月曜日, 12月 27, 2010

One helluva great week!

Ok, so I wanted to fill with awesome pictures illustrating just how amazing last week was, but I am a busy lad and on the road (currently in an internet cafe in Kobe with some friends) without my camera, so my words will have to suffice.

Last Sunday:
I woke up at 7 am after working 12 straight days and what do I do to relax? Grab my snowborad and go to my friend Kazu's to throw a layer of wax on, and then it was off to Mizuho with 7 other friends! This was my first time on real snow this season and although it may be obvious, I have to say it was SO MUCH better than the artificial crap a couple weeks before. On the mountain, I kept running into people I knew and going on different runs I waited 9 long months to see again. This time, with my new board, bindings, and gear properly adjusted, I was tearing it up! I worked on my jumps mostly, 180s - front and backside, ollies, board grabs, and spinning on the tail of my board. It has gotten much easier now that I lighter, better equipment and more confidence landing switch stance (the opposite foot forward than normal).

Great time, but it wasn't over! I went home, took a much needed nap and then rode my bike out to the movie theater to see Tron: Legacy. I have heard a lot of bad things from people in the states, and I gotta say, they have no idea what they're talking about! That movie was amazing! Obviously the special effects and the movie score, done entirely by the techno duo Daft Punk, in Digital 3D and sound were incredible, but the structure of the movie itself was spot on. The story is both a remake, and at the same time a continuation of the original Tron from the 80s, and the parallels between the real world, and The Grid, as well as recurring themes and lines, made it very fun and interesting. GO SEE IT. I think i will see it again tonight. Seriously.

Monday, I did NOTHING! Remember how I worked 12 days straight before snowboarding? A day of watching movies and relaxing at home was just what the doctor ordered.

Tuesday I went to work, had a productive day with lots of "thank you" emails from people I worked with last week, such as the American Consulate in Osaka-Kobe, and that night I got a huge care package with all my favorite candy and food from the states, MUCH needed bars of my favorite deodorant from my mom, and a nice new tie as a Christmas present from my brother James.

The timing was impecible because the next morning I packed that tie with my suit and went to Okayama to get ready for my good friend Darren's wedding! But first I went to the ISOLATION TANK in Okayama City! This was my 6th time in an isolation tank, but my first time at this one; I LOVED IT! The staff were all beautiful and friendly, the tank was even bigger than what I'm used to in Tokyo, and you could choose to have relaxing sounds playing while you're in the Egyptian-themed Day-Spa-esque room. Afterward I met up with my friend and fellow CIR John for some drinks and a walk around the city. We met a bunch of ALTs at a popular bar called Pinball, and I went back to John's and got plenty of rest for the next (Darren's) big day.

Thursday, John walked me to the hotel where Darren and Tomomi were getting married, and it was a lovely ceremony (Pics on my fb). The food was great, I met the rest of Darren and Tomomi's friends and family, and hung out with a couple afterward before going home to Hiroshima.

Friday I got another present in the mail! This time it was the Vibram FiveFingers shoes I had asked for! Iresisted the urge to wear them that day, because I knew I would be out walking around a lot and shopping for the Hiroshima International Center's Christmas Day Year-end Party, which I was in charge of organizing.

Saturday was the day of the big party. First, after our end-of-the-year cleaning of the center, we went to a Bowling Alley for our 2nd Annual competition. Everything went smoothly and although I didn't win, I played well by my standards, and everyone seemed to have a great time. Then it was on to the dinner party were we ate, drank, played games, and passed out prizes. Again, everything was perfect and that makes my day doubly, because not only did I have  a great time too, it reflected well on my ability to plan and execute events.

That was my week! Gotta go now! Love you all (probably)! bye!

金曜日, 12月 10, 2010

Photos from Ninoshima

Photo Journal of My Trip to Ninoshima
By Greg Beck
This December I took a trip with some co-workers to Ninoshima, a small island between Miyajima and Etajima.
To get to Ninoshima, we took a 380 yen ferry from Ujina Port, in Hiroshima City. The ferry ride was comfortable and only took 25 minutes to get to the port. Once on Ninoshima, two vans picked us up and drove us to our ryokan (a traditional Japanese inn). We put our things down in our rooms upstairs, and got ready for dinner.
Dinner was incredible, and started out with boat-shaped trays of sashimi. There were so many different kinds, but my favorites were the lobster, stonefish, and sea urchin! Normally I don’t like sea urchin because it tastes like swallowing sea-water, but this was fresh, not salty, and even a little sweet! The food kept coming and everything was so good! Small islands like this are known for their fresh, delicious seafood with good reason. This is one of my favorite dishes of the evening, a fish called “Mebaru”.
After dinner we enjoyed their big baths and through an open window with a nighttime view of the mainland, I saw my first shooting star in years! Then everyone met back up in our large tatami room for talking, drinking, and games, but after a full day of work and a big meal, we couldn’t stay up too late. The next morning some of us decided to walk halfway around the island (only a 5km walk). At the time I agreed to go, I had no idea that would turn out to be the best part of Ninoshima!
 Waking up before the sun rises, or even before 10 a.m., has got to be one of my least favorite activities. But once I was dressed and outside walking, and taking in the scenery of Ninoshima, I felt lucky just to be awake. I also got the urge to take lots of photos, but I’ll just share these ones with you.

金曜日, 12月 03, 2010


Okay, I am super busy, but I needed to change gears to take a break without losing my energy or creativity. So I am blogging really quickly to let you know, 

1. I am about to be 2/3rds done with my Japanese Pedagogy Correspondence Course (finishing up the packet now to send off).

2. Wikileaks is awesome. Lieberman sucks.

3. I have decided to write a non-fiction book about my experience in Japan someday, but I might write it in Japanese because I want the title to be 「あなたは日本人です」 but I guess I could write it in English ("You are Japanese").

4. Tonight I am going with my kencho co-workers to some small island. It's like a team-building exercise, except with no other purpose but to get out of the city, get drunk, and eat delicious sashimi (raw fish). Tomorrow morning I have to wake up early though, catch a ferry, and come to work at the International Center again. Oh well.

5. Sunday is SNOWBOARDING! It will be the first time for the season, first time in my new jacket and pants, and on my new board and bindings! Super excited, even though it is still a little warm here and there will only be one narrow run open with artificial snow, but HEY! I takes what I can gets!

Back to work.