeing it...ever. Deprived? Yes, but it just meant that I was that much more grateful to be up at 6 AM, on my way to school, freezing my arse to see the beautiful sight. I busted out my electric blanket and cotton toilet seat cover to commemorate the event.

Christmas is nearly on it's way and my city, Tokuyama, ha already decorated all the streets near rhe train station with lights, fake snowed in windows and cheesy X-mas music to last me for the next few years. Take a look at this pic.It just feels wrong.

Hannah had an X-mas shindig at her place since we won't have a real one back home. Instead of watching the X-mas movies we brought over, Mark busted out with Vanilla Ice's film debut, "Cold As Ice." I can honestly say that this is THE worst mivie ever created by man. Don't just take my word for it. Watch the first 10 minutes of Vanilla's long rap intro with a young Naomi Campbell lip-synching while doing the "running man," and you'll see what I mean. As if that weren't bad enough, there is a montage in the middle where Vanilla and his girl go on a date. In one afternoon, they manage to go to a construction sight, ride a motorcycle through the dessert while hosing each other down with water, drive down a road in the middle of the the midwest (USA) plains, and find their way back to suburban California or Florida...hard to tell which one. Both satisfied, he leaves her by saying, "Ditch the zero and get with the hero." Classic....and last motion picture.

If you have free time and wanna laugh your arse off, click on this link for the funniest commentary I've read on any movie.


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Gojikosai Festival a.k.a Naked Man Festival

Thursday, December 1

With a name like that, how could I resist? This traditional festival is held annually in Hofu, a small town near mine, where half-naked men get ridiculously inebriated and carry half-ton, portable shrines to the top of the main shrine, Tenmangu. The stairs are the tricky part. On the count of three, the men would yell and sprint to the top, nearly tipping the poor shrine on us innocent spectators. By sunset, the event is at full speed and all we could see were masses of pink flesh (Japanese don't have the enzymes in their bodies to properly digest alchohal, so their skin turns pink) and white paper lanterns. Lauren, Marina and some other Hofu-ites met up and stood around drinking beer and hot sake. On the way to the shrine, there were dozens of stands selling sugar-glazed fruit, yakkitori (grilled chicken on bamboo sticks), mochi (rice cakes filled with sweet red beans) and other delicousness. While the each of group of men were waiting their turns, they would stand in front of the shops, spinning the shrines around, chanting to the shopkeeper. After, the shopkeeper would give them a bag of money or sweets. The night wasn't complete until we ate at Mos Burger, the best fast food remedy to McDonald's. Before we knew it, one of the employees gave us each a Santa Clause hat and took pics of us to put up in the store.

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