Okay, so I've decided to give this "blogspot" a try, mostly because i can use my google log-in for it. Very disappointed "Yogafire" was taken for a a URL. I will leave a comment on their blog afterwards.
I'm guessing you are all on different pages in the book of Greg, so this should be your cliff notes so you can skip ahead:
I'm 25, living in Hiroshima City, Hiroshima Prefecture (not the same) and working as a Coordinator of International Relations (CIR) for the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Programme (British spelling, sorry). This means I work for the Prefectural Government (think "State House") in the International Affairs Division, helping with many tasks, bust mostly translating Japanese documents into English, and trying to talk them into sending me on international business trips. So far, no luck. Also, as part of my job i spend afternoons and the occasional weekend, working at the Hiroshima International Center, where I do much of the same work as well as plan, and host events, and guide people on the occasional field trip. Several times a year (including yesterday) I get to go to an elementary school and talk to the children (in Japanese) about American culture. Because I taught at Japanese elementary schools for 2 years in Kure, Hiroshima, this is an awesome perk. I love Japanese children. My normal schedule is Tuesday through Saturday, but sometimes I work Sunday or Monday meaning I get a three day weekend of my choosing that month.
I live in a small one bedroom apartment on the sixth floor of my building. My landlord Mr. Nakaura and his family live above me and he is a friendly old dude. Next to my apartment is Honkawa park, a small park with no grass, but some playground equipment and open space. During the day it is often used by the school next to that, in the afternoon old people hang out there, and at night drunk people smoke cigarettes while high school students practice their dance routines to a boom box; no joke! Running alongside the park is the river, Honkawa (lit. "Main River") and on the other side is the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park. As in "where we dropped the bomb, UNESCO World Heritage Site - The Atomic Bomb Dome, the Peace Memorial Museum, dozens of smaller memorials, tons of tourists from Japan and all over the world, hordes of park benches, Cherry trees, and old men playing Shogi, Igo, and Majong"...all 30 seconds walk across the bridge from my apartment! And no, the level of radiation in the area is no different than Tucson, Arizona. I have a bicycle and the nearby street car lines taking care of all of my transportation needs. I love my neighborhood.
My girlfriend Sachie and I have been together almost two years now, and everything's great there. She lives in Kure, but has been working/studying/staying in Hiroshima City for the past 6 months, so I still get to see her almost everyday. Last night they turned on the "Dreamination" lights on Peace Boulevard, I think as a test run, but it was a cool, beautiful evening out so we took a stroll down and back together which was lovely. Dreamination, by the way, is thousands of Christmas light displays strung all over both sides of the street which is actually a 100-meter-wide road including parallel side streets separated from the main road by park paths with towering trees, sculptures, and dry, decorative streams.
Winter is upon us, and the artificial snow will hit Mizuho Highlands at the end of the month, where my friends and I snowboard every season. My left knee STILL kinda hurts from when I came down Mt. Fuji last September, but I had it x-rayed, my bones are good, and I'm taking it easy until I hit the snow.
My Japanese language skillz are still slowly progressing as well. I study kanji, though not as seriously as I should, but I can read more and more everyday. lately my team-leader at the Prefectural Building, Mr. Yahata, has been helping me read though an editorial article once a week during our lunch break, which hopefully will improve my overall reading comprehension too. Most days I learn at least one new word, and just while writing this I learned tsutsuga-mushi, which is Japanese for chigger (the bug).
Oh, and "Prefectural Building" is super annoying to write because in Japanese it's just "kencho", so please remember that for my sake.
love peace and chicken grease!